Imatges de pÓgina
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and Fears diftract him. Tenderness and conjugal love combat in the breasts of a Medea and a Herod, in their purposed vengeance. Personal affection often weeps on the theatre, while Jealousy or Revenge whet the bloody knife: but Macbeth's emotions are the ftruggles of Conscience; his agonies are the agonies of Remorfe. They are leffons of juftice, and warnings to innocence. I do not know that any dramatic writer, except Shakespear, has fet forth the pangs of Guilt separate from the fear of Punishment. Clytemneftra is reprefented by Euripides, as under great terrors, on account of the murder of Agamemnon; but they arise from Fear of Punishment, not Repentance. It is not the memory of the affaffinated husband, which haunts and terrifies her, but an apprehenfion of vengeance from his surviving fon: when she is told Oreftes is dead, her mind is again at ease. It must be allowed, that on the Grecian stage, it is the office of the Chorus to moralize, and to point out, on every occafion, the advantages

of

of virtue over vice. But how much less affecting are their animadverfions than the testimony of the perfon concerned! Whatever belongs to the part of the chorus has hardly the force of dramatic imitation. The chorus is in a manner without perfonal character, or intereft, and no way an agent in the drama. We cannot fympathize with the cool reflections of these idle fpectators, as we do with the fentiments of the perfons, in whose circumftances and fituation we are interested.

The heart of man, like iron and other metal, is hard, and of firm resistance, when cold, but, warmed, it becomes malleable and ductile. It is by touching the Paffions, and exciting sympathetic Emotions, not by Sentences, that the tragedian must make his impreffions on the fpectator. I will appeal to any person of taste, whether the following speeches of Wolfey, in another play of Shakespear, the first a foliloquy, the fecond addreffed to his fervant Cromwell, in which he gives the testimony of his experience,

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rience, and the refult of his own feelings, would make the fame impreffion, if uttered by a fet of fpeculative fages in the episode

of a chorus.

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WOLSEY.

So farewell to the little good you bear me !

Farewell, along farewell to all my greatness !

This is the state of man; to-day he puts forth

The tender leaves of hopes, to-morrow bloffoms,

And bears his blufhing honours thick upon him,

The third day comes a froft, a killing froft,
And when he thinks, good eafy man, full furely

His greatness is a ripening, nips his root;
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventur'd,
Like little wanton boys, that swim on bladders,
Thefe many fummers in a fea of glory,
But far beyond my depth; my high blown pride
At length broke under me, and now has left me,
Weary and old with fervice, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye;
I feel my heart new open'd. Oh, how wretched
Is that poor man, that hangs on princes' favours!
There is, betwixt that fimile we would afpire to,
That sweet afpect of princes, and our ruin,

More

pangs and fears than war or women have :

More

And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,

Never to hope again,

And in another place,

Let's dry our eyes, and thus far hear me, Cromwell

And when I am forgotten, as I fhall be,

And fleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
Of me muft more be heard, fay then, I taught thee,
Say, Wolfey, that once trod the ways of glory,
And founded all the depths and fhoals of honour,
Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rife in ;
A fure and safe one, though thy mafter miss'd it.
Mark but my fall, and that which ruin'd me;
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition,
By that fin fell the angels; how can man then,
The image of his maker, hope to win by't?
Love thyfelf laft; cherish thofe hearts, that hate

thee;

Corruption wins not more than honesty.

Still in thy right-hand carry gentle peace,

To filence envious tongues, be just, and fear not. Let all the ends, thou aim'ft at, be thy country's, Thy God's, and truth's; then if thou fall'st, O Crom

well,

Thou fall'ft a bleffed martyr. Serve the king;

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And

And pr'ythee, lead me in ;

There take an inventory of all I have,

To the laft penny, 'tis the king's. My robe,

And my integrity to heav'n, is all

I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Cromwell,

Had I but ferv'd my God with half the zeal

I ferv'd my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.

I felect these two paffages as containing reflections of fuch a general kind, as might be with least impropriety transferred to the chorus; but if even these would lofe much of their force and pathos, if not spoken by the fallen statesman, how much more would those do, which are the expreffions of fome instantaneous emotion, occafioned by the peculiar fituation of the perfon by whom they are uttered! The self-condemnation of a murderer makes a very deep impreffion upon us, when we are told by Macbeth himfelf, that hearing, while he was killing Duncan, one of the grooms cry God bless us, and Amen the other, he durft not fay Amen. Had a formal chorus obferved, that a man in fuch

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