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. “There are four words in Alfieri that speak volumes. They are in • Don Carlos. The King and his minister are secreted during an interview of the Infant with the Queen Consort : the following dialogue passes, which ends the scene. Vedesti ? Vedi. Udisti ? Udi. All the dramatic beauty would be lost in translation—the nominative cases would kill it. Nothing provokes me so much as the squeamishness that excludes the exhibition of many such subjects from the stage ;-a squeamishness, the produce, as I firmly believe, of a lower tone of the moral sense, and foreign to the majestic and confident virtue of the golden age of our country. All is now cantmethodistical cant. . Shame flies from the heart, and takes refuge in the lips; or, our senses and nerves are much more refined than those of our neighbours.
“ We should not endure the Edipus story, nor · Phèdre.' Myrrha,' the best worked-up, perhaps, of all Alfieri's tragedies, and a favorite in Italy, would not be tolerated. The Mysterious Mother' has never been acted, nor Massinger's · Brother and Sister.' Webster's . Duchess of Malfy' would be too harrowing : her madness, the dungeon-scene, and her grim talk with her keepers and coffin-bearers, could not be borne : nor Lillo's · Fatal Marriage.' The
Cenci' is equally horrible, though perhaps the best tragedy modern times have produced. It is a playnot a poem, like "Remorse' and 'Fazio ;' and the best proof of its merit is, that people are continually quoting it. What may not be expected from such a beginning ?
"The Germans are colder and more phlegmatic than we are, and bear even to see · Werner.'
is To write any thing to please, at the present day, is the despair of authors.”
It was easy to be perceived that during this tirade upon the stage, and against Shakspeare, he was smarting under the ill-reception · Marino Faliero' had met with, and indignant at the critics, who had denied him the dramatic faculty. This, however, was not the only occasion of his abusing the old dramatists,
Some days after, I revived the subject of the drama, and led him into speaking of his own plays.
“ I have just got a letter," said he, “ from Murray. What do you think he has enclosed me? A long dull: extract from that long dull Latin epic of Petrarch's Africa, which he has the modesty to ask me to trans. late for Ugo Foscolo, who is writing some Memoirs of Petrarch, and has got Moore, Lady Dacre, &c. to contribute to. What am I to do with the death of Mago? I wish to God, Medwin, you would take it home with you, and translate it; and I will send it to Murray. We will say nothing about its being yours, or mine; and it will be curious to hear Foscolo's opinion upon it. Depend upon it, it will not be an unfavorable one."
In the course of the day I turned it into couplets, (and lame enough they were,) which he forwarded by the next courier to England,
Almost by return of post arrived a furiously coma
plimentary epistle in acknowledgment, which made us laugh very heartily.
“There are three good lines*” said Lord Byron, to in Mago's speech, which may be thus translated ;
" Yet, thing of dust! “ Man strives to climb the earth in his ambition, « Till death, the monitor that flatters not, “ Points to the grave, where all his hopes are laid.'” “What do you think of Ada ?” said he, looking earnestly at his daughter's miniature, that hung by the side of his writing-table. “They tell me she is like me—but she has her mother's eyes.
" It is very odd that my mother was an only child; -I am an only child; my wife is an only child; and Ada is an only child. It is a singular coincidence ; that is the least that can be said of it. I can't help thinking it was destined to be so; and perhaps it is best. I was once anxious for a son; but after our separation, was glad to have had a daughter ; for it would have distressed me too much to have taken him away from Lady Byron, and I could not have trusted her with a son's education. I have no idea of boys being brought up by mothers. I suffered too much from that myself : and then, wandering about the world as I do, I could not take proper care of a child; otherwise I should not have left Allegra, poor little thing !t at Ravenna. She has been a great resourse
* Ugo Foscolo afterwards took them for his motto.
Don Juan, Canto X. Starrza 52:
to me, though I am not so fond of her as of Ada; and yet I mean to make their fortunes equal—there will be enough for them both. I have desired in my will that Allegra shall not marry an Englishman. The Irish and Scotch make better husbands than we do, You will think it was an odd fancy, but I was not in the best of humours with my countrymen at that moment-you know the reason. I am told that Ada is a little termagant ; I hope not. I shall write to my sister to know if this is the case : perhaps I am wrong in letting Lady Byron have entirely her own way in her education. I hear that my name is not mentioned in her presence; that a green curtain is always kept over my portrait, as over something forbidden ; and that she is not to know that she has a father, till she comes of age. Of course she will be taught to hate me; she will be brought up to it. Lady Byron is conscious of all this, and is afraid that I shall some day carry off her daughter by stealth or force. I might claim her of the Chancellor, without having recourse to either one or the other. But I had rather be unhappy myself, than make her mother so ; probably I shall never see her again."
Here he opened his writing-desk, and showed me some hair, which he told me was his child's.
During our drive and ride this evening, he declined our usual amusement of pistol-firing, without assigning a cause. He hardly spoke a word during the first half-hour, and it was evident that something weighed heavily on his mind. There was a sacredness in his melancholy that I dared not interrupt. At length he said :
6 This is Ada's birthday, and might have been the happiest day of my life : as it is
!" He stopped, seemingly ashamed of having betrayed his feelings. He tried in vain to rally bis spirits, by turning the conversation ; but he created a laugh in which he could not join, and soon relapsed into his former reverie. It lasted till we came within a mile of the Argive gate. There our silence was all at once interrupted by shrieks that seemed to proceed from a cottage by the side of the road. We pulled up our horses, to inquire of a contadino standing at the little garden-wicket. He told us that a widow had just lost her only child, and that the sounds proceeded from the wailings of some women over the corpse. Lord Byron was much affected; and his superstition, acted upon by a sadness that seemed to be presentiment, led him to augur some disaster,
"I shall not be happy," said he, “ till I hear that my daughter is well. I have a great horror of anniversaries : people only laugh at, who have never kept a register of them. I always write to my sister on Ada's birth day. I did so last year; and, what was very remarkable, my letter reached her on my wedding-day, and her answer reached me at Ravenna on my birthday! Several extraordinary things have happened to me on my birthday ; so they did to Napoleon; and a more wonderful circumstance still occurred to Marie Antoinette.”
The next morning's courier Brought him a letler: from England. He gave it me as I entered, and said: