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The parting between Angiolina and her husband in the dungeon is intended to be affecting, but it falls far short of that true pathos which Lord Byron could command. The Doge is then led to the place of execution. After he has been deprived of his crown he makes a long speech prophetic of the misery and degradation to which the vices of Venice shall sink her. Notwithstanding that this is somewhat strained, and even ranting, it is eloquent, and sometimes terrible. After he has asked permission to speak, and obtained it, though with the intimation, at the same time, that the people are out of hearing, he proceeds thus:

I speak to Time and to Eternity,

Of which I grow a portion, not to man.
Ye elements! in which to be resolved
I hasten, let my voice be as a spirit

Upon you! Ye blue waves! which bore my banner;
Ye winds! which fluttered o'er as if you loved it,
And filled my swelling sails as they were wafted
To many a triumph! Thou, my native earth,
Which I have bled for, and thou foreign earth,
Which drank this willing blood from many a wound!
Ye stones, in which my gore will not sink, but
Reek up to Heaven! Ye skies, which will receive it!
Thou sun! which shinest on these things, and Thou!
Who kindlest and who quenchest suns!—Attest!

I am not innocent-but are these guiltless?

I perish, but not unavenged; far ages
Float up from the abyss of time to be,

And show these eyes, before they close, the doom
Of this proud city, and I leave my curse

On her and hers for ever!—Yes, the hours
Are silently engendering of the day,

When she, who built 'gainst Attila a bulwark,
Shall yield, and bloodlessly and basely yield,
Unto a bastard Attila, without

Shedding so much blood in her last defence
As these old veins, oft drained in shielding her,
Shall pour in sacrifice.-She shall be bought
And sold, and be an appanage to those
Who shall despise her!-She shall stoop to be
A province for an empire, petty town

In lieu of capital, with slaves for senates,
Beggars for nobles, panders for a people!
Then when the Hebrew's in thy palaces,
The Hun in thy high places, and the Greek
Walks o'er thy mart, and smiles on it for his!
When thy patricians beg their bitter bread
In narrow streets, and in their shameful need
Make their nobility a plea for pity!
Then, when the few who still retain a wreck
Of their great fathers' heritage shall fawn
Round a barbarian Vice of King's Vice-gerent,
Even in the palace where they swayed as sovereigns,
Even in the palace where they slew their sovereign,
Proud of some name they have disgraced, or sprung
From an adulteress boastful of her guilt

With some large gondolier or foreign soldier,
Shall bear about their bastardy in triumph

To the third spurious generation;—when
Thy sous are in the lowest scale of being,
Slaves turned o'er to the vanquished by the victors,
Despised by cowards for greater cowardice,
And scorned even by the vicious for such vices
As in the moustrous grasp of their conception
Defy all codes to image or to name them ;—
Then, when of Cyprus, now thy subject kingdom,
All thine inheritance shall be her shame
Entailed on thy less virtuous daughters, grown
A wider proverb for worse prostitution;-
When all the ills of conquered states shall cling thee,
Vice without splendour, sin without relief
Even from the gloss of love to smooth it o'er,
But in its stead coarse lusts of habitude,

Prurient yet passionless, cold studied lewdness,
Depraving nature's frailty to an art;—

When these and more are heavy on thee, when

Smiles without mirth, and pastimes without pleasure,

Youth without honour, age without respect,

Meanness and weakness, and a sense of woe

'Gainst which thou wilt not strive, and dar'st not murmur, Have made thee last and worst of peopled deserts,

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Amidst thy many murders, think of mine!

Thou den of drunkards with the blood of princes!
Gehenna of the waters! thou sea Sodom!

Thus I devote thee to the infernal gods!

Thee and thy serpent seed!

[Here the Doge turns, and addresses the Executioner.

Strike as I struck the foe! Strike as I would

Slave, do thine office!

Have struck those tyrants!

Strike deep as my curse!

Strike and but once!

[The Doge throws himself upon his knees, and as the Executioner raises his sword the scene closes

Notwithstanding the merit of this work as a poem, it was in many respects deficient as a tragedy, and was not less generally disapproved of, on merely critical grounds, than his Don Juan' had been, for the evil it was likely to do to the morals of society. We have before expressed an opinion that Lord Byron's blank verse was defective, and that his amazing facility in every other species of composition was in this always baffled. A common fault in it is, that he ends his lines frequently with insignificant monosyllables and expletives, thus weakening the sentiment, and destroying at once the harmony and the emphasis, in a description of verse so much in need of both, that it is almost worthless without them.

Lord Byron chose to write an ill-tempered preface to this tragedy, in which he took great credit to himself for having preserved the dramatic unities, the neglect of which, he chose to say, was the reproach of the English theatrical compositions;' as if, with the example of Shakspeare and the other English dramatists before their eyes, his countrymen cared one straw about the unities, or those who first invented or since had followed them. For this he was justly blamed, because his arrogance was unbecoming, and his assertions untrue. In this same preface he announced that, in composing this tragedy, he had no view to the stage. Certainly never was any tragedy written that could be less available for such a purpose, and yet afterwards Mr. Elliston thought fit to bring it out at Drury Lane. The representation was interdicted by the authority of the Court of Chancery, and it was not less fortunate for the author's reputation than for the manager's profit that its performance was prevented.

In the opinion of the public The Doge of Venice' was decidedly a failure. The main cause of this was its want of interest. It possessed some of the first and more rare requisites for a tragedy-sublimity, terror, and pathos; but it was deficient in that without which the rest are unavailing-interest. The subject was badly chosen. The passion of the Doge for revenge is absurd and extravagant, when compared with the cause which is supposed to have produced it. A ribald slander, one of those insignificant lies which swarm like summer gnats in the hot air of a court, and which sting even less than those insects, is here made to be the moving cause by which an old experienced prince-a wise, brave, and not a bad man-is induced to peril his crown and life, and risk the destruction of his country, in a conspiracy, with a band of very ordinary ruffians. The character of the Duchess is too cold to excite any but the most slender sympathy. She is a good sort of woman enough, but as frigid and as formal as an old Quaker of the old school. She seems made to bear sorrow with the utmost fortitude; and she makes a long speech, in the midst of her affliction, in a very learned but not lady-like style. She is as different from the passionate and truly feminine women of Lord Byron's other poems as this stiff and labored tragedy is from the more congenial productions of his warm and sensitive mind.

To turn, however, from the faults to the beauties of this play-there are some passages of genuine poetry, and more which are full of the rich and commanding, though somewhat verbose eloquence, which characterizes the best periods of our drama. The soliloquy of Leoni is an exquisite composition: it has all that an elegant combination of sentiment and expression can give to it, and makes us regret still more that the poet who was capable of such a flight should load his free wing with the despised fetters of the critical unities.

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Subjoined to this tragedy is a long poetical rhapsody, in four cantos, called The Prophecy of Dante.' It has all the impulse and feeling of real poetry; but it is obscure, and the subject is not the most interesting to English readers. It is put into the mouth of the great poet, and consists of a strain of reproaches and prophetic denunciations of the future fate of Italy, over which the seer weeps while he pronounces the doom. This, though perhaps the least pleasing, is not the least powerful, of Lord Byron's productions. He says, in his preface to this poem, that it was suggested to him in the course of a visit to the city of Ravenna, in the summer of 1819, that, as he had composed a poem on the subject of Tasso's confinement, he ought to be induced by the

sight of Dante's tomb, which is in Ravenna, to pay a similar homage to the memory of the latter. The person by whom this suggestion was made is known to have been the Countess Guiccioli; and to her the poem was dedicated in a sonnet, which we have inserted at page 373 of this volume. It is written in the Terza Rima-a species of composition of which this was the first successful specimen in the English language. Notwithstanding that Lord Byron produced a beautiful poem in this style, it seems still questionable whether its beauty is commensurate to the effort which is necessary for its production.

Dante is supposed to address the reader in the interval between the conclusion of the Divina Commedia and his death, and, shortly before the latter event, foretelling in his swan-like song the fortunes of Italy in general in the ensuing centuries. The apostrophe to Florence is touching, and has a character of sublimity partly intrinsic, and partly derived from the resemblance which it bears to the lamentation of our Saviour over Jerusalem:

Oh Florence! Florence! unto me thou wast
Like that Jerusalem which the Almighty He
Wept over, but thou wouldst not; as the bird
Gathers its young, I would have gathered thee
Beneath a parent pinion, hadst thou heard

My voice; but as the adder, deaf and fierce,
Against the breast that cherished thee was stirred
Thy venom, and my state thou didst amerce,
And doom this body forfeit to the fire.
Alas! how bitter is his country's curse
To him who for that country would expire,
But did not merit to expire by her,

And loves her, loves her even in her ire.
The day may come when she will cease to err,

The day may come she would be proud to have
The dust she dooms to scatter, and transfer
Of him, whom she denied a home, the grave.

But this shall not be granted; let my dust
Lie where it falls; nor shall the soil which gave

Me breath, but in her sudden fury thrust

Me forth to breathe elsewhere, so reassume
My indignant bones, because her angry gust
Forsooth is over, and repealed her doom;

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