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" His endowments from nature were great ; and he had given to them such cultivation, as the state of the times permitted. It would have been well, perhaps, had he never seen Bologna, and imbibed from its masters those maxims of church domination, which, though the age held them sacred, were to him the occasion of an unior. tunate controversy, and to others brought much affliction. Early in life, he was engaged in butiness, which made him an able negociator; and the favour of his prince, which soon followed, raised him to uncommon greatness. But the unbounded confidence he enjoyed, was all used to ennoble the source from which it flowed. He did not enrich himseif, his family, or his retainers. All was Henry's. His influence he employed to gain him friends, and to spread his interest; and when he displayed a munificence more than royal, it was his master's fame he looked to. The love of pleasure, which, in a diffipated court, can make the stoutelt vir. tue tremble, palled over his senses, as a gentle gale. There was 3 fternness in his character, which would not bend to affections that enervate; and it is remar) able, that, when his enemies were most oumerous and malevolent, they never charged him with a single vice. His ruling pasions, were the passions of a great mind, such as, when circumstances favour, lead men to the achievinents of patriots and of heroes; and had providence given Becket to his country but a few years later, we should have feen him, oppoling with main fortitude the wild pretensions of Rome, and at the head of barons, wresting Magna Charta from the tyrant son of the Henry. On fome occasions, I think he was too acrid in his expressions, and too unyielding in his conduct; but when we weigh his provocations, and the incessant stress of low oppofition, wonder we cannot, and we may easily forgive. His private virtues were amiable. They endeared him to Henry, who loved him with a brother's love; nor were they soured, it seeins, by adverse fortune. They made him many friends ; and John of Salisbury, his secretary and companion, then describes him beft, when he checks his impetuosity, and chides his too caustic humour; and does not give offence.

“ In a word, he bad blemishes, and he had many virtues : His cause which to us wears few marks of christian truth, to him was sacred, and he defended it fincerely; but if many catholics have praised him immoderately, why shall protestants be unjust? True it is,

Men's evil manners live in brass ; their virtues
We write in water."

Critical Remarks on the Otkello of Shakespear, concluded

' from page 145. It has been observed of Shakespear, that he has not often exhibited the delicacy of female character; and this has been sufficiently apologized for, from the uncivilized age in which he lived ; and women never appearing upon the ftage in his time, might have made him lels ftudious in this department of the drama. Indeed, when we consider his strength of mind, bis imagination, which dem lighted in whatever was bold and daring, we would almost think it impoflible that he could enter into all the softness and refinement of love : but in spite of all these disadvantages, he has shewn, that in whatever view he choosed to behold human nature, he would perform it superior to any other. For no where in the writings of Shakespear, or any where else, have we found the female character drawn with so much tenderness and beauty as in that of Desdemona. The gentleness with which she behaves to all with whom she converses, the purity, the modesty, the warmth of her love, her refignation in the deepest distress, together with her personal accomplishments, attract our highest regard : but that which chiefly distinguishes her, is that exquisite sensibility of imagination, which interested her so much in the dangers of Othello's youthful adventures, a paffion natural enough indeed, though it is not every one

who is capable of experiencing it. Othello, as we have feen, was naturally of an heroic and amiable difpofition; but when by his bold undertakings he is expofed to imminent dangers, he would then shine in his brightest colours; all his magnanimity, and all his address, are brought to view ; at that moment, all the generous affections of the soul would be drawn towards him ; admiration of his virtues, wishes for his success, and so. licitude for his safety. And when the best feelings of the heart are thus lavished on a certain object, it is no wonder it hould settle into fixed love and efteem.

Such was the sublimated passion of Desdemona, in{pired solely by internal beauty. The person of Othello had every thing to cool desire, poflefling not only the black complexion, and the swarthy features of the Africans; he was also declined, as he says, into the vale of years : but his mind was every thing to Desdemona; it supplied the place of youth by its ardour, and of every personal accomplishment by its strength, its elevation, and its softness. Where, in all the annals of love, do we find fo pure and so disinterested a passion, supported with so much dignity and nature; she loved him for the dangers he had pajed; upon this fleeting and incorporeal idea, did she rest her affections, upon abftract feelings and qualities of the mind, which must require in her all that warmth of imagination, and liveliness of conception, which distingnish the finest genius.

The character of this exquisite lady, is always confiftently supported. Her behaviour towards Cassio, thews, in a particular manner, her liberal and benevolent heart; and her conversation with Emilia, about the heinousness of infidelity, is a striking picture of innocent purity. It is artfully introduced, and adds much to the pathos of the tragedy. The circumstances of order: ing her wedding-sheets to be put on her bed, and the melancholy fong of a willow, are well imagined, and awaken the mind to expect some dreadful revolution

VOL. I.

Indeed throughout the whole scene before her death, an awfulsolemnity reigns; the mind of Desdemona seems to be in a most agitated condition ; she starts an observation about Lodovico, and immediately falls into her gloomy thoughts, paying no attention to the answer of Emilia, though connected with an anecdote that would have at another time raised her curiosity. This absence of mind shews beyond the power of language her afflicted and tortured state : but what gives a finishing Itroke to the terror of this midnight scene, is the rustling of the wind, which the affrighted imagination of Defdemona supposes to be one knocking at the door. This circumstance, which would have been overlooked as trifling by an inferior writer, has a most sublime effect in the hands of Shakespear; and till the fatal catastrophe, the fame horribly interesting sensations are kept up. Othello enters her bed-chamber with a sword and candle, in that perturbation and distraction of mind, which marked his behaviour, since the supposed discovery of her guilt ; remains of tenderness, still struggling with revenge in his bofom, and a conversation is protracted; during which the mind is arrested in a state of the most dreadful suspense that can well be imagined. · Had Othello been actuated by cruelty alone in this action; had he, to gratify a savage nature, put Defde. mona to death, the scene would have been shocking, and we would have turned from it with aversion. But instigated as he is by the noble principles of honour and justice, and weighing at the same time the reluct. ance with which he performs it, and the great facrifice which he makes to his finest feelings; it on these accounts produces those mournfully pleasing sensations, which to attain is the highest praise of the tragic poet. · In the final ; unravelling of the plot, there is often great difficulty ; it is the grand point to which the author aims in the courfe of successive scenes ; and upon the proper execution of it depends much of the merit of the work. Here Shakespear has not fallen of. The

which the final juntas the grand pive scenes; the merit

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fame high tone of pallion is preserved. Upon the discovery of Desdemona's innocence, and the intrigues of Iago, all the characters act a very consistent and natural part. Othello's distraction is painted in an inimitable manner. Unwilling to believe that he had acted upon false grounds, and confounded with contrary evidence, he knows not where to betake himself. After uttering a few incoherent speeches, which shew in the strongeft light a mind rent with grief and remorse, he gradu. ally recovers himself; and resuming, as much as porfible, his natural composure and firmness, he looks around him a little, and deliberately views his wretch. ed situation ; but finding no peace for him on earth, he terminates his existence.

Iago also stands forth in the group, a just monument of his own crimes. Seeing the proof too plain against him, he can brave it out no longer. He sees no prospect of escape from any quarter ; his own arts are now of no avail, and he knows that he deserves no pity; he gives up all for loft, and resolves upon a state of dumb desperation, niost expressive of the horror, of his mind. In this state, we have the satisfaction to see him dragged to deserved punishment. .

It might now be expected that we should proceed to the ungrateful talk of pointing out what a critic would blame in this tragedy, I have already observed, that it is perhaps the most sublime and fiuilhed of Shakespear's compositions ; yet were I to point out all its redundancies, puns, conceits, and other faults, which are commonly taken notice of in this author, I might-fill some pages : Such a detail, however, would be trivial and impertinent. No person who can relish its beau. ties will be much offended with any thing of this kind in the course of perusing Othello. Its excellencies are so bold and so striking as to make the blemishes almost wholly yanih in the midst of their splendor. In a rude age, it is indeed even the mark of a rich and luxuriant

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