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text, and more than 20 of additional notes and appendix, consiste ing of extracts, conjectures, and correspondence, on the subject.
The Alcina of Fulvio Testi is said by Mr. Walker to have given birth to the opera : but this is an erroneous idea, if we may rely on the authority of Dr. Burney, who, in his History of Music, seems minutely to have traced it to a much higher period;-and what Mr. W. calis airs, which were so frequently introduced in Testi's drama, written in 1636, and recitata at Bologna in 1646, according to the Drammaturgia, could not have been sung at so early a period of the Melodrama. Indeed ail that Mr. W. says on this subject seems conjecțural, and supported by no authority. Fulvio Testi died in 1646.
Aristodemo, a tragedy by Carlo de' Dottori, 1657, is next recorded ; and the suffrage of the excellent critic Signorelli is given in favour of its being a work of superior merit to the Salimano of Bonarelli :-- which Apostolo Zeno did not allow.
Four tragedies of Cardinal Delfino are highly praised by Crescimbeni, and by a much better judge, Maffei, In *1694, the Corradino of Caraccio, a tragedy, was represented at Rome. These declamatory dramas were still written in Greek trammels of long speeches, and with little attention to the spirit of the dialogue.
Section III. Here we are presented with a history of the origin and estab. lishment of the Academia degli Arcadi at Rome; the poetry and criticism of which were cultivated from May to October by its members, in a grove or a garden, in the manner of the antient inhabitants of Arcadia in Greece.
Not only the natives of Italy, when at Rome, but Princes and illustrious fureigners visiting that city, were proud of being inrolled in this literary establishment.
The first tragic poet, who distinguished himself at the beginning of the present century, was Pier Jacopo Martelli, who died in 1727
· His Perselide, Ifigenia in Tauri, and Alceste, were represented (says Signorelli) with uncquivocal applause by the company of Riccoboni at Venice, Verona, and Bologna. We find not only in these tragedies, (he continues,) but in his Procolo, Cicerone, 2. Fabio, and Taimingi
, genuine tragic beauties. In the Perselide, is particularly admired the liappy manner in which the three principal characters are inarked : the magnanimity of Mustapha, the pathetic tenderness of Perselius, and the jealousy of power and relentless cruelty of Solimano, evince the glowing and energetic pencil of genius. Signior Signorelli recommends the Ifigenia and Alceste of this author, as mo.
dels for imitation to all young poets who would wish to adapt the fables of the Greek theatre to the modern stage.'
Martelli's tragedies are composed in rhyme, and in a new species of versification, since called Martelliano, consisting entirely of Alexandrines of 14 syllables, or two verses of 7 syl. lables each. The Italian rhymes being all double, the junction of two verses of 7 syllables each makes their Alexandrine 14 syllables ; though our heroic verse, and that of France, contain but twelve,
The translation of Addison's Cato into Italian by Salvini is enumerated among the tragedies of this period ; after which the tragedies of the learned Civilian and critic, Gravina, the patron and parent (by adoption) of Metastasio, are slightly mentioned. The chief accusation against Gravina is that he is tog Grecian in the fable and conduct of his dramas. Though they failed to please, they did not deter our countryman Mason from constructing his Elfrida and Caractacus on the models of Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; and though Mr. Mason's tragedies excite more interest, and abound with infinitely more exquisite poetical beauties, they have also failed of public favour on the stage; with all the changes in the dialogue, and allurements of the music to the songs and choruses, that have been applied to them. They will never be admitted into the established Liturgy of the great parish church; though in the clo. set, or poetical chapel of ease, they will ever afford devout members of the Greek church the highest consolation and rapture.
Mr. W. has given a sketch of Gravina's life from Dr. Burney's Memoirs of Metastasio, and an account of that admirable lyric poet's Juvenile Tragedy of Giustino, from the same biographer; adding some curious and authentic information of his own, which he had received from Italy, confirming the report of Metastasio's lyric dramas, or operas, being frequently declaimed, with success, as speaking tragedies, without music.
Among the minor tragics, we have a list of dramas written by the Count Pansati, the Duke Annibale Marchese, and Antonio Conti, a Venetian nobleman. It is a curious circumstance, which does honour to the nobility of Italy, that nearly all her best tragic upiters have been of that class.
About the middle of the present century, Sig. Ant. Conti, who resided a considerable time in England, produced four tragedies : Giunio Bruto, Druso, Marco Bruto, and Giulio Cesare ; the last two from the double plot of Shakspeare's Julius Cæsar, to which the Duke of Buckingham, and Voltaire, had previously pointed out the road.
. We now come to the learned and justiy celebrated Marquis Maffei ; whose tragedy of Merope is not only the chief glory of Melpomene in Italy, but has served as a model for excellent dramas in almost every other country in Europe. We have not toom to follow Mr. W. in his examination of and extracts from the bold translation of this tragedy by Ayre :--but we cannot help thinking that he lays too great stress on the merit of constructing a tragedy witl out the aid of love; and we are more inclined to think, with Boileau, that " the delineation of that passion is the most certain road to the heart," than with our author, that its admission into tragedy is 'a baneful innovation: (p. 139 )-- though in the next page we are told that refinement ever attends the influence of the fair.'--The production of a tragedy wholly unconnected with la belle passion is more admired for the difficulty of the task, perhaps, than for its effects on our feelings. At some period of life, every mortal is sensible of a partiality for an individual of a different sex, and of a wish to appropriate a companion : but cvery one has not lost a child, a parent, a friend, or a kingdom. When this univer. sal passion has taken possession of an amiable and worthy heart, and is thwarted by adverse and inauspicious circumstances, pity and sympathy are excited in every breast which has expesienced equal conflicts, or is susceptible of similar sensibility; and what Mr. W. calls a baneful innovation has been practised in our own country to the satisfaction of every feeling heart, by Shakspeare, Otway, Rowe, and Congreve, in dramas which are not likely to lose their favour.
In p. 245, Mr. W. seems to sing a palinodia, in speaking of - the powerful effects of Love in Metastasio, when he wrote his Didone, and in all others when that drama was performed; exclaiming, Such is thy so potent art, O Love!'
The tragedies of Barruffaldi, Lazzarini, Gasparo Gozzi, Padre Bianchi, Count Savioli, Alfonso Varano, and Granelli, are next enumerated, and characterized, with zeal for the honour of their country.
We then come to Bettinelli; who, having acquired considerable fame as a prose writer by his Risorgiamento d'Italia, produced three tragedies of high renown: Gionata, Demetrio Poliorcete, and Serse. From this last weave the description of a ghost, with the translation (p. 265); which, had we room, should be presented to our readers: as the original was so admired at Rome in 1772, that the reviewers of that city confessed its effects, in exciting sorrow and perturbation, to have been such as had been produced by few tragedies which they had ever seen or read.
Tho The Abaté Cesarotti, an eminent Italian writer still living, is justly celebrated by Mr. W. for his translations of some of Voltaire's tragedies, of Ossian, and of Homer, into the language of his country.
Much information and entertainment occur in subsequent articles; particularly in the account of the writings of Count Pepoli, and Count Alfieri, dramatic writers not yet numbered with the dead. Of the productions of this last voluminous author, we have an ample list, with extracts, which the limits of this article (already, perhaps, too much extended) will not allow us to detail; and we have before spoken of them, in Rev. vol. xxiv. N.S. p. 527. Count Alfieri, we believe, was in England about 20 years ago. His tragedy of La Congiura de Pazzi has very justiy been censured by Mr. Roscoe, in his ad. mirable life of Lorenzo de' Medici, for the falsification of his. tory, in order to blacken the character of that great patron of literature and of every ingenious art, and to render it subservient to the interests of freedom. " What shall we think of a dramatic performance in which the Pazzi are the champions of Liberty ?--In which superstition is called in to the aid of truth?-In which the relations of all the parties are confounded, and a tragic effect is attempted to be produced by a total dereliction of historical veracity, an assumption of falsehood for truth, and of vice for virtue?” *
Mr. Walker has given the plans of 19 tragedies by Count Alfi. eri, with extracts from many of them :--but he places the Aristodemo of the Abaté Monti at the summit of modern tragedies, and indeed with the highest Italian authority for his opinion,
In the course of this work, we have a sketch of the history of the construction of Italian theatres, from the time of Palladio to the present : also, additional notes, and an appendix of more than 60 pages, containing interesting discussions and exe planations. Some of the fragments from the tragedies, which the author has analyzed, will perhaps impress the lovers of Italian poetry with higher ideas of its beauty and force, than the more renowned writings of Dante, Petrarca, Ariosto, and Tasso.
Though we have found much amusement and considerable information on the subject under discussion in this book, we are obliged to own that the style is often inflated ; and that we have been frequently offended by the author's affectation in the needless use of foreign words, and in the new application of those
* Life of Lorenzo de' Medici, vol. 1. p. 211. note (b).
of our native dialect. His parade of friends and acquaintance, abroad and at home; and his profusion of compliments, indiscriminately bestowed on almost every author and book that he mentions; will mortify more than flatter the persons concerned. We are sorry to be obliged to specify these defects in a work of suficient merit to cover small imperfections : but, as it is our duty, in the character of critics, to indicate the several excellencies of an useful or amusing production, so it is incumbent on us, for the sake of the public taste, to point out to the author's own correction, in a future edition of the same work, or in writing another, such inaccuracies as disgrace his style, or would deform the composition of any author.
The Italian words unexplained when incorporated with English are innumerable: as Villeggiatura, or retiring to a villa or country seat-Porpora, for the purple or popedom, &c.-imparted from the press - Assisted at a performance, instead of being present, is a Gallicism not yet naturalized-Enthralling attention--take occasion.-met my attention-invite (for engage) singers to visit them. P. 227, in speaking of Gravina, when, besides being learned, he is said to be amiable and frigid, there seems a clash of epithets. The author somewhat too frequently, perhaps, tells his readers that the letters and books which he quotes, or mentions, are lying before him ; which, unless they be very scarce and curious, is taken for granted. Sig. Siga norelli, in one of his valuable letters, with which he favoured me'- My learned and ingenious friend Cesarotti'— The friendship of the accomplished governor of Perugia'- My lovely and accomplished friend the late Marchioness Rondini," &c. These are a few specimens of the author's parade of friendship, and excess of urbanity.
An Index, or at least a table of contents, is much wanted to this book; and, perhaps, for English readers, a translation of passages cited in prose, as well as more frequent versions of poetical specimens given in the course of the work
As far as paper and types are concerned, the volume is beau. tifully executed; and the plates, of which there are many, are neatly engraved :~but on the correctness of the press we can bestow no praise ;-on the contrary, from the author (as it should seem) being in another kingdom, and perhaps never seeing the proofs, the Errata are innumerable: for besides those discovered by Mr. Walker on perusing the work after the press was broken up; and which, collected, crowd a 4to page in a small letter; many still remain, that have escaped detection.
Candour, however, requires us to add that the faults of all kinds which we have mentioned are but slight: while the body