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How is it that the commentators take no notice of the un-Shakspearian defect in the metre of the second line, and what in Shakspeare is the same, in the harmony with the sense and feeling? Sowe word or words must have slipped out after youth,' -possibly and see:That should'st repair my youth!--and sce, thou heapist, &c. Ib. sc. 4. Pisanio's speech
For so long
Distinguish him from others, &c. But 'this eye,” in spite of the supposition of its being used isiktekūc, is very awkward. I should think that cither or'-oró the' was Shakspeare's word ;
As he could inake me or with eye or ear.
Hath nature given them eyes
l'pon the number'd beach. I would suggest 'cope' for 'crop.' As to 'twinn'd stones'—may it not be a bold catuchresis for muscles, cockles, and other empty shells with hinges, which are truly twinned ? I would take Dr. Farmer's ‘umber'd, which I had proposed before I ever heard of its having been already offered by him: but I do not adopt his interpretation of the
word, which I think is not derived from unbri, a shade, but from umber, a dingy yellow-brown soil, which most commonly forms the mass of the sludge on the sea shore, and on the banks of tide-rivers at low water. One other possible interpretation of this sentence has occurred to me, just barely worth mentioning ;-that the twinnd stones’are the ville grim stones upon the number'd beech, that is, the astronomical tables of beech-wood.
Act v. sc. 5.
It is not easy to conjecture why Slakspeare should have introluced this ludicrous scroll, which answers no one purpose, either propulsive, or explicatory, unless as a joke on etymology: (7)
Act I. sc. 1. Theobald's note.
I never heard it so much as intiinated, that he (Shaks. peare) had turned his genius to staye-writing, before lie associated with the players, and became one of their body. THAT Shakspeare never
• turned his genius in stage writing,'as Theobald inost Theobaldice phrases it, before he became an actor, is an assertion of about as much authority, as the precious story that he left Stratford for deer-stealing, and that he lived by holding gentlemen's horses at the doors of the
theatre, and other trash of that arch-gossip, old Aubrey. The metre is an argument against Titus Andronicus being Shakspeare's, worth a score such chronological surmises. Yet I incline to think that both in this play and in Jeronymo, Shakspeare wrote some passages, and that they are the earliest of his compositions.
Act. v. sc. ..
I am not mad; I know thee well enough —;
So thou destroy Rapine, and Murder there. were written by Shakspeare in his earliest period. But instead of the text
Rerenge, which makes the foul offender quake. Tit. art thou Revenge? and art thou sent to me?the words in italics ought to be omitted.
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.
Mr. Pope (after Dryden) informs us, that the story of Troilus and Cressida was originally the work of one Lollius, a Lumbard: but Dryden goes yet further; he declares it to hare been written in Latin verse, and that Chaucer translated it.- Lollius was a historiogrupher of Urbino in Italy. Note in Stockdale's edition, 1807.
OLLIUS was a historiographer of Urbino in
Italy. So affirms the notary, to whom the Sieur Stockdale committed the disfacimento of Ayscough's excellent edition of Shakspeare. Pity that
the researchful notary has not either told us in what century, and of what history, he was a writer, or been simply content to depose, that Lollius, if a writer of that name existed at all, was a somewhat somewhere. The notary speaks of the Troy Boke of Lydgate, printed in 1513. I have never seen it ; but I deeply regret that Chalmers did not substitute the whole of Lydgate's works from the JISS. extant, for the almost worthless Gower.
The Troilus and Cressida of Shakspeare can scarcely be classed with his dramas of Greek and Roman history; but it forins an intermediate linki between the fictitious Greck and Ronian histories, which we may call legendary dramas, and the proper ancient histories ; that is, between the Pericles or Titus Andronicus, and the Coriolanus, or Julius Cæsar. Cymbeline is a congrenen with Pericles, and distinguished from Lear by not having any declared prominent object. But where sliall we class the Timon of Athens ? Perhaps immediately below Lear. It is a Lear of the satirical drama; a Lear of domestic or ordinary life ;local eddy of passion on the high road of society, while all around is the week-day goings on of wind and weather ; a Lear, therefore, without its soulsearching flashes, its ear-cleaving thunder-claps, its meteoric splendors --without the contagion and the fearful sympathies of nature, the fates, the furies, the frenzied elements, dancing in and out, now breaking through, and scattering,—now hand in | hand with,—the fierce or fantastic group of human
passions, crimes, and anguishes, reeling on the unsteady ground, in a wild harmony to the shock and the swell of an earthquake. But my present subject was Troilus and Cressida ; and I suppose that, scarcely knowing what to say of it, I by a cunning of instinct ran off to subjects on which I should find it difficult not to say too much, though certain after all that I should still leave the better part unsaid, and the gleaning for others richer than my own harvest.
Indeed, there is no one of Shakspeare's plays harder to characterize. The name and the remembrances connected with it, prepare us for the rcpresentation of attachment no less faithful than fervent on the side of the youth, and of sudden and shameless inconstaney on the part of the lady. And this is, indeed, as the gold thread on which the scenes are strung, though often kept out of sight and out of mind by gems of greater value than itself. But as Shakspeare calls forth nothing from the mausoleum of history, or the catacombs of tradition, without giving, or eliciting, some permanent and general interest, and brings forward no subject which he does not moralize or intellectualize,-s0 here he has drawn in Cressida the portrait of a vehement passion, that, having its true origin and proper cause in warmth of temperament, fastens on, rather than fixes to, some one object by liking and temporary preference.