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Sartor RESARTUS. – This is a collection of papers from Frazer's London Magazine, which in truth are very little to our taste. The writer walks beneath a German cloud more dense than a Scotch mist; and, in our humble estimation, the trouble of penetrating it is worth all his companionship. We cannot divest ourselves of a strong distaste to the ' peculiarities,' for which patience is invoked in the preface by some Germanloving littérateur ; and while we disclaim any intention to flatter, we must say, that, to our poor conception, Professor Teufelsdröckh is an eminent bore. But, · Chacun à son goût.'
DELICATE ATTENTIONS.' – Messrs. CAREY AND Hart have issued, in a thin, open volume, 'Paul Pry's Delicate Attentions, and other Tales, by the author of 'Little Pedlington.' The other tales,' together with the one which gives the title to the book, have · already appeared in an English magazine, and have been transplanted into journals of British literature on this side of the Atlantic. It is quite unnecessary to say that they are clever, and well worth reading.
"TRAITS AND Trials of Early LIFE,' is the title of a volume by Miss LANDON, from the press of Messrs. CAREY AND Hart. It is designed for the iristruction and amusement of children, and consists of eleven stories, in prose and verse. They seem to us, on a cursory perusal, to be well and naturally wrought up, and to be imbued with good sentiments. New-York: WILEY AND PUTNAM, and the Messrs. CARVILL.
FalkNER. — This novel, by Mrs. SHELLEY, author of 'Frankenstein,' has been published in one volume by the Vessrs. HARPER. We have not found leisure, at the late hour at which it reaches us, to peruse it attentively; but a portion of the London periodical press, from which good judgments and unbiassed generally proceed, pronounce it a work of a high order, and the best which the author has yet given to the public.
Minor MORALS.' — We predict for the work by John Bowring, entitled 'Minor Morals for Young People, illustrated by Tales and Travels,' recently issued from the press of Messrs. CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD, a career of great usefulness. Blending amuseinent with instruction, simple in style, and good in tendency, it is admirably adapted to the capacities and wants of young people.
POLITENESE. — Messrs. W. MARSHALL AND COMPANY, Philadelphia, have published ' A Manual of Politeness, comprising the Principles of Etiquette, and Rules of Behavior in Genteel Society, for Persons of both Sexes.' To the true lady and gentleman, this book is unnecessary; but it may serve as a guide to very many in general society. New-York : C. SHEPPARD, Broadway.
The Religious MAGAZINE, AND Family MISCELLANY, published by Mr. W. H. S. JORDAN, Boston, and conducted by Prof. E. A. ANDREWS, is entitled to a liberal patronage from the religious community. The number for March is very varied in its contents, which are well calculated not only to arrest and fix present attention, but to be productive of future moral and religious results.
SKETCHES by 'Boz.' — These sketches, illustrative of every-day life and every-day people, are a continuation of Watkins Tottle, and other Sketches. They are far less attractive than the writings of the author hitherto published, and evince, what is admitted, that they are among the earliest compositions of the writer. Philadelphia : Carey AND Hart: New-York : the Messrs. CARVILL, and WILEY AND PUTNAM.
DUNALLAN. – Messrs. Van NOSTRAND AND Dwight have recently published 'Dunallan, or Know what you Judge,' by Grace Kennedy, author of 'The Decision,''Father Clement,' etc. This religious novel has great popularity, having gone through numerous editions. The printing of the present edition is clear, and the binding tasteful.
The subject of Mary Stuart is scarcely a favorable one for dramatic composition. The wonderful events that crowded so thickly together in the life of that unfortunate princess — rendering her career, though unnaturally brief, one of the most remarkable in the records of history — are not precisely of that nature which is most susceptible of being wrought into a play, nor are the sufferings of the queen,
and the fortitude and resignation displayed under them, such as the poets of the theatre could depict with most success. The ingratitude she experienced at the hands of unworthy friends, or disloyal servants her unfortunate marriages — her long imprisonment, and cruel death — present fit subjects, it is true, for poetical embellishment, but not exactly for the dramatic muse, which demands something more startling, and, we may say, boisterous in action, than would comport with the facts recorded, or the character of the lovely and hapless sovereign. Some detached passages from her life may deed be susceptible of a theatrical dress. The assassination of Rizzio, for example – exhibiting the petulant cruelty of Darnley, the bloodthirstiness of Morton, and the base born Douglas, the cold-blooded atrocity of Ruthven and their brutal accomplices, Ker of Fawdonside, de Balantyne, and the rest — with the unavailing anguish and just resentment of the outraged queen, would form a striking scene.
So it might be with Darnley's murder — the festival, the dance — the boldness of the profligate Bothwell — the unsuspicious innocence and princely gayety of Mary, imprudent in the bestowal of her favor, yet guiltless of a thought of wrong — these might be successfully brought into contrast with the dark conspiracy — the broodings of guilty ambition, the deep deceit with which the traitor's snares are laid for the victims - the hopes and fears — the terrific catastrophe ! But here the chief places in the action are filled by others — not by the queen; she is herself comparatively passive, while the deeds belong to her turbulent nobles. Alfieri has constructed a tragedy upon this portion of Mary's history, partly with the purpose, as he himself avows, of testing his success in an unpromising subject. It is not a little interesting to observe how the Queen of Scots and the fiëry nobles of her court look in the • Athenian garment' with which the classic genius of the Italian poet has invested them. He has handled the matter, perhaps, with more skill than could have been expected from the total want of harmony between the material and bis peculiar genius; but the absence of local coloring in his play, the severity of his style, and his rigid exclusion of external objects and second.
ary personages, serve to divest the picture of life. The author himseif acknowledges his drama deficient in action, feeble, and cold; and we have no reason to differ from his opinion. One emotion, however, is excited in the perusal of the piece; it is that of wonder that aught so uninteresting could have been written of Mary, by a poet disputed ability. The prophetic frenzy of the second-sighted La Morre, which has met with favor in the author's eyes, we cannot regard as happy.
The queen's death is still more destitute of incident suited to dramatic purposes. A decapitation cannot be represented on the stage; and the monotonous display of preparation, the grief of her adherents even the triumph of malice, and the resignation of the victim — are but scanty materials for the dramatist. The termination must necessarily be foreseen from the first ; no interest, therefore, arising from curiosity can be excited. The scaffold frowns in full view, from the very opening scene; and we approach it as it were through an avenue of cypress. Hence the chief interest must depend on the delineation of character; and here it is that Schiller has shown himself so masterly. He has been compelled to distort history to furnish incidents for his drama; the love of Mary for Leicester, her communication with him through the impassioned Mortimer, the meeting of the two queens, and the interview that hastens Mary's death, are freely painted by the fancy of the writer. None but a poet would have conceived a task like this; none but a poet would have accomplished it as Schiller has done. It would be a bold enterprise indeed to attempt the fanciful embellishment of an image which the muse of history, seeming to have dipped her lavish pencil in the most luxuriant hues of fiction, has portrayed so freshly and so vividly. The image of Mary Stuart — to which even the pictures of the romancer, warm and glowing in the richest tints of poetry, have failed to add a single enchantment — familiar to every heart as some admired and beloved object known in actual life - familiar as the embodiment of all grace, and loveliness, and majesty, in the woman or the queen! The intense interest that has been felt, even through the lapse of so many centuries, in every circumstance of her life, has drawn forth the most minute and copious biographies and histories of the unfortunate princess, and left little to be done by those writers who avowedly depart from severe historical accuracy. The subject even forbade the indulgence in that poetical imagery, and those beautiful strains of reflection, with which Schiller has delighted to adorn many of his dramas; the incidents have an importance too grave and momentous to permit any diversion of the imagination, and there would have been risk of injuring the vraisemblance of the picture, by any departure from the simplicity of actual truth. With all these disadvantages, Schiller's work, in plan and execution, is truly noble and worthy of the subject; and to say that, is to award it all praise. Some trifling faults interfere with and lessen the gran. deur of the whole ; but the dignity of the last scenes more than effaces any unfavorable impressions. The poet has bestowed his greatest care on the character of the Scottish queen ; and the result of his labor has well rewarded his skill and pains, Her first appearance on
the stage is highly effective. Paulet, her keeper, with rude force, has possessed himself of her private papers; and the vehement and bitter complaints of her nurse, Hannah Kennedy, are checked by the entrance of the illustrious captive, whose beautiful calmness puts the stern knight to shame for the indignity be bad offered her. You have forcibly possessed yourself,' she says, 'of what I had with my own free will delivered up to you ;' then, without reproaching him, she requests that the letter found in her casket, addressed to the Queen of England, may be delivered to her royal sister by his own hand, not sent by the faithless and cruel Burleigh. It contains Mary's petition for a personal interview with Elizabeth :
• They've summoned me
· Too often, Lady,
For yet another favor I must sue,
When left alone with her nurse, with how much sweetness and humility does she reply to the murmurs of her aged servant against the brutal ferocity of their gaolers :
"Ah! in the days of our prosperity
The accents of reproach!' The review of her eventful life, her expressions of regret for past weaknesses and imprudences, and of deep remorse for the derelictions from the strict path of duty which conscience lays to her charge, form an affecting scene, before her mind is agairr disturbed by the delusive visions of hope, called up by the unexpected disclosures of Mortimer. The conspiracy of this youth and his friends to effect the queen's deliverance, contributes to give action to the piece; though we cannot but regard the display of the ungovernable fury of his wild passion as offensive to good taste. The exhibition of his violence in the park is the more to be regarded as a defect, since it is quite unnecessary, and only injures the effect of the previous scenes. Mary's interview with Burleigh, the lord treasurer of England, her relentless enemy, developes her character still more admirably. With a dignity and spirit that baffles and disconcerts her persecutor,
she vindicates her own rights, and exposes the mean subterfuges of her foes; the severity of her keen sarcasm visits for a moment the characters of those selected to be her judges — but not condescending to dwell on them individually, she assumes the broad ground of the improbability that impartial juetice should be received at their hands by one of a strange faith and country, citing the proverb so long current among both nations, that pronounced doubiful at any time the evidence of a Scot against a native of England, or a Southron against a Scot. This national hostility, she adds, will never be at an end, till the whole island is united under one sceptre and one parliament.
'Why should I deny it!
To bind in one ibe crowns of sister kingdoms.' When Burleigh announces the decision of her judges, and the sentence under which she is to suffer, her exposition of its injustice is so clear and unanswerable, that the stern courtier is forced to shun the argument, and change the subject of discourse. Beside his
portrait of Mary, Schiller has delineated the other personages of his drama with a pencil not less happy — the baughty and selfish Elizabeth, the noble and honorable Talbot, the savage Burleigh, the feeble and dissimulating Leicester, and the stern but upright Paulet, are all painted in striking and discriminating colors. The somewhat lengthened dialogue between Paulet and Burleigh, where the latter vainly attempts to instigate the knight to the secret murder of his prisoner, is characteristic. The lord treasurer dwells on the apparent necessity of Elizabeth's pardoning her rival :
'O, also holy justice