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Et fi sa liberté te faisait entreprendre,
pour monter au trône et lui donner la loi,
que ce grand fardeau de l'empire Romain
C'est elle qu'on adore, et non pas ta personne,
Emilia enters, and behaves with the most insolent pride, undaunted assurance, and unfeeling ingratitude ; and declares to Au-gustus, that as long as she is handsome enough to get lovers he shall never want enemies. Augustus still adheres to his plan of clemency, (for that too is plan, and the result of prudent deliberation, not of generous magnanimity) he pardons Maximus, forgives Cinna in spite of his unworthiness, and bestows upon him Emilia and the consulship. Emilia is at last mitigated, and modestly tells Augustus that heaven has ordained a change in the commonwealth since it has changed her heart. What is there in all this that can move either pity or terror? In what is it moral, in what is it interesting, where is it pathetic ?
It is a common error in the plan of Corneille's tragedies, that the interest of the piece turns upon some unknown person, generally a haughty princess ; fo that instead of the representation of an important event, and the characters of illustrious persons, the businefs of the drama is the love-intrigue of a termagant lady, who, if she is a Roman, infults the Barbarians, if she is a Barbarian, braves the Romans, and even to her lover is infolent and fierce. Were such
Were such a person to be produced on our theatre, The would be taken for a mad poetess escaped from her keepers in Bedlam, who, fancying herself å queen, was ranting, and delivering her man. dates in rhyme upon the stage. All the excuse that can be made for Corneille in such representation, is, that characters like thefe, dignified indeed with ndbler sentiments, were admired in the romances in which the manners of chivalry are exaggeTated. By the institutions of chivalry every valjant knight professed a peculiar 4
devotion to the fair sex, in whose cause, as the champion of the defenceless, and protector of the oppressed, he was always ready to take arms. A lady's interest being often the object, and sometimes her person the prize of a combat, she was supposed to inspire his courage ; and, as he was to be not less distinguished for politeness than valour, he affected an air of submissive obedience, while she, by the courtesy of knighthood, was allowed to assume a stile of superiority and command. To
these manners into ancient Greece and Rome, and weave them into a conspiracy there, betrays want of judgment. In the strain of romance this drama is carried on. The lady enjoins her lover to kill Augustus ; that adventure atchieved he is to hope for her hand; his glory is to be derived from her acknowledge ing him worthy of it; she is continually exhorting him to deserve the honour of being beloved by her. The fate of Augustus, of the Roman empire, all the duties of the citizen and the friend, are to depend on her
decision. She says to Augustus, when he has discovered the conspiracy, as a sufficient vindication of her lover, : Oui, tout ce qu'il a fait, il l'a fait pour me plaire,
Et j'en etois, feigneur, la cause et le salaire. The author certainly intended to recommend Cinna to his spectators merely as a loyal lover, according to the phrase of romance: in every other light he appears contemptible, and indeed suffers himself to be used with the greateit contempt and indignity. As Shakespear laboured to shew that the motives of Brutus were untinctured by any bad passion ; on the contrary every movement in the mind of Cinna has the character of baseness, and whether he conspires or whether he repents of it, he is still, as he acknowledges himself to be,
Un esprit malheureux, Qui ne forme qu'en lache un dessein genereux.
From this unhappy wretch who basely conceives a generous design, let us turn to Brutus. There we shall see the different