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who would form a clear conception of self; and as a model of elegant and
the nature of taste, and of it's alliance classical literature, we doubt not, but
with criticism. The author has divested that his “Dissertation on Taste,” will
his subject of much of it's metaphy- soon rank among the first productions
sical abstractedness, by a happiness of the age.
of manner, almost peculiar to him-
The Martyr of Antioch: a Dramatic Poem. By the Rev. H. H. Milman.
Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford. London, 1822, 8vo.

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pp. 168.

It has been the fashion, or the Το γαρ γερας εστι θανoντων,-having custom, call it what one will, to paid this tribute to the departed, we assert or to insinuate, that, in this can admit no more. If more be atour day, we are unable to produce tempted, we stand in the gap, in bein dramatic composition any thing half of the moderns, and, like Jehu, at all rivalling, or even competing will shout aloud, “Who is op our with, the magnificent display of other side,-who?" for with such auxiliaand buried days; and when we hear ries as Baillie, and Barry Cornwall, the deserved eulogies which are la- and Lyndsay, and Coleridge, and, cervished, we do not say in super-abun- tainly not the least of these, Milman, dance, upon those master-spirits of we need neither the invulnerability song who have long since ceased to of the son of Peleus, nor the endowdazzle the world by any present ment of the earth invigorated Antæus, coruscations, the opinion that we to protect us from the arrows,'or the ne'er shall look upon their like again Herculean attack, of those, who would usually accompanies the canoniza- contend that the offerings which our tion. It cannot be contested, much dramatic writers have made to the tess denied, but that for a very long scholar and to the student, to the period our acting Drama has been closet, or the library, are not equal but the sickly offspring of it's legi- to almost any thing which the Augus, timate parent, (we are referring to tan æra afforded it's participators, the time of “ Master William Shake. Admitting, then, that the ancients speare,”) or, what is worse, but the might be they,– walking shadow, the baseless, visionary fabric, of the substantial and Nomen in astra ferunt;"

“ Qui sanguine nostrum beautiful proportions that marked the stage in the golden age of dramatic yet might we, with equal propriety, legitimacy. Nor do the few more

exclaim, in the words of the same recent happy exceptions, which, like Roman Poet, water-drops in the desart, bave now

Et nos tela, ferrumque huud debile dextra and then refreshed our fainting spi

Spargimus.' rits, take away the general reproach which, leech like, has clung so long There are but few we should faney to the rich blood of genius, so that who have not long since made themit presents to us, now, in it's most selves acquainted with the former prowholesome days, but an enervated ductions of the author, whose recent stamina, and as unwholesome an ap offering to the maids of Helicon it pearance. To say, that the very best is now our acceptable task, for “ the of our recent offerings to Melpomene labour we delight in physics pain,” are of pinion sufficient to reach the to present to our patrons. We reeyrie, where, eagle-like, our ancesmember when we were but “ a little tors sit enthroned in unattainable boy,” our admiration at a prize poem grandeur, would be but to affirm that of Mr. Milman's ;-the subject of which the Cupid, and the Phryne, of the was, the Belvidere Apollo. But, good Grecian sculptor, Praxitěles, magni- as it was, it proved the mere model to ficent as they were as works of art, after great imaginings; and, like the and worthy as the one was of a situa- pilot boat, served only as the fortion in the Delphic Temple, and the tunate and well timed means of caother of the notice of Caius Cæsar, reering his stronger ribbed ventures were endowed with the essences, the upon a wider expanse and a ploattributes, and the nature, of their nitude of space, more befitting tho beautiful and all subduing originals. swelling ambition of his subsequent

1

enterprizes. And they have been world that truth is mighty and will multos et felices, many and happy en- prevail. terprizes, and are still fresh and fra Having thas given a rapid sketch grant, like the evergreens of the forest of the character and incidents of Mr. which the winds of heaven and the Milman's poem, it behoves us now anger of the seasons may beat against to give some specimens of the power and bend, but cannot dis-naturalise exhibited in it's execution. Passing por destroy.

over the long and somewhat tedious The character of the present poem, hymn to Apollo, with which the drama like that of the “ Fall of Jerusalem," commences, we find the following deis of a decidedly serious and relic lightful description of the heroine of gious cast; and consequently of too high the theme. an origin for dramatic representa Macor. What then is wanting? tion ; for we are almost inclined to

Second Priest. What but the crown and believe that such subjects are de palm-like grace of all, graded, from the associations thereby The sacred virgin, on whose footsteps created, by being exhibited beneath Beauty the trappings and the scenery of the Waits like a handmaid; whose most peerdrama. Adding, therefore, that this

less form, work is written to be read, and not Light as embodied air, and pure as ivory

Thrice polish'a

the skilful statuary, acted, we proceed to observe, that it's history is founded on part of the

Moves in the priestess' long and flowing

robes, legend of St. Margaret, as detailed

While our scarce-erring worsbip doth by Gibbon, and records the meek and

adore religious endurance under suffering, The servant rather than the God. of the daughter of Callias, a heathen

Third Priest.

The maid priest, for the sake of Christianity. The Whose living lyre so eloquently speaks Prefect Olybius, to speak a little of From the deserted grove, the silevt birds it's simple story, is enamoured of her Hang hovering o'er her, and we human beauty, and she returns the warm affec

hearers tion of the Emperor's representative. Stand breathless as the marbles on the Their hour of happiness, however, is

walls; soon blackened by a day of misery,

That even themselves seem touch'd to

listening life, and Olybius is commanded, and com

All animate with the inspiring ecstacy. pelled, to persecute even unto death

First Roman. Thou mean'st the daughthose who espoused the cross of the

ter of the holy Callias ; Redeemer. His Margarita was one. I once beheld her, when the thronging of these. She is thrown into prison people with other martyrs to the same faith ; Prest round, yet parted still to give her but having taken His cross upon her, way, thinks the burthen light; and not thé Even as the blue enamour'd waves, when abandonment of the world, the sever

first ings of affcction, nor even the surrender The sea-born Goddess in her rosy shell of life itself, aught avails to shake ber Saild the calm ocean.

Second Priest. holy purpose. And although the funeral

Margarita, come, pyre was the purchase and it's price Come in thy zoneless grace, thy flowing ber blood, the riches and the gran- Crown'd with the laurel of the God; the deur and the poups and vanities of

lyre the world were esteemed but as dust

Accordant to thy slow and musical steps, in the balance, when competing with As grateful 'twould return the harmony, that eternal weight of glory to wbich That froin thy touch it wins.” she perseveringly aspired. Her faith

We next turn to the scene in which and hope continue firm unto the end, Olybius, after having in vain endeaand she suffers with the other con

voured to weaken her resolves by tenverts. But scarcely are her dried and

derer mcans, sets before Margarita the scattered ashes the property of the terrors and the strength with which he winds of Heaven, ere the people of is armcd. The whole passage is conAntioch, roused as it were from their ceived and written

up with great power dream of heathenism by the perses and beauty. cutions around them; embrace the

Olyb. Fond maiden, know'st thou not ereed for which she died, a mcek and

That I'am cloth'd with power? my word, suffering Martys, and so prove to the

my sigp, Eur. Mag. Vol. 81, March, 1822.

Mm

every hand

Mar.

May drag to death whoe'er presumes to Whlle lives of thousands hang upon my love

speed, Th'admired of great Olybins.

Away!" - Mar. (apart ).

My full heart! And hath it not a guilty pleasare still Perhaps, however, we cannot enrich In being so fondly, though so sternly our pages with any extract from this chided ?

drama more powerful or pathetic, or Olyb. Hear me, I say, but wcep not, more happily suited to the occasion, Margarita,

than the following. The resignation Thongh thy bright tears might diadem the and patience of the daughter under the

brow Of Juno, when she walks th'Olympian steady reliance upon, and her reve

surprise and anger of her father ; her clonds. My pearl! my pride !'thou know'st my

rential awe of, Him in whom alone sonl is thine,

there is trust; and the contrast of Thine only! On the Parthians' fiery sands impressions that the Pagan and the I look'd upon the blazing noontide san,

Christian religion create; are all adAnd thought how lovely thou before his mirably, and consequently effectively, shrine

portrayed in the following dialogue. Wast standing with thy laurel-crowned locks.

Callias. Dost not bebold him, And when my high triumphal chariot toild Thy God! thy father's God! the God of Through Antioch's crowded streets, when Antioch?

And feel'st thou not the cold and silent Rain'd garlands, every voice dwelt on my

awe, name,

That emanates from his immortal presence My discontented spirit panted still O'er all the breathless temple? Dar'st For thy long silent lyre.

thou see Oh! let me onward, The terrible brightness of the wrath that Nor hold me thus, por speak thus fondly

burns to me.

On his arch'd brow? Lo! how the indignaOlyb. Thou strivest still to leave me;

tion Zgo, then, go,

Swells in each strong dilated limb! his My soul disdains to force what it would stature win

Grows loftier ; and the roof, the quaking With the soft violence of favour'd love.

pavement, But ah! to-day,-to-day,—what meant The shadowy pillars, all the temple feels thine absence

The offended God! - I dare not look From the proud worship of thy God? again, what mean

Dar'st thou ? Thy wild and mournful looks, thy burst Margarita. I see a silent shape of stone, ing eyes

In which the majesty of human passion Sp full of tears, that weep not ?–Mar. Is to the life express’d. A noble image, garita,

But wrought by mortal hands upon a Thou wilt not speak,-farewell, then, and model forgive

As mortal as themselves. That I have dared mistrust thee :-No, Callias. Ha! look again, then, even now,

There in the East. Mark how the purple Even thus I'll not believe but thou art

clouds pure,

Throng to pavilion him : the officions As the first dew that Dian's early foot

winds Treads in her deepest holiest shade. Pant forth to purify his azure path Farewell!

(Exit. From night's dun vapours, and fast scat. Mar. I should have told him all, yet

tering mists. dared not tell him,

The glad earth wakes in adoration ; all I could not deeper wouyd his generous The voices of all animate things lift up heart

Tumultuous orisons; the spacious world Than it endures already. My Redeemer, Lives but in him, that is it's life. But he, If weakly thus before the face of man Disdainful of the universal bomage, I have trembled to confess theo, yet, O Holds bis calm way, and vindicates for his

Lord! Before thine angels do not thou deny me. Th' illimitable heavens, in solitude And yet, he is not guilty yet, () Saviour! Of peerless glory unapproachable. Of Christian blood! Preserve him in thy What means thy proud undazzled look, to mercy,

adore Preserve him from that sin. Ah! linger. Or mock, ungracious ? ing still,

Margarita. On you burning orb

own

I gaze and say,—thou mightiest work of us during it's perusal. The extreme him

length, and frequency, also, of the That launch'd thee forth a golden crowned lyrical pieces are in our eyes blots

bridegroom To hang thy everlasting nuptial lamp

or deformities, that injure the general

effect. We quite agree with the corIn the exulting heavens. ' In thee the

rect sentiments expressed elsewhere light, Creation's eldest born, was tabernacled.

on these Hymns and Chorusses, and To thee was given to quicken slumbering think that Margarita's long hymn of dature,

nine stanzas after the passionate And lead the seasons' slow vicissitnde scene given above, and the Heathen Over the fertile breast of mother earth; and Christian's long creed-expounding Till men began to stoop their grovelling verses, just previous to the execuprayers

tion of the believers, are almost as From the Almighty sire of all to thee. ill-timed as Nero's frivolity, when And I will add,-Thou universal emblem, Rome was in flames around him. Hung in the forehead of the all-seeing Having thus enabled our readers

heavens Of him, that with the light of righteous

to form their own opinions of the

Martyr of Antioch,” it merely reness Dawn'd on our latter days; the visitant mains for us, before we make our dayspriug

last adieux, generally to observe, Of the benighted world. Enduring splen- that it were well

, did all those who dour!

rival Mr. Milman in the brilliancy of Giant refresh'd! that evermore renew'st their poetry, follow him also in pureThy flaming strength ; nor ever shalt ness of principle and moral feeling. thou cease,

Neither in this, nor in his former With time coeval, even till time itself

works, have we been offended by a Hath perish'd in eternity. Then thou magnificence of description glossing Shalt own, from thy apparent deity Debased, thy mortal nature, from the sky paint upon the face of the wanton,

over demoralising principles, like Withering before the all-enlightening Lamb,

or flowers plucked, only to cover the Whose radiant throne shall quench all putridity of death; but the rather, other fires.”

virtue and principle are linked to

gether with the spirit of poetry and After this magnificent display of the strength of genius. Resignation the very soul of poetry, unmixed, too, under the severest oftrials and temptaas it is with baser matter, we must tions, those of life and love, have been refer our readers to the volume it- inculcated as it were through the lips self for further gratification ;, not of a Calypso, without her art and wandoubting, but that, like the prince tonness ; - and like the garden of in the fairy tale, having found one Eden, freed of the serpent, the flowers relic of exquisite beauty, they will of song bave interested our feelings, be most anxious to obtain the whole without destroying that innocence array of perfection of which it was which should still cling about them. only a part.

Martyr of Antioch,” then, Sunt mala,”-there are faults, fully “ shows the impression" of our which in a measure disfignre this, author's “ former instances ;” and for the most part, meritorious pro- bearing such impression, it will, like duction. Independent of the sub our own gold when stamped with the ject itself not being, highly drama. brow of royalty, pass eagerly and tic, the poem is wire-drawn out by currently through the various haunts unnecessary matter, , and artificial of man, and be most welcome to them means, to an infinitely too extended wbo can the best and most fully apprea length; so much so,--that listless- ciate it. ness and tedium frequently approached

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