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Shakspeare's device for rousing the “ Prenez cet urne, et jurez moi sur elleguilty conscience of the king, is the "Non, ta mère, mon fils, ne fût point unexpected representation before him criminelle,' of a play in which the murder scene
L'osez vous ?- je vous crois. in the garden had been exactly copied ;
Gertrude. Donne. and into which Hamlet has contrived
Hamlet. Vous hésitez. to introduce is some dozen or sixteen
Gertrude. Ah! pardonne, à mes sens lines," so as to make the application
encore trop agités.
Hamlet. Attestez maintenant. more pointed. Taken by surprise in this
[Il lui met l'urne entre lesway, we can readily conceive that
mains. “ guilty creatures sitting at a play
Gertrude. Eh, bien!-oui-moi-j'ate would find it no easy matter to preserve their composure. Ducis' plan
Je ne puis plus souffrir une objét si fuis to introduce the subject of the murder of the King of England before
[Elle tombe sans connoissance Claudius and Gertrude; a matter, be
sur un fatueuil.” it observed, with which they were both perfectly familiar, and which they had We cannot agree with Hamlet in doubtless discussed in all its bearings thinking that the Queen's confusion long before the subject was alluded to was any proof of guilt, under the cir. by Hamlet.
And accordingly, as cumstances. If the urn was of lead might be expected, though the Queen or cast iron and surely the ashes is a little shaken, Claudius, a “ vieux of the deceased monarch must, for deroutier" in such matters, keeps his cency's sake, have been included in countenance admirably.
some such repository-it could not But we feel we are devoting more have weighed less than a hundredroom to Ducis than the occasion jus. weight; and even if they had been put tifies, and must hasten at once to the off with a mere covering of terra cotta, notable use which is made of the the urn, ashes included, could not bave
weighed less than about fifty pounds Ducis had seen an urn figuring or avoirdupois. Now, we really think the stage in the Orestes, and could not that few ladies, whether guilty of mur. resist the temptation of so fine and der or not, would succeed in preserving classic an instrument of exciting emo- their composure when a heavy article tion. In his view it seems to have like this was suddenly left upon their been totally immaterial, that increma hands; and that most people would tion and urn-burial were as totally be disposed to swear any thing, to get unknown to the ancient Danes as quit of such a disagreeable piece of powder or peruques. The urn must furniture. be introduced upon the scene: Ger- Specimens, quite as extraordinary, trude is called upon by her son to of the metamorphoses to which Shakattest her innocence of the murder, speare has been subjected at the hand beside the vase which contains the of Ducis, might be selected from the ashes of the King. Why this device Macbeth ; but enough has been quoted for discovering her guilt should be re- to show, that with regard to the sorted to, is not obvious ; since Ham- real character of Shakspeare's Tragic let had not only the Ghost's word for Drama, no more complete mystificait, which in sueh a case might be tion could have been played off on the taken for a thousand pounds, but the French nation than was performed in symptoms of confusion which the these versions of Ducis. Queen bad shown when subjected to Ducis has endeavoured also to imitate the test which Claudius with more the Greek drama as well as Shakspeare, firmness had endured. Accordinglŷ, and has contrived to produce a very in the celebrated scene in the last act, successful drama upon a very simple of which we observe Villemain speaks principle. Sophocles had written an with much respect (though he admits Edipus at Colonos; Euripides an it not to be altogether in Shakspeare's Alcestis ; Ducis blends the iwo submanner), Hamlet suddenly producing jects in one, From such a union the urn, which he seems to carry no happy result was to be antiabout with him like a pouncet-box, cipated; but, as a specimen of the addresses his mother
vigour of thought and expression
which Ducis has occasionally thrown tred which it displays, may have been into his dialogue, we shall extract the in some degree inspired by that papassage in which (Edipus denounces rallel scene in which Lear pronounces his unnatural son Polynices, in which his curse upon his daughters. the sombre gloom and energy of ha
“ Toi, va t'en scélérat, ou plutôt reste encore,
Pour emporter les veux d’un vieux, qui l'abborre.
Adieu! tu peux partir.” This is better, we think, than Cre- not without lyrical inspiration, and billon, and as good as most passages some of his compositions in this class, in the same vein in Voltaire.
such as his stanzas to Chateaubriand, We shall imitate the example of seem to us to possess more real feel. M. Villemain, and pass over the names ing and elevation than those of J. B. of Champfort, Duclos, Rulhiere, and Rousseau. Raynald - men of wit and talent, In the lighter departments of the but merely the creatures of their song and the romance or ballad, the time, and altogether without origin- inferiority of the French poetry of ality of mind. Nor does poetry, this period is less perceptible. Many during this period of decline, offer of the songs of Desaugiers, the preany thing on which the reader would decessor of Beranger, are excellent ; willingly linger. The school of de. and nothing can be better in its way scriptive poetry, indeed, after its in- than Moncrif's ballad of Alexis and troduction by St Lambert and Delille, Alix. How pleasing, for instance, the found numerous imitators, such as simplicity of these stanzas Roucher, whose poem Les Mois, has
“ Que sert d'avoir bague et dentelle been rather unjustly treated by La
Pour se parer? Harpe ; and Rosset, who deserves
Ah! la richesse la plus belle, our gratitude, were it merely for a
Est de s'aimer. conscientious attempt to banish that eternal mythology in which French Quand on a commence la vie, pastoral and descriptive poetry had so
Disant ainsi, invariably dealt.
Oui, vous serez, ma mie, " Les epis sans Ceres dans les sillons Vous, mon ami.
jaunissent, Les raisins sans Bacchus sous le pampre
Quand l'age augmente encore l'envio noircissent;
De s'entr'unir De Pan et d’Appollon, les fabuleux trou. Qu'avec un autre, on nous mariopeaux,
Vaut mieux mourir. N'ont point des immortels entendu les pipeaux.”
Cinq ans, en dépit d'elle même,
Passa les jours But the best of the class of descrip- A se reprocher qu'elle l'aime, tive writers after Delille is Fontanes, L'aimant toujourswhose Verger and Jour des Morts dans une Campagne contain some very Pour chasser de sa souvenanco pleasing passages. Fontanes too, was L'ami secret ;
Ou se donne tout de souffrance
which the experiment was attended Pour peu d'effet !
pausing like Cæsar on the brink of the
Rubicon of revolution-resolved like Une si douce fantaisie
him to pass it, but like him, also, fully Toujours revient ;
aware of the irrevocable step about to En songeant qu'il faut qu'on l'oublie,
be taken-felt itself roused and elevated On s'en suivient !"
by the energetic operation of the pas. We have now reached the lowest sions by which it was alternately point of decline in the French Litera- swayed. The stamp of greater energy ture of the Eighteenth Century ; in and sincerity again became visible on our next and concluding article on the the literature in which these emotions subject, we shall witness its partial were reflected ; feeling began to speak revival. Upon the productive ener- a warmer language; the love of nagies of genius, the excitement of opin- ture and simplicity, in some degree to ion which preceded the actual de- reappear; and religion, as if convelopement of the French Revolution, scious that the hour was at hand when and even the opening scenes of that her still but solemn accents would be tragic drama, pregnant as they were drowned in the roar of civil commowith suspense and deep interest, un- tion, seemed to collect her last breath doubtedly produced a salutary influ. for an earnest farewell. A principle
The sluggish surface of litera- of faith and spirituality is perceived ture, which had begun “to cream and struggling against the old atheistical mantle like a standing pool," was and sensual philosophy. The opposihealthfully stirred and freshened by tion to materialism, which had been the first motions of the breeze which faintly indicated by Condillac, is carwas afterwards to rise into a tempest. ried out by Bonald and Le Maistre. As the time drew near when all those In romance, a new path is opened by theories of political and moral rege. the tenderness of St Pierre's Paul and neration, which had been brooded over Virginia, and the enthusiastic feeling till they had lost their freshness of of the René of Chateaubriand; fresh interest, seemed hurrying to their ac- spirit is imparted to the drama by complishment, that enthusiasm which Beaumarchais and Chenier; and elo. had greeted their original announce- quence awakens from its long slumber, ment, in a great measure revived. The to become at once the predominant national mind—buoyed up with hopes power of the time, and to startle as. of a new era, but agitated also by fear, sembled senates in the terrible accents when reflecting on the hazards with of Mirabeau.
From the time when the Russians laid The topography of the coasts was in the foundation of their present domin- some degree elucidated by the valuion on the shores of the Black Sea, able plans which Clarke himself, at they have shown themselves constantly the imminent hazard of his own safety, solicitous to limit the intercourse be- procured at Odessa, and deposited in tween these countries and the rest of the British Admiralty; but the interior Europe to the commerce carried on at remained unvisited and almost un. the seaport towns, and to place such known; for so effective had the sysrestrictions even on this mode of com- tem of repulsion apparently been renmunication as might render it almost dered, that few, if any, of the crowds impracticable to acquire any accurate of travellers who flocked to Constanti. information on the existing state, re- nople ventured to extend their resources, and population of these pro- searches to the northern shores of the vinces, and the condition of the in- Euxine. The treaty of Unkiar- Skedigenous tribes by which they are lessi, by which the islands at the mouth principally inhabited. With this view, of the Danube, and the control of the the acquisition of the Krimean terri- Dardanelles, were surrendered to the tory was immediately followed by the Czar, converted the Black Sea into a organization along its shores of a com- Russian lake: and the success of the plicated and tedious system of quaran- exclusive system would have been tines, with other vexatious sanitary complete, had not the circumstances and fiscal regulations, which, though attending the blockade of the Circasprofessedly framed to raise a barrier sian coast, and the piratical seizure of only between Turkey and her late the Vixen, given the European world Tartar dependencies, had in reality a full insight into the motives which the further effect of throwing such im- had so long actuated Russia in drawpediments in the way of all travellers ing a preventional cordon around her arriving from Constantinople or the Black Sea provinces, and shown at the Mediterranean at the ports of the same time how frail a hold she has yet Black Sea, that the few details which acquired over the numerous warlike we till of late possessed, relative to the tribes, which, during a long course of Cossack territory and the other south- years, she has subjected either by force ern provinces, were derived almost or fraud to her sceptre. solely from Clarke and Heber, who The interest excited by these transreached them by the tedious overland actions has, during the few last years, route from St Petersburg and Moscow. drawn the attention of Europe power. The former writer observes, that fully towards the present position of “ even in Reymann's map, published these regions, and has partially raised in Berlin in 1802, the territory of the the veil with which the jealous caution Don Cossacks, Kuban Tartary, and of Russia had covered them; and the the Krimea, appear only as a forlorn result of this newly roused spirit of blank:
as it is a maxim in enquiry has been, to demonstrate that Russian policy to maintain the igno- it is not among the Circassians and rance which prevails in Europe con- Lesghis only that the yoke is detested, cerning those parts of her dominions. though these only have as yet risen in
The courses of the Dniester, arms to repel it; but that by the Costhe Bog, and the Dniepr, as well as sack and Tartar races, who constitute the latitude and soundings of the the great numerical majority of the coast near their embouchures, have population in the southern districts of never been accurately surveyed: the European Russia, the Muscovites only tolerable charts are preserved by have never ceased to be regarded as the Russian government, but sedulous- strangers and aliens, differing in relily secreted from the eyes of Europe.” gion" and manners, and even in lan
* The greater part of the Cossacks are Roskolniks, or heretics, a schismatic sect of the Greek church : the Russians Proper being of the orthodox denomination. The persecution carried on against the Roskolniks was formerly so unceasing, that many guage, from the native inhabitants, vaded Russia, and the annihilation of among whom the Russian civil and which (as is correctly remarked by military functionaries are treated as Mr Parisht) has been, from the day foreigners, and the very term Moscof- of the destruction of the republic of ski* used as a by word of contempt Novogorod to the present moment, and reproach. The introduction of the aim of the system of centralized the abominable system of slavery despotism by which the country is (though in a mitigated form) among now governed. But though thus prethe remaining Tartar peasantry of the senting a link between the ancient Krim, soon followed the seizure of that and modern history of Poland and ill-fated country in 1783 : and though Russia, and abounding in wild and the numbers, martial habits, and an- martial passages which might vie with cient spirit of independence of the the chronicles of western border warCossacks, have preserved them from fare, the annals of the Cossacks have the attempt to impose this last and remained unknown to the English most hateful badge of Russian domi- reader, except by the scanty notices nation, their old privileges and immu- scattered through the histories of Rusnities have been, especially since the sia (the projected work of Heber hav. commencement of the present century, ing, unfortunately, remained a mere repeatedly encroached upon and in- fragment); and the notoriety into vaded. The ukase of 1837, by which which the Cossacks of the Don have the Cossacks of the Don were, for the risen during the last half century, has first time, made liable to the punish- only increased the confusion, by lead. ments of perpetual military service ing the mass of readers to attribute to and exile to Siberia, filled up the mea- them the exploits of their western bresure of their discontent: disaffection thren, the Cossacks of the Dniepr and manifested itself so openly in the cam- Ukraine, whose name stood conspicupaign of last year against the Circas- ous in the past annals of those regions, sians, by repeated desertions and acts ere the Don. Cossacks were heard of of insubordination, as to render the beyond their native steppes. A sketch withdrawal of most of the Cossack of the past history and present position regiments from the army of the Cau.. of these military communities will not casus matter of imperative necessity ; be without use and interest at the preand at the present moment, as far as sent moment, not only as elucidating the can be gathered from the accounts points above referred to, and showing which have escaped the vigilance of at how early a period the system of the Russian authorities (who are ever making the protection extended to inon the alert to prevent the dissemina- dependent tribes a pretext for depriv. tion of unfavourable intelligence), the ing them of their liberties, found a whole of the Cossack country is in a place in the wily policy of Russia ; state bordering on open revolt. but also and most especially, as point.
Though the achievements of the ing out the real weakness of that Cossacks in the late wars made their power, and the quarter in which she name familiar throughout Europe, as is most assailable, by proving how ill designating a peculiar and formidable cemented is her union with a people, description of irregular cavalry, the who have hitherto been considered fact of their existence from the earliest one of the most formidable weapons period as a separate people among the in her hands. Russians, has been either disregarded The origin of the Cossacks has been or imperfectly understood ; and their traced, by Tooke and other writers, as singular history and institutions are high as the tenth century of the Chriseven now almost unknown, although tian era, on the supposed authority of the latter present the only remaining the Greek Emperor Constantine Porvestige of the popular forms and phyrogenitus, who mentions a country municipal system which once per- called Kasachia, between the Euxine
Cossack tribes who held those tenets quitted Russia for the territories of the Tartar khans; and even in 1806, Heber was assured that they were burdened with a double capitation tax, and not allowed the public exercise of their religion.
Life of Heber, i. 234. † Diplomatic History of Greece, p. 49.