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Expires to day. His houses, lands, himself-
Then for a sterner and a stricter audit
Severe and equal justice with Lord Beaufort."
This nobleman has (like his father before him) two children-the son, Edward-wild, libertine, and unprincipled-loves Scroope's niece for her gold-the daughter, Isabel, loves secretly a certain page of her father's, Richard Fitzalan, who is Edward's successful rival for the affections of Mariana. Edward, disappointed and enraged at Mariana's refusal of his suit, resolves to carry her from home; and in the Third Act we are made witness of a tavern scene, in that old Alsatia which "The Fortunes of Nigel" has lately so vividly revived. Edward bribes the revellers he there meets, with the monies he has borrowed from Scroope himself, to carry off to these agreeable retreats of love the unfortunate lady. Thence our profligate, repairing to a chamber at Lord Beaufort's, meets Richard and a quaint old coxcomb, their common tutor, one Parallel. This latter gentleman, desirous of marrying a rich wife, has already been the occasion of an exceedingly comic scene, in which, making love to Mariana, he slanders Richard and Edward unconsciously in the hearing of both. Now there is a buxom widow in love with Richard, and Edward, in the interview we are alluding to, merrily proposes that Richard should write some anonymous lines in reply to "a loving letter" she sent him that morning"Requesting her attendance: she would swear
The hand was yours (Richard's), and Master Parallel
And win a rich wife.'
Richard unsuspiciously falls into the snare-writes some anonymous verses-Edward takes possession of the verses, and employs them to lure away Mariana. This hacknied and very inartificial contrivance is the greatest defect in the play, and we are quite sure that a little exertion of the author's inventive faculties would have struck out something more novel and more natural. It is strange that in many fictions, the greatest fault is often that which it seems the least pains might have avoided. The next scene is one between Lord Beaufort and Scroope the former not knowing who and what man was his creditor. The recognition takes place :
"Lord Beaufort. And am I in your power?
Scroope. Ay: for years
I've worm'd myself, by fine degrees, to the heart
Of your once proud fortunes: I have thrown the means
Unhealthy branches of expenditure,
I still supplied the sap: but there I dwelt,
Near to the core, eating and eating still
The strength of the trunk away, till my slow patience
Lord Beaufort. Fool! that I knew you not.
These five years you have lived here.
Scroope. Ay! I came
To keep a steward's eye o'er my estate,
And watch its heedless tenants. Now you know me
Out of your own mouth, with a stern denial?
Such as the Arab of the desert owns
When e'en an enemy of his faith craves shelter,
You have not broke between us? Now, what ask you?
To spare you; but for her sake, whom you kill'd,
Before whose tyranny my fervent youth
Fainted: they shall be happy. It shall not,
As it hath done from mine, wrench out deep torture!
Of their heart's life. No, they shall spurn the world
That cheers its valiant hunters on the hare
And throws a shield before the lordly lion;
That vile, that parasite world, that knows not merit,
very charters of monopoly
In all its paltry ventures. They, at least,
Shall not become its victims. He is here."
In this Act, Scroope, who approves of Richard's love for Mariana, tells that history with which we commenced our epitome of the Play. Mariana is lost-Richard's verses, found on the table, announce the cause-Richard, in agony and despair, perceives the snare he has fallen into, and explains it to Scroope-Then hearing that a Beaufort a second time has wronged him the generous revenge the Merchant had hitherto purposed, is exchanged for the more dark and writhing order of the passion which rage excites:
"Scroope. Call me officers!
Bring forth those bonds and papers! I'm their master!
Send thou to Flint, the lawyer: if to-night
They lie not in the prison-which, I pray,
"I'll seek her at Lord Beaufort's; if she's lost,
Have, too, their festivals: and mine shall be
To scorch up all around. Oh, my poor child!"
We now return to Mariana in a miserable and squalid lodging in Alsatia; and with an unavailing struggle by Flaw, a good-natured, half-witted royster (who has been newly seduced by the Alsatians) to rescue her, the Fourth Act ends.
The Fifth Act brings about a duel between Richard and Edward, in which the former is wounded; and to this succeeds an interview between Lord Beaufort and Scroope, executed with great power. Edward is brought in, guarded by two officers-and amidst the threats, and wrath, and execration of Scroope, Lord Beaufort, desiring to
Awake one chord
Of mercy in his breast,"
announces that Richard is his son that his wife had become a mother in the convent-that he had received the child, but—
Bade me first keep it secret; and this day,
In the same pride, I hoped I might repay
While Scroope is yet amazed with the news, Mariana is restoredpartly by the assistance of Flaw, partly by that of Isabel, who, suspecting Edward's treachery, had in her generous love for Richard resolved to defeat it. Edward, part in shame, part in pride, quits the scene, with a vague hint that
"If you again should hear of Edward Beaufort,
It may be that he has perish'd, or done that
And the play ends as all romance ends with a marriage.
The greatest merit in this play, which abounds in a thousand beauties, is the character of Scroope: his thoughtful, musing temper -his bitterness at the inequalities of the world-his scorn for the wealth he has raised-his fierce passions crossing and passing over his high soul, to leave it bright and unstained at the last, are all conceived with the knowledge of a master, and adorned with the genius of a poet.
We have now performed our task-stepping for a while from the angry stage of real life to that gay and pleasant world in which crimes and follies last but a fleeting hour-where we glean the record of the passions without sharing in their ruin, and gain experience of the heart without the sorrows or the languor that experience produces. Beautiful delusion! how much do we owe to you of hope in our earlier, and of memory in our later life! Our youth sees in you the romance that is to come-our age the bright realities that have past! Never shall arrive that time when the Stage shall be without its spells and the Actor without his honours-when the staff of Prospero shall indeed be broken, and—
"Deeper than did ever plummet sound,
FIESCO. A TRAGEDY.
Translated from the German of Schiller.*
We have just reviewed our recent English Dramas-we have now to thank a very accomplished and distinguished soldier, Colonel D'Aguilar, for presenting to us a spirited and valuable translation of one of the finest Tragedies which Germany, or we might say, which the World ever produced. It is one which we should like to see brought on the English stage, and which we are convinced would go far towards reviving a taste for the loftiest triumphs of the dramatic art. Every one knows the celebrated work of the Cardinal de Retz, entitled "La Conjuration du Comte Jean Louis de Fiesque," and the animated and stirring description given by Robertson in his " Charles the Fifth" of the conspiracy of that daring and wily noble. From this History, eminently fitted for tragic effect, Schiller has woven the great work now before us.
The first scene opens with a saloon in Fiesco's palace, and music heard at a distance-Leonora (Fiesco's wife) enters. Genoa, at that time governed by Andreas Doria, the Doge, was insulted and galled by the arrogant and frantic excesses of his nephew Gianettino; and Leonora had hoped that for her powerful and popular husband was reserved the privilege of freeing Genoa from its tyranny. She now bewails Fiesco's licentiousness, his appetite for pleasure, his forgetfulness of glory, and his love for Julia, Gianettino's insolent and wanton sister. With these complaints, however, she mingles the fondest and most regretful affection for her husband, and indeed the proud softness of her character sheds over the dark and turbid scenes which ensue, an unwavering and tranquil beauty. The bustle of the Play begins at once. In the next scene Gianettino engages a bravo-Moor to assassinate Fiesco, of whose power in the State he is jealous. Fiesco is shortly afterwards presented to us as the gallant and graceful lover of Julia-the profligate and heartless character of this woman unveils itself from the first, and we form a deep compassion for the deserted Leonora, and a wondering anger at Fiesco's infidelity. Verrina, a stern Republican-Brutus to the coreupbraids him with his indifference to liberty-with his epicurean disdain of the sentiments his youth had so burningly professed. Fiesco defends himself laughingly, and the old man quits him in indignant despair. A former and rejected lover of Leonora now seeks Fiesco and endeavours to provoke a quarrel with him for his conduct to that lady. It is now that Fiesco drops a hint that rouses all our interest -that interest which is of the highest and sublimest order in fiction -not derived only from the mere progress of external events, but our desire to penetrate into the workings of the mind-the springs of that conduct which is to guide events.
Bourgonino. Think you I would have yielded up my claim
Then hear me for a moment-
Dublin. Milliken and Son.
The plans of great men must be deeper laid
Go home, good Bourgonino, and there reflect maturely,
(Bourgonino moves slowly and pensively off the stage.)
Fire our country-no power can save the Dorias
From destruction !"
Fiesco, now left alone, is approached by the Moor hired to assassinate him. Fiesco's vigilance and suspicion defeat the design, and he extorts from the bravo the name of his employer, and the price of the sum set on his head.
Fiesco, struck by the spirit and rude wit of the Moor, takes him into his own employ, and hires him "to make the tour of Genoa, and sound the disposition of the people-to discover above all things what they think of Doria, and how they stand affected to his govern-not forgetting what is whispered of Fieso's own extravagance and dissipation.'
The next scene is one of dark and terrible power. The proud and austere Verrina has an only daughter-Bertha. She is discovered leaning back on a sofa-her head resting on her hand. Verrina enters in gloomy reverie. Bertha has that day been violated by force the violater Gianettino Doria! The exquisite-the touching -the reluctant-modest, yet despairing manner in which this confession is wrung from the daughter-the shock of the stern father— his rage his indecision-the resolve now to slay the dishonoured child-now to crush the ravisher-are all painted with a dignity so fearful-so solemnly true to nature-that we should rank the whole scene among the grandest achievements of human genius. Nothing can be conceived finer than the severe grandeur with which, attesting the unsullied honour of his race-he reveals to two fellow-conspirators, in the presence of Bertha, the gloomy secret of his dishonour. At this moment, to complete the pain of the scene, Bourgonino, who had consoled himself for the loss of Leonora by the affection of Bertha, rushes in to announce that the only obstacle to their marriage-to his confessing his passion to the father-is removed that his wealth, before uncertain, is now fixed and great. "Give me your Bertha―
I will make her happy."
Verrina replies bitterly
"Have you a mind, young man,
To throw away your heart upon a harlot?"
Bourgonino soon comprehends that force only has sullied his Bertha, and furiously demands where he shall find the ravisher. "Verrina. There where you find the Tyrant!"
While Bourgonino stands motionless with horror, Verrina, approaching Bertha, slowly unwinds the black crape from his arm, and continues solemnly
""Till Doria's blood
Has wash'd away the stain that blots thine honour
No ray of light shall dawn upon thy cheek,
Or visit thy sad eyes. Till then
(Throwing the crape over her)
Be hid in darkness!"