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conspiracy against Augustus. Shakspeare most judiciously laboured to shew, that Brutus's motives to kill Cæsar were perfectly generous, and purely public-spirited. Corneille has not kindled Cinna to his enterprise, with any spark of Roman fire. In every thing he appears treacherous, base, and timid. Maximus, the other conspirator, seems at first a better character; but in the third act he makes a most lamentable confession to a slave, of his love for Emilia, and his jealousy of Cinna: this slave gives such advice as one might expect from such a counsellor; he urges him to betray his associates, and, by means of a lie, sto prevail upon Emilia to go off with him.' Thus Maximus becomes as treacherous and base as Cinna his friend, and Emilia his mistress. The poet follows Seneca's account of this affair, in making Livia (who has no other business in the drama) advise Augustus to try the effects of clemency, as his punishment of former conspiracies excited new ones. Augustus tells her she talks like a woman, treats her counsel with scorn, and then follows it. Augustus appears
dignity and sense in the other scene, and is the only person in the play, for whom one has any respect. This is the plan of a work which is to prove Corneille's genius and judgment superior to Shakspeare's. As Mr. Voltaire has given his translation of Julius Cæsar, I will just present to the reader a literal translation of the first scene of the first act, which begins by a soliloquy.
CINNA, TRAGEDIE. ACTE PREMIER. SCENE PREMIERE.
Impatiens désirs d'une illustre vengeance,
par sa propre main mon père massacré Du trône où je le vois fait le premier dégré ;
Quand vous me présentez cette sanglante image,
Et l'on doit mettre au rang des plus cuisans malheurs La mort d'un ennemi qui coute tant de pleurs.
Mais peut-on en verser alors qu'on venge un père ? Est-il perte à ce prix qui ne semble légére ? Et quand son assassin tombe sous notre effort, Doit-on considérer ce que coûte sa mort ? Cessez, vaines frayeurs, cessez, lâches tendresses, De jetter dans mon cæur vos indignes faiblesses : Et toi qui les produis par tes soins superflus, Amour, sers mon devoir, & ne le combats plus. Ľui céder c'est ta gloire, & le vaincre ta honte; Montre-toi généreux, souffrant qu'il te surmonte. Plus tu lui donneras, 'plus il te va donner, Et ne triomphera que pour te couronner.
I do not pretend, as Mr. Voltaire does, to make the reader a judge of the style of Corneille by my translation; he must allow for the want of versification, and be content with the thoughts, the sentiments, the conceits of the original.
Impatient desires of an illustrious vengeance, to which the death of my father gave birth, impetuous children of my resent. ment, which my deluded sorrow embraces too blindly, you assume too great an empire over my mind. Suffer me to breathe a moment, and let me consider the state I am in, what I hazard, and what I would attempt. When I behold Cæsar in the midst of glory, you (I suppose this means, you the impetuous children of the impatient desires of an illustrious vengeance) reproach my melancholy memory, that my father, massacred by his hand, was the first step to the throne on which I see him.
And when you present me that bloody image, the cause of my hatred, the effect of his rage, I abandon myself to your violent transports, and think that for one death I owe him a thousand deaths. In the midst of so just an indignation I still love Cinna more than I hate Augustus ; and I find this boiling anger cool, when to obey it, I must hazard my lover. Yes, Cinna, against myself, myselfam angry, when I think of the dangers into which I precipitate thee. Though to serve me thou fearest nothing, to ask thee for blood is to
One beats not down heads from so high a place, without drawing upon