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criticism is of a higher order than that of its predecessor ; while, in regard to the text, its principal merit lies in its having restored most of the older readings. Monck Mason next worked upon our poets, but published only Notes' upon them in 1798.
In 1812 there appeared, in fourteen volumes, the edition by Weber : one of those favourite designs of Sir Walter Scott, which promised so much benefit to our literature, and ended so disastrously for the projector and his associates. Weber printed for the first time®• The Faithful Friends,' a play of doubtful authorship and small value. In his edition a good deal is done towards the improvement of the text; but in his dealing with disputed readings, as well as in his critical remarks, he is very unequal_although hardly more than might be expected in an editor to whom our language and literature were not native. The hand, or prompting, of Weber's patron, may be detected in a few notes, historical and antiquarian.
In 1839 Mr Moxon reprinted Weber's text in two very handsome volumes, which still form the only edition moderate enough in cost to be within the reach of a large class of readers. An introduction by Mr Darley is prefixed, ingenious and interesting, though somewhat eccentric and over subtle.
The text of Beaumont and Fletcher is in a much worse state than that of Shakspeare. In very many passages it is corrupted beyond the possibility of remedy. But amendment was attainable in various places, where the editors had not attempted it, or had failed in the attempt. No man living is better qualified to supply their shortcomings than the gentleman whose laborious edition is now completed, and under whose guidance, readers of Beaumont and Fletcher, in all coming time, will enter upon their delightful task with means and appliances never before enjoyed. Mr Dyce's reputation, as a profound student of the old EngJish drama, and as a rational and acute verbal critic, has been firmly established by his reprints of Webster, Peele, and Middleton, and by his Remarks on the text of Shakspeare.
His collation of the old copies of Beaumont and Fletcher has been unwearied ; and has removed not a few serious difficulties. His own suggestions of new readings are almost always cautious and sensible, and, so far as we can judge, sometimes very happy. As much, in short, has been done for the text as the nature of the case admits of, except perhaps occasionally in the distribution of the versified lines: we think his ear has not always caught their loose and buoyant structure. His foot-notes are commendably brief, and usually instructive. They are written, too, with as much good temper and forbearance as it is possible to expect : con. sidering, that he evidently entertains for his predecessors not a little of the contempt which possesses every new editor of our early dramas. But he has been able to keep the feeling wonderfully in check. Indeed, it seldom breaks out further than to the disfigurement of his punctuation with ironical marks of admiration.
In his prefaces to the several plays we have been a little disappointed, from not finding there all the information we had expected concerning the origin of each. He has, indeed, traced several of them to novels not previously noticed : but he has left untouched the curious question suggested by Mr Hallam, of the obligations of their authors, especially in the comedies, to the Spanish stage. This is a mine as yet unwrought: and Beaumont and Fletcher are not the only dramatists of our old schools, whose works might derive considerable illustration from the opening of it.
The introductory · Account of the Lives and Writings of the poets, is excellent. We learn there, for the first time, several new facts, such as the date and place of Fletcher's birth, and sundry particulars, carefully collected from many quarters, which had not been previously brought to bear on the biography of our poets. The critical remarks on the several plays are judicious and modest; and the observations adopted from other critics, are scrupulously referred to their rightful sources.
In a word, Mr Dyce has performed with unusual merit and effect, all that he has attempted: nor is it likely that any one else will successfully attempt more. Every gentleman who pretends to have a library, and to care for English poetry, should provide himself with a publication, in which our two greatest dramatists, after Shakspeare, appear for the first time in a form worthy of their fame.
ART. III.-Etchings of a Whaling Cruise, with Notes of a
Sojourn on the Island of Zanzibar; and a Brief History of the Whale Fishery, in its past and present condition. By J. Ross Browne. With Numerous Engravings and Woodcuts. London : 1846.
A YOUNG American of education, taste, and accomplishment,
gifted (or cursed) with warm sensibility and a lively fancy, is determined to see something of the romance of life before sobering down to its realities. His plan is to earn money enough in
a year, to pay the expenses of a journey across Europe to the East, in the course of which he is to visit all the favoured lands of poetry and song, and haply make his fortune by marrying a European duchess or Arabian princess on the way. The money is to be earned at Washington by reporting debates in Congress; and one of the anticipated advantages of this mode of supplying the required outfit is, the intimate acquaintance which it is to give him with the habits and characters of the great. Glowing with enthusiasm, his mind expanded by the constant contemplation of patriotism and philanthropy, and his memory stored with electric bursts of eloquence, he would carry to the Old World the freshest feelings and impressions of the New, and perchance promote the entente cordiale of the rival hemispheres. He learns shorthand, is hired as a reporter for a session, earns just enough to keep himself from hand to mouth, and is completely disabused of his illusions regarding statesmen and statesmanship.
* As the session advanced, much of my youthful enthusiasm began to wear away. A nearer acquaintance with the distinguished political leaders by no means increased my respect for them. At first, I could not approach a great man without trembling. I never felt my utter insignificance, till, with uncovered head and downcast eyes, I stood in the presence of those renowned statesmen and orators whose names I had learned to revere. I was not so young, however, but that I could soon see into the hollowness of political distinction ; the small trickery practised in the struggle for power, the overbearing aristrocracy of station, and the heartless and selfish intrigues by which public men main. tain their influence. I became thoroughly disgusted with so much hypocrisy and bombast. It required no sage monitor to convince me that true patriotism does not prevail to a very astonishing extent in the hearts of those who make the most noise about it. The profession I had chosen enabled me to see behind the scenes, and study well the great machinery of government, and I cannot say that I saw a good deal to admire.
Still, though the enthusiasm is on the wane, and the money is wanting, the yearning for foreign climes is as strong as ever; and a friend is found smitten with the same passion, and endowed with about the same amount of qualifications, mental, moral, and pecuniary. The following announcement attracts the notice of the pair, as they are strolling about together in New York
• Wanted, immediately, six able-bodied landsmen to go on a whaling voyage from New Bedford. Apply up-stairs before five o'clock p.M.' After a short conference, turning chiefly on the question
a whether they came fairly within the description of able-bodied
men, they arrived at the conclusion that pluck may compensate for weight, and boldly presented themselves to the agent up-stairs.
«« Well, you think we'll do ?” “ Oh, no doubt about it. I'm willing to risk you, though I may lose something by it. Whaling, gentlemen, is tolerably hard at first, but it's the first business in the world for enterprising young men. If you are determined to take a voyage, I'll put you in the way of shipping in a most elegant vessel, well fitted—that's ibe great well-fitted Vigilana, and activity will insure you rapid promotion. I haven't the least doubt but you'll come home boat-steerers. I sent off six college students a few days ago, and a poor fellow who had been flogged away from home by a vicious wife. A whaler, gentlemen," continued the agent, rising in eloquence, "a whaler is a place of refuge for the distressed and persecuted, a school for the dissipated, an asylum for the needy. There's nothing like it. You can see the worldyou can see something of life.”
The language of the recruiting officer is the same allo the world over; and to be roused from a dream of love or glory by the rope's-end of the boatswain or the rattan of the corporal, is the inevitable transition state of the military or naval aspirant. Our two adventurers find themselves cramped up in a small vessel with a tyrannical captain and a ruffianly crew; they are very sea-sick at first, and more than half starved afterwards; one sinks under the continued effects of illness and ill-treatment, but Mr Ross Browne bears up gallantly against all, and comes back to hold up his own and his friend's sufferings as a warning, as well as to use them as a means for bringing about a complete reform in the whale fishery. There are now,' he says, 'in active 'employment, more than seven hundred whaling vessels belong‘ing to the New England states, manned by nearly twenty thousand hardy and intrepid men. It is a reproach to the ' American people that, in this age of moral reform, the protect*ing arm of the law has not reached these daring adventurers.
History scarcely furnishes a parallel for the deeds of cruelty 'committed upon them during their long and perilous voyages. • The startling increase of crime,' he adds, 'in the whale fishery demands a remedy. Scarcely a vessel arrives in port that does
not bring intelligence of a mutiny. Are the murderous wrongs which compel men to rise up and throw off the burden of 'oppression, unworthy of notice? Will none make the attempt to arrest their fearful progress ?'
It is a step towards the redress of national abuses to make them known in other countries, especially in rival countries; for the spirit of emulation or the sense of shame may succeed, where the sense of justice has been appealed to in vain. We therefore think it a duty to make known the main object of the author.
But we must be excused for turning to more attractive matter than the sufferings of Mr Ross Browne and his shipmates, particularly when we have only just space enough to give a fair specimen of the distinctive portions of his book.
His description of the process of whale-catching is illustrated by woodcuts and engravings—of the instruments employed, the boats in chase, the whale in his dying struggle, the whale about to be cut up, &c.; and for ourselves, we own that we have felt as much interested while reading one of his spirited sketches of an actual pursuit and capture, as when (with our feet on the fender) we were following Colonel Hawker across the Ooze, or clearing the Whissendine with Nimrod. The crew themselves find some compensation for their miseries in the excitement, and There she blows ! the whaler's view halloo, has the same effect on his nervous system, as Tally-ho! on a foxhunter's. To enter fully into the feeling, it must be borne in mind that the pay is proportioned to the quantity of oil procured ; that success depends on coolness, courage, and dexterity; and that long periods of despondency commonly intervene between what may be denominated the bursts. The monotony of a calm is suddenly broken by the long-expected cry: «« There she blows !" was sung out from the mast-head.
Where away?" demanded the captain.
“ Ay, ay, sir. Å school of sperm whales ! There she blows ! There she breaches !"
Sing out! Sing out every time.” “Ay, ay, sir. There she blows ! There-there-there-she blows, bores-boos !"
“ How far off ?"
“ Call all hands. Clear up the fore-t'gallant-sail—there! belay ! Hard down your wheel! Haul back the main-yard! Get your tubs in your boats ! Bear a hand! Clear your falls! Stand by all to lower! All ready ?"
“ All ready, sir.'
Down went the boats with a splash. Each boat's crew sprang over the rail, and in an instant the larboard, starboard, and waist boats were manned. There was great rivalry in getting the start. The waist boat got off in pretty good time, and away went all three, dashing the water high over their bow's. Nothing could be more exciting than the