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more inconsiderable portion ran into the dramatic form. Coleridge, indeed, translated Wallenstein, and wrote his tragedies of Zapolya and Remorse : Scott (but not till after all his other works in verse) produced what he called his “ dramatic sketch ” of Halidon Hill, and his three-act plays of The Doom of Devorgoil and The Ayrshire Tragedy, in all of which attempts he seemed to be deserted both by his power of dialogue and his power of
poetry: Byron, towards the close of his career, gave new proof of the wonderful versatility of his genius by his Marino Faliero, his Two Foscari, his Sardanapalus, and his Werner, besides his Manfred, and his mystery of Cain, in another style : and Shelley, in 1819, gave to the world perhaps the greatest of modern English tragedies in his Cenci. This, we believe, was nearly the sum total of the dramatic poetry produced by the more eminent poetical writers of the first quarter of the present century. The imitation of the old Elizabethan drama, of which we have since had so much, only began to become a rage after the day which these great names had illustrated began to decline. Joanna Baillie, indeed, as we have seen, had published the first volume of her Plays on the Passions so long ago as in 1798; and Lamb's tragedy of John Woodvil — which the Edinburgh Reviewers profanely said might “ be fairly considered as supplying the first of those lost links which connect the improvements of Æschylus with the commencement of the art”
- appeared the same year ; but it attracted little notice at the time, though both by this production, and much more by his Specimens of English Dramatic Poets, first published in 1808, Lamb had a principal share in reviving the general study and love of our early drama. Something probably was also done to spread the fashion of that sort of reading by the fictitious quotations from old plays which headed the chapters of several of the Waverley novels. But, perhaps, if we except Miss Baillie's plays, which came rather too early, the first dramatic work studiously composed in imitation of the language of the Elizabethan drama which, meeting the rising taste, excited general attention, was Mr. Milman's tragedy of Fazio, which appeared in 1815, and was followed by his Anne Boleyn, and several others in the same style.
Among the most distinguished ornaments of the prose literature of this recent era were some of the chief poetical writers of the time. Southey and Scott were two of the most voluminous prose writers of their day, or of any day; Coleridge also wrote much more prose than verse ; both Campbell and Moore are considerable authors in prose; there are several prose pieces among the published works of Byron, of Shelley, and of Wordsworth ; both Leigh Hunt and Wilson perhaps acquired more of their fame, and have given more wide-spread delight, as prose writers than as poets ; Charles Lamb's prose writings, his golden Essays of Elia, and various critical papers, abounding in original views and the deepest truth and beauty, have made his verse be nearly forgotten. Among the other most conspicuous prose writers of the period we have been reviewing may be mentioned, in general literature and speculation, Sidney Smith, Hazlitt, Jeffrey, Playfair, Stewart, Alison, Thomas Brown; in political disquisition, Erskine, Cobbett, Mackintosh, Bentham, Brougham (alone, of so many, still preserved to us, with his laurels won in every field of intellectual contest, both mentally and physically one of the most vital of the sons of men); in theological eloquence, Horsley, Wilberforce, Foster, Hall, Irving, Chalmers ; in history, Fox, Mitford, Lingard, James Mill, Hallam, Turner; in fictitious narrative, Miss Edgeworth, Mrs. Opie, Miss Owenson (Lady Morgan), Mrs. Brunton, Miss Austen, Madame d’Arblay (Miss Burney), Godwin, Maturin. The most remarkable prose works that were produced were Scott's novels, the first of which, Waverley, appeared in 1814. erful influence upon literature was also exerted from the first by the Edinburgh Review, begun in 1802; the Quarterly Review, begun in 1809; and Blackwood's Magazine, established in 1817.
1 With the second title of 'Tis Sixty Years Since, the work professing (in the Introductory Chapter) to have been written, as it really was in part, nine years before.
PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.
A Few of the most memorable facts connected with the progress of scientific discovery in England, during this period, may be
very briefly noted. In astronomy Herschel continued to pursue his observations, commenced a short time before 1781, in which year he discovered the planet Uranus ; in 1802, appeared in the Philosophical Transactions his catalogue of 500 new nebulæ and nebulous stars; in 1803 his announcement of the motions of double stars around each other; and a long succession of other important papers, illustrative of the construction of the heavens, followed down to within a few years of his death, at the age of eighty-four, in 1822. In chemistry, Davy, who had published his account of the effects produced by the respiration of nitrous oxide (the laughing-gas) in 1800, in 1807 extracted metallic bases from the fixed alkalis, in 1808 demonstrated the similar decomposability of the alkaline earths, in 1811 detected the true nature of chloride (oxymuriatic acid), and in 1815 invented his safety lamp; in 1804 Leslie published his Experimental Enquiry into the Nature and Properties of Heat; in 1808 the Atomic Theory was announced by Dalton ; and in 1814 its development and illustration were completed by Wollaston, to whom both chemical science and optics are also indebted for various other valuable services.
THE VICTORIAN AGE.
Ir sometimes happens that a new spirit, not in one thing but throughout almost the entire realm of opinion, so suddenly awakens, or at any rate reveals itself, in a country, that we might almost be tempted to suppose the population to have been changed to a man, and that the old Homeric similitude had been literally realized :
Man's generations come and go as come and go the leaves :
year; And so men too alternately grow up and disappear. The effect is nearly the same as if this were indeed the way
in which one generation is succeeded and displaced by another. The lead, at least, which is everything, has passed into new hands. Ideas of all kinds which had hitherto been quiescent or at a discount have all at once risen into the ascendant. Those, on the other hand, which had been wont to hold sway have fallen into discredit, The old traditions have lost their sacredness, and, if they stil, reign, no longer govern, or at any rate no longer govern alone, sitting enthroned in unquestioned supremacy.
The river of thought has escaped from the plain, in which it had long flowed on with all the freedom that it desired or thought of, with all that it seemed to itself to need, and has gone impatiently in quest of other courses, though it should be to dash itself either over a precipice or against a mountain.
It is true that the passing away of what is old and the substitution of something else is a process that is continually going on in human affairs. Change is incessantly at work even in the quietest times. But the change which sometimes takes place is like the rush of a mass of pent-up water when it has burst its barrier. No doubt, however, in all such cases the force which seems so suddenly to have aroused itself from slumber had been long preparing and gathering, and it is the opposition it has met with, the restraint
under which it has for a time been kept down, that has made it at last so sweeping and irresistible.
Such a general breaking up of old ways of thinking and feeling very notably marked the completion of about the first third of the present century in these countries, if we should not say throughout a great part of Europe. The national change that is always best defined, and most conspicuous and indisputable, is a change in the government by the substitution whether of a new dynasty or even of only a new individual sovereign; and for this reason whatever other changes may happen about the same time are apt to be regarded as due to the action of that primum mobile. Nor may such a view of the matter be always wholly devoid of truth. Sometimes a change of the government or of the ruler of a country is only, like other visible changes, a sign or a consequence of the activity of forces at work beneath the surface of things, in the bosom of society and in the minds and hearts of men.
It was so in France both when the elder branch of the Bourbons was expelled in 1830 and when the younger branch was expelled in 1848. But in England the termination of the reign of George IV., exactly a month before that of Charles X., was unconnected with anything in the preceding social condition of the country. And that change was probably not without considerable effect in aiding or facilitating the political and other social changes that followed it. At the least it was the removal of an impediment. It coöperated with the dynastic revolution that had taken place in France to put an end to the long domination of Toryism in England, and to bring about parliamentary reform, with all that has thence ensued. All these things, no doubt, would have happened at any rate ; but probably not when they did happen, not so soon, if it had not been for the change in the occupant of the throne. It is in this
that the exit of the last of the Georges, though not, it may be, properly speaking, the originating cause of much, is yet a great epoch, or marking event, both in our political history and in our social history generally.
Whatever beliefs and opinions become prevalent among a people will, of course, color the national literature during the time of their predominance. Literature is the artistic expression in words of whatever men think and feel. It is the product of that. It is elaborated out of that, as honey is elaborated out of vegetable matter by the transmuting skill of the bee. The thought and feeling,