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it in every possible variety. This governing idea, so omnipresent in his thoughts, was Protestantism. But Protestantism, in Sachs, was not a frozen formalism, nor a dull affectation; no!--but it was the spirit of the dignity of man's nature, that, illuminated by revelation, made war against the abuses of the priesthood, the domination of the Popes, and the corruption of the clergy and, spurning the fetters imposed upon the human intellect, discovered to his fellow-countrymen the true path to salvation. Secondary to this idea, but inseparable from it, was his impression that a politico-moral regeneration awaited his native country. In this, all the works of Hans Sachs-whether from the double allegory employed in them, at once religious and political, or the undisguised frankness with which he attacks the vices of the priests, and of his contemporaries, without distinction of sect; or whether we consider the novelty of his expressions, and the originality of his inventions assimilate remarkably with the writings of Dante Alighieri. Of all the German poets, not even Goethe excepted, he is the only one who has truly comprehended the genius of his country's poetry, and preserved it pure, without encumbering it with foreign forms. And it is quite inconceivable how Frederick Schlegel, in his hypercatholic zeal, could have been transported to such a pitch, as to affirm of Sachs, that he was an artisan even in poetry.
Hans Sachs is the inventor of German tragedy and comedy. In tragedy, his subjects are all taken either from the ancient Nordic legends, or the mythology of the Round Table; and sometimes, but rarely, from the sacred writings. With a concise and clear prologue, he transports the audience at once into the middle of the action, which, without any artificial intricacies, is continued through five, or seven very short acts. His comedies, entitled Schwänke, consist but of a single act, and are lively and satirical pictures of the corruption of his times : It must be confessed, that sometimes his colouring is a little high, and his words grate harshly upon the delicate ears of a modern audience; for such is the morbid sensibility at which we have arrived, that the most nefarious atrocities must have the demulceat of a pious phraseology. But Luther, Hutten, and Sachs, did not think in this canting manner; and with frank and round expressions, called things by their proper names. Aristophanes himself, who lived in the most polished city of the world, was by no means so delicate in his choice of terms; and Dante, in his Inferno, rebukes the vices of popes and kings, and Pisans and Florentines, in language of no studied sweetness. tainly, Sachs did not give the last perfection to German dramatic poetry, but in this he only resembled schylus: and if
poets of different ages and countries may have some points of comparison in common, it may be said, that, as Sophocles improved into harmony and standard elegance the invented tragedy of schylus, so Goethe, in his Faust, imparted to the drama of our poet the last polish of which it was susceptible. All the remainder of Goethe's pieces are but so many expe riments, to transplant into the German soil the dramatic forms either of the English, or the ancients. Nor was Goethe, on this subject, ungrateful towards the inventor of the German drama: for, in the Poetic Mission of Hans Sachs, he has given him his proper praise, and keenly vituperates those who refuse to acknowledge him for a master.
"In Froschpfuhl all' das Volk verbannt,
The only defect which can at all be imputed to Sachs, is an occasional prolixity of moral diatribe. But this prolixity ought rather to be imputed to the nation, and to the times in which he lived, than to the poet. Goethe himself, who is the most classical and finished of his country's poets, is any thing but free from such a censure. And who does not discover this vice in the Don Carlos and Wallenstein of Schiller, and in the eternal exclamations of Klopstock, much more abundantly than in Hans Sachs! Surely not for a defect like this, ought we to disparage the poet of the people, the child of genius, and of nature!
ART. IX.-Argalus and Parthenia; as it hath been acted at the Court before their Majesties, and at the Private House in Drury Lane, by their Majesties' Servants. By Henry Glapthorne. 4to. London, 1639.
The Tragedy of Albertus Wallenstein, late Duke of Fridland, and General to the Emperor Ferdinand the Second. Written by Henry Glapthorne.
⚫ Cedant carminibus reges regumque triumphi.
The scene Egers; and acted with good allowance at the Globe, on the Bankside, by his Majesties' Servants. 4to. London, 1600. The Hollander, a Comedy; written 1635. The author, Henry Glapthorne; and now printed as it was then acted at the Cock
pit, in Drury Lane, by their Majesties' Servants, with good allowance; and at the Court, before both their Majesties. 4to. London, 1640.
Wit in a Constable, a Comedy; written in 1639. The author, Henry Glapthorne; and now printed as it was lately acted at the Cockpit, in Drury Lane, by their Majesties' Servants, with good allowance. 4to. London, 1640.
The Ladies' Privilege; as it was acted, with good allowance, at the Cockpit, in Drury Lane, and before their Majesties at Whitehall, twice, by their Majesties' Servants. The author, Henry Glapthorpe.
Militat omnis amans, et habet sua castra Cupido. 4to. London, 1640.
Henry Glapthorne is one of the least known of our neglected dramatists, one of the obscurest of an obscure class. Although the author of nine plays, which were received with approbation, or, as the phrase was, with good allowance, in his own time, (the reign of Charles I.) and a writer of no inconsiderable merit, he has not since been honoured with the slightest attention from the admirers of this species of literature. Dods ley's collection does not contain one of Glapthorne's plays, although it includes many far inferior to them; not a quotation from him appears in Lamb's Dramatic Specimens ; not a line in Campbell's Specimens of English Poets. We perceive, however, that two of his plays are announced for publication in the Old English Drama, a circumstance which has reminded us of a former intention of devoting a few pages to the investigation of his dramatic character, and has induced us now to afford him this tardy justice. Winstanley mentions him as "one of the chiefest dramatic poets of that age;" a judgment from which Langbaine, with his usual jealousy and contempt of his rival biographer, appeals, but, at the same time," presumes, that his plays passed with good approbation at the Globe and Cockpit Playhouses" and the authors of the Biographia Dramatica allow him to have been a good writer, adding, however, that his plays are now entirely laid aside. For this total forgetfulness into which Glapthorne's plays have fallen, their extreme rarity will, in some measure, although not wholly, account. may also be partly owing to his not having attained the highest form in the dramatic art, and partly to that chance and change to which all things are liable. The biography of the author has experienced a similar fate to that of his plays, and we are consequently unable to supply any particulars of it. With respect to his character as an author, the opinion expressed in the
Biographia Dramatica is more correct than that of Winstanley. Glapthorne is certainly a better writer than a dramatist, more eloquent than impassioned, more poetical than pathetic, infinitely better qualified to describe than to feel, and to describe outward and visible things, than
"To paint the finest features of the mind;
To define and give a shape to the shades of feeling; which pass through the heart, with the rapidity of the varying lights and shadows which flit across the meadows on a half sunny, half cloudy day; to circumscribe the boundaries of passion, to take measure of the heart, to pourtray the strength and beauty of the sanctuary," as well as its weakness and deformity; and to shew how fearfully and wonderfully it is made, is, indeed, a hard task. It requires qualities of mind very different from those necessary to produce an agreeable description of the beauties or peculiarities of natural scenery, of the eccentricities of human manners, or the singularities of worldly fashions. The one requires but an ordinary power of observation joined with a little fancy-the other a plastic imagination, acute sensibility and nice observation, a mind which can disclose the secret chambers of the soul, and the strange things which are there conceived, as Asmodeus unroofed the city of Madrid, and pointed out to his astonished companion the pleasures and miseries of its inhabitants.
Glapthorne belongs to an inferior order of genius: not being able to lay open the springs of passion, he covers them with flowers, in order that, as he cannot gratify us with their refreshing waters, he may, at least, hide their existence. The consequence is, that, in those situations in which we are prepared for our sympathies being called into exercise, we find poetry instead of pathos, and elaborate speeches instead of passion. Almost every thing is good, well said, eloquent, poetical; but in such a profusion of rhetorical flourishes, poeti-cal images and dazzling metaphors, it is not possible that every thing should be in its proper place. Indeed, it must be admitted, that his imagery is not always appropriate, and is frequently but ill calculated to bear the test of logic. In exuberance of ornament, he resembles George Peele, although he does not possess same richness of colouring, nor the same stately harmony of diction: in redundancy of similes he approaches the exquisite John Lilly, although he does not carry his fondness for them to quite so extravagant a length; nor are his compositions distinguished by such a laborious polish and mi
nute accuracy; nor do they contain the same quantity of learned allusion as those of the witty Euphuist. The excessive imagery in which Glapthorne indulges, completely spoils the dramatic effect of his plays; but, although he frequently sacrifices truth and nature to the utterance of a pretty speech, or the garnish of a well expressed similitude, there are passages to which this censure does not apply, passages of great poetical beauty, written with vigour of thought, and fervour of imagination. The justice of this praise will be seen by the extracts we shall make, particularly from Albertus Wallenstein and the Lady's Privilege.
Albertus Wallenstein, the first in order of publication, and, probably, the first which Glapthorne wrote, was originally printed in 1634. This play, which is upon the whole a good one, is founded upon the revolt of that commander from the Emperor Ferdinand the Second. The chief interest, however, centers in the subsidiary story of Albert, the general's son, and Isabella, one of his wife's attendants. This part forms a sweet piece of dramatic history, and is written with great beauty both of sentiment and diction: the characters of the two lovers are full of nobleness; that of Isabella is a fine specimen of feminine perfection. The whole of this little history we shall quote. Albert is urging his suit to Isabella.
"Alb. Why, cruel fair one, should you
Isa. My noble lord!
Alb. Stay; you must not speak it: