Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

produce little corn. The peasants of Swisserland (I mean those who inhabit the mountainous diftricts) live chiefly upon milk, and what results from it, together with potatoes, which are here much cultivated. According to the price of provisions in England, the above lift will appear exceedingly cheap but then it ought at the same time to be considered, that money is very scarce in these parts. Nor indeed is it so much necessary in a country, where there is no luxury; where all the peasantry have, within themselves, more than sufficient for their own consumption; and are tolerably well provided with every neceffary of life from their own little demesnes. I had, to-day, a long conversation with one of the lads, who came with us from Altdorf, and takes care of the horses. He lives upon the mountains of Uri; and, as their winter lafts near eight months of the year, during some part of which time there can be little communication between the several cottages, every family

is of course obliged to lay in their provision for the whole winter. His own, it seems, consists of seven persons, and is provided with the following stores : seven cheeses, each weighing twenty-five pounds; an hundred and eight pounds of hard bread, twenty-five bakers of potatoes, each weighing about forty pounds ; seven goats, and three cows, one of which they kill. The cows and horses (if they keep any) are fed with bay, and the goats with the boughs of firs; which, in a scarcity of bay, they give also to their other cattle. During this dreary seafon the family are employed in making linen, shirts, &c. fufficient for their own use : and, for this purpose, a small patch of the little piece of ground belonging to every cottage, is generally fown with fax. The cultivation of the latter has been much attended to, and with increasing fuccefs, in these mountainous parts of Swifferland.

• The houses are generally built of wood; and it was a natural remark of one of our servants, as we paffed through such a continued chain of rocks; that as there was stone enough to build all the coctages in the country, it was wonderful they should use nothing but wood for that purpose : a remark that has been made by many travellers. But it should seem, that these wooden houses are much sooner constructed, and are easily repaired; that they are built in fo solid and compact a manner (the rooms small, and the ceilings low) as to be fufficiently warm even for fo cold a climate, The chief objedion to them arises from the danger of fire ; as the flames must rage with great rapidity, and communicate easily from one to the other. This inconvenience, however, is in a great measure obviated by the method of building their cottages apart; all their villages conbfting of detached and scattered hamlets. This observation, however, does not hold with respect to some of their largest burghs : and these must consequently be exposed to the ravages of this most dreadful of all calamities. I am, &c.'

The Author gives a summary account of the Helvetic Union, or confederacy, which presents us with a pleasing view of political connexion, on the best of all principles, that of reciprocal support and benefit. We wilhed to extract this part of the work, for the information of such of our Readers as, have no

А а 2

adequate adequate idea of the poffible advantages of confederated, national society; but the present Article is already of sufficient extent.

The human paflions operate alike in all parts of the world, in proportion to the opportunities of exertion; hence Provia dence seems to intend human felicity for the rudest situations, where the temptations are few. These mountainous spots are secluded from more favourable regions by natural barriers. To live comfortably there, requires an habitual industry ; to live fecurely there, requires friendfhip and fortitude. They are difficult of access by individuals, and much less accessible by multitudes; confequently, they cannot be invaded so eafily as they can repulse an attack, where the very elements are their auxiJiaries : and what is perhaps more in their favour than all the rest, they are not, to other states, worth the cost and dangers of subjection; since those virtues on which their political existence depends, would expire under the iron hand of foreign power,like flowers torn from their natural roots, and put in water for the transient decoration of a palace !

[ocr errors]

ART. VII. Lucius Junius Brutus; or, the Expulsion of the Tarquins :

An historical Play. By Hugh Downman. 8vo. 3s. Wilkie, &c. 1779

this very fingular play is prefixed the following short

preface, containing, in a narrow compass, much matter, well worth the attention of all who admire, or cultivate, the drama :

To those who judge of dramatic merit from the Greek models, the rules of French critics, or the examples of modern writers, a juftification of the following piece would be attempted in vain. They would call it a motley performance, deficient in almost every article which constitutes a true and proper tragedy. If the Author was to allege, that he never meant to compose a tragedy, according to their acceptation of the word, but shat his intention was to fill up a pictyre of real life, in a certain given time, the outlines of which were Laken from historical facts, his reason would be deemed upsatisfactory.

* Regardless of the end proposed, they would continue to exclaim, that the unities were neglected, that the grave was intermingled with the ludicrous ; that the business of the drama frequently food ftill; that the dialogue was too familiar, and the metre little better than measured prose.

• How far fome of these objections may be valid, and how many more might, perhaps, wish reason be urged against particular para {ages, the Author would not determine. The force of others of them he would endeavour to diminish, by answering, that they militate equally against human life itself; and that while he thould be sorry co bave this denominated an arciớcial poem, he would farter himself, it cannot be juilly thought an unnatural one.

• Dr.

• Ds. Johnson indeed, in the preface to his edition of Shakespeare, seems to have sufficiently vindicated this particular species of writing, to which, those who please, may (instead of tragedy) give the more fimple name of hiftory. Neither are there wanting many good judges of composition, who wish that the less ftudied diction, and more plain and level metre of the school of that immortal poet, (which seems to have ended with Southern) had been continued to the prefent time. Even this performance, with all its imputed irregularities and deficiencies, will, perhaps, be preferred by them, to those translated tragedies or imitations, which of late years have, through novelty, lived their nine nights on the stage, and been damned for ever after in the closer : though they had been corrected and metamorphosed by managers, calculated to afford to favourite actors or actresses opportunities of Mining, and curtailed by lord chamberlains.

• A diversification of characters hath been attempted in this piece; and to give to every character the mode of sentiment and expression, peculiarly suited to it. It is not at all difficult for a man of a very middling genius, to contrive a regular plot, to pen down a certain number of founding lines; and though his Dramatis Personæ are distinguished by particular names, to put his own sentiments in their mouths throughout five acts. Had the Author been solicitous of adapting his plan to the stage, or wished to conciliate the favour of the indiscriminating multitude, he might probably have followed the same method.

• However it may appear to us, when we are reading, no small attention is requifite in written dialogue of any kind, for an author entirely to cast off self. This was the characteristic of Shakespeare ; and perhaps after all, the Author of this play hath deceived himself, and it may with season be applied to him,

Sudet multum fruftraq; laboret Aufus idem.' That the Reader may, in some measure, judge how far the Author has effected his own purpose, we shall next lay before him some part of the first Act, not as the most advantageous or unfavourable speciinen of the whole, but as a passage more eaSily detached from the rest :

SCENE II, The Camp before Ardea.

TITUS, ARUN S.
Titus. Why, Aruns, in what corner fits the wind?

What! not a word to say ! quite down i'th' mouth!
Aruns. I am, and Itranger cannot guess the cause,

Unless ?ris living in inaction thus.
I would I was in Rome, or Rome was here,
Or that these coop'd up Ardeats would but fight.
I wonder that our facher its contented
Lounging in's camp. Plague on their petty fallies!
Why doch he not attack the nest at once
With fire and sword, and rouse up all the swarm?.
It was not thus he triumph'd o'er the Sabines,
Or wrested from the warlike Volsci's hands
Sueffa Pomeria, with whose glorious spoils

Turning

A a 3 3

[ocr errors]

Turning religious all at once, he built
The temple in the capitol to Jupiter.
Though had he ask'd of me, I could have told him

A better way of laying out his money.
Titus. I do believe thee, Aruns, well I know

To what divinity thou would't have rear'd

Thy golden altars.
Aruns.

Aye, and wisely too.
Pleasure's my deity, my Jupiter,
My Juno, and Minerva. Titus too,
If I mistake not, is no Atheist there,
But worships with as warm enthufiasm
As any votary of them all; 'tis true
He wears a graver brow, and commits fin
With a more serious philosophic face :
There's all the difference between me and thee,
A touch of feature only, in our hearts

We are most cordially alike.
Titus.

Alike!
Why now indeed thy airy spirits dance,
Sparkling in either eye ; but when I met thee,
What wert thou then? Inwrapp'd in discontent.
What wilt thou be anon? Chiding at straws
For lying in thy path; then quick, by th' fparks
Of angry pallion, kindled into flame;
Still varying like the wind -Thy heart like mine!
When didit thou find my skittish temper ftart,

And fly like thine from one to t'other side
Aruns. Well, be it fo, heaven speed us both! But Sextus!

I envy that same Sextus; for his genius
Soars o'er us both, and robs us of our birthright.
Not that I think, we halt behind him much
In our design'd intentions ; but success
Befriends him farther, one would swear he kept
Fortune in pay, and that the blind eyed goddess
Accepted bribes from him. There's not a woman
He looks on with defire but he pofTefles ;
He says but to an enemy, Fall down,
And down be falls. Hah! say't thou, is he not

A son of Tarquin, and a glorious villain?
Titus, Glorious l grant, but not a villain, Aruns.

Phaw! that's a name may fuit a vulgar mouth,
A tradesman talking of his brother knave;
But rank and ftation fančtify men's deeds;
A king successful, cannot be a tyrant,
Nor a king's son deserve a title less

Than that of prince.
Aruns.

Thou reason'st well, by Mars !
When I want oracles to be delivered,
I need not go to Delphos.-Out! Alas!
My blood's again obstructed, and I feel
A pain here in my head, or in my heart,

A sort

A sort of creeping kind of lethargy.

Are you e'er leiz'd thus? Hah! here comes my antidote. Titus.' Brutus! true; he's a doctor for the spleen.

You mention d Delphos; when we two went thither
Through the unknown feas of Greece, sent by our father
T'enquire the meaning of the prodigy,
The snake portentous, which with dreadful crest
Appearing in his palace hiss’d aloud

A direful omen! Brutus then went with us.
Oh! I remember well the precious scenes
Of folly which he acted. When we gave
Rich presents to the God: He offer'd him
A walking-stick; as if the god would walk,
And take the air, but that the god was lame.
Coming from out the temple, gazing back,
As loth to leave a place so fine, he fell
Over the threshold, and plough'd up the grounds

Fixing his face i' th' earth.
Aruns,

You may remember
The oracle too said, that he should bear
Chief sway in Rome, who firft should kiss his mother.
When we came home, both at one time we kiss'd her.
In that I think we are at least before
Our brother Sextus, jointly.we reign
After our father.

Enter B R U T U S.
Titus.

Brutus, where so fait ?
Why, thou art running like a loaded horse.
Aruns. Or like a slave with fecters on his legs.

What! have the Rucili attack'd the camp,

That thou art posting in this plaguy hurry?
Brutus. Pray,' my Lords, itop me not ; I'm sent to you

On special ord’nance from the king; farewel,

I muit return again.
Aruns.

But wert thou fent
Only to see us ? Tell the king our father
We're in good health; we thank him for the message,

Which thou hast well remembered to deliver.
Brutus. Oh! my good Lord, I had forgot indeed.

But in the multitude of public cares
And daily business--if my memory fails
A little'tis no wonder and you know

Memory is such a thing as
Titus

As a cart-wheel.
Brutus. Indeed, my Lord, you've hit it; mine turns round,

And round-sometimes I think my head is turn'd.
Aruns. I too have thought it oft.
Brutus.

Have you, my Lord ?
I'm always glad when you and I agree:
You have just such a wit as I Mould choose.
Would I could purchase fuch an one, and put it

Into

Аа 4

« AnteriorContinuar »