Page images
PDF
EPUB

93

Julian; a Tragedy, in Five Acts. BY MISS MITFORD.

Ir is so seldom that an opportunity has of late presented itself for noticing a successful tragedy, and one, too, which has deserved to be successful, that we feel sincere pleasure in mentioning Miss Mitford's Julian.

The scene lies in Sicily; the story is fictitious, but supposed to relate to the early history of the island. The tragedy opens with a scene in which Julian, son to the Regent, is lying on a couch, attended by his wife Annabel, and a page, Theodore. He is supposed to have returned home suddenly, about a week previous to the opening, accompanied by the young page, and has been lying in a state of delirium ever since. When he awakes, his speech is incoherent; but enough from it is gathered to understand that his father, the Regent Duke Melfi, had meditated the murder of the young prince, to gain the throne for himself; that Julian had rescued the youth, and in the attempt had wounded his father. The fear that he had killed him has driven him to distraction; but while he relates the horrid event to his wife, news is brought that his father has returned alive to the capital. The page, Theodore, is the Prince Alfonso in disguise.

Julian repairs to his father, who is about to be proclaimed king; he endeavours in vain to dissuade him from this design. The ceremony of coronation goes on, when Julian bursts into the church with Alfonso, whom he exhorts the surrounding nobles to recognise as king. This is done; and the Duke d'Alba accuses Melfi and Julian of an attempt to murder the prince; they are arrested and sentenced to banishment. Julian seeks his father, whom he finds expiring, and reaches him in time to receive his forgiveness. From the grief he feels at his father's death he is roused by learning that D'Alba has seized the occasion of his banishment to bear away Annabel, whom he had always loved, and had persecuted by his addresses. The unhappy lady is confined in an apartment belonging to the Duke, who endeavours to persuade her to marry him, on procuring a dispensation for her union with the outlawed Julian. She rejects him indignantly. Julian reaches her prison, and knowing that his life is forfeited, and that he is dogged by his enemies, he resolves to put his fair wife to death by his own hand, to save her from a more horrid fate. This is, however, prevented. The Duke d'Alba's emissaries have followed him, and now enter; he engages them; a blow is aimed at his bosom, which Annabel receives in her own, and falls dead. Julian kills two of the assassins; the third' escapes, and alarms the duke. Julian covers his dead wife with a cloak, and wraps himself in that of one of the bravoes. When the duke enters he takes him for the assassin; he approaches Annabel, and Julian uncovering her body, and discovering himself, transfixes him with horror. The young king and the nobles enter; D'Alba is made prisoner, and led off; and Julian dies.

The poetry of this tragedy is pretty, but not far above the ordinary run of smooth poetry. The great dramatic merit of the play is that it is constructed with consummate skill, and that the situations are highly striking, at the same time that they are natural and classical. In these respects the tragedy is alone among its modern compeers.

Miss Mitford is evidently well acquainted with the ancient Greek models; the opening speeches-nearly the whole of the two first pages are translated from the Orestes of Euripides; the incident of uncovering the body is that powerful one in the Electra of Sophocles. We have extracted the following as a favorable specimen of the poetry. It is the last scene between Julian and Annabel :

Ann.

Canst thou save me, Julian?
Thou always dost speak truth. Caust save thyself?
Shall we go hence together?

Jul.

One home.

Aye, one fate

Ann. Why that is bliss. We shall be poor-
Shall we not, Julian? I shall have a joy

I never looked for; I shall work for thee,

Shall tend thee, be thy Page, thy 'Squire, thy all,—
Shall I not, Julian?

Jul.

Annabel, look forth

Upon this glorious world! Look once again
On our fair Sicily, lit by that sun

Whose level beams do cast a golden shine
On sea, and shore, and city, on the pride

Of bowery groves; on Etna's smouldering top ;-
Oh bright and glorious world! and thou of all
Created things most glorious, tricked in light,
As the stars that live in Heaven!

Ann.

So sadly on me?

Jul.

Why dost thou gaze

The bright stars, how oft

They fall, or seem to fall! The Sun-look! look!
He sinks, he sets in glory. Blessed orb,

Like thee-like thee-Dost thou remember once
We sate by the sea shore when all the Heaven
And all the ocean seemed one glow of fire—
Red, purple, saffron, melted into one

Intense and ardent flame, the doubtful line
Where sea and sky should meet was lost in that
Continuous brightness; there we sate and talked

Of the mysterious union that blessed orb

Wrought between earth and heaven, of life and death-
High mysteries!-and thou didst wish thyself

A spirit sailing in that flood of light

Straight to the Eternal gates, didst pray to pass

Away in such a glory. Annabel!

Look out upon the burning sky, the sea

One lucid ruby-'tis the very hour!

Thou'lt be a Seraph at the Fount of Light
Before-

Ann. What, must I die? And wilt thou kill me?
Canst thou? Thou cam'st to save-

Jul.

I shall die with thee.

Ann.

To save thy honour!

Oh no! no! live! live!

If I must die-Oh, it is sweet to live,

To breathe, to move, to feel the throbbing blood
Beat in the veins,-to look on such an earth

And such a Heaven,-to look on thee! Young life
Is very dear.'

Miss Mitford has thought fit to pay some very extravagant compliments to Mr. Macready. She of course best knows the extent of her obligations to that gentleman, but we must think she has taken an objectionable mode of acknowledging them. We cannot approve the custom of elevating actors into theatrical Mecænases, because it is highly injurious to the best interests of the drama. We cannot forget the indignant anger with which we once heard a player presume to insult an author, who, whatever may be his failings, is evidently a man of taste a scholar-and therefore entitled to be treated as a gentleman. We remember, and the public will never forget, this player talked of that author's having excited his personal compassion. At that circumstance we were ashamed and enraged; at this we only . laugh.

WORKS IN PREPARATION.

Original Letters written between the Reigns of Henry VI. and Henry VII. edited by the late Sir John Fenn, vol. 5.

The Suffolk Papers, from the Collection of the Marchioness of Londonderry.
The Plays and Poems of Shirley, edited by W. Gifford.

The Book of the Church, by Robert Southey.

Architectural Illustrations of the Public Buildings of London.

Observations made during a Residence in the Tarentine, and various parts of the Grecian and Pennine Alps, in Savoy, and in Switzerland and Auvergne, in the years 1820, 1821, and 1822, by Mr. Bakewell.

Original Letters, chiefly illustrative of English History, by Henry Ellis.
The Odes of Pindar, translated into English by James Bayley, B. A.

The Lives of Corregio and Parmegiano, Prose.

A History of London, Westminster, and Southwark, by John Bayley.

Reliquia Hearnianæ, or the Genuine Remains of Thomas Hearne, by Mr. Bliss. Early English Poetry, and Historical and Romantic Ballads, by J. Haslewood. Logan, a Family History, reprinted from the American.

Anti-Tooke, or an Analysis of the Principles and Structure of Language, by J. Fearn. The Age of Bronze, by Lord Byron.

An Exposition of the Principles of Pathology, by Dr. Pring.

Discourses, principally on Subjects of Scripture History, by the Rev. C. Forster.

An Appeal for Religion to the best Sentiments and Interests of Mankind, by the Rev. E. Irving.

Sketches of Youth, a series of Tales, by the Author of Dangerous Errors.

The Cambridge Tart, (a companion to the Oxford Sausage), by Socius.

Integrity, a tale, by Mrs. Hoffland.

The Rise, Progress, and Present State of the Capitals of Europe, by Sholto and Ruben Percy.

Precipitance, a Highland tale.

Sketch of the Portuguese Establishments in Congo, Angola, and Benguela, by Mr. Bowditch.

The Ionian, or Woman in the Nineteenth Century.

Letters on England, by the Count de Soligny.

The Fall of Constantinople, a poem, by David Douglas.

A Monitor to Families, by the Rev. Henry Belfrage.

A Journey from Hudson's Bay to the Copper Mine River, and 500 Miles along the Coast of the Polar Sea, by Captain Franklin.

Popular Questions popularly treated, by Frederick Coventry.

Select Remains of Mary Shenston, who died in her eighteenth year.

Wine and Walnuts, or After-dinner Chit Chat, by a Cockney Grey-beard.
Points of Humour, illustrated in a series of plates, by George Cruikshank.
Alfred, a poem, by Richard Payne Knight.

The second part of the Naval History of Great Britain, by Mr. James.

Sylva Florifera, containing a Historical and Botanical Account of the Flowering Shrubs and Trees which now ornament the Shrubbery, the Park, and Rural Scenes in general.

Other Times, or the Monks of Leadenhall; a romance, by the Author of the Lollards. The Royal Naval Biography, by Lieut. John Marshall.

WORKS LATELY PUBLISHED.

James's Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, in 1819 and 1820, 3 vols. 8vo. 11. 16s.

Narrative of a Journey in the Morea, by Sir W. Gell, 8vo. 15s.

Brenton's Naval History, vols. 1 and 2, 8vo. 11. 12s.

Billard's French Verbs, 12mo. 2s.

Maydwell's Epitome of Chronology, 12mo, s. 6d.
Bowring's Details of his Imprisonment, 8vo. 4s.
Stewart's Collections and Recollections, 8vo. 8s. 6d.
Lardner's Algebraic Geometry, vol. 1, 8vo. 18s.
Gillies's Translation of Aristotle's Rhetoric, 8vo. 12s.

The Pioneers, by the Author of the Spy, 3 vols. 12mo. 18s.

Elmes's Life of Sir Christopher Wren, 4to. 31. 3s. large paper, 61. 6s.

Harding's Universal Stenography, 12mo. 3s.

Fudge Family in England, foolscap 8vo. 7s.

Essays, Descriptive and Moral, or Scenes in Italy, by an American, 8vo. 8s.

Historical Account of the Parliament of Scotland, 8vo. 6s.

Son of Erin, or Cause of the Greeks, a poem, 8vo. 6s.

Gregory's Conspectus, in English, 8vo. 15s.

Faber on the Patriarchal Dispensations, 2 vols. 8vo. 21s.

Anecdotes of the Spanish and Portuguese Revolutions, by Count Pecchio, 8vo. 7s. 6d. The Spirit of Buncle, 12mo. 8s.

Millington's Epitome of Natural and Experimental Philosophy, 8vo. 14s.

Ballingall on Diseases of India, 8vo. 9s.

The Proud Shepherd's Tragedy, a scenic poem, edited by J. Downes, 8vo. 9s.
Milhouse's Blossoms and other poems, 12mo. 2s. 6d.

Love, a poem, by E. Elliot, 8vo. 7s.

Young, on Hieroglyphical Literature, 8vo. 7s. 6d.

The Tragedies of Sophocles, in English Prose, literally from the text of Brunck, with notes, vol. 1. 8vo. 8s. 6d.

Scoresby's Voyage to the Northern Whale Fishery, 8vo. 16s.

Historical Description of Blenheim, with 6 views, by H. P. Neele, 3vo. 6s.

Account of Colombia, 2 vols. 8vo. 11. 16s.

O'Halloran, on the Yellow Fever of Spain, 8vo. 10s. 6d.

Bowring's Russian Anthology, vol. 2. 8vo. 10s. 6d.

Pleasures of Friendship, a tale, 12mo. 5s.

Miscellaneous Pieces, in Verse, by J. Merry, 12mo. 4s.

Ada Reis, a tale, 3 vols. 12mo. 15s.

Devotional Exercises, extracted from Bishop Patrick, by Miss Hawkins, 18mo. 3s.. Ewing's Essay on Baptism, 12mo. 3s. 6d.

Clarke's History of Intolerance, vol. 2. 8vo. 10s. 6d.

Luther, on the Bondage of the Will, 8vo. 10s.

Knowles's Sermons, vols. 2, & 3, 8vo. 11s.

3 vols. 12mo. 13s. 6d.

Atkins's Discourses on the King's Proclamation, &c. 8vo. 10s. 6d.
Creswell's Elements of Mechanics, part 2. 8vo. 10s. 6d.

Henderson's Observations on the Warehousing Bill, 8vo. 2s.

Dr. Faithhorn, on Derangements of the Liver and Biliary System; comprehending the various, extensive, and often complicated Disorders of the Digestive Internal Organs, and Nervous Systems, originating from these sources; the fifth Edition, with an Appendix of Cases, illustrative of the Principles of Treatment, 8vo. 9s. Greene's Reportof the trial of Forbes, Graham, and others, for a conspiracy to create a riot, &c. at Dublin, 8vo. 13s.

Jay's Speech, on the trial of Forbes, &c. 8vo. 25.

North's Speech, on behalf of Graham and Handwich, 8vo. 2s.

« PreviousContinue »