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danger is for a moment over, she is without force, and yields to sadness. It is just the character for Rachel. Who that has seen her can fail to imagine the quiet dignity with which she rejects the offers of Claudius?

"Virginie!......Et ces dons et ces veux empressés
Qu'on a du vous offrir......

"Virginie. Je les ai respoussés.

"Claudius.-Repousser les présents d'un homme qui vous aime! Est ce mépris pour moi?

"Virginie.-C'est respect pour moi-même."

And then fancy her delivery of the tirade at the close of the second act! Those thrilling tones of hers-that piercing sarcasm— that crushing contempt, and that crescendo of passion which no one can manage like her-fancy these, reader, in this reply to Appius Claudius:

"Quelle audace !

Vous osez me parler, me regarder en face!
Au lieu de fuir d'içi, confus, pâle, interdit,
Vous osez m'aborder après ce qu'elle a dit!

Vous, notre ennemie ; vous, à qui tout sert de proie;
Vous, par qui j'ai perdu mon amour et ma joie!

Icilius est mort, frappé par des Romains,

Vous avez mis le fer dans leur cruelles mains,
Et vous venez içi, près d'une autre victime,
Solliciter le prix de votre premier crime;
Et vous venez içi, m'offrir presqu'à genoux,
Vos présents teints de sang! du sang de mon époux!
Sortez! sortez!-Mais non; écoutez ma réponse :
Je vous crois criminel quand Fausta vous dénonce.
Le sort d'Icilius ne me changera pas,

Et je hais votre amour autant que son trépas.
N'employez avec moi ni détour ni surprise,

La Romaine vous hait, l'amante vous méprise."

This passage will convey a fair specimen of the author's style, which, though somewhat deficient in colour and elegance, is direct and without triviality or bombast. He is, perhaps, a little too much open to the charge of thrusting in commonplaces for the sake of a rhyme; he has not yet attained the art of concealing his art. And in one or two instances he has fallen into the system of periphrasis patronised by the Empire. Thus he speaks of gold, in these terms:

"Et ces ornements vils qu'il m'ose présenter

Sont faits de ce métal qui sert pour acheter."

The character of Virginius, though relieved by some fine touches, is somewhat conventional; and we must object to his constant talk about shedding his blood for his country: as a soldier,

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it was his duty to shed it: as a brave soldier, it was his duty to talk as little about it as possible. During the trial he has one reply to make which is quite up to the passion of the scene, and which forms a magnificent point' for an actor. He is led away by his vehemence, and Claudius interposes to remind him where he is:"Claudius.-Vois tu cette hache qui brille

Dans la main du licteur?

"Virginius.-Je ne vois que ma fille,

Dans mon cœur sont gravés mes droits et mes affronts. "Claudius.-Crains, soldat insolent, d'irriter ma colère! Car je suis Décemvir.

"Virginius.-Tremble, car je suis père !"

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M. Latour has dispensed with the character of Icilius altogether, and he has done wisely. The temptation to introduce the lover was, doubtless, great; but we believe that lovers are always prejudicial, except in a love story. Shakspeare knew this well. In 'Hamlet,' Macbeth,' Lear," Othello'-his four greatest works— he has no lover. M. Latour has given Virginie all the advantage to accrue from her affections being another's, and at the same time preserved her from the presence of Icilius. The strugglethe dramatic collision' is clearly between Virginie and Claudius. The father is introduced as a necessary instrument, and as exemplifying the manly pathos of the situation. Icilius could only repeat the character of Virginius: he would be another man outraged, indignant, pathetic; he might be so in a different manner, but the true economy of art renders him superfluous. As the piece now stands, by the non-introduction of Icilius, Virginie has a grief the more, and a protector the less.

Fabius is altogether a mistake; and, curiously enough, it is a mistake referable to the Romanticists: the mistake of couleur locale. Some of the French critics have lauded the author for the happy manner in which he has, in the person of Fabius, contrived to picture the condition of patron and client in Rome. To us it seems neither a good picture, for it is not exact; nor a good intention, for it is historical, and not dramatic. Fabius does nothing in the piece. He talks, and talks superabundantly, but he is in no way wound up in the threads of the plot so that he could not be omitted without injury. Now this is precisely the fault we find with those poets who seek couleur locale, and think more of displaying their historical knowledge than their knowledge

of art.

But we must have done with sermonising, and content ourselves with recommending to our dramatic readers this most recent product of the new school of dramatists, which, founded as it is on the truly national taste, must have a better chance of success than the clever but mistaken productions of the Romantic School.

ART. III.-1. Versuch einer getreuen Schilderung der Republik Mejico. Von EDUARD MUEHLENPFORDT, &c. (Essay of a Faithful Description of the Republic of Mexico. By EDWARD MUEHLENPFORDT, formerly Director of the Works of the Mexican Company, and afterwards Road-Surveyor to the State of Oajaca.) 2 vols. Hanover. 1844.

2. Mexico as it was and as it is.

By BRANTZ MAYER, Secretary of the United States' Legation to that Country, in 1841 and 1842. New York and London. 1844.

3. Life in Mexico. By Madame CALDERON DE LA BARCA. London: Chapman and Hall. 1843.

4. Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. By Mrs. HOUSTON. 2 vols. London. 1844.

5. Mexico. By H. G. WARD, Esq., his Majesty's Chargéd'Affaires in that Country during the years 1825, 1826, and part of 1827. 2 vols. London. 1829.

6. Journal of a Residence and Tour in Mexico in the Year 1826. By Captain G. F. LYON, R.N., F.R.S.

7. Six Months' Residence and Travels in Mexico. By W. BULLOCK, F.L. S. London.

1824.

8. Memoirs of the Mexican Revolution. By WILLIAM DAVIS ROBINSON. Philadelphia. 1820.

9. Narrative of the Texan Santa Fé Expedition. By GEORGE WILKINS KENDALL. London. 1844.

RECENT changes and revolutions are again attracting the attention of political observers to the shores of the Mexican Gulf. The late overthrow of Santa Anna, the decision of the question long pending between the Republic of Mexico and the United States of the north, as to the annexation of Texas, and the contingency of war or peace in regions which have so many claims on the attention of Europe, combine to revive no small portion of that keen interest which, twenty years ago, was felt when the fancied El Dorado was laid open to the enterprise of Europe, and seem to show that a new page of the many-leaved volume of the future is unfolding. The mighty current of human action sets in with increased volume and intensity towards the west and south of the American continent. At the present moment, therefore, we persuade ourselves that we shall render no unacceptable service to our readers, by throwing together such information as we have been able to collect, on the present state and prospects of a country which, in spite of modern tourists, still remains in many respects a terra incognita to the mass of readers. This we shall preface by a succinct view of the leading events of Mexican history, from the outbreak of the revolution,

Romance of Mexican History.

41

interweaving such considerations of a more general kind as the subject may naturally suggest.

In thus restricting the range of our speculations, we are well aware of the sacrifice we make, in foregoing themes which have a perpetual and unfading charm for those who love to linger on the storied memories of the past. A more tempting task might be to recall our readers to the days of the pilgrim of Palos, who explored the awful mysteries of the ocean stream, till he found a temperate in a torrid zone:'

"The feverish air fann'd by a cooling breeze,
The fruitful vales set round with shady trees;
And guiltless men, who danced away their time,
Fresh as their groves, and happy as their clime."

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Nor less pleasing would it be to make our canvass gorgeous with the barbaric splendours of the Indian monarchy and hierarchy, to retrace the career of Cortes and his adventurous cavaliers, and to tell

"Of the glorious city won
Near the setting of the sun,
Throned in a silver lake;

Of seven kings in chains of gold."

These are themes whose romantic interest awakens a never-failing response in the imagination at all times, and which with the youth of modern Europe rank second in fascination only to the fairy tales and national legends which are the time-consecrated food of juvenile fancy. But leaving such splendid scenes to Irving and Prescott, to whom they rightfully belong by the double tenure of indigenous association and prior occupancy, let us proceed to our own more sober, but, perhaps, more useful task of sketching the development of that society which, in the sixteenth century, was founded by the sword of Castile amidst the ruins of the Aztec Venice.

Mexico, from its advantages of situation, its endless diversity of soil and climate, and its capacity of sustaining an immense population, would seem to be a land destined by nature to play no humble part in the affairs of the world. In the hands of a stirring and warlike race, the country would in fact afford the military key to both divisions of the American continent; for, from her mountain-throne she overlooks the vast levels of Texas and the United States, while by way of Guatemala and across the Carribean Sea, the forces of a strong and compact state might dominate the feeble and divided communities of the South. She is seated on the great table-land formed by the Mexican Andes, which, springing from their southern roots in the Isthmus of Panama,

stretch their vast system of ridges and valleys over the whole breadth of the country as far as to the mouth of Rio Bravo, and then receding to the west and north, traverse the length of the continent to where the towering peaks of the St. Elias glitter in their gorgeous icy robe, beneath the rays of the Arctic sun. The belt of coast which intervenes on each side between the mountains and the sea, forms a sure bulwark against foreign aggression, interposing by its tropical climate, and the diseases thence generated, to which the European falls a helpless_prey, insurmountable obstacles to the passage of an army. Defended by resolute spirits and energetic hands, such a country would be impregnable, and even with the listless and indolent race by whom it is held, would be found no easy conquest to an invader; for though the opinion which is sometimes hazarded may be wellfounded, that a modern Cortes might repeat the march from Vera Cruz to Mexico, he would find that on arriving at the capital, he was but on the threshold of his undertaking, even if his army had not long before melted away in the pestilential levels of the sea-coast. The Alpine conformation of its tropical region presents in its numberless terraces and valleys, elevated plains, and deep-sunk slades, that wondrous variety of climate and scenery which it has tasked the pens of all geographers and travellers to describe, with every shape of wildness, grandeur, and luxuriant beauty that can fill the fancy or charm the eye. Amid the mountain heights, from which spring the fire-born cones, with their stainless cinctures of perennial snow, we find the forests of Scandinavia reproduced; further down on their slopes, the delicious climate of Southern Europe, yielding in abundance the grain that nourishes the life of man, and the rare and exquisite fruits that crown its enjoyments-the grape, the orange, the olive, and the lemon; whilst at the base of the giant hills, the rich soil teems with the coffee-plant and the sugar-cane, and glows with the dazzling colours of the tropical flora. The European race which occupied the empire of the Aztecs was in fact conducted by the dispensations of Providence into a country which exhibits in many respects the natural counterpart of their own. In the Spain of the New World, the same physical features which characterised their ancient dwelling-places, appear, though on a far wider and more magnificent scale. The lofty sierras and table-lands, once forest-clad though now treeless, of Castile, the net-work of ridges and stream-fed dales which interlaces the territory of Biscay, the fertile vegas and sterile wastes which bask under the suns of Andalusia and Granada, all find their likenesses in that region of America which the first discoverers, struck with the resemblance borne by its shores to those they had

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