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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
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
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 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
- “ BARTOL0.
- “Robbers, black crape-faced robbers,
-- “ FAZIo.
- - - - - “ FAzio.
... *** * “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.
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.
As though a pale and withering pestilence *: .
Should ride the golden chariot of the sun; . . . . .
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
~ * . . . . . &c No, no- ... : - .