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lish dress, while a mere translator usually impoverishes his author. The tragedy of Zapoloya is imitated (from Shakspeare's Winter's Tale, with this difference, that as Coleridge, could not, like his model, venture to pass over an interval of twenty years between one act and another, he has written a second piece, detached from the first, under the title of Prelude. This concession to Aristotle is singular enough on the part of so fanciful a writer; but you must know that he has strongly expressed his disapproval of dramatic licences, in some critical remarks on Maturin’s Bertram, and the plays of Kotzebue. Coleridge's tragedies are indeed sometimes mystical, but never so extravagant as his poem of the Ancient Mariner would lead one to suppose. Remorse is the only one of his dramatic productions which has attained any degree of success on the stage. The character of Ordonio is profoundly conceived; but unfortunately everything seems to be sacrificed to that one character. Every succeeding scene developes
... a new trait in this moral monster, who is a com
pound of pride, selfishness, honour, and generosity. Lord Byron has pourtrayed so many heroes of this
stamp, that they have now almost forfeited all
claim to originality. The great merit of the tragedy of Remorse is the beautiful poetry of its details. The piece is, however, more full of incident and interest than metaphysical tragedies usually are. The scene is laid in Granada, during the reign
of Philip II., towards the close of the civil wars with the Moors, who are subjected to the utmost rigour of persecution. The inquisitor Monveidro, however, plays only a secondary part. The Marquess de Valdez has two sons, Alvar and Ordonio. The former, who is betrothed to an orphan, named Theresa, his father's ward, sets out on his travels, after receiving the plighted faith of his mistress, together with her portrait, which he is to wear concealed in his bosom as the secret, but solemn, pledge of their future union. Ordonio, who is himself enamoured of Theresa, is an invisible witness of the parting interview of the lovers, and on being informed of his brother's approaching return, he dispatches three Moors to assassinate him. One of these Moors is Isidore, a man devoted to the interests of Ordonio, by whom his life has been saved. Isidore is, however, only prevailed on to become the murderer of Alvar, by being persuaded that he is the enemy of his benefactor. Alvar defends himself courageously, and, finally, comes to an explanation with Isidore; who, discovering him to be the brother of Ordonio, is satisfied with his promise of exiling himself from Grenada, for the space of a year; and he receives from him the portrait of Theresa. Alvar the more readily surrenders the portrait of his mistress, because he is at that moment induced to believe that Theresa has betrayed him, and is favouring the suit of Ordonio. The latter supposing his brother to be no more, offers his hand to Theresa, who long refuses to believe the death of Alvar. Ordonio renders a fresh service to Isidore; in return for which, he requires him to use means to convince Theresa that Alvar is numbered with the dead. To effect this object, he wishes him to assume the character of a magician: this Isidore refuses to do; but he refers Ordonio to a mysterious stranger, who has just arrived in Grenada, and who, he assures him, will readily obey his commands. This is no other than Alvar himself; and Ordonio, in communicating his treacherous instructions, unconsciously reveals to him the innocence of Theresa. He gives him the precious portrait, which the pretended magician is to produce, after a mysterious invocation addressed to the shade of the deceased; but Alvar exhibits, to the astonished eyes of his brother and his bride, a picture representing his supposed murder. This scene is interrupted by Ordonio's exclamations of rage, and by the entrance of the familiars of the inquisition, who seize Alvar for practising sorcery, and throw him into a dungeon. Ordonio, thinking himself betrayed by Isidore, vows his destruction and that of the stranger. He, however, executes only half his revenge; and Alvar, who has already made himself known to Theresa, confounds the traitor, by consigning him to the torments of remorse, which, as the author says—
"Is as the heart, in which it grows:
In the midst of his misery, Ordonio is surprised by a party of Moors, headed by Alhadra. This Alhadra, who is a forcibly drawn character, is the wife of Isidore, whose death she avenges, by plunging a dagger into the heart of Ordonio.
It would be unjust to exhibit the faults and improbabilities of this tragedy,,without enabling you to form an idea of its merits. The following passage, from the scene in which Alhadra describes her anguish on discovering the murder of Isidore, appears to me to possess singular poetic beauty.
"I stood listening,
Impatient for the footsteps of my husband! Naomi. Thou call'd'st him?
Alhad. I crept into the cavern—
Twai dark and very silent. (Turm wildly.)
What said'st thou?
0 Heaven! I heard a groan, and followed it—
A hideous light! his torch lay on the ground;
1 spake, and whilst I spake, a feeble groan
Came from that chasm! It was his last! his death groan! Naomi. Comfort her Alla!
Alhad. I stood in unimaginable trance,
And agony that cannot be remember'd,
Listening with horrid hope to hear a groan!
But I had heard his last—my husband's death-groan!"
I have yet to give you an account of Coleridge's auto-biography j but this I shall make the subject of a separate letter, when I visit the lakes.
TO SENOUA BLAIN Y CERVANTES.
The mere list of the various productions of the Poet Laureate, bears evidence of his industry and facility. Mr. Southey is, beyond all contradiction, the most universal of modern poets; and if all the world does not admit that he is the most inventive, it is, perhaps, because he is suspected of having recourse to the erudite stores of his memory, more frequently than to his poetic imagination. The profuseness of his notes may be regarded as a proof of mal-adroit candour, or bibliomanic vanity.* As a chronicler, a historian, a biographer, an editor, a romance writer, an antiquary, a poet, in short, in every possible department of literature, Southey is a rival to Sir Walter Scott; and if Old Mortality and Ivanhoe had not sufficiently proved, that in the representation of modern manners, prose language may be very successfully adapted to the epopee, the author of Roderick would be the first epic poet in Great Britain.
* Southey possesses one of the most valuable libraries in England.