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irregularity, express the suddenness speare does just the contrary, because and the breaks of the inner sensation ; his genius is the exact opposite. His trivial words, exaggerated figures.* master faculty is an impassioned imag: There is a gesture beneath each, a ination, freed from the shackles of quick contraction of the brows, a curl reason and morality. lle abandons of laughing lips, a clown's trick, an un. himself to it, and finds in man nothing hinging of the whole machine. None that he would care to lop off. He ac of them ma: k ideas, all suggest images ; cepts nature and finds it beautiful in its each is the extremity and issue of a entirety. He paints it in its littlenesses, complete m.mic action; none is the its deformities, its weaknesses, its ex: expression and definition of a partia. cesses, its irregularities, and in its and limited idea. This is why Shak- rages; he exhibits nian at his meals, in speare is strange and powerful, obscure bed, at play, drunk, mad, sick; he addı and creative, beyond all the poets of that which ought not to be seen to that his or any other age; the most im- which passes on the stage. He does moderate of all violators of language, not dream of ennobling, but of copying the most marvellous of all creators of human life, and aspires only to make souls, the farthest removed from regu- his copy more energetic and more lar logic and classical reason, the one striking than the original. most capable of exciting in us a world Hence the morals of this drama ; of forms and of placing living beings and first, the want of dignity. Dignity before us.

arises from self-command. A man III.

selects the most noble of his acts and

attitudes, and allows himself no other. Let us reconstruct this world, so as Shakspeare's characters select none, to find in it the imprint of its creator. but allow themselves all. His kings A poet does not copy at random the are men, and fathers of families. The

which surround him; he terrible Leontes who is about to order selects from this vast material, and in the death of his wife and his friend, voluntarily brings upon the stage the plays like a child with his son: ca. habits of the heart and conduct which resses him, gives him all the pretty pet best suit his talent. If he is a logician, names which mothers are wont to ema moralist, an orator, as, for instance, ploy; he dares be trivial; he gabble, one of the French great tragic poets like a nurse; he has her language and (Racine) of the seventeenth century, he fulfils her duties : will only represent noble manners ; he will avoid low characters; he will have “ Leontes. What, hast smutch'd thy nose? a horror of menials and the plebs; he They say it is a copy out of minc. Come, cap will observe the greatest decorum We must be neat ; not neat, but cleanly, tap amidst the strongest outbreaks of passion; he will reject as scandalous every Come, sir page, low or indecent word; he will give us Look on me with your welkin eye : sweet rile

lain! reason, loftiness, good taste through- Most dear'st ny collop . . . Looking on the out; he will suppress the familiarity, childishness, artlessness, gay banter of Of my boy's face, methoughts I did recoil domestic life; he will blot out. precise Twenty-three years, and saw myself unbreech'd details, special traits, and will carry Lest it should bite its master.

my green velvet coat, my dagger muzzled, tragedy into a serene and sublime re- How like, methought, I then was to this ker gion, where his abstract personages,


Wy brother unencumbered by time and space, after This squash, this gentleman! .

Are you so fond of your young prince as we an exchange of eloquent harangues and Do seem to be of ours? able dissertations, will kill each other Polixenes.

If at home, sir, becomingly, and as though they were He's all my exercise, my mirth, my matter, merely concluding a veremony. Shak. Now my sworn friend and then mine enemy,

My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all : * See the conversation of Laertes and his He makes a July's day short as December, sister, and of Laertes and Polonius, in Hamlet. And with his varying childness cares in me The style is foreign to the situation ; and we Thoughts that would thick my blood.”. see here plainly the natural and necessary proceu of Shakspeare's thought.

Winter's Tale, i. s.






gage !

There are a score of such passages | difference of the two poets and the two in Shakspeare. The great passions, civilizations : with him as in nature, are preceded or

Capulet. How now, how

now, chop-logic followed by trivial actions, small-talk, What is this? commonplace sentiments. Strong Proud,' and ' I thank you,' and I thank you emotions are accidents in our life: to

not ;' drink, to eat, to talk of indifferent Thank me no thankings, nor proud mo ng

And yet not proud, mistress mirion, you things, to carry out mechanically an prouds, habitual duty, to dream of some stale But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thurslas pleasure or some ordinary annoyance, To go with Paris to Saint Peter's church,

next, that is in which we employ all our Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither. timc Shakspeare paints us as we are ; Out, you green-sickness carrion I out, ycu ya his heroes bow, ask people for news,

You tallow-face! speak of rain and fine weather, as often

Fuliet. Good father, I beseech you on my and as casually as ourselves, on the

knees, very eve of falling into the extremity Hear me with patience but to speak a word. of misery, or of plunging into fatal C. Hang thee, young baggage i discbedient resolutions. Hamlet asks what's


I tell thee what: get thee to church o' Thary o'clock, finds the wind biting, talks of day, feasts and music heard without; and Or never after look me in the face : this quiet talk, so unconnected with Speak not, reply not, do not answer me ; the action, so full of slight, insignificant

My fingers itch.

Lady C. You are too hot. facts, which chance alone has raised up C. God's bread! it makes me mad : and guided, lasts until the moment Day, night, hour, tide, time, work, play, when his father's ghost, rising in the Alone, in company, still my care hath been

To have her match'd: and having now to darkness, reveals the assassination

vided which it is his duty to avenge.

A gentleman of noble parentage, Reason tells us that our manners Of fair demesnes, youthful, and nobly train's should be measured; this is why the Stuff?d, as they say, with honourable parts,

Proportion'd as one's thought would wish manners which Shakspeare paints are not so. Pure nature is violent, pas. And then to have a wretched puling fooi, sionate : it admits no excuses, suffers. A whining mammet, in her fortune's tender, no middle course, takes no count of To answer, 'I'll not wed; I cannot love, circumstances, wills blindly, breaks out But, an you will not wed, I'll pardon you:

I am too young; I pray you, pardon me,' into railing, has the irrationality, ardor, Graże where you will, you shall not house with anger of children. Shakspeare's characters have hot blood and a ready Thursday is near ; lay hand on heart, advise :

Look to't, think on't, I do not use to jest. hand. They cannot restrain them. An you be mine, i'll give you to my friend; selves, they abandon themselves at An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the once to their grief, indignation, love, For, by my soul, I'll ne'er acknowledge nee."* and plunge desperately down the steep slope, where their passion urges them. This method of exhorting one's How many need I quote? Timon, child to marry is peculiar to ShakPostkumus, Cressida, all the young speare and the sixteenth century. Con: girls, all the chief characters in the tradiction to these men was like a red great dramas; everywhere Shakspeare rag to a bull; it drove them ma: paints the unreflecting impetuosity of We might be sure that in this age, the impulse of the moment. Capulet and on this stage, decency was a thing tells his daughter Juliet that in three unknown. It is wearisome, being a days she is to marry Earl Paris, and check; men got rid of it, because it bids her be proud of it; she answers was wearisome. It is a gift of reason that she is not proud of it, and yet she and morality ; as indecency is produced thanks the carl for this proof of love. by nature and passion. Shakspeare's Compare Capulet's fury with the anger words are too indecent to be translated of Orgon,* and you may measure the His characters call things by their

dirty names, and compel the thoughts One of Moli sre's characters in Tartupe.- to particular images of piysical love

* Romeo and Juliet, tii. g.



The talk of gentlemen and ladies is full not conceiving themselves to be it coarse allusions; we should have to smirched. find out an alehouse of the lowest de. Their actions correspond. They go scription to hear like words nowa- without shame oi pity to the limits of days.*

their passion. They kill, poison, vio: Ít would be in an alehouse too that late, burn; the stage is full of abominawe should have to look for the rude tions. Shakspeare lugs upon the stage jests and brutal kind of wit which all the atrocious deeds of the civil form the staple conversations. Kindly wars. These are the ways of wolves politeness is the slow fris: of advanced and hyænas. We must read of Jack reflection; it 3 a sun of humanity Cade's sedition * to gain an idea of and kindliness applied to small acts this madness and fury.

We migh! and everyday discourse ; it bids man imagine we were seeing infuriated soften towards others, and forget him- beasts, the murderous recklessness of self for the sake of others; it con- a wolf in a sheepfold, the brutality of strains genuine nature, which is selfish a hog fouling and rolling himself in and gross. This is why it is absent filth and blood. They destroy, kill, from the manners of the drama we butcher each other; with their feet in are considering. You will see car. the blood of their victims, they call for men, out of sportiveness and good food and drink ; they stick heads on humor, deal one another hard blows ; pikes and make them kiss one another, so it is pretty well with the conversa and they laugh. tion of the lords and ladies of Shak

Jack Cade. There shall be in Englana speare who are in a sportive mood; for seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny. . . instance, Beatrice and Benedick, very There shall be no money; all shall eat and well bred folk as things go,t with a drink on my score, and I will apparel them all great reputation for wit and politeness, don-stone, 1 charge and command that, of the


· And here sitting upon Lon whose smart retorts create amusement city's cost, the pissing-conduit run nothing bu for the bystanders. These “ skirmishes claret wine this first year of our reign. of wit " consist in telling one another Away, burn all the records of the realm: my

mouth shall be the parliament of England. plainly : You are a coward, a glutton, And henceforth all things shall be in common. an idiot, a buffoon, a rake, a brute ! What canst thou answer to my majesty You are a parrot's tongue, a fool, a ... for giving up of Normandy unto Mounsieur (the word is there). Benedick says:

Basimecu, the dauphin of France? ... The

proudest peer in the realm shall not wear a " I will go ::.

head on his shoulders, unless he pay me tribe to the Antipodes . . . rather than hold three words' conference with this ute; there shall not a maid be married, but she

shall pay to me harpy. I cannot endure my Lady it. (Re-enter rebels with the heads of Lord

maidenhead ere they have Tongue. Don Pedro. You have put him down, lady, braver? Let them kiss one another, for they

Say and his son-in-law.) But is not this you have put him down.

loved well when they were alive.” 1 Beatrice. So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of Man must not be let loose ; we know fools.” Í

not what lusts and rage may brood We can infer the tone they use when under a sober guise. Nature was never in anger. Emilia, in Othello, says : so hideous, and this hideousness is the

truth. * He call’d her whore ; a beggar in his drink Could not have laid such terms upon his cal

Are these canniba' nas ners only met lat."

with among the suum ? Why, the They have a vocabulary of foul words princes are worse. The Duke of Com as complete as that of Rabelais, and wall orders the old Earl of Gloucester they exhaust it. They catch up hand- to be tied to a chair, because, cwing to fuls of mud, and hurl it at their

him King Lear has escaped : enemy,

“ Fellows, hold the chair. • Henry VIII. ü. 3, and many other scenes. Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot. † Much Ado. about Nothing. See also the (Gloucester is held down in the chair maaner in which Henry V. in Shakspeare's

while Cornwall plucks out one of her Ring Henry V. pays court to Katharine of cyes, and sets his foot on it.) France (v. 2). Much Ado about Nothing, ii. 1.

* Second part of Henry VI. iv. 6 | Act iv. a.

I Henry VI. ad part, iv. 2. 6, 7.



Gloster. He that will think to live šill he distinct living figures, illum nated by be old,

an intense light. This creative power Give me some help! O cruel : O you gods ! Regan. One side will mock another; the is Shakspeare's great gift, and it como her too.

municates an extraordinary significance Cornwall. If you see vengeance, to his words. Every phrase pronounced

Hold your hand, my lord : I have served you ever since I was a child;

by one of his characters enables us to But better service have I never done you,

see, besides the idea which it contains Than now to bid you hold.

and the emotion which prompted it, Regan. How now, you dog! Serv. If you did wear a beard upon your entire character which produced it

the aggregate of the qualities and the chin, l'1 shake it on this quarrel. What do you the mood, physical attitude, bearing,

look of the man, all instantaneously, Corn. My villain !

with a clearness and force approached [Draws and runs at kim.] Seri. Nay, then, come on, and take the by no one. The words which strike chance of anger.

our ears are not the thousandth part of (Draws; they fight; Cornwall is those we hear within ; they are like

wounded.! sparks thrown off here and there ; the Regan. Give me thy sword. A

peasant stand up thus.

eyes catch rare flashes of flame; the (Snatches a sword, comes behind, and mind alone perceives the vast conflagra

stabs him.] tion of which they are the signs and Sero. O, I am slain ! My lord, you have the effect. He gives us two dramas in

one eye left To see some mischief on him. 01 (Dies.] one : the first strange, convulsive, curCorn. Lest it see more, prevent it." Out, tailed, visible; the other consistent, vi e jelly!

immense, invisible; the one covers the Where is thy lustre now? Gloster. All dark and comfortless. Where's other so well, that as a rule we do not my son?...

realize that we are perusing words : Regan. Go thrust him out at gates, and let we hear the roll of those terrible voices, him smell

we see contracted features, glowing His way to Dover." .

eyes, pallid faces; we see the agitation, Such are the manners of that stage. the furious resolutions which mount to They are unbridled, like those of the the brain with the feverish blood, and age, and like the poet's imagination. descend to the sharp-strung nerves. To

copy the common actions of every. This property, possessed by every day life, the puerilities and feeblenessés phrase to exhibit a world of sentiments to which the greatest continually sink, and forms, comes from the fact that the the outbursts of passion which degrade phrase is actually caused by a world of them, the indecent, harsh, or foul emotions and images. Shakspeare, words, the atrocious deeds in which when he wrote, felt all that we feel, and license revels, the brutality and fero much besides. He had the prodigious city of primitive nature, is the work of faculty of seeing in a twinkling of the a free and unencumbered imagination. eye a complete character, body, mind, To copy this hideousness and these past and present, in every detail and excesses with a selection of such famil-every depth of his being, with the lar, significant, precise details, that exact attitude and the expression of they reveal under every word of every face, which the situation demanded. personage a complete civilization, is A word here and there of Hamlet or be work of a concentrated and all. Othello would need for its explanation rowerful imagination. This species of three pages of commentaries ; each of nanners and this energy of description the half-understood thoughts, which the indicate the same faculty, unique and commentator may have discovered, has excessive, which the style had already left its trace in the turn of the phrase, indicated.

in the nature of the metaphor in the

order of the words ; non adays, in pur IV.

suing these traces, w: divine the

thoughts. These innumerable traces On this common background stands have been impressed in a secordh put in striking relief a population of within the compass of a line. In i.de . King Lear, üi. 7.

next line there are as many, impressed




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just as quickly, and in the same com- “ Prithee, my king, it quiet. See'st thor pass. You can gauge the concentra


This is the mouth o' the cell : no noise, and tion and the velocity of the imagination which creates thus.

Do that good mischief which may make tait These characters are all of the same family. Good or bad, gross or delicate,

Thine own for ever, and I, thy Caliban, witty or stupid, Shakspeare gives

For aye thy foot-licker" them all the same kind of spirit which Others, like Ajax and Cloten, are cure is his own. He has made of them like men, and yet it is pure mood that imaginative people, void of will and Shakspeare depicts in them, as in Cal reason, impassioned machines, vehe- iban. The clogging corporeal machine mently jostled one against another, who the mass of muscles, the thick blora were outwardly whatever is most nat. sluggishly moving along in the veins of ural and most abandoned in human these fighting men, oppress the intell». nature. Let us act the play to our gence, and leave no life but for animal selves, and see in all its stages this passions. Ajax uses his fists, and de. clanship of figures, this prominence of vours meat; that is his existence ; if he portraits.

is jealous of Achilles, it is pretty much Lowest of all are the stupid folk, as a bull is jealous of his fellow. He babbling or brutish. Imagination al. permits himself to be restrained and ready exists there, where reason is not led by Ulysses, without looking before yet burn; it exists also there where him: the grossest flattery decoys him. reason is dead. The idiot and the The Greeks have urged him to accept brute blindly follow the phantoms Hector's challenge. Behold him puffwhich exist in their benumbed or me- ed up with pride, scorning to answer. chanical brains. No poet has under- anyone, not knowing what he says or stood this mechanism like Shakspeare. does. Thersites cries, “Good-morrow, His Caliban, for instance, a deformed Ajax;" and he replies, " Thanks, Aga. savage, fed on roots, growls like a beast memnon.” He has no further thought under the hand of Prospero, who has than to contemplate his enormous subduod him. He howls continually frame, and roll majestically his big against his master, though he knows stupid eyes., When the day of the that every curse will be paid back with fight has come, he strikes at Hector as

cramps and aches.” He is a chained on an anvil. After a good while they wolf, trembling and fierce, who tries are separated. “I am not warm yet, to bite when approached, and who sa Ajax," let us fight again.”+ Cloten crouches when he sees the lash raised. is less massive than this phlegmatic ox; He has a foul sensuality, a loud base but he is just as idiotic, just as vainlaugh, the gluttony of degraded human- glorious, just as coarse. The beautiful ity. He wished to violate Miranda Imogen, urged by his insults and his in her sleep. He cries for his food, scullion manners, tells him that his and gorges himself when he gets it. whole body is not worth as much as A sailor who had landed in the island, Posthumus' meanest garment. He is Stephano, gives him wine; he kisses stung to the quick, repeats the word his feet, and takes him for a god; several times; he cannot shake off the be asks if he has not dropped from idea, and runs at it again and again Reaven, and adores him. We find in with his head down, like an angry him rebellious and baffled passions, ram : which are eager to rise again and to

Cloten. His garment?' Now, the devilbe satiated. Stephano had beaten his Imogen To Dorothy my woman hie cher comrade. Caliban cries, “Beat him presentlyenough : after a little time I'll beat him C. ·His garment?' Y su have abused too." He prays Stephano to come venged: His meanest garmer 1 Well.” 1

. His meanest garment!'

I'N to re with him and murder Prospero in his sleep; he thirsts to lead him there, * The Tempest, iv. 1. dances through joy and sees his master

+ See Troilus and Cressida, ii. 3, the jest

ing manner in which the generals drive on this already with his weasand" cut, and

fierce brute. bis brains scattered on the earth :

Cymbelina, ü. 3.

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