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here. The more correct, that is well; but the more attractire ! Ought not every thing that is true and useful to be attractive — is it not always attractive — to a justly-balanced mind? Even if it be, how many justly-balanced minds does this motley world contain ? And is it certain that the most faithfully cultivated intellect will find the same interest in a cold and abstract dissertation, or a severe narrative of general facts, as in a picture that starts from the canvass, and speaks direct to the heart, glowing with the brightest colors of fanciful reality? Is it natural that it should ?
Be this as it may, the world may be led, it cannot be driven. While it is a prostitution of talent to pander to men’s prejudices, it is a waste of talent to disregard them. When the Grecian orator declared that manner was the first, the last, the sole requisite of his art, he uttered, with exaggerated extravagance indeed, a wholesome truth. To what purpose shall we speak, to those who will not listen; or write, for those who refuse to read ? A book unread is but a bundle of waste paper; and he who publishes useful truths, or conveys moral lessons, in a form that shall altract thousands, justly merits the praise of tenfold success, compared to him who puts forth the same in a form that shall command the attention of hundreds only. If, through the attractive pages of 'Jacqueline of Holland,' ten persons have acquired a just idea of the feuds, so characteristic of these rude times, which, originating in a frivolous argument over a cup of wine, continued for more than a century to nourish the bit. terest enmity, and kindle the deadliest wars, throughout the Low Countries — if ten persons are now acquainted with this, for one who would have learnt, from more sober history, even the names of the Hoëks and the Kabblejaws, has not Grattan rendered, in aid of history, a valuable service ? And to those whom, as the world now is, the novelist only can reach.
The value of the service, it will be replied, depends upon the accuracy of the portraiture. Most true. And it is no easy task, and no small merit, to attain to this species of accuracy. The historian, often doubtless at expense of much labor and perplexity, must make himself master of facts. The Historical Novelist must do more. He must search the records of former times for something beyoud mere narrative details; for the unrecorded spirit of the age. He must train his imagination to sojourn in the past, gradually to drink in the impressions that made men what we read that, centuries ago, they were ; until the fancy becomes imbued — saturated — with the influences of other times and climes. Then only may the novelist or the dramatist proceed, safely and successfully, to summon before us, in attractive succession, images of the past. Without such preparation the literary Glendowers of the age may call spirits from the vasty deep' of the olden time for ever, and they will come not; or, if they come, it will be a dwarfish, a spurious, and a short-lived race. Such failures indicate the difficulty, not the inutility, of the attempt.
That which has been said applies, in one sense, with even greater force to the historical drama than to the romance. The one speaks to the ear, the other to the eye; the one is but the text to the painting, the other is the painting itself. The drama, then, with all the drawbacks incidental to its peculiar structure, is yet one step nearer to reality, than the novel.
And when the dramatist is fortunate enough to obtain the aid of some of the master-spirits of the stage, how important is that one step nearer! Nearer, shall we say? Who, when SIDDONS stood before him, the living type — more than Imagination's type — of the regal Catherine — what charmed spectator, when her searching tones startled the very depths of his soul, ever paused to remember, that it was not the Queen of England, but only the daughter of Roger Kemble who spoke ? If the boards of old Drury had actually been Blackfriars Hall; if she who thus embodied every thing we ever dreamed of majesty, had, in truth, been the unfortunate consort of the fickle Henry; if the chariot wheels of Old Time, had, in very deed, been rolled back some three centuries, and the whole pageant, in its sad reality, been reenacted before our eyes even then, should we have felt it more, in the actual review, than in the scenic representation ? No. More than of any reality of common life, was, for the time, the effect, when Shakspeare and Siddons combined to enchain and enchant us.
Had the same prolific talents, which, in modern days, have enriched the sister department of literature, reached the dramatic branch had we Scotts and Edgeworths of the stage - the benefit, as well as the power, of the histrionic art would to-day have been unquestioned. Its influences would have been confessed as important as they are fascinating. Invidious as commonplace is it, for him who enters the arena to speak slightingly of his competitors : yet is the decline of the modern theatre, and the paucity of dramatic talent among us, a matter of complaint so notorious, that it were affectation to overlook the facts.
The best talents of our own country - talents that are gradually establishing for America a respectable literary rank among her elder sisters — have been diverted to other channels. The genius that sparkles from the ‘Sketch Book,' and tinges with romance the adventures of Columbus — the skill that invests with living interest the humble doings of the rude Pioneer, and stirs the pulse and wins the tear for the fate of the · Last of the Mohicans'— the graphic pen that charms us in ‘Hope Leslie,' or that which domesticates us by the Dutchman's Fireside'-well may the lover of the drama regret that these and other kindred spirits should have passed by the neglected entrance, perchance shrunk from the technical trammels, of a department of literature, which, had they attempted, they could scarcely have failed to enrich.
So also, as a general rule, has it been in England. The dramas of BYRON and Baillie, indeed, are distinguished exceptions. Nor are others, on either side the Atlantic, wholly wanting. Yet, even while we admire the spirit and nature of · Tell' or the Hunchback, the bold vigor of the Gladiator,' the classic elegance of 'Ion,' and the deep pathos of “Fazio,' we are reluctantly constrained to the confes. sion, that these and a few other efforts worthy to be named beside them, cannot redeem from merited reproach or obscurity, the general character of the dramatic effusions of the age. Will the romanticists of the modern French school claim, for their drama, a reserving exception? If they do, can we admit their claim? On the score of talent, yes. On that of good taste or useful influence, alas, no! Dumas and Hugo have an excuse for the extravagancies that disfigure and degrade their best productions. In avoiding the measured uniformity and dull formalities of the Aristotlelian school, with its inviolable unities and its intolerable confidants, it might be natural enough that the pendulum should swing to the opposite extreme, and that the despotic monotony of the classicists should be superseded by the horrors and the license of their rivals. But the excuse does not alter the fact. It cannot render · Lucréce Borgia' a fitting he. roine ; it cannot legitimize the attempt to perpetuate the disgusting atrocities of the Tour de Nesle; it cannot make ‘La Reine d'Espagne' decent or tolerable. These nightmares of the stage, as Hugo himself very ingenuously calls them, will fade away - it is fitting they should -— with the morning light of sober judgment. Or if, in the libraries of our children, they still find a place, it will be on some dusty shelf, beside the ‘Castle Spectre' or the · Mysteries of Udolpho.
A more legitimate exception, perhaps, might be made in favor of the German drama. A large proportion of Germany's voluminous authors have occasionally written for the stage. Even her Milton himself, the elaborately enthusiastic Klopstock, has, after his own antique fashion, deigned to woo Melpomene. The same giant intellect which, in later years, rioted in ‘Faust,' devoted one of its earliest efforts also to the drama, producing .Goëtz of Berlichingen ;' a play of no little merit, though indifferently adapted for representation. And, Shakspeare out of the question, it might be no easy task to match some of the happier creations of Schiller's dramatic fancy: take, for example, the beautiful conception of Tekla's character in his « Wallenstein.'
Yet, withal, it will hardly suffer denial, that the proportion of modern literary talent which has flowed in the dramatic channel, is small, compared to that which has taken other directions; and small indeed, compared to the importance of the art, and its neglected capabilities of affording instruction and delight. Now that the tale, the novel, the romance, have been elevated to a rank which, in former days, belonged to graver efforts only, and that distinction in that line is a hopeless reward, except for talents of the highest order, may we not hope for a corresponding improvement in a department nobler and worthier still ? When that improvement comes, small need will there be to challenge, for the dramatic art, a rank which even Shakspeare's powers of enchantment have proved insufficient with many fully to secure for it; a rank as an art not fascinating only but useful; an art, that shall improve the affections as well as gratify the imagination ; a Promethean art, that shall breathe life into the unimpassioned marble of history, and upon the cold beauty of the moral code ; an art practically philosophical, that shall exhibit what it desires to explain; that shall place the past before our eyes, and cause us to know it ; that shall embody virtue to our senses, and cause us to love it; an art, that, like a pure soul in a fair form, shall win while it teaches, and convince the understanding by first mastering the heart : an art, in fine, in accordance with the genius of the times — with that mild spirit of modern reform, which strives not, as our headstrong ancestors used, to dam up the passions and propen. sities of youth, until, like the arrested torrent of some Alpine valley,
the gathering stream outburst its ruptured barrier, carrying devastation in its path; but rather seeks gently to guide the mountain torrent through field and meadow, so that it shall scatter verdure and freshness over the very scenes it once covered with desolating inundation.
'Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul,
UNPITYING Avenger! thy still voice
Oh, Conscience! thou exacting creditor –
The dust of all humanity shall rise.
"To me there seems a religion in love, and its very foundation is in faith.' – MADELINE.
After my return home, as mentioned in my last chapter, I remained at my father's house for a few days, when another tutor was provided for me, in the most delightful section of the country, and better than all, within walking distance of my dear cousin. I had not, during all this time, lost sight, in my mind's eye, of my Catholic relation. She was always in my dreams. If I stood by a lake or running water - if I stood beneath the shade of a tree - if I was upon a mountain, or in a deep valley, or in lonely places, which induce the mind to indulge in trains of poetic musing and pensive thought, at such times, I thought of my dear cousin. Her image was reflected from the clear water; her voice sounded in the breeze ; the shade played out her form; and on the mountain, I was nearer to heaven and to her.
Who does not know that one's loves are stronger at some times than at others ? To the most fervent heart, there are seasons of relapse and indifference. The eye looks upon a trafficking world, and forgets, in a momentary disgust, that there are any bright and sacred temples of feeling amid the degraded throng. In seasons of want and uncertainty, when weighed down with bitter poverty, or biting ills, we may turn our eyes in despair for some resting-place for the sick soul; but love comes not then in its appropriate garb. It is then the medicine; but in prosperity — in moderate yet calm periods of life, when we can feel that our livelihood is provided for — how placidly and luxuriously the heart gives itself up to the delights of domestic affection, and reposes in the confidence of friendship !
In my new abode, I was happy. I was surrounded by comparative refinement. There was nothing to disgust my taste, if I had pot that which could elevate my character. The family I resided in, were well educated. They lived in handsome country style. We had inusic, and paintings, and books, and flower-gardens, and a neat teatable, and agreeable chat.
but I did not study here. Day after day I resolved to begin. One week broken, I would resolve upon the next, and each day saw me dwindling away my time in fruitless efforts to do something. I knew all the while that I was wrong, and felt it keenly. I knew the right, but I had no habits of study. The fault might be traced to my early education, where I was taught words and not ideas. The foun. dation of my character was weak, and my whole being yielded to the slightest temptation.
Certainly the old poets were wiser than the moderns, for when will it not be true to say:
All promise is poor dilatory man.'
"In all the magnanimity of thought,