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jection and exclamation, whereby their otherwise monotonous result upon the ear is enlivened.* I know very well how a Dramatist of the Day would have treated the subject; I know it as well as if I were sitting on his pineal, along with his soul: this is exactly what he would have done,-divided the whole dialogue into half a dozen speeches, the mid-ones of which would consist of some certain verses good for nothing but to waste the vocabulary, and the others would comprise everything that could be said or sung upon marble-beauty, all of which would pour forth from the orator's lips, in one shape, and with one uniform sound, like water from the mouth of a fountain-lion.
The plot of this tragedy is defective; ingeniously so: for it consists of two plots, put together with such unhappy artifice, that neither has as much connexion with the other, as the moon with the tide in a cup of wine. This tragedy is, in fact, under one name, two short tragedies, each of which is incessantly obstructing the progress of the other. An underplot in a drama should follow the same rule as an episode in an heroic poem,-it should forward the principal story. In the present tragedy, the underplot (which is taken from the Curious Impertinent in Don Quixote) seems to have been constructed by the artist, with a view to make a modern Aristotle grin with spite, at seeing the above great rule violated with as much industry as it should be preserved. There is also but little delineation of character in The Second Maiden's Tragedy; and what little there is, merits no praise for its accuracy: Thus, the Tyrant is endued with several incompatible dispositions, tenderness and cruelty, refinement and insensibility. Who ever wrote the author's name, William Shakspeare, in the title page, wrote himself liar, at the same time, -for Shakspeare could never have been so inartificial in his plot, nor so uncharacteristic in his personages. But with all its faults, or deficiencies, this tragedy may challenge admiration with as bold a front as any since the days of Massinger. Indeed, as
That liberally bestowed her graces on me, And when the morning dew began to fall, Then was my time to weep.-A. 1. Sc. 2.
As the Dramatists of the Day, therefore, are so much angered by my having brought their works in contact with Shakspeare's (quam proximè) perfect tragedies, their rage I suppose will be mollified when I set an imperfect model before them. Imperfect as it is, let them work from this; and equal it, if that power stand within a pair of modern slippers. We would even compound for two parallel plots and uniformity of character; but let them copy the energy, the action, the mixture of poetry and common dialogue, the novelty of scene, and the fabular interest, of "The Second Maiden's Tragedy," if they would raise their reputation as high as their pretensions.
As to the manner in which the first Number of The Old English Drama has been gotten up, I have only to say, that I could wish a much worse play a much better Editor. In the Dramatis Persona, one flagrant mistake gives hopeful and well-redeemed earnest of numberless inaccuracies in the text, which confound its sense and destroy its harmony.
There is another remarkable difference between our ancient and modern dramatists, which I shall beg leave to advert to in another paper,
The same skill is displayed (as my fifth Letter observes) in the Bedchamber Scene, Cymbeline, A. 2. Sc. 2. where, though the scene is still, the speaker murmurs expressively.
-illustrating my point by a few more quotations from this beautiful, this inestimable relic of Antiquity. At present, I will merely add, that I regard "The Second Maiden's Tra
gedy" as an addition to our known stock of dramatic poetry, scarcely to be exceeded in value, but by a drama from the pen of Shakspeare himself.* JOHN LACY.
There are many, many lines in the above tragedy, which Shakspeare must have either written or inspired.
O who dares play with destiny but he
The thought of death and hell cannot pierce through!
A. 5. Sc. last.
TROPICAL RECOLLECTIONS: THE INDIAN'S TALE. I HAD wandered for several hours, with my gun slung across my shoulder, through the lonely but fruitful and ever-verdant scenes of Guiana, and was returning little satisfied with the result of my expedition, having shot but three wood-pigeons, and an accouri, when I came to an extensive bosch or forest which I had previously ranged. The sun had lost much of his power, and was evidently on the wane, but his former influence seemed still upon me, and I felt nearly exhausted from the fatigue I had undergone. I determined, however, to proceed, and took my way through a narrow and broken path from which the sun and the winds of heaven appeared shut out by the high and thickly-foliaged trees. The white cedar towered there in its beauty, whilst the wallaba, with its iron trunk and leafy crown, threw its broad arms across, as if to shield it from impending storms. Here and there a bead-tree, with leaves fairy-like and graceful as those of the acacia, gave its red tributes to the parched earth, and the orange-coloured semitos hung like golden gems from the bright green boughs that held them. As I wandered on, my thoughts insensibly became "part and parcel" of the solitary scene around me. The mind of man is a universal mould, capable of receiving impressions from the most varied and even contradictory objects; it is Nature's depositary for her choicest works-the hive of all her sweets. It enhances her vivid and sparkling beauties, and lends a twilight softness to the luxuriant noon-day of her glories. Nay, it goes even beyond this, and bears a still closer affinity to nature. It has its (intellectual) dawn, its noon, and evè, and night
like her; its spring, and summer, and autumn, and winter; its flowers and its weeds, its bloom and its mildew; its changes of good and ill; its splendour and its desolation. Can we then wonder that the mind, feeling this existing sympathy, should possess an acute susceptibility of the charms and influence of external objects, and from the meanest flower and lowliest shrub gather high thoughts and love, and soothing, because holy inspirations? Can we then wonder that it should, when under the dominion of contending emotions, admire the moodier, the grander, the stormier scenery of Nature? Her caves, and ocean, and mountain-rivers: her gloomy forests and her solitudes? Or that, when it is itself filled with gentler and fairer and holier sensations, it should delight in Nature's calmer and more soothing scenes? Her green hills, and placid streams, and fairy moonlight? He who wanders in loneliness and solitude of heart finds a solace (a melancholy one it is true, but yet it is a solace) in corresponding scenes. If he be proud in his deep misery, the words of his fellow man, meant to express pity, may be construed into offence; for sorrow is suspicious; but a scene over which Nature has thrown a gloom and blossomless sterility, speaks to his heart in the silent language of true sympathy, and breathes compassion without words. He is most in love with Nature who thinks she mourns with him. Her gaiety would seem to mock his desolation: but her tears fall on his sorrows like dew upon the withered flower; and he feels that he is no longer alone, for Nature holds communion with him in his wretchedness, and bids her doves sigh, and
her clouds weep with him. His real griefs become wedded to the apparent ones of Nature. She is at once the sharer and alleviator of his griefs, his nurse as well as companion. Who that has, in the pride of youth and robust strength, ascended some lofty mountain, whose summit the clouds have chosen for their resting-place; who that has reclined upon some giant rock, and gazed upon the majesty of ocean, has not felt his soul imbued with the sublimity of such scenes? Has not felt his spirit, at those moments, become free as the mountain-air he breathes, and his thoughts boundless as the ocean he surveys? Who that has heard the low of cattle, the hum of bees, the song of birds, and the fall of distant waters when the day is departing from the earth slowly, as a lover from his mistress, has not imbibed serenity and peace? Such were my thoughts and feelings as I moved slowly on my way. I had nearly reached the extremity of the forest when I saw an Indian sitting beneath a spreading mango-tree. He had a parrot on his arm, and several neatly and curiously made baskets were at his side. He appeared lost in thought, and did not notice me until I approached close to the spot where he was seated. Like others of his nation, he had his body painted red, and his straight black hair reached down to his hips. I had often remarked that the faces of all these Indians appeared the same-faithful copies of one original-exhibiting a sleek but indolent placidity-a careless and inert content; but in him, although his features individually may have resembled those which I had before seen, I traced lines of deep thought and melancholy reflection. I had never but once spoken to any of his race, and that was merely for a moment, and I became curious to learn something respecting them. I addressed him, and was happy to find by his answering salutation that he could perfectly understand me. He spoke to me in a mixture of broken Dutch and English, which he had learnt in the course of his little trading journeys to the towns inhabited by European set
tlers. I sat down beside him, and, by degrees, we entered into familiar conversation. By the aid of a little rum, which I carried in a leathern cup, I made him tolerably communicative; and, at last, in the wild and metaphorical style of all savage people, he thus recounted the events of his past life.
"I am of the Arrowauk nationand from my youth upwards was trained by my father to the use of the bow and gun. Whilst yet a boy I could bring down, with either, the smallest birds, even when they were at their utmost speed. For this reason I became noticed by my countrymen, and the maidens looked upon me with a favouring eye, and listened to me with a willing ear. There was one among them whom I had known from childhood. Ayana was as beautiful to my eyes, as the purple berries to the wood-dove, or the mispel to the humming-bird. I lived not when she was away from me. She was my breath. I was not then as I now am, and many maidens would have 'shared my hut-but Ayana was in my heart and I loved no other. Never shall I forget the day when I took her home! As she stept into my koriaal, she looked like a good spirit coming to bless Ouayo, and as we glided down the falls of the river, she was like the bright moon descending from the blue sky. We have none like her now in all our nation. Ayana brought me five children, and we lived together like the seven stars that dwell in the quiet heavens. When I left my hut to fish in the river or shoot in the woods for our daily food, Ayana was troubled, and would look after me in sorrow: when I returned, whether good or ill success had attended me, she was glad in her heart, and smiled, and welcomed me. When I was ill, and the burning fever dried my brain, she bound the cool banana leaves round my forehead, and supported my delirious head upon her bosom ; and when I was weary, she would sing me to sleep in her arms.* Oh! how good, how kind was Ayana then! But the fruit cannot hang for ever on the boughs, nor our joys cling eternally to the tree of life.
I occasionally met Ouayo afterwards in Town, and took an opportunity of learning from him the nature of the songs that Ayana used to sing. He translated one
Mine I am sure did not. Before a moon was old I saw four of my little treasures sink one by one into coldness and death. They fell not like guava in their ripeness, but were plucked green from their father's heart. While the hot fever scorched up their little lips and withered their infant strength, I could not bear to leave them. I went not out to fishI had no heart to load my gun, or bear my unheeded bow. Ayana used to weep, but I could not, although my bosom was full of tears. When the last breath left the lips of my fourth child, who was the most like Ayana of them all, I think I died too, or else a sad change came over me. I can but imperfectly describe what I then felt. It was, and still is, like a dream. All that I can remember is, that I seemed not to have altered in form but in mind, and to have lost all feeling either of good or evil. I appeared to be in the same spot as before; but there was nothing above, below, or around me, except a kind of cloud, or troubled water, or something which was, and yet was not distinct. At that time I was nothing -or at best but like that trunk (and he pointed to a tree that had fallen, though a few green leaves upon the top indicated that there were still some vestiges of existence remaining in it) which, though there is yet some life about it, can never flourish more. I had a wife-but felt not that I was a husband:-I had still one child left-but knew not that I was a father. My mind was dark. It was Ayana's kiss that awakened me from the dead;
and I went out and dug a grave for my child, beside her brothers and sisters; and I laid her in it and returned to Ayana. And she was weeping, and then I wept too and felt comforted. And we lived on, and dearly cherished our only child, and she was as a bright star shining through the night of our sorrow. One day as I was returning home, loaded with the produce of my toil, I felt an unusual pressure on my mind. And I had misgivings of evil but knew not what that evil was. Ayana came not out to meet me as she was wont, and this confirmed my forebodings. I was unwilling and yet anxious to enter the hut. I at length opened the door, and at the sight of Ayana I started, and I said Our child is dead!" and Ayana answered not but wept. And she pointed to a mat at the corner of the hut and groaned aloud.
"There lay the body of our lovely -our innocent-our last child; and I had none but Ayana to care for in the whole world. My poor girl had gone without suspecting danger into my koriaal just above the falls, and sighed her sweet spirit out upon the cold and desolating waters. When I threw the pitiless earth over the body of the last one that my blood had warmed
that my breath had animated-it seemed to fall upon my own heart. Ah! I shall never forget how lonely Ayana and I became. We would sit for hours together without speaking, and gaze upon the spot where our children used to lie; and then we would turn and look at each other, and sigh in the anguish of our child
of them literally, which I took down, and prevailed upon him afterwards to repeat in his own language, by which means I was enabled to judge of the rhime and metre. I give it here. It is as near to the original as I could possibly bring it.
Swiftly goes the koriaal over the hurrying waters
But swifter than the koriaal upon the hurrying waters
Fondly loves the anaquaw the cool and silent shade,
Than sunshine to the lizard or his mate to forest-dove-
less hearts. But there was a still darker storm hanging over the peace of Ouayo. One of our nation, in passing near my hut, was severely bitten by a bosch-meester (bush master), whose bite is considered to be beyond the reach of cure. I had learnt from my father, who had acquired a great reputation amongst our countrymen on account of his knowledge of plants and shrubs, to judge with some certainty of the powers and properties of the various healing herbs; and I immediately endeavoured to make that which I had learnt subservient to a good purpose. I was with Uteko for many a long day and sleepless night, and watched him with a brother's care when darkness was on his brain-and the sky-fires in his eye. He recovered, and seemed grateful, and I loved him well. But, oh! he was like the coral-snake-and had two faces.* One of seeming friendship deceived me:-the other of pretended love beguiled Ayana. I will tell you all; although the recollection of what has passed nearly maddens me. I sometimes went to the town of the white men to sell the baskets that Ayana made, and the parrots and parroquets which I caught in the forests. And I joyed to deal with the white men, and loved to bring home the produce of my journey, and make glad the heart of Ayana. I used to go in a koriaal with others of my countrymen, and return again with them. Once we had proceeded but a short distance when I saw a noble deer at a distance. I took a bow and arrow which was in the koriaal, landed, and followed the track of his hoofs as quickly and as silently as I could; but I never got within shot of him; and at last, owing to the thickness of the forest, entirely lost sight of him. Hurried on by the ardour of the chase I had roamed nearly to my own hut, and as my thirst was excessive, I determined to turn my steps homeward. There was a bamboo-tree not far from my hut, under whose shade my children used to play, and Ayana and myself were wont to sit at noon. As I came in sight of this spot, I saw two figures, and they were clasped in each other's embrace. and my heart misgave me and my
strength failed. And as I drew nearer I saw that one of them was Uteko, and the other Ayana. The friend and wife. The blighter and the blighted. The betrayer and the betrayed. My left hand grasped the bow-my right drew the quivering cord-the arrow was in his heart! And he passed away from the living in his guiltand with the faithless kiss of lust upon his lips. I rushed towards Ayana and seized her by the throat. In that moment no thought of our past love entered my breast, or if it did, it was but to make my vengeance more certain. My mind was in a sleep, and a dream of blood came across it. I was then, indeed, what the white men call every living being amongst us-a savage. And humanity had perished within me, and the night clouds were on my brain. A shriek awakened me. It was the last sound Ayana ever uttered: for when my eyes turned upon her she was dead in my grasp; and her eyes had started from their sockets. I could not endure the sight-my blood was cold-and indistinct shadowy forms seemed gliding around me. I fell with the lifeless body of Ayana to the earth, and knew not that I breathed. I can only remember the way in which I started from my trance of death. It was the sensation of a sudden chill running through every vein that aroused me. I looked around but I was in darkness, and the bats flitted across me, and the night-winds called to the forest. And I remembered not what had happened, for my senses were still straying in the shadows of the night. With the noise I made on awaking I had startled the timorous guana, for I heard him rustling through the fallen leaves to avoid me; and then came my senses back again, and I thought that I had dreamed of horrors-but knew nothing further. The moon stole into the dark sky, and her beams fell upon the altered face of Ayana. I kneeled down beside her, and I remembered all things, and my deserted heart was sick with sorrow. The spirits of my fathers seemed passing before me, and I thought they summoned me to the land of rest, and I lay me down to die. But death was pitiless and came not. And there was a mountain on my
The coral-snake, or blind snake, as it is likewise called, has much the same ap pearance at both extremities;—hence it is supposed by the natives to be double-headed.