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presented these spots on the sun in their least glaring aspect, nor refrained from adding a few on his own account.
In his selection of the six dramas included in these volumes, Mr. M'Carthy appears to have exercised a sound discretion. They offer specimens of Calderon's varied manner, and of his success in the several walks of the national drama. Unlike Mr. Fitzgerald, who has, with questionable judgment, chosen for translation six of the maestro's second and third-rate plays, Mr. M.Carthy gives us the noble tragedy of “ The Constant Prince;" that admirably characteristic comedy, “ The Secret in Words," pronounced by Ulrici (who thinks Calderon greater in comedy than in tragedy) one of the most amusing, polished, and ingenious plays extant in any tongue; the tragedies of “The Physician of his own Honour,” and “Love after Death ;" the legendary play of “ The Purgatory of St. Patrick;" and the comic piece of lovers' entanglements called “ The Scarf and the Flower.” Mr. M'Carthy is exceedingly well qualified, in one capital respect, to do justice to Calderon's descriptive powers ;—he is gifted with a kindred faculty of verbal profusion. It demanded a wealthy vocabulary to render the lavish splendours of the original into corresponding terms in our northern dialect, and here the translator has generally used to advantage that fervid and flowing eloquence upon which he can draw so freely. We quote an example of his aptness to catch the style, and to echo the ring and cadence, of the dramatist he so ardently admires:—it is from El Principe Constante, where that high-hearted Lusitanian, the Christian Regulus, sacrifices his liberty for his country's weal, and resigns himself to a life-long captivity among the Moors, whose king he thus addresses :
- I am thy slave,
* This alternation between thee and you is a not infrequent blemish in Mr. M'Carthy's lines. Among numerous instances, we may refer to scene ii. of "Love after Death” (vol. ii. pp. 15, 599.), where Alvaro says to Clara,
“You have no power now to excuse thee;" and again :
“I have loved you,” &c., immediately followed by thou, and thee, and thy, ad libitum. So Garces says (p. 27):
“Blame not yourself, for you did very well
To make him feel thy handand that incorrigible old offender, Alvaro, girds at Mendoza after this manner (p. 34);
“Still it is enough to ask you
If thou art as brave with young men
As with old men thou art bold.” One half suspects the dramatis personæ of being Quaker converts, recently proselytised, who are ever and anon relapsing into the old formulæ forbidden in the terminology of the people called Friends. But alas ! even the Angel in the “Purgatory of St. Patrick” is verily guilty in this matter (see vol. ii. pp. 182-3). Tantæne animis cælestibus ?
+ To his brother.
Say, in Africa I lie
And the law of God to hold. The exaggerated tone of this declamation, which may recal certain stilted passages in Shakspeare and the Elizabethan writers, is highly characteristic of Calderon-his tendency to what the profane call fustian being in fact prononcé at times. Nor had Cowley, or Donne, a greater liking for concetti and elaborately detailed fancies.
In illustration of Mr. M.Carthy's skill in other metrical forms, we append his version of one* of the two celebrated sonnets on the stars, in the second act of “The Constant Prince.” The thema is in answer to a question, Are the stars like flowers ?
These points of light, these sparkles of pure fire,
That every night is born again and dies ? The translator's supply of rhymes is copious, not always correct. For instance: “Glory” and “ victory” (vol. i. pp. 104, 106) are an illassorted match ; and his quite favourite junction of “propitious” with 5 wishes” (i. p. 105 ; ii. pp. 293, 311, &c.) is hardly classical. Then again, “ difficulty” is made to pair with “ victory”-a rhyme with less of the latter than the former about it (ü. pp. 349, 350). “Prostrated” goes
but lamely with “state it” (ii. p. 67). Nor is the conventional pronunciation of “ Africa" favourable to a rhyming with “law” (ii. p. 4). We observe, too, an occasional confusion of the will and shall (e.g. ii. pp. 120, 133, 352). And certain Hibernicisms affecting the metre are also notice-worthy: “Born,” for instance, being made to do double duty, in what we will call the syllabic augment "arms” requiring to be pronounced arrums, &c.
But we have dwelt longer than is agreeable to our sense of proportion, and of justice, on the minor blemishes of Mr. M'Carthy's performance; and, in taking leave of him, would fain leave a “last impression" of the gratification and interest which we have felt in a perusal of these two volumes. In which mood, we commend them as a dainty dish to set before every lover of dramatic literature-native or foreign, new or old.
THE ELF-KING'S BRIDE.
BY MRS. BUSHBY.
THE EPILOGUE OF 1853. THE year that is now fast closing upon us, if not absolutely Annus Mirabilis, may fairly put in its claim for some share of distinction. The two great categories of Fact and Opinion, which make up the sum total of our existence, have been very adequately represented during the last twelve months, and whatever rank the year 1853 may eventually hold in the world's annals, it will assuredly not be remembered by those who survive it as a dull one. There has been movement, of one kind or other, throughout, and, according to our annual custom, we will just glance at some of the most prominent occurrences.
Leaving the serious aspect of events to be discussed elsewhere-by the Patres Conscripti, or “heavy fathers” of the Senate, if they will—we shall address ourselves chiefly to subjects which will admit of being lightly touched upon. From this category we do not altogether exclude politics, though such matters require to be approached almost as cautiously as one would handle a hedgehog.
There is the Turkish question, for instance. Though everybody in England—always excepting Mr. Cobden, who, like the late Tom Hill, enjoys his own “ private view" of everything—is of one mind with respect to the treatment which the Sultan has received at the hands of the Czar, no two are agreed upon the course that should have been taken 6 to make things pleasant” to them both. It is true that there has been a vast amount of unanimity amongst the diplomatists of Constantinople, Vienna, and Olmütz, but this unanimity has merely had for its object the absolute stultification of the human understanding. It was not for the purpose of convincing the Emperor of Russia that he was wrong, that the representatives of the four great powers drew up the celebrated “ notes,” which have admitted of so many “i queries,” but simply to show an admiring world how skilfully words might be made to express anything but what they were really supposed to mean. Like the “Précieuses Ridicules,” their chief desire has been to avoid coming to the point. Put a lover in the place of a negotiator, and Madelon's rules define at once the course they have adopted. « Il faut qu'un amant, pour être agréable, sache débiter de beaux sentiments, pousser le doux, le tendre et le passionné, et que sa recherche soit dans les formes." No one can say that the diplomatic suit has not been urged in all its forms, with a profusion too of the finest sentiments, with the gentlest pleading—with everything, in short, to make it agreeable to the Imperial Coquet. The whole process has been about as edifying as the single combat fought between Gymnast and Captain Tripet, wherein the former “suddenly fetched a gambol upon one foot, and turning to the left hand, failed not to carry his body perfectly round, just into his former position, without missing one jot,” and the latter, after making a summerset in the air, “ turned about like a windmill, and made above a hundred frisks, turns, and demipommadas;" though we quite agree with Corporal Trim, that “ one home-thrust of a bayonet was worth it all.” And Omar Pasha seems to have been of this way of thinking as well as ourselves.
But, perhaps, the oddest part of the whole affair is the wonderful way in which the Coalition Cabinet has held together in the midst of the
general clash of opinions, with the fighting-men gesticulating outside the booth, and the tumblers and vaulters playing at “ soft sawder" within. To listen to the speeches made at Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Halifax, you would fancy that nobody could settle the business but Captain Sword; to take the inspirations of Downing-street for your oracle, he must of necessity be superseded by Captain Pen. There is, to be sure, a third party, whom, for want of a better name, we will call Captain Palaver. He it is, ripe with information “ short only of that of the first parties acting in these proceedings,” who “ studied the Eastern question twenty years ago, as Mr. Tait, the publisher, can state,” and now comes forward with a plan of pacification which appears greatly to have gladdened the long-headed (we had almost written “ long-eared ") listeners at the Music Hall of Edinburgh when the “ Peace” Society held its last meeting there. No longer disposed to “ crumple up” Russia—a feat which he undertook to perform some two or three years ago—Mr. Cobden has settled it in his own mind that Turkey must go to the wall.
"I tell you," he says, “ from my own knowledge of the Turkish empire" (the best assurance we can desire for being at ease as to the issue), " that not only all the king's horses and all the king's men, but not all the horses and all the men of all the Emperors in the world, can maintain the Mohammedan population in Europe ;" and then, to gratify the fanatical part of his audience, he adds: “ They are going to fight for the maintenance of Mohammedanism in Europe !"--and pious Saunders, who never had an angry word with his neighbour on religious questions, responds to this declaration with loud shouts of applause. Will Mr. Cobden tell his Edinburgh friends how much nearer akin to their own profession of faith the subjects of the Porte will be when they have embraced the religion of the Greek Church ?-of that section of it of which “the most orthodox” Emperor of Russia is at the head ? Mr. Cobden's charitable advice, in perfect keeping, too, with his peaceable professions, is to let the Russians and Turks fight out a quarrel which, he admits, is provoked by the Czar and based on the grossest injustice. But he cannot part with the subject without a prophecy, though he is certainly the most unlucky prophet who ever vaticinated. However, he continues, don't be afraid of war; “wars don't happen on the Danube in November or October.” ....“We are not going to fight on the Danube in the month of November.” If Mr. Cobden had only had a little more information, just to place him on a level with and not a short” of that possessed by “the first parties in these proceedings,” he would have waited till the month of November before he delivered himself of this oracular assertion. What say the telegraphic despatches from the Danube? “On the 2nd and 3rd of November the Turks crossed the Danube from Turtukai to Oltenitza, to the number of about 18,000 men. On the 4th, General Pauloff attacked them with 9000 men, and, after a brisk cannonade, a combat with the bayonet took place between the two armies, &c.” This looks rather like fighting on the Danube though Mr. Cobden is quite capable of denying it, if it suits the purpose of the moment and procures him a bray of applause.
But however indifferent to the fate of Turkey, however willing to follow the sage counsels of Captain Palaver and suffer the “ foul paynim” to be “crumpled up" by the fouler Muscovite, the wise men of Edin