Page images

succession *. This fluctuation, in the case of a real passion, will be expressed externally by proper sentiments ; and ought to be imitated in writing and acting. Accordingly, a climax shows never better than in expressing a swelling passion. The following passages shall suffice for an illustration.



raise the dead?
Pursue and overtake the wings of time?
And bring about again, the hours, the days,
The years, that made me happy?

Oroonoko, ačt 2. sc. 2.


How hast thou charm'd The wildness of the waves and rocks to this? That thus relenting they have giv’n thee back To earth, to light and life, to love and me?

Mourning Bride, act 1. sc. 7.

I would not be the villain that thou think'st For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp, And the rich earth to boot.

Macbeth, at 4. sc. 4.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


The following passage expresies finely the
progress of conviction.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Let me not stir, nor breathe, left I dissolve
That tender, lovely form, of painted air,
So like Almeria. Ha! it sinks, it falls;
I'll catch it ere it goes, and grasp her shade.
Tis life! 'tis warm! 'tis she! 'tis she herself!
It is Almeria ! 'tis, it is my wife!

Mourning Bride, azt 2. sc. 6.

In the progress of thought, our resolutions become more vigorous as well as our passions.

[ocr errors]

If ever I do yield or give consent,
By any action, word, or thought, to wed
Another Lord ; may then just Heav'n show'r
down, &c.

Mourning Bride, ačt 1. fc. 1.

And this leads to a second obfervation, That the different stages of a passion, and its different directions, from its birth to its extinction, ought to be carefully re- v presented in the sentiments, which otherwise will often be misplaced. Resentment, for example, when provoked by an atrocious injury, discharges itself first upon the


author. Sentiments therefore of revenge take place of all others, and must in some measure be exhausted before the perfon injured think of pitying himself, or of grieving for his present distress. In the Cid of Corneille, Don Diegue having been affronted in a cruel manner, expresses scarce

any sentiment of revenge, but is totally occu: pied in contemplating the low situation to which he was reduced by the affront.

Que pour

pour moi!

O rage! ô desespoir ! ô vieillesse ennemie!
N'ai je donc tant vecu que pour cette infamie?
Et ne suis-je blanchi dans les travaux guerriers,

voir en une jour fietrir tant de lauriers
Mon bras, qu'avec respect toute l'Espagne admire,
Mon bras, qui tant de fois a sauvé cet empire,
Tant de fois affermi le trône de son roi,
Trahit donc ma querelle, et ne fait rien
O cruel souvenir de ma gloire passée !
Oeuvre de tant de jours en un jour effacée!
Nouvelle dignité fatale à mon bonheur !
Precipice élevé d'ou tombe mon honneur !
Faut-il de votre éclat voir triompher le Comte,
Et mourir sans vengeance, ou vivre dans la honte?
Comte, fois de mon Prince à present gouverneur,
Ce haut rang n'admet point un homme fans honneur;
Et con jaloux orgueil par cet affront infigne,
Malgré le choix du Roi, m'en a sú rendre indigne.


Et toi, de mes exploits glorieux instrument,
Mais d'un corps tout de glace inutile ornement,
Fer jadis tant à craindre, et qui dans cette offense
M'as servi de parade, et non pas de defense,
Va, quitte deformais le dernier des humains,
Palle pour me vanger en de meilleures mains.

Le Cid, ačt 1. sc. 4.

These sentiments are certainly not whát oća cur to the mind in the first movements of the passion. In the same manner as in resentment, the first movements of grief are always directed upon its object. Yet with relation to the sudden and severe diltemper that seized Alexander bathing in the ria ver Cydnus, Quintus Curtius describes the first emotions of the army as directed upon themselves, lamenting that they were left without a leader far from home, and had scarce any hopes of returning in safety.

Their King's distress, which must naturally have been their first concern, occupies them but in the second place according to that author. In the Aminta of Tasso, Sylvia, upon a report of her lover's death, which she believed certain, instead of bemoaning the loss of a beloved object, turns her

thoughts thoughts upon herself, and wonders her heart does not break.

Ohime, ben son di fasso,
Poi che questa novella non m'uccide.

AET 4. sc. 20

In the tragedy of Jane Shore, Alicia, in the full purpose of destroying, her rival, has the following reflection :

Oh Jealousy! thou bane of pleasing friendship,
Thou worst invader of our tender bosoms;
How does thy rancour poison all our softness,
And turn our gentle natures into bitterness?
See where she comes! Once my heart's deareft

blessing, Now my chang'd eyes are blasted with her beauty, , Loathe that known face, and ficken to behold her.

AEt 3. sc. 1.


These are the reflections of a cool specta

A passion while it has the ascendant, and is freely indulged, suggests not to the man who feels it any fentiment to its own prejudice. Reflections like the foregoing, occur not to him readily till the passion havę spent its vigor,


« PreviousContinue »