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employed the best years of his life on Greek metres, or in getting up sophisms, for a first opponency.”
of the several careers which the University holds forth to its poorer sons, private tuition is the most immediately lucrative; and this peculiarity forced it upon Dr. Clarke, as being a paramount consideration. Private tuition led to a tour, and a tour to the publication of a journal, of which the author ultimately repented, as a hasty and ill-judged act of presumption. His first engagement with the Hon. Henry Tufton, in which he acquitted bimself to the satisfaction of all parties, was followed by a second, to travel with Lord Berwick through Italy. Of this tour a MS. journal remains; and from it and from his private letters, a series of amusing and curious extracts are given.
In visiting Italy during the explosion of the first revolutionary war, Dr. Clarke is frequently betrayed into a warm expression of opinion. On no occasion perhaps did he ever feel by halves; and on this, the hereditary and acquired prejudices of a churchman descended from churchmen, break out in sallies against the French. On this account his remarks upon Neapolitan justice, at p. 107, are valuable as coming from an unwilling witness. The unfortunate termination of the Italian revolution has made it fashionable to decry that movement, and to insult the disappointed victims of, perhaps, a rashi enterprise; and the injustices and violence described by Dr. Clarke, with many others of a still more atrocious description, which were practised, and at this day are practised throughout all Italy, are studiously kept out of sight. It is good, therefore, that the facts should be fully and frequently before the public, till Englishmen learn to blush for their alliance with such deeds, and till opinion operates to impress upon English politics a more manly, liberal, and Christian direction, than upholding the slavish institutes of popish and military tyrannies.
Of the energy and cleverness of Dr. Clarke some notion may be formed from the fact, that during his tour in Italy he was enabled not only to pay his college debts, and assist his struggling family, but also to collect pictures, books, prints, and minerals, to an amount which imposed upon them a duty of
two hundred and fifty-eight pounds in passing the Custom-house. To ordinary dispositions this tax upon civilization would alone have been an insuperable difficulty; and it is high time that the imports of scientific travellers should be released from such a burden. Whatever tends to the spread of illumination or the amelioration of taste, whatever humanizes manners and raises us above the brute condition of uneducated nature, should be welcomed to our shores, not repelled by avaricious extortion, nor scared away by the injury and destruction of a Custom-house search.
The vocation of Dr. Clarke to travelling and scientific research was now complete; and the foundation was laid of those habits and of that reputation, which produced his engagement with Mr. Cripps and the undertaking the great Continental tour, the narration of which forms the most important labour of his literary life. This journey occupied a period of three years and a half, and was concluded at the end of 1802. Near two hundred pages of extracts are given in the work before us from his letters during his absence, which form a valuable and interesting supplement to the published tour. These letters are marked by all the characteristics of the author's mind : pleasing adventure is
mixed with important fact, and deep learning is set off and relieved by an unaffected display of cordiality and strong feeling.
The remainder of Dr. Clarke's life is soon told. On his return to England, he once more took his residence in Cambridge ; bringing with him in triumph, the colossal bust of Ceres for the University, a choice collection of Greek MSS., another of mineralogy, and the premices of Haüy's new system of crystallography, which was then nearly unknown in England. The first of these acquirements engaged him deeply in an. tiquarian researches, and the last induced him to undertake an annual course of lectures on mineralogy, which have ultimately awakened in Cambridge a spirit of scientific investigation into the different branches of natural science, highly creditable to the University. These pursuits, added to the publication of bis Travels, would, it might be thought, have sufficiently occupied the time and expended the activity of any one individual. Dr. Clarke, however, found leisure to embark in the Bible question, to fulfil the duties of a college tutor and of a parish priest (having taken orders to hold the college living of Harlton), to preach occasionally at St. Mary's, to enter into all the antiquarian and scientific polemics of the day, and to conduct personally all the analytical researches incidental to his lectures. In the course of these experiments he was led to the important discovery of the gas blow-pipe, which in its turn became the cause of new researches and new trains of inquiry, which not only occupied his time but nearly cost him his life ;-the apparatus (as yet imperfect) having, according to Sir H. Davy's prediction, exploded with tremendous violence.
Dr. Clarke's character for versatility and application was a frequent theme of admiration in the University, and we remember to have seen some verses attributed to Professor Smyth, in which his numerous occupations are made to accumulate on his hands, and to throw him into the most ludicrous and provoking embarrassment. The melancholy consequence, however, of this great subdivision of mental labour was, that it operated unfavourably on Dr. Clarke's reputation: for with more concentration in his pursuits, he could not but have taken his place in the very first line among the great inventors and benefactors of mankind. Vast, moreover, as were his powers of application, he in the end completely exhausted them; and he embittered by disease and cut short his valuable life by an exercise of the mind greater than the body could endure.
In return for his labours and liberal donations to the University, he successively received an honorary degree of LL.D. the professorship of mineralogy, (a chair founded expressly for himself) and the appointment of sub-librarian to the University library. Shortly after taking orders, he married; and at his death he left seven children. For the purposes of health and tranquillity he had latterly retired to Trumpington, where he appears to have lived in the bosom of his family in great affection and philosophical simplicity. “No bipeds," says he, "ever lived more happily than we. I am now sitting in a room six feet
square, with a notable housewife, three sprawling brats and a tame squirrel ; in the midst of which this letter tells how I chirp.” On another occasion he says, “I do assure you we have long lived to see the absurdity of keeping what is called an establishment: we have neither carriage, cart, horse, ass, or (nor) mule; and if I were ten times richer I would live as
I now do, in a cockchafer-box, close packed up with my wife and children. We never visit, consume only wine of our own making, and breed nothing but rabbits and children.” Page 581.
In the midst of these pursuits and enjoyments Dr. Clarke died on the 9th of March, 1822. Of his character we will suffer his amiable and affectionate biographer to speak.
“The two most remarkable qualities of his mind were asm and benevolence, remarkable not more for the degree in which they were possessed by him, than for the happy combinations in which they entered into the whole course and tenor of his life; modifying and forming a character, in which the most eager pursuit of science was softened by social and moral views, and an extensive exercise of all the charities of our nature was animated with a spirit which gave them a higher value in the minds of all with whom he had relation or communion.
“His ardour for knowledge, not unapıly called by his old tutor, literary heroism, was one of the most zealous, the most sustained, the most enduring principles of action, that ever animated a human breast; a principle which strengthened with his increasing years, and carried him at last to an extent and variety of knowledge infinitely exceeding the promise of his youth, and apparently disproportioned to the means with which he was endowed; for though his meinory was adınirable, his attention always ardent and awake, and his perceptions quick and vivid, the grasp of his mind was not greater than that of other intelligent men; and in closeness and acuteness of reasoning, he had certainly no advantage, while his devious and analytic method of acquiring knowledge, involving as it did in some of the steps all the pain of a discovery, was a real impediment in his way, which required much patient labour to overcome. But the unwearied energy of this passion bore down every obstacle and supplied every defect; and thus it was, that always pressing forwards without losing an atom of the ground he had gained, profiting by his own errors as much as by the lights of other men, his maturer advances in knowledge often extorted respect from the very persons who had regarded his early efforts with a sentiment approaching to ridicule. Allied to this was his generous love of genius, with his quick perception of it in other men; qualities which, united with his good nature, exempted him from those envyings and jealousies which it is the tendency of literary ambition to inspire, and rendered him no less disposed to honour the successful efforts of the competitors who had got before him in the race, than prompt to encourage those whom accident or want of opportunity had left behind. But the most pleasing exercise of these qualities was to be observed in his intercourse with modest and intelligent young men; none of whom ever lived inuch in his society without being improved and delighted-improved by the enlargement or elevation of their views, and delighted with having some useful or honourable pursuit, suitable to their talents, pointed out to them, or some portion of his own enthusiasm imparted to their minds."
In conclusion we may observe, that this memoir may be considered as much a book of travels as a work of biography, and that its interest is far more extensive than the little circle of Dr. Clarke's friendships and connexions. It is written in a simple and unambitious style, and is evidently the work of a scholar and a warm-hearted man.* On the whole, we consider it as presenting the fairest and brightest side of university life and clerical character ; and with our own youthful predilections respecting these, something tempered by experience and a wider knowledge of the world, we cannot but add, " Oh! si sic omnes."
* We are not, we believe, mistaken in attributing it to the pen of the Rev. W. Otter, of Jesus College, Cambridge.
MODERN SPANISH THEATRE.--NO. II. Although the old dramatic school in Spain had been completely ruined in the public estimation by the united attacks of authors and dogmatists, yet the influence of these authorities was unable to create any immediate relish for the genuire style proposed as a substitute for that which had been thus anathematized. Literary taste, like that of the human palate, requires time ere it can reconcile itself to new viands. The latter always present, at first, something of an uncongenial savour; and a repetition of taste is necessary to make them relish agreeably. Some one has said, ' that we may presume the flavour of sugar itself to bave been bitter the first time of tasting it.'
The Spaniards also, it must be granted, were in disposition too impetuous, and in imagination too fond of extremes, to feel satisfied with the antique simplicity of plot, and the uniform and, perhaps, dull regularity of parts in the new models. More than two centuries before the renowned Lope de Vega had found an excuse for his disrespect to the unities, in the impatient curiosity of his countrymen; declaring in his Arte de hacer Comedias (Art of writing Comedies),
que la colera
De un Español sentado, no se templa,
Hasta el final juicio desde el Genesis.*
Un rimeur sans péril au-delà des Pyrénées
Enfant au premier acte, est barbon au dernier. We shall, perhaps, take an opportunity of inquiring into the degree of truth in the assertion of Lope, and may then hope to invalidate some of the charges that have been laid to his own account. But, independently of this, it is certain that the home-thrust given by the French Aristarchus goes to confirm, to a certain point, Lope's own philippic; since we may take it for granted, that if a rimeur in Spain might leave reason behind him suns péril, it was because reason was not, at that time, in general request.
But whether we decide that the newly-adopted style was not suited to the national character, or what is more probable, that none of the poets who laboured in the reformation of the drama possessed genius sufficient to attract public attention, the result was, that the idle, not finding their accustomed amusement at the theatres, deserted them, and wept in search of it elsewhere. This species of denouement was not very agreeable to the comedians. The
progress of the art, in fact, stood in an inverse ratio to the decline of its attendant revenue; and what could the loudest brawling of Aristotle or Horace avail against the dumb eloquence of the money-takers? llence the period soon arose in Spain when plays à grand spectacle, inelodrames, lachrymose pieces, et id genus omne, were introduced. The players were reduced to a very
* Who, seated once, disdain to go away,
Unless in two short hours they see the play
Lord Holland's Translation.
embarrassing predicament, not being able to exhibit the productions of Lope and Calderon, these being stigmatized with the anathema of the schools, nor those of Moratin the elder, or Yriarte, * as attracting no audience to witness them. How, then, were they to live, but by doing precisely what they did, -by consigning to the chest what was ill-received on the stage, and by adopting exclusively what was found to produce money, regardless of its being regular or irregular? For the attainment of this object, recourse was had, of necessity, to representations capable of calling back the runaways, and attaching them anew by the charm of amusement. If their hearts and their imaginations were not interested, their eyes and their ears were. In the same piece were jumbled together combats and masked balls, bonfires and burials, serenades and judicial trials. History was strangely tortured and dislocated, in order to confiscate to theatrical advantage any eligible dramatic circumstance, such as the thirty years' war, or the earthquake at Lisbon. The gazettes and journals were rummaged for the discovery of striking anecdotes ; and if, by a lucky chance, a calumniated princess, or a disguised emperor, travelling through his dominions, could be pitched upon to figure in the principal part, such an acquisition was deemed inestimable. On such a canvass any colouring could be worked in at pleasure love, politics, morality, the palace, the cottage, and the scaffold.
Of all the dramatic ravings that were poured upon the Spanish stage during this interregnum, we will only notice those of Don Lucian Comella, who was the most conspicuous on the list, and whose very defeat has rendered him famous in the modern theatrical annals of Spain. Comella had written upwards of one hundred plays, all of which were represented with success. So high was the estimation he enjoyed, that the appearance of his name on the nightly bills invariably assured a handsome receipt; and the old comedians declare to this day, that the most inferior of his pieces has produced more money at the door than the most approved of those by Lope, or any other poet. Yet has Comella written nothing better, in fact, than miserable rhapsodies and tawdry romances thrown into dialogue. His versification is mean and inharmonious. How, then, are we to reconcile such poverty of claim with the rich popularity he obtained ? To explain this, it must be observed that Comella, with all his faults, his paltry style and corrupt taste, had certain qualities that may be held sufficient to have brought him into vogue. He wrote with rapidity and copiousness, and was thus easily enabled to satisfy the daily cravings of the players, ever restless after novelty. He well understood the mechanical portion of his art, whether in the distribution of scenes or the gradual developement of the plot. Endued with some share of sensibility, he occasionally, and perhaps unconsciously, presented situations allied to genuine emotion, and optical exhibitions that might affect for a moment those who care but to gratify their eyes. Honour
Yriarte virtually pleaded guilty himself when he animadverted on a piece by Trigueros, that had been damned on the stage, after having been crowned by the Academy :
Patio, aposento gradas y luneta
Y no los que ofrecia la Gaceta ! (Pit, boxes, and gallery are your true arbiters in the drama, and not those whom the government places in judgment over it.)