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REMARKS on the Genius of Now, assuredly, it is a matter of high Miss BAILLIE.
interest to observe in what manner, To the Editor of the Universal Mlag. would endeavour' to simplify the
and with what powers, a writer Sir,
drama in a period like the present..
when the purest specimens of artiwith literature, could excise ductions of untutored Nature, unite more curiosity than the attempt of to teach bim what to avoiú, but are an individual to compose a series of so fascinating and so beautitul; meanplays illustrative of the effects of the while, that itsey are more likely to whole range of the stronger passions; tempt bim to follow them as guides especially when it is understood that than to avoid them as quicksands. the adventurer meant boldly to view The comedy of Miss Baillie is of both sides of the impassioned coun- that simple, unmised species, which tenance, and was seclulous to depic. may be denominated characieristic. ture the ridiculous as well as the The characters are not strongly naiktragic results of those conflicts to ed, nor opposed to each other in bold which the human bosom is subject. lines of contrast, but gently inter
The present is an interesting period mingle, and exhibit their peculiarities for so adventurous and povel an en. in soft degrees of difference. It is deavour. When the poets of Greece thus, no doubt, that characters apfirst woo'd the coy and many-rem. pear on the real stage of the world; pered muse of the drama, the people but we cannot readily believe that á were refined, and Homer had incul. tame and literal reflectiou of the feacated chaste and critical opinions tures of society is the style of repreconcerning the structure and attri- sentation calculated for the adnionibutes of poesy. On the other hand, tory school of Thespis. The bustorical Shakspeare laid the foundation of the painter uses marked contrast, and a English stage during an era which strength of delineation almost em(as far as regards poetry) was rude blematical of character, rather than as winter, and dark as midnight. strictly imitative; and surely the draThe consequences were precisely matist would be correct in following those which might be expected. — his example? But Miss Baillie apThe productions of the Grecian muse pears deficient in the great fundamenwere lofty, polished, and sentimental: tal qualification of a comic dramatist all that art could perform was effect- – humour. Divide comedy into as ed; but nature and the muse main- many classes as we please ; particutained an injurious and immeasurable larise and describe ihese classes as distance. The grand, though track- the characteristic, the satirical, the less, fights of Shakspeare's genius witty, the sentimental, and the cirwere directed by an aim entirely op- cumstantial; still, it is the business posite. The human passions formed of the comic mune to “show the very the basis of his plays, and tints warm age and body of the time its form and from Nature's own pallet were em- pressure," and the talent required for ployed to bestow effect on the rude ihe successful achievement of this but captivating and faithful picture. salutary purpose has ever been, and Still, from a want of acquaintance ever must be, hunjour. with the works of those who had Jaboured to deduce precepts of art
“ Humour is all; wit should be only from the results of experience, he
brought frequently so mingles the passions in To turn agrecably some proper the course of one represeutation,
thought." that it seems probable the greatest But how rarely is this quality the possible etiect is not regularly elicited possession of a female bosom! The from materials so productive, al. ranks of literature boast of females thougħ the wonderful and unprece. conspicuous for wit, eloquence, pedented power of his self-dependent netration, and strength of judgment; genius must be admitted by all.- but not of one wbo could display the
as was the case
least resemblance of she hunjour personages are possessed of strong and evinced by Shakspeare and Cervantes, original leading teatures. Miss Bail Sterne and Fielding. From habits lie's versification is not of that smooth of education, indeed, it would appear and uniform description which Ada that females have little opportunity dison first introduced to dramatic of cultivating this propensity: The writing. Her transitions are quick, desirable delicacy with which their and ber manner judiciously adapted minds are usually nurtured, denies to the variety of her characters. In them that full, broad view of the short, her tragedies consist entirely coarser pałts of life, from the con- of natural sentences, barmoniously templation of which it is probable arranged. our humorous authors derived that If Miss Baillie bad never read glowing maturity of faculty which Shak-peare, ber genius would appear Las enabled them to convulse a work prodigions. But it is evident that she with laughter, and to render vice has studied him with profoundardinide picable merely by exhibiting it as nute attention. Still, she is far remote irresistibly ridiculous. Be the cause from all servility of imitation. She what it may, we cannot admit that has endeavoured to imbibe bis cast Miss Baillie possesses humour. Her of thought, not tamely laboured to comedies are pretiy, tasteful, and di- copy his manner, Verting. The characters are usually with Rowe. And this, it must be drawn with undeviating accuracy. observed, is precisely the mode in But there is a general want of sirength. which Sir Joshua Reynolds recomStill, occasional flashes intervene, so mends every student in the sister art replete with observation and so finely of painting to form his genius. Such elucidative of character, that criticism imitation is, indeed, not more proforgets its office, and we forgive the fitable than it is rational and noble rest of the scene for the beauty of a It would be poor and mean to give a single passage.
mere parody of those abrupt exclaBut who shall hastily appreciate the mations and profound remarks which merit of Miss Baillie in tragedy :- distinguish Shakspeare's characters Here she stands alone among the from all orders: but it is liberal and nioderns, and agitates the passions ingenious to analyse the vein of mind with true poetical magic. Her plays and mode of perception which enabled are written in strict attention to that Shakspeare to represent nature and rule of Aristotle which declares terror human circumstances in colours so and compassion to be the legitimate just and attractive. objects of tragedy. The passions of Such is the degree of imitation to love and hatred are among those on be noticed in Miss Baillie ; and when which she has already exercised her we observe that her judgment of pen; and from these opposite ma- mankind keep pace with the fidelity terials she has succeeded in achieving of her imitation, and that her warmth a similar result. In regard to the of tancy at least equals her strength unities of time and place she is nei- of judgment, bow surprising must it ther strictly chaste (according to the appear that all her pieces, except one, practice of the ancients) nor wan- are strangers to the stage! We have tonly liceniious, as was so frequently now a solumn and massy pile erected the ca-e with ihe greatest dramatic as a national theatre, which a specgenius that the world ever produced, talor would be led to suppose was And this temperate medium appears constructed for the exclusive reprewell calculated for the great purposes sentation of elevated tragic composiof the drama, since it permits a dis- tions. Yet, in this building, sing song play of the growth and progress of farces and inexplicable dumb shews passion, withont affording scope for chiefly prevail ; while plays, like those such a wiid, excursive detail of inci- which have led to the present remarks, dents as destroys the simplicity and are to be found only in the closets of harmony of the fable. Her characiers the few who have sufficient industry are genuine, distinctly marked, and and good-taste to seek for dramatic well preserved. Even the subordinate merit in the tomes of neglected plays,
rather than in the thin volumes of Et de vos fictions le mélange coupable such as are familiar with the public Même à ses vérités donne l'air de la fable. stage.
Et quel objet enfin à presenter aux yeux, I am, Sir,
Que le diable toujours hurlant contre les
cieux, Your constant reader, Qui de votre heros veut rabaisser la gloire
J. N. B.
Et souvent avec dieu balance la victoire.
Now the safest way of ascertaining
the value of an author's opinion is to On the InjuSTICE which has been done to the Muse of Tasso.
compare him with himselt: if we
pursue this plan in the present inSIR,
stance, we shall find that, upon the
, quently, and not unaptly, com- quarrel with the structure of his pared' to a telegraph, which repeats poems, highly applauds him in other without comprehending, and trans- respects, and ranks biin eies with mits a decision without knowing the Virgil himself, whom, as a mortel, he meaning or penetrating the secret.
had most happily followed. This is the This is strictly true with regard to testimony of ihat same Boileau, in his Tasso, whose works, in consequence Critical Dissertation on the Joconde of one of Despreaux's satirical shafts, of La Foniaine. He obserres, have become the slander of little La Fontaine à pris à la verité son sujet tongues : Tasso, however, would not de l'Arioste ; mais en meme temps il s'es: have been treated with such severity rendu maitre de sa mateire ce nest point and injustice, if our immortal Addison une copie qu'il ait tiré un trait apres l'autre had not become the echo of Boileau's sur l'original : c'est un original qu'it a malicious comparison, made in all formé sur l'idee que l'Arioste lui a fournie.
C'est ainsi que Virgile a imité Homere ; appearance for the sake of the rhyme. Terence Menandre, it 1. TASSE VIRGILE The lines stand thus :
No argument is wanting to shew Tous les jours à la cour un sot de qualité
the high rank of Tasso as a poet after Peut juger à travers avec impunité, such a confession from Boileau ; and A Malherbe, à Racan préférer Theophile Et le clinquant du Tasse à tout l'or de if Mr. Addison had either attentivels Virgile.
read Tasso, or the whole works of
Boileau, he would not so inconsidera He, however, gives a note, wherein ately have condemned the first epic he says, that a nobleman gave this poet in the Italian language, nor hare decision in his presence.
left iinprinted on the mind of his One reason, amongst others, for the readers a censure equally illiberal, satirist pronouncing so harshly against uncandid, and unjust. Tasso was, that he disliked the nature I may probably hereafter enter more and the machinery of bis Poem of fully into the real merits of Tasso, Jerusalem delivered, which he thus who is but imperfectly known through expresses in the third canto of his Art the medium of Hoole's Translation, of Poetry:
and by a comparison of passags show,
that he merits to be classed in the C'est done bien vainement que nos auteurs first rank of epic poets. déçus,
I remain, &c. Penseut faire agir dieu, ses saints et ses pro
2. phetes, Comme ces dieux eclos du cerveau des
EMILIUS AND SOPHIA; OR TH? Mertent a chaque pas les lecteur en enfer :
companying work will be wortiny L'evangile à l'esprit n'offre de tous cûtés a place in your Magazine, you are at Que penitence à faire et tourmens merités; liberty so to use it. I translated it, il
Banuissant de leurs vers ces ornameris regiis,
moments of leisure, from the works which he had relinquished to carry on of Rousseau, a writer whose name I the composition of his Confessions. pronounce with reverence. It is but
We now present to the public the a tragment: yet, such a fragment as only part of it which he had written, bears all the impress of its author's and we candidly confess that we bring genius. I have the less scruple in it forward with a degree of repugoffering it to you, because, as far as I nance. In proportion as the picture know, it has not been translated into which he delineates has all the marks English: for though a sequel to his of its sublime author's genius, in that Endle, it was not published till after proportion is it offensive. Emilius his death. Under such circumstances mad, Sophia degraded! Who can enit may, perhaps, be read with interest dure such a picture? But let us not by those who have perused his former impute this to Rousseau : we know it; work: a work for which Rousseau it was no pari ot his plan or intention. said of himself (with culpable vanity) Would he, himself,'have debased his that he deserved a statue of gold to noblest work? Sophia was guilty, be erected to his memory in every she was not despicable; imprudent kingdom of Europe.
connections were the cause of her I remain, Sir, &c. ·
faults and her misfortunes, T.
Why, it may be asked, did not London, dug. 11, 1810.
Rousseau finish this melancholy nar
rative? Why did he not conduct EmiP.S. The following abstract of the livs and Sophia to that final happiness preliminary observations by the which every reader must wish them? French editors, will serve to explain Had lie lived, bad he finished this the scope of this work.
work, he doubtless would have done
so; and it will ever be regretted that Remarks upon the following Frag. this most interesting off pring of his
genius must remain untinished, for It must be confessed that the only where is he that can take up the pen benefits upon which man can calcu- to conclude what Rousseau began?. late, are those which his soul trea.
EMILIUS AND SOPHIA; OR THE sures up: and hence, the only effec
RECLUSE. tual means perhaps of providing for
Letter the First. his felicity, is to give him sure antidores against the ills of fate, either I was free! I was happy! Oh my in enabling him to repair those ills preceptor, you fashioned iny heart to by the force of talent, or to support taste of happiness, and to crown it them by the power of virtue. This yo! gave me Sophia. A rising offwas the great object of Rvsst :111 in his spring added the charms of paternal Treatise on Education; and the fol- solicitude to the bliss of love, and to louing work is intevded to prove that the warm and glowing effusions of he had accomplished his object. By friendship. All indicated a happy placing Emilius in difficulty, hy sub- existence; all promised a soft decline jeçting him to a series of calamitons of life, and a peaceful death in the events, which the most intrepid indi- arnis of my childien. Alas! where vidual could not encounter without are now those blissful hours of fruia shrinking, he has endeavoured to tion and of hope: bours, when the shew that the principles in which he future ad led charms to the present; was brought up froni his youth were hours, when my heart, drunk with those which, afone, conld render him joy, each day ingolphed ages of felisuperior to those difficulties. The city. All, all is vanished as a dream. idea was a fine one, and the execu- All is lost ; wife, children, friends : tion would have been no less interest. all even to the intercourse with my ing than useful, for it would have fellow creatures. My heart, alas! brought the moral of Emilius into has been torn from all
' its dearest atation, have justified it, and rendered taclinents; one only now semains, it amiable: but death prevented Rous- and that one trivial; a lukewarm love seau from raising this new monument of life; a life whose only happiness is to his glory, and to resume this work that it is free from remorse. Should close my eyes,
I long survive my losses, Heavens! structions from my pleasures. All what will be my fate?, an isolated men recal with affection the sports o being, growo old in sorrow, and their infancy. I am, perhaps, the doomed (secluded from the sight of only one who mix not with those soft any human being) to terminate my remembrances the tears of nature existence with Providence alone to which they cause. Ob! that I had
died while an infant! I should then In my situation then, what can in- have known life without its pains. duce me to regard with complacency When I had attained the years of a life I ti-ve so little reason tvesteem. manhood, my happiness suffered no
-What but remembrance, and the interruption. At the age when inconsolation of being in the order of fluenced by my passions i formed my the world, and of submitting with opinions fron reason ; that by which cheerfulness to the all-wise decrees others were deceived pointed out to of God. To all ihat was dear to me me the road to truth. I learnt 10 I am dead; impatiently and fearless I judge judiciously of the things which await that awful moment when I surrounded me, and of the interest shall be summoned to immortality, which I ought to espouse; I passed and shall rejoin that which I have my decisions from principles at once lost.
simple and true; neither authority But you, my dear preceptor, do nor opinion could corrupt them. To you yet live? Are yon yet mortal? discorer the mutual attinity of things, Are you yet upon this earth an exile I first studied the analogy which eacli with
your Emilius: or do you already separately bore to myself: thus then, habit those blest abodes, that place of from two known terms, I was soon immortality with my Sophia?' Alas! enabled to discover the third. To bewherever you may be, to your Eni- come acquainted with the universe, lius you are dead. Never more will as relative and interesung to myself, these eyes behold thee: but in my my first great aim was to beconie acheart thy image is indelibly impresso quainted with my.place; that assigned. Never did I beller. know the ed, all was then found. value of thy instructions and care, tiil. I also learnt that the greatest wiscruel fate inflicted on me her blows, dom consists in being content with and deprived me of all but myself, whatever is, and to regulate our heart and that despair itself has not been according to our destiny. Often have able to annibilate. Harily dare I you told me, that that is all which hope these papers will ever meet thy depends on us, every thing else being
Doubiless they will perish ere necessity. He who obstinately strug. the sight of man is cast upon them. gles against his fate is always least
But I cre vot: they are written : I wise and most miserable; and the ' have collected, bare joined them: I unnecessary trouble which he gives
will still continue, and in you do I himself to alier bis situation, exceeds address them. To you will I relate the anxiety he before experienced. these sad remembrances, which elate He rarely succeeds, and when he and wound my heart. To you will I does he gains nothing. What sensible disclose myself, my sentiments, my being can alwaysexise without passion, conduct; and that heart which you or wiibout attachment? He cannot have monlded in my bosom. I will be a man; he must either be a brule contess all, both the good and the or a God. Inadequate then to the bad; n misfortunes, my pleasures, task of protecting me from all the and my faults; and I do not hesitate various afections by which we are to attirın I shall contess nothing attached to things, you at least Jearnt which can dishonour your work. me to choose, to suffer my soul to
While yet young I tasted of hap- receive ovly the most noble, and to piness; it commenced even with niy attach myseif to the most deserving birth : ought it noi then to cease be- objects of my fellow creatures; 10 fore my death? The days of my extend, as it were, le mui humain" youth were days of joy; passed in lic to all humanity, and thus to preserve berty, in bliss, and in innocence; ne- myself from the deiested passions yer did I learn to distinguish my in- which concentrate in us.