« PreviousContinue »
With your best friends? You had far best be quiet;
[ The Lutheran Soldier rushes forward; a shot strikes him from one of the Pope's Guards, and lu falls at the foot of the Altar. Cscs. (to the Lutheran). I told you so. Luth. Sold. And will you not avenge me?
Cms. Not 11 Tou know that " Vengeance Is the Too see he loves no Interlopers. [Lord's:"
Luth. Sold, (dying). Oh!
Had I but slain him, I had gone on high,
Cat. Yes, thine own amidst the rest
Well done, old Babel 1
[The Guards defend themselves desperately, while the Pontiff escapes, by a private pasta the Vatican and the Castle of St. 1
Cos. Ha! right nobly battled!
Mow, priest! now, soldier 1 the two great professions,
Soldiers. He hath escaped!
Another Sold. They have barr'd the narrow passage And It is clogged with dead even to the door.
Cea. I am glad he hath escaped: he may thank me for't
la part I would not have his bulls abolish'd —
Suidicrt. By holy Peter
the truth ; the heretics will bear
Enter Olimpia, flying from thepursuit— She springs upon the Altar. Sold. She's mine!
Anotlter Sold, (opposing the former). Tou lie, I track'd her first: and were she The Pope's niece, I '11 not yield her. [ Tttey fight.
Zd Sold, (advancing towards Olimpia). Tou may settle
Tour claims; IH make mine good.
Olimp. Infernal slave!
Tou touch me not alive.
3d Sold. Alive or dead!
Olimp. (embracing a massive crucifix). Respect your God 1
3d Sold. Tes, when he shines in gold.
Girl, you but grasp your dowry.
[As he advances, Olimtia, with a strong and sudden effort, casts down the crucifix • it strikes the Soldier, who falls. 3d Sold. Oh, great God!
Olimp. Ah! now you recognise him.
Comrades, help, ho 1 All's darkness I [He dies.
Olimp. Welcome such a death!
Tou have no life to give, which the worst slave
Cats, (aside and laughing). Ha! ha! here's equity 1
Have as much right as he. But to the issue!
Sold. The cross, beneath which he is crush'd; behold, him
Lie there, more like a worm than man; she cast it Upon his head.
Arn. Even so; there is a woman
Worthy a brave man's liking. Were ye such,
A Sold, (murmuring). The lion
Might conquer for himself then.
Arn. (cuts him down). Mutineer!
Rebel in hell—you shall obey on earth I
[ The Soldiers assault Arnold.
Arn. Come on I I'm glad on't'. I will show you,
How you should be commanded, and who led you
of Rome. For this picture of horrors, aee especially the "S;icka(?fi of Rome." by Jacopo Buonaparte, " gentlluomo Sammlnlatcse, che vi so trove prescnte," and " Life of Cellini," vol. i. p. 124.]
Dntn I waved my banners from its height,
[arnold mows down the foremost; the rest
Soldiers. Mercy! mercy I
Arn. Then learn to grant it Have I taught you who Led you o'er Rome's eternal battlements?
Soldiers. We saw it and we know it; yet forgive A moment's error in the heat of conquest— The conquest which you led to.
Arn. Get you hence!
Hence to your quarters! you will find them fix'd
Olimp. (aside). In my father's
House I [no further need
Arn. (to the Soldiers). Leave your arms; ye have Of such: the city's render'd. And mark well Tou keep your hands clean, or I '11 find out a stream As red as Tiber now runs, for your baptism, [obey!
Soldiers (deposing their arms and departing). We
Arn. (to Olimma). Lady, you are safe.
Olimp. I should be so,
Had I a knife even; but it matters not—
Arn. I wish to merit his forgiveness, and
Olimp. No 1 Thou hast only sack'd my native land,—
No injury!—and made my father's house
A den of thieves! No injury 1—this temple—
Slippery with Boman and with holy gore.
No injury! And now thou would preserve me,
To be but that shall never be!
[She raises her eyes to Heaven, folds her robe roundher, andprepares to dash herself down on tlie side of the Altar opposite to that where Arnold stands. Arn. Hold! hold I
Olimp. Spare thine already forfeit soul
Arn. No, thou know'st me not; I am not Of these men, though
Olimp. I judge thee by thy mates;
It is for God to judge thee as thou art.
[olimfia waves her hand to Arnold with dis*
Arn. Eternal God!
I feel thee now! Help! help! She's gone.
Cess, (approaches). I am here.
Arn. Thou! but oh, save her 1
Cas. (assisting him to raise Olimfia). She hath done it well! The leap was serious.
Arn. Oh ! she is lifeless!
Cos. Ay, slave or master, 'tis all one: metUBta Good words, however, are as well at times.
Arn. Words! — Canst thou aid her?
Cas. I will try. A sprinkling
Of that same holy water may be useful.
[He brings some in his helmet from the fast.
Arn. T is mix'd with blood.
Cas. There is no cleaner now
Arn. How pale ! how beautiful! how lifeless! Alive or dead, thou essence of all beauty, I love but thee 1
Cas. Even so Achilles loved
Penthesilea: with his form it seems
Arn. She breathes I But no,'twas nothing or tit lut Faint flutter life disputes with death.
Arn. Thou say'st it? Then 'tis truth.
Cas. Tou do me right—
The devil speaks truth much oftener than he's deera'd: He hath an ignorant audience. [bests.
Arn. (without attending to him). Tes! her heart Alas! that the first beat of the only heart I ever wish'd to beat with mine should vibrate To an assassin's pulse.
Cas. A sage reflection, [her?
But somewhat late i' the day. Where shall we bear I say she lives.
Arn. And will she live?
Cas. As much
As dust can.
Arn. Then she is dead!
Cas. Bah! bah 1 Tou are so,
And do not know it She will come to life—
Arn. We wUl
Convey her unto the Colonna palace,
Cas. Come then ! raise her up!
Cas. As softly as they bear the dead,
Perhaps because they cannot feel the jolting.
Am. But doth she live indeed?
Cas. Nay, never fear:
But if you rue it after, blame not me.
Arn. Let her but live I
Cas. The spirit of her life
Is yet within her breast and may revive.
Cas. II But fear not 111 not be your rlvsL Arn. Rival!
Ca-s. I could be one right formidable;
But since I slew the seven husbands of
Tobias' future bride (and after all
An. Prithee, peace I
Softly; methinks her lips move, her eyes open!
Co. Like stars, no doubt; for that's a metaphor For Lucifer and Venus.
An. To the palace
Colonna, as I told you I
Cb. Oh! I know
Iff way through Borne.
An. Now onward, onward! Gently!
[Exeunt, bearing OunriA. The see
A Cattle in the Apennines, surrounded by a wild but smiling Country. Cliorus of Peasants ringing before the Gates.
The wars are over,
The spring is come;
The spring is come; the violet's gone,
The first-born child of the early sun:
lah us she is but a winter's flower,
The mow on the hills cannot blast her bower,
And she lifts up her dewy eye of blue
To the youngest sky of the self-same hue.
And when the spring comes with her host Of flowen, that flower beloved the most Shrinks from the crowd that may confuse Bet heavenly odour and virgin hues.
flack the others, but still remember
Cos. (ringing). The wars are all over,
Our swords are all idle,
The steed bites the bridle.
But his armour is rusty,
And the veteran grows crusty,
He drinks—but what's drinking?
A mere pause from thinking!
But the hound bayeth loudly.
The boar's in the wood,
To spring from her hood:
She sits like a crest.
With birds from their nest.
Cat. Oh ! shadow of glory!
Dim image of war!
Her hero no star,
Of empire and chase,
And quake for their race.
In the pride of his might,
To embrace him in fight;
For a spear, 'gainst the mammoth,
At the foaming behemoth;
As towers in our time,
And, like her, sublime!
But the wars are over,
[Exfunt the Peasantry, ringing.
'Now the Serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made."— Gen. ch. ill ver. I
SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.
THIS MYSTERY OT CAIN IS INSCRIBED,
BY HIS OBLIGED FRIEND AND FAITHFUL SERVANT.
The following scenes are entitled M A Mystery," in conformity with the ancient title annexed to dramas
1 [" Cain " was begun at Ravenna, on the 16th of July, 1821 —completed on the 9th of September — and published, in the same volume with " Sardanapalus" and "The Two Koscari," in December. Perhaps no production of Lord Byron has been more generally admired, on the score of ability, than this *' Mystery ;'*—certainly none, on first appearing, exposed the author to a fiercer tempest of personal abuse. Besides being unmercifully handled in most of the critical journals of the day," Cain" was made the subject of a solemn separate essay, entitled * A Remonstrance addressed to Mr Murray respecting a recent Publication — by Oxoniensit;" of which we may here preserve a specimen : —
"There is a method of producing conviction, not to be found in any of the treatises on logic, hut which 1 am persuaded you could be quickly made to understand ; it is the nrgutrutttum ad crumrnam; and this, I trust, will be brought home to you in a variety of ways ; not least, I expect, in the profit you hope to make by the ©(lending publication. As a bookseller, I conclude you have but one standard of poetic excellence—the extent of your sale. Without assuming any thing beyond the bounds of ordinary foresight, I venture to foretell, tnat In this case you will be mistaken: the book will disappoint your cupidity, as much as it discredits your feeling and discretion. Your noble employer has deceived you, Mr. Murray: he has profited bv the celebrity of his name to palm upon you obsolete trash, the very off-scourings of Bayle and Voltaire, which he has made you pay for as though it were first-rate poetry and sound metaphysics. But I tell you (and If you doubt it, you may consult any of the literary gentlemen who frequent your reading-room) that this poem, this * Mystery,1 with which you have insulted us, is nothing more than a cento from Voltaire's novels, and the most objectionable articles In Bayle's Dictionary, served up in clumsy cuttings of ten syllables, for the purpose of giving it the guise of poetry.
*• Still, though * Cain has no claims to originality, there are other objects to which it may be made subservient; and so well are the noble author's schemes arranged, that in some of them he will be sure to succeed.
"In the first place, this publication may be useful as a financial measure. It may seem hard to suspect, that the high, souled philosophy, at which his Lordship makes profession, could be 'servile to the influence ' of money ; but you could tell us. Sir, If you would, what sort of a hand your noble friend Is at a bargain ; whether Plutus does not sometimes go shares with Apollo in hts inspirations.
M In the second place (second I mean in point of order, for I do not presume to decide which motive predominates in his Lordships mind), the blasphemous impieties of* Cain,' though nothing more In reality than the echo of often refuted sophisms, by being newly dressed and put forth in a form easy to be remembered, may produce considerable efleet; that is, they may mislead the ignorant, unsettle the wavering, or confirm the hardened sceptic in his misbelief. These arc consequences which Lord Byron must have contemplated , with what degree of complacency he alone can telL
M But, in the third place, if neither of these things happens, and * Cain' should not prove either lucrative or mischievous,
upon similar subjects, which were styled " Mysteries, or Moralities." The author has by no means taken the same liberties with his subject which were common, formerly, as may be seen by any reader curious
there is another point which Lord Byron has secured to himself, so that he cannot be deprived of It,—the satisfaction of Insulting those from whom he differs both in faith and practice. . .. Now, at last, he quarrels with the very conditions of humanity, rebels against that Providence which guides and governs all things, and dares to adopt the language which had never before been attributed to any being but one, * Evil, be thou my good.' Such, as far as we can judge,is Lord Byron.'1
This critic's performance Is thus alluded to in one of Lord Byron's letters to Mr. Douglas Kinnalrd: —** I know nothing of Riviogton's ' Remonstrance * by the * eminent Churchman; but I suppose the man wants a living." On hearing that Ms publisher was threatened with more serious annoyances, in consequence of the appearance of the ** Mystery," Lord Byron addressed the following letter to Mr. Murray :—
"Pisa, February 8, 1833.
"Attacks upon me were to be expected; but I perceive sew upon you in the papers, which I confess that I did not expect. How, or in what manner, you can be considered responsible, for what / publish, I am at a loss to conceive.
"If 'Cain* be 'blasphemous,' Paradise Lost ts blasphemous; and the very words of the Oxford gentleman,4 Evil, be thou my good,' are from that veVy poem, from the mouth of Satan -, and Is there any thing more in that of Lucifer in the Mystery? * Cain1 is nothing more than a drama, not a piece of argument. If Lucifer and Cain speak as the first murderer and the first rebel may be supposed to speak, surely all the rest of the personages talk also according to their characters — and the stronger passions have ever been permitted to the drama.
** 1 have even avoided introducing the Deity, as in Scripture (though Milton does, and not very wisely either); but have adopted his angel as sent to Cain Instead, on purpose to avoid shocking any feelings on the subject, by falling snort of what all uninspired men must fall short in, vis. giving an adequate notion of the effect of the presence of Jehovah. The old Mysteries introduced him liberally enough, and all this is avoided in the new one.
"The attempt to bully you, because they think it won't succeed with me, seems to me as atrocious an attempt as ever disgraced the times. What I when Gibbon's, Hume's, Priestley's, and Drummond's publishers have been allowed to rest in peace for seventy years, are you to be singled out for a work of fiction, not of history or argument? There must be something at the bottom of this—some private enemy of your own: it is otherwise incredible.
"I can only say, 'Me, me , en adsum qui feci;' — that any proceedings directed against you, I beg, may be tranaferred
to me, who am willing, and ought* to endure them all; that
if you have lost money by the publication, I will refund any or all of the copyright; — that I desire you will uy that botfi you and Mr. Gilford remonstrated against the publication, as also Mr. Hobhouse; — that / alone occasioned It. and I alone am the person who, either legally or otherwise, should bear the burden. If they prosecute. 1 will come to England; that is, it", by meeting it in my own person, I can save yours. Let
enough to refer to those very profane productions,1 whether in English, French, Italian, or Spanish.
1 me know. You sha'n't suffer for roe, if I can help it. Make 1 my use of ttiii letter you please. Yours ever, &c.
"P.S. — 1 write to you about all this row of bad passions iue* with the summer moon (for here our winter r than your dog-days) lighting the winding Arno, with all her buildings and bridges, — so quiet and still !— What nothings are we before the least of these stars 1"
An individual of the name of Benbow having pirated 'Cain," Mr. Shadwell (now, 1836, Sir Lancelot, and ViceChancellor) applied to the Lord Chancellor (Eldonl for an injunction to protect Mr. Murray's property in the Mystery. The learned counsel, on the 9th of February, 1822, spoke as fallows: —
■ This work professes to record, in a dramatic poem of three acts, the story contained in the book of Genesis. It is meant to represent the state of Cain's mind when it received those temptations which led him to commit the murder of his brother. The actors In the poem are few: they consist of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and their two wives, with Lucifer, aid, in the third act, the angel of the Lord. The book only does that which was before done by Milton, and adheres more ciwetyto the words contained In Scripture. The book. In the own Id en cement, represents Cain in a moody, dissipated disposition, when the Evil Spirit tempts him to go forth with him to acquire knowledge. After the first act, he leads him through the abyss of space; and, in the third, Cain returns vitb a still more gloomy spirit. Although the poet puts passages into his mouth, which of themselves are blasphemous and impious; yet it is what Milton has done also, both In his Paradise Lost, and Regained. But those passages are powerfolly combated by the beautiful arguments of his wife, Adah. It is true that the book represents what Scripture represents, —that he is, notwithstanding, Instigated to destroy the altar of his brother, whom he is then led on to put to death; but tbea the punishment of his crime follows in the very words of the Scripture Itself. Cain's mind is Immediately visited ■ith all the horror of remorse, and he goes forth a wanderer "a the face of the earth. I trust 1 am the last person in the -■ rid who would attempt to defend a blasphemous or impious wwk; but I say that this poem is as much entitled to the protection of the court. In the abstract, as either the Paradise Lost or the Paradise Regained. So confident am I of this, that 1 would at present undertake to compare it with those
rks, passage by passage, and show that it is perfectly as floral as those productions of Milton. Every sentence carries *nth it, if I may use the expression, its own balsam. The authority of God Is recognised; and Cain's Impiety and crime •re introduced to show that its just punishment immediately followed. I repeat, that there is no reason why this work, taken abstractedly, should not be protected as well as either of the books 1 have mentioned. I therefore trust that your Lordship will grant this injunction in limine. And then the &>udants may come in and show cause against it."
The following is a note of the Lord Chancellor's judg. sent: _ ,
"This court, like the other courts of justice In this country, acknowledges Christianity as part of the law of the land. The ;urisdiction of this court in protecting literary property Is founded on this, —that where an action will lie for pirating a
• ■ > there the court, attending to the Imperfection of that '■■'■"!.-- grants Its injunction; because there may be publication after publication which you may never be able to hunt
1 ^°*a by proceeding in the other courts. But where such an
• •• n does not lie, 1 do not apprehend that it is according to I the coarse 6f the court to grant an injunction to protect the
cr?yright. Now this publication, if it isone intended to vilify fad bring into discredit that portion of Scripture history to which it relates. Is a publication with reference to which. If principles on which the case of Dr. Priestley, at Warwick, decided, be just principles of law, the party could not I, neover any damages in respect of a piracy of it This court 'feu no criminal jurisdiction; it cannot look on any thing as Hence; but In those cases It only administers justice for ^* protection of the civil rights of those who possess them, ■ consequence of being able to maintain an action. You have alluded to Milton's immortal work: it did happen in the course of last long vacation, amongst the solicita Jucunda oblivia vitte, J rtaA that work from beginning to end; It is therefore quite freth in my memory, and it appears to me that the great object «Its author was to promote the cause of Christianity: there are iradoubtedly a great many passages In it, of which, if that were net its object. It would be very improper by law to vindicate *■ publication; but, taking It all together, it is clear that the gyl and effect were not to bring into disrepute, but to pro. f&ote, the reverence of our religion. Now the real question '"kin - at the work before me. Its preface, the poem, its ■ of treating the subject, particularly with reference to the fail and the atonement, whether its Intent be as innocent a* that of the other with which you havo compared it; or
The author has endeavoured to preserve the language adapted to his characters; and where it is (and this
whether it be to traduce and bring into discredit that part of sacred history. This question I have no right to try. because It has been settled, after grtrat difference of opinion among the learned, that ft is for a jury to determine that point; and where, therefore, a reasonable doubt is entertained as to the character of the work (and it is impossible for me to say I have not a doubt, I hope it (s a reasonable one), another course must be taken for determining what Is its true nature and character. There is a great difficulty in these cases, because it appears a strange thinjftn permit the multiplication of copies by way of preventing the circulation of a mischievous work, which I do not presume to determine that this is; but that 1 cannot help : and the singularity of the case, in this instance, is more obvious, because here is a defendant who has multiplied this work by piracv, and does not think proper to appear. If the work be of that character which a court of common law would consider criminal, it is pretty clear why he does not appear, because he would come am/Uens reus; and for tho same reason the question may perhaps not be tried by an action at taw ; and if it turns out to be the case, I shall be bound to give my own opinion. That opinion I express no further now than to say that, after having read the work, I cannot grant the injunction until you show me that you can maintain an action for It If rou cannot maintain an action, there Is no pretence for granting an injunction ; if you should not be able to try the question at law with the defendant, I cannot be charged with impropriety if I then give my own opinion upon it. It Is true that this mode of dealing with the work, if it be calculated to produce mischievous effects, opens a door for its dissemination; but the duty of stopping the work does not belong to a court of equity, which has no criminal jurisdiction, and cannot punish or check the offence. If the character of the work is such that the publication of it amounts to a temporal offence, there is another way of proceeding, and the publication of it should be proceeded against directly as an offence; but whether this or any other work should be so dealt with. It would be very Improper for me to form or Intimate an opinion."
The Injunction was refused accordingly. The reader is referred to Mr. Moore's Notices for abundant evidence of the pain which Lord Byron suffered from the virulence of the attacks on " Cain," and the legal procedure above alluded to.
Sir Walter Scott announced his acceptance of the dedication in the following letter to Mr. Murray: —
. N Edinburgh, 4th December, 1821.
"My Dear Sir, — I accept with feelings of great obligation, the flattering proposal of Lord Byron to prefix my name to the very grand and tremendous drama of ' Cain.' I may be partial to it. and you will allow I have cause; but I do not know that his Muse has ever taken so lofty a flight amid her former soarings. He has certainly matched Milton on his own ground. Some part of the language Is bold, and may shock one class of readers, whose line will be adopted by others out of affectation or envy. ,But then they must condemn the' Paradise Lost,' if they have a mind to be consistent. The fiend-like reasoning and bold blasphemy of the fiend and of his pupil lead exactly to the point which was to be expected, —the commission of the first murder, and the ruin and despair of the perpetrator. f
"I do not see how any one can accuse the author himself of Manichetsm. The Devil talks the language of that sect, doubtless; because, not being able to deny the existence of the Good Principle, he endeavours to exalt himself— the Evil Principle—to a seeming equality with the Good; but such arguments, in the mouth of such a being, can only be used to deceive and to betray. Lord Byron might have made this more evident, by placing in the mouth of Adam, or of some good and protecting spirit, the reasons which render the existence of moral evil consistent with the general benevolence of the Deity. The great key to the mystery is, perhaps, the imperfection of our own faculties, which sec and feel strongly . the partial evils-which press upon us, but know too little of I the general system of the universe, to be aware how the existence of these Is to be reconciled with the benevolence ot the great Creator.
"To drop these speculations, you have much occasion for some mighty spirit, like Lord Byron, to come down and trouble the waters; for, excepting * The John Bull*,' you seem stagnating strangely in London. Yours, my dear Sir, very truly, WALTER SCOTT."
'* To John Murray, Esq."
1 [See note to " Hints from Horace," post; Payne Collier's ** Annals of the Stage," vol. i.; the " Histoire du Theatre Francais," vol. 11., Ac]
* [The pungent Sunday print so called had been established some little time before this letter was written, and had exclled a sensation unequalled in the recent history of the newspaper press. 3