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After a short intervening scene, Tancred appears before his
Sigis. Low at your feet see Sigismonda falls!
• Tanc. Let none approach our presence.
« Tanc, Rise; these are idle forms, mere mockeries ;
Tanc. Alas! alas, thou know its import!—thou!
• Sigis. I know 'tis poison; A welcome present, worthy of my father. You tremble; give it to my steadier hand. · Tanc. No, let it rest awhile.- [Places it on a table. ]-Now hear
Sigis. Tancred, I make
My mother's prayer was heard; she pray'd that Virtue
(seising the vase.
Sigis. Idle delay:- the drug may lose its force. • Tanc. Art thou prepared to view• Sigis. Speak-what-[sbe removes the lid.] O! horror! What's this that meets my eyes ?
• Tanc. Thy husband's heartHis rebel blood-my exquisite revenge. Dost thou approve the gift?
Sigis. [4fter a long struggle to speak.] I now have strength
• Tanc. [aside.] I fear
Sigis. I am conversing with the dead,
strange I am not mad;
For, there's something
Tanc. (half aside.] O! my lost child, too late,
Sigis. Never but with life.-
partner of my grave ! To heaven I'll bear it With me, the passport to eternal peace!
Tanc. Who talks of peace and heaven !- damning guilt ! O sharp remorse! the sounds of peace and heaven Harrow my soul with fears :-and, to complete My woes, thou’rt ready
with thy dying curse.
Of playful youth.
For mortal vision.
Sigis. I pray come nearer to me.—Thus I curse thee
[embracing him. Thus, on thy neck, pour forth the only tears I've shed in all my grief.-Horror, before, Dried up their source.
“Tanc. And can those injured hands, That should have sent a poniard to my bosom, Entwine me thus within them?-1, all stain'd With blood-ah! and whose blood ! • Sigis. That's true : impure
[starting from him. Is thy embrace, and 'tis an impious deed To approach my husband's murderer. Let me hence.' P. 114.
The death of Sigismunda, and the agonising remorse of Tancred, close the melancholy tale.
In the construction of the fable of the Step-Mother, the noble author informs us that he had no recourse to the records of history, or to the invention of contemporary writers. The plot of this drama is well arranged, and the story is interesting. Ít exhibits the revengeful artifices of the countess Casimir, by which she takes advantage of the illicit love of her husband for Louisa, who is betrothed to Frederic, his son by a former wife, to induce the son to slay his own father. This event constitutes the catastrophe of the drama. The character of the countess strongly reminds us of lady Macbeth; and we are also reminded of the same pure fountain of dramatic writing by the machinery of aërial beings, who prompt the count to the execution of his villanous designs against the virtue of Louisa. We cannot, however, but think the introduction of the machinery unnecessary, as the operation of evil passions, which had been long and habitually indulged, is sufficient to account for all the atrocities introduced. To the intermixture of characters approaching the comic, in the course of a tragedy, we do not object, provided such intermixture be not too copious; and we think his lordship has been suficiently temperate in this respect, and that they do not obtrude too frequently upon the scene. As an additional specimen of the noble earl's dramatic style, we would willingly transcribe at length the first scene of the third act, which appears to be written with considerable spirit; but we have only room for a part of it. The reader will observe that the wrath of the countess is roused by the fraudulent inspection of her husband's will, by the tenor of which, in case she survived him, she would be reduced from princely affluence to a state of comparative poverty.
Scene 1.-The Countess's Apartment. • Countess. [alone.] Had he but cast into my drinking-cup The deadly nightshade-had he but let out,
With his avenging sword, my heart's warm blood,
• Enter Lord Henry. • Countess. Welcome, lord Henry! Since the fresh coming Of our new guests, say, what has thy keen search Collected for our use? Know, circumstances, That, single, trifling seem, together heap'd, Become a mass for notice.
· Hen. In that spot,
• Countess. The parent's hate of every thing allied
• Hen. Something yet
• Countess. If I esteem'd him, then, perchance, I could Be jealous for his honour, and be studious
To hide such brutish weakness from the world;
We can truly commend the judgement displayed by the noble earl in the arrangement of these plots; but he, nevertheless, appears to us to want the faculty of drawing that decided and clear outline which is requisite to the successful delineation of dramatic character. In Tancred and the countess Casimir we find distinct, and determinate features ; but his lovers, and especially his heroines, are those of every play, and almost of every novel. The reader is accordingly more interested by the various incidents that attend them, than by their characteristic conduct and language'; and he will too frequently be reminded of the unlucky motto, Volo, non valeo, attached to the emblazonment of his lordship's arms, which are introduced as a kind of vignette to the present volume. The style of the noble dramatist is somewhat too ornamented; but his metaphors and allusions, individually considered, are generally correct and just.
The poems which close this volume are few and short : they evince, however, a feeling heart and a polished mind. We shall close our observations by extracting the following verses. • On Occasion of a Friend's contending for Beauty, and Beauty alone,
• A noisy laughing Cupid I detest ;
Give me the Boy with look intent,
Big with grave care, as though he meant
Yet there's a tenderness that wears
A serious robe, and drinks the tears Soft guahing from the eye of Sympathy. • The charitable gift, the pitying hand,
The soul that melts at sight of woe,
Strike on the breast the hardest blow,
Feel their full right to nobler joy,
To bliss that is too dear to cloy,
O'er the sick bed or sorrow's chair?
O! light and giddy, would she bear