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the elements of greatness. To us he appears to have a wider range and greater freedom of movement than any other of the younger English poets. In his dramas we find always a leading design and a conscientious subordination of all the parts to it. In each one of them also, below the more apparent and exterior sources of interest, we find an illustration of some general idea which bears only a philosophical relation to the particular characters, thoughts, and incidents, and without which the drama is still complete in itself, but which yet binds together and sustains the whole, and conduces to that unity for which we esteem these works so highly. In another respect Mr. Browning's dramatic power is rare. The characters of his women are finely discriminated. No two are alike, and yet the characteristic features of each are touched with the most delicate precision. By far the greater number of authors who have attempted female characters have given us mere automata. They think it enough, if they make them subordinate to a generalized idea of human nature. Mr. Browning never forgets that women are women, and not simply human beings, for there they occupy common ground with men.

Many English dramas have been written within a few years, the authors of which have established their claim to the

We cannot but allow that we find in them fine thoughts finely expressed, passages of dignified and sustained eloquence, and as adequate a conception of character as the reading of history and the study of models will furnish. But it is only in Mr. Browning that we find enough of freshness, vigor, grasp, and of that clear insight and conception which enable the artist to construct characters from within, and so to make them real things, and not images, as to warrant our granting the honor due to the Dramatist.

title of poet.

a very young man, they were not published, nor did they come to his knowledge, till some time after the publication of bis Travels of Anacharsis the Scythian. In acknowledging the receipt of a copy of the edition of 1781, he writes, with characteristic urbanity :-“ Had I been earlier acquainted with this work, I either should not have commenced mine, or should have attempted to approach so beautiful a model.” But in the judgment, as we suppose, of every candid critic, he surpassed this model, and ought to have surpassed, in a work that cost him thirty years' toil, the mere classical sport of a knot of university students. His Anacharsis, as a compend of Grecian history, stands in our opinion unrivalled, and we can point to few works in any language, that can bear comparison with it for uniform dignity and beauty of style, and for the attractive interest shed over the most abstruse speculations and the driest details.

For the purpose of historical illustration, we regard works like these as far preferable to stories like those named at the head of this article, which emulate the artistical proportions, and of course must assume many of the restrictions, of the modern novel. The Persian or the Scythian traveller can go everywhere, pry into every thing, and ask all sorts of questions ; the Athenian lover or the Roman exquisite can be carried through the natural routine of the life of one in his own condition ; and the symmetry of the story is deranged, if the habits, haunts, and associations of his freedman or slave, or still more, if those of a person remotely connected with the hero, are described with any good degree of accuracy. Becker, in these books, has met this difficulty in its full force, and honestly succumbed to it. Each of his stories, in a large, leaded type, nominally occupies in Metcalfe's translation considerably less than half of the pages in the volume, while nearly half even of this space is taken up by the finely printed notes ; and the remaining pages are devoted to excursus, in a medium type, on various subjects connected with the private life of the ancients. The consequence is, that the reader not studiously inclined hurries through the tales, and gets from them the merest smattering of archaeology, while the notes and excursus, bristling with references and quotations in the original languages, and incapable from their very nature of presenting an inviting aspect, win the regard of scholars only. But had Becker adopted a device like

which the historian cannot supply from his own proper materials, but without which ancient history cannot vie with modern in vividness of representation, and in the distinctness with which it adapts for current use the lessons of embodied and recorded experience.

The perception of this want has, no doubt, given birth to these forms of historical fiction, in which fancy permits itself no independent flight, but assumes the humbler office of vivifying and adorning undisputed facts. This is best done by the introduction of some imaginary traveller or envoy, who shall visit the scene of the story, and report his own conversations, journeyings, and experiences. He may be introduced into the heart of Athenian or Roman society at some strongly marked historical epoch, and may easily be so transferred from group to group, and from place to place, as to take successive cognizance of every department of intellectual, political, and social life, and to hear the narrative of previous events from those who participated in them, or are most familiar with their scenes or their memorials. One of the earliest and most successful works of this class is the “ Athenian Letters," – the imaginary correspondence of an agent of the king of Persia, resident at Athens during the whole Peloponnesian war. They were written about the year 1740, by a society of friends, who were contemporaries at the University of Cambridge. The time, the age of Pericles, the culminating era of the Athenian intellect and one of the most eventful periods in Grecian history, was most happily chosen ; and the Persian agent and correspondents from his own country are introduced into every circle and community from which light can be cast upon the history, culture, and manners of the age, while well contrived episodes supply the leading facts and features of earlier times, and the constant comparison of Grecian with Oriental institutions and customs brings out into the clearest light many traits which mere narrative would leave in obscurity. The style of the work is inadequate to its merit, in point of ingenuity and learning. It is frigid, jejune, and unattractive, betraying the exclusively classical training of the writers, their neglect of English models of composition, and their ignorance of the more recondite resources and the more delicate amenities of their native tongue.

Though these Letters were printed while Barthelemy was

a very young man, they were not published, nor did they come to his knowledge, till some time after the publication of his Travels of Anacharsis the Scythian. In acknowledging the receipt of a copy of the edition of 1781, he writes, with characteristic urbanity :-“ Had I been earlier acquainted with this work, I either should not have commenced mine, or should have attempted to approach so beautiful a model." But in the judgment, as we suppose, of every candid critic, he surpassed this model, and ought to have surpassed, in a work that cost him thirty years' toil, the mere classical sport of a knot of university students. His Anacharsis, as a compend of Grecian history, stands in our opinion unrivalled, and we can point to few works in any language, that can bear comparison with it for uniform dignity and beauty of style, and for the attractive interest shed over the most abstruse speculations and the driest details.

For the purpose of historical illustration, we regard works like these as far preferable to stories like those named at the head of this article, which emulate the artistical proportions, and of course must assume many of the restrictions, of the modern novel. The Persian or the Scythian traveller can go everywhere, pry into every thing, and ask all sorts of questions; the Athenian lover or the Roman exquisite can be carried through the natural routine of the life of one in his own condition ; and the symmetry of the story is deranged, if the habits, haunts, and associations of his freedman or slave, or still more, if those of a person remotely connected with the hero, are described with any good degree of accuracy. Becker, in these books, has met this difficulty in its full force, and honestly succumbed to it. Each of his stories, in a large, leaded type, nominally occupies in Metcalfe's translation considerably less than half of the pages in the volume, while nearly half even of this space is taken up by the finely printed notes ; and the remaining pages are devoted to excursus, in a medium type, on various subjects connected with the private life of the ancients. The consequence is, that the reader not studiously inclined hurries through the tales, and gets from them the merest smattering of archæology, while the notes and excursus, bristling with references and quotations in the original languages, and incapable from their very nature of presenting an inviting aspect, win the regard of scholars only. But had Becker adopted a device like

Barthelemy's, almost all the important matter in the notes and the excursus would have naturally found room in the text, and a foot-note here and there would have served for the minute explanations and the references, which would still have been desirable.

The hero of Gallus is the Cornelius Gallus of history, the soldier, courtier, and poet, best known through the commemoration of his unhappy loves in Virgil's tenth eclogue. The plot is simple, and in most respects closely parallel with the concluding events of Gallus's life. We are first introduced into his sumptuous home at midnight, on his return from his last supper with Augustus, at which the emperor's growing dislike for him, fostered by the calumnies of his pretended friend Valerius Largus, has at length betrayed itself in ways which admit no double interpretation. In league with Largus for his ruin is another pretended friend, a fictitious one, Pomponius, a poverty-stricken sycophant, who, without the knowledge of Gallus, was his successful rival with Lycoris, during her temporary desertion of him, and whose present enmity is the consequence of her return to her old lover. This feud, smothered under the disguise of confidential intimacy, which furnishes motive power for the whole story, fills an actual lacuna in the surviving accounts of the life of Gallus, without violating historical probability ; for the hypothesis which identifies Lycoris with a wellknown mistress of Antony has no foundation, nor is her reconciliation with her forsaken lord without frequent parallel in the history of illicit love, both ancient and modern.

In following Gallus from midnight till the next noon, we are made acquainted with all the principal apartments and furniture of his house and the mysteries of his toilet, we range among the volumes, lita cedro, et levi servata cupresso,in his library, and look over his shoulder as he dictates the dedication of his last volume of Elegies and Epigrams, just ready, not for the press, but for the numerous scribes of Secundus the bookseller. To recover from his last night's chagrin, and to evade the consequences of some imprudent words into which wine and anger had betrayed him on retiring from the banquet, he has conceived the purpose, in which he is confirmed by the treacherous advice of Pomponius, of retiring for a few days to his villa near Capua. Having sent a letter requesting Lycoris to set out forthwith

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