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acknowledged to be too loo for a poem, nay, more, for a paper of verses ; but if too low for an ordinary sonnet, how much more for tragedy!' Accordingly, the heroic plays were all in rhyme, set off not only with superb dresses and decorations, but with the richest and most ornate kind of verse, and the furthest removed from ordinary colloquial diction. The comedies were degenerate in a different way. They were framed after the model of the Spanish stage, and adapted to the taste of the king, as exhibiting a variety of complicated intrigues, successful disguises, and constantly shifting scenes and adventures. The old native English virtues of sincerity, conjugal fidelity, and prudence were held up to constant ridicule, as if amusement could only be obtained by obliterating the moral feelings. Dryden ascribes the licentiousness of the stage to the example of the king. Part, however, must be assigned to the e:rlier comedies of Beaumont and Fletcher, and part to the ascetic puritanism and denial of all public amusements during the time of the Commonwealth. If the Puritans had contented themselves with regulating and purifying the theatres, they would have conferred a benefit on the nation; but, by shutting them up entirely, and denouncing all public recreations, they provoked a counteraction in the taste and manners of the people. The over-austerity of one period led naturally to the shameless degeneracy of the succeeding period; and deeply is it to be deplored that the great talents of Dryden were the most instrumental in extending and prolonging this deprayation of the national taste.

The operas and comedies of Sir William Davenant were the first. pieces brought out on the stage after the Restoration. He wrote twenty-five in all; but, notwithstanding the partial revival of the old dramatists, none of Davenant's productions continue to be read. * His last work,' says Southey, 'was his worst; it was an alteration of the Tempest,' executed in conjunction with Dryden; and marvellous indeed it is that two men of such great and indubitable genius should have combined to debase, and vulgarise, and pollute such a poem as the “ Tempest.' The marvel is enhanced when we consider that Dryden writes of their joint labour with evident complacency, at the same time that his prologue to the adapted play contains the following just and beautiful character of his great predecessor:

As when a tree 's cut down, the secret root
Lives under ground, and thence new branches shoot;
So from old Shakspeare's honoured dust, this day
Springs up and buds a new reviving play.
Shakspeare, who, taught by none, did first impart
To Fletcher wit; to libouring Jouson art;
He, monarch-like, gave these his subjects law,
And is that nature which they paint and draw.
Fletcher reached that which on his heights did grow,
Whilst Jonson crept and gathered all below.
This did his love, and this his mirth digest;

One imitates him most, the other best.
If they have since outwrit all other men,
'Tis with the drops which fell from Shakspeare's per.
The storm which vanished on the neighbouring shore,
Was taught by Shakspeare's • Tempest' first to roar.
That innocence and beauty which did smile
In Fletcher, grew on this Enchanted Isle.
But Shakspeare's magic could not copied be;

Within that circle none durst walk but he. Dryden was in the full tide of his theatrical popularity when Davenant died, in 1668. The great poet commenced writing for the stage in 1662–3, when he produced his · Wild Gallant,' which was followed next year by the ‘Rival Ladies,' the serious parts of which are in rhyme. He then joined Sir Robert Howard in composing the ‘Indian Queen,' a rlıyming heroic play, brought out in 1663-4 with a splendour never before seen in England upon a public stage. A continuation of this piece was shortly afterwards written by Dryden, entitled the ‘Indian Emperor,' and both were received with great applause. All the defects of his style, and many of the choicest specimens of his smooth and easy versification, are to be found in these inflated tragedies. In 1666-7 was represented his Maiden Queen,' a tragi-comedy; and shortly afterwards the Tempest.' These were followed by two comedies copied from the French of Molière and Corneille; by the Royal Martyr,' another furious tragedy, and by his Conquest of Granada,' in two parts (1672), in which he concentrated the wild maguificence, incongruous splendour, and absurd fable that run through all his heroic plays, mixed up witla occasional gleams of true genius. The extravagance and unbounded popularity of the heroic drama, now at its height, prompted the Duke of Buckingham to compose a lively and amusing farce, in ridicule of Dryden and the prevailing taste of the public, which was produced in 1671, under the title of the 'Rehearsal.' The success of the Rehearsal' was unbounded; "the very popularity of the plåys ridiculed, aiding,' as Sir Walter Scott has remarked, the effect of the sutire, since everybody had in their recollection the originals of the passages parodied. The 'Rehearsal' is a clever travesty, and it was well timed. A fatal blow was struck at the rhyming plays, and at the rant and fustian to which they gave birth. Dryden now resorted to comedy, and produced Marriage á-la-Mode' and the ‘Assignation.' In 1973, he constructed a dramatic poem, the 'State of Innocence, or the Fall of Man,' out of the great epic of Milion, clestroying, of course, nearly all that is sublime, simple, and pure in the original. His next play, 'Aurengzebe? (1675), was also "heroic, stilted, and unnatural; but this was the last great literary sin of Dryden. He was now engaged in his immortal satires and fables, and he abandoned henceforward the false and glittering taste which bad so long deluded him. His ‘All for Love' and “Troilus and Cressida' are able adaptations from Shakspeare in blank verse. The 'Spanisli Friar' is a good comedy, remarkable for its happy union of two

plots, and its delineation of comic character. His principal remaining plays are ‘Don Sebastian' (1690), “ Amphitryon' (1690), 'Cleomenes' (1692), and ‘Love Triumphant' (1694). "Don Sebastian' is This highest effort in dramatic composition, and though deformed, like all his other plays, by scenes of spurious and licentious comedy, it contains passages that approach closely to Shakspeare. The quarrel and reconciliation of Sebastian and Dorax is a masterly copy from the similar scene between Brutus and Cassius. In the altercation between Ventidius and Antony, in ‘All for Love,' he has also challenged comparison with the great poet, and seems to have been inspired to new vigour by the competition. This latter triumph in the genius of Dryden was completed by his 'Ode to St. Cecilia,' and the ‘Fables, published togeiher in the spring of 1700, a few weeks before his death-thus realising a saying of his own Sebastian:

A setting sun Should leave a track of glory in the skies. Dryden's plays have fallen completely into oblivion. He could reason powerfully in verse, and had the command of rich stores of language, information and imagery. Strong energetic characters and passions he could portray with considerable success, but he had not art or judgment to construct an interesting or consistent drama, or to preserve himself from extravagance and absurdity. The female character and softer passions seem to have been entirely beyond his reach. His love is always licentiousness—his tenderness a mere trick of the stage. Like Voltaire, he probably never drew a tear from reader or spectator. His merit consists in a sort of Eastern magnificence of style, and in the richness of his versification. The bowl and dagger-glory, ambition, lust, and crime-are the staple materials of his tragedy, and lead occasionally 10 poetical grandeur and brilliancy of fancy. His comedy is, with scarce an exception, false to nature, improbable and ill-arranged, and offensive equally to taste and morality.

Before presenting a scene from Dryden, we shall string together a few of those similes or detached sentiments which relieve thie great mass of his turgid dramatic verse:

Love is that madness which all lovers have;
But yet 'tis sweet and pleasing so to rave.
'Tis an enchantment, where the reason's bound;
But Paradise is in th' enchanted ground.
A palace void of envy, cares, and strife;
Where gentle hours delude so much of life.
To take those charms away, and set me free,
Is but to send me into misery.
And pradence, of whose care so much you boast,
Restores those pains which that sweet folly lost.

Conquest of Granada, Part II.
As some fair tulip, by a storm oppressed,
Shrinkis up, and folds itý silken arms to rest;

And bending to the blast, all pale and dead,
Hears from within the wind sing round its head;
So, shrouded up, your beauty disappears.
Unveil, my love, and lay aside your fears ;
The storm that caused your fright is past and done. Ibid, Part I.
That friendship which from withered love doth shoot,
Like the faint herbage on a rock, wants root;
Love is a tender amity, refined :
Grafted on friendship, it exalts the mind;
But when the graff no longer does remain,
The dull stock lives, but never bears again.

Ibid, Part II.
So Venus moves, when to the Thunderer,
In smiles or tears, she would some suit prefer.
When, with her cestus girt,
And drawn by doves, she cuts the liquid skies,
To every eye a goddess is confest;
By all the heavenly nations she is blest,
And each with secret joy admits her to his breast. Ibid, Part I.
Love various minds does variously aspire :
He stirs in gentle natures gentle fire,
Like that of incense on the altars laid ;
But raging flames tempestuous souls invade.
A fire which every windy passion blows;
With pride it mounts, and with revenge it glows.

Tyrannic Love Savage Freedom. No man has more contempt than I of breath : But whence hast thou the right to give me death ? I am as free as Nature first inade man, Ere the base laws of servitude began, When wild in woods the noble savage ran.

Conquest of Granada, Part I Love and Beauty. A change so swift what heart did ever feel ! It rushed upon me like a mighty stream, And bore me in a moment far from shore. I've loved away myself; in one short hour Already am I gone an age of passion. Wus it his youib, his valour, or success ? These might, perhaps, be found in other men. 'Twas that respect, that awful homag: paid me; That fearful love which trembled in his eyes, And with a silent earthquake shook his soul. But when he spoke, what tender words he said ! So softly, that like flakes of feathered show, They melted as they fell.

Spanish Friar. Meinight Repose. All things are hushed, as Nature's self lay dead; The mountains seem to nod their drowsy head, The little birds in dreams their songs repeat, Aud sleeping flowers beneath the night-dew sweat; Even lust and envy sleep, yet love denies Rest to my soul and slumber to my eyes. Three days I promised to attend my doom, And two long days and nights are yet to come; Tis sure the noise of a tumultuous fight; [Noise within. They break the truce, and sally out by night. Indian Emperet.

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Wordsworth has remarked that the above lines on midnight, once highly celebrated, are ‘vague, bombastic, and senseless." Their cların consists in their melody.

What precious drops are those
Which silently each other's track pursue,
Bright as young diamonds in their infant dew!

Conquest of Granada, Part II,

Men are but children of a larger growth;
Our appetites as apt to change as theirs,
And full as craving too, and full as vain;
And yet the soul sout up iu her dark room,
Viewing so clear abroad, at home sees nothing;
But, like a mole iu earth, busy and blind,.
Works all her folly up, and casts it outward
To the world's open view.

All for Love,
Man is but man; unconstant still, and various ;
There's no to-morrow in him like to-day.
Perhaps the atoms rolling in his brain
Make him think honestly this present hour;.
The next, a swarm of base ungrateful thoughts
May mount aloft; and where's our Egypt then?
Who would trust chance ? since all inen have the seeds
Of good and ill, which should work upward first. Cleomenas,

Picture of Life.
When I consider life, 'tis all a cheat; .
Yet, fooled with hope, men favour the deceit,
Trust on, and think to-morrow will repay.
To-morrow's falser than the former day;
Lies worse ; and while it says, “We shall be blest
With some new joys, cuts off what we possessed.
Strange cozenage! None would live past years again,
Yet ail hope pleasure in what yet remain;
And from the dregs of life think to receive
What the first sprightly running could not give.
I'm tired of waiting for this chemic gold,
Which fools us young, and beggars us when old.
-"Tis not for nothing that we life pursue;.
It pays our hopes with something still that's new:
Each day's a mistress unenjoyed before;
Like travellers, we're pleased with seeing more.
Did you but know what joys your way attend,
You would not hurry to your journey's eyd. Aurengzebe.

Fear of Deaih.

BERENICE. Now death draws near, a strange perplexity
Creeps coldiy on me, like a fear to die;
Courage uncertain dapgers may abate,
But who can bear the approach of certain fate ?

ST. CATHERINE. The wisest and the best some fear may show,
And wish to stay, though they resolve to go.

BER. As some faint pilgrim, standing on the shore,
First views the torrent he would venture o'er,
And then his inu upon the farther ground,

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