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sable? This last part of our position demands a few additional words. That poetry is indispensable to the romantic play, we apprehend no one will dispute. It is in truth its life-blood, 'its vivifying principle.

The romantic play is by its very essence removed far beyond common existence, and requires the music of the enchanting shell to harmonize its parts and proportions; besides, ere we can enter heart and soul into scenes so remote from our habitual sympathies and experience, our fancy, our sensibility, in short our whole intellectual nature, must be raised to a degree of excitement which can be attained only by the action of the master-spell of the bard. The spirit of poetry seems congenial with all that is beyond our knowledge; when improbabilities are presented to us in a humbler form, we can perceive merely their absurdity. But domestic tragedy, it may be said, professedly confines its representations to calamities of daily occurrence, to scenes in which poetry can neither be required nor admitted. It is because dumestic tragedy exhibits to us those naked and familiar misfortunes to which We are all hourly liable, that it requires, not the forms they would counteract the purpose of fidelity to nature—but the spirit of poetry, to relieve by its innate loveliness emotions so bitterly and purely painful, as to be probably only endured from an idea that so much suffering must strengthen the impression of the moral lesson such performances are for the most part intended to convey:

If we now descend to Iffland, we shall be tempted to suspect that this author, together with some others of his less noted and less fertile contemporaries, was trying experiments upon the quantity of unmixed pain which human beings would be contented to bear and call pleasure. We believe his writings are wholly unknown to the British public, and we imagine that no translator is likely to be found hardy enough voluntarily to encounter the misery of confining his fancy amidst such depressing sorrows. We are ourselves already impatient to escape from their recollection, and will endeavour to be as brief as possible in explaining his scheme of tragedy. Embarrassed circumstances constitute his usual source of distress, and to these he delights to superadd such other pressure as may, by a refinement of torture, drive the most honourable spirits to seek relief not only in guilt but in base

When he sometimes quits this favourite subject, he either involves honourable men connected with government in disgrace and apparent criminality, through the machinations of the meanest hangerson upon a court, or he obliges parents, in the discharge of their official duties, to break the hearts of their own children. One or two examples will afford sufficient illustration. In one piece the son of a sort of Receiver-general of taxes plays deep at the house of a young lady of rank and fortune, with whom he is desperately in love, and incurs enormous debts. The discharge of one of them, a debt of honour due to his high-born rival, is demanded upon the very day when he expects to obtain the lady's consent. Its non-payment would infallibly ruin all his hopes, his family resources he has drained, he is irritated by taunts touching plebeian honour, and he privately takes the requisite sum out of his father's tax-chest. The defalcation in the father's accounts is discovered by the Superior Commissioner,' and the whole family are overwhelmed with infamy and ruin beyond redemption. We use this expression, notwithstanding the “Superior Commissioner,' after an act or two, during which we expect to see them all die every minute, charitably manages to hush up the affair in the last scene, as the poor old • Receiver-general' is evidently left upon his death-bed-In another, the proofs that the son of a War Counsellor has been guilty of something very wrong concerning official money, fell into the hands of a wicked Commissary' whom the War Counsellor” is prosecuting for fraud and peculation. As no threats can shake the old man in his public duty, means are found to dishonour him in the Prince's opinion. The plot is luckily detected in the last act by the Commissary's' indiscreetly offering a bribe to an honest Lord of the Bedchamber,' and the Prince and his War Counsellor are tenderly reconciled: but the son meanwhile blows his brains out, and the curtain falls upon the Prince's fruitless endeavours to console the wretched father. --Lastly, in a tragedy in his more dignified style, the daughter of the Commander of a besieged town imprudently induces her lover, one of the officers, to leave his post, which he conceives to be for the time secure, to attempt to save her from a forced marriage. The post is surprised and taken in his absence. He is tried and condemned to death. The old General orders his execution, and comforts his daughter with the assurance that she will not long outlive him. When the curtain drops, the lover is led to execution; the father is summoned to head an attack, in which he hopes and means to be killed, and the lady drops down, we know not whether fainting or dead.

Such was the state of the stage in Germany soon after some of the mightiest minds the country could boast had introduced the romantic play and domestic tragedy, owing probably to both the above-mentioned causes, want of poetic genius in the authors, and the necessity of outvying each other in wildness or depth of interest. How Schiller felt this degradation of his art, he has hinself told us in a little poem called SHAKSPEARE's Shade. In this he represents himself as visiting the Infernal Regions to question Tiresias respecting the ancient buskin. He meets Shakspeare, who makes inquiries into the state of the drama in Germany, some of which, we think, might have come more naturally from Corneille. We will give our readers the few lines that mark the writer's strong reprobation of the then prevailing manner; and as the poem is in the classical elegiac measure, shall content ourselves with translating it into blank verse. It is a dialogue, and Shakspeare asks,

“ You then admit Thalia's sportive dance,
Beside Melpomene's sad solemn gait?"
“ Neither; we want pulpit-morality,
And proper household griefs to touch our hearts."
,“ What, then, is Cæsar banished from your stage,
Orestes, and the sad Andromache?”
“ Pshaw! We like Curates, Common-Councilmen,
Clerks, Ensigns, Lawyers, Captains of Light Horse."
And how can such poor creatures be involved
In terrible or tragical events ?"
" How? They cabal, lend money upon pawn,
Steal silver spoons, and risk the pillory.
“ Where find you then that great gigantic Fate
By which our kind's'exalted even when crush'd?”
“'That's nonsense : our good neighbours, and ourselves
We seek, with all our troubles and distress."
« That you have more conveniently at home,
Why come you thence if you seek nothing else ?"

The disgust and aversion here expressed for the then popular style of theatrical composition, probably excited in Schiller a warmer admiration for the ancient tragedians, than he entertained when he wrote « Die Räuber" and "Kabale und Liebe.” He accordingly applied himself diligently to study the spirit of classical Tragedy, and the principles of Esthetic. With respect to the latter subject of his investigations, our readers will probably expect that we should afford them some explanation, but we trust they will not require it to be actually full and satisfactory, inasmuch as we must confess that we do not very well understand it ourselves. What we do know about the matter shall be faithfully imparted to them. The word æsthetic appears to have been taken from the Greek arrêncis, and it is used by some metaphysical writers, particularly by Kant, according to its original meaning, to denote sensible perception. Schiller, and other authors of the same class, with their followers, employ it to express scientifically and theoretically whatever relates to taste and the fine arts; perhaps having first naturally applied it to painting and statuary, and thence extended it, half metaphorically, to poetry and belles lettres in general. And this is really all we can venture to say explanatory of æsthetic, with any confidence that we are not misleading our readers. We sincerely wish it may enable them to comprehend the statement we are about to give of Schiller's new opinions. In the course of these combined classical and æsthetische studies, Schiller discovered extraordinary analogies between tragedy and statuary; he satisfied himself that the nature of the former was essentially plastic; and he logically concluded, that the one ought no more to agitate the mind and feelings than the other; that we ought to witness the representation of a tragedy as composedly as we gaze upon the Laocoon. We will now proceed to what will, we hope, prove rather more intelligible and interesting—the effect produced upon his plays by this system.

The first apparent consequence might have been hailed as a decided improvement by every lover of 'gorgeous Tragedy. He adopted blank verse, and chose a loftier theme. His “Don Carlos," though inferior in passion and interest to his former productions, was still rich in both, and in every other respect far superior to its predecessors. But we have not leisure to trace the progressive influence of his new doctrines, in the progressively diminishing fire and pathos of " Wallenstein,” “Maria Stuart,” &c. and will at once present their highest result to our readers, in “Die Braüt von Messina,” or the Bride of Messina. This Tragedy is written as nearly upon the model of the ancients as the author seems to have thought compatible with modern history and manners. Its fable is founded upon the decrees of Fate, foretold by dreams and soothsayers, and originating in a curse. It is provided with a chorus, which, when not actively engaged in the business of the scene, moralizes poetically upon all that is passing, and indeed upon life in general ; and the chief characters occasionally quit their regular blank verse, to take part in the lyrical strains of the chorus. Moreover it is not broken into acts. This sounds most classical ; but there are points of deviation. The scene sometimes changes, and the chorus frequently leaves the stage; but the great difference is in the chorus itself, which, instead of displaying the wonderful unanimity of its prototype, where all the separate heads literally appeared to think the same thought, is here divided into two inimical semi-choruses, for the most part fighting and quarrelling with each other. But we must examine this piece more in detail. Although “ Die Braüt von Messina” has not been, and is not likely to be translated, as it certainly would not take in this unæsthetische nation, it deserves some attention, both as the work of an author of superior genius, and as an elucidation, as well of his own theories, as of the excess to which the refining subtilty of German intellect is carried; a peculiarity that may perhaps arise from the same causes as the excess of susceptibility before mentioned.

The play is preceded by a long preface, intended to prove the indispensableness of the chorus to tragedy ; this is so indisputable, that we are told, en passant, the want of this essentially constituent part is the only reason why Shakspeare is not thoroughly and universally understood. The great advantage of the chorus is, according to our author, that it introduces life into the language, and tranquillity into the action, by which the audience may be saved from all danger of illusion, and from all undue agitation of their sensibility: an object fully attained in the tragedy under consideration.

The piece is opened by Isabella, the Dowager Princess of Messina, in a speech of one hundred lines, addressed to the Elders of the city. She first assures them that nothing but necessity would have brought her out, unveiled, from the retirement befitting a widow. She next proceeds to remind them that her two sons have hated each other from infancy; that the authority of their father, who had forbidden their ever sleeping in one place, or coming within reach of each other with arms, had prevented any bad effects of their enmity, but had left their disposition, which it seems he thought beneath his care, unchanged ; that immediately upon his death, which had occurred two months since, their ill will had burst forth, and divided Messina into two hostile factions; that they, the elders, had then required her, in a harangue which she repeats to them verbatim, to put an end to all the troubles and bloodshed. She then informs them, that in consequence of this requisition she has sent to summon her sons to meet in her presence, and expects them forthwith ; and concludes by desiring them to go, and prepare a suitable reception for both. The respectable old gentlemen, who have not presumed to address one word, even of assent, to the Princess now, whatever they did upon the former occasion she mentions, then, one and all, lay their hands upon their breasts, and depart. As they go out she calls an old servant, talks somewhat mysteriously about a painfully sweet and holy secret that he has kept for her, and that is now to be revealed, and bids him hasten to the well-known convent, and fetch thence the beloved treasure.—Diego obeys—she retires to meet her sons, and the two semi-choruses, consisting of the followers of the two brothers, come on from opposite sides of the stage. They begin by quarrelling in good set terms and various metres, sometimes classically lyrical, sometimes rhymed, and state that nothing but the sworn trúce prevents their fighting. They next praise the beauty and fertility of their island, and regret the impossibility of its defending itself against foreign conquerors, a race of whom are their present princes. In this chorus we find the Eumenides, Ceres, &c. named with a serious veneration that would mix oddly with the convent, if we had not learned in the preface that such a combination of creeds was a form of idealizing religion, and thus adapting it to the purposes of art. Isabella now returns with her two sons, Manuel and Cæsar, and after receiving the compliments of the chorus, harangues the brothers at great length, and, as the chorus observes, very sensibly, upon the folly and wickedness of their mutual hatred, the grief it occasions her, and the danger to which it exposes them in a conquered country. The brothers remain sullenly silent; she exclaims in despair that she can think of nothing more to say, that they have only to kill each other before her face, and goes away. The brothers then gradually approach, and compliment each other: Don Cæsar admires Manuel's likeness to their mother; Don Manuel discovers in Cæsar a yet dearer and very

extraordinary likeness. At last they embrace. So do the two semi-choruses. In the midst of these caresses, news is brought to Don Cæsar that the lost beauty is found concealed in Messina; he promises to meet Don Manuel shortly in their mother's apartments, and hurries off with his own half of the chorus, or the second chorus, as it is regularly denominated in the piece. Don Manuel takes the opportunity of being thus left téte à téte, as it were, with his, or the first chorus, to disclose a secret. He confesses to this many-headed confidant that he has long been in love with, and beloved by a beautiful girl, brought up in a retired convent, in utter ignorance of her family and connexions; that the old domestic who had placed her there, had told her the preceding evening, that the present day would terminate the mystery; that he, afraid of losing her by any discovery, had carried her off in the night, concealed her in a garden in Messina, and meant to marry, and present her to his mother, before sunset. He then gives very minute directions as to the purchase of her bridal attire, and the preparations for conducting her home in state, and leaves the first chorus to execute his orders. The chorus first considers every possible mode of pastime that can be had recourse to now, when the amusement of civil war is over; remarks that great reliance cannot be had on the newlymade peace, because a curse rests upon the family, the mother, Isabella, having been the promised bride of the grandfather, scandalously stolen from him and espoused by his son the late prince, in consequence of which crime the nuptial bed and its offspring had been cursed by the injured and disappointed old pretendû, and then goes about its or their business.

The scene now changes to the above-mentioned garden, Beatrice appears alone, and discusses her love, her remorse for having fled from her convent, and the knowledge of her family, her anxiety at her lover's prolonged absence, and her fears that she may have done wrong in going to the neighbouring church, where she may have been noticed, as she had before been by a fiery youth, when, unknown to her lover, she attended the funeral of the late Prince in about a hundred and thirty lines broken into varying stanzas. She is interrupted by the entrance of Don Cæsar and his chorus. She attempts to fly, but he detains her, declares his love at full length, according to the general fashion of the tragedy, tells her how he fell in love with her at the funeral, and who he is, and then charging his chorus to take care of her, leaves her to recover from her fright. She professes her horror of the two princely brothers who hate one another-of course she is ignorant of her lover's rank-and takes refuge in a pavilion ; and the second chorus, after observing upon

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