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This from Herod, after he had murdered her!

Throughout the variety of Herods, Mariamne is stereotyped in the main,-in the main, a plaintive, passive victim of circumstances. Calderon indeed, as we have seen, gives her a pretty temper. Amelie Rives, inspired perhaps by the entertaining row between Mariana and Marcella in Massinger's Duke of Milan, lets her Mariamne into actual fisticuffs with her pert sister-in-law, Salome. But usually she is colorless.

Hebbel goes to the opposite extreme. His Mariamne is, or aspires to be, infinite in her variety,—fond, austere, passionate, tender, remorseless, mad, metaphysical, resigned. She is Desdemona, Ophelia, Portia, Gretchen in one. Like the whole play, she is too complicated. We rather resent the excessive subtlety by which to gratify her revenge, or to end an impossible situation, she tricks her husband into killing her.

Hebbel's philosophical mind is by no means content with the merely domestic tragedy. Like Ibsen in Caesar and Galilean, like Calderon with romantic crudity in El Tetrarca, he makes of Herod a man-of-destiny in a larger, more symbolic sense. Herod, the soil-sprung paganizing plotter and usurper, he shows crushed between Hebraism represented in its social and religious conservatism by the caste-bound Alexandra and the intolerant Sameas, on the one side, and Christianity, represented by the three Magi seeking their promised Saviour, on the other side.

The seventeenth century Spaniards and the nineteenth century Germans agree at least in an effort to stage the Story of Herod in its richest complexity. Nearly all Italians, Frenchmen, and Englishmen who have dramatized the story have, on the other hand, tried to simplify it by sticking to one only of its ramifications. Nearly all have centred their plays on Herod's jealousy of Mariamne, and its tragic outcome. There are a round dozen of these plays; and, following them chronologically, one may trace accurately the so-called “classic” form of drama from the Renaissance-Senecan type of Dolce of 1565 to the composite Elizabethan and French classic piece of Phillips of 1900. All observe more or less punctiliously the dramatic unities. The central figure in the group is Voltaire, who in his Mariamne of 1724 refines upon the preceding French versions of Hardy and l'Hermite, and by his own version seems to have influenced all the later members of the group.



The Spaniards spoiled the story by losing it in a fantastically intricate and improbable web of incident and coincidence; the Germans by losing it in a maze of archaeological-psychologicalsymbolical subtleties. Voltaire himself expressed the opposite danger, when he said of Hardy's piece, that it reduced a great tragedy to a “querelle de ménage," a mere family scrap. And Voltaire himself did not escape the charge; for two of his critics parodied his Mariamne, a year after it appeared, in a rather indecent burlesque, entitled Le Mauvais Ménage.

A worse fault of Voltaire's Mariamne is frigidness. It is as correctly cold as Addison's Cato. But its correctness lies in the rhetorical, rather than the dramatic, field. When at the beginning of Act V Mariamne requests her guards to step aside so that she, their Queen, may for a moment “breathe without witnesses," and they do step aside, she proceeds to “breathe" a long and grandiloquent speech.

Voltaire, indeed, had more dramatic sense than his pseudoclassic audience would tolerate. In the first version of his play, in supposedly flagrant violation of Horace, he made Mariamne die of poison--coram populo, on the stage. As she lifted the poison-cup to her lips, some one in the pit shouted as if it were an obligatory toast: “ The Queen drinks !” The house roared; and Voltaire had to go back to the safe, if tame, Messenger. Also, it was he who conceived Herod as quelling a mob by the majesty of his presence,-a situation effectively used by Stephen Phillips; only, Voltaire dares merely to have one of his character describe the achievement.

When they both appeared, Stephen Phillips's Herod stirred almost as favorable comment at Rostand's Cyrano. Cyrano has grown into a classic; Herod is, I should judge, nearly forgotten. There can be no doubt about the splendor of Cyrano; but Herod, I think, has some claim to remembrance. At least, of the long list of plays about Herod, it seems to me the most artistic, and not the least humanly moving. No doubt, it suffers from a certain mannered dryness of style. The characters all talk too much alike, too solemnly. One could wish that some one of them would let down a moment. Phillips believed in the “ "grand style” for tragedy,—nothing but the grand style.

By one shift, Phillips, to my taste, improves on all his prede

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cessors. Historically as well as dramatically speaking, the chief
occasion of Herod's vindictive resentment against his wife was her
disdainful coldness towards him. And her coldness, according to
Josephus and after, was due to her discovery that Herod designed
to have her immolated, at his own death, like an Indian widow.
Historically, as we have seen, Herod gave such a death-warrant
on two separate occasions, once to Joseph, the second time to
Sohemus. By the dramatists, sometimes the one, sometimes the
other death-warrant brought about the catastrophe. Hebbel, with
characteristic subtlety, used both. Mariamne forgave Herod the
first time, accepting his excuse of overmuch fondness. But a
repetition of the cruelty was too much for her. There is nothing
inherently absurd in Hebbel's idea; but his critics said that a
doubled catastrophe violated all dramatic canons, and would have
none of it.

There is, however, another objection to the death-warrant alto-
gether. Mariamne's fear and loathing of Herod on account of
it are altogether selfish. That is natural enough, but it is neither
quite heroic nor pathetic. We cannot blame the lady, but neither
can we take an emotionally deep interest in her situation. At any
rate, the mere fact that she tries to get even by sulking, does not
greatly move our sympathies. Phillips appears to have realized
this weak spot in the story, and, without violating the historical
facts, avoided it. For him, what raised the impassable barrier
between the royal pair was the suspicious death of the boy Aristo-
bulus, her brother, whom she loved with a mother's love. She says
to him:

I am so wrapped in thee;
My love hath hovered round thee since they birth;
I have suffered like a mother in my dreams
For thee.

She suspects Herod of having done away with him. At last she
extracts confession from the tool, Sohemus. This is the discovery
that kills her love for Herod. Her death-warrant she discovers
also, and it shocks her too, not however because she fears for
herself, but because, seen in the light of the murdered boy, it is
but another revelation of the brute in Herod. Otherwise, as she
says, the death-warrant itself would have startled her even into

I might,
Have seen a grandeur in this thought,
Even magnificence of flattery,
Once, but not now. The dead boy makes him vile
In this thing as in all things. Was not this

The tiger's act? beast fury? To my thinking, this is one of the most delicately felicitous innovations in the long line of experimentation in the story of Herod. I can only repeat that it is a pity that Phillips is probably too bookishly conscious in his manner to be quite convincing, yet in substance and dramatic treatment his play of Herod seems to me more nearly to realize the possibilities of the much-worked theme than any other. I expect, however, that so rich a tragic vein will be worked again.

Columbia University.



In the Revista española for 1834 and 1835 there is a series of articles which cannot but interest in the highest degree all students of Spanish Romanticism. The first two of these, dated May 23 and 24, 1834, deal with Angel Saavedra's Moro Expósito and will form the subject of the present paper. Those dated March 25 and April 12, 1835, are concerned with Don Alvaro, which had been played for the first time on March 22 of that year. Both sets of articles are anonymous.


Azorín, in his Rivas y Larra, discusses the second of these sets of articles and attributes it categorically to Larra. “ El día 25 publicó la Revista española un folletón dedicado al estreno. No lleva firma; pero es de Larra. El estilo es de Larra; las citas son de Larra. En el folletón publicaba aqul Larra sus artículos." Against this view it may be urged: (1) that the article in question (25 March, 1835) is unsigned, whereas most of those by Figaro in this and other volumes are signed with the author's name or nom de plume; (2) that (no doubt for this reason) the article and that of April 12 are not included in any edition of Larra's works known to me; (3) that in the second of the two articles (12 April, 1835), which Azorín seems to have missed, the writer speaks of himself as having been on the closest terms of intimacy with Rivas-on closer terms than Larra is known to have been. Could Larra have truly said of Don Alvaro: “Le ví nacer y crecer, y en cuanto podía mi poquedad ayudé a su crecimiento, y tengo amor entrañable, amor casi paternal a la criatura,

* The Revista Española (1832-6) is not a very accessible review, but it may be consulted in the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid (Catalogue number 5/288). The volumes are, however, frequently mutilated, and some of the literary articles have been deliberately cut out.

· Rivas y Larra,--Razón social del romanticismo en España (Madrid, Renacimiento, 1916), pp. 80-3. •P. 80.

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