Imatges de pàgina

more; and the author thus closes his melancholy narrative.

“ The following spring, the Miss Longwoods, gay and happy, were escorted by youthful, titled bridegrooms into that very church. They entered it fluttering in bridal finery; and as they quitted it, their steps trod lightly on the graves of De Courcy and Eva.-Such is the condition of life.

.“ Zaira still lives, and lives in Ireland. A spell seems to bind her to the death-place of her daughter and lover. Her talents are gone, at least they are no longer exerted : The oracles may still be there, but it is only the tempest of grief that now scatters their leaves. Like Carathis in the vaults of Eblis, her hand is constantly pressed on her heart, in token of the fire that is burning there for ever; and those who are near her, constantly hear her repeat, “My child—I have murdered my child!' When great talents are combined with calamity, their union forms the tenth wave of human suffering ;—grief becomes inexhaustible from the unhappy fertility of genius,-and the serpents that devour us are generated out of our own vitals.”_ Vol. ii. pp. 407, 408.

The length of our analysis, and of our quotations, are the best proof of the pleasure with which we have read this moral and interesting tale,-and may stand in place of eulogy. We have also hinted at some of the author's errors; and we must now, in all candour and respect, mention one of considerable importance, which the reader has perhaps anticipated. It respects the resemblance betwixt the character and fate of Zaira and Corinne -a coincidence so near, as certainly to deprive Mr Maturin of all claim to originality, so far as this brilliant and well-painted character is concerned. In her accomplishments, in her beauty, in her talents, in her falling a victim to the passion of a fickle lover, Zaira closely resembles her distinguished prototype. Still, however, she is Corinne in Ireland, contrasted with other personages, and sustaining a different tone of feeling and conversation and argument; so that we pardon the want of originality of conception, in consideration of the new lights thrown upon this interesting female, who, in the full career of successful talent, and invested with all the glow of genius, sacrifices the world of taste and of science for an unhappilyplaced affection. On the other hand, the full praise, both of invention and execution, must be allowed to Maturin's sketch of Eva--so soft, so gentle, so self-devoted—such a mixture of the purity of heaven with the simplicity of earth, concealing the most acute feelings under the appearance of devout abstraction, and unable to express her passion otherwise than by dying for it. The various impressions received by good and by bad dispositions from the profession of methodistical or evangelical tenets, form a curious chapter in the history of our modern manners. Mr Maturin has used the scalpel, not we think unfairly, but with professional rigour and dexterity, in anatomizing the effects of a system which is making way amongst us with increasing strength, and will one day have its influence on the fate perhaps of nations. But we resume our criticisms. The character of De Courcy we will not resume ;-it is provokingly inconsistent; and we wish the ancient fashion of the Devil flying off with false-hearted lovers, as in the ballad of the Wandering Prince of Troy, had sustained no change in his favour.

Indeed, such a catastrophe would not have been alien to the genius of Mr Maturin, who, in the present, as well as in former publications, has shown some desire to wield the wand of the enchanter, and to call in the aid of supernatural horrors. While De Courcy was in the act of transferring his allegiance from Eva to Zaira, the phantom of the former, her wraith- -as we call in Scotland the

apparition of a living person-glides past him, arrayed in white, with eyes closed, and face pale and colourless, and is presently afterwards seen lying beneath his feet as he assists Zaira into the carriage. Eva has a dream, corresponding to the apparition in all its circumstances. This incident resembles one which we have read in our youth in Aubrey, Baxter, or some such savoury and sapient collector of ghost-stories; but we chiefly mention it, to introduce a remarkable alteration in the tragedy of Bertram, adopted by the author, we believe, with considerable regret. It consists in the retrenchment of a passage or two of great poetical beauty, in which Bertram is represented as spurred to the commission of his great crimes, by the direct agency of a supernatural and malevolent being. We have been favoured with a copy of the lines by a particular friend and admirer of the author, to whom he presented the manuscript copy of his play, in which alone they exist. The Prior, in his dialogue with Bertram, mentions

“ the dark knight of the forest, So from his armour named and sable helm, Whose unbarred vizor mortal never saw.

He dwells alone ; no earthly thing lives near him,
Save the hoarse raven croaking o'er bis towers,
And the dank weeds muffling his stagnant moat.

Bertram. I'll ring a summons on his barred portal
Shall make them through their dark valves rock and ring.

Prior. Thou’rt mad to take the quest. Within my memory
One solitary man did venture there-
Dark thoughts dwelt with him, which he sought to vent.
Unto that dark compeer we saw his steps,
In winter's stormy twilight, seek that pass
But days and years are gone, and he returns not.

Bertram. What fate befel him there?
Prior. The manner of his end was never known.

Bertram. That man shall be my mate—Contend not with me
Horrors to me are kindred and society.
Or man, or fiend, he hath won the soul of Bertram.
Bertram is afterwards discovered alone, wandering near the

fatal tower, and describes the effect of the awful interviews

which he had courted.
Bertram. Was it a man or fiend ?Whate'er it was
It hath dwelt wonderfully with me
All is around his dwelling suitable ;
The invisible blast to which the dark pines groan,
The unconscious tread to which the dark earth echoes,
The hidden waters rushing to their fall,
These sounds of which the causes are not seen
I love, for they are like my fate mysterious—
How tower'd his proud form through the shrouding gloom,
How spoke the eloquent silence of its motion,
How through the barred vizor did his accents
Roll their rich thunder on their pausing soul!
And though his mailed hand did shun my grasp,
And though his closed morion hid his feature,
Yea, all resemblance to the face of man,
I felt the hollow whisper of his welcome,
I felt those unseen eyes were fix'd on mine,

indeed were there-
Forgotten thoughts of evil, still-born mischiefs,
Foul fertile seeds of passion and of crime,
That wither'd in my heart's abortive core,
Rous'd their dark battle at his trumpet-peal;

So sweeps the tempest o'er the slumbering desert,
Waking its myriad hosts of burning death :
So calls the last dread peal the wandering atoms
Of blood and bone and flesh and dust-worn fragments,
In dire array of ghastly unity,
To bide the eternal summons-
I am not what I was since I beheld him
I was the slave of passion's ebbing sway-
All is condensed, collected, callous now
The groan, the burst, the fiery flash is o'er,
Down pours the dense and darkening lava-tide,
Arresting life and stilling all beneath it.

Enter two of his band observing him.
First Robber. Sees't thou with what a step of pride he stalks.-
Thou bast the dark knight of the forest seen;
For never man, from living converse come,
"Trod with such step or flash'd with eye like thine.

Second Robber. And hast thou of a truth seen the dark knight?
Bertram (turning on him suddenly). Thy hand is chill'd with

fear— Well! shivering craven,
Say I have seen him—wherefore dost thou gaze ?
Long'st thou for tale of goblin-guarded portal ?
Of giant champion whose spell.forged mail
Crumbled to dust at sound of magic horn-
Banner of sheeted flame whose foldings shrunk
To withering weeds that o'er the battlements
Wave to the broken spell-or demon-blast
Of winded clarion whose fell summons sinks
To lonely whisper of the shuddering breeze
O'er the charm'd towers

First Robber. Mock me not thus_Hast met him of a truth?
Bertram. Well, fool

First Robber. Why then heaven's benison be with you.
Upon this hour we part-farewell for ever.
For mortal cause I bear a mortal weapon-
But man that leagues with demons lacks not man.

The description of the fiend's port and language, --the effect which the conference with him produces upon Bertram's mind, the terrific dignity with which the intercourse with such an associate

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