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These persons and their colleagues, all equally fools and knaves, are supported in place and power by means of "the Mohawks." And who are these? Burke was the bloody Mohawk of his day, and the present time is abundant in fit successors to his dignified office. Mr Canning is one of them; and his paragraphs in the papers are about to be rewarded with the vice-royalty of India. Mr Croker is another; and he is soon to have a peerage for his pains. Lord Eldon, the Duke of Wellington, Earl Bathurst, Leach, Southey, and Theodore Hooke, are the Mohawks who write JOHN BULL. Blackwood's Magazine is another theatre on which "Mohawks," we are not informed whether the same or others, play their pranks. Whoever they be, they are, we are told, tigers,' ""bedlamites," snakes," and "lost to all selfrespect," which for tigers, bedlamites, and snakes, seems wonderful. The British Critic is another work of the same class-So is the Courier-so is the Morning Post-so is the New Times -and last, not least, so is the Quarterly Review. The enormities of which this last-named journal has been guilty, are numberless, beyond all number; but we are favoured with a sample. For instance, then, the Quarterly Review has denied that Peterloo was a murderous massacre of right-hearted Englishmen; it has uniformly run down Buonaparte, and extolled Pitt and Wellington-two mere ninnies; it has cut up Shelly, Cobbett, Hone, Carlile, Volney, Voltaire, Hume on Miracles-in short, all authors" that are worth a groat." These are the words; and, lastly, to put the touch and finish to its sinful career, the Quarterly has touzled Mother Morgan !!!
examining the clear and beautiful verses in which all the offenders are lashed as they should have been.
We are much puzzled to guess who can be the author of this classical performance. As the poem overflows with bulls and blunders, and severe castigations of different writers in the Dublin newspapers; and as chair is uniformly made to rhyme to peer-there can be no doubt the writer is Irish. From the fine, free, and dashing-like style in which atheism is introduced every now and then-from the (what fools and Tories will call) treason of almost every page-and from the gross allusions and phrases with which the whole composition is sprinkled, we are inclined to think" the Mohawks" must have been indited by an IrishMAN, "a wild tremendous Irishman." But to be sure there is one passage, far the most eloquent in the book, which staggers us as to this. In the course of crucifying Mr Gifford, for having taken improper liberties with the "Magna Parens" of " Italy," the writer takes occasion to mention that culpable individual as having been
These are all unquestionably horrible crimes. As for the affair of Granny, to use the language of M.Talleyrand, late Bishop of Autun, "c'est plus qu'un crime-c'est une faute." We trust our readers will lose no time in
CATILINE; A TRAGEDY.*
IT was a bold adventure for Mr Croly to think of presenting anew, in a dramatic form, what Lord Orford so properly calls, in his Memoirs, "the most brilliant Episode in the History of Rome." Several of the chief masters of the art had already exerted all their genius on the story of Catiline; and yet none of them had been in any true sense of the word successful; and nobody ever dreamt of any thing, when the name of this great conspirator was mentioned, but the unrivalled orations of Cicero, and the equally unrivalled narrative of Sallust. Nobody ever thought of the Catiline of Crebillon but as a miserable failure; that of Voltaire is better, but still bad; and Ben Jonson's Tragedy, rich as it is in learning and rich in masterly declamation, is cold in its stateliness and undramatic, in the midst both of historical truth and of poetical or
The poet now before us had displayed in his previous works many fine qualities—a great power of strong and grasping description-an impetuous elevation of feeling and passion -a command of the English tongue in many varieties of serious and tender expression-a rich musical ear in his versification-and throughout the whole of his composition, a massy and masculine pith and vigour of intellect. It is therefore no wonder that the public attention should have been directed eagerly to a tragedy from his hand. His CATILINE has unquestionably many faults. In the first place, in his manner of treating the subject he has, as we think, quite needlessly violated the truth of history, far beyond what is justified either by any sane theory of the art, or by the example of any who are entitled to be classed among its legitimate masters. Liberties with time are almost always necessary to the poet who dramatizes an historical action, and with them rightly taken no critic will quarrel. Liberties with place and scene are, in like manner, to a certain extent fair. But there is a plain rule which we at least can never
consent to lose sight of; and this is, that the writer who weaves either drama or romance from the materials of history, must keep these materials in all essential particulars sacred; and from this rule Mr Croly has in our opinion very unwisely departed.
The supposed ignorance of the spectator is, we maintain, the only ground on which the dramatist who violates history can really hope to escape condemnation. No man who knows what happened at any particular period of time, can endure to see it misrepresented. Every violation of fact is to his mind a pain. He cannot sit out a tragedy full of such violations, without having at least a very great part of the pleasure, which the poet's genius might naturally have excited within him, neutralized. Would any man have dared to bring a falsified account of Catiline's conspiracy-an account falsified in any important particular whatever-before the eyes of an intelligent Roman Assembly? The answer is plain. We see in the volume before us the most clear evidence that Mr Croly is a very accomplished scholar, and the more we reflect on it, we are the more astonished that he should have ventured upon such liberties as he has taken with such a well known story as that of Catiline. He himself alludes to some of these very liberties as if they were mere trifles. We can only tell him in return, that such as they are, they have very materially diminished our satisfaction in the perusal of what we can have no hesitation in saying is the most brilliant effort of his genius, and to our mind by far the best acting tragedy, we mean the tragedy best adapted for being acted, that has in our time been added to the stock of the British drama.
The Marianism of Catiline-his imaginary wife-the imaginary daughter of Marius-his Hamilcar-his Aspasia, and many things besides, were all perfectly needless. Why might not the Roman Fulvia and her real Roman lover have served him just as well as the imaginary Moor and the
Catiline : : a Tragedy, in five acts; with other Poems. By the Rev. George Croly, A. M. author of "Paris in 1816,"" The Angel of the World," &c. London: Printed for Hurst, Robinson, and Co. Cheapside; and Archibald Constable and Co. Edinburgh.
ideal Greek? We think they might have served his purpose infinitely better; but we have no inclination to go into this matter at any length on the present occasion. We throw out merely what we mean as a friendly caveat to a poet who will much disappoint our expectations, if he do not ere long place his name high indeed in the English Theatre.
long ambition. It is thus that the two haughty and discontented spirits commune.
Why was not Catiline brought out upon the stage? If it was offered to either of the great London theatres, the manager's wits must have been a wool-gathering when it was rejected. Nothing of this kind, however, is hinted at; and we suppose Mr Croly has himself alone to blame. We have little doubt next winter will be enough to convince him how much his diffidence was mistaken.
In the whole management of the piece in the structure of the plot—in the exposition, which is alike clear, natural, and powerful-in the dialogue, above all, which is throughout full of true dramatic vigour, we see, if we ever have seen them, the proofs of his dramatic vocation. Perhaps we never read any first tragedy, by any dramatist whatever, abounding so much in happy dramatic situations. It would be ridiculous to enter into any thing like an analysis of a tragedy on the story of Catiline; we shall therefore merely quote a few passages, to justify what we have said in Mr Croly's praise, as a master of dramatic dialogue, leaving it to himself to correct hereafter some errors, of which, on more mature reflection, he will be, we are sure, as sensible as we could wish him to be-and to our readers, when they have the tragedy itself before them, to judge of its merits as a dramatic whole.
HAMILCAR, a Carthaginian hostage in Rome, of royal blood and ambition, is introduced alone in a grove of trees near the city, meditating on the degradation of his country and himself, when CETHEGUs breaks in upon his solitude. These two men had been feasting together the same evening, at the mansion of Catiline, their common friend; but the Moor had left the banquet early, because their mirthfulness did not suit the state of his spirits. Their mirth, it is true, had been but hollow; for that day Cicero had been elected Consul, and the proud Catiline defeated in the object of his
"Ham. Hark! Who disturbs the night? [He listens. Cethegus' voice! One of those drunkards-a hot-headed fool;
Senseless, and brave as his own sword.[He calls. I'll try what mischief's in his mettle now. [CETHEGUS comes in. Ceth. Ho! prince of darkness-empe. ror of the Nile
Star-gazer!--you are welcome to them all; Rome is no place for you! put on your wings,
And perch upon the moon! You left
Just in our glory.
"Twas a noble set!
Ceth. Rome has none better;-all patrician blood,
Glowing with Cyprus' wine—wild as young
Bold as bay'd boars-haughty as battle
Keen as flesh'dhounds-fire-eyed as mount ing hawks.
Ham. "Twill be a glorious day that lets
Rome's masters, and restore the forfeitures Now in plebeian hands.
Ceth. Shew me but that; And I am his, or yours, or any man's. My fortune's on my back; the usurers Have my last acre in their harpy hands. Ham. You must have Catiline, for he has all
That make such causes thrive-a mighty
One that the youth will cling to; a bold tongue
A bolder heart-a soldier's skill in arms-
But, stript by winter, stands immoveable.
Ceth. You've seen him in the field?
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 shricks,
The throng roll'd back, and Catiline sprang
Red from the greaves to the helm.
Then, Rome is full of mal-contents; the
Cumber'd with remnants of the war; the
Yet, should he chill,-provoke him-stir dispute
Seize on his hasty word. The revellers there
Will take it for command; and thus his
Will crowd to his first signal; in his house He has the banner that the Marian troops Still worship like a god ;-but he will call The act conspiracy.
Jove save us all! Ceth. How now, Hamilcar ? Ham. (going.) Fare you well, my lord. [He suddenly returns. Conspiracy! Is not the man undone ? All over bankrupt, broken right and left Within this week he'll be without a rood, A roof, a bed, a robe, a meal to eat! Conspiracy! He's levell'd;-on the earth! His last denarius hung upon this day, And now you have him. This day has dissolved
His last allegiance. Go-you'll find him
Tormented, like the hound that bays the moon,
Foaming to see the pomp beyond his reach.
Ceth. He has forsworn the world!
Draw back! You'll find
him flame. Go to the banquet, ere they all break up;
We have indicated by our Italics two or three of what we think the finest things in this scene; but as a whole it is superb. The description of Catiline's behaviour at the debauch appears to us to be quite Shakespearean; so is the fine image of the oak, that, stript by winter, stands immoveable;" and the beginning of the last speech of Hamilcar, "Be THOU my God," is worthy of the poet who said "Qu'il mourut." This passage must be accepted by our readers as a sufficient specimen of the two first acts, in which the conspiracy is gradually worked up and discovered by the patriotic CONSUL.
The third act closes with a scene of very great art, and of great power. It is that in which Cicero is bearded by Catiline in the senate-house, after the whole of the guilty machinations have been discovered, through the weakness, (so far as the truth of the history is adhered to,) of a Woman and a Mistress, the famous night of the "Quousque tandem, O Catilina," &c.
THE SENATE HOUSE.
The Temple of Jupiter Stator. The Senate, at night; a Consul in the Chair; CICERO on the floor, concluding his speech. Cic. Our long debate must close. Take one proof more
Of this rebellion.-Lucius Catiline
Has been commanded to attend the senate. He dares not come. I now demand your votes ;
Is he condemned to exile?
[CATILINE comes in hastily, and flings
Cic. turns to Cat. Here I repeat the
himself on the Bench; all the Senators The gates of honour on me,-turning out
Of treasons manifold;-that, but this day,
And having wound their loathsome track to
That he has leagued with deputies from
To seize the province; nay, has levied
Of this huge mouldering monument of Rome,
Cic. This is his answer! Must I bring
And raised his rebel standard;-that but
A meeting of conspirators was held
To these he has no answer.
For Roman right; though none, it seems,
To take their share with me. Ay, cluster
Cling to your master; judges, Romans,
His charge is false;-I dare him to his
You have my answer now! I must be
Cic. Bring back the helmet of this
[The Lictors return with the helmet and axe.
Fathers, you know there lives not one of us,
In which your general properties are made
Within his house.---You know them, Ca-
Cat. The axe and helmet of the Allobro-
Know them! What crimination's there?
Lives in that helm to charge me? Cicero-
Cat. (startled.) Cethegus! (aside.)
Came to my house to murder me; and
Bring in the prisoners.
[The Lictors return with CETHEGUS, and others.
Suborn'd by him.
All fairly struck from brows of barbarous
When you and yours were plotting here in
Not I.-I went to kill
A prating, proud plebeian, whom those
I say, go search my house. And is this all?
Where have I levied troops, tamper'd with
Bribed fool or villain, to embark his neck
And still do scorn, to hide my sense of
Who brands me on the forehead, breaks my
Or lays the bloody scourge upon my back,
Palm'd on the Consulship.
Cic. And sent by whom?
Ceth. By none. By nothing but my zeal to purge
The senate of yourself, most learned Cicero! [A cry is heard without: "More Prison
ers! The Allobroges!" An officer enters, with letters for CICERO; who, after glancing at them, sends them round the Senate. CATILINE is strongly perturbed. The Allobroges come in, chained.