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Be this, my Lord, the proof that I deceive not,
That thus I speak—for knew I where he is,
In vain thou had'st questioned nor will I be guilty
Of what he does in madness, or his death.

Guelfo. I'll have his blood--or endless tears from thee-
Conquer'd I'm not with vengeance in my grasp ;
He bere, or thou shalt live no longer.
Ricciarda.

I.
Guelfo. Unworthy ! if thou diest for him, thou'rt guilty,
Guiltier, if thou conceal'st him from me-die then.
Ricciarda. Thou sheddest innocent blood-give me the

sword
I, I alone will plunge it in my bosom.
See, I am pale with horror at thy crime;
Not mine own conscience--see, I tremble not-
It was my weakness secretly to love him-
But from that day-to heaven, that only knew it,
I've paid a bitter penalty of sorrow.
Thou hallowed'st our love--for my sake Guido
Did lose his brother-and could I not love him?
Yes, he was here—and armed-yet not in ambush
'Gainst thee—that sword he gave lest he should draw it,
Beholding me as at this dreadful instant.

Guelfo. Ah new! ah horrible anguish! he may see me
A parricide-nor I have power to slay him.

Ricciarda. Give me the sword then-thus I join my mother
For ever-in my hand shall Guido see
The sword-hilt—and thou 'scape the infamy.
And he will weep with thee o'er thy lost child,
Thy bleeding innocent child; and thou, repentant,
Shalt groan, and clasp him to thy heart, and pardon
Win from the eternal mercy !.—Lord of heaven
My blood I shed, so that my father with it
Reek not before thee.
Guelfo.

Ha!--in God thou trustest
In God who only reigneth to avenge.
Already in his deep infernal night,
While yet mine eyes behold the light of day,
He hath plunged me and enveloped-horribly
He rages round my miserable soul,
Dark ’mid his lightnings; never do I utter
His name, but he doth seem to answer me,
“ I wake for vengeance”—and at once revenge
Rekindles then within my mortal bosom,
Because he doth deny me pardon— 'Thee!
But thee alone, my daughter, shall I slay
For my revenge ?-ah me! if thou art innocent,
Thee, God, a mute, a bleeding shade, will send
Unto my sepulchre, to wait the day

When

When from my dust and ashes I shall rise.
Thou wilt not shew them to me—with thy looks
Thou, the sole refuge of my dark sаd life,
E'en now hast pardoned me—but I shall see them,
Those agonies, with which so long ago
I shall have quench'd thy glad and youthful beauty.
And smoke and blood shall issue from the wound,
And God, outstretching his own fiery sword
Unto my heart, shall say-Look, impious, look!
A father thou hast slain thy innocent daughter!
Down, fatal dagger, down,-lead me, my daughter,
To death-I ought no longer now to live.

Ricciarda. Come with me, come-
Guelfo.

Did ever fugitive prince
Find even a tomb secure? I have been mighty,
And shall be scorn'd-1 was their dread, they'll now
Shake fire-brands in my path--e'en now with flames
Yon sea is blazing—that false Tuscan city
Hath throng'd it with her sails, and fires my feet.

Ricciarda. Oh, God unfolds his bosom to the wretched-
Father, oh come—they will but see thee fly
As kings should fly-only to save thy daughter-
Prostrate at the altar, they'll have mercy on us.

Guelfo. On thee they will-on them I ne'er bad mercy!
Infamy, infamy, 'twill be-a sceptre
T'have borne, nor bear it to my grave-fly then,
Here rest I with my sires that knew not fear.

Ricciarda. That I should leave thee!
Guelfo.

I, of all my lineage
The last remain, ere morning, shall have perished.
But thou—shalt thou be then the bastard's spoil
That doth usurp my realm, my arms, my name,
Even of thy last sad tears will he bereave
My corpse—hath he not reft me of my sons ?

Ricciarda. Ah me-avert from that fell steel thine eyes

He hears me not-alas !-more fierce he looks on it.' Rage returns again to the bosom of the tyrant; while Ricciarda embraces her mother's tomb in silent terror, he rushes through the vaults calling on Guido-he comes back, and with his dagger uplifted over her exclaims

• Coward,
Hear me—thou coward, or thy lady dies-
Tremendously I cry again-hear me,
Guido.

I hear thee.'
Guido offers his own life, if the tyrant will spare his daughter.
He approaches to fulfil his offer in spite of the tears of Ricciarda.
The tyrant stabs him—at that moment the victorious troops of
Averardo enter, he then stabs his daughter and finally himself.

Thus

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Thus closes his tragedy, of which at least the last act is wrought with consummate skill and admirable scenic effect. If we lay out of the account the nature of the plot, which some may think too horrible for legitimate tragedy, though we confess ourselves of a different opinion, the defects of the drama are too great an unisormity of situation, and an obscurity of style. Our terror is so often appealed to, lest the father should slay his child, that we become in some degree familiarised with the danger, and are of course less moved by it. On the second point we must refer to our former observations on the unfitness of the Latin language for dramatic poetry, most of which apply to the close and pregnant style of Foscolo. It displays indeed great mastery over the language, to comprise so many ideas in so few words; but when our feelings are addressed, we like not the having to dwell on sentences, the antithetical force and fuliness of which occasionally remind us of Tacitus. We either hurry on without having received into our minds the whole meaning of the author, or we pause so long as to lose the spirit of the scene. But these defects are nobly counterbalanced by the general impression of poetic power which the whole piece bears; by the conception and execution of the characters which appear to us truely tragic and original. There is something tremendous in Guelfo, whose vigilant suspicion finds aliment in the most trivial circumstances; and who is so deep in guilt, as to take pride in hardening himself in his atrocity. God to him, he thinks, must be a God of vengeance; he has sinned beyond hope of mercy, therefore he must go on; his is a fine exemplification of that faith of the devils, who believe and tremble.' Yet, even in him, nature sometimes speaks; gleams of parental affection pass across the gloom of his spirit; he wavers and is irresolute, till some new occurrence excites him again to frenzy, and he abandons himself to the guidance of furious passion. Ricciarda, with the exception which we hinted above, is uniformly pleasing: willing to be the sacrifice, and only anxious that her father may escape the guilt of her death; for this, foregoing even her love for Guido—for this, offering herself to commit suicide. Guido, from his peculiar situation, is more inactive than we should have wished; but there is something imposing in his calm and uniform generosity.

The “ Francesca da Rimini,” of Silvio Pellico, is the poem of ardent and unstudied feeling. There is a natural ease in every expression, and the artifice of the plot seems to originate rather in the instinctive delicacy of the poet's mind, which shrunk from the undisguised relation of an incestuous passion, and felt intuitively the right way of securing the reader's commiseration for the unhappy pair. The play opens with the father (Guido of VOL. XXIV. NO. XLVII.

Ravenna)

G

Ravenna) and (Lancelot of Rimini) the husband of Francesca, who mutually deplore the melancholy which perpetually broods over her, and which they attribute to grief for the death of her brother, by the hand of Paulo, the younger brother of her husband. On the intelligence of the approach of Paulo to Rimini, she had intreated to be sent away; to be sent any where rather than meet him. When she enters she acknowledges her secret sadness.

God hath laid a weight incredible
Of anguish on mine heart, and to endure it
I am resigned. I should have steep'd my life,
Yea all my days, in my unceasing tears,
Alike within the solitary cell,
As in the world. But there I had not made
Another wretched. Freely would my groans
Have issued forth to God, to look with mercy
Upon his child, and take her soon away
From this dark vale of sorrow, Now I

may

not
Even wish to die. I do afflict thee now,
Oh my too generous husband, by my living;
Were I to die, I should afflict thee more.

Lancelot. Oh dutiful, though cruel! still affict me; Steep all my hours in poison-only live.' Lancelot hints at the possibility of her being melancholy from some concealed attachment; he recalls some ambiguous words which she had once uttered.

· Francesca. Ah-even in their delirium, of the wretched
The thoughts are scrutiniz'd: their wretchedness
Is not enough, they must be infamous.
'Gainst the afflicted spirit all conspire-
All, while they feign to pity, hate them. No,
No pity, they but ask a grave. Whene'er
I can no more endure, make me a grave:
Gladly I will go down into its bosom ;

Gladly, so I may fly the face of man.' A stranger is now announced; Francesca hastily retires. It is Paulo, who has been at Byzantium, engaged in war for the Emperor of the East. He knew not, and is now first informed by Lancelot, that Francesca of Ravenna is his wife. Paulo's confusion is attributed to his having slain her brother in battle, and he declares, in agitation, that he must depart again, and go where she is not. In the first scene of the second act, Francesca is about to reveal her dreadful secret to her father; she hints to him that she is the slave of an unlawful, though yet ungratified, passion; but while her father is in the first access of

anger,

and before she declares the object of her attachment, Lancelot enters

to

to intreat her, at Paulo's desire, to see him once before he departs for ever. He too has betrayed to his brother that he is the victim of a hopeless passion, and concealed the object of it. In the third act they meet by accident, and betray their mutual passion in a scene of exquisite simplicity and beauty. They had before met, they had read together in the romance, and (here the author differs from the tradition, to which Dante so tenderly alludes,) they had parted without any declaration. Paulo had afterwards slain her brother by accident, and thought himself hated by her. She, abandoned by him, had thought herself forgotten. They part in the presence of her husband and father; the secret flashes at once upon the former. In the fourth act is an interview between the father and Lancelot. The father had made Francesca swear, at the foot of the altar, that she was still innocent; and with this certainty, that Paulo loves her and is beloved, but that their love is still guiltless, the brothers meet in mingled hostility and affection.

Lancelot. Advance, thou wretched man!
Paulo.

I am not used
To hear such bitter terms, and should have known
On others to retort them. But in thee
My father's power I honour, and am patient.
To a brother or a subject speak’st thou?
Lancelot.

To a brother.
Answer me, Paulo--had she been thy bride,
Had any other stolen her heart from thee,
And had that man been thine own dearest friend
One whom, while he betrayed thee, thou wast clasping,
With love beyond a brother's, to thy bosoin,
What hailst thou done? Deliberate.
Paulo.

I feel
How much it costs thee to be gentle.
Lancelot.

Feel'st thou,
My brother, what it costs me? Thou didst name
Our father; he was gentle to his children
Even though he thought them guilty.
Paulo.

Thou alone
Deservest to succeed him—What shall I say?
Oh how hast thou debased me from my

boldness!
I too did think myself magnanimous;
But ain not like to thee.
Lancelot.

Speak, then-thy bride
Were she?

Paulo. Francesca-never would I brook
The shadow of a rival.
Lancelot.

If thy brother
Dared love her?
G

Paulo.

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