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fantastic garlands,” and the breaking of the “ envious sliver;" but these are only accessories, thrown in to call attention to and deepen the feeling for the final catastrophe. The same style is pursued in the scene in " As You Like It," where the brother of Orlando is discovered

Under an oak whose boughs were moss'd with age,
And high top bald with dry antiquity,
A wretched, rugged man, o'ergrown with hair,

Lay sleeping on his back. In this case the whole scene is introduced, not so much on account of its own truthfulness or beauty, but apparently that we may become interested in the man and in the sequence of events. Another example occurs in the same play, where the tree, the water, and the animals, are brought into the picture to heighten the moral and to illustrate human character. The passage is probably as well known as anything of Shakspere's, yet who would not wish to look at it again?

To-day my Lord of Amiens and myself
Did steal behind him as he lay along
Under an oak whose antique root peeps out
Upon the brook that brawls along this wood :
To the which place a poor sequester'd stag,
That from the hunter's aim had ta'en a hurt,
Did come to languish; and indeed, my lord,
The wretched animal heaved forth such groans
That their discharge did stretch his leathern coat
Almost to bursting, and the big round tears
Coursed one another down his innocent nose
In piteous chase ; and thus the hairy fool,
Much marked of the melancholy Jaques,
Stood on the extremest verge of the swift brook,
Augmenting it with tears.

Duke S. But what said Jaques ?
Did he not moralise this spectacle ?

First Lord.—0, yes, into a thousand similes. ,
First, for his weeping into the needless stream;
“ Poor deer,” quoth he, “ thou makest a testament
As worldlings do, giving thy sum of more
To that which had too much ;" then, being there alone,
Left and abandon’d of his velvet friends,
'Tis right," quoth he; “ thus misery doth part
Tbe flux of company;" anon a careless herd,
Full of the pasture, jumps along by him,
And never stays to greet him ; " Ay," quoth Jaques,
“ Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens ;
'Tis just the fashion ; wherefore do you look
Upon that poor and broken bankrupt there ?''
Thus most invectively he pierceth through
The body of the country, city, court,
Yea, and of this our life, swearing that we
Are mere usurpers, tyrants, and what's worse,
To fright the animals and to kill them up
In their assign'd and native dwelling-place.

In “ King Lear” also, the grand description of Dover Cliff, with all the accessories of the scene, are introduced for the obvious purpose of pourtraying the profound misery of Gloucester.

Such will be found to be invariably the method pursued by Shakspere in his references to nature. Action, life, passion-men and women in every possible position-are nearly all and all throughout his works; external nature being used only as a foil to show off the lights and shades of the great drama of human existence. Even in that passage of supreme loveliness in “ The Merchant of Venice” beginning “ How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank," and which at first sight appears to be a piece of disconnected philosophical reflection on the grandeur of music and a moonlight evening, it will be seen that the sentiments of the poet are necessary fully to bring out the characters of the interlocutors.

But it has to be observed further, that Shakspere does not paint landscape at all, as we now understand that word, not even for his own special dramatic purposes. In observation his faculty is microscopical; a wide or extended view of natural scenery he will not pourtray. With unerring accuracy of eye he seizes on particular objects, investing them with the lively hues of his exuberant imagination; he does not see, or he does not choose to describe, an entire landscape. Nothing seems so insignificant as to escape his glance. He revels in the details of nature. A plant, a tree, or a flower, he will depict either with the minuteness of the pre-Raphaelite painter. In the light of his magical fancy flowers are no common objects; they become lustrous, breathing of life and beauty :

That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty ; violets dim,
But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes,
Or Cytherea's breath ; pale primroses,
That die unmarried, ere they can behold

Bright Phæbus in his strength. And these, thus glorified, with other objects in naturemoonlight and sunlight in all their variations—the ocean in calm and storm-all fall readily on his canvass; yet he refuses to combine these and other objects into any single picture of living beauty and power. What is perhaps most noticeable of all is, that in his sketches, incomplete as they are, of natural scenery, he scarcely ever mentions that form of it which is now held as the most enchanting, sublime,

and attractive to cultivated minds the scenery, namely, of mountainous regions. This is a striking peculiarity of Shakspere's genius, which has not received the attention it seems to deserve-if, indeed, it has ever before been noticed. What can be the explanation of an omission so remarkable ? No doubt the peculiarity was partly due to the flat nature of the country in which he lived, and through which he traversed on his journeys between London and Stratford. Something must have been also owing to the fashions and modes of thought prevailing amongst his poetical contemporaries, to whom the rugged, grand, and picturesque, as developed in the scenery of mountain ranges, possessed, in so far as we can discover, little other fascination except that springing from a feeling of the terrible. We know as. matter of fact that in Shakspere's days, and for long afterwards, hills were commonly viewed as mere obstructions to locomotion, and the poet seemingly so far fell in with the prevailing notion as to believe that the Muses would not dwell on their summits, nor attempt to scale their rugged sides. The greatest of all poets would not believe in Parnassus! Amongst the few references made by Shakspere to mountains is this—(Richard II., act 2, scene 3)—

These high, wild hills, and rough, uneven ways,

Draw out our miles, and make them wearisome-
which, oddly as it sounds, is just such an expression as
would be used by the most literal and unpoetical of wayfar-
ing men in reference to mountains. Whatever else the
great poet saw in nature, he apparently could not see the
grandeur of the everlasting hills; 6 the difficult air of the
iced mountain top” was by him unbreathed and unknown.
Even with Shakspere, imagination had a limit! Once
only, in the whole range of his works (unless we should
except some slight references in “ Cymbeline”) does he in-
troduce his readers to the heart of a wild and hilly region;
and what then does the poet say ?--

This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself

Unto our gentle senses.
A remarkable expression to be used by any one not actually
acquainted with the locality. This and the rest of the
allusions to the site of Macbeth's castle happen to be per-
fectly correct; the wonder is how the writer should have
been conversant with such details. In explanation, readers
may take their choice between the hypothesis of Mr Charles
Knight that the writer was personally in Inverness, and


the other idea that the description was an inspiration or intuition of genius. In either case, the puzzle is, how the describer should have overlooked other features of infinitely more prominence and importance in the landscape surrounding Inverness—the magnificent sweep of river and estuary, and the grand domination of the different mountain ranges.

To the reader acquainted with modern poetical literature, it need scarcely be pointed out how opposite to that of Shaksjere is the existing mode of looking at the external world. In this respect we seem to have received a new revelation. The scales have fallen froin our eyes, anil the book of nature lies fully open before us in all its widle and gorgeous magnificence. Since Shakspore's time the change is so great that it amounts to a revolution, such as might occur in a school of painting, which had altered its method of study from the Figure anıl Historical line to that of Landscape. Chaucer and Spenser both painted bits of rural scenery; but it was reserved for Milton to set the first notable example of the change, and his claborate and ornate pictures seem to have been the basis of all subsequent efforts in the same direction, supplying at once the models and the incentives to his successors. In this light it is interesting to glance at the first of the landscapes given in the 6 Paradise Lost:"

Southward through Eden, went a river large,
Nor changed his course, but througb the shargy hill
Pass'd underneath ingulf'd; for God had thrown
That mountain as bis garden-mould high-raised
Upon the rapid current, which through veins
of porous earth wiih kindly thirst up-drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Water'd the garden ; thence united fell
Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood,
Which from his darksome passage now appears,
And, now divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, watering many a famous realm
And country, whereof here neeils nu account ;
But rather to tell how, if art could tell,
How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks,
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
With mazy error under pendent shades
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice art
In beds and curious knots, but nature boon
Pour'd forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
The open field, and where the unpierced shade
Imbrown'd th' noontide bowers : thus was this place
A happy rural seat of various view ;
Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm ;

Others whose fruits, burnish'd with golden rind,
Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true,
If true, here only, and of delicious taste :
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks
Grazing the tender herb, were interposed,
Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap
Of some irriguous valley spread her store,
Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose :
Another side, umbrageous grots and caves
Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine
Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps
Luxuriant ; meanwhile murinuring waters fall
Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake,
Thut to the fringed bank with myrtle crown'd
Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams.
T'he birds their choir apply ; airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove, atiune
The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,
Kvit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,

Led on the eternal Spring. Perfect as this is, further perfection of detail was yet to be reached, and in the pages of Thomson, Shenstone, and Cowper, the art of niere description may be said to have exhausted itself. Then the genius of poetry took a higher flight. Nature was not merely to be inventoried and set down, in language however flowing and magnificent; it çame to be part and portion of the poet himself, who looked on all he saw with a rapt and enthusiastic delight, in which he was lost as a man, and became, as it were, absorbed into the Creative Power. This feeling is prominently seen in later poetry-in the writings more particularly of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Byron, with their numberless imitators in our own day. We might multiply instances, but the following may suffice to show the emotion in its full and perfect development:

The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite, a feeling, and a love.

Meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,

To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.

Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy ; for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,

This teame, as it light, in whkea

in the .

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