Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

is, that if there be a deficiency of queen-bees for a new colony, the bees convert a neuter into a queen-bee. But this is a monstrous error, for no instinct has the power of creating new organs. The extra eggs of the queen-bees are deposited in the neuters' cell, where they perish for the want of a suitable nidus or nest in which to elongate and breathe. As soon as a queen is wanted, the instinct of the bees leads them to enlarge the cells of these embyro queen-bees attaching to them a hanging cell

, into which, if the process has not been too long delayed, the queen-bee chrysalis protrudes itself, and from which it emerges.

Infectious and contagious animalcules — or rather, those which produce diseases that are communicated to others – may require, like the queen-bee, a peculiar cell for the deposition of their eggs. Can it be that a rupture or destruction of the delicate, minute, absorbent, or secretive vesicles, takes place during the period of hatching? - thus closing the entrance, as it were, to a new eruption of this particular animalculæ, which, finding no suitable place in which to deposit their eggs, can have no deleterious effect on the human system? A young orchard cannot thrive in the same field from which an old one has just been removed, because the old trees have absorbed all the nourishment necessary to a very young tree. A new legion of malignant animalcules cannot establish a colony where a former one has committed its ravages, for the old colony had destroyed all the facilities which are requisite to the birth and action of a new horde. The nests - - the very birth-places- have been lacerated, and have disappeared. The animalculæ, therefore, perish, although they may succeed in getting admission.

G.

TO A WARM WIND IN WINTER.

Low, sweet wind, whose melody
Floats along the rippled sea,
Why, to ride the curling foam,
Didst thou leave thy pleasant home?
For thy motion soft and slow,
And thy voice so sweet and low,
Tell of milder climes than this,
Far beyond the blue abyss !

Dost thou come from Araby,
Where eternal summers be?
Or where over ocean isles
Everlasting verdure smiles ?
Sporting under spicy trees,
Singing where the roses blow,-
Couldst thou leave them, wandering breeze,
For the land of cold and snow?

Dost thou bring from Eastern bowers
Tidings of the birds and flowers ?
For the birds away have flown,
And the flowers are shrunk and gone!
Go, and tell them how we long
For the roses and the song ;
Now, sweet wind, I warn thee, go, -
Here is only cold and snow !

L.

THE PRICE OF GLORY.

IO PEN!- wreathe the laurel,

Fill the cup, the banners wave! Champions of a kingdom's quarrel

Wait the honors due the brave. Give rich gifts, - a robe of honor,

Power and place, to him who led, — For a nation is the donor

Feed him with its orphans' bread! Strew the streets with fragrant blossoms,

Through them drag the hero's car; Late he irode o'er bleeding bosoms,

On the crimsoned plains of war. Ye whose children, fathers, brothers,

Pave his fields, be ye its steeds; Widowed wives and childless mothers,

Shout ye as the chariot speeds!

Let each lip be curved with pleasure,

Let each eye beam bright with glee: What are tears, and blood, and treasure,

Poised against a victory?
When a nation's ear astounded

With triumphant pæns rings,
What are thousands killed and wounded ?

Men were made to die for Kings!
What though fields late rich with culture

Are by war's sirocco scathed ? What though carrion-seeking vulture

In a sea of gore hath bathed ? Blot such trites from the story

Of renown so nobly gained ; Still must bud the tree of Glory,

Though its roots be blood-sustained !

Build a temple to Ambition,

Base it on an empire's wreck,
Ye who bow in meek submission

Ata sceptred despot's beck.
Search earth's bosom for the slaughtered,

And with bones that there lie hid
Of the millions it has martyred,

Pile the ghastly pyramid!
From the days when Northern Alric

On the Roman eagles trod
To the era — more chivalric-

Of the Gallic Demigod,
Could the harvest of the sleepers'

From Death's garner be restored,
We should find his mightiest reapers

Wore the battle-axe and sword !

But the victors !- they whose madness

Made the world a type of hell, Was it theirs in peace and gladness,

Mid the wreck they made, to dwell ? Ask the walls where Sweden's Monarch

Mourned Pultowa's overthrow; Ask the rock of Gallia's Anarch

Hark! their echoes thunder -—-'No!' Conquest's sword is only giorious,

When the blood with which it streams, (Ransom of a land victorious,)

Nature's chartered right redeems. When, by France no longer cherished,

Fades the memory of her son, Not a blossom will have perished

In thy garland — WASHINGTON !

B.

THE DRAMA:

HISTORICALLY CONSIDERED IN REFERENCE TO ITS MORAL AND INTELLECTUAL INFLUENCE ON SOCIETY.

The early history of the drama is so involved in the mists of obscurity and contradiction, that little of satisfactory evidence can be adduced in illustration of our theme. Rich fragments of some of its earliest masters have been preserved, and history furnishes partial details of its magnificence and influence; yet much is necessarily left to the imagination, in filling up the outline of facts relative to the ancient drama. We may, indeed, picture the assembled thousands of critical spectators, ranged in those vast arenas which even now, in their ruined desolation, are the admiration of the world. We may imagine the rapturous applause with which these admiring throngs greeted the favourite passages of an Æschylus, a Sophocles, an Euripides, or an Aristophanes; we may conceive something of the effect produced by those gorgeous spectacles which were incorporated into the ancient drama, improving the intellect and forming the taste of the spectators: but it is impossible, at this remote period, to divest the accounts handed down to us from a similarity to those glowing fictions of oriental romance which charm the imagination of early youth. Much, however, is left us, which bears the stamp of authenticity; and it shall be our aim to condense and adapt these facts so as to bear upon the subject, the illustration of which we have undertaken in the present paper.

From the earliest periods of the world, events of importance to the country where they occurred, were celebrated in the rude but glowing language of poetry, alike inciting to acts of devotion or intrepidity, the warrior, the patriot, and the peasant. In time, these rudely-constructed strains assumed a more connected form, and the superstructure of the drama arose from this imperfect foundation.

The first notice on record of the formation of poetry into a dramatic character, is in the exhibitions of Thespis, who introduced into the sacred hymns or songs, which were instituted to the honor of Bacchus, a personage who relieved the chorus or troops of singers, by narrating some well known history or adventure, termed the episode. From the fascination and interest created by this mode of entertainment, the chorus or song became eventually an inconsiderable part of the drama, although it was for many ages considered a necessary and ornamental auxiliary. Nothing satisfactory for our immediate purpose can be traced from the time of Thespis, until the appearance of Æschylus, who has been termed by historians, the Father of the Drama.' He appears to have sustained the triple character of poet, actor, and manager, — and having like a tender parent endowed his offspring with every mental accomplishment, he also added the graces of external ornament to the child he had thus successfully reared. He clothed the drama in its most splendid habit — reared appropriate buildings for her reception and called in the aid of the sister arts to heighten and improve the effects she was soon destined to produce. The great masters of the art, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, carefully studying the models created by Æschylus, and possessing superior skill and genius, completed that perfection in the ancient drama, which subsequently pro

[ocr errors]

duced among the Greeks and Romans such a devotional attachment to theatrical entertainments, as to make the enjoyment of this amusement one of the chief ends of their existence. Dramatic authors in those days were rewarded by public honors while living, and national mourning was decreed at their death. Their influence over the people was unbounded; they seized each passing event to stimulate the valor and patriotism of their countrymen; they castigated every departure from principle in their rulers, and marked each prevalent folly by pointed satire and ridicule; thus assuming a power over the multitude to which a ready submission was yielded — and their labours were rewarded with honors scarcely inferior to the venerations bestowed upon the gods of their mythology.

After the introduction and subsequent establishment of the Christian faith, the drama appears to have suffered a temporary extinction of its splendor. It was, however, soon resuscitated, and became a powerful engine in the hands of the Romish Church. Religion did not hesitate to call in its aid, and by the instrumentality of the · Mysteries' and Moralities,' succeeded in converting and confirming many of its earliest devotees.

It appears by a manuscript in the Harleian Library, quoted by Bishop Warton, that these rude dramas were thought to contribute so much to the information and instruction of the people, that one of the Popes granted a pardon of a thousand days to every person who resorted peaceably to the plays represented during the Whitsun week at Chester. It is further on record, that these mysteries and moralities were used as successful inciters to the first crusaders, in their chivalrous and devotional resolve of subjugating the enemies of the cross. The performers in these sacred dramas were at first the most distinguished characters of the age ~ generally ecclesiastics — who incorporated themselves into fraternities, under the title of Brothers of the Passion. The subjects represented in the mysteries were usually of a religious tendency, and although in this age they may be considered as nearly blasphemous in their character, the Deity being frequently impersonated, yet at the period which drew them into existence they served to convey to the uninformed spectators a knowledge of religious subjects, which, in the absence of education, could not be derived from better sources. Subjects from scriptural history afforded the materials for these representations, and the chief incidents in the life and death of the Messiah were exhibited to stimulate the piety and devotion of the otherwise uninstructed multitude. • The Moralities were equally useful in conveying to the people knowledge, which, without such instruction, was beyond their reach. Every passion or emotion was personified in these moralities, by characters resembling the deities of the heathen mythology, -and the mind was gradually brought acquainted with the machinery of thought, by witnessing these embodiments of its latent springs of action. Here we may again pause in our historical record, to notice the powerful influence of the drama, in this its rudest form. · We behold it inciting to acts of devotional bravery the semi-barbarous race of that age we see it arousing the slumbering genius of the period, and enlightening the superstitious and ignorant mass which composed the communities of

6

that era.

It will sufficiently answer our proposėd end, to confine ourselves more particularly to the progress of the drama of our mother tongue, comprising, as it does, the choicest specimens of the art, and in its influence exhibiting the same characteristics which may be traced in every civilized nation.

The Elizabethan age called into action those master spirits of the British drama who gave to its character that proud distinction which has justly been the pride of succeeding periods. The powers of Ford, Shirley, Marston, Rowley, Massinger, Beaumont and Fletcher, “rare Ben Jonson,' and the almost superhuman Shakspeare, completed the formation of the English drama, — while, closely following this constellation of talent, a rival nation produced a Corneille, a Racine, and a Moliére; Spain boasted its Calderon, and Lope de Vega, - and Italy was graced by a Metastatio.

The domination of the puritans during the commonwealth chilled the rising influence which the drama had previously acquired. Fanaticism could not stand the test of the drama's powerful satire. Hence we find, that during this period, plays and players were interdicted by public ordinances, and the stigma attached to the professors of the histrionic art in those days has descended even to our own time — how justly is perhaps a question — ranking, as it has done, among its members, genius and worth that might safely claim equality with the distinguished of any of the liberal professions.

Such was the state of the drama, during the dominion of fanaticism in England. But what brilliancy of talent --- what splendid illuminations in science what perfection in the arts - do we perceive arise in consequence of this extinction of the drama? None! Milton, indeed, shone like a dazzling star irradiating the blackened horizon through the rifts of a winter storm: but his genius was left for after ages to appreciate, and the stupendous work which admiring nations have read with rapture and delight, was treated with contemptuous neglect by the age over which it still casts the redeeming mantle of its own single glory! With the return of the 'merry Charles,' theatres and players resumed their sway, and consequent influence. Genius and wit again appeared in their train, — tinctured, however, with a grossness and licentiousness which have given to the opponents of the drama some of their severest reproaches against its moral tendency. But is the drama alone chargeable with perversion ? The page of history, our daily experience, sufficiently show, that things innocent, nay salutary, in themselves, may be perverted to the basest ends, and yet, in the abstract, they remain unchanged in their value.

The temporary intoxication of the period last glanced at, was speedily sobered by the purer geniuses of the succeeding reigns, who obtained for a portion of that era the emphatic denomination of the · Augustan age. What a galaxy of talent, genius, wit, and learning, is concentrated in the list of dramatic writers of that period! Otway, Rowe, Dryden, Southerne, Lee, Congreve, Wycherly, Farquar, Mallet, Hughes, Philips, and the unrivalled Addison, — all lend their aid to resuscitate the fallen dignity of the British stage. They enriched the drama with some of its choicest gems, and have procured for their memory the never-dying admiration of each succeeding age. In later periods, the drama appears to have lost somewhat of that

2

VOL. VII.

« AnteriorContinuar »