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mouse to have answered, in the language of the aforesaid fly :
"No, thank you, sir, I really feel
Titmouse, however, swallowed with equal facility Mr Tag-rag's hard port and his soft blarney; but all fools have large swallows. When at length Tag-rag alluded to the painfully evident embarrassment of his " "poor Tabby," and said he had now found out what had been so long the matter with her," [ay, even this went down,] and hemmed, and winked his eye, and drained his glass, Titmouse began to get flustered, blushed, and hoped Mr Tag-rag would soon join the ladies.' They did so, (Tag-rag stopping behind to lock up the wine and the remains of the fruit.) Miss Tag-rag presided over the tea things. There were muffins, and crumpets, and reeking-hot buttered toast; Mrs Tag-rag would hear of no denial, so poor Titmouse, after the most desperate resistance, was obliged to swallow a round of toast, half a muffin, and an entire crumpet, and four cups of hot tea; after which he felt a very painful degree of turgidity, and a conviction that he should be able to eat and drink nothing more for the remainder of the week.
After the tea things had been removed, Tag-rag, directing Titmouse's attention to the piano, which was open, (with some music on it, ready to be played from,) asked him whether he liked music. Titmouse, with great eagerness, hoped Miss T. would give them some music; and she, after holding out a long and vigorous siege, at length asked her papa what it should be.
"The Battle of Prague," said her papa.
Before Jehovah's awful throne," hastily interposed her mamma.
"The Battle," sternly repeated her papa.
"It's Sunday night, Mr T.," meekly rejoined his wife.
"Which will you have, Mr Titmouse?" enquired Tag-rag, with The Battle of Prague written in every feature of his face. Titmouse almost burst into a state of perspiration.
"A little of both, sir, if you please."
"Well," replied Tag-rag, slightly relaxing," that will do. Split the difference-eh? Come, Tab, down
with you. Titmouse, will you turn over the music for her?"
Titmouse rose, and having sheepishly taken his station beside Miss Tagthe performances commenced with Before Jehovah's awful throne! But, mercy upon us! at what a rate she rattled over that "pious air.” If its respectable composer had been present, he must have gone into a fit; but there was no help for it-the heart of the lovely performer was in The Battle of Prague, to which she presently did most ample justice. So much were her feelings engaged in that sublime composition, that the bursting of one of the strings—twang! in the middle of the "cannonading," did not at all disturb her; and, as soon as she had finished the exquisite "finale," Titmouse was in such a tumult of excitement, from different causes, that he could have shed tears. Though he had never once_turned over at the right place, Miss Tag-rag thanked him for his services with a smile of infinite sweetness. Titmouse vowed he had never heard such splendid music-begged for more; away went Miss Tag-rag, hurried away by her excitement. Rondo af ter rondo, march after march, for at least half an hour; at the end of which old Tag-rag suddenly kissed her with passionate fondness. Though Mrs Tag-rag was horrified at the impiety of all this, she kept a very anxious eye on the young couple, and interchanged with her husband, every now and then, very significant looks. Shortly after nine, spirits, wine, and hot and cold water, were brought in. At the sight of them Titmouse looked alarmedfor he knew that he must take something more, though he would have freely given five shillings to be excused-for he felt as if he could not hold one drop more. But it was in vain. Willy-nilly, a glass of gin and water stood soon before him; he protested he could not touch it unless Miss Tag-rag would "take something"whereupon, with a blush, she "thought she would" take a wine glassful of sherry and water. This was provided her. Then Tag-rag mixed a tumbler of port- wine negus for Mrs Tag-rag, and a great glass of mahogany-coloured brandy and water for himself; and then he looked round, and felt perfectly happy. As Titmouse advanced with his gin and water, his spirits got higher and
higher, and his tongue more fluent. He once or twice dropped the " Mr," when addressing Tag-rag; several times smiled, and once even winked at the embarrassed Miss Tag-rag. Mr Tag-rag saw it, and could not control himself for he had got to the end of his first glass of brandy and water, and mixed himself a second, quite as strong as the former.
"Tab! ah, Tab! what has been the matter with you all these months?" -and he winked his eye at her and then at Titmouse.
"Papa!" exclaimed Miss Tag-rag, blushing up to her very temples.
"Ah, Titmouse-Titmouse-give me your hand," said Tag. rag; "you'll forget us all when you're a great man -but we shall always remember you." "You're very good-very!" said Titmouse, cordially returning the pressure of Tag-rag's hand. At that instant, it suddenly occurred to him to adopt the suggestion of Mr Gammon. Tag-rag was going on very fast, indeed, about the disinterested nature of his feelings towards Titmouse-towards whom, he said, he had always felt just as he did at that moment 'twas in vain to deny it.
"I'm sure your conduct shows it, sir," commenced Titmouse, feeling a shudder like that with which a timid bather approaches the margin of the cold stream. "I could have taken my oath, sir, you would have refused to let me come into your house, when you heard of it”
"Ah ha!-that's rather an odd idea, too. If I felt a true friendship for you as plain Titmouse, it's so likely I should. My dear sir! it was I that thought you wouldn't have come into my house! A likely thing!"
Titmouse was puzzled. His perceptions, never very quick or clear, were now undoubtedly somewhat obfuscated with what he had been drinking. In short, he did not understand that Tagrag had not understood him; and felt rather baffled.
"What surprising ups and downs there are in life, Mr Titmouse," said Mrs Tag-rag, respectfully-" they're all sent from above, to try us. No one knows how they'd behave, if as how (in a manner) they were turned upside down."
ly interrupted Tag-rag, inwardly cursing his wife, who, finding she always went wrong in her husband's eyes whenever she spoke a word, determined for the future to stick to her negus-" the fact is, there's a Mr Horror here that's for sending all decent people to He's filled my wife there with all sorts of nay, if she isn't bursting with cantso never mind her. You done any thing wrong! You're a pattern!"
"Well I'm a happy man again," resumed Titmouse, resolved now to go on." And when did they tell you of it, sir ?"
"Oh, a few days ago-a week ago," replied Tag-rag, trying to recollect. Why-why-sir—ain't you mistaken ?" enquired Titmouse, with a depressed, but at the same time a surprised air. "It only happened this morning, after you left."
"Eh eh-ah, ha!- What do you mean, Mr Titmouse?" interrupted Tag-rag, with a sickening attempt at a smile. Mrs Tag-rag and Miss Tagrag also turned exceedingly startled faces towards Titmouse, who felt as if a house were going to fall down on him.
Why, sir "-he began to cry, (an attempt which was greatly aided by the maudlin condition to which drink had reduced him,)" till to-day, I thought I was heir to ten thousand a-year-and it seems I'm not-it's all a mistake."
Tag-rag's face changed visibly; it was getting frightful to look at; the inward shock and agony were forcing out on his slanting forehead great. drops of perspiration.
"What-a-capital-joke-MrTitmouse!" he gasped, drawing_his handkerchief over his forehead. Titmouse, though greatly alarmed, stood to his gun pretty steadily.
"I-I wish it was a joke! It's been no joke to me, sir. There's another Tittlebat Titmouse, it seems, in Shoreditch, that's the right "
"Who told you this, sir?-Pho, I don't—I can't believe it,”said Tag-rag, in a voice tremulous between suppressed rage and fear.
"True, 'pon my life, It is "How dare you swear before the ladies? You're insulting them, sir!" “I——Ihope, mem, —almost roared Tag-rag. 66 'You're any thing to show". not a gentleman." He suddenly "Oh! my dear Titmouse," anxious dropped his voice, and, in a trem
I haven't done
bling and most earnest manner, asked Titmouse whether he was really joking or serious.
"Never more serious in my life, sir."
"It's really all up?"
Titmouse groaned. A satanic scowl shot over Tag-rag's disgusting fea
"Oh, ma—I do feel so ill!" faintly exclaimed Miss Tag-rag, turning deadly pale. Titmouse was on the verge of dropping on his knees, and confessing the trick, greatly agitated at the effect produced on Miss Tagrag; when Tag-rag's heavy hand was suddenly placed on his shoulder, and he whispered in a fierce under tone "You impostor!" and that stopped Titmouse, and made something like a MAN of him. He was a fearful fool, but he did not want for mere pluck, and now it was roused. Mrs Tag-rag exclaimed, "Oh, you shocking scamp!" as she passed Titmouse, and led her daughter out of the room.
"If I'm an impostor, sir, I'm no fit company for you, I suppose, sir, said Titmouse, rising."
"Pay me my five-pound note," almost shouted Tag-rag.
"Well, sir, if I'm poor, I an't a rogue," said Titmouse, preparing to give him what he asked for; when a faint shriek was heard, plainly from Miss Tag-rag, overhead. Then the seething caldron boiled over. "You infernal scoundrel," said Tag-rag, almost choked with fury; and suddenly seizing Titmouse by the collar, scarce giving him time, in passing, to get hold of his hat and stick, he urged him along through the passage, down the gravel walk, threw open the gate, thrust him furiously through it, and sent after him such a blast of execration, as was enough to drive him a hundred yards down the road. Titmouse did not fully recover his breath or his senses for more than half an hour afterwards. When he did, the first thing that occurred to him was, an inclination to fall down on his knees on the open road, and worship the sagacious and admirable GAMMON.
And now, Tittlebat Titmouse, for some little time, I have done with you. Away!-give room to your betters. But don't think that I have yet "rifled all your sweetness," or am about to "fling you like a noisome weed away."
Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work.
THE Greek tragedy is a great problem. We cannot say that the Greek drama is such in any more comprehensive sense; for the comedy of Greece depends essentially upon the same principles as our own. Comedy, as the reflex of the current of social life, will shift in correspondence to the shifting movements of civilisation. Inevitably as human intercourse in cities grows more refined, comedy will grow more subtle; it will build itself on distinctions of character less grossly defined, and on features of manners more delicate and impalpable. But the fundus, the ultimate resource, the well-head of the comic, must for ever be sought in the same field-viz. the ludicrous of incident, or the ludicrous of situation, or the ludicrous which arises in a mixed way between the character and the situation. The age of Aristophanes, for example, answered in some respects to our own earliest dramatic era, viz. from 1588 to 1635, an age not (as Dr Johnson assumes it to have been, in his elaborate preface to Shakspeare) rude or gross; on the contrary, far more intense with intellectual instincts and agencies than his own, which was an age of collapse. But in the England of Shakspeare, as in the Athens of Aristophanes, the surface of society in cities still rocked, or at least undulated, with the ground
swell surviving from periods of intes tine tumult and insecurity. The times were still martial and restless; men still wore swords in pacific assemblies; the intellect of the age was a fermenting intellect; it was a revolutionary intellect. And comedy itself, coloured by the moving pageantries of life, was more sinewy, more audacious in its movements; spoke with something more of an impassioned tone; and was hung with draperies more rich, more voluminous, more picturesque. the other hand, the age of the Athenian Menander, or the English Congreve, though still an unsettled age, was far less insecure in its condition of police, and far less showy in its exterior aspect. In England, it is true that a picturesque costume still prevailed; the whole people were still draped professionally; each man's dress proclaimed his calling; and so far it might be said, " natio comœdia est." But the characteristic and dividing spirit had fled, whilst the forms survived; and those middle men had universally arisen, whose equivocal relations to different employments broke down the strength of contrast between them. Comedy, therefore, was thrown more exclusively upon the interior man; upon the nuances of his nature, or upon the finer spirit of his manners. It was now the acknowledged duty of
"The whole people were still draped professionally." For example, physicians never appeared without the insignia of their calling; clergymen would have incurred the worst suspicions had they gone into the streets without a gown and bands. Ladies, again, universally wore masks, as the sole substitute known to our ancestors for the modern parasol; a fact, perhaps, now first noticed.
NO. CCXCII. VOL. XLVII.
comedy to fathom the coynesses of human nature, and to arrest the fleeting phenomena of human demeanour. But tragedy stood upon another footing. Whilst the comic muse in every age acknowledges a relationship which is more than sisterly-in fact, little short of absolute identity-the tragic muse of Greece and England stand so far aloof as hardly to recognise each other under any common designation. Few people have ever studied the Grecian drama-and hence may be explained the possibility that so little should have been said by critics upon its characteristic differences, and nothing at all upon the philosophic ground of these differences. Hence may be explained the fact, that, whilst Greek tragedy has always been a problem in criticism, it is still a problem of which no man has attempted the solution. This problem it is our intention briefly to investigate.
I. There are cases, occasionally occurring in the English drama and the Spanish, where a play is exhibited within a play. To go no further, every person remembers the remarkable instance of this in Hamlet. Sometimes the same thing takes place in painting. We see a chamber, suppose, exhibited by the artist, on the walls of which (as a customary piece of furniture) hangs a picture. And as this picture again might represent a room furnished with pictures, in the mere logical possibility of the case we might imagine this descent into a life below a life going on ad infinitum. Practically, however, the process is soon stopped. A retrocession of this nature is difficult to manage. The original picture is a mimic-an unreal life. But this unreal life is itself a real life with respect to the secondary picture; which again must be supposed realized with relation to the tertiary picture, if such a thing were attempted. Consequently, at every step of the introvolution, (to neologize a little in a case justifying a neologism,) something must be done to differentiate the gradations, and to express the subordinations of life; because each term in the descending series, being first of all a mode of non-reality to the spectator, is next to assume the functions of a real life in its relations to the next lower or interior term of the series.
What the painter does in order to produce this peculiar modification of
appearances, so that an object shall affect us first of all as an idealized or unreal thing, and next as itself a sort of relation to some secondary object still more intensely unreal, we shall not attempt to describe; for in some technical points we should, perhaps, fail to satisfy the reader: and without tech nical explanations we could not satisfy the question. But, as to the poetall the depths of philosophy, at least of any known and recognised philosophy, would less avail to explain, speculatively, the principles which, in such a case, should guide him, than Shakspeare has explained by his practice. The problem before him was one of his own suggesting the difficulty was of his own making. It was -so to differentiate a drama that it might stand within a drama, precisely as a painter places a picture within a picture; and therefore that the secondary or inner drama should be nonrealized upon a scale that would throw, by comparison, a reflex colouring of reality upon the principal drama. This was the problem: this was the thing to be accomplished: and the secret, the law, of the process by which he accomplishes this is to swell, tumefy, stiffen, not the diction only but the tenor of the thought; in fact, to stilt it, and to give it a prominence and an ambition beyond the scale which he adopted for his ordinary life. It is, of course, therefore in rhymean artifice which Shakspeare employs with great effect on other similar occasions, (that is, occasions when he wished to solemnize or in any way differentiate the life ;) it is condensed and massed as respects the flowing of the thoughts; it is rough and horrent with figures in strong relief, like the embossed gold of an ancient › vase : and the movement of the scene is contracted into short gyrations-so unlike the free sweep and expansion of his general developments.
Now, the Grecian tragedy stands in the very same circumstances, and rises from the same original basis. If, therefore, the reader can obtain a glimpse of the life within a life, which the painter sometimes exhibits to the eye, and which the Hamlet of Shakspeare exhibits to the mind-then he may apprehend the original phasis under which we contemplate the Greek tragedy.
II. But, to press further into the centre of things, perhaps the very first