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seconds, however, he sank, and was borne a little | heavy breathing and an occasional groan. Meanto the rear."-vol. ii. p. 344.
But a sadder task remains to be performed-if indeed a death so heroic, so glorious as that of Wolfe can be deemed sad. We know of no subject more noble, and have never seen any more nobly treated.
"While the British troops were carrying all before them, their young general's life was ebbing fast away. When struck for the third time, he sank down; he then supported himself for a few minutes in a sitting posture, with the assistance of Lieutenant Brown, Mr. Henderson, a volunteer, and a private soldier, all of the grenadier company of the 22d; Colonel Williamson of the Royal Artillery afterward went to his aid. From time to time Wolfe tried with his faint hand to clear away the death-mist that gathered on his sight; but the effect seemed vain; for presently he lay back, and gave no signs of life beyond a
time the French had given way, and were flying in all directions. The grenadier officers, seeing this, called out to those around him, See, they run. The words caught the ears of the dying man; he raised himself like one aroused from sleep, and asked, eagerly, Who runs?' The enemy, Sir,' answered the officer; they give way everywhere.' 'Go one of you to Colonel Burton,' said Wolfe, tell him to march Webbe's (the 48th) regiment with all speed down to the St. Charles River, to cut off the retreat.' His voice grew faint as he spoke, and he turned as if seeking an easier position on his side; when he had given this last order, he seemed to feel that he had done his duty, and added, feebly but distinctly, 'Now, God be praised, I die happy.' His eyes then closed; and, after a few convulsive movements, he became still. Despite the anguish of his wounds, he died happy, for, through the mortal shades that fell upon his soul, there rose over the unknown world's horizon the dawn of an eternal morning."
And the light that once was in thine eye Hath sorrow stol'n away.
Thou art no longer fair, wife,
The rose hath left thy cheek,
But thy heart is just as warm, wife,
We thought not then of care;
We then were spendthrifts of our joyWe now have none to spare!
Well, well dost thou remember, wife,
The three years' darling, fair, and pure,
We said with foolish tongue,—
-There was John, thy boast and pride, wife,
We were proud of her fair face, wife!
I had such evil thoughts, wife,
The only thing that saved his life
There's something in thy face, wife,
Thy bloodless cheeks and wan;
Oh, these they tell such tales, wife,
What God appointeth here;
Let the betrayer live, wife;
Oh God, who reign'st above,
For one sure solace-love!
NORTH. I begin to be doubtful of this day. On your visits to us, Talboys, you have been most unfortunate in weather. This is more like August than June.
TALBOYS. The very word, my dear sir. It is indeed most august weather.
NORTH. Five weeks to-day since we pitched our camp-and we have had the Beautiful of the Year in all its varieties; but the spiteful Season seems to owe you some old grudge, Talboys-and to make it a point still to assail your arrival with "thunder, lightning, and with rain."
TALBOYS. "I tax not you, ye Elements ! with unkindness." I feel assured they mean nothing personal to me-and though this sort of work may not be very favorable to Angling, 'tis quite a day for tidying our Tackle and making up our Books. But don't you think, sir, that the Tent would look nothing the worse with some artificial light in this obscuration of the natural?
NORTH. Put on the gas. Pretty invention, the Gutta Percha tube, isn't it? The Electric Telegraph is nothing to it. Tent illuminated in a moment, at a pig's whisper.
TALBOYS. Were I to wish, sir, for anything to happen now to the weather at all, it would be just ever so little toning down of that one constituent of the orchestral harmony of the Storm which men call-howling. The Thunder is perfect-but that one Wind Instrument is slightly out of tune-he is most anxious to do his best-his motive is unimpeachable; but he has no idea how much more impressive-how much more popularwould be a somewhat subdued style. There again-that's positive discord-does he mean to disconcert the Concert-or does he forget that he is not a Solo ?
BULLER. That must be a deluge of—hail. TALBOYS. So much the better. Hitherto we have had but rain. "Mysterious horrors! HAIL!"
"Twas a rough night.
My young remembrance cannot parallel A fellow to it."
NORTH. Suppose we resume yesterday's conversation?
TALBOYS. By all manner of means. sit close-and speak loud-else all will be dumb show. The whole world's one waterfall.
NORTH. Take up Knight on Taste. Look at the dog-ear.
TALBOYS. " The most perfect instance of this kind is the Tragedy of Macbeth, in which the character of an ungrateful traitor, murderer, usurper, and tyrant, is made in the highest degree interesting by the sublime flashes of generosity, magnanimity, courage, and tenderness, which continually burst forth in the manly but ineffective struggle of every exalted quality that can dignify and adorn the human mind, first against the allurements of ambition, and afterward against the pangs of remorse and horrors of despair. Though his wife has been the cause of all his crimes and sufferings, neither the agony of his distress, nor the fury of his rage, ever draw from him an angry word, or upbraiding expression toward her; but even when, at her instigation, he is about to add the murder of his friend and late colleague to that of his sovereign, kinsman, and benefactor, he is chiefly anxious that she should not share the guilt of his blood-Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck! till thou applaud the deed.' How much more real grandeur and exaltation of character is displayed in one such simple expression from the heart, than in all the labored pomp of rhetorical amplification."
BULLER. Cursed nonsense. Beg pardon, sir-sink cursed-mere nonsense-out and out nonsense-nonsense by itself nonsense. NORTH. HOW so?
BULLER. A foolish libel on Shakspeare. Was he the man to make the character of an ungrateful traitor, murderer, usurper, and tyrant, interesting by sublime flashes of generosity, magnanimity, courage, and tenderness, and-do I repeat the words correctly? -of every exalted quality that can dignify and adorn the human mind?
NORTH. Buller-keep up that face-you are positively beautiful
BULLER. No quizzing-I am ugly-but I have a good figure-look at that leg, sir! NORTH. I prefer the other.
TALBOYS. There have been Poets among us who fain would--if they could-have so violated nature; but their fabrications have been felt to be falsehoods--and no quackery may resuscitate drowned lies.
gyric till he grows faint-and is led off speechless; others take it up-and we are thusand in other ways--prepared to look on Macbeth as a paragon of bravery, loyalty, and patriotism.
TALBOYS. So had seemed Cawdor.
NORTH. Good. Shakspeare sets Macbeth before us under the most imposing circumstances of a warlike age; but of his inner character as yet he has told us nothing-we are to find that out for ourselves during the Drama. If there be sublime flashes of generosity, magnanimity, and every exalted virtue, we have eyes to see, unless indeed blinded by the lightning-and if the sublime flashes be frequent, and the struggle of every exalted quality that can adorn the human mind, though ineffectual, yet strong-why, then, we must not only pity and forgive, but admire and love the "traitor, murderer, usurper, and tyrant," with all the poetical and philosophical fervor of that amiable enthusiast, Mr. Payne Knight.
BULLER. Somehow or other I cannot help having an affection for Macbeth.
NORTH. You had better leave the Tent, sir.
RULLER. No. I won't.
NORTH. Give us then, my dear Buller, your Theory of the Thane's character.
BULLER. "Theory, God bless you, I have none to give, sir." Warlike valor, as you said, is marked first and last-at the opening, and at the end. Surely a good and great quality, at least for poetical purposes. High general reputation won and held. The opinion of the wounded soldier was that of the whole army; and when he himself says, "I have bought golden opinions from all sorts of people, which would be worn now in their newest gloss, not thrown aside so soon," I accept that he then truly describes his position in men's minds.
NORTH. Shakspeare nowhere insists on the virtues of Macbeth-he leaves their measure indeterminate. That the villain may have had some good points we are all willing to believe-few people are without them;have I any quarrel with those who believe he had high qualities, and is corrupted by ambition. But what high qualities had he shown before Shakspeare sets him personally NORTH. All true. But we soon gain, too, before us to judge for ourselves? Valor- this insight into his constitution, that the courage-intrepidity-call it what you will-pillar upon which he has built up life is RepMartial Virtue.
utation, and not Respect of Law-not SelfRespect; that the point which Shakspeare above all others intends in him, is that his is a spirit not self-stayed-leaning upon outward stays-and therefore
BULLER. Liable to all
NORTH. Don't take the words out of my mouth, sir; or rather, don't put them into my mouth, sir.
BULLER. Touchy to-day.
NORTH. The strongest expression of this character is his throwing himself upon the illicit divinings of futurity, upon counselors
known for infernal; and you see what subjugating sway the Three Spirits take at once over him. On the contrary, the Thaness is self-stayed; and this difference grounds the poetical opposition of the two personages. În Macbeth, I suppose a certain splendor of character-magnificence of action high-a certain impure generosity-mixed up of some kindliness and sympathy, and of the pleasure from self-elation and self-expansion in a victorious career, and of that ambition which feeds on public esteem.
BULLER. Ay-just so, sir.
NORTH. Now mark, Buller-this is a character which, if the path of duty and the path of personal ambition were laid out by the Sisters to be one and the same path, might walk through life in sunlight and honor, and invest the tomb with proud and revered trophies. To show such a spirit wrecked and hurled into infamy-the ill-woven sails rent into shreds by the whirlwind. is a lesson worth the Play and the Poet and such a lesson as I think Shakspeare likely to have designed-or, without preaching about lessons, such an ethical revelation as I think likely to have caught hold upon Shakspeare's intelligence. It would seem to me a dramatically-poetical subject. The mightiest of temptations occur to a mind, full of powers, endowed with available moral elements, but without set virtue-without principles-" and down goes all before it." If the essential delineation of Macbeth be this conflict of Moral elements-of good and evil -of light and darkness-I see a very poetical conception; if merely a hardened and bloody hypocrite from the beginning, I see none. But I need not say to you, gentlemen, that all this is as far as may be from the exaggerated panegyric on his character by Payne Knight.
TALBOYS. Macbeth is a brave man—so is Banquo-so are we Four, brave men-they in their way and day-we in ours-they as Celts and Soldiers-we as Saxons and Civilians-and we had all need to be so-for hark! in the midst of ours, "Thunder and Lightning, and enter Three Witches."
BULLER. I cannot say that I understand distinctly their first Confabulation.
NORTH. That's a pity. A sensible man like you should understand everything. But what if Shakspeare himself did not distinctly understand it? There may have been original errata in the report, as extended by himself from notes taken in shorthand on the spot-light bad-noise worse -voices of Weird Sisters worst-matter ob
scure-manner uncouth-why really, Buller, all things considered, Shakspeare has shown himself a very pretty Penny-a-liner. BULLER. I cry you mercy, sir.
SEWARD. Where are the Witches on their first appearance, at the very opening of the wonderful Tragedy?
NORTH. An open Place, with thunder and lightning.
SEWARD. I know that-the words are written down.
NORTH. Somewhere or other-any where -nowhere.
BULLER, In Fife or Forfar? Or some one or other of your outlandish, or inlandish, Lowland or Highland Counties? NORTH. Not knowing, can't say. Prob
at the head of a few kilted actors." The army may have been there-but they did not see the Weirds-nor, I believe, did the Weirds see them. With Macbeth and Banquo alone had they to do; we see no Army at that hour-we hear no drums-we are deaf even to the Great Highland Bagpipe, though He, you may be sure, was not dumb-all "plaided and plumed in their tartan array" the Highland Host ceased to be-like vanished shadows at the first apparition of "those so withered and so wild in their attire"-not of the earth though on it, and alive somewhere till this day-while generations after generations of mere Fighting Men have been disbanded by dusty Death.
SEWARD. I wish to know where and when had been the Fighting? The Norwegian one Sweno, had come down very handsomely at Inchcolm with ten thousand dollars-a sum in those days equal to a million of money in Scotland
NORTH. Seward, speak on subjects you understand. What do you know, sir, of the value of money in those days in Scotland?
SEWARD. But where had been all the Fighting? There would seem to have been two hurley-burleys.
BULLER. Let us have one now, I beseech you, sir. NORTH. Not now.
BULLER. No sleep in the Tent till we have it, sir. I do dearly love astounding discoveries and at this time of day, an astounding discovery in Shakspeare! May it not prove a Mare's Nest!
NORTH. The Tragedy of Macbeth is a prodigious Tragedy, because in it the Chariot of Nemesis visibly rides in the lurid thundersky. Because in it the ill motions of a human soul, which Theologians account for by referring them all to suggestions of Beelzebub, are expounded in visible, mysterious, tangible, terrible shape and symbolization by the Witches. It is great by the character and person, workings and sufferings, of Lady Macbeth-by the immense poetical power in doing the Witches-mingling for once in the world the Homely, Grotesque, and the Sublime-extinguishing the Vulgar in the Sublime-by the bond, whatsoever it be, between Macbeth and his wife-by making us tolerate her and him
BULLER. Didn't I say that in my own way, sir? And didn't you reprove me for saying it, and order me out of the Tent ? NORTH. And what of the Witches? BULLER. Had you not stopt me. now, sir, that nobody understands Shakspeare's HECATE. Who is she? Each of the Three Weirds is one Witch one of the Three Fates-therefore the union of two incompatible natures-more than in a Centaur. Oh! sir! what a hand that was which bound the two into one-inseverably! There they are forever as the Centaurs are. But the gross Witch prevails; which Shakspeare needed for securing belief, and he has it, full. Hecate, sir, comes in to balance the disproportion The portion she lifts into Mythology and strengthens the mythological tincture. So does the "Pit of Acheron." That is classical. To the best of my remembrance, no mention of any such Pit in the Old or New Statistical Account of Scotland.
NORTH. I see your drift, Seward. Time and place, through the First Scene of the First Act, are past finding out. It has been asked-Was Shakspeare ever in Scotland? Never. There is not one word in this Tragedy leading a Scotsman to think so-many showing he never had that happiness. Let him deal with our localities according to his own sovereign will and pleasure, as a prevailing Poet. But let no man point out his dealings with our localities as proofs of his having such knowledge of them as implies personal acquaintance with them gained by a longer or shorter visit in Scotland. The Fights at the beginning seem to be in Fife. The Soldier, there wounded, delivers his relation at the King's Camp before Forres. He has crawled, in half-an-hour, or an hour-or two hours--say seventy, eighty, or a hundred miles or more--crossing the ridge of the Grampians. Rather smart. I do not know what you think here of Time; but I think that Space is here pretty well done for. The TIME of the Action of Shakspeare's Plays has never yet, so far as I know, been, in any one Play, carefully investigated--never investigated at all; and I now announce to you Three-don't mention it-that I have made discoveries here that will astound the whole world, and demand a New Criticism of the entire Shakspearean Drama.
NORTH. And, in the Incantation Scene, those Apparitions! Mysterious, ominous, picturesque-and self-willed. They are commanded by the Witches, but under a limitation. Their oracular power is their own. They are of unknown orders-as if for the occasion created in Hell.
NORTH. Talboys, are you asleep-or are you at Chess with your eyes shut?
TALBOYS. At Chess with my eyes shut. I shall send off my move to my friend Stirling by first post. But my ears were open