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within, the depth increases to five or six fathoms, and continues so for about ten miles into the interior.-They gave to the port the name of Macquarie, and to the river that of Hastings. In the neighbourhood were great quantities of the gum tree, of rose wood, and of coal. A stratum of this mineral appeared to pervade the whole of the south side of the harbour as far as Camden. It is intended to make this spot the Botany-bay of New South Wales, instead of the Coal River.
These expeditions of Mr. Oxley have, we conceive, pretty nearly settled two points of some importance. The first is that colonization is not very likely to extend beyond two hundred miles from the eastern coast; and that, from the nature of the interior, the settlers will have nothing to apprehend from any foreign power planting its subjects on the western shore, as was once said to be the intention of the French. The second is the improbability of either the Lachlan or the Macquarie reaching any part of the sea coast, and the total inutility of both for any commercial purposes. Indeed we may now venture to go a step further, and assert that no river of any magnitude empties itself into the sea, on the northern, western or southern coasts of New Holland.
It was satisfactorily ascertained that in those parts of the coast examined by Captain Flinders, D'Entrecasteau and Baudin, no river of any magnitude discharged its waters into the sea; and that most of the great openings or inlets terminated either in low swampy land, or salt marshes, or were bounded by sand hills. These navigators, however, still left unexamined a line of coast on the western side, extending from lat. 22° to 11° S. bearing the names of De Witt's land, Dampier's land, and Van Diemen's land. The greater part of this coast had never been even seen, much less investigated. It was possible, therefore, that in some part of it a considerable river or rivers might exist to drain off the waters from this immense continent; and it was not an unreasonable speculation, that, as the Macquarie and all the inferior streams in its neighbourhood tended to the northward and westward, one or all of them might find their way across the continent and be discharged into the sea on the north-western coast. This supposition was rendered the more probable, as our old and excellent navigator Dampier had recorded his opinion of a great strait or river opening out behind the Archipelago of the Rosemary Islands; a conclusion to which he was led by the circumstance of a remarkable current setting out from the coast beyond those islands, sufficiently strong to prevent his vessel from approaching the main land.
This conjecture, however, has not been verified. Lieutenant King was sent out by the Admiralty about two years ago to survey
the remaining part of the coast of Australia, commencing with the southern extremity of Terre de Witt, near which the Archipelago in question is situated. He began his examination at Vlaming's Head, or the North-west cape, in lat. 21° 45', which he found to be the northern extremity of a deep bay to which he gave the name of Exmouth Gulf. It contained excellent anchoring ground in every part; but the surrounding shores were sandy and sterile, and without any stream falling into the bay.
From Vlaming's Head to lat. 20° 30′ and from long. 114° to 118° the space was occupied by a group of islands, to which he gave the name of Dampier's Archipelago. One of them is the Rosemary Island of that great navigator, near which, and indeed through all the passages of the Archipelago, he found the tide running strong; but nothing in the shape of a river appeared on any part of the coast, which was generally low and covered with mangroves, behind which was observed an extensive tract of inundated marshy country like that described by Lieutenant Oxley.
Having examined the Archipelago, Lieutenant King stood out to sea, and made the coast again in lat. 12° near that part which in the charts is named Cape Van Diemen. This cape was found to be the northern extremity of an island, between which and the continent was a narrow strait; and to the eastward of this was another island, separated in like manner by a strait from one to three miles wide, with fine anchorage through the whole extent; the shores on either side being thickly lined with mangroves. Between these two islands, and the Arnheim's Land' of the charts, is a deep gulf with good anchorage in every part, to which Lieutenant King gave the name of Van Diemen's Gulf. In the bottom of this was discovered an opening, which appeared to be the outlet of a considerable river meandering through a low marshy country; the banks were covered with mangroves, but the open plain behind was clothed with thick coarse grass, as far as the eye could reach from a point thirty miles up the river, to which distance the Lieutenant ascended: here it was about a quarter of a mile in width, and from three to four fathoms in depth; it exhibited, however, no indications of a large river, but appeared rather a great drain, with no other current than what was given to it by the ebbing and flowing of the tide.
Lieutenant King, we understand, is still employed in completing the survey of the 8 or 9 degrees of latitude on the north-west coast, which still remained to be examined; but, from the apparent nature of that coast, he entertained but slender hopes of any great river being discovered. It is just possible, that the waters of the Macquarie, and the numerous streams which Lieutenant Oxley discovered, all running to the northward, may be
drained off by the deep channel which opens out into Van Diemen's Gulf; but, even in this case, it can only be a mere drain, the little elevation above the sea of the point from whence Mr. Oxley returned, and its great distance, (being at least 2000 miles from the gulf,) scarcely admitting of the possibility of the water running in a continued current. Probability however is against the supposition; and it may rather be concluded that the surface of this vast country somewhat resembles that of a shallow basin whose margin surrounds the sea coasts, from which the waters, descending towards the interior, form a succession of swamps and morasses, or perhaps a vast mediterranean sea.
It is satisfactory to know, that the survey of the whole coast of this immense island will be completed by British navigators; and that Lieutenant King had proceeded to put the finishing hand to this survey long before Captain Freycinet, of the French ship Uranie, since wrecked, had arrived at Port Jackson.
ART. III.—1. Il Conte di Carmagnola: Tragedia, di Alessandro Manzoni. Milano. 1820.
2. Ricciarda: Tragedia, di Ugo Foscolo. Londra. 1820. 3. Francesca da Rimini: Tragedia, di Silvio Pellico. Milano.
IT T is remarkable that, in proportion to her abundance and richness in every other department of literature, Italy has been singularly barren of excellence in the higher walks of the drama. Indeed, with the exception of Alfieri, she has no one great name in tragedy. Among the Romans it is perhaps not difficult to aċcount for the deficiency. The character of that people seemed to require a sterner and less intellectual kind of diversion; and though Roscius was a Roman, and though Cicero pleaded for him, we hear in their writings far more often of the arena than of the theatre. In general their imaginations rarely indulged in invention; they acquiesced in their own poverty, and were content to copy with servility the fanciful mythology of the Greeks, considering it as their highest praise if they transfused it with felicity into their own language. In fact, the poet was not commanded to look abroad into nature, or to strike out a path for himself:
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ vos exemplaria Græca
Nocturnâ versate manu, versate diurnâ,'
was the constant advice of their most consummate critic.
Nor, perhaps, had they reverted to their own history, would they have found much to inspire the tragic poet. Elevating subjects would not indeed have been wanting; but there was a rigid uniformity in their earlier manners, little adapted to the free
workings of the passions; while tenderness and the softer emotions might seem, as it were, under a proscription among them, appearing to excite little interest or sympathy. They were on the whole a stately, a formal, and, as far as the nature which poetry delights to paint is concerned, an unnatural people. Hence in the modern tragedies on Roman subjects, Coriolanus, and Julius Cæsar, and Cato, as well as in those of Corneille and Alfieri, the lofty energy and laboured dignity of the men are exalted and truly tragical; but every address to the softer feelings, every attempt at the pathetic, either entirely fails or appears misplaced. They are too austere to move pity; and even the female characters partake of the general severity; if they are drawn faithfully, they awaken no interest; we cannot feel for those who, as it were, disdain our compassion: if they are, as females must be in poetry to awaken our sympathies, tender, gentle, or ardent, they are out of keeping with the general tone of the picture; they become women, but cease to be Romans.
But as their characters were little formed for the entertaining, so was the language of the Romans peculiarly ill-adapted to the free expression, of earnest and vivid emotion. Though wrought by the exquisite skill of Terence to an easy felicity of commonlife dialogue; when it aspired to great strength or dignity, it seemed to require an artful and elaborate collocation of words. It admitted not the being abrupt and unfinished; every word in each sentence had its proper place; and this construction is more forced and artificial than in other languages: it delighted in inversion, and whoever will read the dry chips,' as they have been called, of the pseudo Seneca, will perceive that all the failure is not to be traced to the frigidity of the poet; passion itself seems to speak the language with effort; the inflexible idiom will not yield to the rapid transitions, and imperfect phrases, of empassioned dialogue; it must be laboured into precision, or it becomes unintelligible.
But the modern Italians, the slaves of vehement and intense passion, with their annals full of those subjects on which the dramatic poet delights to exercise his powers, striking events brought about by characters under the influence of impetuous and ardent feeling, and confined within a narrow sphere of action;-the modern Italians, with a language equally capable of expressing the most violent and tumultuous agitation of the soul, or of melting to the most luxurious softness-have nevertheless abandoned those sources of interest and excitement, which almost forced themselves upon them; have neglected a history tragic in every page, and abounding in terrific crime and generous virtue; and have wasted their skill and power on subjects alien to their
genius and national character. We shall not pause to inquire in what manner the peculiar political circumstances of Italy may have operated to discountenance the national drama; how far the want of a metropolis may have been felt, and the existence of one theatre, whose taste, decisive of fame or of condemnation, might have stimulated dramatic talent to attempt every possible way of pleasing an audience, where it is probable that sooner or later the right string would be touched, and, having been found in unison with the hearts of the people, would have invited some masterly hand to strike it. For, unquestionably, in the earlier times, had any genius arisen of transcendant excellence in this line, the Italian princes who, whether from ostentation, or from real love of intellectual enjoyment, fostered the fine arts, would have vied for the patronage of a poet so eminent; and in the republics, however absorbed in domestic faction, the power and influence of such a writer would have been at once acknowledged. The real solution of the difficulty assuredly is, that all those who might perhaps themselves have done better things, or at least have led the way and directed the poetic feeling into the proper channel, deliberately preferred servile imitation. They turned aside from the dark feuds among the princes of their own country; from the wild and picturesque warfare of their condottieri; from the records of cities, every one of which was full of Montagues and Capulets; from their expeditions among the islands of the Archipelago; from the adventures which at one period occurred daily upon their coasts, the meetings of Christians and Saracens, and the consequent tales of hazard and captivity; and from the fierce divisions of families on account of political or religious difference. Guelfs and Ghibellines, Bianchi and Neri, were left to the precise page of the annalist, or the romantic tale of the novelist; while tragedy was occupied in awakening the spirits of the departed heroes of Greece,-who arose indeed at their call, but how unlike their noble prototypes! We are not altogether, however, without suspicion, that our own early associations may, to a certain degree, have misled our judgement. What Lord Byron has said of Venice being endeared and hallowed to us, as it were, by Shakspeare and Otway, is not less true of Italy in general. From the Italian novelists our own great tragic writers drew most of their successful pieces; and, consequently, the scene of most of our popular dramas, with the exception of those founded on our own history, is laid in some one or other of the Italian cities. Hence Verona and Milan, and Florence, and Naples, are to us as the sacred places of tragedy; we cannot hear of the Rialto without thinking at once of Shylock, of Othello, and of Pierre; while, perhaps, those very