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wiefs over that dear nsulted head out he is handling the unruly passions sith so gentle a pity, that you might which make their character, and he iuncy 't was the tender voice of a de never hits upon the moral law which xolate tut delighted mother, kissing restrains them; but at the same time, she pale. 'ips of her child :

and by the same faculty, he changes “O you kind gods,

the inanimate masks, which the conCure this great breach ia his abused nature !

vention's of the stage mould on an The untund and ja ring senses, O, wind up identical pattern, into living and illa Of this chi d-changed father! ...

sory figures. How shall a demon be my deafather1 Restoration hang

made to look as real as a man? Iago My medicine on my lips ; and let this kiss Kefair those violent ha:ms that my two sisters! is a soldier of fortune who has roved Have iu thy reverence madel ... Was this a the world from Syria to England, why, face

nursed in the lowest ranks, having had To be opposed against the warring winds ? Mine enemy's dog,

close acquaintance with the horrors of The ugh he had bit me, should have stood that the wars of the sixteenth century, had night

drawn thence the maxims of a Turk Aga 13t my fire. How does my royal lord? How fares your ciples he has none left., “o my repu

and the philosophy of a butcher; prinmajesty?

tation, my reputation !” cries the disIf, in short, Shakspeare comes across honored Cassio. As I am an honest a heroic character, worthy of Cor. man,” says Iago, “I thought you had neille, a Roman, such as the mother of received some bodily wound; there is Coriolanus, he will explain by passion, more sense in that than in reputa. what Corneille would have explained tion.” As for woman's virtue, he by heroism. He will depict it violent looks upon it like a man who has kept and thirsting for the violent feelings company with slave-dealers. He esti

. of glory. She will not be able to re- mates Desdemona's love as he would frain herself. She will break out into estimate a mares: that sort of thing accounts of triumph when she sees her lasts so long—then And then son crowned ; into imprecations of ven- he airs an experimental theory with geance when she sees him banished. precise details and nasty expressions She will descend into the vulgarities like a stud doctor. It cannot be that of pride and anger; she will abandon Desdemona should long continue her herself to mad effusions of joy, to love to the Moor, nor he his to her. ... dreams of an ambitious fancy,f and These Moors are changeable in their will prove once more that the impas- wills; ... the food that to him now Bioned imagination of Shakspeare has is as luscious as locusts, shall be to him Taft its trace in all the creatures whom shortly as bitter as coloquintida. She it has called forth.

must change for youth : when she is

sated with his body, she will find the VII.

error of her choice." | Desdemona Nothing is easier to such a poet on the shore, trying to forget her cares, than to create perfect villains. Through- begs him to sing the praises of he · King Lear, iv. 7.

For every portrait he finds the

She in O ye're well met: the hoarded plague o" most insulting insinuations. the gods

sists, and bids him take the case of a Requite your love

deserving woman. “ Indeed” he re it that could for weeping, you should plies, “ She was a wight, if ever such

hear Nay, and you shall hear some. ...

wight were,

to suckle fool: I'll tell thee what; yet go :

and chronicle small beer.” | He als'ı Nay but thou shalt stay too: I would my says, when Desdemona asks him what

he would write in praise of her: “() Were in Aratie and thy tribe before him, His good sword in his hand.”—Coriola gentle lady do not put me to't ; for I nus, iv. 2.

am nothing, if not critical.” | This is See again, Coriolanus, i. 3, the frank and aban- the key to his character. He despises doned triumph of a woman

of the people ; “I man; to him Desdemona is a litt'e sprang not more in joy at first hearing he was i man-child than now in first seeing he had • Othello, ii. 3.

+ 'bid. i, 3. proved himself a man."

& .bid

Ibid. i. 1.






to go.

wanton wench, Cassio an elegant word- | speare could transform abstract treach. shaper, Otkello a mad bull, Roderigo ery into a concrete form, and how an ass to be basted, thumped, made Iago's atrocious vengeance is only the

He diverts himself by setting natural consequence of his character these passions at issue; he laughs at life and training. it as at a play. When Othello, swooning, shakes in his convulsions, he re

VIII. joices at this capital result: “Work on, my medicine, work! Thus credu- How much more visible is this im!ous fools are caught.”* You would passioned and unfettered genius of take him for one of the poisoners of Shakspeare in the great characters the time, studying the effect of a new which sustain the whole weight of the potion on a dying dog. He only speaks drama ! The startling imagination, in sarcasms : he has them ready for the furious velocity of the manifold every one, even for those whom he and exuberant ideas, passion let loose, does not know. When he wakes Bra- rushing upon death and crime, hallubantio to inform him of the elopement cinations, madness, all the ravages of of his daughter, he tells him the mat- delirium bursting through will and reater in coarse terms, sharpening the son : such are the forces and ravings sting of the bitter pleasantry, like a which engender them. Shall I speak conscientious executioner, rubbing his of dazzling Cleopatra, who holds Anhands when he hears the culprit groan tony in the whirlwind of her devices under the knife. “Thou art a villain 1” and caprices, who fascinates and kills, cries Brabantio. “ You arema sena- who scatters to the winds the lives of tor!” answers Iago. But the feature men as a handful of desert dust, the which really completes him, and makes fatal Eastern sorceress who sports him take rank with Mephistopheles, is with love and death, impetuous, irre. the atrocious truth and the cogent rea- sistible, child of air and fire, whose life soning by which he likens his crime to is but a tempest, whose thought, ever virtue. Cassio, under his advice, goes barbed and broken, is like the crack: to see Desdemona, to obtain her inter- ling of a lightning Aash? Of Othello, cession for him ; this visit is to be the who, beset by the graphic picture of ruin of Desdemona and Cassio. Iago, physical adultery, cries at every word left alone, hums for an instant quietly, of Iago like a man on the rack, who, his then cries :

nerves hardened by twenty years of war * And what's he then that says I play the vil for grief, and whose soul, poisoned by

and shipwreck, grows mad and swoons When this advice is free I give and honest, jealousy, is distracted and disorganized Probal to thinking and indeed the course in convulsions and in stupor ? Or of To win the Moor again." I

old King Lear, violent and weak, whose To all these features must be added a half-unseated reason is gradually topdiabolical energy, an inexhaustible pled over under the shocks of incrediinventiveness in images, caricatures, ble treacheries, who presents the frightobscenity, the manners of a guard- ful spectacle of madness, first increasroom, the brutal bearing and tastes of ing, then complete, of curses, howlings, a trooper, habits of dissimulation, cool- superhuman sorrows, into which the ness, hatred, and patience, contracted transport of the first access of fury amid the perils and devices of a mili-carries him, and then of peaceful ir. tarv life, and the continuous miseries coherence, chattering imbecility, into of long degradation and frustrated which the shattered man subsides ; a hope; you will understand how Shak- marvellous creation, the supreme effor: * Othello, iv. 1.

of pure imagination, a disease of reason, See the like cynicism and scepticism in which reason could never have con Richard III. Both begin by slandering human ceived ? * Amid so many portraitures nature, and both are misanthropical of malice let us choose two or three to indicate prepense. Othello, ii. 3. See his conversation with Brabantis, then particularly, perfect examples of vehement and

* See again, in Timon, and Hotspur more with Roderigo, Act i

wreasoning imagination.


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the depth and rature of them all. The

“ I thank you, general ; critic is lost in Shakspeare, as in an

But cannot make my heart consent to take

A bribe to pay my sword." ** inmense town; he will describe a couple si monuments, and entreat the The soldiers cry, Marcius ! Marcius reader to imagine the city.

and the trumpets sound. He gets into Plutarch's Coriolanus is an austere, a passion : rates the brawlers : coldly haugnty patrician, a general of “ No more, I say! For that I have not the army. In Shakspeare's hands he wash'd becomes a coarse soldier, a man of the My nose that bled, or foild some dabils

wretch, people as to his language and manners,

.. You shout me forth an athlete of war, with a voice like a

In acclamations hyperbolical ; trumpet; whose eyes by contradiction As if I loved my little should be dicted are filled with a rush of blood and anger, In praises sauced with lies." + proud and terrible in mood, a lion?s They are reduced to loading him with soul in the body of a bull. . The phi-honors : Cominius gives him a losopher Plutarch told of him a lofty horse ; decrees him the cognomen of philosophic action, saying that he had Coriolanus : the people shout Caius heen at pains to save his landlord in the Marcius Coriolanus ! He replies : sack of Corioli. Shakspeare's Coriolanus has indeed the same disposition,

“ I will go wash for he is really a good fellow; but And when my face is fair, you shall perceive

Whether I blush or no: howbeit, I thank you. when Lartius asks him the name of this I mean to stride your steed.” 1 poor Volscian, in order to secure his liberty, he yawns out :

This loud voice, loud laughter, blunt

acknowledgment, of a man who can act “ By Jupiter! forgot. I am weary ; yea, my memory is tired.

and shout better than speak, foretell Have we no wine here?” *

the mode in which he will treat the He is hot, he has been fighting, he must he cannot find abuse enough for the

plebeians. He loads them with insults drink; he leaves his Volscian in chains, cobblers, tailors, envious cowards and thinks no more of him. He fights down on their knees for a coin. like a porter, with shouts and insults, beg of Hob and Dick !” “ Bid them and the cries from that deep chest wash their faces and keep their teeth are heard above the din of the battle

clean." But he must beg, if he wouls like the sounds from a brazen trumpet. be consul ; his friends constrain him. He has scaled the walls of Corioli, he It is then that the passionate soul, has butchered till he is gorged with incapable of self-restraint, such as slaughter. Instantly he turns to the Shakspeare knew how to paint, breaks army of Cominius, and arrives red with forth without hindrance. He is there blood, “ as he were flay'dl.” “ Come I

in his candidate's gown, gnashing his too late?” Cominius begins to com- teeth, and getting up his iesson in this pliment him. “ Come I too late ? " he

style: repeats. The battle is not yet finished : he embraces Cominius :

“ What must I say?

pray, sir'--Plague upon't! I cannot bring " O! let me clip ye

My tongue to such a pace: Look, sit, mi In arms as sound as when I woo'd, in heart As ns as when our nuptial day was done.”+ | I go them in my country's service, when

Some certain of your brethren roar'd and rax

$ For the battle is a real holiday to him. From the noise of our own drums. Such senses, such a strong frame, need The tribunes have no difficulty in stop the outcry, the din of battle, the exciteping the election of a candidate who ment of death and wounds. This

begs in this fashion. They taunt him haughty and indomitable heart needs in full senate, reproach hiin with his the joy of victory and destruction.

speech about the corn. He repeats is. Mark the display of his patrician arro- with aggravations. Once roused, nei gance and his soldier's bearing, when ther danger nor prayer res trains him : Le is offered the tenth of the spoils :

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t Ibid. Coriolanus, L 9. 1 Ibid. 1. 6. 1 Ibid.

Ibid. ü. 3.

. lbid. i. 9.


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“ His l.eart's his mouth : Cog their hearts from them and come home be And, being angry, 'does forget that ever

loved He heard the name of death." #

Of all the trades in Rome.' tle rails against the people, the tri- He goes, and his friends speak for him. bunes, ediles, flatterers of the plebs. Except a few bitter asides he appears “ Come, enough,” says his friend Me- to be submissive. Then the tribunes nenius. Enough, with over-meas- pronounce the accusation, and summon ore,” says Brutus the tribune. He re- him to answer as a traitor : orts :

Cor. How! traitor! “ No, take more :

Men. Nay, temperately: your promise. Vhat may be sworn by, both divine and Cor. The fires i' the lowest hell fold-in the human,

people! seal what I'end withall ... At once pluck Call me their traitor! Thou injurious tri

bune! The multitudinous tongue ; let them not lick

Within thine eyes

sat twenty thousand The sweet which is their poison." +


In thy hands clutch'i as many millions, in The tribune cries, Treason I and bids Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say, seize him. He cries :

• Thou liest,' unto thee with a voice as free

As I do pray the gods." + Hence, old goat! Hence, rotten thing! or I shall shake thy His friends surround him, entreat him : bones

he will not listen ; he foams at the Out of thy garments!” 1

mouth, he is like a wounded lion : He strikes him, drives the mob off : he fancies himself amongst Volscians.

Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian

death, “ On fair ground I could beat forty of Vagabond exile, flaying, pent to linger them !” And when his friends hurry But with a grain a day, I would not buy him off, he threatens still, and

Their mercy at the price of one fair word.” 1 “ Speak(s) of the people,

The people vote exile, supporting by As if you (he) were a god to punish, not their shouts the sentence of the tribune: A man of their infirmity."

Cor. You common cry of curswhose breatb Yet he bends before his mother, for he As reek o' the rotten fens, whose love I prize

I hate has recognized in her a soul as lofty As the dead carcasses of unburied men and a courage as intractable as his That do corrupt my air, I banish you.... De own. He has submitted from his in- spising, fancy to the ascendency of this pride There is a world elsewhere.” §

For you, the city, thus I turn my back : which he admires. Volumnia reminds him: "My praises made thee first a

Judge of his hatred by these raging soldier." Without power over himself,

words. It goes on increasing whilst continually tost on the fire of his too waiting for vengeance. We find him hot blood, he has always been the arm, next with the Volscian army before she the thought. He obeys from in- Rome. His friends kneel before him, voluntary respect, like a soldier before he lets them kneel. Old Menenius, his general, but with what effort !

who had loved him as a son, onl

comes now to be driven away. “Wife Coriolanus. The smiles of knaves Tent in my cheeks, and schoolboys' tears take knows not himself. For this strength

mother, child, I know not.”|| He Ce glances of my sight! a beggar's tongue of hating in a noble heart is the same Wake motion through my lips, and my arm’d as the force of loving. He has trang. knees

ports of tenderness as of rage, and can Who iow'd but in my stirrup, bend like his shat nath received an alms ? - I will not do't.. contain himself no more in joy than in Volumnia.

Do as tho'ı list. grief. He runs, spite of his resolution, Chy valiantness was mine, thou suck'dst it from to his wife's arms; he bends his knee me,

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before his mother. He had summoned But owe thy pride thyself. cor. Pray, be content:

the Volscian chiefs to make them wit. Mother, I am going to the market-place ; nesses of his refusals ; and before them, Chide me no more. I'll mountebank' their he grants all, and weeps.

On his loves,

return to Corioli, an insulting word • Coriohonus, äi. 1.

Ibid. iii. 2.

t Ibid., iii. 3. Ibid Ibid. 1 Ibid.

Ibich v. 2.

$ Ibid.


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from Aufidius maddens him, and drives | mine eyes !”. He is disturbed by a him upon the daggers of the Volscians. word which the sleeping chamberlains Vices and virtues, glory and misery, uttered : greatness and feebleness, the unbridled “One cr.ed, 'God bless us!' and 'Amen' the passion which composes his nature, other; endowed him with all.

As they had seen me with these hangmau's If the life of Coriolanus is the history

hands. of a mood, that of Macbeth is the his

Listening their fear, I could not say . Amen,'

When they did say, God bless us!' tory of a monomania. The witches' But wherefore could not I pronounce prophecy has sunk into his mind at

men!' once, like a fixed idea. Gradually this

I had most need of blessing, and 'Amen
Stuck in

throat."* idea corrupts the rest, and transforms the whole man. He is haunted by it; Then comes a strange dream; a fright he forgets the thanes who surround ful vision of the punishment that awaits him and“ who stay upon his leisure;” him descends upon him. he already sees in the future an indis- Above the beating of his heart, the tinct chaos of images of blood : tingling of the blood which seethes in

his brain, he had heard them cry: Why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair

“ • Sleep no more! And make my seated heart knock at my Macbeth does murder sleep,' the innocent ribs ?.

sleep, My thought, whose murder yet is but fantas- Sleep that knits up the ravellid sleave of tical,

care, Shakes so my single state of man that function The death of each day's life, sore labour's Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is

bath, But what is not.” *

Balm of' hurt minds, great nature's second This is the language of hallucination.


Chief nourisher in life's feast." + Macbeth's hallucination becomes complete when his wife has persuaded him and the voice, like an angel's trumpet, o assassinate the king. He sees in calls him by all his titles : the air a blood-stained dagger, “in form“. Glamis hath mưrder'd sleep, and therefore as palpable, as this which now I draw.”

Cawdor His whole brain is filled with grand and

Shall sleep no more ; Macbeth shall sleep

no more!'" terrible phantoms, which the mind of a common murderer could never have This idea, incessantly repeated, beats conceived : the poetry of which indi- in his brain, with monotonous and cates a generous heart, enslaved to an quick strokes, like the tongue of a idea of fate, and capable of remorse :

bell. Insanity begins; all the force of

his mind is occupied by keeping before “ Now o'er the one half world

him, in spite of himself, the image Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates

the man whom he has murdered in his Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd murder, sleep: Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf, Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy

To know my deed, 'twere best not know my self.

[Knock] pace,

Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would Wich Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his

thou couldst!” 8 design Moves like a ghost. .

(A bell rings.] Thenceforth, in the rare intervals is I go, and it is done; the bell invites me. which the fever of his mind is assuaged Ilear it not, Duncan ; for it is a knell l'hat summons thee to heaven or to hell." +

he is like a man worn out by a long

malady. It is the sad prostration of He has done the deed, and returns maniacs worn out by their fits of rage 1 tottering, haggard, like a drunken man.

“ Had I but died an hour be.ore this chance, He is horrified at his bloody hands, I had lived a blessed time ; for, from this in "these hangman's hands." Nothing now can cleanse them. The whole

There's nothing serious in mortality :

All is but toys : renown and grace is dead; ocean might sweep over them, but they

The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lece would keep the hue of murder. “ What Is left this vault to brag of.” I hands are here ? ha; they pluck out

Ibich Macbeth, i. 3.

Ibid. üi. .

t Ibid. ü. I.

1 Ibid. f Ibid ä. 3. | Ihis


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