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only versions of Greek dramas that give any idea of the original. The translations from Faust, by Shelley, shew how intimately he had thought himself unto the works of that great author.

Shelley's more finished larger poems are Rosalind and Helen, Adonais, Hellas, Prometheus Unbound, and the Cenci. The first-mentioned although cast in the narrative form, and human in its interest, is still deeply tinged with his original vice, his controversial tendency. The versification is sweet and fluent, but in other respects it is scarcely worthy of Shelley. The Hellas, he himself tells us, "written at the suggestion of the events of the moment, is a mere improvise." It contains some magnificent passages. The opening chorus, in particular, is beautiful, but too long for insertion here. The Adonais is also a child of occasion—a lament for Keates. It has much of Milton's Lycidas in the flow of it3 verse, although the structure of the stanza be different; nor does its imagery, or the constant under-tone of simple subdued pathos which pervades the poem, render it unworthy to stand in competition with that "melodious tear."

In his " Cenci," Shelley first displayed to the world the full extent, of his genius. Medwin tells us, that while "The Revolt of Islam" and others of his poems were thrown off by him, almost without exertion, the " Cenci" was the product of severe and continuous labour. Its solid worth confirms the story. It is worthy to rank among the most successful efforts of dramatic art in the English language; and the fragments which have been given to the world of the unfinished drama, "Charles the First," shew that it wa* no chance burst, no happy accident. Shelley had occupied the field of the drama, and would have maintained it. He had the power of subduing the expressions of agony to the modulations of harmony, without lessening their power or diminishing the sympathy they were likely to excite. He could be alternately homely and magnificent. He knew how to check that overflowing of poetical thought which was natural to him, in order to give character to his dialogue; and this restraint, by compressing his thoughts, gave them a spring and elasticity which are felt unseen. Lastly, he saw clearly the distinction between the narrative and dramatic, and allows his characters to be seen and heard as the necessity of his art dictates. They but appear—the chain of causation which links their appearances is supplied, involuntarily, by the mind of the be. holder.

The story of the "Cenci" is too well known to need repetition here. The characters are boldly expressed both by their words and actions. Not a syllable is attributed to them which the forwarding of the action does not call for. Not a scene is introduced in which some event does not occur to forward the catastrophe. The characters are discriminated by a delicate metaphysical tact. Old Cenci and Beatrice are the marked and prominent characters, and are distinguished not merely as male from female—good from evil—but as old from young. They are akin in power: but the power of Cenci is that of a full-grown petrified soul which advances not; the power of Beatrice is growing, it increases with every struggle, every opportunity of display. Even the feebler characters differ in their feebleness—Gracoma too feeble to be virtuous, Orsino too feeble to be successfully a villain, the Pope too feeble to be just. How truly dramatic is the execution of the piece will be felt in the breathless horror of the murder scenes.

Z a

Olimpio How feel you to this work?

Margio.—As one who thinks
A thousand crowns excellent market price
For an old murderer's life. Your cheeks are pale.

Olim.—It is the white reflection of your own,
Which you call pale.

Mar.—Is that their natural hue?

Olim Or 'tis my hate, and the deferred desire

To wreak it, which extinguishes their blood.

Mar.—You are inclined then to this business?

Olim.—Ay,

If one should bribe me with a thousand crowns
To kill a serpent which had stung my child,
I could not be more willing.

Enter Beatrice and Lucretia beloir.
Noble ladies!

Btatr.—Are ye resolved?

Olim Is he asleep?

Mar.—\s all Quiet?

Lucr I mixed an opiate with his drink:

He sleeps so soundly—

Beatr That his death will be

But as a change of sin-chastising dreams,
A dark continuance of the Hell within him,
Which God extinguish I But ye are resolved?
Ye know it is a high and holy deed?

Olim We are resolved.

Mar—As to the how this act Be warranted, it rests with you.

Bcatr Well, follow!

Olim Hush! Hark! What noise is that?

Mar.—Ha 1 some one comes!

Beatr.—Ye conscience-stricken cravens, rock to rest
Your baby hearts. It is the iron gate,
Which ye left open, swinging to the wind,
That enters whistling as in scorn. Come, follow!
And be your steps like mine, light, quick, and bold.

( Exeunt.)

• ••■«■

An Apartment in the Castle. Enter Beatrice and Lucretia.
Lucr—They are about it now.
Beatr.—Nay, it is done.
Lucr.—I have not heard him groan.
Beatr.—He will not groan.
Lucr.—What sound is that?
Beatr.—List! 'tis the tread of feet
About his bed.

Lucr My God!

If he be now a cold stiff corpse.

Beatr O, fear not

What may he done, but what is left undone:
The act seals all.

Enter OHmpio and Marxio.
Is it accomplished?

Mar What?

Olim Did you not call?

Beatr.—When?
Olim.—Now.

Beatr I nsk if all is over?

Olim We dare not kill an old and sleeping man;

His thin grey hair, his stern and reverent brow,
His veined hands crossed on his heaving breast,
And the calm innocent sleep in which he lay,
Quelled me. Indeed, indeed, I cannot do it.

Mar But I was bolder; for I chid Olimpio,

And bade him bear his wrongs to his own grave
And leave me the reward. And now my knife
Touched the loose wrinkled throat, when the old mail
Stirred in his sleep, and said " God! hear, O, hear
A father's curse I What, art thou not our father?"
And then he laughed. I knew it was the ghost
Of my dead father speaking through his lips,
And could not kill him.

Beair.—Miserable slaves 1
Where, if you dare not kill a sleeping man,
Found ye the boldness to return to me
With such a deed undone? Base palterers!
Cowards and traitors 1 Why, the very conscience
Which ye would sell for gold and for revenge
Is an equivocation: it sleeps over
A thousand daily acts disgracing men;
And when a deed where mercy insults heaven-
Why do I talk?

(Snatching a dagger from one of them and raising it.)

Hadst thou a tongue to say, She murdered her own father, I must do it! But never dream ye shall outlive him long!

Olim.—Stop, for God's sake!

Afar.—I will go back and kill him.

Olim.—Give me the weapon, we must do thy will.

Beatr.—Take it! Depart! Return 1

(Exeunt Olim. and Mar.)
How pale thou art I
We do but that which 'twere a deadly crime
To leave undone.

Luer.—Would it were done 1

Beatr Even whilst

That doubt is passing through your mind, the world
Is conscious of a change. Darkness and hell
Have swallowed up the vapour they sent forth
To blacken the sweet light of life. My breath
Comes, methinks, lighter, and the gellied blood
Runs freely through my veins. Hark!

(Enter Olimpio and Marzio.)
He is—

Olim Deadl

Mar.—We strangled him that there might be no blood; And then we threw his heavy corpse i' the garden Under the balcony; 'twill seem it fell.

Beatr (Giving them a bag of coin.)

Here, take this gold, and hasten to your homes.

And, Manio, because thou wast only awed

By that which made me tremble, wear thou this I

(Clothes him in a rich mantle.)
It was the mantle which my grandfather
Wore in his high prosperity, and men
Envied his state: so may they envy thine.
Thou wert a weapon in the hand of God
To a just use. Live long and thrive I Ami. mark,
If thou hast crimes, repent: this deed is none.

CA horn is sounded.)

Luer Hark I 'tis the castle horn; my God, it sounds

Like the last trump.

Beatr.—Some tedious guest is coming.

Luer. The drawbridge is let down; there is a tramp

Of horses in the court j fly, hide yourselves!

(Exeunt Olim and Mar.)

Beatr.—Let us retire to counterfeit deep rest;
I scarcely need to counterfeit it now:
The spirit which doth reign within these limbs
Seems strangely undisturbed. I could even sleep
Fearless and calm: all ill is surely past.

(Exeunt.)

The Prometheus is dramatic in form only; there is little or no human interest in it. The sphere of action is the universe; the actors the gigantic creatures of the poet's imagination. Love, hatred, fear, the beauty of the elements and the human form,—these in the abstract are the materials employed by the poet, but he has fused them in the glowing furnace of his own mind, cast them in more gigantic moulds, and given them new purposes and relations. It is indeed a gigantic work, worthy, from the might and magnitude of its conceptions, to rank beside iEschylus. The great and good Titan, the tyrant Jove, the mysterious all-absorbing Demigorgon, are adequate to the infinity they are created to fill. The Oceanides and other lovely spirits cluster in undying beauty around these colossal beings. And on the outward form of the poem the author has lavished all the riches of his sweet majestic and varying versification. The Prometheus is a poem that never can be popular. The habits of thought presupposed in those to whom it addresses itself exist only in minds which have been long devoted to literature. But those who can appreciate must ever regard it as a mine of the richest beauties of poetry. Perfect we cannot call it; for, independently of one or two wanton defiances of feelings which may (and ought to) find place in the most cultivated minds, the consummation is imperfect. Man being finite, cannot comprehend infinite good, and all attempts to clothe such an idea in a bodily form must be unsuccessful.

Words vainly attempt to describe a poem which can be known only from repeated perusals. Those who can find pleasure in rich combinations of melodious measures giving voice to crowding images of beauty, abstracted from every thin?rthat is of the earth earthy, will relish the revels of the Hours and Spirits, after the delivery of Prometheus.

Scene, a Part of the Forest near the Cave of PnoMETHEts. Panthea and lost are sleeping; they awaken gradually during the First Song.

Voice of Unseen Spirits.
Tbe pale stare arc gone!
For the sun, their swift shepherd,
To their fulds them compelling,
In tbe depths of the dawn,
Hastes, in meteor-eclipsing array, and they flee
Beyond his blue dwelling,
As fawns flee the leopard.
But where are ye?

A train of dark Forms and Shadows passes by confusedly, Singing.

Here, oh here:

We bear the bier
Of the Father of many a cancelled year I

Spectres we

Of the dead Honrs be,
We bear Time to his tomb in eternity.

Strew, oh, strew

Hair, not yew!
Wet the dusty pall with tears, not dew!

Be the faded flowers

Of Death's bare bowers
Spread on the corpse of ihe King of Hours!

Haste, oh, haste!

As shades are chased, Trembling, by day, from heaven's blue waste,

We melt away,

Like dissolving spray, From the children of a diviner day,

With the lullaby

Of winds that die
On the bosom of their own harmony!

lone.—What dark forms were they?

Panthea—The past Hours weak and grey,
With the spoil which their toil

Raked together,
From the conquest but One could foil.

lone.—Have they past?

Panthea.—They have past; They outspeeded the blast, While 'tis said, they arc fled:

lone.—Whither, oh, whither?

Panthea.—To the dark, to the past, to the dead.

Voice of Unseen Spirits.
Bright clouds float in heaven,
Dew-stars gleam on earth,

Waves assemble on ocean,
They are gathered and driven
By the storm of delight, by the panic of glee 1
They shake with emotion,
They dance in their mirth.
But where are ye?

The pine boughs are singing
Old songs with new gladness,
The billows and fountains
Fresh music are flinging,
Like the notes of a spirit from land and from sea;

The storms mock the mountains
With the thunder of gladness.
But where are ye?

lone.—What charioteers are these?
Panthea—Where are their chariots?

Semichorus of Hours.
The voice of the Spirits of Air and of Earth
Have drawn back the figured curtain of sleep
Which covered our being and darkened our birth
In the deep.

A Voiee.~\n the deep?

Semichortts II.—Oh, lielow the deep.

Semichorus I An hundred ages we have been kept

Cradled in visions of hate and care,

And each one who waked as his brother slept,

Found the truth—

Semichorus II.—Worse than his visions were!

Semichorus I.—We have heard the lute of Hope in sleep; We have known the voice of Love in dreams, We have felt the wand of Power, and leap—

Semichorns II.—As the billows leap in the morning beams!

Chorus—Weave the dance on the floor of the breeze,

Pierce with song heaven's silent light, Enchant the day that too swiftly flees,

To check its flight ere the cave of night.

Once the hungry Hours were hounds

Which chased the day like a bleeding deer,
And it limped and stumbled with many wounds -

Through the nightly dells of the desert year.

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