Imatges de pàgina

form would not so speedily give her the elements of unity and force, of which she would stand in need.

France had, for many ages, been united and compact; she had a capital accustomed to influence the provinces; nevertheless there were moments when Paris commanded only a small number of the departments, and was at war with the rest. France owed her success, not less to the want of unity and the stragetical faults of her adversaries, than to the astonishing and persevering energy of her republican government and its decemvirs.

Our conviction of the necessity of compactness to Italy is so great, that if to attain and preserve this unity our country could not avoid a temporary despotism, we should not hesitate an instant to say, “ Let us submit to this despotism; the vital interests of our Peninsula command it.”

Still more strongly do we believe, that there are cases in which Italy should adopt a constitutional monarchy, in spite of the inconveniences of such a system,-inconveniences which we have not failed to expose. In the present state of Europe, independence (still less liberty) is not to be obtained without strength; and there is no strength without unity.

Young men, led astray by inexperience and the excess of virtuous enthusiasm, remember that the good of our country must be consulted before every thing else. We had scarcely completed our third lustre, when we fought and bled under the standard of an expiring republic. Even at that tender age we were thrown into a dungeon and loaded with irons, and soon after the bread of exile was our food. Some years later, without the form of a trial, the royal power entombed us in the cave of the maritime isle. We have since known well more than one king. Neither their courteousness nor their severity has succeeded in shaking our convictions. Do not imagine that long proscription, or a series of sorrows without number, have weakened our character, or that the desire of repose diminishes our confidence in the chances of complete liberty. Far from it; our resolution is fixed; we shall die in a foreign country, rather than see again the land of our fathers, dishonoured by arbitrary power, or the presence of the stranger, whether conqueror or mercenary. While one drop of blood still circulates in our veins, that blood shall belong to our country, and be ever ready to flow for it; and when our heart has ceased to beat, our unshaken principles will descend with our bones to the.grave. If men and fortune have betrayed us, we shall never prove ourselves unworthy of that Italy, which we should have adored, even had it not been our father-land;- of that Italy, which more than once has en. nobled humanity and civilized Europe,- that Italy, in fine, which is more endeared to us by her misfortunes, than she ever could have been by her prosperity.

If, then, we now give the preference to a representative monarchy, rather than a republican government, for Italy, it is (trust us implicitly) the love of our country, and not the love of absolute royalty, which inspires this preference.

A few words remain to be said to dissipate other alarms. As we have seen in the commencement of the struggles, which the hatred of the French Revolution created in Italy, the people are opposed

the enlightened and opulent classes, it is sometimes imagined that these internal divisions might be renewed. This is not to be feared : those who might become guides and chiefs to the people, desire only what is possible and practicable. In Italy, the people did not long fail to perceive that a common and national interest had induced the nobles, the landowners, and those possessed of wealth, to declare for liberty. From that time the two parties have been united, without chance of being again divided. Confiding in this enlightened part of the nation, the people are ready to second and follow it in whatever it shall undertake, either to deliver the nation from a foreign yoke, or to substitute a free government in the place of those absolute ones, which perpetuate degradation. Thus Italy may adopt a monarchical, or a republican form, without running the risk of sowing dissensions, or giving rise to civil wars ; without having a La Vendée or Basque provinces to dread, or a rising in Calabria.

Recollections are lasting among the people, and the people of Italy have not forgotten that, anterior to the three last centuries, Italy was almost exclusively the classic land of liberty and glory. But our confidence in the favourable dispositions of the whole population does not prevent us from considering them under every aspect. If we have to congratulate our compatriots, that in Italy the affluent and enlightened classes enjoy the almost blind confidence of the people, we do not conceal from ourselves that this circumstance, fortunate in many respects, is not without a drawback. Men, who live in ease, who pass their lives in cultivating their minds, best perceive the inconveniences of arbitrary government, and are most sensible to the humiliations of seeing strangers masters in their very homes. But, in general, these men are more fitted to point out the means of freeing their country, than to putting those means in execution. When the moment of execution approaches, they hesitate and are undecided. Often they commit the error of trusting to foreign assistance more than prudence would dictate. Struck with the fear of having at once domestic despots and foreign auxiliaries to contend with, they go so far as to think, and (what is more) to say, that success without assistance is impossible. We do not deny the difficulties of this double struggle, but we do not wish to hear them exaggerated.

The illusion about the strength of the Italian governments no longer exists; when once the people has had recourse to arms, their governments, have fallen at the first shock.

As to foreign armies, it is natural to suppose them a more formidable obstacle; because, in the South particularly, where the strongest points of defence are situated, the upper classes do not appreciate the energy of the popular classes. They view them only in their moments of supineness and repose; but it would be easy to rouse them. What they effected against the powerful Castillans in the time of Masaniello, in 1799-against the army of Championnet, in 1806—against Massena's army—they are ready to do again, and with better success, against the Austrians, since they would have with them and for them all the other classes in the nation.

Besides, there may be a time, and such is the present, when the enemy who might attempt a coup de main against Modena or Bologna, would not dare to advance to the Tronto to prevent the Italians of the

South from organizing themselves. France has opened her eyes ; she has seen that her isolation has placed her on the edge of a precipice. She can no longer permit Austria to march against Southern Italy; and Aústria is not a power to play a deep game.

Italians of the South! ye who belong to that class which the people honour with their confidence, remember, that you have the most glorious charge that man ever conferred on man—that of regenerating your country; remember that the arbitrary system oppresses you still more than it oppresses the other classes of citizens. The people, it is true, pass their days alterni di fami e di tributi ; but you, too, feel the misery of your country, and if hunger does not devour you, shame and humiliation weigh you down. How can you bear the look of an Englishman, of a Frenchman,-ay, of a Spaniard, proud that he lives under laws established, or approved of by his representatives, -while you vegetate, subject to the caprices of arbitrary power?

Let not dangers alarm you, for they are less than your vivid imaginations represent them. Trust to our experience; the pains we suffer for our country are less bitter than you fancy. If you fear to compromise the welfare of your wives and children, remember that under an arbitrary government there is no happiness; there is nothing but misery. The last citizen in a free country feels himself superior to the first slave or subject of an absolute prince. You, who dare not vindicate your claims—if you believe in a Providence, you are ungrateful to that Providence; and if you do not believe in one, you are ungrateful to Nature, which has not endowed you with so much aptitude to excel in all that is great, only to avow your inferiority to others in renouncing thus, in the eyes of the universe, the hope of again being what your ancestors once were, and what for ages they continued to be.


FROM THE HEBREW OF MOSES BEN JACOB LUZZATO. Aware as a few privileged cultivators of Hebrew lore may have been, during the century which has elapsed since its original appearance, of the existence, among the “ Curiosities of Literature,” of a modern Jewish Drama (one, too, not founded like the “miracle plays” of the middle ages, on the legends of the Talmud, but on the universal passions and sympathies of ordinary life,)-we are sure that by the general run of magazine readers it will be regarded, as it has been by ourselves, in the light of a literary phenomenon, well worthy of the tardy notice it has elicited from the periodical critics of Germany. And convinced as must be every merely critical reader of the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, of the highly poetical genius both of the language itself, and those early writers by whose noble lyrics it has been for ever immortalized-yet so completely prosaic and unimaginative have been for centuries the character and pursuits of that portion of the Israelitish community with whom alone other nations are brought into contact—that an "oyster in love” scarcely strikes us as a more burlesque anomaly in the annals of the tender passion than a regular Jewish drama, exhibiting (whatever may be the more recondite and occult meaning discerned

under it by rabbinical scholars) the usual vicissitudes and emotions of a true love tale.

Such an one, however, has been recently disinterred from the obscurity to which its confinement to two dead languages had for a century consigned it. And notwithstanding its comparatively modern date, it is with feelings akin to those with which we decipher from the walls of Thebes or Pompeii how Egyptians and Romans ate, drank, and slept— that we sit down to extract evidences of participation in the sympathies of our common nature from a dramatic fiction by one of a race usually regarded as too sacred, or too sordid, for ordinary fellowship; either invested by their descent and destinies with a character and aspirations too lofty for theatrical associations, or sunk by debasing pursuits and devotion to Mammon, beneath the ennobling influences of the legitimate drama.

The specimen before usman isolated one, however, we believe-will afford a very fair poetical answer to the ironical questions of the deeply wounded Shylock, “Can a Jew feel?” &c.; and prove that love, jealousy, and other natural emotions, have, for once, found an eloquent modern Hebrew interpreter. It was, it seems, in the year 1737, that the catalogue of publications at Leipsic bore the hitherto unexampled addition of a Jewish play, in four acts, by Moses Ben Jacob Luzzato, consisting of no less than 2800 verses ; under the title of “ Migdal Oz,” or the “Innocence of the Just.” It appears to have lain utterly unknown throughout the remainder of the 18th century, till, rescued by accident from oblivion at Milan, it fell into the hands of a highly competent translator, Francis Delisch, who not only furnished the learned world with an elegant Latin version with copious notes, but lent-by the publication of his researches into the state of Jewish Literature, from the closing of the canon of Scripture till the present time-fresh interest to the resuscitated specimen of a style of composition hitherto supposed at variance with the prejudices of both ancient and modern Jews.

So strong indeed were these, at the period subsequent to the cessation of inspired writers, that Josephus ascribes to the unhallowed design of dramatizing his country's history, the temporary blindness of one Theodectes Phaselita, who only recovered his sight on abandoning his purpose ; and mentions as a proof of the degeneracy and corruption of his nation, that addiction to theatrical entertainments acquired from intercourse with Rome by the profligate dynasty of Herod.

In more recent times again, though the same principle of imitation seems to have occasionally betrayed a few insulated Hebrew writers, scattered throughout Spain and Italy, into a clumsy attempt at adopting the prevailing taste of those countries, whether for heroic extravagance of sentiment and diction, or pastoral simplicity, applied in the latter case to such national subjects as the “Rachel and Jacob" of Judah Arji, of Modena (a contemporary of Tasso); and though, still later, the Scriptural Dramas of Racine found not only Jewish translators but imitators, yet no native dramatic author seems to have arisen, to dispute with the one before us the palm of original composition.

Luzzato, indeed, who, born at Padua in 1710, died on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, versed alike in the sciences of the West, and the traditions of the East, and the freedom of whose writings from bombast or mysticism is rendered more remarkable by his known addiction to the reveries of Swedenborg, may be regarded as the model of the new classical Hebrew style, in which all the modern poetical productions above alluded to are more or less clothed. This is stated to be a species of metre which, without altogether losing sight of the parallelisms familiar to ancient Biblical poetry, is rather moulded on the rhythmical principles of Greek or Roman numbers. The German translator, in an able disquisition on an author he seems qualified to appreciate and elucidate, compares with previous less known works of his of a more obviously allegorical character, the Drama before us; to which he gives a decided preference, as displaying, along with its mystical design of illustrating the difficulties attendant on the knowledge and fulfilment of the Divine Law, far more of narrative and poetical interest than other similar productions.

The beautiful Christian axiom, that “Love is the fulfilling of the Law," might, in its somewhat restricted sense, have been propounded as the basis of a “morality,” in which the prize of the arduous conflict is awarded to one by whom it is undertaken in the strength of a pure legitimate attachment, the object of which, viz., the Divine Law itself, is set forth under the character of a spotless and high souled maiden, by union with whom, after a series of mutual perils and trials, the successful aspirant acquires the relation of a son to the royal parent and lawgiver. This allegory, though traceable we are informed, throughout the piece, is rather to be deduced from its general scope and tendency than from detached or individual passages.

We learn from a prologue, (the title of which, “Maschal,” will fall with a familiar sound on the ear of a reader of the Bible version of the Psalms) that the piece was written on occasion of the betrothment of a youthful Jewish pair. It is followed by a list of the Dramatis Personæ, and, according to Hebrew usage, an abstract of the argument, of which we shall avail ourselves to convey to the reader, in its original form, all the preliminary information indispensable to the understanding and introductory to the opening scenes of the play.

“There stood" so runs the legend, “on the summit of the mountain Oz, in the land of Kedem, a strong and mighty fortified tower, and on its summit again a fair and beautiful garden; which no man, however, could attain unto, seeing that po path to it had been discovered. And the King of the country made a decree throughout all the provinces of his kingdom, that to whatsoever man should scale the tower and enter the garden thereof, he would give his daughter, Shelomith, to wife, since the hand of God must needs be with him. Now Shelomith was of goodly stature and of a fair countenance; and there came thither on a day a poble youth named Shallum, son of the King of the Anamim, and he gazed up at the lofty tower and bright garden beyond it, but lo! there was no door in the tower, nor way by which it might be attained. But the youth made diligent search throughout all the mountains round, and he found a cleft in the rock which led to a deep winding cavern, the further end of which was none other than the entrance to the tower; and he climbed up thither and opened the door thereof, and lo! he was within the wished for garden; but he knew

X. S.-VOL, VI.

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