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you haue twenty examples of the Spaniards how they got the West Indies, and forced the trecherous and rebellious Infidels to doe all manner of drudgery worke and slauery for them, themselues liuing like Souldiers vpon the fruits of their labours.' A short account is given of his voyage to New England, and survey of its coast, and with these the account of his life ends. The materials for his biography, after this period, are extremely scanty. He died in London about 1625 or '27. The book concludes with a memoir on the New England fisheries, the importance of which Smith eloquently sets forth. "Therefore honourable and worthy Countrymen, let not the meannesse of the word fish distaste you, for it will afford as good gold as the Mines of Guiana or Potassie with lesse hazard and charge and more certainty and facility.'
We have pursued Smith's personal adventures to the exclusion of the very interesting anecdotes of the settlement of Virginia, New England, and the Bermudas, with which they are interwoven. This book in its present form is extremely valuable, and does credit to the enterprise of the Franklin Press. The long title page, which we have copied at the head of this article, will afford a view of the contents of these documents, fully supported by the tracts themselves. This being the first reprint of Smith's memoirs, we have been led to make them the foundation of this article, though perhaps on the whole less novel, than the passages' in the general history of the adventurers.
ART. XIX.-Das Goldene Vliess, Dramatisches Gedicht in drey Abtheilungen, von Franz Grillparzer. Wien, 1822, 8vo. The Golden Fleece. A dramatic poem in three parts. By Francis Grillparzer.
IT has been fashionable for several years in England to hold up its old drama as the boast and despair of its literature; to show how the efforts of its earliest and best writers were put forth in this department, and to complain, that those efforts have never since been rivalled. The dramatic art has come, in fact, to be considered as almost a lost art; and the reasons are discussed very seriously why no English authors of the present day can write tragedies as well as they were written
two centuries and a half ago. Perhaps this admiration of the ancient times is rather excessive, and men of taste have become worshippers too easily at those original fountains of the national poetry. At least we are inclined to think so, except when we remember Shakspeare, and he stands in every respect alone. When there appears another genius like his in any part of the great field of literary invention, it will be soon enough to take shame for the comparative meagreness and poverty of modern pieces for the theatre. It is indeed a remarkable circumstance in the history of polite letters in Great Britain, that the stage was once the chief centre of attraction for the poetical talents of the finest writers, and became afterwards a province, either given up to inferior minds or attempted by the most powerful without success. A great exertion seems to be making now to retrieve this dishonor, and to carry the effect of dramatic description to its former difficult eminence. It remains to be seen whether this exertion will be prospered; and whether we are not yet to have plays that shall be splendid offsets to the extravagances of Thomson and Young, that shall comfort us for Cato, which is good only in the closet, and for Irene, which is too heavy even for that, and even make us forget such beautiful failures as Marino Faliero and Sardanapalus. The highest rank attained of late years in this kind of composition must be assigned to Miss Baillie, who has done much towards effacing the old reproach; but her tragedies, though full of spirit and possessing a strong scenical interest, would not be found very manageable at the theatre, and certainly an aptness to public exhibition is an important consideration in the plan of every dramatic work.
We find a very different state of things, on turning to the Germans. Their whole literature is new, and their drama, which forms an honorable part of it, began with Lessing in the middle of the last century. He was followed by Schiller and Goethe, whose merits are amongst us but little understood. Schiller is known to mere English readers only by his prose; and they for the most part judge of him by poor translations of those works of his youth, The Robbers, Fiesco, and Intrigue and Love ;-while such pieces as his Mary Stuart and The Maid of Orleans remain shut up in their own glowing verses. Goethe, whose genius is the pride of Germany, has been introduced to but few of our readers, except in the coarse
sketches and dull bustle of Goetz of Berlichingen, and in some fragments of Faust, translated in the most inadequate manner by Madame de Stael :-inadequate, indeed, it had of necessity to be; for how could the close, nervous lines of the German bard be represented by the diffuse weakness of French periods in prose? But something a little more faithful we had a right to expect. The names of Werner, Kotzebue, Gerstenberg, and Klinger come next on the list, and though of celebrity among their countrymen, would probably obtain little praise among us, even though they were presented in the most accurate and graceful translations. The language which they employed was that of conversation and not of poetry; and this unfortunate respect was the only one in which they could be called natural. With them and their imitators must be chronicled the reign of false taste and a turgid style, and Kotzebue stands as a comforting exception among them to the prevailing love of the revolting and horrible.-Other writers, however, have arisen of a different stamp, faithful to the dignity of the drama, to its approved rules and noblest models. Among the poets of this redeeming character, Collin of Vienna takes high place, whose taste is continually doing homage to the chaste and holy forms of classical antiquity, while he joins to that reverence the fervor of his own free imagination. There seems every reason to believe, that the Germans are destined to produce most finished specimens of dramatic poetry. Their attention is much given to this branch of the art, and competitors for distinction in it abound. They are idolaters of Shakspeare, and at the same time deep students of the Greeks. They have gained as eminent a name in Europe for their invention and fancy, as for the depth of their literary and scientific researches; and their rich, powerful language has a flexibility with it, that fits it for the most delicate purposes, and makes it equal to the most difficult achievements. With all these advantages, and all this promise, there may reasonably be expected no common degrees of excellence.
From the work before us, we cannot hesitate to place Mr Grillparzer in that honorable company of authors, which we last mentioned. It is written in irregular verse with great freedom and spirit-full of action, though the leading incidents, which form its materials are so few-and full of the deepest interest, though these incidents are so familiar to us.
New Series, No. 14.
story is of the wildest and most revolting kind; yet it is so managed, as never to disgust us, and scarcely to seem improbable. The characters are so true to nature, that every thing else seems natural. Each is consistent throughout, though continually disclosing something new, and thus we are presented with faithful and striking pictures of the developments and changes of human feelings. The Medea particularly is conceived and sketched in the happiest manner, and we remember no heroine, who better deserves or would more closely tax the powers of the Siddonses and O'Neils. It is like coming from a hall, where some solemn pageant has been exhibited, into the open air and the community of the wide world's fortunes and passions, to rise from the stately declamation of Corneille's Medée, and then give ourselves up to the emotions of the scene in hearing Grillparzer's wild maid of Colchis.' The public will have to decide whether Madame de Stael was not too hasty in pronouncing that Greek subjects are exhausted. She does not allow that any one but Le Mercier has been able to reap new glory from an ancient theme,’though the manner in which she speaks of Goethe's Iphigenia in Tauris may not easily be reconciled with such an exclusive decision. At any rate we are not willing to believe, after the experiment now on our table, that there will not be other poets to divide success with Le Mercier.
We mean to give our readers a description, at some length, of this book, not fearing that it will be found tedious. It is called a dramatic poem; but we must not be misled by this title to imagine, that it is like those which Mr Milman is fond of composing, with very finished descriptions and very beautiful lyrics, and a great deal of gorgeous poetry, but without any skilful plan, and dramatic in scarcely any thing but being conducted in the form of dialogue. It consists of two regular tragedies, one in four and the other in five acts, which are preceded by an introduction in one act, itself a tragedy. This introduction is called The Guest. It places us in Colchis, and sets before us at once the princess Medea in the character of a proud and wayward, but beautiful huntress, who, surrounded by her maidens, is preparing to offer up in sacrifice a deer, which she has just killed. By the sea-shore stands the altar, and on it a colossal figure with a golden fleece thrown over its shoulders, representing the paternal god of the king. The
manners of Medea show themselves to be sufficiently rude and imperious; her conversation with her father Eetes is none of the most dutiful; and she banishes for ever from her presence Peritta, one of her maidens, for having preferred home and a lover to the forest and the chase. In vain the poor girl endeavors to explain, that it was not of her own will; she is interrupted by the following rebuke:
O hear now!
She would not and she did! Go, thou speak'st folly.
And look down on thy meanness and despise thee.
There is now an alarm, that armed strangers are just landing on the coast, having great treasures with them. Eetes, afraid of their weapons, and wishing to possess himself of their wealth, apprizes his refractory daughter of their coming, and prevails on her by coaxing and threats to prepare a sleeping potion for them, according to the magical arts, which she had learned from her mother. Warlike music is now heard, and a messenger approaches:
The chief, my lord, of the coming strangers
What will he have? My diadem? My life?
I still have heart, I still have strength,
The blood rolls still within my veins,
To barter death for death.