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A TRAGEDY, IN FIVE ACTS, FROM THE GERMAN OP ERNEST HOUWALD.
Thz modern dramatists of Germany but, however successful the experihavelately been accused, and we fear but ment of a detailed analysis of human too justly, of the besetting sins of man- feelings, almost uns'pported by inciDerism and mechanism ; of substitu- dent, may have frequently proved in ting to the bombastic inflation of their the tales or novels of a refined age Sentimeutal, and the revolting extra- its application to the drama would, à vagance of their Satanic schouh either pridobe declared not only hazardous, mere irelo-dramatic sound and fury," but fatal; and a tragedy without or a puerile imitation of the gloomy fac events be pronounced as unfit for dratalisin of antiquity-bearing to the tre- matic representation as a disembodied mendous realities of its awful proto spirit fur the intercourse and collision type no more resemblance than the of the “ working-day world” we live fantastic nightmare of some visionary in. dreamer, to the terrible peine forte et On the stage, we have no doubt, it dure of our own exploded criminal would be found so—and it is not in code.
that capacity we purpose to treat the Acquiescing, as we do, though in a exquisite poem wliich forms the submodified degree, and with splendid ject of this article ; though (notwith. exceptions, in the justice of this crie standing a portentous length which tique on what have been termed the might exhaust even German induplaywrights of Germany, we are the rance) we believe, in the hands of highmore disposed to fulfil our intention of ly-gifud performers, it would draw submitting to the fiat of the English more legitimate tears than many drareader another favourite modern Ger- mas " horribly stuft with pomp and man drama, whose faults (to which we circumstance of war"—and crammed do not pretend to be insensible) are at out of all reasonable compass” with the least of a totally opposite class from playwrights' immemorial properties, those ascribed to its contemporaries, of * treasons, stratagems, and spoils.” while it has beauties amply sufficient Leaving, however, the debateable to palliate, if not justify, the hazard- land of theatrical expediency, to its ous singularity of its construction. only legitimate arbiters, the managers
It is the shrewd remark of a period and the public, we shall be content ical critic on a late work of English to rest on the general grounds of fiction," that it belongs to that advan. truth, nature, and poetry, the claims ced period of literature, when the in- of a hitherio little known-though in cidents of invention somewhat ex- its own country highly admireil, dohausted, make authors turn to senti- mestic tragedy. The originality (whatment, rather than adventure, and feel. ever may be thought of their probabiings are more dwelt upon than facts.” lity) of the circumstances on which it Such a period there unquestionably is foundled, the deep and lofty interest is in the literature of all countries; which attaches to several of its drama
VOL. XXVI. NO. CLIV.