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parties, as are needed to leave Medea herself to assist in the destruction of at the point of conducting her so far the invaders. triumphaut lover to the cavern, where The Scene changes to an open place the ulterior prize of his great adventure in the forest, with the King's tent in is mysteriously and fearfully guarded. the background. Eight delegates of The new emotion which invades her the Argonauts appear, on the King's bosom, bas in a few hours wrought invitation, to a conference. Whilst such alteration there, that when, on they await him, under some dismay, her reappearance amongst ber dam- from the prolonged absence and sursels on the following morning, with mised possible loss of their leader, which the Second Act begins, one of Jason and Milo join them. Presently them, whose charge he was, comes, the King enters to the conference. full of trepidation, to tell her, that, Jason-in whom is fitly represented during the confusion of the night, the adventurer of a desperate, almost her favourite Tiger-Horse has escaped, of an impossible enterprise, that must she answers simply that“ it is well;" speed, not by prudence, but out of -and upon Peritta, whose disgrace is the hope of prudence, by a will mofresh in the reader's recollection, pre- ying, rushing irresistibly to its aim, senting herself to her, to implore as- kindling
at the show of opposition, sistance in her distress, her husband and leaping, like one allured, into the having been made a prisoner, and their arms of danger,--in a few words exhut burnt by the strangers, Medea changed, so daunts and masters the leans her head upon her shoulder and spirit of the Barbarian with haughty bursts into tears. Either she does not and reckless defiance, as to betray him understand her feelings, or seeks to into acknowledging, after he had dehide them from herself; for, in con- nied, his possession of the Fleece: if versing with Gora (who witnesses all that information indeed, may be needthis mutation with surprise enough) ed, from his mouth, by the Argonauts, on the transactions of the night, she who appear to have come well instruct communicates to her her conviction, ed in respect not only to the country which the shrewd old woman can by which contains it, but the particular no means be brought to partake, that art and terrors by which it is secured. the stranger, whose sudden presence The King is not so, however, disarmdisturbed her ceremonies, was Heim- ed of his wiles. A question which he, dar, the God of Death! Heimdar, wont in his turn, extorts from Jason reto manifest himself to mortals at the specting the tower in the forest, unpoint of their passing under his power covers the power which he holds over -who had come to set on her his seal him, and he sends for Medea ; who
-(we did not say that Jason, ere he brings, as on the like former occasion, yielded to retreat from the arms of the draught, by her father again reAbsyrtus and his followers, had pla, quired, of fatal sleep. She is veiled, but ced on her lips a hasty and unresisted Jason recognises her habit, and though kiss)-and presignify her approach he has till now steadily refused the ing fate. She could know, by the an- offer of Aietes' dangerous hospitality, nihilation of her spirit as he stood be giving solid and plain reasons for fore her, that he was not of terrestrial doing so, he instantly accepts the ofbirth; as the oppression that gathers fered cup, and would drink, when Me. over her, the fading away of her senses, dea warns him of the treason mingled and the desire that draws her to the with it, and he throws it from him. grave, all give promise of her near He now plucks away her veil; and dissolution. If she has deceived her- twice saved by her, begins on this plea self, she is speedily undeceived. For to press with eager words, the pretenher father, entering with her brother, sions of his passion ; from which she demands account of her conduct, in escapes into her father's tent. rescuing the bold violator of her mys- The curtain falls and rises again, teries from the sword bent to punish the interval sufficing to transfer the him, and placing it out of question audience from without to the interior that he was no God, but a Greek, of the Royal Pavilion, into which Jataunts her quiet endurance of the in- son is seen endeavouring to force an sult offered her. She is overwhelmed entrance, opposed by Aietes. The with shame, and impatiently proffers Colchian soldiers, hitherto inactive as Vol. XXIV.
to induce us to inquire rigidly into Let not our leaders and this House the consequences which have flowed hope that mere opinions, no matter from our new system of governing from whom they may emanate, will Ireland.
again lead the country. Mr HuskisIn advocating this extended Inqui. son will utter his opinions on trade in ry, sir, I am not calling on this House vain-Mr Peel will utter his opinions to adopt the opinions of any writer, on currency in vain-Mr Brougham or the policy of any party. I am not will utter his opinions on education asking it to wander into speculation, and the relations between master and to institute experiments, or to aban- servant in vain--this House will utter don any principle or system. I am its opinions on all manner of subjects merely craving it to discharge a plain in vain ; for the domination of opi. and obvious duty, which has not the nions, I devoutly thank Heaven for most remote connexion with party in- it! is no more. We may persevere terests. Its own interests call for com. we may vaunt of our omniscience and pliance, as a matter of imperious ne- infallibility we may cover all who cessity. If we, sir, have been acting oppose us with slander and obloquywisely and justly, the Inquiry will we may worship our
« liberal princi supply us with ample proofs to silence ples” and “ enlightened views”-we our opponents, sanction us in proceed may be puffed to our hearts' content ing farther, and regain public confi- by the newspapers--but the issue will dence.
be, the loss of all that in our public We may refuse to inquire, and per- character we ought to value; and the severe in the conduct we have of late production of all that in our public displayed ; but if we do, we shall not duty we ought to prevent. escape the penalties. Thespell, through I have said, sir, that this Inquiry which we were wont to lead the com- has nothing to do with party creeds; munity, is broken; and it will never and I will now say, that I am not ada more be known to the present gene- vocating it for the sake of any party ration. So long, sir, as our labours of public men. My party bonds exwere confined to foreign policy, and tend not beyond principles; they the making of laws which were obvi- have nothing to do with persons. I ously necessary, our infallibility esca- oppose those who hold principles ped suspicion; the bulk of the nation which I oppose; and I support those
; was compelled to take our words on who hold principles which I support, trust, or it saw that we did, what it without looking at name and condic was our duty to do. But when we tion. The principles and policy which began to make speculative changes in I steadily withstood in Mr Canning agriculture, manufactures, trade, cur- and Mr Huskisson, I will as steadily rency, and the relations of society; withstand in any other Minister ; the we enabled the country to take exact iniquity of acting otherwise shall not measure of our qualifications. Then, stain my forehead. În respect of mere alas ! it discovered that we were, not persons, I care no more for the Duke only imperfect, erring men, but that of Wellington than for the Marquis of we displayed more imperfection and Lansdown or Lord King-for Mr Peel error, than the generality of men. than for Mr Brougham or Mr HusThe humble member of the commu- kisson. Personal politics have been nity perceived, to his inexpressible as- too long the shame and scourge of my tonishment, that individuals who were country, for me to have any further leaders in this House and the country connexion with them. From the hu. --that individuals who were even the miliation of combating for one knot rulers of the empire-were grossly ig- of public men against another; when, norant on matters perfectly familiar to after their quarrelling and resigning, himself. He heard them assert that their treachery, and vituperations of to be truth, which he knew from ocu- each other, they shake hands, and lar demonstration to be fiction, and protest that they have never differed he saw them enact laws on principles in principle, and have only had a temand assumptions, which had been pro- porary squabble from dirty personal ved to him to be erroneous by the pique and interest ;-from such hu. daily experience of his whole life. The miliation I will be careful in future to charm of names vanished, and the reign preserve myself. With the coalitions of trust ceased.
and alliances, which are the scandal
That knits, or can unknit, those magic bands.
When I beheld him,- first beheld him,
As may easily be supposed, the river Argonauts; and Jason, utterly impaa during the night, in flood, has“ disdain- tient of his discomfiture, without diffied its bridge,” and the first intelligence culty or hesitation, on the first word which meets Absyrtus on setting out, said, makes over to him his daughter is that the only road open to him is Medea. that which endangers his sister's fall- It might seem that the advantage ing into the hands from which she flies of the accident which had effected Accordingly, the escort has not pro- their meeting to the movement of the ceeded far when it finds itself engaged drama was, with the assistance of Me. with the lately retreating Argonauts, dea to the Argonautic enterprise, for who have taken up, on the way to
the present, at least, here lost. On the their camp, a position favourable, as contrary, she no sooner feels herself they think, for cutting off the King's again under the protection of her fa, communication with his interior. The ther, than her inflexibility, unmoved eight or ten Greeks if, as we incline to whilst she seemed to be in her lover's think, the reinforcement sent for can- power, falters; and when he, eager not yet have come up,--drive out the to prosecute his perilous achievement forty or fifty Colchians, leaving Jason unaided, bids her a passionate and to urge his suit alone with Medea. He final farewell, she is conquered, and woos her characteristically, with pase breathes' his name. Quite satisfied, sion that will not be withstood, and he herewith claims her as his wife ; successfully, if it could appear to him with one hand taking her by the arm, success to shake her spirit from height whilst with the other he throws off to depth, with uncontrollable, uncon- her father's hold, and leads her back cealable emotion. But he finds her amongst his own party. More fightinexcusably self-willed and perverse; ing does not, for the present, ensue. and he conceives that he does nothing Aietes challenges his daughter to elect unless he wring from her what is not between passion and duty; and, when easy, and it seems, in truth, too early to she has answered him by her silence, exact, an avowal, in words, of her love. pouring out on her his parental maleAt the moment when he is compelled dictions, he gives her over to the selfto confess himself in this point frus- chosen miseries which he foresees trated-(we regret not to insert the awaiting her, turns from her, and descene, or monologue, as it might als parts. most be called-it is long, eloquent, Jason now desires her to lead him and original,)—Aietes, who has in to the Fleece, which she refuses He the meantime succoured his son, fol- will go alone. With importunate and lows the now in turn again retiring pathetic entreaty, as prescient of the
Hear! hear our prayer!
Gora. See, I have slain thee a swift-footed roe !
Chorus. Hear us! Darimba !--Hear! Darimba !
Gora. The victim on the bloody altar-stone
Chorus. (Striking Cymbals and Timbrels).
Med. Therewith enough!—The victim offer'd is ;
-Thou here, Peritta ? &c. Medea, aware that the damsel, so poses,-strongly loving his children, named, (who had lately, by giving way yet wayward and harsh in his humour to the weakness of love, and against and conduct towards them-as a king, a positive formal promise not to de- challenging compliance with his wili, sert her mistress, intending, at least, yet dishonouring his state, and not to marry, incurred her displeasure, seeming to know that he does so, by and been, in consequence, forbidden the frank avowal of unkingly fears her presence,) has transgressed the pro- eager in his hate of a stranger, to hibition, bitterly upbraids her false, whom he feels no tie-superstitious, hood, and dismisses her with great but, under the impulse of his passion, scorn to the lowly duties she has impious. He discloses, although in chosen in the poor and " smoky.” doubt, to his daughter, his quickly: cabin of her lover. The incident'is taken resolution to possess himself of given to display her character, and the “gold, treasures, wealthy spoil,” present haughty freedom from feelings which the vessel bears; then desires which will fatally overrule her will from her counsel and aid, versed as and life. A Colchian, now entering, she is in her mother's arts to draw announces, that a ship, manned with from herbs and stones potions that strangers, has touched their coast. The bind the will and fetter the strength, Princess refers him to her father, able to summon spirits, and conjure Aietes, who, upon hearing the tidings, the moon. Whilst he is in anger at comes out immediately after from his her wilful slowness in her part, a sepalace.
cond Colchian brings him the request Not one of all the characters is more of the strangers for an audience, which forcibly and entirely conceived, or may result in a friendly covenant. The more successfully drawn, than this old result he foresees, and now distinctly barbarian king. Without law-inrequires of his daughter a drink known flamed instantaneously with the pros- to him as within her skill, infusing pect of plunder-artful, false, coura- irresistible sleep, which she, having geous in his person, whilst suspicious first asked “ for what use," and receiof men, mistrustful even of events, he ved no answer, but the command reis timid in his expectations and pure peated, goes out to prepare.
The strangers prove to be Phryxus, and, with the Fleece flying high, the well-known importer of the Fleece golden streamer" from his
mast- head, into Colchis--here, - indeed, accom- stemmed the raging flood under wrathplishing the adventure, with aid but ful skies, to Colchis. of the wings of a ship, not, as in the This story, cast in good classical pure fable, on the back of a flying form, graced with something of a voram,—and the companions of his voy- luble and picturesque Greek eloquence, age, driven by storm of the past night and very apt to the impressible and unupon the Colchian coast. Of the no- wary speaker, is liable to this censure, blest Grecian blood, (thus he relates of that it supposes no deeper origin than himself to Aietes,) Jove-descended, the chance-illusion of sleep, to an Act, but a fugitive from his father's house, namely, this earliest Abreption of this and from envy and hate of the second famous Fleece, that carried consemarriage-bed, seeking his fortune quences which to Greek thought inamong strangers, he came, his fae volved heavenly leading and peculiar ther's spies dodging his flight, to Del dispensations of wrath, first, an expephos. În the Temple, in which he dition of heroes and demigods for its stood in the light of the evening sun, recovery, and, finally, the overthrow of weary with the burden of his way, princely houses. The story little avails and with gazing on the rich wonders the young adventurer who relates it ; of the place, statues and offerings-he for it moves in the breast of his royal had sunk down in sleep. In his dreams auditor no singular favour to himself, appeared the figure of a man, sur- who is self-convicted, unless a God rounded with light, in naked strength, gave his dream, of double sacrilege bearing in his right hand a club, with no belief, anxiously solicited, in the bushy beard and hair, and on his protection of Peronto-no misgiving shoulders a golden ram’s fleece, the of the murderous purposes, touching very “ PERONTO," in a word, whom himself and his companions, which
' we saw lately, and whom, for the scene had found their way into the heart of does not change, we still see, guarding Aietes, with the intelligence of their from his altar the Colchian shores. arrival. The strangers are all killed, This illustrious personage graciously off the stage, at the King's table; and inclined himself towards the sleeper, their leader, Phryxus, who, on notiand smiling, bade him " take with cing as his friends dropped one by one him Victory and Revenge,” and, un- into strange sleep, the ominous looks, fastening the Fleece from his shoulders, whispers, and gestures of the attendtendered it to him. Awaking at this ants, bas quitted the house in alarm, instant, he perceived standing before is slain by the King's own hand, at him, amidst the glitter of morning the foot of his God's Altar. sunshine, the same Form in marble, The Barbarian has flattered himself, mantled with even such a Golden that from this slaughter and spoliation Fleece, and, on examination, the name of unoffending strangers, he has re“ Colchis,” graven on the pedestal, an moved all criminality and all violation ancient offering, though, it appears of hospitable right, when, by having afterwards, not directly from the coun. neither offered nor refused Phryxus try, of the Statue of this Deity. Bold- his house's shelter and welcome, he ly construing the vision, or what was had entangled his victim into inviting but the wonted fairy-work of fancy himself. But the unfortunate Greek, and the senses blending their play in the instant of his fate, re-annexes, into a human dream-too small well- if one may so speak, to the act this head of the stream of ineffable cala- much inseparable guilt, by placing in mity--and acting his interpretation, the hands, and therewith in the cushe took off the Fleece from the shoul- tody, of the for one moment incautious ders of the God, and, lifting it as a Aietes, his property, the Fleece ; thuš banner on his spear, hastened through constituting him, it appears, his Host. the temple gates, through the midst The poet's private faith as to the effiof his father's pursuers awaiting him cacy of one or the other remarkable without, the priests and the people all maneuvre, is not, indeed, as he does suddenly awe-struck, and yielding him not speak in his own person, easily open way to the sea. It seems his vessel' put past doubt. Yet, that he does and comrades lay expecting him there, not judge the last to have been wholly for he embarked, he tells us, forthwith, unsuccessful, and if so, then neither