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“ Tears and entreaties, which I regarded as hypocrisy, were at first bestowed on me; but after sacredly pledging my word, that I would, at the death of my mother, do her that justice which, while she was living, I could not, without incurring her implacable resentment, the innocent Florence became the victim of my duplicity.
“I will not dwell on a narrative so fraught with horror; the conse. quences attendant upon this crime, soon made known to Florence her distressing situation. She entreated, she implored, she hung upon me, and wept over me, to restore her to the world, before she became disgraced and abandoned, Could I then suffer a feeling of doubt to enter my mind? Yet actuated by the most agonizing, though unfounded, suspicion, I re. fused, and for a while forsook her.
“ But the day of retribution drew near; her situation could no longer be concealed ; and as she had then become a thing dishonoured, and contaminated with infamy, she was pitilessly turned from the only roof she could call her own, to perish and to die.
“ A spark of feeling yet haunted my breast,--aye, and one of affection too (although I had endeavoured in vain to suppress it), when I saw the wretched effects of my crime, whose victim was suddenly overtaken with its most agonizing consequences. At this awful crisis, reason began to exert her influence over me, and I trembled for the past, with a strong determination for the future. It was at last over: we became parents : but no faces of joy were ready to salute us, Florence's eyes were directed, with a look of resignation, towards heaven, as if in joyful hope of its forgiveness, Could I then entertain a doubtful feeling of her innocence. No: it once more illumined her face, but it was the last time: her spirit already seemed mingling with something of a purer nature. She addressed me in terms so sad, yet so forgiving, they still linger in my ear, and vibrate in my heart. She knew, she said, that I had doubted, but deemed it right, in resigning her last breath into the hands of the Almighty Giver, to declare, that she had ever loved me alone, beyond any thing else upon earth, and that her greatest offence had consisted in sa crificing all that was amiable in her nature for my happiness. Her countenance assumed a look that told her soul was lost in the contemplation of something above earth; then suddenly casting her eyes towards me, with a look fraught with tenderness and forgiveness, exclaiming, Husband, remember thou art a father,' her injured spirit left its earthly abode.
“ Husband ! father! one moment,-but bereft of wife and child the next. The ill-fated fruit of frailty breathed its last, almost with its first gasp of breath.-gazed on those eyes, which once looked up with so much affection to mine, now glazed, fixed, and insensible.--I fung myself franticly on the bosom that sacrificed its peace for my happinessI kissed again and again the cold lips that once breathed with such fondness my name. I called myself her murderer-I felt that I was such."
He uttered these words with an appalling vehemence, and then fell exhausted on his knees, covering his face with his hands. I heard the deep sobs burst from his breast, and his whole frame seemed convulsed with agony, He shortly after rushed from his cell, and I never saw him again,
ANCIENT AND MODERN TRAGEDY. DARKNESS and obscurity involve the earlier history of the drama. Tragedy, as its name'implies, derived its origin from the celebration of an Attic festival, where a goat or skin of wine was adjudged to the best poetical ode; Horace alludes to this custom in the words
Vilem certavit ob hircum. Dramatic representations were first introduced by Thespis, whose humble stage was a waggon, and whose performance consisted of a rude, inelegant representation of some trifling subject: he and his successors, Epigenes, Phrynichus, and Chærilus, may, with propriety, be styled “the inventors of the drama;' but to Æschylus alone belongs the title of Father of Tragedy,'tragedy in its noblest sense-moral, sublime, pathetic. Æschylus flourished 01. lxx. 1. about 500 years B. C. Public theatres were then first erected,—the actors were clothed in elegant and appropriate dresses,—while admiring crowds flocked to the novel spectacle. Sophocles carried the improvements of Æschylus to a still greater extent: he increased the chorus, and the number of the performers; and, under his management, the ancient drama arrived at its highest pitch of excellence.
In considering the respective merits of the three Greek tragedians,to Æschylus we may justly assign sublimity of thought, boldness of expression, strength of imagery, and richness of poetry :
Tragædias primum in lucem Æschylus protulit, et sublimis, et gravis, et grandiloquus, sæpe usque ad vitium. (Quint. x. 1.) To Sophocles belong harmony, elegance, and variety, with much force; or, to use the words of an anonymous author of his life,
ευκαιρίαν, γλυκύτητα, τολμάν, ποικιλίαν. To Euripides may be ascribed beautiful simplicity, the moral and pathetic.
Such is the brief outline of Ancient Tragedy, and its first great masters. Let us now consider Modern, as compared with ancient tragedy. The most striking difference consists in the abolition of the Chorus; which, indeed, is so evidently an appendage of the drama, while yet in imperfect infancy, that its removal, in its present advanced and superior state, is sanctioned and justified by every suggestion of reason. There existed not among the ancients that spirit of romance, that inexhaustible fund of pathetic incidents in private life, from which are derived all the beauty, pathos, and interest, of the modern drama : they were confined to a few historical or mythological traditions, to the simplicity of which the construction of their drama was admirably adapted. But now the imagination has a wider range, the stores of incidents are more abundant, the fields of science are more enlarged: these causes naturally require some material alteration in the drama. Who burns not when Æschylus describes the strife of battle? who melts not with sympathy when Euripides paints, in such true and natural colours, the softer emotions of the heart? How beautiful is the description of the unhappy, distracted Phædra, now inly pining away, now frantic with the violence of love? more especially in the passage,
αιρετέ μου δέμας, ορθούτε κάρα, &c. Yet, in modern tragedy, a more constant interest pervades the whole, while the feelings are wrought up to a greater intensity of sympathy; and the melancholy impressions left upon the mind cannot so easily be effaced, Hence arises the superiority of Modern Tragedy.
CHARLES THE FIRST.
CORNET JOYCE, an active member of the Military Committee, and by profession a tailor, was the person appointed by Cromwell to take charge of the King, and place him in the custody of the army. When the Monarch was first told he was a prisoner, through the cowardly avarice of the Scotch, upon whose protection he had thrown himself, he was playing at chess. “Go on with your game, sir,” said he to his antagonist, without rising from his seat; and when, after an hour's play, he won the game,
Now, sir, I attend you,” was all he vouchsafed to Joyce.
THE STOLEN KISS,
SMOOTH'd be that brow, and chased the frown
E. A. B.
When o'er the grave thou dropp'st the parting tear?-
When mem’ry bears thee back to Friendship’s bier ?-
Or feed on sullen thought o'er faded bliss ?
That nature opens in a world like this ?
Thy friend is gone!—so will'd it, Heav'n's d cree-
Or Pity stay the stream of Destiny ?-
Subjected reason in submission owns;-
nd through obstruction still the deeper groans.
Let fond affection shed her sorrow free;
Till mem'ry fails, and Friendship weeps for me!
HISTORICAL LIFE OF JOANNA OF Sicily, Queen of Naples, and Countess of Provence. 2 vols. 8vo. Baldwin and Co.
The contemplation of such characters as Robert the Wise of Naples, and his illustrious grand-daughter Joanna of Sicily, is so truly gratifying to the student of history, and yet is so rarely offered to his consideration, that we hasten to lay before our readers such remarks as the present publication may require. The public attention cannot fail of being immediately attracted to a work devoted to the histories of the most interesting sovereign, of a country at all times inviting our regard, but particularly at present, on account of the important events, unconnected, however, with this publication, which have taken place there during the last twenty ears.
It was the singular and most enviable distinction of Robert, that in an age replete with violence, fraud, and duplicity of every kind, he gained the confidence, not of his brother sovereigns, whose weakness or male. volence might impel them to adopt measures of the most impolitic nature, but of prudent and deserving patriots. These men, both at Florence and Genoa, during a period of difficulty, requested the heir of the Neapolitan throne to undertake the administration of their affairs, as the only step that could secure the liberties of the citizens, and the safety and independence of the state. The sacred trust was faithfully discharged, and the powers with which he had been invested were punetually relinquished when the stipulated service was performed.
But another season of danger seemed likely to oppress the Florentines. The recollection of benefits derived from the father's wisdom and fidelity, incited them to solicit a similar service from the son. It was accepted, and would doubtless have been as honestly discharged; but circumstances of paramount necessity obliged the Duke of Calabria to return to Naples, where he shortly terminated his honourable career, leaving two infant daughters; Joanna, the subject of this history, and a younger sister.
It is impossible to consider the situation of Robert, as good as he was wise, without sharing the painful feelings which must, at this period, have torn his parental bosom. He foresaw the approaching danger, and made every prudent exertion to obviate it. He trained his grand-daughter to habits of piety, and application. He provided guardians for the interests of the state, men of wisdom and integrity, and gave the heiress of his throne in marriage to her cousin, Andrew of Hungary; a measure which appeared to be dictated by sound policy, and which events would probably have justified, had he lived a few years longer, to have left his dominions in peace, at a period when Joanna had attained the judgment and experience requisite for taking the reins of government into her own hands. But when, deprived of her grandfather, at the early age of fifteen, the affairs of the kingdom devolved on the regency appointed by the late king, an amiable, but ill-advised desire to conciliate the Hungarian party, induced them to admit Friar Robert, and Nicholas the Hungarian, to share their authority. The arts and machinations of the monk counteraeted the plans of those who ought to have governed, until he found means to possess himself of the sovereign power. How he exercised this for the general good, will appear from the short but faithful picture of the state of the kingdom under his influence, as depicted by the author.
If the council of regency had been maintained without alteration, exactly as the late king had appointed it, the state might still have been preserved. Peace and
good order attended the first measures of the new ministers; but unfortunately, de ceived by the arts of Friar Robert, who on the joint proclamation of Andrew and Joanna, as king and queen, demanded admission to the council for himself, as preceptor, and for Nicholas the Hungarian, as governor of the young king, they, by a fatal oversight, admitted them to a share in the government; thus undoing in an hour all the measures the late king had taken, for a series of years, for their exclusion. By a continuation of the same artifices, the friar procured the admission of some of his creatures to the council, and the appointment of others to offices of trust and importance, and was thus enabled to seize the reins of government, when the unfortunate interference of Pope Clement VI. cancelled the regency as appointed by the will of Robert, and nominated his legate to govern in its place, in right of a peculiar clause in the investiture. The turbulent and ambitious amongst the nobles seized the opportunity of forwarding their own schemes, and would neither obey the regency nor the legate; pleading the rights of the council of regency when the legate commanded, and denying their authority when they endeavoured to enforce obedience to the papal mandates. Friar Robert, active and ambitious, governing the populace by his hypocritical pretences to superior sanctity, and working on the hopes of the mercenary and profligate among the nobles by promises of future advancement, soon found himself at the head of a party powerful enough to enable him to defy both Pope and regency: and no longer keeping any measures, claimed every thing in right of Andrew alone; treated both the queen-dowager and the queen-regnant with the utmost insolence; and the latter, as the wife of Andrew, became, in fact, only a state prisoner in their hands; whilst the other members of the royal family, banished from court by the arrogance of the Hungarians, aban. doned her to her fate; some of the princes of the blood returning to their own fortresses, to brood over schemes of revenge, or aggrandisement at home, others repairing to the shores of Greece, in the vain hope of establishing their title to the empire of the west, by force of arms.
This first reverse of fortune was a hard trial to a princess of sixteen, who had hitherto been the object of parental fondness and courtly adulation ; but what afflicted her still more, was the weak indolence of her husband, who was not less than herself the slave of the Hungarians.
“ This monster, whom one cannot behold without horror,” says Petrarch, speaking of the despotism exercised by Friar Robert, “ oppresses the weak, despises the great, treads justice under foot, and treats the two queens with the utmost excess of insolence. The court and the city alike, tremble before him ; in the assemblies of Naples a mournful silence reigns; in the interior of the houses they only speak in a whisper—the least gesture is punished as a crime-they scarcely dare to think. The great barons imitate his audacity and tyranny: henice result disorder, impunity, and the ruin of the kingdom.”
At length the period arrived for Joanna's coronation, when an event, as unexpected as inexplicable, involved the whole kingdom in the greatest trouble, and threatened the sovereign with the most dreadful consequences,
This was the assassination of Andrew, a circumstance, which in itself promised no advantage to any existing party ; but which must necessarily entail ruin and misfortune on many individuals. To Joanna, in particular, it could produce nothing but disaster, yet her enemies attempted, with too great success, to attach to her the guilt of this horrible transaction. His brother, the King of Hungary, 'availed himself of the opportunity to seize the kingdom of Naples, and, by various artifices, he so far influenced the nobles of Provence, that when Joanna fled there for protection, they ima prisoned her, and compelled her to plead her cause before the Pope in council. This she did in person, with so much effect, that the Hungarian ambassadors were unable to reply, and she retired from the court with the declaration, that “ she was not only free from guilt, but above all suspicion.” A life spent in the exercise of every virtue, from her early infancy,