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exquisite tenderness, what full adora- comes by its ceaseless metamorphoses, tion, he loved them to the end.

a sort of abstract of the universi. Thig In this is all his genius; his was one is why they seem to live more than of those delicate souls which, like a other men ; they have no need to be perfect instrument of music, vibrate of taught, they divine. I have seen such a themselves at the slightest touch. This man, apropos of a piece of armor, a fine sensibility was the first thing, ob- costume, a collection of furniture, enter served in him. My darling Shak: into the middle age more frly thar speare," "Sweet Swan of Avon :” three savants together. They recon these words of Ben Jonson only con- struct, as they build, naturally, surely, firm what his contemporaries reiterate. by an inspiration which is a winged He was affectionate and kind, “civil chain of reasoning. Shakspeare had in demeanour, and excellent in the qual- only an imperfect education, “Sull {tie he professes ;" * if he had the im- Latin and less Greek,” barely I rooch puise, he had also the effusion of true and Italian,* nothing else ; he had not artists; he was loved, men were de travelled, he had only read the cur. lighted in his company; nothing is rent literature of his day, he had picked more sweet or winning than this charm, up a few law words in the court of his this half-feminine abandonment in a little town : reckon up, if you can, all

His wit in conversation was that he knew of man and of history ready, ingenious, nimble; his gayety These men see more objects at a time; brilliant; his imagination fuent, and they grasp them more closely than so copious, that, as his friends tell us, other men, more quickly and thoroughhe niver erased what he had written ; ly; their mind is full, and runs over. --at least when he wrote out a scene They do not rest in simple reasoning. for the second time, it was the idea at every idea their whole being, reflecwhich he would change, not the words, tions, images, emotions, are set

aquiver. by an after-glow of poetic thought, not see them at it; they gesticulate, mimic with a painful tinkering of the verse. their thought, brim over with compari. All these characteristics are combined sons; even in their talk they are im. into a single one: he had a sympathetic aginative and original, with familiarity genius; I mean that naturally he knew and boldness of speech, sometimes how to forget himself and become happily, always irregularly, according transfused into all the objects which to the whinıs and starts of the advenhe conceived. Look around you at turous impi ovisation. The animation, the great artists of your time, try to the brilliancy of their language is mar. approach them, to become acquainted vellous ; so are their fits, the wide with them, to see them as they think, leaps with which they couple widely. and you will observe the full force of removed ideas, annihilating distance this word. By an extraordinary in- passing from pathos to humor, from stinct, they put themselves at once in vehemence to gentleness. This exa position of existences; men, animals, traordinary rapture is the last thing to Aowers, plants, landscapes, whatever quit them. If perchance ideas fail, o: the objects are, living or not, they feel if their melancholy is too violent, they by intuition the forces and tendencies, still speak and produce, even if it e which produce the visible external; nonsense: they become clowns, though and their soul, infinitely complex, be at their own expense, and to their own Stealing and giving odour ! Enough; nc hurt. I know one of these men who

will talk nonsense when hc thinks he "Tis not so sweet now as it was before. o spirit of love! how quick and fresh art the inner wheel continues tu turn, even

is dying, or has a mind to kill himself; That, notwithstanding thy capacity

upon nothing, that wheel which man Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there, must needs see ever turning, ever Of what validity and pitch soever, But falls into abatement and low price,

though it tear him as it turns; his buf. Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy foonery is an or tlet: you will find him, That it alone is high-fantastical.'

Dyce, Shakspeare, i 27: “Of French * H. Chettle, in repudiating Greene's sar- and Italian, I apprehend, he knew but little.' casm, attributed to him.


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birds sang.

this inextinguishable urchin, this iron-ever, he found his resting-place. Early ical puppet, at Ophelia's tomb, at Cle- at least what regards outward appear opatra's death-bed, at Juliet's funeral. ances, he settled down to an orderly, High or low, these men must always sensible, almost humdrum existence, be at some extreme. They feel their engaged in business, provident of the good and their ill too deeply; they ex- iiture. He remained on the stage for patiate too abundantly on each condi- at least seventeen years, though taking tion of their soul, by a sort of involun- secondary parts;* he sets his wits at tary novel. After the traducings and the the same time to the touching up of disgusts by which they debase themplays with so much activity, that Greene relves beyond me:isure, they rise and called him “an upstart crow beautified become exalted in a marvellous fashion, with our feathers; ... an absolute even trembling with pride and joy. Johannes factotum, in his owne conceyt

Haply,” says Shakspeare, after one the onely shake-scene in a countrey.” 1 of these dull moods :

At the age of thirty-three he had

amassed money enough to buy at Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising

Stratford a house with two barns and From sullen earth, sings hymus at heaven's two gardens, and he went on steadier

and steadier in the same course. A Then all fades away, as in a furnace man attains only to easy circumstances here a stronger fare than usual has by his own labor; if he gains wealth, Irét no substance fuel behind it. it is by making others labor for him.

This is why, to the trades of actor and That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do author, Shakspeare added those of hang

manager and director of a theatre. Upon those boughs which shake against the He acquired a share in the Blackfriars cold,

and Globe theatres, farmed tithes, Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet

bought large pieces of land, more In me thou see'st the twilight of such day houses, gave a dowry to his daughter As after sunset fadeth in the west,

Susanna, and finally retired to his na. Which by and by black night doth take tive town on his property, in his own Death's 'second self, that seals up all in house, like a good landlord, an honest rest." 1..

citizen, who manages his fortune fitly,

and takes his share of municipal work. No longer mourn for me when I am dead Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell

He had an income of two or three hun Give warning to the world that I am fled dred pounds, which would be equiva. From this vile world, with vilest worms to lent to about eight or twelve hundred

dwell : Nay, if you read this line, remember not

at the present time, and according to The hand that writ it ; for I love you so,

tradition, lived cheerfully and on good That I in your sweet thoughts would be foro terms with his neighbors ; at all events got

it does not seem that he thought much If thinking on me then should make you about his literary glory, for he did not

even take the trouble to collect an. These sudden alternatives of joy and publish his works. One of his daugh. sadness, divine transports and grand ters married a physician, the other a melancholies, exquisite tenderness and wine merchant; the last did not even womanly depressions, depict the poet, know how to sign her name. He lent xtreme n emotions, ceaselessly trou money, and cut a good figure in this bled with grief or merriment, feeling little world. Strange close ; one which the slightest shock, more strong, more at first sight resembles more that of a dainty in enjoyment and suffering than shopkeeper than of a poet. Must we otho: men, capable of more intense attribute it to that English instinct and sweeter dreams, within whom is which places happiness in the life of a stirred an imaginary world of graceful country gentleman and a landlord with or terrible beings, all impassi.oned like a good rent-roll, well connected, sus. their author. Such as I have described him, how- * The part in which he excelled was t' it of

the ghost in Hamlet. • Sonnat 29

* Ibid. 73.

Ibha 71. + Greene's A Greatsworth of Wit, e


woe.” 1

rounded by comforts, who quietly en

II. joys his undoubted respectability,* his domestic authority, and his county his style. The style explains the work;

Let us then look for the vian, and is standing? Or rather, was Shakspeare, whilst showing the principal features like Voltaire. a common sense man, of the geni'is, it infers the rest.

When though of an imaginative brain, keeping a sound judgment under the spark: faculty, we see the whole artist derge

we have ince grasped the dominant ling of his genius, prudent from skepti-oped like a flower

. cism, saving through a desire for independence, and capable, after going

Shakspeare imagines with coprous. the round of human ideas, of deciding ness and excess; he scatters metaphrina with Candide,t that the best thing one

profusely over all he writes; every can do in this world is “to cultivate instant abstract ideas are changed into one's garden?” I had rather think, images; it is a series of pairdings as his full and solid head suggests, i

which is unfolded in his mind. He that by the mere force of his overflow: does not seek them, they come of them ing imagination he escaped, like selves; they crowd within him, covering Goethe, the perils of an overflowing brightness the pure light of logic. He

his arguments; they dim with their imagination ; that in depicting passion, does not labor to explain or prove ; he succeeded, like Goethe, in deadening passion; that the fire did not break picture on picture, image on image, he out in his conduct, because it found is for ever copying the strange and issue in his poetry; that his theatre splendid visions which are engenderkept pure his life; and that, having

ed one after another, and are heaped passed, by sympathy, through every writers this passage, which I take at

up within him. Compare to our dull kind of folly and wretchedness that is incident to human existence, he was

hazard from a tranquil dialogue : able to settle down amidst them with "The single and peculiar life is bound, a calm and melancholic smile, listen

With all the strength and armour of the

mind, ing, for the sake of relaxation, to the

To keep itself from noyance; but much more aerial music of the fancies in which he

That spirit upon whose weal depend and revelled. § I am willing to believe, lastly, that in frame as in other things,

The lives of many. The cease of majesty he belonged to his great generation

Dies not alone; but, like a gulf, doth draw

What's near it with it: it is a massy wheel, and his great age; that with him, as Fix'd on the summit of the highest mount, with Rabelais, Titian, Michel Angelo, To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser and Rubens, the solidity of the mus


Are mortised and adjoin'd; which, when : cles was a counterpoise to the sensibil

falls, ity of the nerves; that in those days Each small annexment, petty consequence, "he human machine, more severely

Attends the boisterous ruin. Never alone cried and more firmly constructed,

Did the king sigh, but with a generas could withstand the storms of passion and the fire of inspiration ; that soul

Here we have three successive im. and body were still at equilibrium ; ages to express the same thought. It that genius was then a blossom, and is a whole blossoming ; a bougt glows not, as now, a disease. We can but from the trunk, from that another, make conjectures about all this ; if we which is multiplied into numerous fresh would become acquainted more closely branches. Instead of a smooth roa. with the man, we must seek him in his traced by a regular line of dry and cun. works.

ningly fixed landmarks, you enter a * "He was a respectable man.'

“ A good wood, crowded with interwoven trees word; what does it mean?” “He kept as and luxuriant bushes, which conceal sig."-(From Thurtell's trial for the murder and prevent your progress, which de of Weare.) The model of an optimist, the bero of one nificence of their verdure and the


groan." **

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light and dazzle your eyes by the mag. of Voltaire's tales.--Te. See his portraits, and in particular his wealth of their bloom. You are aston

ished at first, modern mind that you $ Especially in his later plays: Tempest, Twelfth Nights

Hamist, üi. 3o


are, business man, used to the clear 1 Yea, this solidity aud compound nass, dissertations of classical poetry; you is thought-sick at the act."

With tristful visage, as against the doom, become cross ; you think the author is amusing himself, and that through con. It is the style of phrensy. Yet I have ceit and bad taste he is misleading you not given all. The metaphors are ali and himself in his garden thickets. By exaggerated, the ideas all verge on the Ao means; if he speaks thus, it is not absurd. All is transformed and dis. from choice, but of necessity ; meta- figured by the whirlwind of passion pher is rot his whim, but the form of The contagion of the crime, which he his thought. In the height of passion, denounces, has marred all nature. He 1. imagines still. When Hamlet, in no longer sees any thing in the world lespair, remembers his father's noble but corruption and lying. To vilify the fo'm, he sees the mythological pictures virtuous were little'; he vilifies virtue wish which the taste of the age filled herself. Inanimate things are suckea the very streets :

into this whirlpool of grief. The sky's

red tint at sunset, the pallid darkness “ A station like the herald Mercury New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill." *

spread by night over the landscape,

become the blush and the pallor of This charming vision, in the midst of shame, and the wretched man who a bloody invective proves that there speaks and weeps sees the whole world lurks a painter underneath the poet. totter with him in the dimness of de Involuntarily and out of season, he spair. tears off the tragic mask which covered

Hamlet, it will be said, is half-mad; his face; and the reader discovers, be this explains the vehemence of his exhind the contracted features of this pressions. The truth is that Hamlet, terrible mask, a graceful and inspired here, is Shakspeare. Be the situatior. smile which he did not expect to see. terrible or peaceful, whether he is

Such an imagination must needs be engaged on an invective or a conversavehement. Every metaphor is a con- tion, the style is excessive throughout vulsion. Whosoever involuntarily and Shakspeare never sees things tranquilly. naturally transforms a dry idea into an All the powers of his mind are concen. image, has his brain on fire ; true trated in the present image or idea. metaphors are flaming apparitions, He is buried and absorbed in it. With which are like a picture in a flash of such a genius, we are on the brink of lightning. Never, I think, in any nation an abyss ; the eddying water dashes in of Europe, or in any age of history, headlong, swallowing up, whatever obhas so grand a passion been seen. Tjects it meets, and only bringing them Shakspeare's style is a compound of to light transformed and mutilated. We frenzied expressions. No man has

pause stupefied before these convulsive sulmitted words to such a contortion. metaphors, which might have been Mingled contrasts, tremendous exag- written by a fevered hand in a night's gerations, apostrophes, exclamations, delirium, which gather a pageful of the whole fury of the ode, confusion of ideas and pictures in half a sentence, ideas, accumulation of images, the which scorch the eyes they would en. horrible and the divine, jumbled into lighten. Words lose their meaning : the same line ; it seems to my fancy as constructions are put out of joint ; para: though he never writes a word without doxes of style, apparently false expres: shouting it. • What have I done ?' the sions, which a man might occasionaliy green asks Hamlet. He answers :

venture upon with diffidence in the

transport of his rapture, become the That blurs the grace and blush of modesty, ordinary language. Shakspeare laz Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose from the fair forehead of an innocent love,

zles, repels, terrifies, disgusts, oppres And sets a blister there, makes marriage, vows limé song, pitched in too high a key

ses; his verses are a piercing and sub As false as dicers' oaths: 0, such a deed As from the body of contraction plucks above the reach of our organs, which The very soul, and sweet religion makes A rhapsody of words : Heaven's face doth glow; alone can divine the justice and beauty

offends our ears, of which our mind Act iii. Sc. 4.


“* Such an act


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Yet this is little ; for that singular theatre. Lear's curses, or Queeu Var force of concentration is redoubled by garet's, would suffice for all the mad. the suddenness of the dash which calls mer. in an asylum, or all the oppressed it into existence. In Shakspeare there of the earth. The sonnets are a delir. is no preparation, no adaptation, no ium of ideas and images, labored at uevelopment, no care to make himself with an obstinacy enough to make a understood. Like a too fiery and man giddy. His first poem, Venus and powerful horse, he bounds, but cannot Adonis, is the sensual ecstasy of a Cor.

He bridges in a couple of words reggio, insatiable and excited. This an enormous interval ; is at the two exuberant fecundity intensifies qualities poles in a single instant. The reader already in excess, and multiplies a rainly looks for the intermediate track; hundred-fold the luxuriance of metajazed by these prodigious leaps, he phor, the incoherence of style, and the wonders by what miracle the poet has unbridled vehemence of expression.* entered upon a new idea the very mo- All that I have said may be comment when he quitted the last, seeing pressed into a few words. Objects perhaps between the two images a long were taken into his mind orgas ized and scale of transitions, which we mount complete; they pass into ours disjointwith difficulty step by step, but which ed, decomposed, fragmentarily. He he has spanned in a stride. Shak, thought in the lump, we think piece speare flies, we creep. Hence comes a meal; hence his style and our stylestyle made up of conceits, bold images two languages not to be reconciled shattered in an instant by others still | We, for our part, writers and reasonbolder, barely indicated ideas com-ers, can note precisely by a word each pleted by others far removed, no visi- isolated fraction of an idea, and repreble connection, but a visible incohe sent the due order of its parts by the rence ; at every step we halt, the track due order of our expressions. We ad. failing; and there, far above us, lo, vance gradually; we follow the filia. stands the poet, and we find that we tions, refer continually to the roots, try have ventured in his footsteps, through and treat our words as numbers, our a craggy land, full of precipices, which sentences as equations; we employ buo he threads, as if it were a straightfor general terms, which every mind ciero ward road, but on which our greatest understand, and regular constructions, efforts barely carry us along.

into which any mind can enter ; we at. What will you think, further, if we tain justness and clearness, not life. observe that these vehement expres- Shakspeare lets justness and clearness sions, so natural in their upwelling, look out for themselves, and attains instead of following one after the other life. From amidst his complex con. slowly and with effort, are hurled out ception and his colored semi-vision he by hundreds, with an impetuous ease grasps a fragment, a quivering fibre, and abundance, like the bubbling waves and shows it; it is for you, from this from a welling spring, which are fragment, to divine the rest. He, be. heaped together, rise one above an. hind the word, has a whole priture, an other, and find nowhere room enough to attitude, a long argument abridged, a sprzad and exhaust themselves? You mass of swarming ideas; you know may find in Romeo and Juliet a score them, these abbreviative, concensive of examples of this inexhaustible in- words: these are they which we launch spiration. The two lovers pile up an out amidst the fire of invention, in a fit infinite mass of metaphors, impas- of passion—words of slang or of fashion sioned exaggerations, clenches con which appeal to local memory or indi. tortei phrases, amorous extravagances. vidual experience; † little des tory Their language is like the trill of night and incorrect phrases, which, by then Ingales. Shakspeare's wits, Mercutio,

* This is why, in the eyes of a writer of the Beatrice, Rosalind, his clowns, buffoons, seventeenth

century, Shakspeare's style is the sparkle with far-fetched jokes, which most obscure, pretentious, painful, bart arous, rattle out like a volley of musketry. and absurd, that could be imagined. There is none of them but provides of all. It comprises about 15,000 org ; Mil

† Shakspeare's vocabulary is the tvost copiou enough play on words to stock a whole tou's only Soca

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