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Review of the Vampire.
proceeds to the father's house, where the conspirators were privately assembled, having previously directed the Queen how to act. On his arrival there, he finds Astarte before him, who, passing accidently near the place where Abdalla and her brother had fought, received the dying words of the latter, with the solemn assurance that he was murdered by Abdalla. In the agony of her heart, she flew to her father's, told him of the death of his son, but recoils at the idea of sacrificing Abdalla to his vengeance, by naming him as the murderer.
At the instant, the Queen rushes in with her guards, as had been concerted, and seizes all the conspirators, save Benassar, who had gone forth to seek the body of his son.
The Queen and Abdalla return to the palace. From the guilty couch of his abandoned mistress, Abdalla comes forth at midnight,--the night is stormy--the lightnings fly, and the thunders roll terrific above his head, yet he stands unawed; at intervals a confused cry is heard, and red fires blaze on the surface of the sky.
He is encountered by Astarte, who upbraids him with his perfidy, tells him that the hour of freedom is arrived, that Benassar has escaped, and with a chosen band is storming the palace. We subjoin the passage wherein she describes the situation in which she found her father after the death of his son.
Who hath atchieved this mischief?
Yet he did breathe-
And led him to his empty home again :
Review of the Vampire.
I shriek d and fled: he followed, wildly grasping
The tyrant to the altar ! In the midst of her recital the Queen rushes in, tells Abdalla the rebels have attacked the palace, and all is riot and convulsion. Astarte comes forward and upbraids her with her tyranny and oppression, and the Queen in a fit of jealous madness stabs her to the heart. She dies in the arms of Abdalla, who execrating the cruel vengeance of the Queen breaks from her, as she attempts to detain him, and rushes out. At the instant Bepassar enters, and sees the Queen, who, pointing to the lifeless body of his daughter, desires him to execute his vengeance upon her, as she was her murderer, but to spare Abdalla ; Benassar is torn with agony on seeing his daughter, and hearing from the Queen of her love for Abdalla, resolves to save him; leaving the Queen to the pangs of her own guilty conscience, he flies to seek Abdalla.
The scene changes to a rocky coast, lashed by the tumultuous waves of the sea ; Abdalla enters, having hewn his way thither through piles of slain; he is followed by the Queen, calling on him to save her from the savage sury of the populace; he tells her she shall rest where
living man in vengeance comes not: that her
Peerless body shall be laid in cold
Can mock it with its heartless and hearing the approach of the rebels, he flings her from the summit of a rock, into the sea, in which she sinks for ever. Benassar and the conspirators rush in, to whom Abdalla tells what he had done; at the intercession of Benassar his life is spared, and the tragedy closes with the departure of Abdalla.
Such are the leading features of this play, which we conceive little adapted for theatrical representation. The incidents are weak and common place, and the interest too much divided to produce that effect so absolutely necessary in dramatic composition. At the conclusion of the Drama
Review of the Vampire.
but one personage remains alive on the stage, and he retains few claims on our compassion save his sorrows and his loss; the cause in which he is engaged, however righteous in its object, cannot be justified by the illegality of the measures adopted in executing it. Blood and murder are not the means by which freedom is to be obtained, and there is something improbable in associating the chief ministers of a government in a plot for its destruction.
But it is to the character of Abdalla we are particularly attracted ; in him we were led to expect that deep intensity of passion that preys upon the vital warmth of the constitution, till feeling is withered and nature subdued by its corroding influence-that inclination to wind round the inmost recesses of the heart, to enter into its secret thoughts, and prey in silence and unobserved upon its dearest affections. Such is the idea we had formed of the moral vampire, and we will say, without hesitation, that in the character before us we were completely disappointed. There is nothing of that energy to mark the passionate struggles, or that cunning which should characterise the insinuating designs of the destroying spirit. With none of the greatness of mind, the towering ambition, or the godlike pride,“ sublime even in guilt,” which mark the character of the daring Bertram, we look
upon Abdalla as a being in whom there is little to interest, and still less to admire. The language of the “ Vampire” is not of that high poetic description, which we are accustomed to meet with in the dramatic compositions of the present day, and which in some respects makes up for more glaring defects; perhaps the following passage is most worthy of notice :
Astarte, The early lark now carols in the wind,
And soaring to the orient gates of day,
Review of National Feeling.
And, lost in deep amaze, my homeless thought
A marvel to the scrutiny of man. We noticed some errors of composition, which we are willing to attribute to the press, particularly as this is a point upon which we have sometimes to claim indulgence ourselves; we likewise noticed a line almost entirely borrowed from Jane Shore :
and shame A lengthened line of glorious ancestry. We also observed some passages which bore a strong simi-' litude to some lines of Bertram.
Having devoted as much as our space would admit we will dismiss the subject with observing that we could have wished to have seen the “ Vampire” in abler hands, or not at all.
National Feeling; or the History of Fitzsimon; a Novel, with Historical and Political Remarks. By an Irishman. 2 vols,
Dublin--A. O'Neil.-1821. It would always be a gratifying task to note and record the literature of this country-to follow the efforts of those who do not consider their works consigued to utter oblivion in their publication at home-to trace the relative characters of the genius of the sister Islandsmand to award to our own writers that approbation which we are at present obliged to bestow upon others. But the cant of patriotism is not generally accompanied by the proof-if it were, we would not so often observe the literary effusions of our garrulous nationalists transferred to Paternoster-Row, or the blossoms of those trees which we had nurtured and pruned here, scattered upon the winds of another land ; we would not so often regret the infatuation that can make men's actions contradict their vows; we would not so often come to the decision that those who bewail the sufferings, and exult in the “loveliness of the emerald hills,” can be purchased by the pecupiary profits of a London sale to transfer their “ lamentations” to a London Market, in preference to the mart of
Review of National Feeling.
their own “ unhappy Island,” as they have been pleased to term it in their "enchanting eloquence.” But, we remember that Churchill has said,
Majors and minors differ but in name;
Is, that the one is in, the other out. The reason, why the few works which we behold published in Dublin are, generally, of an inferior character is obvious -the poverty of Ireland is proverbial—whether justly so is beyond our intention to enquire ; -fashion and riches have rendered London the emporium of taste and learning, and consequently, authors of merit will seldom risk their reputation in this city.
National feeling will not permit us to dwell any longer upon this topic, and we hasten to the subject of our notice.
We remember in our juvenile days, among other scholastic admonitions, to have been frequently lectured on the subject of composition; We were taught to consider its beauties and its ornaments as the creations of genius, but to view its grammatical correctness as a mechanical quality which study and practice might attain. Murray and Blair were ous guides--their books are in the school-boy's library. In order to arrive at excellence in any class of writing it is necessary to understand the original principles of the language we use ;no author can be admired, if he jumbles his sentences together without respect for these rules; and numbers and cases—nouns and verbs-trampled on and distorted, are very unfavorable witnesses on the public trial of a writer. This preamble argues but little on the side of our “ Irishman"-we will bring his merits to a fair, but brief examina. tion--justice demands the one,-respect for the taste of our readers the other.
In a short preface, dedicated to his " countrymen,” he opens the design of his work; after claiming their protection, he proceeds to offer “a few prefatory remarks,” which, he says, “ old custom hath rendered indispensable." He apprizes them that he was obliged to “ adjust his thoughts” in the midst of “rural pursuits”--that, in plain terms, his work was written in the country.
" In too many of our modern publications has the Irish character been burlesqued in blunders, and yet stigmatized as 'savage and barbarous !' Would that my single exertion could refute the calumny."