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With every sensuality our giddiness
him. After taking this unjustifiable step, he Doth frame an idol, are unconstant friends, is naturally troubled with certain inward When any troubled passion makes us halt
compunctions, which manifest themselves in On the unguarded castle of the mind. Cal. To what end
his exterior, and excite the apprehensions of Reach all these moral texts ?
his innocent bride. It is her dialogue with Pen.
To place before ye him that we are now to extract; and we think A perfect mirror, wherein you may see
the picture that it affords of unassuming innoHow weary I am of a lingering life;
cence and singleness of heart, is drawn with Who count the best a misery.
great truth, and even elegance.
She begins Cal.
with asking him why he changes countenance As to distrust a remedy.
so suddenly. He answers, Pen. That remedy
“Who, I? For nothing. Must be a winding sheet! a fold of lead, And some untrod-on corner of the earth.
Sus. Dear, say not 90: a spirit of your constancy Not to detain your expectation, princess,
Cannot endure this change for nothing. I've obI have an humble suit.
Strange variations in you.
In you, sir. Such legacies as I bequeaih, impartially;
Awake, you seem to dream, and in your sleep I have not much to give; the pains are easy,
You utter sudden and distracted accents, (band, Heav'n will reward your piety, and thank it
Like one at enmity with peace. Dear loving husWhen I am dead; for sure I must not live: If I may dare to challenge any interest I hope I cannot.'
In you, give me thee fully! you may trust
My breast as safely as your own. After leaving her fame, her youth, &c. in Frank,
With what? some very pretty but fantastical verses, she You half amaze me; pr’ytheeproceeds
Come, you shall not,
Indeed you shall not shut me from partaking “Per. 'Tis long agone, since first I lost my heart; The least dislike that grieves you. I'm all yours. Long have I lived without it; else for certain Frank. And I all thine. I should have given that too; But instead
You are not; if you keep Of is, to great Calantha, Sparta's heir,
The least grief from re: but I know the cause ; By service bound, and by affection vow'd, It grows from me. I do bequeath in holiest rites of love
From you? Mine only brother, Ithocles.
From some distaste Cal. What say'st thou ?
In me or my behaviour: you're not kind Pen.
I must leave the world in the concealment. 'Las, sir, I am young, To revel in Elysium ; and 'tis just
Silly and plain; more strange to those contents To wish my brother some advantage here; A wife should offer. Say but in what I fail, Yet by my best hopes, Ithocles is ignorant I'll study satisfaction. Of this pursuit.
Come; in nothing.
Sus. I know I do: knew I as well in what, How still I have a father.
You should not long be sullen. Pr'ythee, love, Pen. But remember
If I have been immodest or too bold, I am a sister, though to me this brother
Speak’t in a frown; if peevishly too nice,
Vol. i. pp. 291-293. By which I'll habit my behaviour.
Wherefore There are passages of equal power and Dost weep now? beauty in the plays called "Love's Sacrifice,"
You, sweet, have the power "The Lover's Melancholy," and in “Fancies To make me passionate as an April day. Chaste and Noble.” In Perkin Warbeck, there Now smile, then weep;
now pale, then crimson red. is a more uniform and sustained elevation of To make it ebb or flow into my face,
You are the powerful moon of my blood's sea, style. But we pass all those over, to give our As your looks change. readers a word or two from “ The Witch of
Frank. Change thy conceit, I prythee : Edmonton," a drama founded upon the recent Thou'rt all perfection : Diana herself execution of a miserable old woman for that Swells in thy thoughts and moderates thy beauty: fashionable offence; and in which the devil, Feathering love shafts, whose golden heads he dips
Within thy clear eye amorous Cupid sits in the shape of a black dog, is a principal per. In thy chaste breast. former! The greater part of the play, in which Sus. Come, come: these golden strings of flattery Ford was assisted by Dekkar and Rowley, is Shall not tie up my speech, sir ; I must know of course utterly absurd and contemptible— The ground of your disturbance. though not without its value as a memorial Frank.
Then look here; of the strange superstition of the age ; but it For here, here is the fen in which this hydra
Of discontent grows rank. contains some scenes of great interest and
Heaven shield it! Where? beauty, though written in a lower and more Frank. In mine own bosom! here the cause has familiar tone than most of those we have al
root; jeady exhibited. As a specimen of the range The poisoned leeches twist about my heart, of the author's talents, we shall present our And will
, I hope, confound me. leaders with one of these. Frank Thorney
You speak riddles."
Vol. ii. pp. 437–440. had privately married a woman of inferior rank; and is afterwards strongly urged by his The unfortunate bigamist afterwards refather, and his own inclination, to take a solves to desert this innocent creature ; but, second wife, in the person of a rich yeoman's in the act of their parting, is moved by the daughter whose affections were fixed upon devil, who rubs against him in the shape of a dog! to murder her. We are tempted to Thou art my husband, Death! I embrace thee give the greater part of this scene, just to With all the love I have. Forget the stain show how much beauty of diction and natu. Of my unwitting sin: and then I come ral expression of character may be com- Shall, with bold wings, ascend the doors of mercy;
A crystal virgin to thee. My soul's purity bined with the most revolting and degrading For innocence is ever her companion. absurdities. The unhappy bridegroom says- Frank. Not yet mortal? I would not linger you,
Or leave you a tongue to blab. (Stabs her again. “Why would you delay? we have no other Sus. Now heaven reward you ne'er the worse for business
I did not think that death had been so sweet, (me! Now, but to part:
[time? Nor I so apt to love him. I could ne'er die better, Sus. And will not that, sweet-heart, ask a long Had I stay'd forty years for preparation : Methinks it is the hardest piece of work
For I'm in charity with all the world.
Let me for once be thine example, heaven;
Do to this man as I, forgive him freely, I'll make it plain and easy to you. Farewell. And may he better die, and sweeter live. (Dies." [Kisses her.
Vol. ii. pp. 452-445. Sus. Ah, 'las! I'm not half perfect in it yet. I must have it thus read an hundred times.
We cannot afford any more space for Mr. Pray you take some pains, I confess my dulness. Ford; and what we have said, and what we Frank. Come! again and again, farewell. [Kisses have shown of him, will probably be thought her.) Yet wilt return?
enough, both by those who are disposed to All questions of my journey, my stay, employment, scoff, and those who are inclined to admire. And revisitation, fully I have answered all. There's nothing now behind but
It is but fair, however, to intimate, that a Sus.
But this request thorough perusal of his works will afford more Frank. What is't?
(more, exercise to the former disposition than to the Sus. That I may bring you thro' one pasture latter. His faults are glaring and abundant; Up to yon knot of trees: amongst those shadows but we have not thought it necessary to proI'll vanish from you; they shall teach me how. Frank. Why 'tis granted : come, walk then.
duce any specimens of them, because they Sus.
Nay, not too fast: are exactly the sort of faults which every one They say, slow things have best perfection; acquainted with the drama of that
reckons The gentle show'r wets to fertility,
upon finding. No body doubts of the existThe churlish storm makes mischief with his bounty.ence of such faults: But there are many who Frank. Now, your request
doubt of the existence of any counterbalancIs out : yet will you leave me? Sus.
What ? so churlishly!
ing beauties; and therefore it seemed worth You'll make me stay for ever,
while to say a word or two in their explanaRather than part with such a sound from you. tion. There is a great treasure of poetry, we
Frank. Why, you almost anger me.—'Pray you think, still to be brought to light in the neglectYou have no company, and 'tis very early ; [begone. ed writers of the age to which this author beSome hurt may betide you homewards. Sus.
Tush! I fear none :
longs; and poetry of a kind which, if purified To leave you is the greatest I can suffer.
and improved, as the happier specimens show Frank. So ! I shall have more trouble." that it is capable of being, would be far more
delightful to the generality of English readers Here the dog rubs against him; and, after than any other species of poetry. We shall some more talk, he stabs her!
readily be excused for our tediousness by those Why then I thank you;
who are of this opinion; and should not have You have done lovingly, leaving yourself,
been forgiven, even if we had not been tedious, That you would thus bestow me on another. by those who look upon it as a heresy.
(August, 1817.) Characters of Shakespeare's Plays. By William Hazlitt. 8vo. pp. 352. London: 1817.*
This is not a book of black-letter learning, I truth, rather an encomium on Shakespeare, or historical elucidation ;-neither is it a me- than a commentary or critique on him and taphysical dissertation, full of wise perplexi- is written, more to show extraordinary love, ties and elaborate reconcilements. "It is, in than extraordinary knowledge of his produc
tions. Nevertheless, it is a very pleasing It may be thought that enough had been said book-and, we do not hesitate to say, a book of our early dramatists, in the immediately preced. of very considerable originality and genius. ing
article; and it probably is so. But I could not The author is not merely an admirer of our resist the temptation of thus renewing. in my own name, that vow of allegiance, which I had so often great dramatist, but an Idolater of him; and taken anonymously, to the only true and lawful openly professes his idolatry. We have our. King of our English Poetry! and now venture, selves too great a leaning to the same super therefore, fondly to replace this slight and perish stition, to blame him very much for his error: able wreath on his august and undecaying shrine : and though we think, of course, that our own with no farther apology than that it presumes to direct attention but to one, and that, as I think, a
admiration is, on the whole, more discriminat. comparatively neglected, aspect of 'his universal ing and judicious, there are not many points genius.
on which, especially after reading his eloquent
exposition of them, we should be much in- In the exposition of these, there is rooli clined to disagree with him.
enough for originality, -and more room than The book, as we have already intimated, is Mr. H. has yei filled. In many points, how. written less to tell the reader what Mr. H. knows ever, he has acquitted himself excellently ;-: about Shakespeare or his writings, than to partly in the development of the principal explain to them what he feels about them- characters with which Shakespeare has peoand why he feels so—and thinks that all who pled the fancies of all English readers—but profess to love poetry should feel so likewise. principally, we think, in the delicate sensi. What we chiefly look for in such a work, ac- bility with which he has traced, and the cordingly, is a fine sense of the beauties of natural eloquence with which he has pointed the author, and an eloquent exposition of out that fond familiarity with beautiful forms them; and all this, and more, we think, may and images—that eternal recurrence to what be found in the volume before us. There is is sweet or majestic in the simple aspects of nothing niggardly in Mr. H.'s praises, and nature--that indestructible love of flowers nothing affected in his raptures. He seems and odours, and dews and clear waters, and animated throughout with a full and hearty soft airs and sounds, and bright skies, and sympathy with the delight which his author woodland solitudes, and moonlight bowers, should inspire, and pours himself gladly out which are the Material elements of Poetryin explanation of it, with a fluency and ardour, and that fine sense of their undefinable relaobviously much more akin to enthusiasm than tion to mental emotion, which is its essence affectation. He seems pretty generally, in- and vivifying Soul—and which, in the midst deed, in a state of happy intoxication-and of Shakespeare's most busy and atrocious has borrowed from his great original, not in- scenes, falls like gleams of sunshine on rocks deed the force or brilliancy of his fancy, but and ruins-contrasting with all that is rugged something of its playfulness, and a large share and repulsive, and reminding us of the existof his apparent joyousness and self-indulgence ence of purer and brighter elements!-which in its exercise. It is evidently a great plea- HE ALONE has poured out from the richness sure to him to be fully possessed with the of his own mind, without effort or restraint; beauties of his author, and to follow the im- and contrived to intermingle with the play of pulse of his unrestrained eagerness to impress all the passions, and the vulgar course of this them upon his readers.
world's affairs, without deserting for an instant When we have said that his observations the proper business of the scene, or appearing are generally right, we have said, in sub- to pause or digress, from the love of ornament stance, that they are not generally original; or need of repose !-HE ALONE, who, when for the beauties of Shakespeare are not of so the object requires it, is always keen and dim or equivocal a nature as to be visible only worldly and practical—and who yet, without to learned eyes—and undoubtedly his finest changing his hand, or stopping his course, passages are those which please all classes of scatters around him, as he goes, all sounds readers, and are admired for the same quali- and shapes of sweetness-and conjures up ties by judges from every school of criticism. landscapes of immortal fragrance and freshEven with regard to those passages, however, ness, and peoples them with Spirits of gloa skilful commentator will find something rious aspect and attractive grace—and is a worth hearing to tell. Many persons are very thousand times more full of fancy and imasensible of the effect of fine poetry on their gery, and splendour, than those who, in purfeelings, who do not well know how to refer suit of such enchantments, have shrunk back these feelings to their causes; and it is always from the delineation of character or passion, a delightful thing to be made to see clearly and declined the discussion of human duties the sources from which our delight has pro- and cares. More full of wisdom and ridicule ceeded—and to trace back the mingled stream and sagacity, than all the moralists and sathat has flowed upon our hearts, to the remo- tirists that ever existed-he is more wild, ter fountains from which it has been gathered. airy, and inventive, and more pathetic and And when this is done with warmth as well fantastic, than all the poets of all regions and as precision, and embodied in an eloquent de- ages of the world:—and has all those elescription of the beauty which is explained, it ments so happily mixed up in him, and bears forms one of the most attractive, and not the his high faculties so temperately, that the least instructive, of literary exercises. In all most severe reader cannot complain of him works of merit, however, and especially in all for want of strength or of reason—nor the most works of original genius, there are a thousand sensitive for defect of ornament or ingenuity. retiring and less obtrusive graces, which es. Every thing in him is in unmeasured abundcape hasty and superficial observers, and only ance, and unequalled perfection—but every give out their beauties to fond and patient thing so balanced and kept in subordination, contemplation ;-a thousand slight and har- as not to jostle or disturb or take the place monising touches, the merit and the effect of of another. The most exquisite poetical conwhich are equally imperceptible to vulgar ceptions, images, and descriptions, are given eyes; and a thousand indications of the contin- with such brevity, and introduced with such ual presence of that poetical spirit, which can skill
, as merely to adorn, without loading the only be recognised by those who are in some sense they accompany. Although his sails measure under its influence, or have prepared are purple and perfumed, and his prow of themselves to receive it, by worshipping beaten gold, they wast him on his voyage, not meekly at the shrines which it inhabits. less, but more rapidly and directly than if
they had been composed of baser materials. Sometimes a thousand twanging instruments All his excellences, like those of Nature her.
Will hum about mine ears, and sometimes voices,
That if I then had waked after a long sleep, self, are thrown out together; and, instead of
Would make me sleep again.” interfering with, support and recommend each other. His flowers are not tied up in garlands, Observe, too, that this and the other gioetinor his fruits crushed into baskets—but spring cal speeches of this incarnate demon, are not living from the soil, in all the dew and fresh- mere ornaments of the poet's fancy, but exness of youth; while the graceful foliage in plain his character, and describe his situation which they lurk, and the ample branches, the more briefly, and effectually, than any other rough and vigorous stem, and the wide-spread- words could have done. In this play, indeed, ing roots on which they depend, are present and in the Midsummer-Night's Dream, ali along with them, and share, in their places, Eden is unlocked before us, and the whole the equal care of their Creator.
treasury of natural and supernatural beauty What other poet has put all the charm of a poured out profusely, to the delight of all our Moonlight landscape into a single line ?-and faculties. We dare not trust ourselves with that by an image so true to nature, and so quotations; but we refer to those plays gensimple, as to seem obvious to the most com- erally—to the forest scenes in As You Like mon observation ?
It—the rustic parts of the Winter's Tale" See how the Moonlight SLEEPs on yonder bank !" several entire scenes in Cymbeline, and in
Romeo and Juliet—and many passages in all Who else has expressed, in three lines, all the other plays—as illustrating this love of that is picturesque and lovely in a Summer's nature and natural beauty of which we have Dawn?—first setting before our eyes, with been speaking—the power it had over the magical precision, the visible appearances of poet, and the power it imparted to him. Who the infant light, and then, by one graceful else would have thought, on the very thresand glorious image, pouring on our souls all hold of treason and midnight murder, of the freshness
, cheerfulness, and sublimity of bringing in so sweet and rural an image as returning morning
this, at the portal of that blood-stained castle “ See, love! what envious streaks of Macbeth? Do lace the severing clouds in yonder East !
"This guest of summer, Night's candles* are burnt out,
-and jocund Day Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops !".
The temple-haunting martlet, does approve
By his loved masonry that heaven's breath Where shall we find sweet sounds and odours Smells wooingly here. No jutring frieze, so luxuriously blended and illustrated, as in
Buttress, nor coigne of vantage, but this bird these few words of sweetness and melody,
Has made his pendent bed, and procreant cradle." where the author says of soft music, Nor is this brought in for the sake of an “O it came o'er my ear, like the sweet South
elaborate contrast between the peaceful innoThat breathes upon a bank of violets,
cence of this exterior, and the guilt and horStealing and giving odour!"
rors that are to be enacted within. There is This is still finer, we think, than the noble no hint of any such suggestion—but it is set speech on Music in the Merchant of Venice, down from the pure love of nature and re. and only to be compared with the enchant- ality--because the kindled mind of the poet ments of Prospero's island; where all the brought the whole scene before his
eyes, effects of sweet sounds are expressed in mi- and he painted all that he saw in his vision. raculous numbers, and traced in their opera
The same taste predominates in that emtion on all the gradations of being, from the phatic exhortation to evil, where Lady Mac
beth delicate Arial to the brutish Caliban, who,
says, savage as he is, is still touched with those
“ Look like the innocent flower, supernatural harmonies; and thus exhorts his But be the serpent under it." less poetical associates
And in that proud boast of the bloody “Be not afraid, the isle is full of noises,
RichardSounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and
“But I was born so high : hurt not.
Our aery buildeth in the cedar's top, If the advocates for the grand style object to
And dallies with the wind, and scorns the sun !" this expression, we shall not stop to defend it: But
The same splendour of natural imagery, to us, it seems equally beautiful, as it is obvious and brought simply and directly to bear upon stern natural
, to a person coming out of a lighted chamber and repulsive passions, is to be found in the into the pale dawn. The word candle, we admit, is rather homely in modern language, while lamp is cynic rebukes of Apemantus to Timon. sufficiently dignified for poetry. The moon hangs
“ Will these moist trees her silver lamp on high, in every schoolboy's copy That have out-liv'd the eagle, page thy heels, of verses; and she could not be called the candle And skip when thou point'st oui ? will the cold of heaven without manifest absurdity. Such are
brook, the caprices of usage. Yet we like the passage Candied with ice, caudle thy morning taste before us much better as it is, than if the candles
To cure thine o'er.night's surfeit ?" were changed into lamps. If we should read, “ The lamps of heaven are quenched," or No one but Shakespeare would have thought dim," it appears to us that ihe whole charm of of putting this noble picture into the taunting no longer be recalled to the privacy of that dim- address of a snappish misanthrope—any more lighted chamber which the lovers were so reluct. than the following into the mouth of a merantly leaving.
Their lips reye four red roses on a stalk,
His remarks on Macbeth are of a higher And in their summer beauty kissed each other!" and bolder character. After noticing the Dr this delicious description of concealed love, wavering and perplexity of Macbeth's resoluinto that of a regretful and moralizing parent. tion,"driven on, as it were, by the violence * But he, his own affections Counsellor,
of his Fate, and staggering under the weight Is to himself so secret and so close,
of his own purposes," he strikingly observes, As is the bud bit with an envious worm
“ This part of his character is admirably set off Eie he can spread his sweet leaves to the air,
by being brought in connection with that of Lady Or dedicate his beauty to the sun.'
Macbein, whose obdurate strength of will and mas. And yet all these are so far from being un- culine firmness give her the ascendancy over her natural, that they are no sooner put where husband's faltering virtue. She at once seizes on they are, than we feel at once their beauty of their wished-for greatness ; and never flinches and their effect; and acknowledge our obli- from her object till all is over. The magnitude of gations to that exuberant genius which alone her resolution almost covers the magnitude of her could thus throw out graces and atractions guilt. She is a great bad woman, whom we hate, where there seemed to be neither room nor but whom we fear more than we hate. She does call for them. In the same spirit of prodi- and Gonnerill. She is only wicked 10 gain a great
not excite our loathing and abhorrence like Regan gality he puts this rapturous and passionate end; and is perhaps more distinguished by her exaltation of the beauty of Imogen, into the commanding presence of mind and inexorable selfmouth of one who is not even a lover.
will, which do not suffer her to be diveried from a
bad purpose, when once formed, by weak and "It is her breathing that womanly regrets, than by the hardness of her heart Perfumes the chamber thus ! the flame oth' taper or want of natural affections."-pp. 18, 19. Bows towards her! and would under-peep her lids To see th' enclosed lights, now canopied
But the best part perhaps of this critique, Under the windows, white and azure, laced is the comparison of the Macbeth with the With blue of Heaven's own tinct !-on her left Richard of the same author.
breast A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops “The leading features in the character of Macl' the bottom of a cowslip!”.
beth are striking enough, and they form what may But we must break at once away from these be thought at first only a bold, rude, Gothic outline.
By comparing it with other characters of the same manifold enchantments--and recollect that author we shall perceive the absolute truth and our business is with Mr. Hazlitt, and not with identity which is observed in the midst of the giddy the great and gifted author on whom he is whirl and rapid career of events. Thus he is as employed : And, to avoid the danger of any distinct a being from Richard III. as it is possible further preface, we shall now let him speak hands, and indeed in the hands of any other poet, a little for himseif. In his remarks on Cym- would have been a repetition of the same general beline, which is the first play in his arrange- idea, more or less exaggerated. For both are ment, he takes occasion to make the follow- tyrants, usurpers, inurderers,—both aspiring and ing observations on the female characters of ambitious,-both courageous, cruel, treacherous. his author.
But Richard is cruel from nature and constitution.
Macbeth becomes so from accidental circumstances. “It is the peculiar characteristic of Shakespeare's Richard is from his birth deformed in body and heroines, that they seem to exist only in their at. mind, and naturally incapable of good. Macbeth tachment to others. They are pure abstractions of is full of “the milk of human kindness," is frank, the affections. We think as little of their persons sociable, generous. He is tempted to the commis. as they do themselves; because we are let into the sion of guilt by golden opportunities, by the instiga. secrets of their hearts, which are more important. tions of his wife, and by prophetic warnings. We are too much interested in their affairs to stop Faie and metaphysical aid conspire against liis to look at their faces, except by stealth and at inter: virtue and his loyalty. Richard on the contrary vals. No one ever hit the true perfection of the needs no prompter ; but wades through a series of female character, the sense of weakness leaning crimes to the heighi of his ambition, from the un. on the strength of its affections for support, so well governable violence of his temper and a reckless as Shakespeare-no one ever so well painted nalu. love of mischief. He is never gay but in the pros. ral tenderness free from affectation and disguise-pect or in the success of his villanies : Macbeth is no one else ever so well showed how delicacy and full of horror at the thoughts of the murder of timidity, when driven to extremity, grow romantic Duncan, which he is with difficulty prevailed on to and extravagant: For the romance of his heroines commit; und of remorse after its perpetration. (in which they abound) is only an excess of the Richard' has no mixture of common humanity in habitual prejudices of their sex ; scrupulous of being his composition, no regard to kindred or posterityfalse to their vows or truant to their affections, and he owns no fellowship with others; he is bimself taught by the force of feeling when to forego the alone.' Macbeth is not destitute of feelings of forms of propriety for the essence of it. His women sympathy, is accessible to pity, is even made in were in this respect exquisite logicians ; for there is some measure the dupe of his uxoriousness; ranks nothing so logical as passion. Ĉibber, in speaking the loss of friends, of the cordial love of his follow. of the early English stage, accounts for the want ers, and of his good name, among the causes which of prominence and theatrical display in Shake have made him weary of life; and regrets that he speare's female characters, from the circumstance, has ever seized the Crown by unjust means, since that women in those days were not allowed to play he cannot transmit it to his posterity. There are the parts of women, which made it necessary to other decisive differences inherent in the two char. keep them a good deal in the back ground. Does acters. Richard may be regarded as a man of the not this state of manners itself, which prevented world, a plotting hardened knave, wholly regard. their exhibiting themselves in public, and confined less of everything but his own ends, and the means them to the relations and charities of domestic life, to secure them.-Not so Macbeth. The superstiafford a truer explanation of the matter ? His wo. tions of the age, the rude state of society, the nch are certainly very unlike stage heroines."'- local scenery and customs, all give a wildness and
pp. 3, 4.
imaginary grandeur to his character. From the