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mystery. It is not, however, my intention to institute any very strict comparison. Indeed, I have but alluded to the two English works, as affording a proof of the difference between our national taste and that of the Germans,-now I will proceed more closely with the Faust.
66 The general character of the play may be described, as formed on the plan of the old moralities and mysteries. It opens with this song in heaven, by the three archangels, Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael."
“ The sun his ancient hymn of wonder
Is pouring out to kindred spheres,
His preappointed course of years.
Though none its dazzling rays withstand,
Creation's dazzling realms expand.
Revolves with uncomputed speed,
Darkness and light by turns succeed.
From deep primeval rocks below,
The rocks that stand, the waves that flow.
From sea to land, from land to main;
The trembling universe enchain.
The lightnings of the dread destroyer
Precede his thunders through the air ;
The servants of his wrath forbear.
Though none its dazzling rays withstand,
Creation's dazzling realms expand.”
“ Then follows a personal conference between the Almighty and Mephistopheles, alias the Devil, of which the idea is taken from the book of Job. Lord Francis has omitted to translate this scene, and, I doubt not, judiciously ; but I should remark to you a true touch of German taste in it. Mephistopheles receives permission to exercise his powers upon Faust, as of old upon Job, and in the end of the play he carries off Faust; thus the author hideously makes the Almighty consenting to the destruction of Faust for the gratification of the Devil. How much finer, and more elevated, and more poetical too, is the Hebrew idea, of making Job withstand the temptation ! How much more awful the conception of Marlowe, in making Doctor Faustus surrender his spirit, so ennobled by knowledge, for mere sensual enjoyments ! But the glory of conceiving the splendidly-endowed Manfred, struggling with the condemnations of remorse, the sequel, if I may so speak, to the enjoyment obtained by the guilty compact, raises Byron, in this instance, as much above both Goethe and Marlowe as the lesson conveyed in Job excels them all. The subject, however, is not exhausted. Job was tried but by afflictions, the temptations of St Anthony, in the hands of a truthpoet, would furnish a richer topic than either.
“ After the colloquy in heaven, the scene opens with Faust in his study: he has exhausted science and art; his curiosity is still hungry, and he is dabbling in magic. All this is very prettily conceived, but it is feebly expressed. A spirit in the end appears, for no purpose earthly. This is a dramatic error,-no character should be introduced in a play. that is not required to the futherance of the plot. The spirit having vanished, Wagner, the secretary to Faust, comes in and interrupts his spell, and a very weak and prosing conversation ensues, intended to be satirical, but the shafts are clumsy and ineffectual. Wagner, too, is of little use in the piece, when he has retired, Faust, however, delivers himself of a soliloquy, which possesses very considerable poetical merit. He is speaking of the interruption produced by Wagner, and of the spirit which had appeared.”
“ Strange that when reason totters hope is firm.
Each slight encouragement renews our toil,
I image of the Godhead, who but now
Almost had bask'd in truth's eternal sun,
For whom the reign of light had just begun,
“ Likeness to thee my clay may not inherit ;
I felt so little, yet so great,
Plumb down to man's uncertain state.
What impulse I may best obey? Whether we suffer, or we do,
We clog existence on its way.
“ What though when fancy's daring wing was young,
" I am not like the gods. Know that I must, Most like the worm, slow wallowing through the dust,
Whom man's destroying foot, if there it strays,
“ Are they not dust, the cases there?
That here and there a luckier wight was seen, ;.
Except to tell me that the brain within
Pulleys and rules, and wheels of toothed brass :
But would not lift the latch to let me pass. For Nature yields not to corporeal force,
Nor suffers man by aid like yours to find What she refuses to the powers of mind, And deep reflection's flow, and study's tranquil course
I have no portion in thee, useless heap Of lumber, aiding once my father's toil:
Parchments and rolls continue still your sleep, Grimed by yon cresset's ever-fuming oil.
Better to waste the substance of my sire,
Than thus encircled by it to expire. All we possess, and use not on the road,
Adds to the burden we must bear,
Enjoyment alleviates our share,
“He then intends to poison himself, and is arrested, in the act of setting the cup to his lips, by the sound of the church-bells and the Easter Hymn. The