ePub 版

the music of Italy~" il parlar que nell 'apinè si sente," would be a fruitful topic. It addresses itself to the heart, and transports one to an ideal world. It has doubtless had a powerful influence on the character of the people--destroying the moral energies, and encouraging an abandonment to indolent and enervating pleasure. We should rejoice to see some one do justice to the abused Italian, Degraded he is-sunk in vice and effeminacy—but in no country can you find nobler materials for a great and puissant nation." Whenever called on -whenever the path-way was open, the Italian seems to have forgotten that despotism had deprived him of even the spirit of resistance to oppression, and had endeavoured to enchain genius itself. They have then sent forth authors whose works are the common heritage of every people, and legions that have been worthy of "the palmy state of Rome.' We trust the day will come, when no Goth, however virtuous, shall lord it over the vale of Arnomor lay his leaden hand upon

the oppressed children of Venice and Lombardy.

We must however finish a paper already too long-and if the author should again appear before the public (and we think he might do it creditably to himself, if he would) we humbly suggest to him to be inore attentive to his style of writing, which is too often incorrect and vulgar. In one place we have notch, which we suppose is intended to mean a small ravine-again, 6 presented no obstacles to a convenient traverse"-again, we came to the Tiberine Island off against which is,&c.--again, "we looked around us with that peculiar thrill we feel, when the blood starts off in highest style,” &c. There is also some negligence in stating, that Misenum and Linternum are in the bay of Pozzuoli. Linternum will be found a good many miles to the north. We have strong doubts too whether Civita Vecchia is at the mouth of the Tiber. See p. 296.


(We had intended, in this number, to have pubished the letter of Paul Jones to the American plenipotentiaries at Paris, containing an official account of his descent upon Whitehaven, and of his action with the Drake ; with a view of correcting some statements which have lately appeared in English periodicals, in relation to his cruise in the Ranger. The unforeseen length to which some of the articles in this number have run, compels us to postpone the insertion of this letter, as well as of several communications with which we have been favoured. We insert a letter from Paul

Jones to tho countess of Selkirk, which we have no doubt will be found interesting by most of our readers ; though perhaps some of them may have seen it before. It is copied from the letter book kept on board his own vessels, the Ranger and Bon Homme Richard, from March 1778, to July 1779.]

Ranger, Brest, 8th May, 1778. Madam-It cannot be too much lamented, that, in the profession of arms, the officer of fine feeling and of real sensibility should be under the necessity of winking at any action of persons under his command, which his heart cannot approve ; but the reflection is doubly severe, when he finds himself obliged, in appearance, to countenance such actions by his authority.

This hard case was mine, when, on the twenty-third of April last, I landed on St. Mary's Isle. Knowing Lord Selkirk's interest with his king, and esteeming, as I do, his private character, I wished to make him the happy instrument of alleviating the horrors of hopeless captivity, when the brave are overpowed, and made prisoners of war.

It was, perhaps, fortunate for you, Madam, that he was from home; for it was my intention to have taken him on board the Ranger, and to have detained him, until, through bis means, a general and fair exchange of prisoners, as well in Europe as in America, had been effected.

When I was informed by some men whom I met at landing, that his lordship was absent, I walked back to my boat, determined to leave the island. By the way, however, some officers, who were with me, could not forbear expressing their discontent ; observing that, in America, no delicacy was shown by the English, who took away all sorts of moveable property ; setting fire, not only to towns, and to the houses of the rich, without distinction, but not even sparing the wretched hamlets, and milch cows of the poor and helpless, at the approach of an inclement winter." That party had been with me, the same morning, at Whitehaven ; some complaisance, therefore, was their due. I had but a moment to think how I might gratify them, and at the same time do your ladyship the least injury. I charged the two officers to permit none of the seamen to enter the house, or to hurt any thing about it; to treat you, Madam, with the ut most respect ; to accept of the plate which was offered ; and to come away without making a search, or demanding any thing else.

I am induced to believe that I was punctually obeyed; since I am informed that the plate which they brought away is far short of the quantity expressed in the inventory which accompanied it. I have gratified my men; and when the plate is sold, I shall become the purchaser, and will gratify my own feelings, by restoring it to you, by such conveyance as you shall please to direct.

Had the earl been on board the Ranger the following evening, he would have seen the awful pomp and dreadful carnage of a sea engagement; both affording ample subject for the pencil, as well as melancholy reflection to the contemplative mind. Humanity starts back from such scenes of horror, and cannot [sufficiently] execrate the vile promoters of this detestable war.

For they, 'twas they unsheathed the ruthless blade,

And heaven shall ask the havock it has made. The British ship of war, Drake, mounting 20 guns, with more than her full complement of officers and men *** The ships met, and the advantage was disputed with great fortitude on each side, for an hour and fuur mi.

nutes; when the gallant commander of the Drake fell, and victory declared in favour of the Ranger.

The amiable Lieutenant lay mortally wounded; besides near forty of the inferior officers and crew, killed and wounded. A melancholy demonstration of this uncertainty of human prospects, and of the sad reverse of fortune, which an hour can produce. I buried them in a spacious grave, with the honors due to the memory of the brave.

Though I have drawn my sword in the present generous struggle for the rights of men, yet I am not in arms as an American; nor am I in pursuit of riches. My fortune is liberal enough; having no wife nor family; and having lived long enough to know that riches cannot insure happiness. I profess myself a citizen of the world, totally unfettered by the little, mean distinctions of climate, or of country, which diminish the benevolence of the heart, and set bounds to philanthropy. Before this was begun, 1 bad, at an early time of life, withdrawn from the sea service, in favour of “ calm contemplation and poetic ease.” I have sacrificed not only my favourite scheme of life, but the softer affections of the heart, and my prospects of domestic happiness, and I am ready to sacrifice my life also with cheerfulness; if that forfeiture could restore peace and good will among mankind.

As the feelings of your gentle bosom cannot but be congenial with mine, let me entreat you, madam, to use your persuasive art with your husband's, to endeavour to stop this cruel and destructive war, in which Britain never can succeed. Heaven can never countenance the barbarous and unmanly practice of the Britons in America, which savages would blush at; and which, if not discontinued, will soon be retaliated on Britain, by a justly enraged people. Should you fail in this, (for I am persuaded that you will attempt it, and who can resist the power of such an advocate ?) your endeavours to effect a general exchange of prisoners will be an act of humanity, which will afford you golden feelings on a death bed.

I hope this cruel contest will soon be closed; but should it continue, I wage no war with the fair. I acknowledge their force, and bend before it with submission. Let not, therefore, the amiable Countess of Selkirk regard me as an enemy. I am ambitious of her esteem and friendship, and would do any thing, consistent with my duty, to merit it.

The honour of a line from your hand, in answer to this, will lay me under a singular obligation ; and if I can render you any acceptable service in France or elsewhere, I hope you see into my character so far as to com mand me without the least grain of reserve.

I wish to know, exactly, the behaviour of my people ; as I determine to punish them, if they have exceeded their liberty. I have the honour to be, with much esteem, and with profound respect,

Madam, yours, &c. The Right Honourable, the Countess of Selkirk,

St. Mary's Isle, Scotland.



The three tragedies of Vincenzo Monti stand in the highest rank of modern dramatic compositions; and are not unworthy of a comparison with the noblest productions of the ancient writers. Though he sometimes imitates their excellencies, it is in a manner not unworthy of the great originals, from whom he is not afraid to borrow. It is not our intention, however, at present, to enter into any examination of the merits of his dramas; but merely to give a succinct account of their several plots, for the purpose of introducing such specimens of his manner, as a translation nearly literal will allow. In future numbers, we shall probably notice his Aristodemo and Galeotto Manfredi, with his other poetical productions. At present, we propose to give a brief sketch of his Caio Gracco, which, as an heroic tragedy, we prefer to the Aristodemo, though there are different opinions, as to their relative merits.

The tragedy opens with a soliloquy of Gracchus, as he enters Rome at night, having just arrived from Egypt, where he had razed Carthage to the ground. His return, as he afterwards mentions, had been expedited by the messages of Marcus Fulvius, who had hitherto enjoyed his confidence, and had warned him that the patrician power was increasing, and that the popular laws he had introduced were in danger.

[blocks in formation]

Caius solus.
Lo! Caius, thou'rt in Rome. Here have I entered,
Unseen, protected by the friendly night.
Gracchus is with thee, Rome! have courage yet!
Silence reigns all around; in soundest sleep
Rest, from the cares of the laborious day,
The toiling people. O ye good and true
And only Romans ! Sweet your slumbers are,
By labour seasoned; undisturbed, because
Remorse comes not to trouble them.

'Mid the rank steam of their inebriate feasts,
The nobles revel- the assassins base
Of my loved brother; or in conclave dark
Perchance enclosed, my death the miscreants plot,
And forge their chains for Roman liberty ;
Nor know how dread an enemy is nigh.
But now enough of this. Frorn dangers past
Safe, here I press my fathers' threshold. "Yes,
This is my own loved threshold. Oh my mother!

Oh my Licinia! Oh my son! I come
Vol. I, No. V.


At length to end your woes, and with me bring
Three powerful furies-Rage, for my wronged country,
Love for my friends, and Vengeance, as the third-

Yea, Vengeance, for a brother's massacre ! As Gracchus is about to enter his own porch, Fulvius appears, followed by a slave, whom he despatches with hasty words of encouragement, and injunctions of silence, to execute a dangerous and dreadful murder. The poor slave, however, has no sooner left him, than he pronounces his certain doom, as the only sure seal of secrecy. Though it is anticipating the development of the plot, it may be mentioned here, that Fulvius was the lover of the sister of Gracchus, who was the wife of Æmilianus; and that, by an agreement between the guilty pair, the slave was now commissioned to assassinate the most illustrious Roman of that age. Gracchus was himself the avowed and determined enemy of Æmilianus; from the part he had taken with the patricians, in the civil commotions, when Tiberius Gracchus was slain by Scipio Nasica. He was yet, however, entirely ignorant of the guilt of Fulvius ; and of the ultimate ends which he proposed to himself, by espousing so warmly the popular side. He meets him with joy, and a dialogue ensues on the past and present state of affairs, too long for translation. Fulvius alludes darkly to the assassination of Æmilianus, in language then unintelligible to Gracchus; but as he is insisting on a clearer explanation, he is interrupted by the approach of his mother Cornelia, and his wife Licinia, leading his son by the hand, who are leaving their home, accompanied by a freedman. They were going to the house of Æmilianus, who had warned them of the approaching troubles, and offered them the protection of his roof. Gracchus is incensed on hearing this ; and Fulvius ventures to expostulate with the lofty Cornelia ; who, on learning his name, reproaches Gracchus with having such a companion ; and informs him that Fulvius is plotting against the virtue of his sister, and had that day been expelled from his house by her husband. She retires within her house, and Gracchus fol. lows, after bidding Fulvius prepare to exculpate himself.

In the second act, the consul Opimius and Drusus, (one of the tribunes,) meet at day-break in the Forum. Drusus. The earliest ray of morning scarce has lit

The summits of the Palatine; and yet,
Already, without lictors, and alone,
Goes forth the Roman Consul ? On this day,
With honor big to thee, disgrace to Gracchus,
And triumph to the senate, every eye
Turns on Opimius. Humbly to his charge

« 上一頁繼續 »