Слике страница







Walpoliana, No. IV.

437 Satire, many of its allusions must vanish, my father.” He was conscious that it as the objects it aims at correcting cease was a delicate matter to mention him. to be in vogue--and perhaps that cel

IMPOSITIONS. lation, the natural death of fashion, is often aicribed, by an author to his own

Acute and sensible people are often the reproots. Ladies would have left off moft easily deceived. A deceit, of which patching on the whig or tory lide of their it may be said, " It is impossible for any face, tho Mr. Addison had not writ.

one to dare it," always succeeds. ten his excellent Spectator. Probably

REVOLUTIONS. even they who might be corrected by his Good men are never concerned in revo. reprimand, adopted some new distinction lutions, because they will not go the as ridiculous; not discovering that his lengths. Sunderland caused the revolıfatire was levelled at their partial animo- tion of 1688, while Devonshire stood lity, and not at the mode of placing their aloof-the latter was the angel, the forpatches--for unfortunately, as the world mer the storm. Bad men, and poisonous cannot be cured of being foolish, a plants, are sometimes of superlative use preacher who eradicates one folly, does

in skillful hands, but make room for some other."

The critics generally condider a tra-

One quality I may safely arrogate to gedy as the next effort of the mind to an myself: I am not affraid to praise. Many epic poem.

For my part I estimate the are such timid judges of compoấtion, that difficulty of writing a good comerly to be they hesitate, and wait for the public greater, than that of composing a good opinion. Shew them

a manuscript, tragedy. Not only equal genius is re- though they highly approve it in their quired; but a comedy demands a more hearts, they are affraid to commit themuncommon assemblage of qualities felves by speaking out. Several excellent knowledge of the world, wit, good sense, works have perished from this cause; a &c. and these qualities superadded to

writer of real talents being often a mere those requisite for tragical compofition.

sensitive plant with regard to his own proCongreve is said to have written a co ductions. Some cavils of Mafon (how medy at eighteen. It may be—for I can inferior a poet and judge!) had almoit innot lay that he has any characteristic of duced Gray to destroy his two beautiful a comic writer, except wit, which may and sublime odes. We should not only sparkle bright at that age. His charac- praise, but hasten to praise. ters are feldom genuine--and his plots LXXII. FRENCH TRAGEDY. are sometimes fitter for tragedy. Mr. Sheridan is one of the most perfect comic Cornelie Vejtale, a tragedy by the president

I have printed at Strawberry Hill the writers I know, and unites the most un Henault. It is rather a dramatic poem common qualities—his plots are suffici- than a drama--like the other French traently deep, without the clumsy intagle- gedies. The word drama is derived, I ment, and muddy profundity, of Con- believe, from a Greek word signifying 10 greve-characters strictly in nature-wit net. Now in the French tragedies there without affectation. What talents! The is little or no a£tion ; and they are in complete crator in the senate, or in Welt- truth mere dramatic poems, composed miniter-hall--and the excellent dramatist wholly of conflicts of interests, passions, in the most difficult province of the drama! and sentiments; expresfed, not in the

language of nature, but in that of de

clamation. Hence these interests, para Lord **** did a shocking job for fions, and sentiments, feem all overstrained, Which

my father was blamed. There is and hors de la nature. a filly and false account of it, in the last I do not mean to deny just praise to edition of the Biographia, in a life of Corneille and Racine--but their merit, like him by bishop ** his son. I had that of Metastasio's Operas, is of

pecuforgotten lord** *** in the Catalogue liar kind. It is not dramatic, not pity of Royal and Noble Authors : when this and terror moved by incident and action, was observed to me I waited on lord -but an interest created by perplexity, **** his son, and begged a list of his mental conflict, and situation. An father's works, apologizing at the same Italian, an Englishman, a German, extime for the omiffion. His lordship pects something very different in a drama, said. “ Sir I beg you will not mention real action, and frequent incident,










Walpoliana, No. IV. LXXIII. ON GRACE IN COMPOSITION. Swift's. Eloquence may bestow an im.

mortal style, and one of more dignity ;

June 26, 1785. yet eloquence may want that ease, that To

your book, fir, I am much obliged genteel air that fiows from, or constitutes, on many accounts, particularly for hav- grace.

Addison himself was master of ing recalled my mind to fubjects of de- that grace, even in his pieces of humour, light, to which it was grown dulled by and which do not owe their merit to style; age and indolence. In coniequence of and from ihat combined fecret he excells your reclaiming it, I asked myself whence all men that ever lived, but Shakespeare, you feel so much disregard for certain au in humour, by never dropping into an thors whose fame is established. You approach towards burlesque and bufhave assigned good reasons for withhold. toonery, even when his humour descended ing your approbation from fome, on the to characters that in any other hands plea of their being imitators--it was na would have been vulgarly low. Is it not tural then, to ask myself again, whence clear that Will Whimble was a gentlethey had obtained to much celebrity? I man, though he always lived at a disance think I have discovered a cause, 'which I from good company? Fielding had as do not remember to have seen noted ; and much humour perhaps as Addison ; but that cause I suspect to have been, that cer- having no idea of grace, is perpetually distain of those authors pofiessed grace--do gufting. His innkeepers and parsons are not take me for a disciple of Lord Chel- the groffest of their profeffion; and his terfield, nor imagine that I mean to erect gentlemen are awkward when they thoud grace into a capital ingredient of writing be at their eale. but I do believe that it is a perfume

The Grecians had grace in every thing, that will preserve from putrefaction ; and in poetry, in oratory, in statuary, in aris distinct even from ftyle, which regard's chitecture, and probably in music and expreljion; grace I think belongs to man- painting. The Romans, it is true, were

It is from the charm of grace that their imitators; but having grace too, I believe fome authors, not in your fa- imparted it to their copies, which gave vour, obtained part of their renown. them a merit, that almoft raises them to Virgil in particular—and yet I am far the rank of originals. Porace's Odos from disagreeing with you on his subject acquired their fame, no doubt, from the in general. There is such a dearth of in- graces of his manner and purity of his vention in the Æneid (and when he did ityle; the chief praise of Tibullus and invent, it was often fo foolishly); fo little Propertius, who certainly cannot boast of good sense, fo little variety, and so little more meaning than Horace's Odes. power over the passions, that I have fre Wailer, whom you proscribe, fir, owed quently said, from contempt for his mat. his reputation to the graces of his manter, and from the charm of his harmony, ner, though he frequently ftumluled, and that I believe I should like his poem bet- even fell flat: but a few of his small ter, if I was to hear it repeated, and did pieces are as gracefull as possible: one not understand Latin. On the other hand might say, that he excelled in painting he has more than harmony; whatever he ladies in enamel, but could not succeed utters is said gracefully, and he enobles in portraits in oil large as life. Milton his images, especially in the Georgics, had such fuperior merit, that I will only or at least it is more fenfible there from say, that it his Angels, his Satan, and the humility of the subject. A Roman his Adam, have as much dignity as the farmer might not understand his diction Apollo Belvedere, his Eve has all the dein agriculture—but he made a Roman licacy and graces of the Venus of Medici, courtier understand farming, the farming as his description of Eden has the colourof that age; and coud captivate a lord ing of Albano. Milton': tenderness imof Augustus's bedchamber, and tempt .prints ideas as gracefull as Guido's Mahim to listen to themes of rusticity. Sia- donnas; and the Allegro, Penseroso, and tius and Claudian, though talking of war, Comus, might be denoted from the three would make a soldier despise them as Graces; as the Italians give singular bullies. That graceful manner of think- titles-to two or three of Petrarch's best ing in Virgil seems to me to be more than fonnets. style, if I do not refine too much ; and Cowley, I think, would have had grace I admire, I confess, Mr. Addison's (for his mind was graceful) if he had had phrase, that Virgil toffed about his dung any ear, or if his taste had not been viwith an air of majesty. A style may be tiated by the pursuit of wit; which, excellent without grace-for infance, Dr. when it does not offer itself naturally, de


[ocr errors]

Walpoliana, No. IV.-Grace in Composition.

439 generates into tinsel or pertness. Pert- the poetry appears to me admirable ; and ness is the mistaken affectation of grace, tho' the fourth book has obfcurities, I as pedantry produces erroneous dignity: prefer it to the three others. It has de the familiarity of the one, and the clum- lcriptions not surpassed by any poet that finess of the other, distort, or prevent, ever existed ; and which surely a writer grace. Nature, that furnishes samples of merely ingenious will never equal. The all qualities, and in the scale of grada- lines on Italy, on Venice, on Convents, tion exhibits all poflible shades, affords us have all the grace for which I contend, as types that are more apposite than words. distinct from poetry, tho' united with the The eagle is sublime, the lion majestic, most beautifull; and the Rape of the the fwan graceful, the monkey pert, the Lock, besides the originality of great part bear ridiculoully awkward. I mention of the invention, is a standard of gracethese as more expressive and comprehensive ful writing. than I coud make definitions of my mean In general I believe that what I call ing; but I will apply the fwan only, un- grace, is denominated elegance ; but by der whole wings I will shelter an apology grace I mean something higher. I will for Racine, whose pieces give me an idea explain mytelf by instances; Apollo is of that bird. The colouring of the swan is gracefull, Mercury elegant. pure, his attitudes are graceful, he never Petrarch perhaps owed his whole merit displeafes you when sailing on his proper to the harmony of his numbers, and the element. His feet may be ugly, his notes graces of his style. They conceal his hissing not musical, his walk not natural; poverty of meaning, and want of variety. he can foar, but it is with difficulty. Still His complaints too may have added an the impreífon the swan leaves is that of intereit, which, had his passion been suca grace-fo does Racine.

cessfull, and had expressed itself with Boileau may be compared to the dog, equal fameness, would have made the num. whose fagacity is remarkable, as well as ber of his sonnets insupportable. Melan-, its fawning on its master, and its snarling choly in poetry I am inclined to think conat those it dislikes. If Boileau was too tributes to grace, when it is not disgraced austere to admit the pliability of grace, by pitiful lamentations, such as Ovid's he compensates by fenfe and propriety. and Cicero's in their banishments. We He is like (for I will drop animals) an respect melancholy, because it imparts a upright magistrate whom you respect; similar affcétien, pity: A gay writer, but whose justice and severity leave an who should only express satisfaction withawe, that discourages familiarity. His out variety, would loon be nauseous. copies of the ancients may be too lërvile Madame de Sevignè fhines both in grief but if a good translator deserve praise, Boi- and gaiety. There is too much of forleau deserves more : he certainly does not row for her daughter's absence; yet it is fall below his originals; and, considering at always expreffed by new turns, new what period he wrote, has greater merit images; and often by wit, whofe tenderstill. By his imitations he held out to ness has a melancholy air. When me forhis countrymen models of taste, 'and ba- gets her concern, and returns to her naa nished totally the bad taste of his prede- tural disposition, gaiety, every paragraph ceffors. For his Lutrin, replete with ex-' has novelty: her allusions, her applicacellent poetry, wit, humour, and satire, tions, are the happiest possible. She has he certainly was not obliged to the an the art of making you acquainted with cients. Excepting Horace, how little all her acquaintance; and attaches you idea had either Greeks or Romans of wit even to the spots the inhabited. Her lanand humour! Aristophanes and Lucian, guage is correct, tho’unstudied; and when compared with moderns, were, the one a her mind is full of any great event, she inblackguard, the other a buffoon. In my terests you with the warinth of a dramatic eyes, the Lutrin, the Dispensary, and the writer, not with the chilling impartiality Rape of the Lock, are standards of grace of an historian. Pray read her accounts and elegance, not to be paralleled by an of the death of Turenne' and of the artiquity, and eternal reproaches to Vol- rival of K. James in France, and tell me taire, whose indelicacy in the Pucelle de whether you do not know their persons, graded him as much, when compared as if you had lived at the time. For my with the three authors I have named, as part,


will allow me a word of dihis Henriade leaves Virgil, and even Lu- greffion (not that I have written with any can, whom he more resembles, by far method), I hate the cold impartiality, res his superiors. The Dunciad is blenished commended to historians; fi vis me flere, by the offensive images of the games, but dolendum eft primum ipfi tivjembut that I MONTHLY MAC. No. XXXII,

3 L



Account of Schiller. may not wander again, nor tire, ner con- haps, prejudices. I am, fir, your obedi. tradict

you any more, I will finish now : ent huinble iervant, HOR. WALPOLE. and shall be glad if you will dine at P. S. Be so good as to let me know, Strawberry-Hill next Sunday, and take a bed there; when I will tell you how many whether I shall have the pleasure of seeing

by a line by the post to Strawberry-Hill, more parts of your book have pleased me, than have startled my opinions, or, per

you on Sunday.

ORIGINAL ANECDOTES, LETTERS, &c. Characteristic Account of Foreign

the best theatres in Germany, and was Literati.

well supported by the dramatic talents of

Beck and Ifand, two excellent pero SCHILLER.

formers: the latter of whom has also

written a considerable number of good THI

HIS dramatic writer has acquired plays, amounting to 25 at least, with

an uncommon degree of celebrity, the various merits of which, his country, as well among the Germans as the Eng- men are well acquainted. Tinh. None of his performances have SCHILLER's next performances were escaped the lash of criticism, which, per « Cabal and Love," (translated into Eng. haps, never has been more justly inflicted lish by Mr. Lewis, under the title of than upon his eccentric compofitions. “ The Minister ;') The Conspiracy of It will hence be understood, that, in his Fiesco," and “ Don Carlos." "Each of own country, partie ularly among critics these plays, particularly the latter, met who combine a correct talte with a judi- with a favourable reception on the Gercious arrangement of facts—facts founded man itage. It is, however, worthy of reupon the purity of moral mutives-he mark, that, though all SCHILLER's comholds but a middle rank.

positions bear the stamp of great genius, SCHILLER is a native of Stutgard, the supported by a brilliant and fertile imacapital of the dutchy of Wurtemberg, gination, yet they are neither calculated born in 1760. · As his father was an of to become completely popular, por to ficer in the army of the late reigning withstand the attacks of the most lenient Duke of Wurtemberg, who had erected critics. In fact, they are meteors on the a military academy, in imitation of that German horizon ; they are not only defiestablished at Berlin, by the late Great cient in the design, or arrangement of Frederick; our bard was naturally placed parts, but are likewise written in so exin this feminary, where he received the travagant, or rather infuriated a dialogue, first rudiments of his education-by no as to excite the idea, that they must be actmeans congenial to his talents. Under ed by beings inhabiting a very different all the disadvantages of a military school, world from that we live in. Befides, the he, however, soon diftinguished himself style and phraseology of SCHILLER canamong his companions, by his metapho- not be held out as a pattern of German rical language in conversation, and his writing, to those who apply to the study poetical turn in composition. Though of that copious and energetic language. the leader in almost every class through The natives of Germany, who have which he passed, his talents did not ren studied their language grammatically, and der him the object of envy and hatred critically, are annoyed in every page of among his schoolfellows; for he was a his earlier compositions, with Swabian perfedt stranger to reserve and artifice. and Bavarian provincialisms.

SCHILLER's parents obviously wished Soon after the four dramatic pieces him to try his fortune in the army; but above mentioned had made their appearhis natural propensity to dramatic studies ance, SCHILLER presented the public foon determined him to prefer the elegant with a volume of poems, which greatly pursuits of the Muses, to the riotous and increased his reputation, already estadissipating scenes of a military life. blished among a certain class of readers,

We are not informed at what period of who delight in the marvellous, and which, life Schiller left Stutgard; but he not undeservingly, were the means of inmust have been very young (perhaps, not truducing him into the higher circles of twenty years of age), when he wrote, at life. The reigning Duke of Saxe-WeiManheim, his famous tragedy, " The mar, a true Mæcenas in German literaRobbers.” Manheim then poffelled one of ture, is said to have been so much pleased


Writings of Schiller.

441 with SCHILLER’S poems, that he ap- ' a surreptitious continuation of the Ghostpointed him one of his Aulic Counsellors*, feer," which, notwithstanding its inferiand conferred on him a profefforship of ority, has met with an unmerited degree history and philosophy in the university of luccels. of Jena. Here he composed his * History

SCHILLER now conducts a monthly of the Thirty Years War in Germany;" a publication, which is fupported by the work of great merit, and, in the opinion first German writers, among whom we of some. Germans, not inferior to the find the names of DALBERG, ENGEL, compositions of Livy, Voltaire, or Gib- Garve, GLEIM, GOETHE, HERDER, bon. This, however, is a pardonable pre- HUFELAND, HUMBOLDT, JACOBI, judice in favour of SCHILLER, since his MATTHISON, PFEFFEL, SCHUTZ, &c. countrymen cannot boast of many good This claffical Magazine is printed at historians, and perhaps of none of superior Tübingen, under the title, “ Die Hozen,' excellence, or at least equal to Hume and alluding to the three graces, Eunomia, Robertson. So much is certain, that the Dice, and Irene. last mentioned two writers greatly gain Besides these publications, SCHILLER in the comparison with the best German is the editor of an annual poetical almahiltorians, namely, Häberlin, the two nack, (: Mufen Almanack,”) which serves Henrys (Heinrich), Schmidt, Galetti, as a vehicle for the occasional effusions of Buchholz, Wagner, and Baczko. young bards, who wish to bring their

The next work of Schiller's is, poetical talents to the test before the pub« The History of the Netherlands," which, lic, and to profit by the previous critihowever, he has not yet concluded; al- cisms and corrections of the editor. In though it was begun several years ago.

this almanack he also communicates the Perhaps, the severe criticisms that ap- latest productions of his own muse. peared on this work in the German Re Our poet is said to have displayed a views, have discouraged him from prose- strong propensity, in his youth, to whatcuting this very important subject t. ever had the appearance of eccentricity.

Another work of Schiller's, that His dress, his mode of life, even his excited considerable attention in Ger- courtships, were as original as his mode many, is The History of the most memo of writing. It is, however, not very rable Conspiracies." —But, as a work of difficult to account for these peculiarities. imagination, displaying all the powers of It we consider hiin as a youth endowed invention, his k Ghost-feer," "may be with a fertile and active mind, with the ranked among the principal compositions strongest sensations of virtue and liberty, of that kind. It has been very impei'- 'and, at the same time, checked in his infectly translated into English ; and many tellectual career, within the narrow path fuperficial readers have concluded, that of a military school, where every thing the genius of the Germans strongly in moves by the dimensions of space and clines to the inarvellous and romantic, time; his earlier productions, such as because this book was received with such The Robbers,” and The Conspiracy of satisfaction by certain classes of people in Fiesco," are, in a high degree, characterGermany, that it has been several times istic of the situation and circumstances in reprinted; though the first part of it only which he was placed at a time of life, was published by the author. Another when the human mind is fusceptible of writer, of inferior talents, has published the strongest and most lasting impressions.

We cannot suppress a singulai anecdote * This is a mere title, attended with no

which forms an epocha in the life of other emolument than that of being called SCHILLER. As a distinguished favourite Her Hofrath, instead of the simple word among the fair, his courtships in general Herr, i. e. Sir, or Mr.- The Germans, how were more of the passive than of the active ever, are still very fond of titles being an kind. Thus it happened, that a young appendage of the old feudal system: and as lady, of rank and fortune, in the vicithe petty sovereigns rarely reward a merito- nity of Jena, sent him an unexpected Tious literary man in a more effectual manner than by loading him with an empty title, the altar of Hymen. This he could not

challenge, by offering him her hand at the first characters in Germany are reluetantly easily refuse, without being guilty of obliged to submit to this farcical mode of rewarding literary merit, until a better pro- great rudeness and cruelty ; especially as spect opers.

the enamoured lady would undoubtedly † Meanwhile, the Bishop of Antwerp has have fallen a victim to an affection which written a most valuable History of the Ne- he alone could relieve, and which she had therlands."

contracted by the perusal of his poems. 3 L 2


[ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »