Sivut kuvina
PDF

i

and beauty, who at first encouraged his addresses, and after having raised him to the highest pinnacle of expectation, surfdenly rejected him with scorn, Fazio however takes refuge from his

deluded hopes in the arms of Bianca;, and has been married to her two years when the play opens. In the first scene Bianca

gently reproaches Fazio with his love for alchemy, the study of which withdraws too much of his attention from herself; her jealousy next attacks his former love, the haughty Aldabella, to whom Fazio, by his warm defence of her virtues, appears still to preserve a lingering attachment. As he ponders over the wealth. which he might derive from his discovery of the transmuting powers of alchemy, a groan is heard, and on the door being opened, Bartolo, an old usurer, whose character had beet; before discussed, enters wounded by the daggers of some assassins, who

had attacked him in the hopes of plunder. In this however they

are disappointed, but as the old miser glories in the escape of his ducats, he dies of the wound which their veugeauce had inflicted,

A sudden thought strikes Fazio that he might turn this accident

to his own advantage; he privately buries the body of the usurer
in the garden, and going instantly to his house, plunders it of gold
sufficient to raise him to the first rank in Florence. In the second
act, Fazio appears in his new palace, with a circle of courtiers and
flatterers around him. In the next scene, Aldabella, hearing of
his sudden elevation, draws him again within the lure of her
charms. His virtuous resolutions fail him, and at the close of
the second act we find him, like Barnwell, partaking of a banquet
in the house of Aldabella. In the third act, Bianca is discovered
in much agitation on account of the absence of Fazio; she hears
that he is in the house of Aldabella, and in the moment of
vengeance hastens to the court of inquest, which is then sitting
upon the sudden disappearance of old Bartolo, and informs them
where the dead body is to be found. It is discovered in the
garden of Fazio with the marks of violence upon it, Fazio is
therefore supposed to be the murderer, and in spite of all the
protestations of Bianca, who was desirous only thus to detach
him from Aldabella, not to betray him to punishment, he is
condemned to die; and with this sentence the act concludes. In
£he fourth act, Bianca exerts all her eloquence with the former
friends of Fazio to intercede in his behalf, but in vain. She then
implures the powerful interference of Aldabella, who receives
her with coldness and scorn. In the fifth act is the parting
scene between Fazio and Bianca: she, after his execution,
bursts into the apartment of Aldabella, who had entertained on
that night the Duke and all the courtiers of Florence. The
innocence of her husband is discovered, Aldabella is sent into
banishment, and the play concludes with the death of Bianca.
* 1E e 2 Such

[ocr errors][merged small]

Such is the plot of the Tragedy before us. It is the aim of .

Mr. Milman, as he informs us in his preface, to “revive our old national drama with greater simplicity of plot,” and in this aim we think that he has succeeded. . We must express our wish however, that the developement of the plot had been more artificial, which would have been perfectly consistent with the utmost simplicity. The plot of the OEdipus Tyranuus is simple enough, but the developement is so artificial, as to keep the spectator in the deepest suspence even to the end. Were the Tragedy before us to be represented, (as we should hope that it would with a few alterations) the interest, even in the minds of a more enlightened audience than our theatres can generally boast, would cease at the end of the third act. We should therefore advise the first act to be lengthened into two; and the death of Bartolo not to take place till toward the end of the seeond. The character is so well drawn that we do not wish to lose him so early. There is perhaps too little artifice in the seduction of

Fazio by Aldabella, or in the sudden jealousy of Bianca. Both

of these are capable of being much more artificially heightened
by circumstances and situations, which would create in the minds
of the audience a more powerful interest. The fourth and fifth
acts might be easily compressed into one, as in their present state
they would drag considerably in their representation. . The sup-
posed guilt of Fazio, and his real innocence, should both be
confirmed by stronger testimony than that of Bianca. With
these or similar alterations, we are of opinion that the plot of
Fazio is fully caleulated to produce its desired effect.
The characters next claim our attention. The wanton, the
proud, the eold, the inexorable Aldabella, the Milwood of a
higher circle, stands foremost in the groupe, and is not less hap-
pily conceived than pourtrayed. The glimpse which we catch of
Bartolo in a single scene, inclines us to wish that Mr. Milman
had assigned to him a longer existence. The keen and jealous.

affection of Bianca is well managed, and kept up with spirit to

the end. The hero, Fazio, is, perhaps, the most defective character in the piece; as we cannot sufficiently account for those

violent changes which affect his conduct; his robbing of the dead

Bartolo, and his reconciliation with Aldabella, are both too suddenly accomplished, especially as Mr. Milman has thrown a certainsternness of sentimentinto the character which would appear to resist such rapid transitions. We should trace these changes to some more satisfactory cause. Of the flatterers, and especially of Dondolo, the dandy, we presume, of Florence, we hardly know how to speak; lighter characters are wanted to relieve the sombre cast of tragedy; and with a little alteration these might answer the purpose. •r

Of

[graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Of the language and sentiments we now proceed to speak: and perhaps a more difficult task was never assigned us. If we did not allow many whole speeches, may whole scenes to be exquisitely beautiful, we should not do justice to Mr. Milman; and if we were to pass over, without censure, certain prominent errors, we should not do justice to ourselves. Mr. Milman is no ordinary scholar, and the language in which he has clothed his thoughts fully declares him to be such. But the principal fault with which this tragedy abounds, is the too great display of poetical imagery, and the want of the language of common life. By this we do not mean cold and pointless dialogue, but that dignified simplicity of diction which acts as a foil to the more high-flown and poetical language of the Tragic Muse. Mr. Milman has a fertile and a vivid fancy, but it sometimes hurries him into the concetti of the modern Italian school, which his own good taste would, in the composition of another, teach him most justly to reprehend. His images indeed, are classical, his metaphors are just and powerful, but they both occur too often to give their due and desired effect. The ornaments of Mr. Milman are too classically and elegantly meretricious. Chastity in expression, and sometimes even in conception, must be his future aim. Should this or any other play of our author be produced upon the stage, he cannot be made too acutely sensible of the clownish risibility of an English audience, who, when once put out of their tragic taste by some unfortunate

conceit, continue to titter throughout the whole performance.

We leave it for those, who may find it more to their purpose, to
particularise each error in conception or language, it is enough
for us generally to state their existence; and to leave it to that
taste, which Mr. Milman so unquestionably possesses, in some
future effort, to alter and amend them. They are faults of exube-
rance, not of poverty; the remedy, therefore, is not difficult of
application. - -
We now turn, with much satisfaction, to the beauties with
which this composition abounds. The scene of Bartolo's
death is well managed. -

[merged small][ocr errors]

- “ BARTOL0.
“Thank ye, my friend! Ha! hal has my old limbs!
I did not think them half so tough and sinewy,
St. Dominic! but their pins prick'd close and keen.
Six of 'em, strong and sturdy, with their daggers,
Tickling the old man to let loose his ducats,
- . ** FAzio,
“Who, neighbour, who :
- - * BART.olo:

[graphic]

“ BART.olo.

- “Robbers, black crape-faced robbers,
Your only blood-suckers, that drain your veins,
And yet their meagre bodies aye grow sparer,
They knew that I had monies from the Duke,
But 1 o’erreach'd them, neighbour: not a ducat,
Nay, not a doit, to cross themselves withal,
Got them from old Bartolo—Oh, I bleed!
And my old heart beats minutes like a clock.

-- “ FAZIo.
... “A surgeon, sileud! -
- . . . . - “. BART.o.o.
; : “Aye, one of your kind butchers,
Who cut and slash your flesh for their own pastime,
... And then, God bless the mark! they must have money:
. . . Gold, gold, or nothing! Silver is grown coarse, -
And Ings unhandsomely. Have I escaped robbing,
Qnly to give?—Oh there there! there! Cold, cold,
Cold as December. - - -

- - - - - “ FAzio.
“ Nay, then, a confessor:

... *** * “BART.olo. : “ A confessor one of your black smooth talkers, . . . That drome the name of God incessantly, Like the drear burthen of a doleful ballad! That sing to one of bounteous codicils To the Franciscans or some hospital! . Oh! there's a shooting!—Oozing here!—Aye me! My ducats and my ingots scarcely cold From the hot Indies!—Oh! and I forgot To seal those jewels from the Milan Duke Oh! misery, misery – Just this very day, * ...And that mad spendthrift Angelo hath not sign'd The mertgage on those meadows by the Arno. ! Oh! misery, misery —Yet have I scaped them bravely, And brought my ducats off!— - [Dies.” P. 9.

[ocr errors]

The scene where Fazio discovers to Bianca his ill-gotten wealth is spirited and good. The reproach of Fazio to the Improvisatore, who flatters him upon his newly-acquired fortune, deserves our commendation. . . . . . . . . "

“Fie, sir! O fie!’tis fulsome.
Sir, there's a soil fit for that rank weed flattéry.
To trail its poisonous and obscene clustérs:
A poet’s soul should bear a richar fruitage—
The aconite grew not in Eden. Thou,... . . . . . . .
- - - * That
That thou, with lips tipt with the fire of heaven, -
Th’ excursiye eye, that in its earth-wide range...
Drinks in the grandeur and the loveliness, -
That breathes along this high-wrought world of man; :
That hast within thee apprehensions strong
Of all that's pure and passionless and heavenly—
That thou, a vapid and a mawkish parasite,
Should'st pipe to that witch Fortune's favourites |
'Tis coarse—'tis sickly—’tis as though the eagle
Should spread his sail-broad wings to flap a dunghill; .

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

As though a pale and withering pestilence *: .

Should ride the golden chariot of the sun; . . . . .
As one should use the language of the gods . .
To chatter loose and ribald brothelry.” P. 26. , - '

Upon the subsequent Qde to Italy, we cannot entirely compliment Mr. Milman. The latter end of the second stanza and the third are excellent, the remainder is far too obscure. ... The agony of Bianca, at the discovery of Fazio's treacherous love for Aldabella, is finely expressed, and the whole of the trial scene is worked up in no common style. The parting between Fazio and Bianca has no small share of real pathos. Elié, supposition that Bianca has murdered the children is original, and in the representation would be attended with great effect. o

... “ FAzio. , , , ; ; ; , , , , of § - - . . “ Nay, look cheeringly; . . . . . . . . .” s It may be God doth punish in this world - o To spare hereafter. " " ' " '' . . . . . . ! “ BiANcA. . . . . . o “, Fazio, set me loose – ... . Thou clasp'st thy murderess. . . ."

“FAZio. . . . . . . . . . ..., . . . . . . “ No, it is my love, ’ My wife, my children's mother!—Pardon me, Bianca; but thy children—I’ll not see them; . . * For on the wax of a soft infant's memory . . . . . . ;

Things horrible sink deep and sternly settle

‘’’ ‘I would not have them, in their after-days,"

. . Cherish the image of their wretched father
• In the cold darkness of a prison-house,, . . . . . . . . . .”
Oh, if they ask thee of their father, tell them. . . . . . . .
* That he is dead, but say not how, . . . . . .
* “BIANCA. . . . . . ‘. . . . . . . . .

~ * . . . . . &c No, no- ... : - .
Not tell them that their mother murder'd him. ... ... * *
- “Fazio. -: . . . . . . . of . . .
“But are they well, my love? -- . . . . . . . . . . .

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
« EdellinenJatka »