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heart is divided between aspirations for promoting the elevation and happiness of his species, and the selfish thirst for individual distinction, His views are in advance of his character : the lust of personal greatness rebels against the expansive and godlike benevolence of his moral sentiments, and the trials through which these contradictory elements of being lead him, furnish the progress of the story, his purification from the taint being the moral which precedes the tragic termination of his career. At the same time it is evident, that Mr. Marston has no desire to exterminate the generous love of a really honourable fame; but while he admits the existence and value of this feeling, he requires it to be subordinated to a noblerdiviner law. Gerald experiences the treatment with which original genius is generally received; while attempting to teach the world something more worthy its high destiny than that which occupied the world's attention, he is coolly and argumentatively repulsed : his friends give him “good," " useful advice," and consign him back again to temporary obscurity. His griefs rack his soul, which exhibits ils struggles in oracles bearing the impress of that final state for which his being is aspiring; and though at last the world capitulates and acknowledges his merits, the victory comes when he is receiving consolation far higher than any thing worldy can supply.
Upon “ Edith Fairlie," the heroine, our author has lavished a world of pathetic tenderness, most human,-most feminine. Every action that she performs is a truthful and sincere reality, springing from a guileless and charitable nature. She is no pure abstract imaginative ideality, but a creation which every one can conceive to be so possible, and yet which every one finds so very rarely in actual life. She is what we seek for in all our best conceptions of the feminine character. How marvellously well does she rebuke her lover for regarding her as an object of idolatry, rather than as a being needing confidence and support! The characters which next attract our attention are
- LORD AND Lady Roxmore,” nobility who deserve the title. Their sympathy and appreciation tend to reconcile Gerald to the dispensation of which he is the minister and the martyr. They prove how possible and how Christian it is to act benevolently, without making the sensitive object of their kindness feel the magnitude of the obligation.
“Eustace Lovel," is the father of GERALD; he is a being full of those homely virtues, and that hearty cheerful simplicity, which render an old man an object of interest and affection.
“Sir Harry Beverley,” is a specimen of the modern Mercurial of fashion and fortune. Next follows ASHTON, a popular Mun of Letters, and CLAYTON, an opulent London Merchant, who are intimately connected with GERALD's career. There is also the barmless meditative clown, blundering, in the plenitude of his feelings over a character which he cannot understand. We need not mention the more subordinate presons of the drama. All fill their parts with more or less influence upon the interesting progress of the story.
No one possessing a proper degree of intelligence can rise from the perusal of “Gerald without feeling better : its tendency is to endow the religious man with a more correct estimate of Art, not as an external acquirement, but as a creative principle; and its influence upon the artistic mind is to arouse in it a deeper reverence for religion, as shown in practice rather than as protruded in doctrine.
This drama is divided into seven parts, expressive of the various crises in the mind and story of the hero : each has a significant title : we will commence with the first, which is “ Home," a scene of much truth and beauty. It exhibits Gerald's love for EDITU in the first flush of its youth, exuberance and sincerity. To a spirit less aspiring, there is here a happy barrier, which it were well not to overleap; but the strung mind of our hero seeks a wider sphere for its exercise : the plenitude of its enthusiasm it pictures its visions of glory and distinction as realities already within its grasp : it is selfdeluded into the belief that Genius need only present itself, to command universal homage. No-no! GERALD has yet to learn that Genius must prove itself an ally of the world before it can obtain admission into the citadel; once there, it may work what reformations it pleases. We need not, therefore, ask whether his poetical anticipations are fated to endure reverses with which his ardent spirit can scarcely combat.
The next part is entitled “ Reverie," and the scene reveals Gerald in London: he lays down his pen and gives himself up to thought. From the mysterious and ambitious portals of his mind escapes a long procession of prophetic fancies, prefiguring the sympathies which he may excite by his productions, the sorrows which he may be the means of alleviating, and the triumph which ought to attend his career. Is he not doomed to act a part perhaps more unhappy than any of those secret and silent histories of woe which he so pathetically imagines for others? Do not seek an answer from his hopes !
The next three parts are entitled “The World," in which Mr. Marston has most characteristically exhibited his remarkable powers, Here we have the comedy of the nobleman, and the quiet humour of the peasant, in striking contrast with the sublime yearnings and pathetic sorrows of GERALD,—the victim who is self-sacrificed to the collision between the powerful extremes which he cherishes in his nature. In his passionate and interesting interview with ASHTON he thus declares the philosophy of his conduct :
“No! The right
It may not be compounded without sin !"
is true to his theory, and vindicates his principles at the expense of his fortune: he has yet to learn, that there is no real opposition between the poetical and the actual worlds, and that it is the duty of the great mind to keep them in harmony. In many stages of the story there is a weird doubleness of effect which reminds us strongly of Hamlet ; the scenes are o'ercanopied by a dreamy forebodingness which points a moral to the most merry and artless delineation. As yet the defeats which Gerald has experienced, madden rather than instruct him :in the solitude and poverty of his humble abode, he contemplates nothing less than self-destruction :-we behold his restless eye searching into vacancy, and feel the vulture-like despondency, which flaps its dark pinions over his reason, and fixes its iron talons into his heart. Can anything less than Providence, acting through the medium of human sympathy, dispel his delusions and reconcile him to life? LORD Roxmore enters; he has been charmed by the poet's works, and he comes to benefit and encourage their author. Lady RoxMORE also glidingly approaches, and repeats one of Gerald's poems: to the over-strained imagination of our poet-hero, the lady appears through the twilight like the missioned spirit of his neglected Edith. This delusion is a fine stroke of art, but we are inclined to think that the effect would have been greater if Lady Roxmore had not repeated the whole of the poem, as it was introduced into a previous portion of the drama; one of its best stanzas would have been sufficient to give reality to the ideal enchantment of which she is the minister. GERALD is resuscitated, but in the last part, entitled “Rest," the tragic terinination of the drama is near at hand. Here the double aspect of the poem disappears ;--the comedy is merged into the funeral ! In the final scene, he is restored to his beloved Edith, to be tended by her care, consoled by her sympathy, and mourned by her sorrows. His thoughts, hallowed by Christian hope, look towards death and the state hereafter, while she trips artlessly away with the conversation to a less stern topic. There is much pathos in this disposition of the characters. With one circumstance, however, we must find some fault : as a point of art, we object to the introduction of a newspaper to the dying man, announcing that his fame is established: the tidings ought to have been communicated through another medium. Nay; we feel disposed to believe, that it would have been a bolder aim of genius if Gerald had been allowed to die without witnessing the homage paid to his powers at the eleventh hour. The resigned consolation attending worldly success is too often mistaken for the benign humility begotten by religion! The conclusion of the drama represents Edith weeping over her deceased lover, and exclaiming, “The will This is a moral truth full of significance, but it is one which the reader ought to have been allowed to express for himself, and we are scarcely inclined to applaud its being thus forced upon our attention in Roman capitals. "GERALD" is, perhaps, not so full of pathos as “The Patrician's Daughter.' In the latter production we have a noble erring female spirit quite o'erthrown, and suffering a punishment more than adequate to the offence. On the contrary, in “ Gerald” we behold a heroic mind, exalted above its fellows and fulfilling its high destiny. We regard the death of the poet as the climax of his pro
gress, rather than as a punishment for his failings; and we feel more prompted to congratulate the world for his life, than to indulge in regrets over his sorrows and his end.
Such is “Gerald,”—a work destined to live. We have been led into such a labyrinth of commentary, and our space is so much confined, that we find it impossible to give the reader those passages of the poem which would enable him to form an idea of its excellence. Mr. Marston's style is very chaste, logical, and grammatical : his thoughts are profound, and yet so lucid, that they win
their way to the very core of the heart and mind with the most convincing and bewitching power. The growth of a drama is lost when its scenes are separated from each other; those which are most dramatically excellent can least bear isolation. The following extracts are, perhaps, most suitable for our purpose of representing the spirit in which “Gerald” is written. The first is, Gerald's assertion of the practical uses of poetry.
“ Fiction ! Poetry
Lives but by truth. Truth is its heart. Bards write
Get a new lexicon." Take the following image, expressive of the utter mental prostration in which Gerald's trials have left him :
"I saw a Seraph lapsed from golden spheres,
Upon a kindless ridge of rock, alight.
And points for answer, to her broken wing!” Our next quotation indicates the same feeling under a more bitter aspect :
There, to find
Degrades ethereal being to the worm's !”
greatness of character which religion peremptorily requires, and which
Its vestal fires! Should they die out, albeit
Loses its holiness—is desecrate!
How much of self was mingled with my aims.
Than good deeds for ill ends !" We regret that, for the reasons before assigned, we can only bestow our passing but sincere commendation upon several beautiful poems which conclude Mr. Marston's volume.
HISTORICAL GLANCE AT THE CAREER AND
CHARACTER OF NAPOLEON.
BY R. H. HORNE.
It is gratifying to find that the reconciled feelings of the English nation, with regard to the memory of the Emperor Napoleon, which bave of late years enabled us to contemplate his character and the actions of his life with a dispassionate judgment, and to admire in liim all that we could discover worthy of admiration, did at length receive the public sanction of our government. An official communication having taken place between the cabinets of France and England, concerning the removal of the remains of the Emperor from St. Helena, the British ministers made the following frank reply :
“ The government of her Britannic Majesty liopes that the promptness of its answer may be considered in France as a proof of its desire to blot out the last trace of those national animosities, which, during the life of the Emperor, armed England and France against each other. The British government hopes, that if such sentiments survive anywhere, they may be buried in the tomb about to receive the remains of Napoleon.'
After this, we may hope to hear no more “odious comparisons" and school-boy squabbles between “ French and English." It will be only reasonable as well as generous for grown-up people, wo less than school-boys, to cease to “ make game” of old antagonisms and unkind associations; at all events, it is certain, uo one will reiterate the nonsense which once passed current amongst us, about “ Boney," -" The Corsican Monster," “ The Perfidious Tyrant,”