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nat essential portion of Without any reference to character, as a king on his accession scatters gold,
“ facies non omnibus una ; regarded as a component part of the drama. To
Nec diversa lainen.” any attentive reader these distinguishing characters of the dramatic history of Henry Vill. must be To illustrate what I mean, let us contemplate sufficiently obvious; and we can only wonder that Portia, Desdemona, Imogen, Rosalind, Beatrice, the same mind should produce such fine pieces as Cordelia, and Ophelia. They are equally amiable those of “ Henry IV.” “ Richard III.,” and and affectionate women; equally faithful and at“ Henry VIII.,” each written with a pen appropri- tached as wives, as friends, as daughters : two of ate to itself, and the last with a pen not employed them, also, are noted for the poignancy and sparkle in any other instance.
of their wil: and yet can it be said that any one of If we were to pause in this stage of our progress, them can be mistaken for the other; or that a single we might confidently affirm that we had suggested speech can with propriety be transferred from the to the minds of our readers such a mass of poetic lips of her to whom it has been assigned by her and dramatic genius as would be sufficient to excite dramatic creator ? They are all known to us as the the general interest of an intellectual and literary children of one family, with a general resemblance, people. But we are yet only in the vestibule which and an individual discrimination, Benedict and opens into the magnificence of the palace, where Mercutio are both young men of high birth; of Shakspeare is sealed on the throne of his great- known valour ; of playful wit, delighting itself in ness. The plays, which we have hitherto been pleasantry and frolic: yet are they not distinguished considering, are constructed, for the most part, beyond the possibility of their being confounded ? with materials not his own, supplied either by the so intimately conversant is our great dramatist arcient chronicler, or by some preceding drama- with the varieties of human nature, that he scatters tist; and are
a drama, a plot or fable. among the populace; and there is not one, perhaps, But when he is disengaged from the incumbrances of his subordinate agents, who has not his peculiai to which he had submitted in his histories, he as- features and a complexion of his own.
So mighty sumes the full character of the more perfect dra- is our Poet as a dramatic creator, that characters matist; and discovers that art, for which, equally of the most opposite description are thrown in equal with the powers of his imagination, he was cele- perfection and with equal facility from his hand, brated by Ben Jonson. In some of his plays, in- The executive decision of Richard ; the meditative deed, we acknowledge the looseness with which his inefficiency of Hamlet; the melancholy of Jaques, fable is combined, and the careless hurry with which which draws subjects of moral reflection from every he accelerates its close : but in the greater triumphs object around him; and the hilarity of Mercutio, of his genius, we find the fable artificially planned which forsakes him not in the very act of dying ; and solidly constructed. In “The Merchant of the great soul of Macbeth, maddened and bursting Venice,” in “Romeo and Juliet,” in “Lear,” in under accumulated guilt; and “the unimitated and “Othello," and, above all, in that intellectual won- inimitable Falstaff," (as he is called by S. Johnson, der, “The Tempest,” we may observe the fable in the single outbreak of enthusiasm extorted from managed with the hand of a master, and contribu- him by the wonders of Shakspeare's page) revellting its effect, with the characters and the dialogue, ing in the tavern at Eastcheap, or jesting on the to amuse, to agitate, or to surprise. In that beau- field of Shrewsbury, are all the creatures of one tiful pastoral drama, " As You Like It," the sudden plastic intellect, and are absolute and entire in their disappearance of old Adam from the scene has kind. Malignity and revenge constitute the founbeen a subject of regret to more than one of the dation on which are constructed the two very dissicommentators : and Samuel Johnson wishes that milar characters of Shylock and Iago. But there the dialogue between the hermit, as he calls him, is something terrific and even awful in the inexora and the usurping duke, the result of which was the bility of the Jew, whilst there is nothing but meanconversion of the latter, had not been omitted on ness in the artifices of the Venetian standardthe stage. But old Adam had fulfilled the purposes bearer. They are both men of vigorous and acute of his drarnatic existence, and it was, therefore, understandings : we hate them both ; but our ha properly closed. He had discovered his honest at tred of the former is iningled with involuntary retachment to his young master, and had experienced spect; of the latter our detestation is made more his young master's gratitude. He was brought into intensely strong by its association with contempi, a place of safety; and his fortunes were now In his representation of madness, Shakspeare blended with those of the princely exiles of the must be regarded as inimitably excellent; and the forest. There was no further part for him to act; picture of this last degradation of humanity, with and he passed naturally from the stage, no longer nature always for his model, is diversified by him the object of our hopes or our fears. On the sub- at his pleasure. Even over the wreck of the human ject of S. Johnson's wish respecting the dialogue mind he throws the variegated robe of character. between the old religious man and the guilty duke, How different is the genuine insanity of Lear from we may shortly remark, that nothing could have the assumed insanity of Edgar, with which it is been more undramatic than the intervention of such immediately confronted ; and how distinct, again, a scene of dry and didactic morality, at such a are both of these from the disorder which prevails crisis of the drama, when the minds of the audi- in the brain of the lost and the tender Ophelia. ence were heated, and hurrying to its approaching In one illustrious effort of his dramatic power, close. Like Felix in the sacred history, the royal our Poet has had the confidence to produce twó criminal might have trembled at the lecture of ihe delineations of the same perversion of the human noly man: but the audience, probably, would have heart, and to present them, at once similar and disbeen irritated or asleep. No! Shakspeare was similar, to the examination of our wondering eyes. not so ignorant of his art as to require to be in- In Timon and Apemantus is exhibited the same de structed in it by the author of Irene.
formity of misanthropy: but in the former it springs But it was in the portraiture of the human mind: from the corruption of a noble mind, stricken and in the specific delineation of intellectual and moral laid prostrate by the ingratitude of his species: in man, that the genius of Shakspeare was pre-emi- the latter, it is a noisome weed, germinating from a nently conspicuous. The curious inquisition of his bitter root, and cherished by perverse cultivation eye into the characters, which were passing beneath into branching malignity. In each of them, as the its glance, cannot be made too much the subject vice has a different parentage, so hus it a diversified of our admiration and wonder. He saw them not aspect. only under their broad distinctions, when they be With such an intimacy with all the fine and subcame obvious to the common observer; but he tle workings of Nature in her action on the human beheld them in their nicer tints and shadings, by heart, it is not wonderful that our great dramatist which they are diversified, though the tone of their should possess an absolute control over the pass general colouring may be the same.
sions; and should be able to unlock the cell of each
of them is the impulse of his fancy may direct. the loftiest aspirations of the human mind in the When we follow Macbeth to the chamber of Dun- ages which are yet to come. The great Milton's can: when we stand with him by the enchanted imagination alone can be placed in competition caldron; or see him, under the infliction of con- with that of Shakspeare; and even Milton's must science, glaring at the spectre of the blood-boltered yield the palm to that which is displayed in " Banquo in the possession of the royal chair, horror Midsummer Night's Dream," and in the almost is by our side, ihrilling in our veins, and bristling in divine “ Tempest." our hair. When we attend the Danish prince 10 But having sported a while with the fairies, his midnight conference with the shade of his murdered father, and hear the ineffable accents of the
as on the sands with printless feet dead, willing, but prohibited, " to tell the secrets of
They chase the ebbing Neptune," his prison-house," we are appalled, and our faculties are suspended in terror. When we see the faithful and ihe lovely Juliet awaking in the house
" in the spiced Indian air, of darkness and corruption with the corpse of her They dance their ringlets to the whisutng wild," husband on her bosom: when we behold the innocent Desdemona dying by the hand, to which she the mighty Poet turns from their bowers, over was the most fondly aitached; and charging on canopied with luscious woodbine," and plants us herself, with her latest breath, the guilt of her mur- on "the blasted heath,” trodden by the weird sis derer: when we witness the wretchedness of Lear, ters, the Fates of the north ; or leads us to the contending with the midnight storm, and strewing dreadful cave, where they are preparing their inhis white locks on the blast; or carrying in his fernal caldron, and singing round it the incantations withered arms the body of his Cordelia murdered of hell. What a change, from all that is fascinain his cause, is it possible that the tear of pity ting, to all that is the most appalling to the fancy; should not start from our eyes and trickle down our and yet each of these scenes is the product of the cheeks? In the forest of Arden, as we ramble with same astonishing intellect, delighting at one time its accidental inmates, our spirits are soothed into to lull us on beds of roses, with the spirit of Or cheerfulness, and are, occasionally, elevated into pheus, and at another to curdle our blood by throwgaiety. In the tavern at Eastcheap, with the witty ing at us the viper lock of Alecto. But to show and debauched knight, we meet with “Laughter his supreme command of the super-human world, holding both his sides ;” and we surrender our- our royal Poet touches the sepulchre with his maselves, willingly and delighted, to the inebriation of gic rod, and the sepulchre opens “its pond'rous his influence. We could dwell for a long summer's and marble jaws," and gives its dead 10 " revisit day amid the fertility of these charming topics, if the glimpses of the moon." The belief that the we were not called from them to a higher region of dead, on some awful occasions, were permitted to poetic enjoyment, possessed by the genius of Shak- assume the semblance of those bodies, in which spearo alone, where he reigns sole lord, and they had walked upon earth; or that the world of where his subjects are the wondrous progeny of his spirits was sometimes disclosed to the eye of more own creative imagination. From whatever quarter tality, has prevailed in every age of mankind, in of the world, eastern or northern, England may the most enlightened as well as in the most dark. have originally derived her elves and her fairies, When philosophy had attained its widest extent of Shakspeare undoubtedly formed these little beings, power, and had enlarged and refined the intellect, as they Rutier in his scenes, from an idea of his not only of its parent Greece, but of its pupil own ; and they came from his hand, beneficent and Rome, á spectre is recorded to have shaken the friendly to man; immortal and invulnerable; of firmness of Dion, the scholar and the friend of such corporeal minuteness as to lie in the bell of a Plato; and another to have assayed the constancy cowslip; and yet of such power as to disorder the of the philosophic and the virtuous Brutus. In the seasons; as
superstitious age of our Elizabeth and of her Scot
tish successor, the belief in the existence of ghosts to bedim
and apparitions was nearly universal; and when The noontide sun; call forth the mutinous winds: And twixt the green sea and the azured vault,
Shakspeare produced upon his stage the shade of
the Danish sovereign, there was not, perhaps, a Set roaring war."
heart, amid the crowded audience, which did not To this little ethereal people our Poet has assigned palpitate with fear. But in any age, however little manners and occupations in perfect consistency tainted it might be with supersticious creduling, with their nature ; and has sent them forth, in the would the ghost of royal Denmark excite an agita richest array of fancy, to gambol before us, to asto- ting interest, with such awful solemnity is he intro nish and delight us. They resemble nothing uponduced, so sublimely terrible is his tale of woe, and earth : but if they could exist with man, they would such are the effects of his appearance on the pero act and speak as they act and speak, with the inspi- sons of the drama, who are its immediate wilration of our Poet, in “ The Tempest," and “A
We catch, indeed, the terrors of Horatio Midsummer Night's Dream.” In contrast with his and the young prince; and if the illusion be not Ariel,“
a spirit too delicate," as the servant of a so strong as to seize in the first instance on our own witch, “to act her earthy and abhorred com- minds, it acts on them in its result from theirs. mands:" but ready, under the control of his philo- The melancholy, which previously preyed on tho sophic master,
spirits of the youthful Hamlet, was certainly height.
ened into insanity by this ghostly conference; and "To answer his best pleasure, be it to fly,
from this dreadful moment his madness is partly To swim ; to dive into the fire ; to ride
assumed, and partly unaffected. It is certain that On the curl'd clouds;"
no spectre, ever brought upon the stage, can be
compared with this phantom, created by the power in contrast with this aerial being, the imagination of Shakspeare. The apparition of the host, in of Shakspeare has formed a monster, the offspring “ The Lover's Progress," by Fletcher, is too conof a hag and a demon; and has introduced' him temptible to be mentioned on this occasion: the into the scene with a mind and a character appro- spirit of Almanzor's mother, in " The Conquest of priately and strictly his own. As the drama, into Granada,” by Dryden, is not of a higher class; and which are introduced these two beings, beyond the even the ghost of Darius, in “The Persians,” of action of Nature, as it is discoverable on this earth, the mighty and sublime Æschylus,shrinks into insigone of them rising above, and one sinking beneath nificance before this of the murdered Majesty of the level of humanity, may be received as the Denmark. For his success, indeed, in this instance, proudest evidence, which has hitherto been pro- Shakspeare is greatly indebted to the superior aws duced, of the extent and vigour of man's imagina- fulness of liis religion ; and the use which he has tion ; so it bids fair to stand unrivalled amid all made of the Romish purgatory must be regarded as
supremely felicitous. When the imagination of instrument. The stream of passion, like a stream Shakspeare sported without control amid these of electricity, rushes from the actor to us, and wo creations of its own, it unquestionably lifted him are as unable as we are unwilling to resist it. Now high above any competition. As he plays with the it is this feeling, which constitutes the poetic profairies in their bowers of eglantine and woodbine; bability of what we see and hear, and which may cr directs the operations in the magic cave; or calls be violated by an injudicious and lawless shifting of the dead man from the "cold obstruction” of the the scene. If our passions be interested by an tomb,“ to make night hideous," he may challenge action passing at a place called Rome, it must the poets of every age, from that of Homer to the shock and chill them to have our attentions hurried present, and be fearless of the event. But either suddenly, without any reason for the discontinuance from his ignorance of them, which is not easily cre- of the acron, to a piace called Alexandria, separadible, or from his disregard to them, or rather, per- red by the intervention of a thousand miles.' Let haps, from his desire to escape from their yoke, he us suppose, then, that in the fulness of the scenic violates without remorse the dramatic urities of excitement, a friend at our elbow, with the impastime and place, contenting himself 10 preserve the sible fibre
: of a Johnson, were to shake us and to unity of action or design, without which, indeed, say, “What are you mad ? Know you not where nothing worthy of the name of composition can you are ? in Drury Lane theatre ? within a few crist. "And who steps forward, in this instance of hundred yards of your own chambers in Lincoln's his licentious liberty, as the champion of Shak- Inn, and neither at Rome nor at Alexandria ? and speare, but that very critic who brings such charges perceive you not that the old man whom you see against him as a poet and a dramatist, that, if they there on his knee, with his hands clenched, and his were capable of being substantiated, would overturn eyes raised in imprecation to heaven, is our old him from his lofty pedestal; and would prove the friend, Garrick, who is reciting with much propriety object of our homage, during two centuries, to be a some verses made by a man, long since in his litile deformed image, which we had with the most grave? Yes! Garrick, with whom you conversed silly idolatry mistaken for a god? But Johnson's not many hours ago; and who, a few hours hence, defence of Shakspeare seems to be as weak as his will be talking with his friends, over a comfortable attack; though in either case the want of power in supper, of the effects of his present mimickry?” the warrior is concealed under the glare of his If we should be thus addressed, (and a sudden shiftostentatious arms. It is unquestionable that, since ing of the scene may produce an equal dissipation the days of the patrician of Argos, recorded by of the illusion which delights us,) should we be Horace, * who would sit for hours in the vacant thankful to our wise friend for thus informing our theatre, and give his applause to actors who were understanding by the interruption of our feelings? not there, no man, unattended by a keeper, ever Should we not rather exclaim with the Argive noble mistook the wooden and narrow platform of a stage of Horace, when purged by hellebore into his senses, for the fields of Philippi or Agincourt; or the painted
"Pol me occidisticanvass, shifting under his eye, for the palace of the Ptolemies or the Cesars; or the walk, which had
cui sic ex!orta voluptas Et demp:
per vim mentis gratissimus error." brought him from his own house to the theatre, for a voyage across the Mediterranean to Alexandria ;
With the illusion of the poetic or dramatic imitaor the men and women, with whom he had probably tion, established as an unquestionable truth in our conversed in the common intercourse of life, for old minds, let us now turn and consider the dramatic Romans and Grecians. Such a power of illusion, unities in their origin and effect. The unity of quite incompatible with any degree of sanity of action, indeed, may be thrown altogether from our inind, has never been challenged by any critic, as notice'; for, universally acknowledged to be essen. attached to poetry and the stage ; and it is adduced, tially necessary to the drama, and constituting what in his accustomed style of argument, by Johnson, may be called its living principle, it has escaped only for the purpose of confounding his adversaries from violation even by our lawless Poet himself
. with absurdity, or of baffling them with ridicule. The drama, as we know, in Greece, derived its oriBut there is a power of illusion, belonging to ge- gin from tho choral odes, which were sung at certain nuine poetry, which, without overthrowing the rea
seasons before the altar of Bacchus. To these, in son, can seize upon the imagination, and make it the first instance, was added a dialogue of two persubservient to its purposes. This is asserted by sons; and, the number of speakers being subseHorace in that often cited passage :
quently increased, a regular dramatic fable was, at
length, constructed, and the dialogue usurped the “Ille per extentum funem mihi posse videtur
prime honours of the performance. But the chorus, Ire poeta, meum qui pecus inaniter angit, Irritat, mulcet falsis terroribus implet
ihough degraded, could not be expelled from the Ut magus; et modo me Thebis modo ponit Athenis." scene, which was once entirely its own; and, con
secrated by the regard of the people, it was forced Assisted by the scenery, the dresses of the actors, upon the acceptance of the dramatist, to act with it and their fine adaptation of the voice and counte- in the best manner that he could. It was stationed, nance to the design of the poet, this illusion becomes therefore, permanently on the stage, and made tó so strong as intimately to blend us with the fictitious occupy its place with the agents who were to conpersonages whom wo sec before us. We know, duct the action of the fable. From the circumstance indeed, that we are seated upon benches, and are of its being stationary on the stage, it secured the spectators only of a poetic fiction : but the power, strict observance of the unity of place: for with a which mingles us with the agents upon the stage, is stage, which was never vacant, and consequently of such a nature that we feel, as it were, one inter- with only one scene, the Grecian dramatist could est with them: we resent the injuries which they not remove his agents whithersoever he pleased, in sufler, we rejoice at the good fortune which betides accommodation to his immediate convenience; but them: the pulses of our hearts beat in harmony on the spot, where the scene opened, he was conwith theirs; and as the tear gushes from their eyes, strained to retain them till the action of the drama it swells and overflows in ours. To account for was closed, and what could not consistently be this influence of poetic imitation, for this contagion acted was necessarilyo onsigned to narration. This of represented passion belongs to the metaphysi- was a heavy servitude to the dramatist; but it had cian, the sole business of the critic is to remark its compensations ir uninterrupted feeling, and in and to reason from the fact. It is unquestionable the greater conservation of probability. To the that our imaginations are, to a certain extent, under unity of time, as time is more pliant to the imagithe control of authentic poetry, and especially of nation than placr, the Grecian dramatist seems to that poetry which employs the scenic imitation for its have paid little r'any regard. In the Agamemnon
of Æschylus, the fire signals have only just an- Fuit haud ignobilis Argis, &c. Epis. lib. ii. Ep. nounced to Mycent the fall of Troy, when the
herald arrives with the tidings of the victorious
ji l. 129
king's approach ; who must thus nave passed from If the limits prescribed to me on the present oc Phrygia to the Peloponnesus, obstructed also as his casion would admit of such a disquisition, I would passage was by a tempest, with the celerity nearly submit to my readers an analysis of one of our of a ray of light; and in the Trachinize of Sopho- Poet's finest plays, that I might distinctly show how cles, a journey of about one hundred and twenty much he has lost by his neglect of the dramatic miles is accomplished during the recitation of a unities; and how much more effectually he might hundred verses. The transgression of the unity have wrought for his purpose if he had not disdainof time was not, perhaps, much the subject of the ed or been luo idle to solicit their assistance. In auditor's calculation, or in any degree of his con- two lines of supreme fustian and nonsense, John cern. With his mind intent on the still occupied son says of him, stage and the upchanging scene, he was ready to welcome the occurrence of any new event, or to
" Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign, Listen with pleasure to any new narration of facts
And panting time toil'd after him in vain.” beyond the stage, without pausing to investigate the poet's due apportionment of time. If the scene If he spurn'd the reign of existence, he must have had been shifted, the feelings of the spectator would plunged into some illimitable void, if there be such, have been outraged by such an infringement of the in the infinity of space; and what is the idea inunity of place. When the arbitrary separation of tended to be conveyed by “Panting time toiling the drama into acts was accomplished by the Roman after him in vain,” I will confess that I do not pro dramatists, the observance of the unity of place cisely comprehend. I conclude, however, that of became more easy, though still it was not to be these lines the first refers to the super-human creaabandoned. An act constitutes a portion of the tures of the dramatist's invention, to his fairies, his action of a drama, at the close of which the stage magicians, and his ghosts: and these, indeed, are is vacated and the curtain drops. If, during the proud evidences of his imaginative powers; and act, the scene be shifted, the unity of place is bro- that the second, in the ludicrous image, which it ken; the probability of the dramatic imitation is presents, of old Time, panting and toiling in vain to diminished, and our feelings are certainly offended: catch the active and runaway Poet, must allude to but in the interval between act and act, the scene
the contempt occasionally discovered by our lawmay be removed to any place where it may suit the less bard for probability and the limitation of time; convenience of the poet to plant it, to Venice or to
and this, of which any scribbler may be guilty, is, Cyprus ; and any lapse of time may, readily and in truth, the most effective dispraise. But it is more without absurdity, be imagined to intervene.' The wonderful that Shakspeare, who may be regarded action of the drama must necessarily be maintained as the father of the English drama, accomplished one and entire, and then, with the scene stationary so much for its perfection, than that he failed to during the act, all the dramatic unities will be suf- accomplish more. ficiently, if not rigidly, preserved. As we know
We have now considered this extraordinary man nothing of the tragic writers of Rome, all their as the giver of a poetic soul to historic narration, works having perished, with the exception of those as the framer of a dramatic fable, and excelling of Seneca, from which not any thing of value can equally in the sublime, the pathetic, and the ludibe learned, we cannot decide whether or not they crous; as luxuriating by himself, in a sort of inacavailed themselves of the liberty which they had cessible glory, in a world of his own imagination; obtained by this division of their plays into acts ;
as neglecting the dramatic unities, either from ige and that their plays were divided into acts, like those norance of their effect, or from an indolent dislike of the Roman comic writers, we are assured by of their restraint. We have made, in short, a curHorace when he tells the Pisos
sory survey of his excellencies and his defects. His
diction only now remains to be the subject of our " Neve minor, neu sit quinto productior actu
attention; and in this subordinate portion of the Fabula, &c."*
drama, we shall find him to be as superior to com
petition as he is in the characteristic and the imaBut if they did not assert the liberty, which they ginative. His diction is an instruinent, which is had gained by thus breaking the continued repre- admirably adapted to all his purposes. In his trasentation of the Grecian theatre, they had them- gic strains, it sounds every note of the gamut; and selves only to blame ; for they certainly possessed is either sublime or tender, vehement or pathetic, the means of effectively preserving all the power of with the passion of which it is the organ: in de the unities at a very small expense of difficulty and scription it is picturesque, animated, and glowing ; labour. It is for his inattention to the integrity of and every where its numbers are so harmonious, so the scene during the continuance of each single act varied, almost to infinity, in their cadence and their that I conceive Shakspeare to be principally cen- pauses, that they give to the ear a perpetual feast, surable ; and the variety, to which we are instruct- in which there is no satiety. As the diction of ed to look as the consequence of his lawlessness in Shakspeare rises in his higher scenes, without efthis instance, to be an insufficient compensation for fort or tumour, to the sublime of poetry, so does it the outrage of probability, for the frequent violation fall, in his comic, with facility and grace, into the of our feelings, and for the vicious example with humility of prose. It has been charged with being which he has corrupted the good taste, and has harsh and ungrammatical. I believe it to be harsh diminished the efficiency of the English stage. A and unrhythmical (I confine the remark, of course, recent commentator, however, has discovered, and to the verse portion of it) only when it has been he seems to applaud himself on the felicitous dis- deformed by the perverse industry of tasteless comcovery, that our great bard has been faithful to one mentators, referring us to incorrect transcriptions unity of the drama, though he has treated the others for authorities; and to the same cause may be aswith disregard--that he has been faithful to the cribed, as I am satisfied, many, if not all, of its unity of feeling-to the unity of feeling! What! grosser grammatical errors. It will not, indeed, in when he transports us from the revels and the wit every instance, as we are willing to allow, abide of Falstaff to the council chamber of the politic the rigid analysis of grammar, for it sometimes Bolingbroke, to the military array of the young impresses the idea forcibly, and distinctly on the Percy, to the field of Shrewsbury, to the castle of mind without the aid of regular grammar, and with the plaintiff Northumberland. The tragedies of out discovering the means by which the exploit has Rowe, and the comedies of Congreve may vaunt of been achieved. As one example of this power their unity of feeling: but that mixed species of dra- of Shakspeare's diction, among many of a similar ma, in which Shakspeare delights, will admit the nature which might be adduced, we will transcribe praise of any other unity in preference to that of the often-cited answer of Claudio to his sister, in feeling.
“Measure for Measure," respecting the unknown
terrors of deatn. The expressions in Italics con* De Arte Poetica, 1. 189.
vey their meaning with great accuracy to the hear
PREROGATIVE COURT OF CANTERBURY.
fr's or the reader's mind; but, if submitted to the There myriads still shall laugh, or drop the tear, philosophical grammarian's examination, they will Al Falstaff's humour, or the-woes of Lear: not easily stand under it; and they may puzzle us 10
Man, wave-like, following man, thy powers admire, account for their sffect in the communication of the
And thou, my Shakspeare, reign till time expire.
C. S poet's ideas.
Aug. 4th, 1825.
FROM THE ORIGINAL IN THE OFFICE OF THE
Vicesimo quinto die_Martii, Anno Regni Domını
nostri Jacoln nunc Regis Anglie, fc. decimo quarThis entire passage, terminating at "howling,” is
to, et Scotiæ quadragesimo nono. Anno Domini
1616. deficient in grammatical correctness, for it contains an antecedent not succeeded by a consequent: In the name of God, Amen. I William Shakbut is there a reader of taste who would wish it to speare of Stratford upon Avon, in the county of be any thing but what it is ? As for those barba- Warwick, gent. in perfect health and memory (God risms of the double negative and the double com- be praised !) do make and ordain this my last parative, which Malone is studious to recall from will and testament in manner and form following ; the old copies into Shakspeare's text, I have already that is to say: declared my conviction that they are falsely charged First, I commend my soul into the hands of God upon Shakspeare. They are not to be found in those my creator, hoping, and assuredly beheving, through effusions of his muse which issued from the press the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, to be under his own immediate inspection; and they made partaker of life everlasting ; and my body to must assuredly be considered as the illiterate errors the earth whereof it is made. of an illiterate transcriber.
Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughter I could now easily, and the task would be delight- Judith, one hundred and fifty pounds of lawful Engful to me, produce examples, from the page of lish money, to be paid unto her in manner and form Shakspeare, of all the excellencies which I have following; that is to say, one hundred pounds in attributed to his diction; of its sublimity, its force, discharge of her marriage portion within one year its tenderness, tis pathos, its picturesque
character, after my decease, with consideration after the rate its sweet and ever varying harmony. But I have of two shillings in the pound for so long a time as already very far transgressed the limits prescribed the same shall be unpaid unto her after my decease ; to me in my volume ; and I must restrain myself. and the fifty pounds residue thereof, upon her surWhen, therefore, I have cited, at the close of what rendering of, or giving of such sufficient security as I am now writing, the description by Jaques, in the overseers of this my will shall like of, to sur.
As you Like it," of the seven ages of man, as an render or grant, all her estate and right that shall evidence of Shakspeare's power id touch the most descend or come unto her after my decease, or that familiar topics into poetry, as the Phrygian mo- she now hath, of, in, or to, one copyhold tenement, narch could touch the basest substances into gold, with the appurtenances, lying and being in StratI shall conclude this long and, as I fear, this fatiguing ford upon Avon aforesaid, in the said county 0, treatise on Shakspeare and his works, by asking if Warwick, being parcel or holden of the manor of be be not a mighty genius, Mufficiently “illustrious Rowington, unto my daughter Susanna Hall, and and commanding to call forth the choice spirits of her heirs for ever. a learned and intellectual century to assert his Item, I give and bequeath unto my said daughter greatness, and to marchin his triumph to fame ? Judith one hundred and fifty pounds more, if sho,
Yes, master of the human heart! we own or any issue of her body, be living at the end of Thy sovereign sway; and bow before thy chrone : three years next ensuing the day of the date of this Where, richly deck'd with laurels never sere, my will, during which time my executors to pay her It stands aloti, and, baffles Time's career. consideration from my decease according to the rate There warbles Poesy her sweetest song:
aforesaid: and if she die within the said term withThere the wild Passions wait, thy vassal throng. There Love, there Hate, there Joy in turn presides; out issue of her body, then my will is, and I do give And rosy Laughter holding both his sides.
and bequeath one hundred pounds thereof to my At thy command the varied lumult rolls. niece Elizabeth Hall, and the fifty pounds to be set Now Pity melis, now Terror chills our souls. forth by my executors during the life of my sister Now, as thou wavest the wizard-rod, are seen Joan Hart, and the use and profit thereof coming, The Fays and Elves quick glancing o'er the green: shall be paid to my said sister Joan, and after her And, as the moon her perfect orb displays, decease the said fifty pounds shall remain amongst The ligle people sparkle in her rays. There, mid the lightning's blaze, and whirlwind's the children of my said sister, equally to be divided howl,
amongst them; hut if my said daughter Judith be On the scath'd heath the fatal gistere scowl: living at the end of the said three years, or any Or, as hell's caldron bubbles o'er the flame, issue of her body, then my will is, and so 'I devise Prepare to do a deed without a name.
and bequeath the said hundred and fifty pounds to These are thy wonders, Nature's darling birth!
be set out by my executors and overseers for the And Fame exulting bears thy name o’er earth. There, where Rome's eagie never stoopd for blood, to be paid unto her
so long as she shall be married
best benefit of her and her issue, and the stock nog By hallow'd Ganges and Missouri's flood: Where the bright eyelids of the Morn unclose ; and covert baron; but my will is, that she shall And where Day'g steeds in golden stalls repose; have the consideration yearly paid unto her during Thy peaceful triumphs spread ; and mock the pride her life, and after her decease the said stock and or Pella's Youth, and Julius slaughter-dyed.
consideration to be paid to her children, if she have In ages far remote, when Albion's state Hath touch'd the mortal limit, marked by Fate:
any, and if not, to her executors and assigns, she When Arts and Science fly her naked shore:
living the said' term after my decease : provided And the world's Empress shall be great no more:
that if such husband as she shall at the end of the Then Australasja shall thy sway prolong; said three years be married unto, or at any [time] And her rich cilios echo with thy song.
after, do sufficiently assure unto her, and the issuo