23 December 1865, 880-1
Some reviews of Chastelard were more emphatic than the Athenaeum in their opinions that the portrait of Mary Queen of Scots is unhistorical and that the characters and scenes of the play are repugnant. A more friendly review was that of Henry Morley, who reviewed the book with Poems and Ballads (No. 10).
The power of poetic expression so remarkably displayed in Mr. Swinburne’s Atalanta in Calydon is not absent from his new work. He still writes with force and beauty of phrase, though not without drawbacks of straining and affectation. In a dramatic point of view, too, he shows, up to a certain point, striking qualities. Passion, at times, obtains from him a startling utterance, and his delineation of Mary Stuart is, in some respects, as vivid as it is morally repulsive on the whole. We seem not only to hear
The soft and rapid shudder of her breath
In talking—the rare tender little laugh—
The pitiful sweet sound like a bird’s sigh
When her voice breaks—
And to see
—The playing of those eyelashes,
The lure of amorous looks as sad as love;
but, through the early scenes, we trace, in her speech and manners, the
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Publication information: Book title: Algernon Swinburne: The Critical Heritage. Contributors: Clyde K. Hyder - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 17.
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