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Enter a Soldier.
hem o' the sea :
bereft: Seek not my name: A plague consume you wicked caitiffs left! Here lie I Timon; who, alive, all living men did hate : Pass by, and curse thy fill; but pass and stay not here thy gait. These will express in thee thy latter spirits : Though thou abhorr’dst in us our human griefs, Scorn'dst our brain's flow, and those our droplets which From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for aye On thy low grave, on faults forgiven. Dead Is noble Timon; of whose memory Hereafter more.—Bring me into your city, And I will use the olive with my sword : Make war breed peace; make peace stint war; make
each Prescribe to other, as each other's leech. Let our drums strike.
END OP TIMON OF ATHENS.
The original quarto edition of Troilus and Cressida' was printed in 1609. No other edition of the play was published until it appeared in the folio collection of 1623.
“ The original story," says Dryden, was written by one Lollius, a Lombard, in Latin verse, and translated by Chaucer into English ; intended, I suppose, a satire on the inconstancy of women. I find nothing of it among the ancients, not so much as the name Cressida once mentioned. Shakspere (as I hinted), in the apprenticeship of his writing, modelled it into that play which is now called by the name of "Troilus and Cressida.' Without entering into the question who Lollius was, we at once receive the “Troilus and Creseide' of Chaucer as the foundation of Shakspere's play. Of his perfect acquaintance with that poem there can be no doubt. Chaucer, of all English writers, was the one who would have the greatest charm for Shakspere. Mr. Godwin has justly observed that the Shaksperian commentators have done injustice to Chaucer in not more distinctly associating his poem with this remarkable play. But although the main incidents in the adventures of the Greek lover and his faithless mistress, as given by Chaucer, are followed with little deviation, yet, independent of the wonderful difference in the characterisation, the whole story under the treatment of
Shakspere becomes thoroughly original. In no play does he appear to us to have a more complete mastery over his materials, or to mould them into more plastic shapes by the force of his most surpassing imagination. The great Homeric poem, the rude romance of the destruction of Troy, the beautiful elaboration of that romance by Chaucer, are all su'yjected to his wondrous alchemy; and new forms and combinations are called forth so lifelike, that all the representations which have preceded them look cold and rigid statues, not warm and breathing men and women. Coleridge's theory of the principle upon which this was effected is, we have no doubt, essentially true :
“ I am half inclined to believe that Shakspere’s main object (or shall I rather say his ruling impulse ?) was to translate the poetic heroes of Paganism into the not less rude, but more intellectually vigorous, and more featurely, warriors of Christian chivalry, and to substantiate the distinct and graceful profiles or outlines of the Homeric epic into the flesh and blood of the romantic drama,-in short, to give a grand history-piece in the robust style of Albert Dürer." *
Dryden, we have seen, speaks of Shakspere's "Troilus and Cressida’ as a work of his apprenticeship. Dryden himself aspired to reform it with his own master-hand. The notion of Dryden was to convert the “Troilus and Cressida' into a regular tragedy. He complains that “the chief persons who give name to the tragedy are left alive: Cressida is false, and is not punished.” The excitement of pity and terror, we are told, is the only
* Literary Remains, vol. ii. p. 183.