« VorigeDoorgaan »
first by a successful career and then by ad- Reposes self-included at the base.
Philip has won, almost without seeking character of Philip or that of the stormy them, the affections of a beautiful but untimes amid which his lot is cast than by the protected young Flemish heiress, the friend following extracts from a scene in which he of his sister, Clara van Artevelde. In an discusses the events of the day with Father interview, in which the confiding grace, inJohn of Heda, his counsellor and friend, genuousness, and devotedness of the Lady and formerly his preceptor ;
Adriana are more striking than any chivalrous ardour on her lover's part, he gains the
promise of her hand. She has had a less “ Artevelde. I never look'd that he should fortunate admirer in the Lord of Occo ;
live so long He was a man of that unsleeping spirit,
and the rejected suitor is stimulated by He seem'd to live by miracle : his food
jealousy, as well as by his political interests, Was glory, which was poison to his mind
to conspire against his rival. The Earl of And peril to his body. He was one
Flanders has sent two emissaries, Sir GuiseOf many thousand such that die betimes, bert Grutt and Sir Simon Bette, to traffic Whose story is a fragment, known to few. with traitors in the Flemish camp.
To diThen comes the man who has the luck to live, vide his enemies, he has also offered an amAnd he's a prodigy. Compute the chances, nesty, on condition that tbree hundred citiAnd deem there's ne'er a one in dangerous times zens are delivered up to his justice. A Who wins the race of glory, but than he
meeting is convened at the Stadt-house ; A thousand men more gloriously endow'd Have fallen upon the course; a thousand others it, having first resolved on the assassina
and the Lord of Occo promises to attend Have had their fortunes founder'd by a chance, tion of Philip. Fearing, however, that his Whilst lighter barks push'd past them ; to whom add
conspiracy has been discovered, he stays A smaller tally, of the singular few
away at the critical moment. For a time Who, gifted with predominating powers, the two emissaries are successful with the B
yet a temperate will and keep the peace. people; but the moment it becomes ArteThe world knows nothing of its greatest men. velle's turn to speak, their intrigue begins Father John. Had Launoy lived, he might to unravel. His harangue carries the peohave pass'd for great,
ple with him as a storm carries dead leaves. But not by conquests in the Franc of Bruges.
He reminds them of their past achieveThe sphere, the scale of circumstances, is all Which makes the wonder of the many. Still
ments, and of the remorseless cruelties An ardent soul was Launoy's, and his deeds
practised on them by the earl. He demands
who can tell that his own name is not inWere such as dazzled many a Flemish dime. There'll some bright eyes in Ghent be dimm'a cluded among the three hundred to be defor him.
livered up to torments and death; and at Artevelde. They will be dim and then be the moment that he finds himself the master bright again.
of his audience he turns on the delegates, All is in busy, stirring, stormy motion, denounces them as traitors, and stabbs And many a cloud drifts by and none sojourns. Grutt to the heart, while Van den Bosch Lightly is life laid down amongst us now,
slays Bette. And lightly is death mourn': a dusk star
The scabbard thrown away, the warblinks As fleets the rack, but look again, and lo!
party is at once in the ascendant; and the In a wide solitude of wintry sky
wealthy burghers are taught that their young Twinkles the re-illuminated star,
chief has lett his books, and become such a And all is out of sight that smirch'd the ray. man of action as may not be trifled with. We have not time to moura.
The Lord of Occo makes his escape, and Father John.
The worse for us ! succeeds also in carrying off Adriana, of He that lacks time to mourn lacks time to mend. whose broad lands he proposes to become Eternity mourns that. 'Tis an ill cure For life's worst ills to have no time to feel them. heiress. The scene changes to a banquet
the master by a forced marriage with the Where sorrow's held obtrusive and turn d out, ing-hall at Bruges, where the Earl of FlanThere wisdom will not enter, nor true power, Nor aught that lignifies humanity.
ders is magnificently entertained by the Yet such the barrenness of busy life!
mayor and citizens. There is a song on the From shelf to shelf Ambition clambers up approaching fall of Ghent, To reach the naked'st pinnacle of all, Whilst Magnanimity, absolved from toil,
* Vol, i. p. 21,
“Flat stones and awry, grass, potsherd, and The bodies of three citizens lay stretch'd shard,
Upon the causeway.
D'Arlon. How had they been kill'd ?
And who had done it? which animates the earl so vehemently that Gilbert. The officers that walk'd before the he accuses himself of having sinned against Earl, true chivalry in demanding the heads of To make him room to pass. The streets were but three hundred burghers. In the midst
full, of the revel Occo arrives, and boasting is And many of the mean-crafts roam'd about changed into shame. The earl at first can
Discoursing of the news they heard from Ghent; not believe that he has any thing to fear And as his highness pass’d they misbehaved, from such a man as Philip.
And three were knock'd upon the head with
I knew I should be sent for.”
In such brief and interstitial scenes as the
- a meacock ! D'Arlon. My lord, I'm fearful you mistake one we have quoted the hand of a true mas
ter of dramatic art is seen as much as in If my accounts be true, the life he's led passages of the most high-wrought pathos. Served rather in its transit to eclipse
Genius, even when not essentially dramatic, Than to show forth his nature ; and that pass’d, will often in the most interesting portions You'll now behold him as he really is, One of a cold and of a constant mind,
of a play produce what is so profound in senNot quicken’d into ardent action soon
timent or eloquent in expression, that in our Nor prompt for petty enterprise ; yet bold,
enjoyment of it as poetry we forget to ask Fierce when need is, and capable of all things." whether it be dramatic or not. True dra
matic genius includes, besides a philosophic
insight into character, a certain careless felicD'Arlon, although a faithful adherent of ity in dealing with externals. This fact his liege lord, the Earl of Flanders, bas is a thing which we always find among our contracted not only an inviolable friendship dramatists in the reigns of Elizabeth and with Artevelde, but also a love-troth with James the First, and which
our modern Clara. Fortunately for the Lady Adriana, drama — the tradition having been broken it is in his house at Bruges that Occo and we almost always lack. The well may his captive are domiciled by the earl's com- be deep and the water pure, but it is command. She makes her complaint to the monly without life. The soundest philosoyoung knight, who at once defies Occo to phic analysis will not serve as a substitute deadly combat.
for a shrewd sharp observation, and that The following brief conversation between vividness of handling analogous to a hasty D'Arlon and Gilbert Matthew, one of the sketch by a great painter. This is the great earl's counsellors, is a graphic sketch of that defect of the German drama. Characters stormy time :
are sometimes nobly conceived, and a plot
is laboriously devised capable of illustrating “Gilbert. No sooner had his highness reached tive instinct which ought to mediate be
them ; but the unconscious skill and imitathe palace Than he sends back for me.
tween the world of abstract conception and D'Arlon. And me the same.
outward illustration is wanting. We miss Gilbert. His highness is not happy.
the electric vitality of true art. The disD'Arlon.
That is likely ;
tinction is that between the drama taken But have you any private cause to think it? from life and that drawn from books. Eng. Gilbert. I have observed that when he is not land has long been the land of action, and happy
Germany that of thought. In England, He sends for me. D'Arlon.
moreover, the drama grew up at a time And do you mend his mood ? Gilbert. Nay, what I can.
when the passions expressed themselves
His highness at such times
freely, and when, as among children and Is wishful to be counsell’d to shed blood.
races in an early stage of development, the D'Arlon. "Tis said that he is counsell’d oft impulses were stronger from having never to that.
known restraint or disguise. In Germany Gilbert. It is my duty to advise his highness With neither fear nor favour. As I came,
* Vol, i. p. 86.
the drama arose at a period of convention- Second Part. For a long period Artevelde alities and respectabilities as well as of has enjoyed unquestioned power; but the theories. It was a philosophical imitation, storm breaks on him at last. The counnot a living tradition ; and with all its mer- sellors of the youthful King of France, its, it shares the defect of Germany's mod- alarmed by the outbreak of popular revolt ern school of religious painters, in which in many parts of Europe, resolve to deprive the highest æsthetic science, directed by the the movement-party of the encouragement noblest aims, cannot make up for the want it derives from the success of the revolt in of inspiration and of popular sympathy. Flanders. The boy-king rejoices in the
The revived English drama has had some opportunity of proving his chivalry and aidof the same refrigerating influences to con- ing his exiled cousin. Artevelde sends tend with. It is to Mr. Taylor's keen ap- Father John of Heda to England, in hopes preciation of the early English dramatists, of winning the alliance of Richard II. For evinced by his happy use of a language him there has been a change worse than analogous to theirs, that he owes in no any political event can bring. His wife is small degree his superiority. His style has dead, and his hearth has long been desolate. been also not a little in his favour. The A change has taken place in his own charimportance of style is wholly overlooked by acter likewise ; and it is with a consummate those who regard it as but the outward art that the dramatist indicates the effect garment of thought. It has more analogy of time and success on such a character. to the skin than to the clothes. It fits He has grown more imperious and less closely, adapts itself to every movement, scrupulous. Accustomed to see all men and is quickened by the instinct of life. bow before him, his own will, guided mainly There is in it a power even beyond its own by considerations of public expediency, has intention. Style is doubtless in the main been his main law of action. When warned the result of a man's intellectual constitu- by Father John that since his elevation he tion, but it reacts largely on that which has has not been unvisited by worldly pride produced it. A style like Mr. Taylor's, and its attendant passions, he replies : with its sharp precision and lightness combined with strength, is incompatible with
Say they so? the feeble, the languid, or the false in con- Well, if it be so, it is late to mend, ception.
For self-amendment is a work of time, To proceed with our analysis of Philip And business will not wait. Such as I am, van Arlevelde. The Earl of Flanders is
For better or for worse, the world must take advised by Gilbert Matthew to starve Ghent For I must hasten on. Perhaps the state into surrender; and he succeeds in cutting And royal splendour I affect is deem'd off all supplies from the place. Famine sets A proof of pride ; yet they that these contemn in, and pestilence follows. But the desper- Know little of the springs that move mankind. ate situation suggests a desperate remedy. Artevelde proposes that five thousand of the
If (which I own not) bravest and strongest citizens should be I have drunk deeper of ambition's cup, supplied with what food still remains, and Be it remember'd that the cup of love accompany him on a march to Bruges, the Was wrested from my hand. Enough of this. earl's capital. The small but resolute band Ambition has its uses in the scheme arrive there a little before sunset. It is a of Providence, whose instrument I am festival; the inhabitants of Bruges have To work some changes in the world or die.' been making merry; and half of them rush His thoughts are not as lofty nor his feelings out in a state of intoxication to encounter as pure as they were, but he is as daring an enemy whom they despise. The setting and as sagacious as ever
. sun shines in their faces; the archers of France has sent a herald to require his im
The King of Ghent bewilder them with their arrows; mediate submission, the alternative being the townspeople fall into an ambush ; a
The French message is cast in the total rout ensues. Artevelde enters Bruges haughtiest language. Enthroned in his with the flying troops, and the Earl with chair of state, and surrounded by his coundifficulty escapes.
Gilbert Matthew and the Lord of Occo are taken prisoners, and speech which, as an exponent of the revo
cil, Artevelde flings back the defiance in a immediately condemned to death; and the lutionary cause, has probably never been First Part ends with the words,
surpassed. There is in it nothing either of “Now, Adriana, I am wholly thine." the daring speculation with which the cause We must be brief in our sketch of the
* Vol. i. p. 177.
of revolt is advocated by Shelley or of the And broad highway to power, that ever then
for service high or low, domineering vindictiveness it is ever logical. Which virtue meditates. To shake the ground “Artevelde. Sir Herald, thou hast well dis- Deep-founded whereupon this structure stood charged thyself
Was verily a crime; a treason it was Of an ill function. Take these links of gold, Conspiracies to hatch against this state And with the company of words I give thee,
And its free innocence. But now I ask Back to the braggart king from whom thou Where is there on God's earth that polity cam'st.
Which it is not, by consequence converse,
Whom may we now call free? whom great?
whom wise? here
Whom innocent ? — the free are only they Are to men's ears importunately common Whom power makes free to execute all ills As chimes to dwellers in the market-place),
Their hearts imagine; they alone are great
Whose passions nurse them from their cradles
In luxury and lewdness — whom to see
Their station's eminence; the wise, they only What hold and heritage in distant times Who wait obscurely till the bolts of heaven Doth each enjoy – what posthumous posses- Shall break upon the land, and give them light sion ?
Whereby to walk; the innocent alas!
Poor innocency lies where four roads meet,
For who is innocent that cares to live?
life Through wrongs by him committed, that he Of innocency out! What then remains lived
But in the cause of nature to stand forth,
And tell your masters vainly they resist.
Nature that slept beneath their poisonous drugs
longer Nor fur, nor minever, his greatness came,
In the blood-sloken soil, but cries to heaven. Whose fortunes were inborn : strip me the Their cruelties and wrongs against the poor two,
Shall quicken into swarms
of venomous This were the humblest, that the noblest, beg- snakes, gar
And hiss through all the earth, till o'er the That ever braved a storm.
That ceases then from hissings and from
The blacksmith's hammer and the woodman's
made laws Where power was of God's gift, to whom He Which turn’d the sweat of labour's brow to gave
blood Supremacy of merit, the sole means
For these their sins the nations cast them out;
The dunghills are their deathbeds, and the | and melancholy cadences of the metre echo stench
the sadness of a new love which has grown From their uncover'd carrion steaming wide Turns in the nostrils of enfranchised man
up among omens of woe, and has too much To a sweet savour. These things come to
self-reproach about it to promise, almost to
desire, happiness. The scene displeases pass From small beginnings, because God is just.”* while it charms, and it instructs us while it
displeases. Thus to have spoken of his wife The love-story of Part II. is wholly unlike to her rival — a rival so unlike her in all
devotedness — is what that of Part I.: with it is closely connected save
Artevelde the poetic justice of the play. The love is would have shrunk from (as we may imaga guilty love, and conduces in a large de- ine) in his youth. But his character is in gree both to the fall of Artevelde and to his decline; and neither love, nor the memory death. Between the two parts of the play that of common day. He admires and he
of love, wears for him any purer light than a lyrical interlude is interposed, entitled the “ Lay of Elena.” It is a modified
grace and goodness lost; but cimen of that poetry abounding in romantic the “ beautiful regards” turned back on him sentiment, imagery, and figure, which, in from the land of shadows do not trouble his the body of his work, Mr. Taylor has 'dis-heart: carded. It records the fortunes of a beautiful Italian, who, after being betrayed and " Artevelde. She was a creature framed by deserted, has lived for some time with the love divine Duke de Bourbon, one of the French king's For mortal love to muse a life away uncles, the object of a silly and selfish but In pondering her perfections; so unmoved passionate love on his part, which she has Amidst the world's contentions, if they touch'd but feebly returned. Nortified at finding Philosophy might look her in the face,
No vital chord nor troubled what she loved, that his devotion to his mistress has made And like a hermit stooping to the well him an object of ridicule, the duke has That yields him sweet refreshment, might vented on her his spleen in many a caprice, therein and spoken of her in insulting terms. On See but his own serenity reflected the capture of a Flemish city, Elena has with a more heavenly tenderness of hue! fallen into the ha of the Regent. He Yet whilst the world's ambitious empty cares, protects her, and places a safeguard at her Its small disquietudes and insect-stings, disposal, in case she should wish to return Disturb’d her never, she was one made up to France. She is in no hurry to return; Was one full stream of love from fount to sea.
Of feminine affections, and her life With all the energy of her wild and wilful
These are but words. nature, the imaginative and melancholy wo
My lord, they're full of meaning. man, who had looked on love but with self
Artevelde. No, they mean nothing — that reproach and despair, fixes her affections which they would speak on the Regent, still with self-reproach, but Sinks into silence; 'tis what none can know no longer in despair. He can hardly be That knew not her the silence of the gravesaid to return such love as hers; but he Whence could I call her radiant beauty back, has wearied of unhappiness, and to love, as It could not come more savouring of heaven a social need, he is still accessible. But for Than it went hence- the tomb received her this disastrous tie peace was still possible. In their perfection, with nor trace of time
charms The Duke of Bourbon has despatched Sir Nor stain of sin upon them; only death Fleureant of Heurlée to the Regent's camp Had turn’d them pale. I would that you had with a request that he would send back Elena, and an implied promise that in re- Living or dead. turn the king shall be prevented, through
I wish I had, my lord ; his influence, from going to war in defence I should have loved to look upon her much; of the Earl of Flanders.
For I can gaze on beauty all day long, We shall now give an extract from a And think the all-day long is but too short. scene in which the Regent describes his
Artevelde. She was so fair that in the angellost wife and his own desolation. It is an She will not need put on another shape
ic choir illustration of Mr. Taylor's poetry in its Than that she bore on earth. Well, well, more impassioned vein. There is about it a sad rich colouring as of a dusky day in au- And I have tamed my sorrow. Pain and grief tumn. The character of both the speakers Are transitory things no less than joy, is painted with a lavish hand, and the long And though they leave us not the men we
were, * Vol. i. pp. 172-5.
Yet they do leave us. You behold me here