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And length of days, and glory shall be thine.
Hard by the ascendant.”—p. 85. The principal value of this scene lies in the incident which follows the disappearance of the Genius. Balaam-Haddon is seized with a prophetic ecstacy, in which he darkly predicts the future kingdom of the Messiah. The idea is happily taken from the sublime, but unwilling benediction pronounced by Balaam, the son of Beor, upon the tribes of Israel. As the inspiration passes off, the soothsayer falls into a trance, and the artful Hadad takes this opportunity to persuade Absalom that the prophecy, to which he has just listened, relates to the extent and glory of his own reign. Next, we have the meeting of the conspirators, which is given with great liveliness and spirit. The arrangements for the insurrection are made, and Absalom departs for Hebron, on the pretence of offering a sacrifice, but in reality to take the command of an army of rebels mustered there. In the last scene of the third act, Tamar, from the roof of her father's palace, hears the cry and rush of multitudes, and beholds the confusion of the city, when Absalom is proclaimed king in Jerusalem, and his father is compelled to seek safety in flight. She leaves the house of her father, and takes refuge in the tabernacle. The search made after her, at midnight, by Hadad and Absalom, gives the author an opportunity of setting before us a striking picture of the licentious and tumultuous riot and violence of a city, that had just changed masters. At last the place of her retreat is discovered; Hadad, attended by several of Absalom's guards, goes to the tabernacle, and while the guards enter to require that she attend her father, Hadad, watched at a distance by Maugrabin, one of his creatures, remains intently looking through the vail, when the following scene ensues :
“ Had. Lo! lo!-the bloody shrine of sacrifice,-
Maug. (muttering to himself.) Tempt him, if thou wilt-
Had. Wherefore should I tremble?-
How could I front the terrible array
-One flash might end me!-
[Re-enter Guards, with TAMAR.]
First Guard. We stayed not.
Second Guard. (aside to his comrade.)
And see, his breast is bloody.”—pp. 148, 149. Absalom is restrained by the advice of Hushai, one of his counsellors, but friendly to the interests of David, from immediately pursuing the latter, by which means he has an opportunity of strengthening his ranks, and preparing for battle. The retreat of David with his followers is represented in a masterly manner, and with a great variety of interesting and affecting circumstances. On the morning, the two armies engage near the wood of Ephraim. Tamar, guarded by an escort of twenty horsemen, is placed by her father in the charge of Hadad, to whom he had promised her in marriage. With the exception of one or two passages, which seem a little overwrought, the description of the battle is given with infinite spirit, and the reader is made acquainted with its particulars as they occur by a very ingenious and happy method. Hadad and Tamar take shelter in the tent of an Ishmaelite family, who had come to gather spices in the forest of Ephraim, and the Ishmaelites, as they drop in, one by one, with the bloody spoils of the combat, bring intelligence of its progress. At length the troops of Absalom are routed, and himself slain. Hadad contrives to disengage himself from the horsemen, and with Tamar, under the pretence of providing for her safety, penetrates farther into the solitary forest. In the last scene of the drama, the author seems to have put forth all his strength, and we recollect few passages of dramatic poetry, written since the time of Shakspeare, with which this part of the work will not bear an advantageous comparison. " A sequestered place in the wood, surrounded with thick dark trees: a
fountain, near a cave: Enter Hadad and Tamar.
Had. But we must wait the guard.—Come, sit with me
List the sweet birds nestling among the boughs ;
Tam. No, no,
Had. But whither shall we flv?
Had. To vassal Geshui !--Who can there protect us?
In lasting peace.”-pp. 187, 188. After yainly exhausting every argument which his ingenuity can supply, to persuade her to fly with him from the confines of Israel, and dwell with him in peace and happiness in a distant country, he addresses her with loftier and more thrilling rea
“Nay, hold! for thou must listen. And, if deaf
-Confide in me,
Tam. Talk not so madly, Hadad.
Tam. I know not what I fear when I say, No.
Had. (haughtily.) Ha? perhaps thou doubt'st my power ?
Tam. Able to achieve
Had. (with scorn.) Human strength!
Tam. What horrid thought of pride curls thy pale lip,
Had. Still, thou deem'st me
Tam. (terrified.) Heavens! O, heavens !
Had. This form was Hadad's-
The peer of Angels.”—pp. 191. 193. He then informs her that, while yet an invisible spirit, he had seen her, and had become enamoured of her early beauty, long before her acquaintance with him whose form he now wears. He relates his sufferings from the miseries of jealousy when" that curst Syrian, fresher than Adonis,” became her companion and lover, and tells her that one day finding Hadad newly slain by robbers in a solitary spot, he dared the dreadful consequences denounced against such an act, and entered into and animated his body. To convince her of the truth of his narrative, he shows her the wounds yet fresh on his breast.
“ Had. Immedicable wounds that thrill and throb
No art can heal thein and no balm assuage."--p. 196. He then scoops a handful of water from the fountain beside him, and offers to sprinkle it upon her, and make her bloom and live for ages. She recoils from his approach, abjures his accursed love, and makes her appeal to heaven.
“ Had. No more—we'll argue after-Thou, at least,
Shalt never bear the Incarnate Foe we fear!”—p. 199. He then drags her shrieking into the cavern. A party of Cherethites, the followers of David, appear, and the catastrophe is thus described by one of them, who had ventured into the cavern, and now rushes out pale and trembling. His companions inquire of him the cause of his affright, and what he had seen :
“ Cherethite. One like the Cherubim, Dreadfully glistering, wing'd, and dazzling bright
As lightning, whose fierce-bickering eyeballs shot
And yelled, till death's last livid agony."-pp. 200, 201. The blasted body of Hadad is dragged from the cave, an object of terror and loathing, and Tamar is restored to her friends in Jerusalem.
The character of Tamar is finely and delicately drawn. A good deal of talent is also shown in the sketches we have of the fearless, fiery, and sanguinary Joab, of the frank and humane Ittai, of the mild and benevolent David, and the ambitious and impetuous Absalom. Hadad, likewise, as it seems to us, is a fortunate conception, and the author has managed it with exceeding art. He has contrived to interest us in his fortunes, before we are suffered to know that he is a fallen spirit inhabiting a human body. His youth, his eloquence, his sensibility to natural beauty, his passion for Tamar, his melancholy, and his tears, for the poet even gives him tears, all conspire to enlist our sympathy in his favour. There is, throughout, something mysterious in his demeanour and language, in the extent of his knowledge, and the efficiency of his agency, and he frequently drops dark allusions to his real character, and seems more than once on the point of revealing it to Tamar. All these circumstances prepare the mind for the disclosure which he finally makes, so that although it surprises and agitates, it does not shock us. Even after this disclosure, our principal feeling towards him is that of compassion, and it is not till just before the conclusion, when all the demon breaks out through his disguises, that we are made thoroughly to detest him. We are also greatly mistaken, if there is not, in the idea of a fiend taking the place of a human soul, and animating a human body, something more palpably appalling, something of more substantial terror, than in the common machinery of mere bodiless phantoms and spectres. It is an idea which our minds, accustomed as they are to speculate on the union of the soul and body, admit without difficulty. It confers on the object of our apprehensions a certain fearful connexion and kindred with our race, making it to walk and dwell among us, in appearance one of ourselves, yet most fearfully distinguished from us by malignity, and knowledge, and power.
On a subject respecting which opinions and tastes vary so much, as on the propriety of the introduction of supernatural