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The War Debate in Parliament (March 1854)
|Written||4 April 1854|
First Published: New York Daily Tribune, March 17, 1854;
Source: Marx Engels on Literature and Art, Moscow 1976
A singularity of English tragedy, so repulsive to French feelings that Voltaire used to call Shakespeare a drunken savage, is its peculiar mixture of the sublime and the base, the terrible and the ridiculous, the heroic and the burlesque. But nowhere does Shakespeare devolve upon the down the task of speaking the prologue of a heroic drama. This invention was reserved for the Coalition Ministry. Mylord Aberdeen has performed, if not the English Clown, at least the Italian Pantaloon. All great historical movements appear, to the superficial observer, finally to subside into the farce, or at least the common-place. But to commence with this is a feature peculiar alone to the tragedy entitled, War with Russia, the prologue of which was recited on Friday evening in both Houses of Parliament, where the Ministry’s address in answer to the Ministry’s message was simultaneously discussed and unanimously adopted, to be handed over to the Queen yesterday afternoon, sitting upon her throne in Buckingham Palace.