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Lorenzo fires back this answer:
"And in such a night
Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew
Jessica gets in the last word, and says:
"I would outnight you, did nobody come; But hark, I hear the footing of a man."
Lorenzo declines to enter the house for rest or sleep, but still discourses of love and music:
"How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Still quiring to the young-ey'd cherubins;
By the sweet power of music; therefore, the poet Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones and floods.
Since naught so stockish, hard and full of rage
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
Portia, Bassanio and friends arrive from the trial of Antonio at Venice, and at the brilliant home of Belmont all is peace and love.
Bassanio discovers that the young lawyer in disguise was Portia, and she twits him for giving away his ring to the young advocate, as a recompense for clearing Antonio from the toils of Shylock; and then she discourses to her friends about music by night:
"Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day;
How many things by season, seasoned are
(Music ceases and all retire.)
Music murmurs through the soul
"The time is out of joint; O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right."
"Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge Had stomach for them all."
SHAKSPERE, in January, 1600, was at the height of his dramatic renown, and at the age of thirty-six was the ripest philosopher in the world, knowing more about the secret impulses of the human heart than any other man.
I could see a great change in his life and thought; for a shade of settled melancholy characterized his action, since the death and burial of Spenser, and the downfall of Essex and Southampton, through the vengeance of Cecil and Bacon, jealous courtiers, who poisoned Queen Elizabeth against the most noted lords of her court.
Shakspere's theatrical company became involved in the conspiracy of Essex, and an edict was issued against the Blackfriars and Globe playhouses performing their dramatic satires. Children players took their places.
Through the particular vengeance of Lord
Bacon, charges of treason were trumped up against Essex, the former benefactor of Bacon, and in due course the head of Essex went to the block in February, 1601.
Thus perished one of the brightest, bravest and loftiest peers of England, a victim to the spleen, hate and tyranny of the ugly Elizabeth, a woman without conscience or morality, when her personal interest was involved. She shines out as one of the greatest and most infamous queens of history, and so long as lofty crime is remembered she will remain on the top pedestal of royal iniquity.
In the course of our classical and historical readings, William had become very much interested in the tragic story of Amleth or Hamlet as told by the Danish writer, Saxo-and Seneca, the great Roman, in his story of Cornelia gives the same tragic tale, while Garnier, the French dramatist, as well as Kyd, the friend of Shakspere, made plays out of the tragic history of the Prince of Denmark
But it was left for my friend William to gather up the historical bones of the ancient story, and articulate them into a breathing, living, passionate, divine being, whose lofty words and phrases should go sounding down the centuries, thrilling and reverberating in the soul-lit memory of mankind.
The supernatural or spiritual part of creation had ever a fascinating influence upon the Bard of Avon, and all the outward manifestations of nature were infallible hints to him of the inward sources of the Divine, and an absolute belief in the immortality of the soul! His own mind was the best evidence of divinity!
Night after night in the winter of 1600, William
would read over, and ponder upon "scraps of thought," that he had at various times put into the mouth of Hamlet, and in our new quarters, near Temple Bar, I assisted him in composing the dramatic story of the melancholy Dane.
That is, I blew the bellows, and when his thought was heated to a red rose hue he hammered out the play on the anvil of his genius, and made the sparks fly in a shower of pristine glory.
His literary blacksmith shop was richly furnished with all the rough iron bars and crude ingots of vanished centuries; and all the best dramatic writers of London filled his thought factory with contributions of their inventions. He worked many of their rough pieces of thought into his dramatic plots; but when the phrase, scene and act were finished and placed before the footlights for rendition, it sailed away, a full rigged ship of dramatic grandeur, showing nothing but the royal workmanship of a master builder, the Homer, Phidias and Angelo of artistic perfection.
Mankind cares but little for the various kinds of wheat that compose the loaf, the wool or cotton that's in the garment, the timber or stone in the house, or the kind of steel in the battleship or guns; all they look for is the perfect structure, as they may see to-day in Shakspere's greatest play-"Hamlet."
While Hamlet is the central figure of the play, old Polonius, the diplomatic double dealer, Laertes, his son, and Ophelia, his daughter, act prominently, while Horatio and the ghost of Hamlet's father express words of lasting remembrance.
Cruel Claudius, the king who murdered Hamlet's father, stole his throne and seduced his wife, is