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of CEdipus before the walls of that city, their bodies being refused sepulture as a punishment for having made war against their country. It was the poet s intention to inculcate, by this tragedy, a solemn and important truth, by exhibiting the evils which overtake those who carry arms against their native land. This drama has been considered as truly wonderful both by Gorgias and Longinus, who adduce, in justification of their praise, the passage in which is described the terrible oath of the seven chiefs; it is also remarkable for containing those verses upou the recitation of which all the audience rose and turned to Aristides, then present, as the person to whom alone the encomium was applicable. The author then relates what is known of .SJschylus's journey into Sicily, giving it as his opinion that he visited that island twice; the first time, either out of jealousy at the great reputation acquired by Sophocles, or else in consequence of being invited by Gerone; the second time, after the death of that virtuous prince, who esteemed it his glory to assemble around him the illustrious men of his time, and to stimulate them to exertion by his favour and protection. It was perhaps in deference to a wish expressed by Gerone of seeing a tragedy represented, which should be a picture of the famous battle of Marathon, that iEschylus composed the Persoe, which gained the prize, and gratified the Athenians with a spectacle at once magnificent and flattering; all the spectators being scarcely able to restrain their joy when they beheld the humiliation of the discomfited Xerxes, especially when the shade of Darius, being interrogated by the chorus, replied " that Persia's safety was in ceasing to war against a people whom the gods protected." The author explains, with considerable ingenuity, the object which jUscbylus had in view— namely, that of inflaming by artful praise the valour of the Athenians, and of inspiring horror against the sacrilegious superstitions of the Persians, who, when suffering under great calamities, hesitated not to raise the souls of the departed by powerful conjurations. This appearance of the ghost of Darius, gives Signor Volpicella an opportunity of indulging in some interesting remarks upon the introduction of spectres and other prodigies into tragedy; he thinks, and in our opinion, correctly, that by this artifice the poet does not in the least degree detract from the probability of his story, when, by the employment of it, he either depicts the well known opinions of the people represented, or accommodates his fable to the belief of his audience, falls in with ancient traditions, or lastly, when he is able to produce by it a powerful effect upon his audience, as the appearance of the ghost of Thyestes does in the Latin tragedy of Agamemnon and in many others ; but the author very properly cautious the poet against using this license unless with due discretion—
"Nee deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus
and he then shows the error of the French author of La Semiramide, not only in introducing the ghost of Ninus in a manner wholly at variance with the superstitions of the ancients, who always compelled the appearance of the dead by many and potent conjurations, but also in presenting a spectre before a modern French audience, who no longer give credence to such absurdities. Alfieri, on the contrary, receives his unqualified praise for having, in his tragedy of Agamemnone, introduced the ghost of Thyestes, in conformity both with the belief of his dramatis persons, and with that of his own times, for the ghost is speechless, and is beheld, with infinite terror by iEgisthus alone. We have also another Triology by vEschylus, called the Orestiadx, consisting of three tragedies, the Agamemnon, the Co'ephorm, and the Eumenides, which, together with the satirical drama Proteus, were represented at the public expense.
The author remarks that in the Agamemnon and the Eumenides the unities of time and place, the subjects of much learned, and, we are sorry to say, angry discussion, are not duly observed ; hence he takes occasion to enter upou the question of them, proving by authority and example, that these are not, like that of action, indispensable in tragedy; if the writer of the present article, however, might be permitted to hazard an opinion upon this subject, he would say, that the productions of tragic writers will be found to be more perfect in proportion as, without effort and without sacrificing probability, they are able to observe the other two unities, an opinion which may be easily supported by instances from the tragedies of the immortal Italian Sophocles.
An accurate analysis follows of the three tragedies forming the Triology of the Orestiadw, and we consider the author as particularly happy in his investigation of the third—the Eumenides, nothing being omitted by which its subject could be explained and illustrated; he next proceeds to treat of the style of jEschylus, and concludes the first book with the death of the poet in Sicily, where, as in Greece, he was held in the highest esteem and reverence.
Sophocles was the first who carried tragedy to its full perfection j the elevation of his mind, the purity of his morals, and the excellence of his general character, are shown by the few tragedies preserved to us out of the many he is known to have composed. After a most interesting biography of this poet, Signor Volpicella enters upon the consideration of his tragedies. The first is the Electra, which represents Orestes slaying, by command of the Oracle of Apollo, his own mother and her paramour, ^Egisthus, in revenge for his father's death. In the course of his remarks, the author introduces the curious anecdote of the tragic actor Polo, as related by Aulus Gellius. Deprived by death of an only and beloved son, this performer had retired from the stage for some months to indulge the grief so natural under so great an affliction ; time, however, having in some degree consoled him, he resumed once more his profession. The tragedy of Electra was to be performed, and in the part which he enacted, that of Electra, he had to carry an urn supposed to contain the remains of Orestes. Clad, therefore, in the mourning garment of Electra, Polo removed from the tomb the urn of his son, and, as if embracing Orestes, filled the theatre not with artificial and fictitious, but with natural and real lamentations. Here the author takes occasion to commend Alfieri for having, in order to diminish the too great horror of his story, represented his Orestes as having come to Argos with the intention of killing jEgisthus only, and with having slain his mother unconsciously, while she was endeavouring to save her lover. Sophocles is then represented as joining the expedition against the Samians, a most fatal one, since, as he was sailing towards Chios, a dreadful storm arose, from which he escaped with great difficulty, losing many of his tragedies, which he carried with him. The tragedy of Antigone then follows, and its analysis is accompanied by a chapter which treats of the solicitude and care manifested by the Greeks in the burial of their dead; these observations greatly facilitate the right understanding of the poet in that part of his tragedy, where he represents Antigone as having been, contrary to the express commands of Creonte, desirous of giving the rites of sepulture to her brother's body. The examination of the tragedy of Ajax follows next, and Sophocles is defended from the unmerited reproach of having in this play neglected the observance of the unities. The (Edipus Tyranmts, decidedly the grandest of this poet's productions, was held in such esteem, according to what Dicearchus has affirmed, upon the authority of the rhetorician Aristophanes, as to have had the cognomen Tyrannus given to it on account of its superior excellence; the beauties of this tragedy are fully appreciated by our author, who omits nothing that may lead the readers of it to form the same estimate of its merits. Not less interesting and erudite are his observations upon the (Edipus at Colonos and the Philoctetes. The second book closes with the analysis of the Trachinice, a tragedy having for its subject the death of Hercules, and which has been preserved to us as a production of Sophocles. Signor Volpicella, however, justly considers it as being most likely the work either of a younger Sophocles, who lived, according to Suidas, a short time after the seven tragic poets, who were called the Pleiades, from the constellation so called,—or of another Sophocles, the son or nephew of the great author of CEdipus Tyrannus; the analysis itself of the Trachiniae, which contains not a few defects, strengthens the supposition of these tragedies having been written by some less ancient poet; but, unfortunately, the truth is not easy to ascertain, since Cicero and Strabo both affirm this tragedy to have been written by Sophocles. Two other chapters are also appended, the first upon the style of Sophocles, and the second upon the other works of that poet, namely, epigrams, elegies, and orations ; an account of the death of this celebrated tragedian closes the book.
Euripides was called by the Athenians "the 'philosopher of the stage; he was only fifteen years younger than Sophocles, and was born at Salamis. According to some, the name of Euripides was given him, from his having been born on the same day that the Greeks defeated the grand Persian fleet near Euripus; many interesting facts relating to this poet are given by Signor Volpicella in the true spirit of a judicious and diligent biographer. He then treats of the various allusions made by Euripides in his tragedies, and of his philosophical doctrines; he defends him from the accusation of not believing in the gods, showing, that if he appeared to have any doubts in consequence of so many of the deities being vicious ones, he did so as a follower of the Socratic school, and that he conceived and endeavoured to inculcate from the stage a much more spiritual and elevated idea of the divinity. He then speaks of the style of Euripides, of his journey into Macedonia and his death. Proceeding then to the tragedies which he wrote, he states them to have been originally 75 in number; other authors reckon 94; those which have reached us are 18 only, and amongst these the Cyclops, a satirical drama, and the only one of its kind which is extant. This engages Signor Volpicella in a treatise upon the satirical drama which was usually added to the Triology, as if to relieve the minds of the audience strongly and painfully excited by the horrors of the tragedy; it was a species of pastoral fable. Such was the Cyclops of Euripides, which represents the adventures of Ulysses in the cave of Polypheme. The tragedies which the author examines are the Rhaesus, the Electro, the Jove, the Medea, the Phainisste, the Hippolitus coronatus, the Andromache, the Supplices, the Htraclides, the Orestes, the Bacchanti, the Iphrgenia in Aulis, and the Iphigenia in Tauris. The analysis of each of these is distinguished by great accuracy and love for the art; the Greek tragedy of Medea is judiciously compared with the Latin Medea by Seneca, accompanied by a learned commentary on Horace's precept—
"Nee pueros coram populo Medea trucidet."
In speaking of the Phcenissae, the Italian critic praises the great art shown by Alfieri in his Polinice, avoiding as he has done every defect in the Greek model, the plan of which he appears to have improved and ennobled by the vastness of his invention; thus restoring, as it were, the ancient tragedies without any diminution of their grandeur and dignity. The analysis of the two Iphigenins is very accurate and replete with interest. The third book is closed by a chapter in which are narrated the changes which the Greek tragedy has undergone, from the time of Thespis till the period when it was perfected by the sovereign genius of jEschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.
The object of the fourth book is the very useful one of examining the modern tragedies, and showing practically of what advantage the study of the ancient poets may be, and how far they ought to be imitated. Passing over preceding epochas, the author commences by the Sophonisba of Trissino, the first which truly deserved the name of tragedy. He then enumerates and examines the following; the Rosmunda of Rucellai; the Tullia of Martelli; the Orestes of the same Rucellai; the QSdipus of Auguillara; the Orbecche of Giraldi; the Canace of Speroni; and the Torrismondo of Tasso. After this he proceeds to treat of tragic verse, pastoral eclogues, and musical dramas, and examines two other Italian tragedies, the Aristodemus of Dokori, (it is unaccountable why the author should have passed over the Aristodemus of the celebrated Vicenzio Monti,) and the Solemane of Bonarelli. In the fifteenth chapter he gratifies the reader with some learned observations upon the chorus employed by the ancients, and which was in fact the beginning of the Greek tragedy, showing how it was introduced into the Italian tragedy, and how a new species of it has recently been adopted by Manzoni. After having examined the principal French tragedies, lie returns to the Italian, and commences by eulogizing Gian-Vincenzio Gravina, who first endeavoured to apply a remedy to the great corruption into which Italian eloquence and poetry had at that time fallen, and who used every effort to restore tragedy to its ancient simplicity and dignity, not so much by example, as by the excellent precepts which he provided for this purpose in his Ragione poetica, and Tragedia. Amongst the tragedies then written in Italy, may be mentioned with the highest commendation the Merope of Raffei, which may be said to have founded the Italian tragedy, the Ulysses of Lazzarini, and others of Conti and Varano, until we arrive at Alfieri, who, banishing from the theatre all foreign imitation, and being deeply learned in the study of the ancients, and above all stimulated by his wonderful genius, has firmly established the Italian tragedy upon a sure and solid foundation. The whole of the twenty-fourth chapter, in which the author .insiders the tragedies of Alfieri, is extremely interesting and instructive. The entire work terminates with a Conclusion, in which the ground-works or plots both of the ancients and moderns are examined, and many judicious observations upon the taste for tragedy, and upon the utility of studying the ancient poets, are introduced.
We are fully aware that the account we have given above of the difficult and laborious production of Signor Volpicella is but a very crude and imperfect sketch of a work, which possesses all the internal evidence of being written with much learning, perspicuity, and elegance of style, and which consequently eminently deserves to be well and extensively known. We would wish these our commendations to be accompanied by our congratulations also; exhorting, at the same time, the young and worthy author to cultivate with increasing ardour talents that have already produced such admirable fruit, and which hold forth to the Italian youth an example, stimulating them to that love of wisdom and of ennobling studies which so well becomes the lofty name of Italy.
Art. XII.—Meine Verurtheilung zum Tode vom Kreigsgericht zu Lillee oder die Sieben Merkwiirdigsten Jahre meines Lebens zu Land und zur See, in franzosischen und evglisehen Kriegsdiensten. Wahre Geschichte eines gebornen Sachsen. (My Condemnation to Death by a CourtMartial at Lille; or the Seven most Remarkable Years of my Life, by Land and by Sea, in the French and English Military and Naval Service. The True History of a Native of Saxony.) Foolscap 8vo. 1836.
In these piping times of peace we have had in England various narratives, by persons of the humblest rank in the military service, which have furnished a tolerable picture of the great events in which they bore a part, as well as details of the personal adventures of the writers. From the volume before us it would be difficult to glean any thing relative to the former. Written apparently from memory,