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Aphorisms of Sir Philip Sidney; with Remarks by Miss 'Jane Porter, ( Author of Thaddeus of Warsaw). 2 vols. 12mo. Longman.
These Aphorisms are well known; but they cannot be too largely distributed, or too often perused. Miss Porter's comments are worthy of the original text. The following may serve as a specimen :
" 1. One look (in a clear judgment) from a fair and virtuous woman, is more acceptable than all the kindnesses so prodigally bestowed by a wanton beauty.
“ 2. It is against womanhood to be forward in their own wishes.
" 3. There is a certain delicacy, which in yielding conquers, and, with a pitiful look, makes one find cause to crave help one's self.
“ 4. Silence ought to be without sullenness; modesty without affectation; and bashfulness without ignorance.
“ 5. Some women are in that degree of well-doing, to which the not knowing of evil serveth for a ground of virtue; and they hold their inward powers in better form, with an unspotted simplicity, than many do, who rather cunningly seek to know what goodness is than willingly take to themselves the following of it. But as that sweet and simple breath of heavenly goodness is the easier to be altered, because it has not passed through the trial of worldly wickedness, nor feelingly found the evil that evil carries with it ; so these innocents, when they come to a point wherein their judgments are to be practised by knowing faultiness by its first tokens, do not know whether the pending circumstance be a thing to be avoided or embraced, and so are apt easily to fall into the snare.
“ 6. The sex of woman-kind is most particularly bound to consider, with regardful eyes, men's judgments on its deeds."
“ REMARK. « A clear reputation must be desirable to every honourable inind. Lucretia died to maintain her's; but there the sense of reputation was stronger than that of honour! A truly noble heart would have preferred the death that Tarquin threatened ; unsullied purity with a slandered name, before contamination with the power of accusation and revenge. Positive rectitude ought to be the first consideration ; a fair character, the second ; but first and second they should ever be. Virtue demands that where possible they should be substance and shadow; and where it is not, we should die rather than relinquish either ; unless the last, as in the case of Lucretia, must be preserved by the sacrifice of the first. For virtue is despotic; life, reputation, every earthly good, must be surrendered at her voice. The law may seem hard, but it is the guardian of what it commands; and is the only sure defence of happiness."
We need not point out the dignity, justness, and de licacy of the sentiment contained in the above excellent remark. It is of itself sufficient to recommend the.volumes to general perusal.
Reasons for rejecting the presumptive Evidence of Mr.
Almon, that Mr. Hugh Boyd was the Writer of Junius, with Passages selected to prove the real Author of the Letters of Junius. 2s. 8vo. Highley. ..
So! The author of Junius is at last discovered to be the American General Lee!! The pamphleteer might as well have told us at once that these celebrated Letters were written by the Man in the Iron Mask.
ALL TRE WORLD'S A STAGE
THE STORY OF SHAKSPEARE'S MEASURE FOR
FROM MR. DOUCE'S ILLUSTRATIONS. THREE sources whence the plot of this play might have been extracted, have already been mentioned, viz. Whetstone's Heptameron, 1582, 4to. ; his Promos and Cassandra, 1578, 4to.; and novel 5. decad. 8. in Cinthio Giraldi. It is probable that the general outline of the story is founded on fact, as it is related, with some variety of circumstances, by several writers, and appears to have been very popular. It has therefore been thought worth while to point out the following works in which it occurs.
In Lipsii Monita et exempla politica, Antverp. 1613, 4to. cap. viii. Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, causes one of his noblemen to be put to death for offending in the manner that Angelo would have done ; but he is first compelled to marry the lady. This story has been copied from Lipsius into Wanley's Wonders of the little World, book iii. chap. 29. edit. 1678, folio; and from Wanley into that favourite little chap book Burton's Unparalelled Varieties, p. 42. See likewise The Spectator, No. 491. This event was made the subject of a French play by Antoine Maréchal, called Le Jugement équitable de Charles le Hardy, 1646, 4to. Here the offender is called Rodolph, governor of Maestrick, and by theatrical licence turns out to be the duke's own son. Another similar story of Charles's upright judgment may be found in the third volume of Goulart's Thresor d'Histoires admirables, 1628, 8vo. p. 373.
Much about the time when the above events are supposed to have happened, Olivier le Dain, for his wickedness surnamed the Devil, originally the barber, and afterwards the favourite, of Louis XI. is said to have committed a similar offence, for which he was deservedly hanged. See Godefroy's edition of the Memoirs of Philip de Comines, Brussels, 1723, 8vo. tom. v. p. 55.
At the end of Belleforest's translation of Bandello's Novels, there are three additional, of his own invention. YOL. IV,
The first of these relates to a captain, who, having seduced the wife of one of his soldiers, under a promise to save the life of her husband, exhibited him soon afterwards, through the window of his apartment, suspended on a gibbet. His commander, the Marshal de Brisac, after compelling him to marry the widow, adjudges him to death. The striking similitude of a part of this story to what Mr. Hume has related of Colonel Kirke will present itself to every reader, and perhaps induce some to think with Mr. 'Ritson (however they will differ in his mode of expressing the sentiment), that Mr. Hume's narration" is an impudent and barefaced lie." See The Quip Modest, p. 30. A defence also of Kirke may be seen in the Monthly Magazine, vol. ii. p. 544. Yet though we may be inclined to adopt this side of the question, it will only serve to diminish, in a single instance, the atrocities of that sanguinary monster.
In Lupton's Siquila, Too good to be true, 1580, 4to. there is a long story of a woman, who, her husband having slain his adversary in a duel, goes to the judge for the purpose of prevailing on him to remit the sentence of the law. He obtains of her, in the first place, a large sum of money, and afterwards the reluctant prostitution of her person, under a solenn promise to save her husband. The rest as in Belleforest's Nove!.
In volume i. of Goulart's Thrésor d'Histoires Admirables, above cited, there are two stories on this subject. The first, in p. 300, is of a citizen of Como, in Italy, who in 1547 was detained prisoner by a Spanish captain on a parge of murder. The wife pleads for him as before,
d'obtains a promise of favour on the same terms. The husband recommends her compliance, after which the Spaniard beheads him. Coinplaint is made to the Duke of Ferrara, who compels the captain to marry the widow, and then orders him to be hanged. The other, in p. 304, is of a provost, named La Vouste, whose conduct resembles that of the other villain's, with this additio?: He says to the woman, “ I promised to restore your husband; I have not kept him, here he is.” No punishment is inflicted on this fellow,
The last example to be mentioned on this occasion occurs in Cooke's Vindieation of the Professors and Profession of the Law, 1646, 46o. p. 61. During the wars between Charles the Fifth and Francis the First, one Raynucio had been imprisoned at Milan for betraying a
fort to the French. His wife petitions the governor, Don Garcias, in his favour, who refuses to listen but on disa honourable terms, which are indignantly rejected. The husband, like Claudio, in Measure for Measure, at first commends the magnanimity of his wife, and submits to his sentence; but when the time for his execution approaches, his courage fails him, and he prevails on his wife to acquiesce in the governor's demands. A sum of ten thousand crowns is likewise extorted from the unhappy woman, and she receives in return the dead body of her husband. The Duke of Ferrara, Hercules of Este, who was general for the Emperor, is informed of the circumstance. He first persuades the governor to marry the lady, and then orders him to be beheaded.
THE PLAYHOUSE. This profest diversion of the age flourishes with luxurious elegance, in defiance of timid moralists, and the more furious attacks of the puritan and methodist.
In the ardour of well-meant but mistaken zeal, these declaimers forget that a love of pleasure is a natural, and, if inoderately indulged, a rational principle, iinplanted for wise purposes in the breasts of us all.
That it is unlawful to laugh, and criminal to pretend to be happy, an impious idea, which describes the Almighty and benevolent Disposer of the Universe as a ty-, rant, and man as the victim of a severe destiny, could only' have entered an imagination clouded by despair, and impervious to the mild rays of hope and mercy,
But, if the doors of our theatres could be closed, I fear the divine and philanthropist would gain an ineffectual victory, by driving the promiscuous multitude of a crowded metropolis to the sties of sensuality and drunk, enness, or the recesses of secret sin.
Yet the merit of Collier, and those who followed him, should not be forgotten; they attacked and drove from, the stage those impious railleries and obscene allusions, injurious to correct amusement, and disgraceful to national taste, which tainted the drainas of the day, and too often sully the pages of Wycherly, Congreve, Fare quhar, and Vanburgh.