Page images
PDF

tion, vigilance, and addre'ss, are allowed to merit the highest p'raises, and appea'r/ no't to have been surpa'ssed/ by any person/ who ev'er-filled-a-thro'ne: a co'nduct less rigo'rous, less impe'rious, more since're, more indûlgent, to her pe’ople, would have been r'equisite/ to have foʻrmed a perfect-character. By the force of her mi'nd, she controlled all her more active and stro'ng-qualities, and prevented them from running into exce'ss. Her he'roism/ was exempted from all teme'rity, her frugality/ from a'varice, her frie’ndship/ from partia'lity, her ên. terprises from tu'rbulence and a vain ambition ; she guarded not herself, with equal care/ or equal success, from le'ss-infirmities—the ri' valship of beauty, the desi’re of admiration, the je'alousy of lo've, and the sa'llies of an'ger.

Her singular talents for governments were foʻunded/e'qually/ on her te'mper, and on her capacity. Endowed with a great command over herse'lf, she soon obtained an uncontrolled asce'ndant over the people ; a'nd/ while she merited all their esteem by her re'al-virtues, she also engaged their affections by her prêtended-ones. Few sovereigns of England/ succeeded to the throne/ in more difficult-circumstances, and nône/ ever conducted the go'vernment/ with such uniform succe'ss) and felic'ity. Though unacquainted with the pra'ctice of tolera'tion, (the trûe-secret for managing reli'gious-factions), she preserved her pe’ople, by her superior prudence, from those confussions/ in which theological controversy, had involved all the ne'ighbouring-nations : a'nd/ though her en'emies were the most powerful princes of Europe, the most a'ctive, the most e'nterprising, the le'ast scru'pulous ; she was a'ble, by her vigour, to make deep impressions on their states; her own gre'atness (meanwh'ile) remaining untoʻuched and unimpa'ired.

The wise ministers and brave wa’rriors (who flourished during her resign) share the prai'se of her successs ; bu't, instead of lessening*-the-applause-due-to-her, they make great addition to it. They o'wed (all of them) their adva'ncement to her choʻice; they were supported by her co'nstancy; and, with all their ability, they were never a'ble/ to acquire an undûe asc'endant o'ver-her. In her fa'mily, in her cou'rt, in her ki'ngdom/ she remained equally mistress. The force of the tender pa'ssions/ was gresat over her, but the force of her mi'nd/ was still supe'rior ; and the com'bat/ which her victory visibly co'st her, serves only, to display the firmness of her resolu'tion, and the loʻftiness of her ambi'tious se'ntiments.

* “Lessening the applause due to her," it will be observed, must be considered as one rhetorical word, having the inflexion placed over the principal accented syllable (less.)

The fame of this pri'ncess (though it has surmounted the prejudices/ both of fa ction and of bi'gotry), yet lies still exposed to another pre judice, whi'ch/ is more du'rable, because more nâtural ; and whi'ch (according to the di'fferent views in which we surve'y-her) is capable/ either of exalting beyond me'asure, or diminishing the lu'stre of her cha'racter. This prejudice/ is fou’nded/ on the consideration of her sex. When we contemplate her as a woman, we are apt/ to be struck with the highest admiration of her qu'alities and extensive capa'city; but/ we are also apt/ to require some more so'ftness of disposi'tion, some greater le’nity of te'mper, some of those amiable w'eaknesses/ by which her se'x/ is distinguished. But, the trûe method of estimating her merit i's/* to lay aside all thěse considerations, and to consider her merely as a rational be'ing, placed in authoʻrity, and entrusted with the goʻvernment of . manki'nd. We may find it difficult to reconcile our fancy to her/ as a wife or a mi'stress ; but her qua'lities/ as a sovereign (though with some considerable exce'ptions) are the object of undisputed appla’use/ and approba'tion.

Additional Note by the Author of Waverley. Queen Elizabeth/ had a character/ strangely compounded of the strongest masculine se'nse, with those foʻibles/ which are chiefly supposed pro'per/ to the fe'male se'x. Her s'ubjects/ had the full be'nefit of her virtues, (which far predominated over her weěknesses); but her courtiers, and those about her peʼrson, had often to sustain sudden and embar'rassing turns of capri'ce, and the sa'llies of a te'mper/ which was both je’alous/ and despo'tic. She was the nursing-mother of her pe'ople, but she was also the true daughter of Henry VIIIth'; and, though early su'fferings and an excellent educa'tion/ had repre'ssed and mo'dified, they had not altogether destroyed the hereditary te'mper of that “hard-ruled King.” “Her mi'nd” (says her witty god-son, Sir John Harrington, who had expe'rienced/ both the sm'iles and the frôwns which he describ'es) “ was ofttime

[ocr errors]

† For the propriety of pausing after the verb to be, see Note of Rule IV. page 30.

[ocr errors]

Concluding tne.

CHARACTER OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS.

ROBERTSON. To all the cha'rms of beauty, and the* utmost elegance of external f'orm, Mary added those accoʻmplishments/ which render their impression irresis'tible. Poli'te, a'ffable, in sinuating, sprightly, and capable of speaking/ and of wYriting/ with equal e'ases and dignity: Sudden, however, and violent in all her atta'chments, because her heart was w'arm/ and unsuspi'cious. Impatient of contradi'ction, because she had been acc'ustomed/ from her in'fancy/ to be treated as a queen. No stranger, on sôme-occasions, to dissimula'tion ; wh'ich (in that perfidious court/ where she received her e'ducation) was r’eckoned/ among the necessary-arts-of-government. Not insensible to fl'attery, or unconscious of that pleasure, with which almost every woman/ beholds the influence of her own bea'uty. Formed with the qu’alities/ that we lo've, not with the talents/ that we adm'ire, she was an agreeable woman, rather than an illustrious que'en.

The vivacity of her spi'rit (not sufficiently tempered with sound ju’dgment), and the warmth of her h'eart (which was not/ at a'll times/ under the restraint of discr'etion), betrayed

* When the definite article occurs before words that commence with a vowel or silent h, it should be sounded nearly like the pronoun thee.-ED.

+ “Necessary arts of government," is one rhetorical word.

her/ bo'th into e'rrors and into crimes. To say that she was always unf'ortunate, will not account for that long and almost uninterrupted succession of calamities, which befel' her: we must likewise a'dd, that she was often imprudent. Her passion for Darnley/ was ra'sh, yoʻuthful, and excessive. A'nd, though the sudden transition to the opposite extr'eme/ was the natural effe'ct of her ill-requited lov'e, and of his ingratitude, in solence, and brutălity; yet neither these, nor Bothwell's artful addre'ss and important se'rvices, can ju'stify-her-attachment to that nobleman. Even the manners of the a'ge (licentious as they we're) are no apology for this unhappy passion; nor can they induce us/ to look on that tragical and infamous sce'ne/ which fol'lowed-upon-it/ with less abhorrence. Humanity, will draw a veil over this part of her cha'racter, which it can not appr'ove; and may perhaps prompt so'me/ to impute her actions to her situa‘tion, moʻre than to her disposition; and to lam'ent the unhappiness of the fo‘rmer, rather than accu'se the perve'rseness of the lat'ter. Mary's sufferings exce'ed (both in degr'ee and in dura'tion) those tragical distre'sses/ which fancy has feigned to excite so'rrow and commiser'ation; and/ while we survey them, we are a'pt/ altoge'ther/ to forget her fr'ailties ; we think of her fau'lts with less indigna'tion; and approve of our tesars, as if they were shed for a p'erson who had attained much ne'arer/ to pu're-virtue.

With regard to the queen's pe'rson, (a circumstance not to be omitted in writing the history of a fe'male-reign) all contemporary aʼuthors agree/ in ascribing to M'ary the utmost be'auty of coun'tenance and elegance of sh'ape of which the human foʻrm/ is capable. Her h'air was bla'ck, tho’ugh (according to the fashion of that a'ge) she frequently wore borrowed loʻcks, and of different co'lours. Her ey'es/ were a dark grey, her comple’xion/ was exquisitely fi'ne, and her h'ands and ar’ms/ remarkably d'elicate, both as to sh’ape and co'lour. Her st'ature was of a h'eight/ that rose to the maje'stic. She dan'ced, she walk'ed, she ro’de, with e'qual grace'. Her taste for m'usic was ju'st: and she both su'ng and play'ed upon the lu'te) with uncommon sk'ill. No m'an (says Br’antome) ever beheld her 60 person without admiration and lo've, or will read her hi'story/ without sorro'w.*

Concluding tone.

* This sentence, agreeably to Rule X., page 12, terminates with the rising inflexion.

Additional Note by the Author of Waverley. Her fa'ce, her for'm, have been so deeply impressed upon the imagin'ation, a's .(even at the distance of nearly three ce'nturies) to re nind the most ignorant and uninformed reader of the striking tra'its/ which characterize that remarkable co’untenance, which see'ms, at onc'e/ to combine our ide'as of the maje'stic, the pleasing, and the bri'lliant, leaving us to doubt/ whether they express mo`st happily the qu'een, the be’auty, or the accomplished-woman. Who is theʼre (at the very men'tion of Mary Stuart's na'me) that ha's not her countenance befo're him, fam'iliar/ as that of the mistress of his yoʻuth, or the favourite da'ughter of his advanced ag'e ? Even tho'se/ who feel themselves compelled to believe a’lì (or mu“ch of what her enemies laid to her ch'arge) cannot think/ without a sigh/ upon the co’untenance/ expressive of an'y thing/rather/ than the foul crim'es/ with which she was charged while li'ving, and wh'ich/ still continue to sh'ade, if not to bla“cken-her-memory. That bro'w, so truly o’pen and re'gal_those ey'e-brows, so regularly gr’aceful, which yet were saved from the charge of regular insipi'dity by the beautiful effe'ct of the hazel ey'es/ which they over-arched, and whi'ch/ seem to utter a tho'usand-historiesthe no'se, with all its Grecian precision of o’utline—the mo’uth so well propo'rtioned, so sweetly foʻrmed (as if designed to speak nothing but what was delightful to h'ear)—the dimpled ch'inthe sta'tely) swan-like n'eck, form a co’untenance, the like of wh'ich/ we know not to have existed in any other ch'aracter/ moving in that high class of li'fe, where the a'ctress (as well as the a'ctors) commands ge'neral/ and undivided attention. It is in vain to say that the poʻrtraits, which exist of this remarkable wo'man/ are not like each o'ther ; fo'r, amidst their discrepancy, e'ach/ possesses general fea'tures/ which the eyes at onc'e/ acknowledges as peculiar to the vi'sion, which our imagination has raised/ while we read her history for the first tim'e, and wh'ich/ has been impr'essed upon it) by the numerous pri'nts and pi'ctures/ which we have se'en. Inde'ed/ we cannot look upon the woʻrst of th'em (however deficient in point of execu'tion) without saying that it is meant for Queen Ma'ry ; and no small instance it i's/ of the power of beauty, that her cha'rms should have remained the sub'ject/ not merely of admira'tion, but of warm and chivalrous inter'est, after the lapse

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »