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of his enthronement. So admirably has the author sustained the destiny of the piece, that the conclusion seems but the inevitable and quiet close of an actual event, so free is the sacrifice of Ion from all the turgid commonplaces usual on such occasions. It is but the necessary end of a career in which self has had no share; in which a being, born for others, lays down his life in one great act of devotion, which at once crowns and consummates its purposes. We know of but a single instance of self-sacrifice which is more adequately conducted than this of Ion, and that it is no disparagement to Mr. Sergeant Talfourd to say) is the Departure of Regulus, in Horace, a picture wonderfully sublime, unequaled for the condensation of its images and for the simplicity with which its great elements are brought before the eye. The morale of the Roman subject is to moderns higher than that of the Grecian, the act of Regulus being strictly consonant to the injunctions of the Christian code.
With all the beauties of "Ion," however, we fear that Mr. Talfourd has not done any thing to invalidate the theory, that in its operation on the general mind by means of the stage tragedy has lost its day. The uniform delicacy and polish of his language, the judgment with which his principal character is elaborated, the purity of taste and purity of moral by which the play is distinguished, and the total absence of the larmoyante women and fustian men, which have never been superseded from Otway to Home and from Home to the present time, save, perhaps, in the extremely clever play by Milman, to which we have already alluded, leave his tragedy without points for the grasp or contact of the general mind. We have heard it said, and experience seems to countenance the observation, that no man can write a successful tragedy who is not practically familiar with the stage. If the opinion be correct, it is so more because the stage is pregnant with the reflected sentiments of miscellaneous audiences, and catches intuitively the tastes of those who form the mass of theatre-goers, than from any necessity an author is under of learning mere points of stage business. A man of genius finds his mind imbued with traditional maxims there, he learns the calibre of his audiences, and finds out how to modify his own rules and reduce his own standard of dramatic construction. What a strangely different play would Mr. Sheridan Knowles have made of the conception of Ionhow uneven, how occasionally unworthy would it have proved, and yet it might have contained situations of great force, and have told with strong effect in the hands of the actors.
It has been recently stated in the newspapers, that an accomplished lady, formerly attached to the theatrical profession, has in preparation a tragedy from an incident of Spanish romance,
to be called “The Star of Seville.” If such an undertaking has been projected, it is doubtless founded on Lope de Vega's Estrella de Sevilla—a beautiful work, replete with all the best and most attractive characteristics of the Spanish stage, wherein the extremes of loyalty, love and honour, are depicted with a variety of incident and passion, and yet with a degree of truth and eloquence, which Shakspeare alone could surpass. The characters of Bustos Tabera, Ortiz, and Estrella, and the relations which they bear to each other, as developed in the course of the play, furnish materials for a drama of great force and beauty. Such a production, (if it followed the original,) matured under the active mind and ardent imagination of a highly gifted woman, with all the advantages of protracted stage experience, would form a fine specimen of a school in direct contrast to that in which Mr. Talfourd has practised. The preparatory studies, the course of life, and the maxims of composition of the respective authors, as well as the diverse models they may be supposed to consult, would result in qualities of excellence very widely distinguished. We doubt not that the romantic play (we use the term for want of a better, in reference to Mad. de Stael's somewhat fanciful division) would find a more permanent place on the stage than its classic (classical in spirit at least) rival, precisely as the unpractised eye prefers Gothic to Grecian architecture, because it appreciates detail better than proportion. There is, moreover, an affinity between the early Spanish and English theatres, of which the writers of comedy have largely availed themselves, but which has been neglected by tragic authors. If the play we speak of works that vein to advantage, it will do much for its popularity. It will address sympathies and feelings which a subject from the antique, treated almost with the simplicity of the antique, can never touch. The principles of the latter, and the mode of their development, are too refined and abstract.
We had prepared an analysis of Lope's play, with a view to the illustration, to some extent, of the contrast to which we have alluded, but we suppress it, feeling that, if we are right in our conjecture that the Estrella is the basis of the projected tragedy, it would hardly be courteous to the fair authoress to anticipate her in any use which she may make of its plot. At all events we anticipate the appearance of the play with much pleasure ; for we entertain a fervent conviction that she has but to exert her fine talents with vigour and earnestness, in order to sustain as a writer the art she has so much adorned in another capacity.
Art. X.- Report of the Select Committee of the Senate of the
United States; to whom were referred the address of certain British, and the petition of certain American Authors: Mr. Clay, chairman.-Read in the senate, February 16, 1837.
A revision of the law of copyright is demanded alike by public opinion, the sound interests of learning, and a due regard to the rights of property. The United States and Great Britain present the singular spectacle of two enlightened nations, speaking the same language and cherishing the same great names in a common literature. The works of British writers form a part-how large and how valuable !--of the rich treasures to which the American student and man of letters resort, as to their own domestic store; and which they regard as the never fading ornaments of their mother tongue. To us, the strains of the English poet sound as sweetly and as familiarly as to the inhabitants of his native isle; and the voice of the English orator reaches the ears of auditors on the shores of a new world, who recognize no foreign idiom in the spiritstirring accents.
This community or rather identity of literary treasures has been overlooked in the formation of regulations for the government of literary property in our country, and British authors have been, we think, most improperly placed upon the same footing with those who speak a language unintelligible to the great mass of our population. The effects of the present law of copyright have been eminently injurious to the interests of those very authors whose works we are so exceedingly eager, and justly, too, to claim as honourable to our own tongue; and this result, we are persuaded, was not at all contemplated by congress, when the laws were passed professing to secure to authors the fruits of the labours of their heads.
This subject has for some time past engaged public attention, but has lately assumed a more imposing appearance, by the presentation to congress of an address, couched in respectful but decided language, and signed by most of the distinguished living writers of Great Britain. The appeal of such a body, who have contributed so largely to our instruction and amusement, should certainly not pass unheeded ; and as the document is somewhat of a literary curiosity, and worthy of permanent preservation, we give it entire. Address of certain Authors of Great Britain to the Senate of
the United States, in congress assembled, respectfully showing:
" That authors of Great Britain have long been exposed to injury, in their reputation and property, from the want of a law
by which the exclusive right to their respective writings may be secured to them in the United States of America.
“That, for want of such law, deep and extensive injuries have of late been inflicted on their reputation and property, and on the interests of literature and science, which ought to constitute a bond of union and friendship between the United States and Great Britain.
“ That from the circumstance of the English language being common to both nations, the works of British authors are extensively read throughout the United States of America, while the profits arising from the sale of their works may be wholly appropriated by American booksellers, not only without the consent of the authors, but even contrary to their express desire-a grievance under which they have, at present, no redress.
“That the works thus appropriated by American booksellers are liable to be mutilated and altered at the pleasure of the said booksellers, or any other persons who may have an interest in reducing the price of the works, or in conciliating the supposed principles or prejudices of purchasers, in the respective sections of your Union; and that the names of the authors being retained, they may be made responsible for works which they no longer recognize as their own.
"That such mutilation and alteration, with the retention of the authors' names, have been of late actually perpetrated by citizens of the United States, under which grievance such authors have, at present, no redress.
“That certain authors of Great Britain have recently made an effort in defence of their literary reputation and property, by declaring a respectable firm of publishers in New York to be the sole authorized possessors and issuers of the said works, and by publishing in certain American newspapers their authority to this effect.
“That the object of the said authors has been defeated by the act of certain persons, citizens of the United States, who have unjustly published, for their own advantage, the works sought to be thus protected; under which grievance the said authors have, at present, no redress.
" That American authors are injured by the non-existence of the desired law : while American publishers can provide themselves with works for publication, by unjust appropriation instead of by equitable purchase, they are under no inducement to afford to American authors a fair remuneration for their labours; under which grievance, American authors have no redress, but in sending over their works to England to be published-an expedient which has become an established practice with some of whom their country has reason to be proud.
“ That the American public is injured by the non-existence of the desired law. The American public suffers not only from the discouragement afforded to native authors, as above stated, but from the uncertainty now existing as to whether the books presented to them as the works of British authors, are the actual and complete productions of the writers whose names they bear.
“ That, in proof of the evil complained of, the case of Walter Scott might be referred to, as stated by an esteemed citizen of the United States; that while the works of this author, dear alike to your country and to ours, were read from Maine to Georgia, from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, he received no remuneration from the American public for his labours ; that equitable remuneration might have saved his life, and would, at least, have relieved its closing years from the burden of debts and destructive toils.
“ That deeply impressed with the conviction that the only firm ground of friendship between nations is a strict regard to simple justice, the undersigned earnestly request the Senate of the United States, in Congress assembled, speedily to use, in behalf of the authors of Great Britain, their power of securing to the authors the exclusive right to their respective writings.
" Thomas Moore,