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she speaks not, who could give the which the newly-vested spirit must in
reply but the Hercules who had grap- part put off, in the resumption of her
pled with Death, and knew the undis. mortal loveliness ?
coverable mysteries, and the holiness

Ad. Τί γάρ ποθ' ήδ' άναυδος έστηκεν γυνή και
Here. Ούπω θέμις σοι τήσδε προσφωνημάτων

Κλύει», πριν αν θεοίσι τοϊσι νερτέροις
'Αφαγνισηται, και τρίτον μόλη φάος.

'Αλλ' είταν είσω τήνδε. Line 1146.
Ad. Why, then, does this lady stand speechless ?
Herc. It is not permitted you as yet to hear her words

Address'd to you before her purification, and rites
To the infernal gods, and the third day shall come.

But lead her now within. In the tale of Orpheus, he is him- of the Winter's Tale. The fabulous self every thing—not so in the play. is altogether dropped. We lose someThe Eurydice there is every thing in thing, it is true, of the awful interest, Alcestis. It is sufficient, therefore, the wondrous mystery of the rescue in the latter, that the conquest over from Death itself—that bold personifiDeath should be by main force ; for, cation; but the situations, therefore, had the spell of Orpheus been added, the more come home to our own hearts. the pathos of the wife's devotion would In the Alcestis, we admire more have been diminished, and the dying than we pity. She is a voluntary sufweakness of the gentle wife is not ill ferer. So, indeed, to a certain exset off by the vigour of the arm that tent, is Hermione, for she endures a rescues her; yet the real story is sixteen years' seclusion--upnecessarily, more poetical, and more really grand but for her honour's sake—but, in all in itself. Hercules conquers Hades by that relates to her husband, she is main force-Orpheus by a new power, vilely injured. Euripides makes Adhis lyre, a thousand times more po- metus but a poor character. Shaktent; for the earth yields to his incan- speare makes Leontes a wicked one. tation, and opens to him a passage, Perhaps the Queen sees but his jealand Pluto and Proserpine are not ousy as the cause of his cruelty to constrained, but charmed. Death is her, and may therefore be excused for but as the minister-the servant--and her final reconciliation ; but the comhad not delivered up his charge; but manding one of his courtiers secretly in the case of Orpheus the inexorable · to poison Polyxenes, the object of his deities were moved. We have ob. jealous passion, his friend, and his served that Admetus is not the most guest, is so mean a piece of villany, worthy character. Was this intended that we are scarcely reconciled to him to show the nature of woman's love? throughout the play, and are the less to enhance it ? to exalt it? How per interested in his penitence. This fect is that woman in her all-perfect would have been injurious to the love, whose sense of duty, and obe- piece, were it not for the divided indience, and affection, absorbs to itself, terest afforded by Perdita in the two but to annihilate them, the defects of last acts. In Perdita Hermione finds the man she has chosen, and sees in her reward. She is, indeed, reconhim but the husband and the father ciled to Leontes, and wonderfully fine If Euripides has selected so poor a is that reconciliation, and therein she, character as Admetus, we may sup- too, like Alcestis, is silent; but Perpose it was not without reason, for dita she blesses-like a creature that Shakspeare has even worse mated had for years been conversant with Hermione. And here in Hermione holy thoughts and prayers for the prewe have Eurydice again—the new servation of her child, and as one enversion, the invention, but from the titled to bless. original tale, of consummate genius. The statue is a fine conception, a If, in the Alcestis, the Eurydice be beautiful version of the fable, and the brought within the circle of domestic peculiar character of Hermione well life, a real dramatis persona, it is suits it. She has all the calm dignity, much more the case in the Hermione even in her greatest trials, which is

the grace of ancient marbles. We tence, and of his love, of the agony of
are not surprised to see her represent- his affection, yet still she moves not !
ed, for she is statuesque (if there be The impetuous Paulina could not bave
such a word) throughout. She is borne this-yet it is not for Hermione
sensible of her husband's full peni: that she fears-
Paulina.

I'll draw, the curtain,
My Lord's almost so far transported, that

He'll think anon it lives,” And even yet Hermione moves not. Nay! she waits the bidding, and as it were the animating the statue by an incantation ; and when she stirs, she moves solemnly, as one slowly returning to life. Shakspeare here did not forget the mystery of the original fable " Paulina. Stir ; nay, come away,

Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him
Dear life redeems you. You perceive she stirs,

[Hermione comes down,
Start not, her action shall be holy, as

You hear my spell is lawful." Here, too, as far as he could, has Shakspeare taken advantage of the silence of Alcestis. They embrace, but not a word does she yet speak. We learn her action from othersLeontes.

Oh, she is warm !
If this be magic, let it be an act

Lawful as eating. " Polyx. She embraces him." Alcestis has no friend, no compa- the riotous Bacchants, so have the two nion. She needed none. Admetus plays their revel and wake.

The was to her all in all--and she the self- jovial Hercules, who seems to have devoted. It was necessary for the taken out a license “ to be drunk on plot that Hermione should have a the premises,” is at once the contrast friend ; Leontes was not all to her, and the relief to the universal wo of she regarded the Oracle, and lived in the house of Admetus. The counhope of recovering her child. But, try wake, with the merry knave Authat she may stand alone in interest, tolycus, set off the graver scenes, and how unlike is the calm Hermione to pleasantly prepare the mind for the the impassioned and vehement Paul- concluding happiness. Shakspeare ina, and how little do they come in must somehow or other have met with contact in the play, that the majestic the play of Euripides, for he certainly quiet may not suffer.

alludes to the story. Florizel speaks As the original Orpheus is among of Apollo serving Admetus

“ And the fire-robed god, Golden Apollo, a poor humble swain,

As I seem now.'
And it is not impossible that the very idea of the statue may have been
suggested by the following passage from the Alcestis of Euripides, wherein
Admetus proposes to have a statue made of his wife :-

Σοφή δε χειρί τεκτόνων δέμας το σον
Εικασθεν έν λέκτρoισιν έκταθήσεται.
And by the skilful hand of statuary shall your

Imag'd form be laid in my bed. Can we wonder at the charm of such tales as Orpheus, Aloestis, and Hermione—or in one, of Eurydice—the lost Eurydice !--the just recovered—and the lost again. What is it but the poetical version of bereft affection's nightly dream? Did it not glide in with the stillness of night, and, enacting life, draw Milton's curtain ?

• Methought I saw my late espoused saint

Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,

Rescu'd from death by force, though pale and faint.
Mine, as whom, wash'd from spot of childbed taint,

Purification in the old law did save,
And such, as yet once more I trust to have

Full sight of ber in Heaven without restraint ;-
Came, vested all in white, pure as her mind :

Her face was veil'd; yet to my fancied sight

Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd
So clear as in no face with more delight.

But O, as to embrace me she inclin'd,

I wak’d; she fled ; and day brought back my night."- Millon. A dream ! it shall be the poet's mouth," and visits the subterranean dream. And here is Elton's “ Dream cataracts. So much we consider as of Orpheus." He has most happily the drop-scene indicative of the genetreated the subject as a dream, with ral character of the piece, for in other the boldness, the transition, the action respects it is unnecessary. From this of a Greek. He is Greek_in his he emerges, in his “bodiless, swift dream, and has given us an English presence," and is again upon the moun. version not to be despised. The poet, tains, which are poetically described in a vision,—“my visual sense was as fit scenery for the agency of the soul,"—is amongst strange mountains poem. and forests. He pierces “ a cavern's

“ The vulture cross'd the azure with his shade,
And eagles from the cliffs the sun survey'd
With fix'd irradiate eye, and from those hills
I saw the lion stooping towards the rills
That boil'd in clefts of rocks, and tigers slow
Stole from the brake, or, crouching, gazed below
On some aërial antelope, anon

Starting, as 't were a leaf, scarce seen and gone." - Page 181. He is in the territory of the Bacchants, hears enchanting music, and “ with a thought” is before a mountain grotto. There are “nymphs with vine-leaves crown'd." Orpheus, of the music of whose lyre he had heard, is here introduced with effect.

Stags, with their antlers, peep'd; and the streak'd pard
Crouch'd harmless; for before them lean'd a bard
Against the lichen'd rock; within his grasp
A seven-string'd shell ; a coil'd and trampled asp

Beneath his foot, the fang still dropping gore."- Page 182. There is then silence-afterwards comes the song of the Bacchants, who taunt Orpheus with his absence, and his worship of his unaiding god, when his Eurydice, flying from the shepherd Aristæus, fell under the bite of the asp. They then try their amorous arts to engage him in a new affection. În vain

“ There was a pause : a silence, fearful, deep,
As though the wilderness were hush'd in sleep;
The youth had grasp'd with agonizing hands
His robe of snowy fleece, while propp'd he stands
Against the granite rock; his frame is shook
With ague thrills; a fire is in his look ;
And his wild locks seem curling from his head,
And his cheeks flush with hectic stains of red.
His hand is on his harp: and hark !—the clash,
Shrill, loud, and sudden as the thunder-flash!

ORPHEUS.
I fix my eyes upon thee, mighty Sun !
Thou hear'st what these have witness'd, and behold'st
The mockery of their pity! Thou art HE!

The god, whom they blaspheme, is their own god,
Whom they in base and mortal shape would seek
Among their tangled haunts : when they might stand
Upon the mountain which thy glory gilds,
And see thee in thy naked majesty,
God of the vine they worship. Hear me now!
Celestial Bacchus ! radiant Hercules !
That runn'st thy race of strength around the stars !
Thou Jove, thou Juno of the azure air !
Thou Neptune, brother of thyself, that rulest
The tempest-toiling element of sea !
Thou! who art both the sign and source of all,
The world of earth and waters and deep skies,

Hear me !-I ask a token.”—Pp. 186, 7. The token is the repossession of Eurydice. Orpheus breaks from the Bacchants, throws himself to the branch of a high tree, whence “rock'd giddily,"

_" when it bending swept
The verdure-tufted crag, at once he leapt
Sheer from the branch, and felt beneath his feet
Heights which no footsteps but the deer's had beat ;
And bounding, where the eagle builds, from sight
He faded upwards into dizzy light.
Then javelins shook and clash'd; a long shrill yell
Was sent through every woodland, cave, and dell;
The hawk flew screaming from his rock; and o'er
The forest growl'd remote a mutter'd mingled roar.

“ My sprite was with the bard; I follow'd him
To other mountains, where the sight grew dim
If backward turn'd below: one arm his lyre
Clasp'd close; the sun had touch'd a pine with fire ;
He seized a branchy torch ; I heard the wave
Dash loud and long and shrill; a yawning cave
Receiv'd him, and I enter'd.”_P. 190.

The poet is in spirit with him, and the description of the descent is truly graphic. Orpheus arrives in confidence at the very centre of Infernal Glory, which is gorgeously painted.

“ At length the rock receded over-head;
A sky of amethyst o'er-arching spread
Its concave, studded with strange stars, and bright
With comets, wheeling in concentric light ;
And straight before, a palace rear'd on high
Its gold-leav'd doors and walls of porphyry;
And I beheld him, while the valves flew wide,
Across the threshold plant his venturous stride,
And pace, with harp in hand, the jasper floor :
Till, touching a soft stop, he paused before
A veiling arras, that with purpling glow
Checker'd in shifting lights the stone below.
He rais'd it with his arm, and the strong ray
Of starry lamps flash'd out a midnight day;
And supernatural statures caught the eye
Like shadows flung against a mountain sky:
Embodied attributes, strange virtues, powers
Of vengeance such as range the guilty towers
Where crime has left its stain: and some there were
Who wreathed the serpent round their female hair.
The sweet string trembled; all incontinent
Gazed, gestureless and mute; the prophet bent
His forehead ; since, above that dream-like crowd,
Steps of pyramidal sweep sustain'd a cloud,

Through whose ensanguined and transparent light
What seem'd a pillar'd throne half met the sight,
Where sate a human shape of doubtful guise,
Tenebrous splendour, and colossal size;
Dazzling, yet dimly seen. The charming rhyme
Melted from Orpheus' lips ; he dared to climb
The slope pyramidal of steps, that grew
Beneath his toiling feet, till to my view
He stood diminished; the last stair he trode,

Fainting, and touch'd the footstool of the god.”—Pp. 193, 4. Mr Elton has made the most advantageous use of the Orphic Remains, and has embodied with high poetical conception the Zevs of the ancient Greek. The following lines are extremely beautiful, and the dream-like visionary transmutation of the distinct yet blended powers of the One are in the truo spirit of poetry:

“ He saw a monarch in his pomp of place
Propt on a staff of gold; he saw the face
Of Jove- Apollo in his subterrene
Presence: of two-sex'd aspect : a dark queen
Sate, gazing pensive on him, Pluto's spouse ;
Arch'd on her forehead met her raven brows,
And languishingly look'd her fawn-like eyes
Through long-fring'd eyelids dipt in hyacinth dyes ;
Her tower-tress'd hair was diadem'd. Anon
The apparition of that shape was gone ;
And through the fire-red vapour, mantling round
The chair of burnish'd adamant, there frown'd
A giant king, whose spiky crown was set
O'er locks that dropp'd in rings of clustering jet;
Thus, in their violet robes enwrapt, the pair
Sate twain, or one; with crisp'd, or flowing, hair ;
Or stern, or melancholy mild: each came
And went alone; each different, yet the same ;
Nor e'er at once were those grand phantoms seen-
A lonely king, a solitary queen.
One only lean'd upon that staff of gold,
And whom you late beheld, you still behold:
Her sandal'd feet still press the agate stair,
And his those raven brows, that tower-wreathed hair ;
The lineaments by involution strange
Of form and sex, pass'd with alternate change
And reappear'd; and still a disc of rays
Haloed each brow-a faint and flickering blaze ;
And in that sign the ravish'd prophet knew
His priesthood pure, his inspirations true.
He look'd upon the self-dividing one,
The female Jove of hell, the subterranean Sun;
And, as he twitch'd the chords with ivory rod,

Lifted his plaintive chant, and hailed the goddess-god.”—Pp. 194, 6. The “ Song of Orpheus," excepting “ But beware lest haste the first few lines of the poem, we

The spell dissever, think a failure. It sadly wants dig- Or, unembraced, nity. The metre offends, and meets

She is dead for ever!”-P. 201. with little apology in the matter. It From this point Mr Elton reasis of the common sing-song elegiac ; sumes his poetical dignity and power. and as good verses may be found in The dreaming Poet had been disenevery village album amongst its fair- gaged from the Bard Orpheus during handed specimens of youthful and the upward passage, left therefore unvirgin talent. Nor do we see any described. He awaits him at the encharm in the speech of Proserpine, trance of the enormous cavern, the who tells Orpheus that, under spell, roarings of whose subterranean waves his Eurydice " flits behind him". are

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