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Heav'n first taught letters for some wretch's aid,
Some banish'd lover, or some captive maid;

They live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires,
Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires;
The virgin's wish without her fears impart,
Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart;
Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul,
And waft a sigh from Indus to the pole.

́Eloisa to Abelard, 1. 51.

These thoughts are pretty: they suit Pope, but not Eloisa.
Satan, enraged by a threatening of the angel Gabriel, answers


Then when I am thy captive talk of chains,
Proud limitary cherub; but ere then
Far heavier load thy self expect to feel

From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's King
Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers,
Us'd to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels
In progress through the road of heav'n star-pav'd.

Paradise Lost, Book IV.

The concluding epithet forms a grand and delightful image, which cannot be the genuine offspring of rage.

Fourth. Sentiments too artificial for a serious passion. I give for the first example a speech of Percy expiring:

O, Harry, thou hast robb'd me of my youth:

I better brook the loss of brittle life,

Than those proud titles thou hast won of me;

They wound my thoughts, worse than thy sword my flesh.

But thought's the slave of life, and life time's fool;

And time, that takes survey of all the world,

Must have a stop.

First Part, Henry IV. Act V. Sc. 4.

Livy inserts the following passage in a plaintive oration of the Locrenses, accusing Pleminius the Roman legate of oppression.

In hoc legato vestro, nec hominis quicquam est, Patres Conscripti, præter figuram et speciem; neque Romani civis, præter habitum vestitumque, et sonum lingua Latina. Pestis et bellua immanis, quales fretum, quondam, quo ab Sicilia dividimur, ad perniciem navigantium circumsedisse, fabulæ ferunt.*

The sentiments of the Mourning Bride, are for the most part, no
less delicate than just copies of nature: in the following exception
the picture is beautiful, but too artful to be suggested by severe grief.
Almeria. O no! Time gives increase to my afflictions.
The circling hours, that gather all the woes
Which are diffus'd through the revolving year,
Come heavy laden with th' oppressive weight
To me; with me, successively they leave

The sighs, the tears, the groans, the restless cares,
And all the damps of grief, that did retard their flight.

Conscript fathers! in this your legate there is nought of man save his figure and species; nor is there ought of a Roman citizen save his habit and dress, and the sound of the Latin tongue. He is a pest and a great brute, such as those which the sea that drives us from Sicily is fabled to have engendered for the destruction of sailors. Titus Livius, 1. 29. § 17.

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In the same play, Almeria, seeing a dead body, which she took to be Alphonso's, expresses sentiments strained and artificial, which nature suggests not to any person upon such an occasion.

Had they, or hearts, or eyes, that did this deed?
Could eyes endure to guide such cruel hands?
Are not my eyes guilty alike with theirs,
That thus can gaze, and yet not turn to stone?
-I do not weep! The springs of tears are dry'd,
And of a sudden I am calm, as if

All things were well; and yet my husband's murder'd!
Yes, yes, I know to mourn: I'll sluice this heart,
The source of wo, and let the torrent loose.

Act V. Sc. 2.

Lady Trueman. How could you be so cruel to defer giving me that joy which you knew I must receive from your presence? You have robb'd my life of some hours of happiness that ought to have been in it. Drummer, Act V.

Pope's Elegy to the memory of an unfortunate lady, expresses delicately the most tender concern and sorrow that one can feel for the deplorable fate of a person of worth. Such a poem, deeply serious and pathetic, rejects with disdain all fiction. Upon that account, the following passage deserves no quarter; for it is not the language of the heart; but of the imagination indulging its flights at ease; and by that means is eminently discordant with the subject. It would be a still more severe censure, if it should be ascribed to imitation, copy: ing indiscreetly what has been said by others:

What though no weeping loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?
What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flow'rs be drest,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow;
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade

The ground, now sacred by they reliques made.

Fifth. Fanciful or finical sentiments. Sentiments that degenerate into point or conceit, however they may amuse in an idle hour, can never be the offspring of any serious or important passion. In the Jerusalem of Tasso, Tancred, after a single combat, spent with fatigue and loss of blood, falls into a swoon; in which situation, understood to be dead, he is discovered by Erminia, who was in love with him o distraction. A more happy situation cannot be imagined, to raise grief in an instant to its height; and yet, in venting her sorrow, she descends most abominably into antithesis and conceit, even of the Lowest kind:

E in lui versò d'inessicabil vena
Lacrime, e voce di sospiri mista.
In che misero punto or qui me mena
Fortuna a che veduta amara e trista !

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Armida's lamentation respecting her lover Rinaldo,* is in the same vicious taste.

Queen. Give me no help in lamentation,

I am not barren to bring forth complaints:
All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes
That I, being govern'd by the wat'ry moon,
May send forth plenteous tears to drown the world,
Ah, for my husband, for my dear Lord Edward.

King Richard III. Act II. Sc. 2,

Jane Shore. Let me be branded for the public scorn,
Turn'd forth, and driven to wander like a vagabond,
Be friendless and forsaken, seek my bread
Upon the barren wild, and desolate waste,
Feed on my sighs and drink my falling tears;
Ere I consent to teach my lips injustice,

Or wrong the Orphan who has none to save him.
Jane Shore, Act IV.

Give me your drops, ye soft-descending rains,
Give me your streams, ye never-ceasing springs,
That my sad eyes may still supply my duty,
And feed an everlasting flood of sorrow.

Jane Shore, Act V.

Jane Shore utters her last breath in a witty conceit.

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Then all is well, and I shall sleep in peace
'Tis very dark, and I have lost you now-

Was there not something I would have bequeath'd you?
But I have nothing left me to bestow,

Nothing but one sad sigh. Oh mercy, Heav'n! [Dies.

Act V.

Gilford to Lady Jane Gray, when both were condemned to die

Thou stand'st unmov'd;

Calm temper sits upon thy beauteous brow;
Thy eyes that flow'd so fast for Edward's loss,
Gaze unconcern'd upon the ruin round thee,
As if thou hadst resolv'd to brave thy fate,
And triumph in the midst of desolation.
Ha! see, it swells, the liquid crystal rises,
It starts in spite of thee-but I will catch it,
Nor let the earth be wet with dew so rich.

Lady Jane Gray, Act IV. near the end.
* Canto 20. Stan. 124, 125, and 126...

The concluding sentiment is altogether finical, unsuitable to the importance of the occasion, and even to the dignity of the passion of love.

Corneille, in his Examen of the Cid, answering an objection, that his sentiments are sometimes too much refined for persons in deep distress, observes, that if poets did not indulge sentiments more ingenious or refined than are prompted by passion, their performances would often be low, and extreme grief would never suggest but exclamations merely. This is in plain language to assert, that forced thoughts are more agreeable than those that are natural, and ought to be preferred.

The second class is of sentiments that may belong to an ordinary passion, but are not perfectly concordant with it, as tinctured by a singular character.

In the last act of that excellent comedy, The Careless Husband, Lady Easy, upon Sir Charles's reformation, is made to express more violent and turbulent sentiments of joy, than are consistent with the mildness of her character:

Lady Easy-O the soft treasure! O the dear reward of long-desiring love.Thus! thus to have you mine, is something more than happiness; 'tis double life, and madness of abounding joy.

If the sentiments of a passion ought to be suited to a peculiar character, it is still more necessary that actions be suited to the character. In the fifth act of the Drummer, Addison makes his gardener act even below the character of an ignorant credulous rustic: he gives him the behavior of a gaping idiot.

The following instances are descriptions rather than sentiments, which compose a third class.

Of this descriptive manner of painting the passions, there is in the Hippolytus of Euripides, Act V. an illustrious instance, namely, the speech of Theseus, upon hearing of his son's dismal exit In Racine's tragedy of Esther, the Queen hearing of the decree issued against her people, instead of expressing sentiments suitable to the occasion, turns her attention upon herself, and describes with accu racy her own situation:


Juste Ciel! tout mon sang dans mes veines sé glace.
Act I. Sc. 3.

Aman. C'en est fait. Mon orgueil est forcé de plier. L'inexorable Aman est réduit à prier. Esther, Act III. Sc. 5.

Athalie. Quel prodige nouveau me trouble et m'embarrasse?
La douceur de sa voix, son enfance, sa grace,
Font insensiblement à mon inimitié

Succéder-Je serois sensible à la pitié ?

Athalie, Act II. Sc. 7.

Titus. O de ma passion fureur désesperée!

Brutus of Voltaire, Act III. Sc. 6.

What other are the foregoing instances but describing the passion

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A man stabbed to the heart in a combat with his enemy, expresses himself thus:

So, now I am at rest:

I feel death rising higher still, and higher,
Within my bosom; every breath I fetch
Shuts up my life within a shorter compass:
And like the vanishing sound of bells, grows less
And less each pulse, 'till it be lost in air.


Captain Flash, in a farce composed by Garrick, endeavors to hide his fear by saying, "What a damn'd passion I am in."

An example is given above of remorse and despair expressed by genuine and natural sentiments. In the fourth book of Paradise Lost, Satan is made to express his remorse and despair in sentiments, which, though beautiful, are not altogether natural: they are rather the sentiments of a spectator, than of a person who actually is tormented with these passions.

The fourth class is of sentiments introduced too early or too late. Some examples mentioned above belong to this class. Add the following from Venice Preserv'd, Act V. at the close of the scene between Belvidera and her father Priuli. The account given by Belvidera of the danger she was in, and of her husband's threatening to murder her, ought naturally to have alarmed her relenting father, and to have made him express the most perturbed sentiments. Instead of which he dissolves into tenderness and love for his daughter, as if he had already delivered her from danger, and as if there were a perfect tranquillity:

Canst thou forgive me all my follies past?
I'll henceforth be indeed a father; never,
Never more thus expose, but cherish thee,
Dear as the vital warmth that feeds my life,

Dear as those eyes that weep in fondness o'er thee:
Peace to thy heart.

Immoral sentiments exposed in their native colors, instead of being concealed or disguised, compose the fifth class.

The Lady Macbeth, projecting the death of the King, has the following soliloquy:

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This speech is not natural. A treacherous murder was never perpetrated, even by the most hardened miscreant, without compunction: and that the lady here must have been in horrible agitation, appears from her invoking the infernal spirits to fill her with cruelty, and to stop up all avenues to remorse. But in that state of mind, it is a never-failing artifice of self-deceit, to draw the thickest veil over the wicked action, and to extenuate it by all the circumstances that

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