Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ends by forbiduing the whisper, and of r proar. Here is a subject to shake makes him reply by signs. He is also coarse nerves, and to make the mighty rich, an uncle, and he ill-treats his chests of the companions of Drake and nephew Sir Dauphine Eugenie, a man Essex shake with uncontro!!able laughof wit, but who lacks money. We an- ter. “Rogues, hell-hounds, Stentors ! ticipate all the tortures which poor Mo- They have rent my roof, walls, rose is to suffer. Sir Dauphine finds him and all my windows asunder, with a supposed silent woman, the beautiful their brazen throats !” Morose casts Epicone. Morose, enchanted by her himself on his tormentors with his long brief replies and her voice, which he sword, breaks the instruments, drives can hardly hear, marries her to play away the musicians, disperses the his nephew a trick. It is his nephew guests amidst an inexpressible uproar, who has played him a trick. · As soon gnashing his teeth, looking haggard. as she is married, Epicone speaks, Afterwards they pronounce him mad scolds, argues as loud and as long as a and discuss his madness before him. dozen women :-“Why, did you think The disease in Greek is called wavía, you had married a statue? or a motion in Latin insania, furor, vel ecstasis only? one of the French puppets, with melancholica that is, egressio, when a man the eyes turn’d with a wire? or some ex melancholico evadit fanaticus. . But innocent out of the hospital, that would he may be but phreneticus yet, mistress stand with her hands thus, and a plaise and phrenetis is only delirium, or so.' mouth, and look upon you?” * They talk of the books which he must

She orders the servants to speak read aloud to cure him. They add by louder; she opens the doors wide to way of consolation, that his wife talks in her friends. They arrive in shoals, her sleep, “and snores like a porpoise.” offering their noisy congratulations to “O redeem me, fate ; redeem me, fate !" Morose. Five or six women's tongues cries the poor man.t.

“ For how many overwhelm him all at once with com- causes may a man be divorc'd, nephew?" pliments, questions, advice, remon- Sir Dauphine chooses two knaves, and strances. A friend of Sir Dauphine disguises them, one as a priest, the comes with a band of music, who play other as a lawyer, who launch at his all together, suddenly, with their whole head Latin terms of civil and canon force. Morose says, “O, a plot, a plot, law, explain to Morose the twelve cases a plot, a plot, upon me! This day 1 of nullity, jingle in his ears one after shall be their anvil to work on, they another the most barbarous words in will grate me asunder. 'Tis worse their obscure vocabulary, wrangle, and than the noise of a saw.” † A pro- make between them as much_noise as cession of servants is seen coming, with a couple of bells in a belfry. Following dishes in their hands; it is the racket their advice he declares himself impo of a tavern which Sir Dauphine is tent. The wedding-guests propose to bringing to his uncle. The guests clash toss him in a blanket; others demand the glasses, shout, drink healths; they an immediate inspection. Fall after have with them a drum and trumpets fall, shame after shame; nothing serves which make great noise. Morose fees him; his wife declares that she ccnto the top of the house, puts “a whole sents to “ take him with all his faults.' nest of night-caps” on his head and The lawyer proposes another legal stuffs up his ears. Captain Otter cries, method ; Morose shall obtain a divorce

Sound, Tritons o' the Thames ! Nunc by proving that his wife is faithless. ist bibendum, nunc pede libero.“ Vil. Two boasting knights, who are preslains, murderers, sons of the earth and ent, declare that they have been her traitors,” cries Morose from above, lovers. Morose, in raptures, throws what do you there?” The racket himself at their knees, and embraces increases. Then the captain, some them. Epicæne weeps, and Morose what “jovial,” maligns his wife, who seems to be delivered. Suddenly the falls upon him and give him a good lawyer decides that the plan is of no beating. Blows, cries, music, laughter, avail, the i aficlelity having been cum resound like thunder. It is the poetry

* Compare M. de Pourceaugnac in Molière. • Egicæne, jäi. 3.

1 Ibid. 1 Epicæno iv. in a.


mitted before the marriage. “O, this vention; he is too n uch of a writei is worst of all worst worsts that hell and moralist, not enough of a nimic could have devis'd ! marry a whore, and an actor. But he is loftier from and so much noise!” There is Morose another side, for he is a poet; almost then, declare impotent and a deceived all writers, prose-authors, preachers husband, at his own request, in the eyes even, were so at the time we speak of. of the whole world, and moreover mar- Fancy abounded, as well as the perried to ever. Sir Dauphine comes in ception of colors and forms, the need like a -lever rascal, and as a succor- and wont of enjoying through the im. ing deity. “ Allow me but five hun-agination and the eyes. Many of Jon. dred during life, uncle," and I free son's pieces, the Staple of News, Cyn you. Morose signs the deed of gift thia's Revels, are fanciful and allegorica, with alacrity; and his nephew shows comedies like those of Aristophanes him that Epicone is a boy in disguise.* He there dallies with the real, anc Add to this enchanting farce the funny beyond the real, with characters who parts of the two accomplished and gal. aré but theatrical masks, abstractions lant knights who, after having boasted personified, buffooneries, decorations, of their bravery, receive gratefully, and dances, music, pretty, laughing whims before the ladies, flips and kicks. t of a picturesque and sentimental imNever was coarse physical laughter agination. Thus, in Cynthia's Revels, more adroitly produced. In this broad three children come on "pleading poscoarse gayety, this excess of noisy trans- session of the cloke" of black velvet, port, you recognize the stout roysterer, which an actor usual.y wore when he the stalwart drinker who swallowed spoke the prologue. "They draw lots hogsheads of Canary, and made the for it; one of the losers, in revenge, windows of the Mermaid shake with tells the audience beforehand the inhis bursts of humor.

cidents of the piece. The others in

terrupt him at every sentence, put their V.

hands on his mouth, and taking the

cloak one after the other, begin to Jonson did not go beyond this; he criticise the spectators and authors was not a philosopher like Molière, This child's play, these gestures and able to grasp and dramatize the crisis loud voices, this little amusing dispute, of human life, education, marriage, sick- divert the public from their serious ness, the chief characters of his country thoughts, and prepare them for the and century, the courtie the trades- oddities which they are to look upon. man, the hypocrite, the man of the

We are in Greece, in the valley of world. I He remained on a lower level, Gargaphie, where Diana * has proin the comedy of plot, § the painting of claimed “a solemn revels." Mercury the grotesque, ll the representation of and Cupid have come down, and begin too transient subjects of ridicule, T too by quarrelling; the latter says : “My general vices ** If at times, as in the light feather-heel'd coz, what are you Alchemist, h: has succeeded by the per- any more than my uncle Jove's pander? fection of plot and the vigor of satire, a lacquey that runs on errands for hirn he has miscarried more frequently by and can whisper a light message to a the ponderousness of his work and the loose wench with some round volu lack of comic lightness. The critic in bility? ... One that sweeps the gods am mars the artist ; his literary calcu- drinking-room every morning, and seta lations stri him of spontaneous in the cushions in order again, which they • Epiæne, v.

threw cne at another's head over 1. Compare Polichinelle in Le Malade im- night?” + vinaire ; Géronte in Les Fourheries de Sca. They are good-tempered gods. Echo, Compare l'Ecole des Femmes, Tartuffe,

awoke by Mercury, weeps for the “ toe e Misanthrope, Le Bourgeois-gentilhomme, beauteous boy Narcissus : Le Malade imaginaire, Georges Dandin “That trophy of self-love, and spoil of na $ Compare ks Fourberies de Scapin.

ture, Il Compare les Facheux. Compare les Précieuses Ridicules.

* By Diana, Queen Elizabeth is meant. * Compare the plays of Destouches

1 Cynthia's Revels, i. 1.


"O vauity,

Who, now transformed into this drooping flower,

How are thy painted beauties doated on, Hangs the repentant head, back from the By light, and empty...ots! how pursu'd stream, ..

With open and externe 1 appetitel Witness thy youth's dear sweets, here spent How they do sweat, and run themselves fron untasted,

breath, Like a fair taper, with his own fame Rais'd on their toes, to catch thy airy formas, wastedl ...

Still turning giddy, till they reel like drunk And with thy water let this curse remain,

ards, As an inseparate plague, that who but taste That buy the merry, madness of oue hour, A drop thereof, may, with the instant touch, With the long irksomeness of following Grow doatingly enamour'd on themselves."*

time!” The courtiers and ladies drink thereof, vices, appear two symbo.. sal masques,

To complete the overthrow of the and behold, a sort of a review of the follies of the time, arranged, as in representing the contrary v.rtues. They Aristophanes, in an improbable farce, splendid array, and the noble verses

pass grave ly before the spectators, in a brilliant show. A silly spendthrift, Asotus, wishes to become a man of the exchanged by the goddess and her court and of fashionable manners ; he

companions raise the mind to the lofty takes for his master Amorphus, a

regions of serene morality, whither the

poet desires to carry us : learned traveller, expert in gallantry, who, to believe himself, is

“Queen, and huntress, chaste and fair,

Now the sun is laid to sleep,

Seated in thy silver chair, An essence so sublimated and refined by

State in wonted manner keep. lavel ... able to speak the mere exthe action of language ; one that ... was your

Lay thy bow of pearl apart,

And thy crystal shining quiver ; first that ever enrich'd his country with the true laws of the duello ; whose optics have

Give unto the flying hart drunk the spirit of beauty in some eight-score

Space to breathe, how short soever." + and eighteen princes' courts, where I have re- In the end, bidding the dancers to unsided, and been there fortunate in the amours mask, Cynthia shows that the vices of three hundred forty and five ladies, alhaobly have disguised themselves as virtues. if not princely descended, in so as even admiration herself doth seem to fasten She condemns them to make fit repher kisses upon me." +

aration, and to bathe themselves in

Helicon. Asotus learns at this good school

Two by two they go off the language of the court, fortifies him singing a palinode, whilst the chorus self like other people with quibbles, sings the supplication “Good Mercury learned oaths, and metaphors; he fires defend us.” | Is it an opera or a comoff in succession supersubtle tirades, edy? It is a lyrical comedy; and it and duly imitates the grimaces and we do not discover in it the airy light. tortuous style of his masters. Then, ness of Aristophanes, at least we en. when he has drunk the water of the counter, as in the Birds and the Frogs, fountain, becoming suddenly pert and the contrasts and medleys of poetic inrash, he proposes to all comers a tour- vention, which through caricature and nament of “court compliment." This ode, the real and the impossible, the odd tournament is held before the present and the past, sent forth to the ladies; it comprises four jousts, and at four quarters of the globe, simultane. each the trumpets sound. Thom- ously unites all kinds of incompatibili batants perform in succession the ties, and culls all flowers. BARE ACCOST ; “ the BETTER

Jonson went further than this, and GARD;” “ the SOLEMN ADDRESS;

» entered the domain of pure poetry. and “ the PERFECT CLOSE.” | In this He wrste delicate, voluptuous, charm. grave buffoonery the courtiers are beat- ing love poems, worthy of the ancient

The severé Crites, the moralist of idyllic muse. § Alove all, he was the the play, copies their language, and great, the inexhaus.ible inventor of pierces them with their own weapons. Masques, a kind of masquerades, balAlready, with grand declamation, he lets, poetic choruses, in which all the had rebuked them thus :


# Ibid. i. 1.

| lbid. v. 3

1 lbid. last scene. * Cynthia's Revels, i. 1.

t Ibid. Ś Celebrration of Charis Miscellancou 1 lbid. v. 3.



“ Earine,

magnificence and the imagination of lite, true feasts for the eyes, like the
the English Renaissance is displayed. processions of TitianX Even when he
The Greek gods, and all the ancient grew to be old, his imagination, like
Olympus, the allegorical personages that of Titian, remained abundant and
whom the artists of the time delineate fresh. Though forsaken, lying gasping
in their pictures; the antique heroes on his bed, feeling the approach of
of popular legends; all worlds, the ac- death, in his supreme bitterness he dia
toal, the abstract, the divine, the hu- not lose his faculties, but wrote The
man, the ancient, the modern, are Sad Shepherd, the most graceful and pas.
searched by his hands, brought on the toral of his pieces. Consider that this
it age to furnish costumes, harmonious beautiful dream arose in a sick-cham
groups, emblems, songs, whatever can ber, amidst medicine bottles, physic,
excite, intoxicate the artistic sense. doctors, with a nurse at his side,
The élite, moreover, of the kingdom is amidst the anxieties of poverty and the
there on the stage. They are not choking-fits of a dropsy! He is trans-
mountebanks moving about in bor- ported to a green forest, in the days of
rowed clothes, clumsily worn, for which Robin Hood, amidst the gay chase
they are still in debt to the tailor; they and the great barking greyhounds.
are ladies of the court, great lords, the There are the malicious fairies, who
queen, in all the splendor of their rank like Oberon and Titania, lead men to
and pride, with real diamonds, bent on founder in mishaps. There are open-
jisplaying their riches, so that the souled lovers, who like Daphne and
whole splendor of the national life is Chloe, taste with awe the painful
concentrated in the opera which they sweetness of the first kiss. There
enact, like jewels in a casket What lived Earine, whom the stream has
dresses ! what profusion of splèndors ! “suck'd in," whom her lover, in his
what medley of strange characters, madness, will not cease to lament:
gypsies, witches, gods, heroes, pontiffs,
gnomes, fantastic beings! How many Who had her very being, and her name
metamorphoses, jousts, dances, mar- With the first knots or buddings of the
riage songs! What variety of scenery,

architecture, floating isles, triumphal

Born with the primrose or the violet,

Or earliest roses blown: when Cupia smil'de arches, symbolic spheres! Gold glit- And Venus led the graces out to dance, ters; jewels flash; purple absorbs the And all the flowers and sweets in nature's lustre-lights in its costly folds ; streams lap of light shine upon the crumpled silks ;

Leap'd out, and made their solemn conjura. diamond necklaces, darting flame, clasp To last but while she liv'd!" the bare bosoms of the ladies ; strings “ But she, as chaste as was her name, Earine, of pearls a"; displayed, loop after

Died undeflower'd : and now her sweet soul

loop, upon the silver-sown brocaded

Here in the air above us." +
dresses ; gold embroidery, weaving
wliimsical arabesques, depicts upon

Above the poor old paralytic artist, their dresses flowers, fruits, and figures, poetry still hovers like a haze of light setting picture within picture. The Yes, he had cumbered himse.f with teps of the throne bear groups of science, clogged himself with theories, Cupids, each with a torch in his hand. * constituted himself theatrical critic and On e.ther side the fountains cast up

social censor, filled his soul with unre.
plumes of pearls; musicians, in purple lenting indignation, fostered a com
and scarlet, laurel-crowned, make har bative and morose disposition; bat di.
mony in the bowers. The trains of vine dreams never left him. He is the
masques cross, commingling their brother of Shakspeare.
groups; “ the one half in orange-tawny
and 'silver, the other in sea-green and

silver. The bodies and short skirts
(were of) white and gold to both.”

So now at last we are in the pres.
Such pageants Jonson wrote year

ence of one, whom we perceived before after year, almost to the end of his us through all the vistas or the Re * Masque of Beauty.

* The Sad Shepherd, i. 3. ! Ibid. ii.


[ocr errors]


naissance, like some vast oak to which I and health come to us as a momentary all the forest ways converge. I will success, a lucky accident.* If we for. treat of Shakspeare by himself. In get this, it is because we are now regit. order to take him in completely, we lated, dulled, deadened, and because must have a wide and open space. our internal motion has become graduAnd yet how shall we comprehend ally, by, friction and reparation, half nim? how lay bare his inner constitu- harmonized with the motion of things. tion ? Lofty words, eulogies, are all But this is only a semblance; and used in vain; he needs no praise, but the dangerous primitive forces comprehension merely; and he can main untamed and indepen.lent under only be comprehended by the aid of the order which seems to restrain science. As the complicated revolu- them. Let a great danger arise, a revo sions of the heavenly bodies become lution take place, they will break out intelligible only by use of a superior and explode, almost as terribly as ira Calculus, as the delicate transformations earlier times. For an idea is not a of vegetation and life need for their mere inner ma. k, employed to desig. explanation the intervention of the nate one aspect of things, inert, al

. most difficult chemical formulas, so the ways ready to fall into order with great works of art can be interpreted other similar ones, so as to make an only by the most advanced psychologi- exact whole. However it may be re. cal systems; and we need the loftiest duced and disciplined, it still retains a of all these to attain to Shakspeare's sensible tinge which shows its likelevel to the level of his age and his ness to an hallucination; a degree of work, of his genius and of his art. individual persistence which shows its

After all practical experience and ac- likeness to a monomania; a network cumulated observations of the soul, we of singular affinities which shows its find as the result that wisdom and likeness to the ravings of delirium. knowledge are in man only effects and Being such, it is beyond question the fortuities. Man has no permanent and rudiment of a nightmare, a habit, an distinct force to secure truth to his in- absurdity. Let it become once develtelligence, and common sense to his oped in its entirety, as its tendency conduct. On the contrary, he is nat- leads it, and you will find that it is urally unreasonable and deceived. essentially an active and complete im The parts of his inner mechanism are age, a vision drawing along with it a like the wheels of clock-work, which train of dreams and sensations, which go of themselves, blindly, carried away increases of itself, suddenly, by a sort by impulse and weight, and which yet of rank and absorbing growth, and sometimes, by virtue of a certain uni- which ends by possessing, shaking, exson, end by indicating the hour. This hausting the whole man. After this, sinal intelligent motion is not natural, another, perhaps entirely opposite, and but fortuitous; not spontaneous, but so on successively: there is nothing forced; not innate, but acquired. The else in man, no free and distinct power; clock did not always go regularly; on he is in himself but the process of these the contrary, it had to be regulated headlong impulses and swarming im little by little, with much difficulty. aginations : civilization has mutilated, Its regularity is not ensured; it may attenuated, but not destroyed them; go wrong at any time. Its regularity shocks, collisions, transports, some 's not complete; it only approximately times at long intervals a sort of tran marks the time. The mechanical force sient partial equilibrium : this is his of cach piece is always ready to drag real life, the life of a lunatic, who now all the rest from their proper action, and then simulates reason, but who is and to disarrange the whole agree in reality “such stuff as dreams are So ideas, once in the mind,

* This idea may be expanded psychologically: Duly each their own way blindly and external perception memory, are real hallu. separately, and ineir imperfect agree- cinations, etc. The 's the analytical aspect : mert threatens confusion every mo

under another aspect reason and health are the

natural goals. mert. Strictly speaking, man is mad,

+ See Spinoza and Dugald Stewart: Con as she body is isl, by nature; reasonception in its natural state is beliet.

[ocr errors]


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »