Imágenes de páginas

expectations of obtaining a sight of one or two of these caged beauties, but the fair sisterbood "with souls from long seclusion pure," thought it wise to retire into another part of the convent—though I must confess I caught a saintly pair of eyes reconnoitring the Baron through a small iron-grating. The abbess, a lady d'un certain dge, had provided most comfortable accommodations for us, and I never did less penance during all my campaigns, than on the night I passed within the walls of this holy habitation. On the following day, our path lay entirely over the rugged and lofty ridges of the Pyrenees, through a road carved out of the solid rock. On commencing our descent we broke upon a glorious Pisgah-view of our land of promise. For three days after leaving the Pyrenees we made a circle round Pampeluna, which was at that time in the possession of the French and blockaded by Spanish troops, and on the evening of the third day we halted at the town of Puenta la Reyna. It was at this period the vintage time, and the " bacchanal profusion" of every thing around me reminded me of Sterne's accurate description of the mirth and hilarity which always accompany this season.

The Baron and I took a walk for the purpose of viewing the town. It was Sunday afternoon, and all the damsels in the neighbourhood were dancing in various groups to the sound of the tambourine, which was played by one of the party, the burthen of whose song, as far as I could comprehend it, always ran in favour of the Soldades Ingleses. The dance very nearly resembled the Scotch reel, when danced by four, with the addition of many fantastic flings : this is the regular bolero. At the doors of the wine-houses we saw the same dance performed by very different actors; a drunken muleteer playing on his guitar was stimulating the activity of his still more drunken companions. Occasionally, amongst the passengers, we observed a Padre, dressed in his canonical gown, and his long scrowl. brimmed hat, at whose appearance the joyous dances ceased, while every individual of the party made the usual obeisance, and many a fair finger touching a ripe pair of lips, demurely traced the sign of

the cross.

At this town the Baron's patron or host, at whose house he was billetted, was a certain worthy Padre, who, in addition to his clerical functions, was the keeper of a gambling-shop, a fact with which we became acquainted in the evening, by discovering him presiding at a table where they were playing a game which the Spaniards call Banco. It

appears that this same Padre, like many more of his cloth in Spain, was exceedingly kind to a young lady who resided with him, and who, we were given to understand, was the daughter of a deceased brother. These worthy men generally select the most comely of their destitute relations, whom they charitably admit to a participation in their domestic comforts. The Baron, ambitious of victory both in the field and with the fair, had been paying rather more attention to the Padre's relative than was agreeable to the austere notions of that grave ecclesiastic, though he had hitherto abstained from making any comment upon the conduct of the gallant officer ; an occurrence, however, arose, which gave vent to the Padre's resentment, and nearly withered the budding honours of my brave commander. I have already mentioned that we strolled into a gaming-house, where we found the Baron's clerical host acting the part of Banker. The Baron, like all Germans, played deep, and fortune favoured him. In the course of a couple of hours the bank was broken, and the Baron had sacked about four hundred dollars. All the company had left the room except the Baron and myself, and we had just gained the street, when I heard the Baron, who was a little behind me, yell out some most tremendous and unintelligible oath in German; I turned round, and saw the enraged Padre, with a stiletto in his hand, about to repeat the blow he had already given. We were both totally unarmed, but I immediately ran back and caught the Baron as he was falling, and endeavoured at the same time, though ineffectually, to lay hands on the assassin. One of our own men, and two Light Dragoon officers now made their appearance in the opposite direction, and having heard the cries, they were hastening towards us. I committed my wounded comrade to the hands of a Spaniard, and calling to my countrymen to follow me, I started in pursuit of the criminal. One of the Light Dragoons officers outstripped us all, and we saw him catch the Padre by the cloak, who most ingeniously slipped off that garment, and continued his course. We were all of us now nearly equally close on the heels of our game, who turned and twisted with all the skill of an old hare. He at last made his escape through a small iron gate, near a church, which closed after him, and effectually put an end to our pursuit. He did not escape entirely with impunity; for in the doubles and turns which he made, one of the light dragoon officers with a whip, our dragoon with his stick, and myself with the toe of my boot, which was fitted to inflict a pretty sharp wound, made him occasionally forget his clerical character, and indulge in some violent imprecations. But, on the whole, I fear this chastisement only furnished him with a more cogent argument not to slacken his speed.

Where shall Youth's bubbling spirit overflow,

Or whereon shed its tide of generous thought,
Of sympathy and hope, with which o'erfraught
The soul is sick of wishing, and below
Deeins that no change awaits it, save of woe?

Vain hope t expand its wings ! for soon 'tis taught,

That all its short-lived pleasure must be caught
In strife and struggle, and in the quick glow

Of passion, like the pelican, well-fed

From its own bosom, with its blood for bread,
Is there no feeling then, no name on Earth,

Apt to contain the ocean of man's will ?
Love! Honour! Friendship!-are they nothing worth ?

Nought—there's but Freedom, that it deigns to fill.



CATILINE; A TRAGEDY.* The above work has, for some time past, been looked for in the literary world, not without expectation and anxiety; and, in our own case, we must confess that this expectation has been answered by considerable disappointment. From the somewhat pompous carriage of Mr. Croly's muse—her measured step and dignified deportment-we had been led to believe that she would well become the tragic robe and cothurnus; and had hoped to see her “ go stately by," to take an approved and final station in that noble but neglected department of our national literature. But, judging from the evidence now before us, we fear this will not be. In fact, we liave here a work enriched with powerful and energetic, as well as sweet and graceful poetry; but it is the poetry of imagination, not of passion; it is engendered and deliberately given forth from the intellect; it does not spring eagerly and involuntarily from the heart: and this is to say, in other words, that it is not drumatic. We believe Mr. Croly to be gifted with great and valuable powers, of a certain kind. He possesses rich store of poetical thoughts and feelings, which have always at their command a gorgeous flow of language and imagery. These—directed by a general soundness of taste and judgment, such as we believe Mr. Croly to possess—may be made to produce very striking and impressive effects; but, alone, these effects cannot amount to high tragedy. They may worthily supply its outward form, and its ornamental attire, but unless Passion breathe into it a vital spirit, it must still remain but a splendid caput mortuum.

The subject of Catiline is well adapted to the purpose for which it has, in this instance, been chosen. It offers a unity of action and a depth of passionate interest, united to the great desideratum of historical truth. But it must be admitted that the author has not availed himself of these capabilities to the extent that the high drama demands. He has judiciously enough applied his best powers to the end he had in view; and if they have not enabled him to reach it, he may be well content to submit to his failure, when he reflects that he suffers it in common with every living writer who has made the same attempt. In fact, Tragedy sits on a height which cannot be climbed: it must be scaled with wings, if at all; and those wings must be the eagle's.

We proceed to regard the work before us more in detail, and to lay a few specimens of it before the reader, Its principal defect strikes us as being a want of coherence of purpose, and consequently a want of unity and consistency of effect. If we may borrow a mode of expression from a sister art, the characters are well drawn; but they are not well coloured, either as it regards themselves or each other. The tone of the language, and the flow and fall of the versification, are essentially of the same class, from whichever of the personages they proceed. This creates a languid monotony in the general effect, very injurious to dramatic feeling, which should be as vivid and as varied as the varied

purposes and interests from which it is supposed to spring. In short, notwithstanding the author's censure of Voltaire's and Cre

Catiline; a Tragedy. In Five Acts. With other Poenis. By the Rev. George Croly, A. M. Author of “ Paris in 1815," “ The Angel of the World,” &c.

billon's plays, on the same subject, as being " written on the model of the French stage; and, according to the national taste, make up for nature and incident, (he means, probably, the want of “nature and incident,”) by affected sensibility and feeble declamation.” Notwithstanding this sweeping, and, perhaps, just censure, it must be confessed that this new attempt on the same subject assimilates less to the English than to the French model—less to Shakspeare than to Voltaire ; that, if the "sensibility" it contains is real instead of "affected," and the “ declamation" is strong instead of " feeble,” it is, for the most part, but “ declamation" and " sensibility" after all-not passion.

It must be needless to lay before the reader the plot of this tragedy: the title will at once call it to mind: for the variations from strict history are few and unimportant. We shall do better in offering specimens of the poetry with which the drama is enriched. The following describes the effect of Catiline's eloquence at the meeting in the Campus Martius, when he opposes Cicero in the election for the Consulship :

“ You should have seen him in the Campus Martius,

In the tribunal,-shaking all the tribes
With mighty speech. His words seem'd oracles,
That pierced their bosoms; and each man would turn,
And gaze in wonder on his neighbour's face,
That with the like dumb wonder answer'd him :
Then some would weep, some shout; some, deeper touch'd,
Keep down the cry, with motion of their hands,

In fear but to have lost a syllable." His conduct during the banquet which is given at his palace immediately after his defeat at the election, is thus described :

“ He seem'd to feel
The fiercest joy of all; pledged the whole room
In brimming goblets ; talk'd a round of things,
Lofty and rambling as an ecstacy;
Laugh'd, till his very laughter check'd our mirth,
And all gazed on him; then, as if surprised,
Marking the silence, mutter'd some excuse,
And sank in reverie; then, wild again,

Talk'd, drank, and laugh'd—the first of Bacchanals !" His warlike bearing in the field is thus spoken of by a companion in arms:

“ You've seen him in the field ?


Ay, fifty times,
l'the thickest fight; where all was blood and steel,
Plunging through steeds unrider'd, gory men
Mad with their wounds, through lances thick as hail,
As if he took the ranks for idle waves !
Now seen, the battle's wonder; now below,
Mowing his desperate way, till, with wild shrieks,
The throng roll'd back, and Catiline sprang out,

Red from the greaves to the helın.” The author has chosen to depict Catiline altogether after the portrait of Cicero, as given in the Orat. pro Cælio, and not after that of

* It is supposed to be exactly at this period that the play commences.

unmixed wickedness which Sallust draws of him. Accordingly, we are taught to consider him as drawn or urged into treason by the mingled force of pride and disappointment--of ambition, added to fancied disgrace and wrong. These are some of his reflections while he is plotting the mischief by which he hopes to rise on the fallen fortunes of his enemies and opposers :

“ I feel a nameless pressure on my brow,

As if the heavens were thick with sudden gloom ;
A shapeless consciousness of some dark blow
Hanging above my head. They say, such thoughts
of prophecy.

[He goes to the casement.]
This air is living sweetness. Golden sun,
Shall I be like thee yet? The clouds have past-
And, like some mighty victor, he returns
To his red city in the west, that now
Spreads all her gates, and lights her torches up,

In triumph for her glorious conqueror.” What follows, is a rich and picturesque description of a waking vision, which Catiline is supposed to bave seen, and which contributes to lead him on in what he is made to consider as his appointed course :

“ Heaven can show strange things :
Last night I could not rest : the chamber's heat,
Or some wild thoughts--the folly of the day-
Banish'd my sleep :-So, in the garden air,
I gazed upon the comet, that then shope
In midnight glory, dimming all the stars.
At once a crimson blaze, that made it pale,
Flooded the north. I turn'd, and saw, in heaven,
Two mighty armies ! From the zenith star,
Down to the earth, legions in line and orb,
Squadron and square, like earthly marshalry.
Anon, as if a sudden trumpet spoke,
Banners of gold and purple were Aung out;
Fire-crested leaders swept along the lines ;
And both the gorgeous depths, like meeting seas,
Roll'd to wild battle. Then, they breathed awhile,
Leaving the space between a sheet of gore,

Strew'd with torn standards, corpses, and crash'd spears.”
The following is exceedingly bold, vehement, and poetical :-

“ The state is weak as dust.
Rome's broken, helpless, heart-sick! Vengeance sits
Above her-like a vulture o'er a corpse
Soon to be tasted. Time, and dull decay,
Have let the waters round her pillar's foot ;
And it must fall. Her boasted strength 's a ghost,
Fearful to dastards ;-yet, to trenchant swords,
Thin as the passing air ! A single blow,
In this diseased and crumbling frame of Rome,

Would break your chains like stubble.”

be agreeable to contrast these extracts with one or two others in a different style, but equally rich and poetical :

“ Too much he loved her! 'Tis an ancient tale,

One of the ditties that our girls of Greece
Hear from their careful mothers, round the lainps,
On winter nights ; and by the vintage heaps,

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