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a profound observer of events himself, but the cause of profound observation in others; for a short conversation with him on politics led Count Boru wlaski to believe, “ that there is a large apple-dumpling made, and now boiling in the pot, for certain princes, which must in due time be ready for their dinner." Here, too, he retrogrades in his narration, to give an account of a pursuit after the philosopher's stone, in which he had been at some former period engaged. Unsuccessful himself in this old-fashioned search, he is kind enough to describe the method he adopted, which sounds too much like gibberish to be intelligible to any but the disciples of Geber. The Count gives us another digression, occasioned by the sight of the “ Henriade” in a gentleman's library, in order to favour us with an account of his introduction to M. de Voltaire, whom he had formerly met at Madame Pompadour's. The first sight of the philosopher produced a most unusual effect on his little admirerit completely silenced him. When the first surprise was over, he made a speech in explanation of his taciturnity and in praise of Voltaire ; on hearing which, “the eyes of that respectable old philosopher filled with an expression of surprise and delight," which he manifested by snatching up the pigmy panegyrist in his arms.
Retracing his steps, the Count returned to Germany, visited Munich and other cities, and at Triersdorff was persuaded by the Margrave and Margravine of Anspach to try his fortune in England. Through this and the sister countries he made expeditions for many years, sometimes giving concerts, and sometimes, we believe, exhibiting himself in a less equivocal manner.
At length, just as he was on the point of setting out for America, he received from some kind and generous friends a sum sufficient to secure to him a moderate independence. His delight at thus terminating wanderings and labours now so unsuited to his years, his new and happy sensations of ease and security, his sincere and lively gratitude, are simply but strongly expressed; he settled himself at Durham near some of his friends, and there he still resides, waiting his summons to that state where every outward distinction will cease, where those who were here “curtailed of this fair proportion, cheated of stature by dissembling Nature,” will as amply fill the glorious robes of light and immortality, as if they had been Earth's fierce issue, the « immania Monstra Gigantes.
“ Not changed ?-Oh sadly changed thou art!
Her virtue form'd her fairest part.
One solemn truth let Reason speak-
Her lover has no more to seek."
ALFIERI'S FILIPPO AND SCHILLER'S DON CARLOS. The circumstances of Don Carlos' death are involved in doubt and mystery. The truth could not be expected from the Spanish bistorians of the time, even if they had known it; and the motives that occasioned the many accusations against Philip II. from other quarters are too apparent, not to inculcate caution in deciding on such testimony. Marianna, who is, however, a bad authority where Philip is the accused, says that “foreigners relate many idle and absurd tales on this subject, which must be considered as wild inventions." The most generally received of these tales is that which ascribes the death of the Prince of Spain to the King's suspicions of his persevering attachment to Elizabeth of Valois, who had been betrothed to Don Carlos before she was married to King Philip. This incident, possessing the highest dramatic interest, but requiring the nicest skill in managing it, has been chosen by the two greatest dramatists of the last half century as the groundwork of their respective plays mentioned at the head of this
article. It is scarcely possible to produce two writers of merit more opposite than Alfieri and Schiller. One is a dramatist of the old, the other, of the new school ; one is disdainful of imagery, and concise even to abruptness of expression; the other florid, diffuse, and eloquent.
Their pieces, therefore, though constructed on the same plot, are as widely different as the genius of the authors.
It is not the object of this paper to say much of the first of these pieces. It has been minutely analysed by a very eminent critic, whose criticism consequently must be often repeated in expatiating upon its beauties. In the character of Philip, Alfieri has vented, that which he enumerates among his dramatic qualifications, his “profonda ferocissima rabbia ed aborrimento contra ogni qualsi. voglia tirannide.” He has painted him a monster, and perhaps he was so ; but it seems unnecessary to describe him as indifferent to his wife's affection.
-J never prized
Shudder with horror. * Schiller, whose profound historical knowledge is a sufficient guarantee for the fidelity of his portraits, has not judged it requisite to deprive this character of all sympathy. His admiration of the generous sentiments of De Posa serves to display more forcibly the prejudices of his education, when he can continue to act in opposition to those sentiments; and the situation of the Queen becomes still more interesting, when in contending against the ill-fated passion, which it was once not criminal to listen to, she hears from her husband such sentiments as these :
They style me richest in the Christian world ;
The extracts from Alfieri are given in the words of Mr. Lloyd's translation. the excellence of which renders a new version unnecessary,
And many more will after me possess them.
There is the part, where I indeed am mortal. The next difference observable between Alfieri and Schiller is in the character of the Queen. Alfieri takes care to inform his audience, in the first line, that her marriage with the father has not taught her to forget the son. “Love, apprehension, and flagitious hope her breast invade." She invokes their absence, but promotes their stay. In this we think it will be seen that Schiller
' has greatly the advantage. His Elizabeth is the redeeming angel of his piece; she maintains the equipoise, threatened to be shaken on the one hand by the savage barbarity of Philip, and, on the other, by the unruly passions of Carlos: her calm sense of propriety, tempering her unhappy attachment, her melancholy remembrance of past hopes, joined to her steady performance of present duties, awaken our admiration whilst they excite our pity. Had it been otherwise, Schiller's play must have been a tragedy of incest, for he has adhered more closely to the story in portraying the impetuous and rebellious temper of Carlos, than Alfieri, who has made him a more obedient son than he has authority for. With these feelings, then, on the part of Isabella, the lovers meet at the commencement of the piece, and the Queen's demeanour is more indicative of melting tenderness than steady virtue. Alfieri's strict observance of the unity of action, leading him to make the single incident, on which his plot is founded, predominant, nothing occurs, from the first scene to the last, to withdraw the attention from it. When we are introduced to Philip, it is only to observe the development of his suspicions; and the manner in which they are communicated to his minister, tried and finally confirmed, is an evidence of skill that has perhaps never been surpassed. It has been correctly observed, that he has a confidant, to whom he however communicates nothing, allowing him only to derive the benefit of his own conclusions. Behold the confidence which such a king bestows on such a minister.
Philip. What, above all things that this world can give,
Gom. Thy favour.
By what means
By the means that gain'd it:
Thou art call'd This day to practise both. Gomez is then stationed as a silent spy, whilst Philip tortures his unhappy wife with artful interrogatories, tending to induce her to believe that he is acquainted with her secret, then again branching off to some other subject, and thus exposing her agitated mind to the cold and steady gaze of his vile associate. A speech or two will serve to display Alfieri's extraordinary skill in this part of his performance.
Phi. But tell me also, ere the fact I state,
Carlos, my son ?
Isa. My Lord ?
Phi. I understand thee.
Is dear to thec.
Thou lov'st with.... love maternal. Carlos is then introduced, and the same artful form of speech is continued, whilst thus confronted, their mutual glances are watch. ed, and the countenance of each is searched for evidence of the guilt of the other. When they are both dismissed, Philip thus impressively, but with the same cautious spirit of reserve, seeks from the minister a confirmation of his own suspicions.
Philip. Heard'st thou?
Gom. Now is certainty.
We feel convinced that if this were sustained by excellent act. ing, no dramatic representation could possibly be more effective on the stage.
Alfieri sustains an undivided and almost breathless interest for the fate of his lovers to the final scene. The monkish dress and disguise as the apparition of Charles the Fifth is an expedient to force a denouement which is unworthy of the genius of Schiller, and more suitable to the catastrophe of a melo-drama than of a tragedy. “Il Filippo” is a web of calamity which is wound up by regular approaches. It is natural that Isabella should be thrown off her guard by Carlos's arrest:-it is natural that she should believe the specious tale of the means provided for his escape, and eagerly accept the proffered aid to procure her last and secret interview with him in the prison :-it is natural that Carlos, whose feelings are then more calm, should perceive, on the instant, that that aid is the successful accomplishment of long-attempted treachery. He sees that she has been betrayed into a step which admits of no explanation. He asks but the name of the agent. She answers, Gomez. It is sufficient. Philip, the dagger, and the cup, are anticipated before they appear.
In the opening of his plot, Schiller displays very considerable skill. Carlos, like Hamlet, is accosted by a spy, sent by the king to entrap his secret. He perceives the treachery, and evades the inquiries. But he shrinks from the impression that all around are his foes. He has none to listen to his grief, and to solve his doubts. He is in despair, when, at this critical juncture, the companion of his boyhood, the sworn friend of his youth, returns after a long absence.
Carlos falls on his neck in a transport of gratitude and friendship, He confesses his own desolate condition - he implores De Posa not to desert him.
I have no friend-no friend,
Chase me not, Roderick, from this resting-place, Even after this solemn appeal, Carlos hesitates at imparting his dangerous confidence. He makes a second appeal to the feelings of his friend. He reminds him of their youthful days; he calls to his recollection how long his tardy affection was withheld, until Carlos purchased it by a generous act of self-devotion. He repeats the vow then made to discharge the debt of friendship; he claims the fulfilment of that vow, and unburdens his whole soul.
Marquis. (holding forth his hand)
Carlos. Now, now ; Oh linger not! It has arrived.
Marquis. All-powerful God!
Carlos. Nay, I will not be spared. Speak freely out,
All this I know, yet still persist to love. Shocked at such an avowal, and after fruitless endeavours to avert the wo which he sees impending, De Posa consents, under the Prince's solemo promise to undertake nothing without his concurrence, to endeavour to obtain an interview for him with the Queen. Throughout this scene, and the two following, Schiller seems to feel the delicate ground he is treading on, and nothing is communicated without due preparation. The Marquis, admitted to an audience with the Queen to deliver letters, speaks only in parables. The tale which he asserts to have learnt on his return from Naples,