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“ Edm. Some officers take them away: doomed, shines like a place of vergood guard;
nal and summer joy. Until their greater pleasures first be « We two alone will sing like birds i'the known,
cage." That are to censure them. Cor. We are not the first,
And to higher thoughts than of pleaWho, with best meaning, bave incurr'd santness and peace," the aged mothe worst.
narch's soul awoke.” The very esFor thee, oppressed king, am I cast down; sence of his being seems to have Myself could else out-frown false fortune's come sublimed from the furnace of frown.
affliction. A loftier occupation shall Shall we not see these daughters, and be his in his dungeon, than he had these sisters?
ever dreamt of in his palace. Lear. No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison :
“ And take upon us the mystery of things, We two alone will sing like birds i'the As if we were God's spies !"
cage : When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll
1911 As if-saith Samuel Johnson-sokneel down,
lemnly — we were angels commisAnd ask of thee forgiveness : So we'll
sioned to survey and report the lives live,
of men, and were consequently enAnd pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and
dowed with the power of prying in, laugh
to the original motives of action and Atgilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues the mysteries of conduct. Talk of court news; and we'll talk with “ Enter Lear, with Cordelta dead in his them too,
arms; EDGAR, Officer, and Others. Who loses, and who wins; who's in, Lear, Howl, howl, howl, howl!—0, who's out;
you are men of stones; And take upon us the mystery of things, Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use As if we were God's spies : And we'll
them so wear out,
That heaven's vault should crack :-0, In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of
she is gone for ever! great ones,
I know when one is dead, and when one That ebb and flow by the moon.
lives; Edm. Take them away.
She's dead as earth :- Lend me a lookLear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cor.
If that her breath will mist or stain the The gods themselves throw incense. Have
stone, I caught thee?
Why, then she lives." He, that parts us, shall bring a brand
from heaven, And fire us hence, like foxes. Wipe thine eyes;
“And my poor fool is hang'd !-No, no, The goujeers shall devour them, flesh and no life!
fell, Ere they shall make us weep : we'll see them starve first.
Do you see this? Look on her, look, Come. [Ereunt Lear and Cor
-her lips, DELIA, guarded.” Look there, look there! [He dies." What a blessed cbange has been wrought on poor old Lear! No
Almost every word spoken by more he cries
Cordelia have we here set down;
how few they are-butin power how “ the tempest in my mind mighty! Well and beautifully does Doth from my senses take all feeling else, the gifted lady, whose work has been Save what beats here."
lying before us while we have been
writing, say, that “ if Lear be the He has forgotten the hovel on the grandest of Shakspeare's Tragedies, heath-the creature “ crown'd with Cordelia, in herself, as a human berank fumiter," "singing aloud,” “as ing, governed by the purest and homad as the vext sea” -he will not liest impulses and motives, the most think of those“ unnatural hags.”— refined from all dross of selfishness “ No-no-no-no”—but the pri- and passion, approaches nearest to son to which he and his Cordelia are perfection; and in her adaptation, as
3: doomed, shines like a place of ver
nal and summer joy. be “We two alone will sing like birds i'the
cage." And to higher thoughts than of pleared santness and peace,“ the aged mo
narch's soul awoke." The very ese
sence of his being seems to have re's
come sublimed from the furnace of
affliction. A loftier occupation shall und be bis in his dungeon, than he had
ever dreamt of in his palace.
“And take upon us the mystery of things the As if we were God's spies!" 3'11
As if-saith Samuel Johnson—80
lemnly - we were angels commise'll
sioned to survey and report the lives
of men, and were consequently en. and dowed with the power of prying in.
to the original motires of action and
the mysteries of conduct. vith
“ Enter Lear, with Cordelta dead in his
arms ; EDGAR, Officer, and Others Lear. Howl, howl, howl, how? —D,
you are men of stones; age, Had I your tongues and -e'll
she is gone for ever!
She's dead as earth :--Lend me a look.
ing-glass; If that her breath will mist or stain the
stone, Why, then she lives."
“And my poor fool is hang'd-No, no,
a dramatic personage, to a determi- nor yet to see it acted; but we be
In the story of King Lear and his lencies are equal, the audience will
such wretchedness could be in this We have never been so fortunate world-happy to see sunshine stream as to read this version of the story, down at last from the black sky, and
Do you sce this? Look on her. --look,
her lips.Look there, look there!-
Almost erery word spoken by Cordelia have we here set down; how few they are--but in power how mighty! Well and beautifully does the gifted lady, whose work has been lying before us while we have been writing, say, that " if Lear be the grandest of Shakspeare's Tragedies, Cordelia, in herself, as a human being, governed by the purest and holiest impulses and motires, the most refined from all dross of selfishness and passion, approaches nearest to
faction; and in her adaptation, as
settle into a spot of peace on the bo- from his grief for the death of Corsom of the green earth. For sake of delia ; and if he is also to be saved, such relief from pathos too intense, and to pass the remainder of his he was willing to sacrifice the most days in happiness, the whole loses awful triumph ever achieved by the its meaning. According to Shakgenius of mortal man over the dark- speare's plan, the guilty, it is true, are est mysteries of our nature.
all punished, for wickedness destroys Blame bim not-rather let him itself; but the auxiliary virtues are have our reverence. Neither, surely, everywhere too late, or overmatchis he to be found fault with for say. ed by the cunning activity of malice, ing, that “ since all reasonable be- The persons of the drama have only ings love justice, he cannot easily such a faint belief in providence as be persuaded that the observation of heathens may be supposed to have ; justice makes a play worse.” It and the poet here writes to shew us must always make it better. But is that this belief requires a wider there here any injustice? To the range than the dark pilgrimage on last moment of her life Cordelia was earth to be established in its utmost happy
extent.” Most true. Only the light
from beyond the grave can enable “ Fair creature! to whom Heaven A calm and sinless life, with love, bath
our eyes to see into the mystery of
the darkness in which all things on given !"
this side of it are shrouded; and A few days of what we might call poetical justice itself can only be felt misery were all she ever suffered. in the spirit of religion. She could not change insanity into Charles Lamb, alluding to Tate's perfect health-but she said
botchings, says well—" It is not “ O my dear father! Restoration, hang
enough that Cordelia is a daughter,
enough that cora Thy medicine on my lips; and let this she must shine as a lover too.” kiss
Where is her husband? He seems Repair those violent harms, that my two to have come with her across the sisters
Channel--but to have been recalled Have in thy reverence made !"
by some sudden disturbances in
France. Nobody doubts that CorAnd Restoration came at that invo- delia was a perfect wife. That is cation, and did her bidding ; so that, implied in her filial piety. But her when afterwards sent to prison to- conjugal duties were for a while to gether, Lear said they two would lie dormant and forgotten-along sing there, like “ birds i' the cage !” with her lord and their mutual love. And so they did; till a slave stole in
She was sent on a higher mission upon their holy communion, and and in Nature's holiest cause she Cordelia in a moment was murder was a martyr. “A happy ending !” ed—and sent to bliss.
exclaims Mr Lamb—"as if the living “ O fairest flower! no sooner blown than martyrdom that Lear had gone blasted!"
through--the flaying of his feelings
alive, did not make a fair dismissal For not till then was the beauty of
from the stage of life, the only decoCordelia's being full-blown, under
rous thing for him. If he is to live the sunshine of joy and the dews of
and be happy after, if he could sus. pity-it was perfect--and in its per
tain the world's burden after, why fection ceased to be on earth, and
all this pudder and preparationwas transferred to heaven.
why torment us with all this unne“ Thou thy worldly task hast done, cessary sympathy? As if the childHome art gone, and tå'en thy wages."
ish pleasure of getting his gilt robes
and sceptre again could tempt him to What were they-her wages ? Bless- act over again his misused station ings from her father's quieted eyes ! -as if, at his years and with bis exthe still delight of duty unconscious perience, any thing was left but to of its own grandeur in the depth of die!" love!
Characters of the Affections ! HerSchlegel speaks well—" after surmione, Imogen, Desdemona, and viving so many sufferings, Lear Cordelia! Farewell. May we now can only die in a tragical manner be permitted to philosophize ?
on the bo- from his grief for the death of Cor. or sake of delia ; and if he is also to be sared,
intense, and to pass the remainder of his the most days in happiness, the whole loses ed by the its meaning. According to Shakche dark- speare's plan, the guilty, it is true, are
all punished, for wickedness destroys let him itself; but the auxiliary virtues are , surely, everywhere too late, or overmatchfor saye ed by the cunning activity of malice
. able be- The persons of the drama have only at easily such a faint belief in providence as Fation of heathens may be supposed to hare; e.” It and the poet here writes to shew us
But is that this belief requires a wider To the range than the dark pilgrimage on elia was earth to be established in its uimost
extent.” Most true. Only the light
from beyond the grave can enable Heaven
our eyes to see into the mystery of
Charles Lamb, alluding to Tate's
The language of ethical writers pleasure, does or does not bear a min in general seems to oppose the idea of which the state itself, considere of making the Affections objects of without respect to the particular ac moral approbation.
tions it suggests, but regarded as Thus Dr Reid,(Essay V., Chap. 5,) frame of mind, (only with confidenc speaks unequivocally :-" If virtue that it is sufficiently sincere and fixe and vice be a matter of choice, they to produce its own actions when od must consist in voluntary actions, or casion may arise,) is not an objecto in fixed purposes of acting according moral approbation ? Now there ca to a certain rule, when there is op- be but one answer, that the filia portunity, and not in qualities of mind piety of such a child would be the which are involuntary.”
object of our very purest and highes Thus Mr Stewart, (Outlines, 257, and most delighted praise. Yet ir 258,) more explicitly still :-“ The such a mind there shall be no consi propriety or impropriety of our con- deration that these feelings are right, duct depends in no instance on the and that feelings different from these strength or weakness of the affection, would be wrong. There shall be nobut on our obeying or disobeying the thing but the pure and simple inspiradictates of reason and of conscience.” tion of affection. Still less would there In connexion with which he says, be in such a temper of mind, and in
our affections were given us to ar all the feelings that sprung up in it, rest our attention to particular ob- any thing of election or choice. The jects, whose happiness is connected very supposition that they are affecwith our exertions; and to excite tions, precludes all choice. The acts and support the activity of the mind, indeed are matter of choice, but they when a sense of duty night be in- derive their worth and character sufficient for the purpose.
solely from the motive, in which Both these writers here speak there is here no choice; and even what may be considered as the re these are not considered by the ceived language of moralists. They mind by any rule of right, but are are not proposing new views, but tried merely how far they accord referring to acknowledged princi- with the feelings that are in the ples.
heart. In all these observations it is laid Now, this single case, if it be addown as an unquestionable maxim, mitted, will entirely set aside the that in order to constitute virtue, absolute authority of those two there must be in the mind of the principles which we have cited from agent at the time a knowledge of his Dr Reid and Mr Stewart, and which conformity with the rule of virtue. are very commonly admitted. It It is further represented by Dr Reid, will shew that these rules require to that to make any thing right, it must be explained, and to be much rebe matter of choice or election, stricted in their application ; that if wbich the affections are not.
felt ty into
botchings, says well-“It is not , hang enough that Cordelia is a daughter
, ét this she must shine as a lorer too."
Where is her husband ? He seems by two
to have come with her across the Channel--but to have been recalled by some sudden disturbances in
France. Nobody doubts that Core invo. delia was a perfect wife. That is
that, implied in her filial piety. But her I too conjugal duties were for a while to ould lie dormant and forgotten-along ge!" with her lord and their mutual lore. e in She was sent on a higher missionand and in Nature's holiest cause she Jere was a martyr,
A happy ending." exclaims Mr Lamb" as if the living han martyrdom that Lear had gone
they are useful, it is in particular Now, we cannot help thinking, that cases ; but that as absolute tests of notwithstanding both these maxims, morality, in which sense they are which would exclude the affections, proposed, they do not hold good ;generally speaking, from morality, since here is a case of a very high they are nevertheless esteemed, and moral order, in which they are tojustly esteemed, by the common tally inapplicable. And this case, it sentiment of mankind, as the great will be observed, though proposed constituents of virtue.
as a single one, is merely the reLet us speak first of a class of af- presentative of a very extensive orfections which are uniformly looked der of moral cases,-all those of pure, upon with the highest respect, and good, rightly-directed native affecmost decided moral approbation
tion. The instance of a mind so perthose which regard parents; and we fectly pure and good as we have supwould ask, whether a child whose posed, is a rare one, but such do oc. mind is much filled with these affec cur; and it would be no vindication, tions, is full of reverence, of fond and but the strongest objection, to a grateful feeling, towards those to theory of morals, that it would not whom it seems to itself to owe all include those cases, however rare, things, tenderly fearful to give them which were rare only from the height pain, and only solicitous to do their of moral excellence they implied. W.
through-the flaying of his feelings alive, did not make a fair dismissal from the stage of life, the only deco
rous thing for him. If he is to live of and be happy after
, if he could sus25 tain the world's burden after, why od all this pudder and preparation
why torment us with all this unne. cessary sympathy? As if the childish pleasure of getting his gilt robes and sceptre again could tempt him to act orer again his misused station -as if, at his years and with bis erperience, any thing was left but to die!”
Characters of the Affections / Her. mione, Imogen, Desdemona, and Cordelia! Farewell. May we now
nermitted to philosophize?
have represented nearly the only piness of disposition, and of the cir-
the heart? Or do we approve nant feeling in the soul ?-and that
sideration that he was so, or any It is true that passing emotions of temptation of evil entering into his right feeling are not virtue; nor is a mind to tell him that he had a consingle good affection. But suppose science,mifall his affections for earth any man, who in all the various re and heaven could have been right, lations of life feels kindly, warmly, and pure, and strong, and all in their generously, and who in performing just proportion, so that every allureall its offices is influenced by the ment to ill that could have been pleasure he feels, and by a sense of offered to him should have appeared natural aversion to that which would not matter of deliberation but of abbe contrary to his just, kind, right borrence,--that this state, which, acfeelings-should we withhold our cording to the ethical maxims in esteem from such a man, and say question, must be without any merit that his feelings had no moral qua or claim to praise, would have been lity because they were involuntary ? in truth the highest moral state conor his actions, because they were ceivable. These maxims then canprompted by his feelings, and not not be supported. measured to a known rule of right? But, constituted as human nature
We are inclined to think, that by is, this state is not possible. In man far the greater part of the moral ap- good is mixed with evil, and it is probation and disapprobation we be- this mixture which gives occasion to stow in life, is given from recogni- all ethical enquiry. The contention sing the presence or absence of such between good and evil is that strife right affections.
of which conscience is the umpire. If the nature of man be truly con It is reflection on the tendencies of sidered, and the purport of the great these two opposite forces that gives er part of the moral instruction which rise to a rule of right. It is the alhe receives, and the moral discipline lurement which both good and evil he passes through, it will be found offer to the mind, that makes virtue that the great object of all is to frame a matter of volition and choice. him to right feelings. Are these feel. From this mixed state, then, and this ings right and moral only because subjection of human nature to two they have been formed in the mind different powers, arises a great deagainst nature ? And do they lose partment of morality. And, as it aptheir character when by greater hap- pears to us, all that has been usually