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made on ; " * and this is man, as Skak-, a miserable mechanical linkwork of speare has conceived him. No writer, thought, the complete idea, that is, an not even Molière, has penetrated so inner representation, so abundant and far beneath the semblance of common full, that it exhausts all the properties sense and logic in which the human and relations of the object, all its inmachine is enclosed, in order to disen- ward and outwaid aspects; that it ex tangle the brute powers which consti- hausts them instantaneously; that it tute its substance and its mainspring conceives of the entire animal, ita
How did Shakspeare succeed? and color, the play of the light upon its by wliat extraordinary instinct did he skin, its form, the quivering of its out livine the remote conclusions, the stretched limbs, the flash of its eyes leepest insights of physiology and psy and at the same time its passion of the hology? He had a complete imagina- moment, its excitement, its dash; and Lion; his whole genius lies in that beyond this its instincts, their coriposi complete imagination. These words tion, their causes, their history; so that seem commonplace and void of mean the hundred thousand characteristics ing: Let us examine them closer, to which make up its condition and its understand what they contain. When nature find their analogues in the im we think a thing, we, ordinary men, we agination which concentrates and re only think a part of it; we see one flects them : there you have the artist's side, som: isolatel mark, sometimes conception, the poet's-Shakspeare's; two or three marks together ; for what so superior to that of the logician, of is beyond, our sight fails us; the in- the mere savant or man of the world, finite network of its infinitely-compli- the only one capable of penetrating to cated and multiplied properties escapes the very essence of existences, of exus; we feel vaguely that there is some tricating the inner from beneath the thing beyond our shallow ken, and this outer man, of feeling through symvague suspicion is the only part of our pathy, and imitating without effort, the idea which at all reveals to us the great irregular oscillation of human imaginabeyond. We are like tyro-naturalists, tions and impressions, of reproducing quiet people of limited understanding, life with its infinite fluctuations, its apwho, wishing to represent an animal, parent contradictions, its concealed recall its name and ticket in the mu- logic; in short, to create as nature seum, with some indistinct image of creates. This is what is done by the its hide and figure; but their mind other artists of this age; they have the stops there. If it so happens that they same kind mind, and the same idea wish to complete their knowledge, they of life: you will find in Shakspeare lead their memory, by regular classifi- only the same faculties, with a still cations, over the principal characters stronger impulse ; the same idea, with of the animal, and slowly, discursively, a still more prominent relief. piecemeal, bring at last the bare anatomy before their eyes. To this their idea is reduced, even when perfected ; to this also most frequently is our conception reduced, even when elaborated.
CHAPTER IV. What a distance there is between this conception and the object, how imper
Shakspeare. fectly and meanly the one represents the other to what extent this muti- I AM about to describe an extra. lates that how the consecutive idea, dinary species of mind, perplexing to disjointed in little, regularly arranged all the French modes of analysis and and inert fragments, resembles but reasoning, all-powerful, excessive, masslightly the organized, living thing, ter of the sublime as well as of the created simultaneously, ever in action, base; the most creative mind that ever and ever transformed, words cannot ex- engaged in the exact copy of the details plain. Picture to yourself, astead of of actual existence, in the dazzling His poor dry idea, propped up by caprice of fancy, in the pr found com * Tempest, iv. s.
plications of superhuma: passions ; ;
nature poetical, immoral, inspired, su- were imprud:nt. While su yel nine perior to reason by the sudden revela- teen years old, he married the daughter tions of its seer's madness; so extreme of a substantial yeoman, about eight in joy and grief, so abrupt of gait, so years older than himself—and not too agitated and impetuous in its trans- soon, as she was about to become a ports, that this great age alone could mother.* Other of his outbreaks were have cradled such a child.
no more fortunate. It seems that he
was fond of poaching, after the manner I.
of the time, being “much given to all
unluckinesse in stealing venison and Of Shakspeare all came from within -I mean from his soul and his genius; vies ; †' “particularly from Sir Thomas
rabbits,” says the Rev. Richard Da. circumstances and the externals contributed but slightly to his develop times imprisoned, and at last made him
Lucy, who had him oft whipt and some. ment.* He was intimately bound up Ay the country;
but his rewith his age ; that is, he knew by exand town; he had visited the heights, this time Shakspeare's father was in perience the manners of country, court, venge was so great, that he is his
Justice Clodpate.” Moreover, about depths, the middle ranks of mankind; prison, his affairs were not prosperous, nothing more. In all other respects, and he himself had three children, fol. his life was commonplace; its irregu- lowing one close upon the other; he larities, troubles, passions, successes, must live, and life was hardly possible were on the whole, such as we meet for him in his native town. He went with everywhere else.f His father, a
to London, and took to the stage: took glover and wool-stapler, in very easy the lowest parts, was a “servant” in the circumstances, having married a sort of country heiress, had become high-bail theatre, that is, an apprentice, or per
. iff and chief alderman in his little town; that he had begun still lower, and that
haps a supernumerary. They even said but when Shakspeare was nearly fourteen he was on the verge of ruin, mort- men's horses at the door of the thea
to earn his bread he had held gentlegaging his wife's property, obliged to resign his municipal offices, and to re- and felt, not in imagination, but in fact,
tre. I At all events he tasted misery, move his son from school to assist him the sharp thorn of care, humiliation in his business. The young fellow ap disgust, forced labor, public discredit plied himself to it as well as he could, the power of the people. He was a not without some scrapes and frolics : if we are to believe tradition, lie was comedian, one of " His Majesty's poor one of the thirsty souls of the place, players," S-a sad trade, degraded in with a mind to support the reputation hoods which it allows: still more de.
all ages by the contrasts and the falseof his little town in its drinking powers: graded then by the brutalities of the Once, they say, having been beaten at Bideford in one of these ale-bouts, he crowd, who not seldom would stone the returned staggering from the fight, or actors, and by the severities of the mag rather could not return, and passed the istrates, who would sometimes con
demn them to lose their ears. He fe't night with his comrades under an apple: it, and spoke of it with bitterness : tree by the roadside. Without doubt he had already begun to write verses, “ Alas, 'tis true I have gore here and thers to rove about like a genuine poet,
And made myself a motley to the view, takirg part in the noisy rustic feasts,
* Mr. Halliwell and other commen ators try. the gay allegorical pastorals, the rich and bold outbreak of pagan and poeti- plight was regarded as the real marriage, that
to prove that at this time the preliminary trothcal lite, as it was then to be found in an this trothplight had taken place, and that there English village. At all events, he was was therefore no irregularity in Shakspeare's not a patte 'n of propriety, and his conduct,
† Halliwell, 123. passions were as precocious as they
| All these anecdotes are traditions, and con * Halliwell's Life of Shakspeare.
sequently more or less doubtful; but the other 1 Born 1564, died 1616. He adapted plays facts are authentic. as early as 1591; The first play entirely from $ Terms of an extant document, ais pen appeared in 1993.-PAYNE COLLIER. named along with Burbadge and Greene.
Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is That did not better for my üfe provide most dear.".
Than public means which public manners
breeds." And again :
They used to relate in London, how • When in disgrace with fortune t and men's his comrade Burbadge, who played eyes,
Richard III. having a rendezvous with I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless
the wife of a citizen, Shakspeare went cries,
before, was well received, and was And look upon myself and curse my fate, pleasantly occupied, when Burbadge Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, arrived, to whom he sent the message Featured like him, like him with friends possessed.
that William the Conqueror came be With what I most enjoy contented least;
fore Richard III. We may take this Yet in those thoughts myself almost despis- as an example of the tricks and some ing." I
coarse intrigues which We shall find further on the traces of planned, and follow in quick succession this long-enduring disgust, in his. mel
on this stage. Outside the theatre he ancholy characters, as where he says:
lived with fashionable young nobles
Pembroke, Montgomery, Southamp For who would bear the whips and scorns of ton, and others, whose hot and licen.
time, The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's
tious youth gratified his imagination contumely,
and senses by the example of Italian The pangs of despised love, the law's delay, pleasures and elegancies. Add to this The insolence of office and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
the rapture and transport of poetical When he himself might his quietus make
nature, and this kind of afflux, this With a bare bodkin ?” $
boiling over of all the powers and de. But the worst of this undervalued po
sires which takes place in brains of sition is, that it eats into the soul. In
this kind, when the world for the first the company of actors we become ac- time opens before them, and you will tors : it is vain to wish to keep clean, understand the Venus and Adonis, “the if you live in a dirty place; it cannot
first heir of his invention.” In fact, it be. No matter if a man braces him. is a first cry, a cry in which the whole self; necessity drives him into a corner
man is displayed. Never was seen a and sullies him. The machinery of the heart so quivering to the touch of decorations, the tawdriness and medley beauty, of beauty of every kind, so deof the costumes, the smell of the tallow lighted with the freshness and splendor and the candles, in contrast with the of things, so eager and so excited in parade of refinement and loftiness, all adoration and enjoyment, so violently the cheats and sordidness of the rep- and entirely carried to the very essence resentation, the bitter alternative of of voluptuousness. His Venus is hissing or applause, the keeping of the unique ; no painting of Titian's has a highest and lowest company, the habit
more brilliant and delicious coloring ; of sporting with human passions, easily
no strumpet-goddess of Tintoretto or unhinge the soul, drive it down the Giorgione is more soft and beautiful ; slope of excess, tempt it to loose man- “ With blindfold fury she begins to forage, ners, green-room adventures, the loves Her face doth reek and smoke, her blood of strolling actresses. Shakspeare es
doth boil. .. caped them no more than Molière, and And glutton-like she feeds, yet never filleth, grieved for it, like Molière:
Her lips are conquerors, his lips obey,
Paying what ransom the insulter willeth ; • O, for my sake do you with Fortane chide,
Whose vulture thought doth pitch the pain
so bigh, The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,
• Sonnet 111. # Sonnet 110,
† Anecdote written in 1602 on the authority † See Sonnets 91 and 111; also Hamlet, iii. of Tooley
the actor. 2. Many of Hamlet's words would come bet- the Earl of Southampton was pineteca ter from the mouth of an actor than a prince. years old when Shakspeare dedicated his See also the 66th Sonnet, “ Tired with all A donis to him. these.”
§ See Titian's picture, Loves of the Gode, at 1 Sonst 1
ŷ Hamlet, üi. s. Blenheim.
That she will draw his lips' rich treasure burden and the shame, but from which dry."
nevertheless, he could not and would Even as an empty cagle, sharp, by fast, not free himself. Nothing can be Tires with her beak on feathers, flesh and sadder than his confessions, or mark bonc,
better the madness of love, and the Shaking her wings, devouring all in haste, Till either gorge be stuff'd or prey be gone;
sentiment of human weakness : Even so she kiss'd his brow, his cheek, his chin,
“When my love swears that she is made of And where she ends she doth anew begin." +
I do believe her, though I know she lies." . all is taken by storm, the senses first, so spoke Alceste of Célimène; † but he eyes dazzled by carnal beauty, but what a soiled Célimène is the creature she heart also from whence the poetry before whom Shakspeare kneels, with sverflows; the fulness of youth inun
as much of scorn as of desire ! jates even inanimate things; the country looks charming amidst the rays of
“ Those lips of thine, :he rising sun, the air, saturated with What have profaned their scarlet ornaments
And seal'd false bonds of love as oft as mine, brightness, makes a gala-day:
Robb'd others' beds' revenues of their rents. " Lo, there the gentle lark, weary of resty
Be it lawful I love thee, as thou lov'st those From his moist cabinet mounts up on high,
Whom thine eyes woo
as mine importune
thee." I And wakes the morning, from whose silver breast
This is plain-speaking and deep shame. The sun ariseth in his majesty ;. Who doth the world so gloriously behold
lessness of soul, such as we find only That cedar-tops and hills seem burnish'd | in the stews; and these are the intoxi gold." I
cations, the excesses, the delirium into An admirable debauch of imagination which the most refined artists fall
, when and rapture, yet disquieting; for such they resign their own noble hand to a mood will carry one a long way. § No these soft, voluptuous, and clinging fair and frail dame in London was
ones. They are higher than princes, without Adonis on her table.|| Perhaps and they descend to the lowest depths
of sensual passion. Good and evil Shakspeare perceived that he had transcended the bounds, for the tone of his then lose their names; all things are
inverted : next poem, the Rape of Lucrece, is quite different; but as he has already a mind
“How sweet and lovely dost thou make the liberal enough to embrace at the shame same time, as he did afterwards in his Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose, dramas, the two extremes of things, he
Doth spot the beauty of thy budding name!
O, in what sweets dost thou thy sins enclose! continued none the less to follow his
That tongue that tells the story of thy days, bent. The “sweet abandonment of Making lascivious comments on thy sport, love" was the great occupation of his Cannot dispraise but in a kind of praise ; life; he was tender-hearted, and he
Naming thy name blesses an ill report." was a poet: nothing more is required What are proofs, the will, reason, honor to be smitten, deceived, to suffer, to itself, when the passion is so absorbtraverse without pause the circle of ing?' What can be said further to a illusions and troubles, which whirls man who answers,
“ I know all that and whirls round, and never ends. you are going to say, and what does it
He had many loves of this kind, áll amount to ?" Great loves are in amongst others one for a sort of undations, which drown all repugnance Marion Delorme, a miserable deluding and all delicacy of soul, all precon. despotic passion, of which he felt the ceived opinions and all received prin
ciples. Thenceforth the heart is dead • Venus and Adonis, l. 548-553. # Ibid. l. 53-60.
1 ibid. I. 893-858.
to all ordinary pleasures : it can only Compare the firs: pieces of Alfred de Mus feel and breathe on one side Shak Contes Italu et s'Espagne.
speare envies the keys of the instruCrawley, quoted by Ph. Chasles, Etudes
ment over which his mistress' finger mo Shakspeare. T A famed French courtesan (1613-1650), the * Sonnet 138. heroine of a drama of that name, by Victor | Two characters in Molière's Misanthropole In having for its subject-matter :
The scene referred to is Act v. x 7.-TR. purifies everything."-Tx.
1 Sonnet 143.
If he looks at flowers, it is she felow, his own dearest friend, whom whom he pictures beyond them; and he has presented to her, and whom she the extravagant splendors of dazzling wishes to seduce. poetry spring up in him repeatedly, as
“ Two loves I have of comfort and despair, ioon as he thinks of those glowing Which like two spirits do suggest me still. black eyes :
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman colour'd'ill. . From you have I been absent in the spring, To win me soon to hell, my female evil When proud-pied April dress'd in all his Tempteth my better angel from my side." .
trim, Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing, And when she has succeeded in this, That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap'd with he dares not confess it to himself, bar
suffers all, like Molière. What wretch He saw none of it:
edness is there in these trifles de every. Nor did I wonder at the lily's white,
How man's foughts in Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose.”+ stinctively place by Shakspeare's side All this sweetness of spring was but. ière), also a philosopher by nature, but
the great unhappy French poet (Mol: her perfume and her shade :
more of a professional laugher, a The forward violet thus I did chide: mocker of old men in love, a bitter Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy railer at deceived husbands, who, af
sweet that smells, If not from my love's breath? The purple ter having played in one of his most pride,
approved comedies, said aloud to a Which on thy soft check for complexion friend, “ My dear fellow, I am in de
dwells In my love's veins thou hast too grossly Neither glory, nor work, nor invention
spair ; my wife does not love me!” dyed.' The lily I condemned for thy hand,
satisfy these vehement souls: love And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair: alone can gratify them, because, with The roses fearfully on thorns did stand, their senses and heart, it contents also One blushing shame, another white despair : A third, nor red nor white, had stol’n of both their brain; and all the powers of man, And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath; imagination like the rest, find in it their More flowers I noted, yet I none could see concentration and their employment. But sweet or colour it had stol’n from thee."
“Love is my sin,” he said, as did Mus. Passionate archness, delicious affecta- set and Heine ; and in the Sonnets we tions, worthy of Heine and the con- find traces of yet other passions, temporaries of Dante, which tell us of equally abandoned ; one in particular, long rapturous dreams concentrated on seemingly for a great lady. The first one object. Under a sway so imperi- half of his dramas, Midsummer Nights ous and sustained, what sentiment Dream, Romeo and Juliet, the Two could maintain its ground? That of Gentlemen of Verona, preserve the family? He was married and had warm imprint more completely; and children,-a family, which he went to we have only to consider his latest see once a year;” and it was proba- women's character, 1 to see with what bly on his return from one of these jour.
* Sonnet 144 ; also the Passionate Piz peys that he used the words above
grim, 2. quoted. Conscience ?
“ Love is too † This new interpretation of the Sonnets is joung to know what conscience is.” due to the ingenious and learned conjectures of Jealousy and anger?
M. Ph. Chasles.-For a short history of the se
Sonnets, see Dyce's Shakspeare, i. pp. 96-102. For, thou betraying me, I do betray
This learned editor says: “I contend that My nobler part to my gross body's trea- allusions scattered through the whole series son." §
are not to be hastily referred to the persona.
circumstances of Shakspeare.”—TR. Repulses ?
Miranda, Desdemona, Viola. The follow .. He is contented thy poor drudge to be
ing are the first words of the Duke in Twelft To stand in thy affairs, fall by thy side." I
“ If music be the food of love, play.on; He is no longer young; she loves an- Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, other, a handsome, young, light-haired The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall : Sonnst 98.
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet south § Ibid. 151.
1 Ibid. That breathes upon a bank of violets,