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indeed, in the preface to the second volume, he has attempted to reduce under the rule and method of art. His descriptive powers are undeniable. Many of our readers will recognise in the following extract, the graphic horrors of a well-known pen; unfortunately we must add, they will find in other parts its equally well-known theories :
' As soon as he was ready, the young Count Alasco [the form assumed by the tempter) led the way to the banquet hall: and Rodolph followed in silence.
It was a vast gothic hall, full of guests : there was a glare of lights-voices—sounds of mirth and music; tables spread as for a feast; busy servitors passing to and fro ; a multitude of faces ; tumult; and to Rodolph's senses, a strange bewildering flickering of shifting shapes and colours, in which the real mingled wildly with the fantastic-as before an eye just sinking into a dream. He endeavoured to fix the objects before him, but they moved and floated about under his gaze. The voices ran confusedly into each other. His very step became unsteady; and Alasco, taking his arm, led him up to the centre of the dais, where, on an elevated seat under a gorgeous canopy, there was seated, and presiding at the banquet, a figure-Rodolph, as he approached, bashful and overawed, raised one glance to it; but in a moment he sickened with indescribable terror. He would even have fallen to the ground, but Alasco supported him.
• “It is my father,” he said : " he bids you welcome. Be not alarmed. Most persons are afraid of him when young. But you will soon be accustomed to him."
And, without saying more, he led Rodolph to a seat, near, and placed himself by his side, at the table.
Rodolph could scarcely look up. He had seen nothing distinctly. The mist was still before his eyes. But he shuddered with an internal horror and loathing, such as he had never experienced before, except in that awful place to which he had descended with the spirit.
• The young Count seemed resolved to take no notice of his discomposure. He rallied him playfully on his being dazzled with the scene; and on his first introduction to the gaieties of life. Other young men were seated at the same table, whom Alasco named to him; and though Rodolph shrunk at first from the expression of their eyes, they addressed him with a frankness and freedom which flattered him, and by degrees he took part in their conversation. But still, in all that he saw and heard, there mingled the same wild fantastic sense of unreality. Even the bouquet with which the table was spread was of the same strange unearthly character. The viands seemed to change their form. Fruits which lay before him, luscious, and purple, and melting into nectar, passed in a moment into fragments of ashes. Goblets, which foamed with wine, seemed filled the next instant with black and bitter potions. Even the vessels and dishes were huddled together in mingled poverty and profusion-partly enamelled and jewelled - partly of the meanest earthenware, shattered and dirty. And they changed their appearance rapidly. Only a few continued fixed. And they were of the most
gorgeous decorations-of massive silver and gold. But as Rodolph looked at them he was shocked to see them blazoned with sacred names, and enamelled with figures of holy things : and their shape reminded him of such vessels as he had seen only upon altars within the walls of churches. At last he became so giddy, and pained with an indescribable sense of fear, that he conceived himself to be seriously ill. At one time he thought he must be losing his senses ; but no one round seemed to be affected in the same manner. They ate, they drank, they laughed, they jested, as if wholly unconscious of the apparent delusion to which Rodolph was subjected. If, at times, a bitter contortion of pain clouded over the faces of his young companions, it vanished in a moment, and Rodolph thought it the illusion of his own diseased eye; and he was about to ask Alasco that he might retire to his own room, and endeavour to recover himself.'-Rodolph the Voyager, vol. i. p. 125.
However, these sensations pass away. Alasco's father claims acquaintance with Rodolph's great grandsire, significantly intimating that his favours are bestowed to the fourth generation. The lovely Countess Amelie seems captivated by the grace of Rodolph's figure; and in spite of warning voices from his guardian spirit, in spite of the alarming mystery which continually pervades the castle, and ever and anon manifests itself in some startling apparition, as when from the flowers in Amelie's bosom “there protruded something black-flattened, quivering, hissing
- a serpent's head ’—Rodolph allows himself to be completely absorbed by the whirlpool of dissipation which he has entered. His delusion lasts not a week : on the Sunday evening he commits an act of crime, which rends away the thin veil of pleasure, and discloses to him the awful realities of the scene in which he has been engaged. Alasco shows him his destined prison :
• And motioning to Rodolph to observe silence, he advanced through another narrow passage, alike perforated in the thickness of the wall, till they reached a small loop-hole ; and Alasco, placing Rodolph before it, bade him look down. It was a vast crypt, vaulted with black-ribbed arches, and supported on huge stone pillars, fantastically carved into capitals of grotesque and monstrous heads of snakes, and tigers, and awful fiends. All around it were low, dark-arched recesses, each capable of containing a single person, but so contrived that, while Rodolph could see into nearly all, none of them commanded the view of another. A few torches fastened to the pillars, and emitting a red smoky glare, threw light just sufficient to discern what was passing. And from ten to twelve figures, wrapped up, from head to foot, in black, stood about in little groups, resting upon strange deadly-looking instruments of gleaming steel, and apparently waiting for the arrival of a certain moment. At last, the great clock of the castle (it was the first time Rodolph had heard it, since he entered the walls) began to creak, and with a freezing, petrifying clang, its iron tongue told twelve. And the
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figures in the crypt gathered up their instruments, and moved each to their post. A dark archway, at the end of the crypt, opened at the same moment; and one by one, without speaking or looking up, Rodolph saw enter through the gloom a number of the same faces, which he had observed in the Baron's hall, radiant with smiles, and buoyant with mirth and joy. They came directly from the banquet-room, without having changed their gay attire. The plumes were still waving on their heads; the jewels glittering round their necks; the rich embroidery of their robes sparkled in the glow of the torches. But their cheeks were pale as ashes—their eyes dead and glassy with fear-their arms clasped upon their breasts. Not a word was uttered. But, one by one, they were taken by the dark figures, who awaited their approach ; and though Rodolph could perceive in them a fearful shudder as the hands of the officials touched them, they made no resistance, but followed singly, each into one of the vaulted recesses which surrounded the crypt. Rodolph's eye scarcely dared to penetrate into them. In several, a gleam, as from polished steel, broke out, as the official removed a vast black curtain from some cumbrous machinery of wheels and chains. In another, a lurid glare rose up and quivered among the vaults, as from a furnace. In each seemed lying some peculiar instrument of torture-cords, and pinions, and hammers, and huge nails, and wedges of iron.'— Rodolph the Voyager, vol. i. p. 210.
We regret that the writer of these passages, so powerfully gifted with the means of exciting and impressing the imagination, should have disqualified himself by his peculiar theories from the work which he has undertaken. Unless we are willing that the rising generation should imbibe the views, whose full development we have lately seen in · Hawkstone,' we cannot allow * Rodolph' to possess their confidence. However edifying the principle of duality may appear in the concordant powers and mutual condescensions of the Sovereign and the Archbishop, we do not wish to see it exemplified in the alternate personation of papal emissary and puritan captain by the Evil One himself.
We have come to the end of our list, and may now congratulate our readers on a fact, which, at present, pervades our lighter literature. We mean the spirit of earnestness and reality which is to be found in almost all the books of this character which are now published. How rarely, comparatively, do we see either novel, tale, or poem, written merely to amuse the leisure of the reader, or display the talents of the writer! Almost all are the expression of some real feeling, the mode in which the ideas of the writer find a desired vent. Thoughts are not raked up, or invention racked, in order that books may be written; but books are written, because their authors have that within them which seeks expression and embodiment. Nor is this any detriment to their efficiency in instruction; the conversation of the well-informed man, whose words flow on because his mind impels them, is more valuable, in hours of relaxation, than the set lecture carefully composed to meet the comprehension of the audience. If the latter conveys more information to the predisposed and attentive mind, the former invests it with the interest of living power, and arrests even the careless by its energetic tones. This, indeed, is the only true mode of combining instruction with amusement: if it be not the natural product of the writer's mind, but the laboured composition of the conscious teacher, the fraud is sooner or later detected, and the detection produces a feeling of soreness at the supposed injury, which may baffle all the well-intended efforts of the author. The limits, too, of this species of writing are more generally recognised; for it is not every kind of instruction which will bear this forced union with amusement. There is much that we can learn only by direct work, by consecutive thought and laborious investigation ; there is much also that we learn, almost unconsciously, by the ever-changing flow of events, by the thousand little circumstances which scarce attract our notice at the time, and retain no place in our memory afterwards, but which have contributed, without our knowledge, each by its own slight and silent impression, to ripen, change, and mould our character. This latter kind may be gained, perhaps even better, by the indirect instruction of tale or song; the former certainly cannot. Physical knowledge belongs chiefly to the former species ; ethical, more generally, to the latter. The one can scarcely be conveyed in any other form than that of the direct lecture; the other is more widely impressed on us by the exhibition of life and action. Hence we see, why it is a mistake, on the one hand, to introduce such remarks as that, this piece of wheatstraw
contains more than sixty per cent. of silica, or flint, in its composition,' (Marryat's Mission, vol. i. p. 56 ;) and on the other, to indulge in long disquisitions or moral lectures. The one is trespassing on an improper topic; the other diverging from the professed method of instruction. The object should be, to impart ethical information through the medium of human action ; to give, as it were, the quintessence of ordinary life, by combining, in a short period, and under striking relations, those consecutive series of incidents which are commonly spread over a large space of our actual existence. It is, in short, an effort to enable the young to dispense with the fatal law-παθήματα, ua0nuara,—to evade the necessity of actual trial, and make the experience of others their own, not by a mere acceptance of its results, (a process almost proverbially impossible,) but by a safe, because a mimic, passage through the fiery ordeal.
Art. V.-1. Philip ran Artevelde, a Dramatic Romance. By
HENRY TAYLOR. London: Moxon. 2. Edwin the Fair, an Historical Drama ; and Isaak Comnenus,
a Play. By HENRY TAYLOR. 24mo. London: Moxon. It is not on the first publication of a considerable literary work, that its peculiar character is likely to be duly estimated. Even when such a work has met with the favourable reception which has welcomed most of Mr. Taylor's dramas, they are read too hastily to be carefully weighed; and the impression made by them, whether of an agreeable or disagreeable sort, is confused, if not obliterated, by a crowd of new books, before it has had time to digest itself into anything like a critical judgment. In the fever of contemporary literature, those who have time to admire, have yet hardly time to attend or reflect; and it is not till the merit of a work has been attested by its frequent recurrence to our memory, or the permanence of its hold upon the public mind, after other works, not less popular at first, have drifted past it into oblivion, that we care to ask ourselves, what is the special character of the work that has interested us ; what are its true claims upon our regard, and what its ultimate chances of maintaining its ground with a posterity so rich, that it can afford to neglect much that would once have been prized.
In forming an estimate of any writer, we are much assisted by having a considerable mass of his writings at once before us. Qualities of his mind, but slightly indicated in one production, are stamped more strongly upon another; we take an ampler survey of the region in which his genius dwells; and following it through all its native haunts, we learn to discriminate between what is essential to it, and what is accidental, and to understand it alike in its excellences and its limitations. To this more comprehensive survey of Mr. Taylor's poetry, we are invited by the recent republication of his dramas in two small and cheap pocket volumes, such as of themselves prove not only a continued, but an increased circulation. Of these dramas, the last has now been several years before the world, and a much longer time has elapsed since the appearance of the first, which has for a considerable period been out of print. There is a peculiar interest in tracing the progressive development of a high poetic faculty through a series of successive works. In the works now before us, we trace a gradual enlargement and elevation of that faculty, as well as an increased dexterity in the use of its resources. There are, however, many accidental circumstances on which