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to the inferior conditions of life. The impress of these two origins remains distinctly marked in the two communions.
The reformed communion has never been so popular as the catholic faith. Being of princely and patrician origin, it does not sympathize with the multitude. Protestantism is equitable and moral, punctual in the discharge of duty; but its charity partakes more of reason than of tenderness; it clothes the naked, but does not warm them in its bosom; it shelters the poor beneath its wings, but does not dwell and weep with them in their most abject haunts; it relieves, but does not feel for misfortune. The monk and the priest are the companions of the poor man: poor like himself, they have for their companions the bowels of Jesus Christ. Rags, straw, disease, and dungeons, excite in them no disgust, no repugnance; charity imparts a perfume to indigence and misery. The catholic priest is the successor of the twelve lowly men who preached Christ raised from the dead; he blesses the body of the deceased beggar, as the sacred remains of a being beloved by God and raised to eternal life. The protestant pastor forsakes the beggar on his death-bed-to him the grave is not an object of religious veneration; he has no faith in those expiatory prayers by which a friend may deliver a suffering soul. In this world the minister does not rush into the midst of flames or pestilence; he reserves to his own family that affectionate care which the priest of Rome bestows on the great buman family:
“In a religious point of view, the reformation is leading insensibly to indifference, or the complete absence of faith: the reason is, that the independence of the mind terminates in two gulfs-doubt and incredulity.”
“Though the English colonies have formed the plebeian republic of the United States, yet those states do not owe their liberty to protestantism. They were not emancipated by religious wars; they rebelled against the oppression of the mother country, which, like themselves, was protestant. Maryland, a catholic and very populous state, made common cause with the others, and now most of the western states are catholic. The progress of this communion in the United States of America exceeds belief. There it has been invigorated in its evangelical aliment-popular liberty-whilst other communions decline in profound in difference."
“An attentive examination of facts must lead to the conclusion that protestantism has not promoted popular freedom. It has given to mankind philosophic liberty, but not political liberty. Now, the_former liberty has no where led to the attainment of the latter, except in France, the true land of catholicism. How happens it that Germany, naturally philosophic and already armed with protestantism, has not advanced a single step towards political liberty in the eighteenth century; whilst France, of not very philosophic temperament, and under the yoke of catholicism, gained during that century all her liberties ?"
“The man of theory has a sovereign contempt for that which is practical. He looks down from the height of his lofty doctrine, judges men and things, meditates on the general laws of society, directs his bold enquiries even into the mysteries of the divine nature, and feels and thinks himself independent because only his body is chained. To think every thing, and do nothing, is at once the character and the virtue of philosophic genius. The philosopher wishes to see mankind happythe sight of liberty charms him; but he does not care to see it through two windows of a prison. Like Socrates, protestantism may be said to have called minds into existence; but, unfortunately, the intelligences which it has ushered into life have hitherto been only beautiful slaves.
Vol. I. pp.
"Be it observed, however, that most of these reflections on the reformed religioa are intended to apply only to the past: the protestants of the present day are not, any more than the catholics, what they formerly were. The protestants have gained in imagination, in poetry, in eloquence, in reason, in liberty, and in genuine piety, what the latter have lost. The antipathies between the different communions no longer exist. The children of Christ, from whatever line they spring, unite at the foot of Mount Calvary, the common birth-place of ihe family. The licentiousness and the ambition of the court of Rome hare ceased; and the vatican is now distinguished by the virtues of the early bishops, patronage of the arts, and the majesty of recollections. Every thing now tends to restore catholic unity; with a few concessions on either side, concord would soon be established. To be enabled to shine forth in renewed glory, Christianity wants only a superior genius, coming at the proper time and place. The Christian religion is entering upon a new era; like institutions and manners, it is undergoing the third transformation. It is ceasing to be political, according to the old social mechanism; it is advancing to the great principle of the gospel-natural democratic equality between man and man, as it is acknowledged before God. Its flexible circle extends with knowledge and liberty, whilst the cross for ever marks its immovable centre." 191-205.
The reckless assertion of the above paragraphs may excite the surprise of the reader, but their ingenious sophistry will but induce the smile of contempt.
Our author hastens on till he arrives at Shakspeare. His notice of Surrey, More, and Spenser, is miserably defective. Upon Henry VIII. (whom he is pleased to consider one among the list of the protestant literati of England) he rests for a few minutes—being a fine theme for eloquent invective. A striking sketch of the tyrant is presented in these lines :
“Henry VIII. wrote poetry as well as prose. He played on the flute and the spinett. He set to music ballads for his court and masses for his chapel, and he left behind him a motett, an anthem, and many scaffolds. He was certainly a troubadour of most imaginative genius. This man, who employed a wooden image of the Virgin as part of the materials for the pile at which the confessor of Catharine of Arragon was burnt; who summoned before his tribunal the dead body of St. Thomas of Canterbury, tried it and condemned it to death, in spite of the legal maxim, non bis in idem ; who caused fagots to be bound on the backs of five Dutch anabaptists, and regaled his eyes with the spectacle of five moving auto-da-fés. ;-he had a fine subject for a romantic sonnet when, from the summit of a solitary bill in Richmond Park, he saw the signal which was transmitted from the tower of London, announcing the execution of Anne Boleyn. What delicious satisfaction he must have enjoyed at that moment! The axe had severed the delicate neck, and stained with blood the beautiful hair, on which the poet king had lavished his fatal caresses." Vol. I. pp. 217, 218.
At the name of Shakspeare he stops, “in order to consider him at his leisure, as Montesquieu says of Alexander.” For him he professes extreme admiration; and yet, from certain VOL. XXI.-NO. 41.
opinions and expressions he hazards, we are inclined to suspect (what is not at all unnatural in a foreigner) that he does not understand him. The introduction of his subject is well managed.
Spenser was the favourite poet of the reign of Elizabeth. The author of Macbeth and Richard III. was eclipsed by the dazzling rays of the 'Shepherd's Calendar,' and the 'Faerie Queene. Did Montmorency, Biron, and Sully, who were by turns ambassadors from France to the couris of Elizabeth and James I., ever hear of a strolling actor, who performed sometimes in his own plays, and sometimes in those of other authors ? Did they ever pronounce the name of Shakspeare, so barbarous to French ears? Did They ever suspect that there was around him a glory which would outlive their honours, their pomp, their rank? Yet the mountebank player—the representative of Hanılet's Ghost-was the great phantom, the shade of the middle age, who rose upon the world like the evening star, just at a moment when the middle age had sunk among the dead; that extraordinary interval which Dante opened, and which Shakspeare closed.
“Whitelocke, a contemporary of Milton, speaking in his ‘Historical Sketch of the author of 'Paradise Lost, designates him as 'a certain blind man, named Milion, Latin secretary to the parliament. Molière, the player, acted his own Pourceaugnac-as Shakspeare, the buffoon, personated his own Falstaff. The author of the Tartuffe, the comrade of poor Mondorge, changed his illustrious name of Poquelin for the bumble name of Molière, that he might not disgrace his father, the upholsterer.
“Avant qu'un peu de terre, obtenu par prière,
Pour jamais sous la tombe eût enfermé Molière,
Furent des sots esprits à nos yeux rebutés.
Shakspeare, however, is not his literary hero: Milton sustains this part. The former came into competition with the dramatic authors of the viscount's own country, and he was unwilling to yield to a stranger the palm. With Milton there could be no rivalry; his grand work stood unique in its design and character-alone in its glory. Republican and protestant though he was, of his writings the French catholic peer speaks with unbounded praise : no language is too strong for his merits. In all this we agree with the writer, but we protest against the depreciation of Shakspeare—for such we consider the lowering of him to the level of the French dramatists.
Chateaubriand contends that while Shakspeare is admired theoretically in England, in practice the case is quite otherwise. And he founds his argument upon the fact of his plays having
been altered and adapted to the stage. “Why not act," says he, “the plays of their deity in a perfect form ?" Conceding the truth of the assertion, an inference does not follow derogatory to the genius of Shakspeare, or affecting in the least his popularity as a dramatic author. Some of his confessedly most beautiful plays are rarely if ever acted. Of those which are, there is enough for the immortality of a dozen men. That his merits were for a season unperceived and unappreciated, argues only the stupidity of the age. The same temporary neglect happened to Milton: but when once the glories of these luminaries arose to the vision of an admiring country, their splendour was duly acknowledged, and they have been worshipped unceasingly since.
The universality of Shakspeare's talent, our author thinks, has tended to corrupt dramatic literature, and founded the erroneous notion on which the new school, as he is pleased to term it, is established. He thinks that it is deemed by that school the perfection of the tragic art to "jumble together a succession of incongruous and disconnected scenes—to place the burlesque and the pathetic side by side—to bring the beggar in contact with the king." If it be so, Shakspeare is not to blame for it, but his ignorant imitators. The fact, however, is not so. The school which Shakspeare founded, and himself carried to perfection, is the school of nature in contradistinction to that of studied, formal art-action limited within divisions of time unsuited, according to all the regular course of nature, for the happening of the supposed events, and passion and feeling. doled out and checked by rigid weight and measure. When Chateaubriand pronounces Racine more natural than Shakspeare, (whom, by the by, too, he seems disposed to place below Corneille, Molière, and even Voltaire,) we confess we consider him above or below argument, and would therefore leave him undisturbed in the possession of his opinion. "Racine, in all the refinement of his art, is more natural than Shakspeare-just as the Apollo, in all his divinity, is more human in his form than an Egyptian Colossus.”
But we eschewed controversy, so let us turn to an agreeable extract. We have here a good picture of the theatre in Shakspeare's time.
“In the dramatic performances of Shakspeare's time, the female characters were represented by young men; and the actors were not distinguished from the spectators except by the plumes of feathers which adorned their hats, and the bows of ribbon which they wore in their shoes. There was no music between the acts. The place of performance was frequently the court-yard of an inn, and the windows which looked into this court-yard served for the boxes. On the representation of a tragedy in London, the place in which it was performed was hung with black, like the nave of a church at a funeral.
' As to the means of illusion, some idea may be formed of them from the burlesque picture drawn by Shakspeare in the Midsummer Night's Dream. A man, having his face smeared with plaster, is the wall which intervenes between Pyramus and Thisbe, and he spreads out his fingers to represent the chinks in the wall through which the lovers converse. A lantern, a bush, and a dog, are employed to produce moonlight. In rude dramatic performances of this kind, the scene, without changing, alternately represented a flower-garden, a rock against which a ship was to strike, or a field of battle, where balf a dozen miserable-looking soldiers would personale tivo armies. There is extant a curious inventory of the property of a company of English players; and in this document we find set down a dragon, a wheel employed in the siege of London, a large horse with his legs, sundry limbs of Moors, four Turks' heads, and an iron mouth, which was probably employed in giving utterance to the sweetest and sublimest accents of the immortal poet. False skins were also employed for those characters who were flayed alive on the stage, like the prevaricating judge in Cambyses. Such a spectacle nowa-days would attract all Paris.
“But, after all, correciness of scenic accessories and costume is far less essential to the illusion than is generally imagined. The genius of Racine gains nothing by the cut and form of a dress. In the masterpieces of Raphael, the back-grounds are neglected and the costumes incorrect. The rage of Orestes, or the prophecy of Joad, recited in a drawing-room by Talma, habited in his own dress, produced not less effect than when delivered by the great actor on the stage, in Grecian or Hebrew drapery. Iphigenia was attired like Madame de Sévigné, when Boileau addressed to his friend the following fine lines:
'Jamais Iphigénie, en Aulide immoléc
En a fait sous son nom verser la Chanmélé.' Accuracy in the representation of inanimate objects is the spirit of the literature and the arts of our time. It denotes the decay of the higher class of poetry, and of the genuine drama. We are content with minor beauties, when we cannot attain great aims. Our stage represents to perfection the chair and its velvet coverings, but the actor is not equally successful in portraying the character who is seated in the chair. But, having once descended to these minute representations of material objects, it cannot be dispensed with, for the lic taste becomes materialized and demands it.
“In Shakspeare's time, the 'higher class of spectators, or the gentlemen, took their places on the stage-seating themselves either on the boards, or on stools which they paid for. The pit was a dark and dusty hole, in which the audience stood crowded iogether. The spectators in the pit, and those on the stage, were like 'two hostile camps drawn up face to face. The pit saluted the gentlemen with hisses, threw mud at them, and addressed to them insulting outcries. The gentlemen returned these compliments by calling their assailants stinkards and brutes. The stinkards ate apples and drank ale; the gentlemen played at cards and smoked tobacco, which was then recently introduced. It was the fashion for the gentlemen to tear up the cards, as if they had lost some great stake, and then to throw the fragments angrily on the stage-to laugh, speak loud, and turn their backs on the actors. In this manner were the tragedies of the great master received on their first production. John Bull threw apple-parings at the divinity at whose shrine he now offers