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consistency of his characters.' These excellences, particularly the last, are of so much importance in the drama, that they amply compensate for his transgressions against the rules of time and place, which, being of a more mechanical nature, are often strictly observed by a genius of the lowest order; but to portray characters naturally, and to preserve them uniformly, requires such an intimate knowledge of the heart of man, and is so rare a portion of felicity, as to have been enjoyed, perhaps, only by two writers, Homer and Shakspeare.

Of all the plays of Shakspeare, the Tempest is the most striking instance of his creative power. He has there given the reins to his boundless imagination, and has carried the romantic, the wonderful, and the wild, to the most pleasing extravagance. The scene is a desolate island; and the characters the most new and singular that can well be conceived : a prince who practises magic, an attendant spirit, a monster the son of a witch, and a young lady who had been brought to this solitude in her infancy, and had never beheld a man except her father.

As I have affirmed that Shakspeare's chief excellence is the consistency of his characters, I will exemplify the truth of this remark, by pointing out some master-strokes of this nature in the drama before us.

The poet artfully acquaints us that Prospero is a magician, by the very first words which his daughter Miranda speaks to him:

If by your art, my dearest father, you have
Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them :

which intimate that the tempest described in the preceding scene was the effect of Prospero's power. The manner in which he was driven from his dukedom of Milan, and landed afterwards on this solitary island, accompanied only by his daughter, is immediately introduced in a short and natural narration.

The offices of his attendant spirit, Ariel, are enumerated with amazing wildness of fancy, and yet with equal propriety: his employment is said to be,

To tread the ooze
Of the salt deep;
To run upon the sharp wind of the north ;
To do—business in the veins o'th' earth,
When it is bak'd with frost;

to dive into the fire; to ride
On the curl'd clouds.

In describing the place in which he has concealed the Neapolitan ship, Ariel expresses the secresy of its situation by the following circumstance, which artfully glances at another of his services :

- In the deep nook, where once
Thou call'st me up at midnight, to fetch dew
From the still-vex'd Bermudas.

Ariel, being one of those elves or spirits, 'whose pastime is to make midnight mushrooms, and who rejoice to listen to the solemn curfew;' by whose assistance Prospero has bedimmed the sun at noon-tide,

And 'twixt the green sea and the azur'd vault,
Set roaring war;

has a set of ideas and images peculiar to his station and office; a beauty of the same kind with that which is so justly admired in the Adam of Milton, whose manners and sentiments are all paradisaical. How delightfully, and how suitably to his character, are the habitations and pastimes of this invisible being pointed out in the following exquisite song!

Where the bee sucks, there lurk I:
In a cowslip's bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly,
After sun-set, merrily.
Merrily merrily shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

Mr. Pope, whose imagination has been thought by some the least of his excellences, has, doubtless, conceived and carried on the machinery in his

Rape of the Lock,' with vast exuberance of fancy. The images, customs, and employments of his sylphs, are exactly adapted to their natures, are peculiar and appropriated, are all, if I may be allowed the expression, sylphish. The enumeration of the punishments they were to undergo, if they neglected their charge, would, on account of its poetry and propriety, and especially the mixture of oblique satire, be superior to any circumstances in Shakspeare's Ariel, if we could suppose Pope to have been unacquainted with the Tempest when he wrote this part of his accomplished poem.

She did confine thee Into a cloven pine ; within which rift Imprisoned, thou did'st painfully remain A dozen years; within which space she dy'd, And left thee there; where thou did'st vent thy groans, As fast as mill-wheels strike.

If thou more murmur’st, I will rend an oak,
And peg thee in his knotty entrails, 'till
Thou'st howl'd away twelve winters.

For this, besure, to-night thou shalt have cramps,
Side-stiches that shall pen thy breath urchias
Shall, for that vast of night that they may work,
All exercise on thee; thou shalt be pinch'd
As thick as honey-combs, each pinch more stinging
Than bees that made 'em.

up:

If thou neglect'st or dost unwillingly
What I command, I'll rack thee with old cramps;
Fill all thy bones with aches : make thee roar,
That beasts shall tremble at thy din.

SHAKSPEARE.

Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
Forsakes his post, or leaves the fair at large,
Shall feel sharp' vengeance soon o'ertake his sins,
Be stopp'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins ;
Or plung'd in lakes of bitter washes lie,
Or wedg‘d whole ages in a bodkin's

eye:
Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clog'd he beats bis silken wings in vain;
Or alum styptics with contracting pow'r,

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Shrink his thin essence like a shrivell'd flower :
Or as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel
The giddy motion of the whirling wheel;
In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow,

And tremble at the sea that froths below.Pope. The method which is taken to induce Ferdinand to believe that his father was drowned in the late tempest, is exceedingly solemn and striking. He is sitting upon a solitary rock, and weeping overagainst the place where he imagined his father was wrecked, when he suddenly hears with astonishment aerial music creep by him upon the waters, and the spirit gives him the following information in words not proper for any

but a spirit to utter.

Full fathom five thy father lies :

Of his bones are coral made :
Those are pearls that were his eyes :

Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change,

Into something rich and strange.
And then follows a most lively circumstance;

Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell.
Hark! now I hear them—ding-dong-bell!

This is so truly poetical, that one can scarce forbear exclaiming with Ferdinand,

This is no mortal business, nor no sound
That the earth owns!

The happy versatility of Shakspeare's genius enables him to excel in lyric as well as in dramatic poesy.

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