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the Reformation, until the death of Charles the First. The second comprises the characters of Lyly, Marlow, Heywood, Middleton, and Rowley. The account of Lyly's Endymion is worthy of that sweet but singular work. The address of Eumenides to Endymion, on his awaking from his long sleep, Behold the twig to which thou laidest down thy head is become a tree,' is indeed, as described by our author, an exquisitely chosen image, and dumb proof of the manner in which he has passed his life from youth to old age,-in a dream, a dream of love!' His description of Marlow's qualities, when he says there is a Just of power in his writings, a hunger and thirst after unrighteousness, a glow of the imagination unhallowed by any thing but its own energies,' is very striking. The characters of Middleton and Rowley in this Lecture, and those of Marston, Chapman, Deckar, and Webster in the third, are sketched with great spirit; and the peculiar beauties of each are dwelt on in a style and with a sentiment congenial with the predominant feeling of the poet. At the close of the Lecture, the observation, that the old Dramatic writers have nothing theatrical about them, introduces the following eulogy on that fresh delight which books are ever ready to yield us.
Here, on Salisbury Plain, where I write this, even here, with a few old authors, I can manage to get through the summer or the winter months, without ever knowing what it is to feel ennui. They sit with me at breakfast, they walk out with me before dinner. After a long walk through unfrequented tracts,-after starting the hare from the fern, or hearing the wing of the raven rustling above my head, or being greeted with the woodman's "stern goodnight" he strikes into his narrow homeward path,-I can take "mine ease at mine inn" beside the blazing hearth, and shake hands with Signor Orlando Frescobaldo, as the oldest acquaintance I have. Ben Jonson, learned Chapman, Master Webster, and Master Heywood are there; and, seated round, discourse the silent hours away. Shakespeare is there himself, rich in Cibber's Manager's coat. Spenser is hardly returned from a ramble through the woods, or is concealed behind a group of nymphs, fawns, and satyrs. Milton lies on the table as on an altar, never taken up or laid down without reverence. Lyly's Endymion sleeps with the moon that shines in at the window; and a breath of wind stirring at a distance, seems a sigh from the tree under which he grew old. Faustus disputes in one corner of the room with fiendish faces, and reasons of divine astrology. Bellafront soothes Mattheo, Vittoria triumphs over her Judges, and old Chapman repeats one of the hymns of Homer, in his own fine translation. pp. 136-7.
The spirit of this passage is very deep and cordial; and the expression, for the most part, exquisite. But we wonder
that Mr Hazlitt should commit so great an incongruity, as to represent the other poets around him in person, while Milton, introduced among the rest, is used only as the title of a book. Why are other authors to be seated round,' to cheer the critic's retirement as if living,-while Milton, like a petition in the House of Commons, is only ordered to lie upon the table'?
In the Fourth Lecture, ample justice is done to Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger and Ben Jonson; but we think the same measure is not meted to Ford. We cannot regard the author of 'Tis Pity she's a Whore,' and 'the Broken Heart,' as 'finical and fastidious.' We are directly at issue, indeed, with our author on his opinions respecting the catastrophe of the latter tragedy. Calantha, Princess of Sparta, is celebrating the nuptials of a noble pair, with solemn dancing, when a messenger enters, and informs her that the King her father is dead;-she dances on. Another report is brought to her, that the sister of her be trothed husband is starved;-she calls for the other change. A third informs her that Ithocles, her lover, is cruelly murdered; she complains that the music sounds dull, and orders sprightlier measures. The dance ended, she announces herself Queen, pronounces sentence on the murderer of Ithocles, and directs the ceremonials of her coronation to be immediately prepared. Her commands are obeyed. She enters the Temple in white, crowned, while the dead body of her husband is borne on a hearse, and placed beside the altar; at which she kneels in silent prayer. After her devotions, she addresses Nearchus, Prince of Argos, as though she would chuse him for her husband, and lays down all orders for the regulation of her kingdom, under the guise of proposals of marriage. This done, she turns to the body of Ithocles, the shadow of her contracted lord,' puts her mother's wedding ring on his finger, to newmarry him whose wife she is,' and from whom death shall not part her. She then kisses his cold lips, and dies smiling. This Mr Hazlitt calls tragedy in masquerade,'' the true false gallop of sentiment;' and declares, that any thing more artificial and mechanical he cannot conceive.' He regards the whole scene as a forced transposition of one in Marston's Malcontent, where Aurelia dances on in defiance to the world, when she hears of the death of a detested husband. He observes, that a woman should call for music, and dance on in spite of the death of her husband whom she hates, without regard to common decency, is but too possible: that she should dance on with the same heroic perseverance, in spite of the death of her father, and of every one else whom she loves, from regard to common courtesy or appearance, is not surely natural. The
universe. The great Platonic year revolves in one of his periods. Nature is too little for the grasp of his style. He scoops an antithesis ect of fabulous antiquity, and rakes up an epithet from the sweepings of chaos. It is as if his books had dropped from the clouds, or as if Friar Bacon's head could speak. He stands on the edge of the world of sense and reason, and gets a vertigo by looking down at impossiblities and chimeras. Or he buries himself with the mysteries of the Cabba a, or the enclosed secrets of the heavenly quincunxes, as children are amused with tales of the nursery. The passion of curiosity (the only passion of childhood had in him survived to old age, and had superannuated his other faculties. He moralizes and grows pathetic on a mere idle fancy of his own, as if thought and being were the same, or as if "all this world were one glorious lie." He had the most intense consciousness of contradictions and nonentities; and he decks them out in the pride and pedantry of words, as if they were the attire of his proper person. The categories hang about his neck like the gold chain of knighthood; and he "walks gowned" in the intricate folds and swelling drapery of dark sayings and impenetrable riddies. pp. 292–295.
The Eighth and Last Lecture begins with a few words on the merits of Sheil, Tobin, Lamb, and Cornwall, who, in our own time, have written in the spirit of the elder dramatists. The observations in this Lecture, on the spirit of the romantic and classic literature, are followed by a striking development of the materials, and an examination of the success of the German Drama. Mr Hazlitt attributes the triumph of its monstrous paradoxes to those abuses and hypocrisies of society, those incoherences between its professions and its motives, which excite enthusiastic minds to seek for the opposite, at once, of its defects and blessings. His account of his own sensations on the first perusal of the Robbers, is one of the most striking passages in the work.
I have half trifled with this subject; and I believe I have done so because I despaired of finding language for some old-rooted feelings I have about it, which a theory could neither give, nor can it take away. The Robbers was the first play I ever read; and the effect it produced upon me was the greatest. It stunned me like a blow; and I have not recovered enough from it to tell how it was. There are impressions which neither time nor circumstances can efface. Were I to live much longer than I have any chance of doing, the books I have read when I was young, I can never forget. Fiveand-twenty years have elapsed since I first read the translation of the Robbers, but they have not blotted the impression from my mind ; it is here still-an old dweller in the chambers of the brain. The scene, in particular, in which Moor looks through his tears at the evening sun from the mountain's brow, and says in his despair," It was my wish like him to live, like him to die : it was an idle thought,
a boy's conceit," took first hold of my imagination,-and that sun has to me never set!'
While we sympathise in all Mr Hazlitt's sentiments of reverence for the mighty works of the older time, we must guard against that exclusive admiration of antiquity, rendered fashionable by some great critics, which would induce the belief that the age of genius is past, and the world grown too old to be romantic. We can observe in these Lectures, and in other works of their author, a jealousy of the advances of civilization as lessening the dominion of fancy. But this is, we think, a dangerous error; tending to chill the earliest aspirations after excellence, and to roll its rising energies back on the kindling soul. There remains yet abundant space for genius to possess; and science is rather the pioneer than the impeder of its progress. The level roads, indeed, which it cuts through unexplored regions, are, in themselves, less fitted for its wanderings, than the tangled ways through which it delights to stray; but they afford it new glimpses into the wild scenes and noble vistas which open near them, and enable it to deviate into fresh scenes of beauty, and hitherto unexplored fastnesses. The face of Nature changes not with the variations of fashion. One state of society may be somewhat more favourable to the development of genius than another; but wherever its divine seed is cast, there will it strike its roots far beneath the surface of artificial life, and rear its branches into the heavens, far above the busy haunts of common mortals.
ART. XI. Marcian Colonna, an Italian Tale, with Three Dramatic Scenes, and other Poems. By BARRY Cornwall. 8vo. pp. 190. Warren, London, 1820.
IF F it be the peculiar province of Poetry to give delight, this author should rank very high among our poets: And, in spite of his neglect of the terrible passions, he does rank very high in our estimation. He has a beautiful fancy and a beautiful diction-and a fine ear for the music of verse, and great tenderness and delicacy of feeling. He seems, moreover, to be altogether free from any tincture of bitterness, rancour or jealousy; and never shocks us with atrocity, or stiffens us with horror, or confounds us with the dreadful sublimities of demoniacal energy. His soul, on the contrary, seems filled to overflowing with images of love and beauty, and gentle sorrows, and tender pity, and mild and holy resignation. The character of his poetry is
to soothe and melt and delight: to make us kind and thoughtful and imaginative-to purge away the dregs of our earthly passions, by the refining fires of a pure imagination, and to lap us up from the eating cares of life, in visions so soft and bright, as to sink like morning dreams on our senses, and at the same time so distinct and truly fashioned upon the eternal patterns of nature, as to hold their place before our eyes long after they have again been opened on the dimmer scenes of the world.
Why this should not be thought the highest kind of poetry, we profess ourselves rather at a loss to explain;—and certainly are ourselves often in a mood to think that it is so; and to believe that the more tremendous agitations of the breast to which the art has so often been made subservient, have attracted more admiration, and engrossed more talent, than ought in justice to have been assigned them. The real lovers of poetry, we suspect, will generally incline their ears most willingly to its softer and more winning strains-nor can we believe that it was for them that its more tumultuous measures were invented. Men of delicate sensibility and inflammable imaginations, do not require the stronger excitement of those boisterous and agonizing emotions, without which it may be difficult to rouse the sympathies of more tardy and rugged natures. The poetical temperament is intrinsically dreamy and contemplative; and subsists in passionate imaginings, and beautiful presentments of the fancy. Wrath and scorn and misanthropy, are scarcely among its natural elements. It has but little legitimate affinity with horror and agony, and none at all with aversion and disgust; nor is it easy to conceive that it should very long maintain its attraction where the predominating feelings it excites are those of dread, astonishment, and disdain. Some strong and gloomy spirits there may be, that really enjoy the stormy trouble of the elements; but the greater and the better part of the lovers of poetry will always be happy to escape to milder and more temperate regions, and to pursue their meditations among enchantments of a more engaging character, and forms of a gentler aspect.
Of such enchantments Mr Cornwall is a great master; and we are happy to meet him again, with his train of attendant spirits. This volume is very like the two former; and we need not here repeat what we have so lately said of their general character. There is the same pervading sweetness--the same gentle pathos-the same delicacy of fancy, and the same fine finishing of verse and of diction-together with something of the same mannerism, and the same occasional weakness.
• Marcian Colonna,' which stands so conspicuously in the title-page, is the longest poem which the author has yet attempt