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which Sack was conveyed. If the above etymon, however, were to be insisted on, a more plausible explanation would he, that. Sack' signified a white wine, which, in order to clarify it, was strained through a linen bag, as was the case with the Cecuban, and other thick wines of the antients. Skinner, on I know not what authority, affirms that the Italians still employ the phrase vino del sacco in a similar sense.

“ Dr. Percy has the credit of restoring the original interpretation of the term. In a manuscript account of the disbursements by the chamberlain of the city of Worcester for the year 1592, he found the antient mode of spelling to be Seck, and thence concluded that Sack was merely a corruption of sec, signifying a dry wine. Minshew, as we have seen, renders the term vin sec; and Cotgrave, in his dictionary, gives the same translation. The most satisfactory evidence, however, in support of this opinion is furnished by the French version of a proclamation for regulating the prices of wines, issued by the Privy Council in 1633, 'where the expression vins secs corresponds with the word sacks in the original copy. It may also be remarked, that the term sec is still used as a substantive by the French, to denote a Spanish wine; and that the dry wine of Xerez is distinguished at the place of its growth by the name of vino seco.

" These several authorities, then, appear to warrant the inference, that Sack was a dry Spanish wine. But, on the other hand, numerous instances occur, in which it is mentioned in conjunction with wines of the sweet class. The act of Henry VIII. speaks of Sakkes, or other sweet wynes' in like manner, the Mystery of Vintners, published by Dr. Merret in 1675, gives a receipt to correct he rankness and eagerness of wines, as Sack and Malago, or other sweet wines.' Glass, in his · History of the Canary Islands,' makes no distinction between Malmsey and Canary Sack; and Nichols, in the account which he has given of Teneriffe, expressly says, ' that island produces three sorts of excellent wines, Canary, Malmsey, and Verdona; which all go under the denomination of Sacks. To get rid of the difficulty which thus arises, Mr. Nares has recourse to the supposition, that Sack was a common name for all white wines. But it has been already shown, that the appellation was originally confined to the growths of Spain; and if it had been used to designate white wines in general, there can be no reason why it should not have been applied to those of France or Candia, which were then imported in large quantity. If again we suppose, that the name denoted a sweet wine, we shall be equally at a loss to discover the circumstances which could have given rise to such a distinction between it and the other kinds then in use; not to mention that such an application of the term would have been wholly at variance with the etymology as above deduced. A more particular examination of the characters assigned to Sack by the few writers who have described it, will perhaps enable us to reconcile these discrepancies, and remove much of the perplexity in which the question has hitherto been involved.

In the first place, we are told by Venner, that "Sacke is completely

hot in the third degree, and of thin parts, and therefore it doth vehemently and quickly heat the body; wherefore the much and untimely use of it doth overheat the liver, inflame the blood, and exsiccate the radical humour in lean and dry bodies.” This description accords with the epithet' sprightly,' which is given to it in some verses published in 1641, and sufficiently proves, that it could not have been of a thick luscious quality, like most of the dessert wines then in

Vogue. That however, it was a liquor, of considerable strength and body, may be inferred from a subsequent passage of the last-mentioned work, where it is extolled as “ the elixir of wine ;' an expression apparently borrowed from one of Ben Jonson's Plays. Herrick again calls it a. • frantic liquor;' expatiating with rapture on its witching beauties, generous blood,' &c. and most of the dramatic writings of the age contain frequent allusions to its enlivening virtues, and other fascinating properties. Had there been nothing new or uncommon in the nature of the wine, it could hardly have excited such extravagant admiration, or come into such universal request, at a time when our countrymen were already familiar with the choicest vintages from almost all parts of the globe."

The Brides of Florence. A Play, in five Acts, with Notes, and Minor

Poems. By RANDOLPH Fırz-EUSTACE. 8vo. Pp. 297. Hurst and Robinson, London. Constable, Edinburgh.

Some ridicule has been lately thrown on dramatic poems, and they have occasionally deserved it; palpably intended for the stage, and as palpably unequal to its demands, plays, characterless, feeble, and bewildered, have been sent to make their way through the earth under the title of poems; the author dextrously insinuating the luxuriance of a genius too large for the souls of managers, and disdaining to be fettered by the restraints of time, place, and action. In this mode, three-fourths of the generation of dramatic poems have been compounded for the delight of an admiring world, and the confusion of criticism, and those are the “ ships not intended to sail," and the “ horses not meant to walk, trot, or gallop.”

But there is nothing in the fitness of things, as Pangloss would say, prohibitory of the existence of a Dramatic Poem a bona fide developement of a story under the form of characters and scenes, that save the poet the perplexity of description in his proper person. Much force of conception, and much ingenuity of contrivance might be displayed under this form ;

and though we should never hope to see the hero awful in the plumes and armour of the property man, nor the lover's cheek blue with the improved gas-moonlight of our improved age, yet interest might be excited, and interest sustained, and the poem be read even to the end, a distinction as rare in our times, as it must be flattering. In one great department of dramatic power -poetry, this form would be equal to the stage play; and on the doctrine of chances eminently superior, for of the whole host of blank-verse-makers now in our language, there are not three, masters of tuneable stage verse. Their work is incapable of effective recitation, either from its floridness, or its confusion, or its prolixity. Even the mighty name of Milton is not mighty here, and his Comus, exquisite

as it is in language, an absolute Pactolus flowing over sands of gold-or, like his own delicious image," a steam of rich distilled perfumes," is languid in delivery, overwhelms the actor and the audience with superfluity of sweets, and blunts the very edge of action. Shakspeare, and the men of his time, are the masters of theatric verse, and it is in the intensity, compression, and clearness of their poetry, that their charm-their almost unattainable charm-is to be found. But the Dramatic Poem sweeps away free from all restraint. It has a royal chase before it, and it may go over its ground royally, free from let or hindrance, repose where it will, and when it is refreshed, rise and put on its speed once more. That imperiousness of the stage which curbs the eloquence of a hero, fiery, and full with his rights and wrongs; and that still sterner cruelty which shuts up in a sentence the anguish and agonies of a lover's breast are here abolished, and the hero may obtest gods and men, and the lover pour out the burthen of his soul over page on page:-here are none of “ the ills” that stage writing is “ heir to," no fears of the impending censure; of the unsparing scissors-worse than those of the fatal sisters three; none of the pencil diagonals that plough with the share of destruction so many a beloved figure, none of that final and fatal terrors to which the forks and fires of Rhodomanthus were holiday, and which are couched under the softer name of sibilation. The dramatic poet may lavish his sensibilities over acres and furlongs of candid paper, and drive on this delicious task till tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep, relieves him, and relieves his readers.

A brief preface states the present poem to be an "effort at the renovation of the ancient drama." This was undoubtedly a lofty ambition, but the author must have rapidly abandoned his design, for in the next page he tells us, that his object was, to compress the middle ages into a play! and to effect this

object, he has produced a play of upwards of two hundred pages, or double the length of any acting drama since the days, when men put their night caps in their pockets, and went resolutely to spend the twelve hours within theatrical walls.

The work is, in fact, a Dramatic Poem, of a very expanded nature, and not applicable to the renovation of the acting drama, nor of any purposes of the stage, but possessing qualities and capacities of its own, which it shall be our business to detail.

The story is sufficiently simple, and has no more necessary reference to the dark ages than to the notoriously illustrious, brilliant, and unsurpassable age in which we have the honour and happiness to live.

Miranda, Duke of Florence, has gone to Palestine with his son, leaving Caracci as his substitute; the substitute attempts to fix himself in a perpetuity of the throne, and for this and other reasons, banishes Rosanna, a distinguished nobleman. But tidings are brought of the Duke's return, and Caracci trembles, and has an interview with Rosanna, who nearly converts him. Father Francis, the Diabolus of the play, however, interferes, and reinstates Caracci in his old evil. The Duke returns, but, to overwhelm his officer, returns in disguise, appears at a trial of Rosanna in the presence of Caracci, suddenly throws off his palmer's cloak, terrifies Caracci into resignation and repentance, and acknowledging the virtue of Rosanna, joins the hands of Leontine, the old man's son, and Isabel, the fair daughter of Caracci. Amaryllo, the Duke's son, and Cynthia, the daughter of Rosanna are similarly brought together, and the play closes with the Duke's benediction of the Brides of Florence.”

There are two styles of criticism, the former and much the more amusing, fashionable, and dishonest, that of judging of the writer by his failures—as a jockey judges of a horse, not by his vigorous but by his unsound members; the latter that of judging of him by his successes, a mode much the less poignant and facetious, but much more likely to do justice to the work, and service to the future progress of the author's capabilities.

We will follow the latter mode, and selecting those parts which strike us as the best, leave it to their author to equal them by uniform excellence in future, and to the reader to form the most generous estimate of his

powers. Amaryllo has been shipwrecked on the coast near Rosanna's cottage, has been entertained by him, and has fallen in love with Cynthia. They discourse of their passion, and Cynthia thus prettily expresses her alarm at this perilous disturber.

6 CYNTHIA.
" Love, Nereus-like, assumeth every form!
The pining beauty sighs for secret love,
Although that love be light as thistledown!
The coquette plies her snares for seeming love!
The haggard lord doth rouge his rusty cheeks,
Fills

up

the furrow of his shrivelled brow,
Tightens his waist-and that's for gentle love!
The swaggering soldier frets and fumes and swears
A dictionary of oaths—and all for love.
The silken moth of fashion lightly trips,
Uttering sweet-essenced sentences.
The schoolboy raves of starry eyes, and hair
Outravening the raven, and of teeth
Of pearly whiteness.

The poet rakes his brains, and takes thereout
Weedy conceits—for flowrets of love's growth!
The soul-subduing minstrel tries his art,
Tuning his sighs to sweetly breathing strains,
And lightening thus his love-be-wracked heart!
Thank heaven, my heart is free, and I can look
As from a mountain's height on clouds below
Clashing in direst conflict.

AMARYLLO.
“Thou art in sooth the rare Arabian bird,

CYNTHIA.
“ Sappho did love, and drown herself for love;
Dido, for love, did wear the willow wand,
Look through the page of history, and there
Painful hath ever been love's progress, then
Why wouldst thou have me love?

There have
Been fond enthusiasts, who in fancy's dream,
In love's own beauteous paradise have revelled
Till sense was frenzied-that when they have waked,
Shuddering at life's realities, they've cursed
Their fate, and died !"

This passage has the fluency and the grace of poetry. There is a good deal of originality in the following image of ambition.

6 Like as a traveller from a mountain views
Thyself, imperial Florence ! he beholds
Thy cloud-aspiring turrets—and thy spires

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