« PředchozíPokračovat »
Laugh and the world laughs with you;
This grand old earth must borrow its mirth,
Be glad and your friends are many;
For a long and lordly train,
Feast, and your halls are crowded,
Grieve, and they turn and go,
These lines impressed me very much at the time and from that day to this I have never ceased to act on the philosophy of the poem.
It has been part of my nature, and during my wanderings for the past three hundred and twenty years I have never failed to carry in my train of thought and action-sunshine, beauty, song, love
and laughter-advance agents to secure welcome in all hearts and homes throughout the world.
We were beautifully entertained by Mrs. Daisy Davenant at the Crown Tavern in Oxford, and many of the college "boys," who heard of our arrival in the city, hurried to pay their classic friendship to the "Divine" William.
We arrived in London on the 20th of September, and found that our old maid landlady had died of the plague, but had kindly sent all our literary and wardrobe effects to Florio, who was still alive and well at the Red Lion.
In a couple of days William was up to his head and ears in theatrical composition and stage structure.
A few years before the Bard had "dashed off” a love tragedy entitled "Romeo and Juliet," taken from an Italian novel of the thirteenth century, and a translation of the old family feud in poetry, by Walter Brooke, who had but recently delighted London with the story.
Shakspere never hesitated to take crude ore and rough ashler from any quarry of thought; and out of the dull, leaden material of others, produced characters in living form to walk the stage of life forever, teaching the lesson of virtue triumphant over vice.
The exemplification of true love, as pictured in the pure affection of Juliet and the intense, heroic devotion of Romeo, have never been equaled or surpassed by any other dramatic characters.
The lordly and wealthy gentry of Italy have been noted for their family feuds for the past three thousand years, and the party followers of
these blood-stained rivals have desolated many happy homes in Rome, Florence, Milan, Naples, Venice and Verona.
Shakspere showed the finished play of "Romeo and Juliet" to Burbage, and the old manager fairly jumped wth joy and astonishment at the eloquence of the love and ruin drama.
The families of Capulet and Montague of Verona, stuffed with foolish pride about the matrimonial choice of their daughters and sons, can be found in every city in the world where a tyrant father or purse-proud mother insist on selecting life partners for their children.
The story of Romeo and Juliet shows the utter failure of such parental folly.
The play was largely advertised among the lights of London and announced to come off in all its glory at the Blackfriars on the last Saturday of December, 1595.
Queen Elizabeth, in a special box, was there incog, with a royal train of lords and ladies; and such another audience for dress and stunning show was never seen in London.
Burleigh, Bacon, Essex, Southampton, Derby, Raleigh, Spenser, Warwick, Gray, Montague, Lancaster, Mountjoy, Blake, and all the great soldiers and sailors of the realm then in London were boxed for a sight of the greatest love tragedy ever enacted on the dramatic stage. All the dramatic authors were present.
William himself took the part of Romeo, for he was a perfect exemplification of the hero of the play. Jo Taylor took the part of Juliet, and I can assure you that his makeup, in the form and dress
of the fourteen-year-old Italian beauty, was a great
Dick Burbage took the part of Friar Laurence, Condell played Mercutio, Arnim the part of Paris, Field played old Capulet, and Florio played Montague, Hemmings played Benvolio, and John Underwood played the part of Tybalt, and Escalus, the Prince, was played by Phillips.
The curtain went up on a street scene in Verona, where the partisans of the houses of Capulet and Montague quarreled, while Paris, Mercutio, Romeo and Tybalt worked up their hot blood and came to blows.
Romeo and his friends, in mask, attended a ball at the home of Juliet, in a clandestine fashion, and on first sight of this immaculate beauty Romeo exclaims:
"O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
The dancing done, I'll watch her place of stand, And, touching hers, make happy my rude hand, Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight, For I ne'er saw true beauty till to-night!”
The poetic apostrophe of Romeo to his new discovered beauty elicited universal applause, led by the "Virgin Queen," who imagined, no doubt, that his tribute to beauty was intended for herself.
She never lost an opportunity to appropriate anything that came her way. An epigram of strenuous audacity. A winner!
In the second act Romeo climbs the wall, hemming in his beautiful Juliet, and in defiance of the family fued, locks and bars of old man Capulet, and seeks a clandestine interview with his true love, although at the risk of his life.
It was the evening of the twenty-first birthday of Romeo, and with love as his guide and subject, he felt strong enough to attack a warring world. Beneath the window of the fair Juliet, Romeo soliloquizes:
"He jests at scars, that never felt a wound— (Juliet appears at an upper window.)
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks!
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she;
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off—
It is my lady; O, it is my love;
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks, yet she says nothing: What of that: