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and yet as characteristic, specimens of Beaumont and Fletcher's dramas. I particularly instance the first scene of the Bonduca. Take Shakspeare's Richard II., and having selected some one scene of about the same number of-lincs, and consisting mostly of long speeches, compare it with the first scene in Bonduca,—not for the idle purpose of finding out which is the better, but in order to sec and understand the difference. The latter, that of B. and F., you will find a well arranged bed of towers, each having its separate root, and its position determined aforehand by the will of the gardener,-each fresh plant a fresh volition. In the former you see an Indian figtree, as described by Milton ;-all is growth, evolution, yéveolt;-cach line, each word almost, begets the following, and the will of the writer is an interfusion, a continuous agency, and not a series of separate acts. Shakspeare is the height, breadth, and depth of Genius : Beaumont and Fletcher the excellent mechanism, in juxta-position and succession, of talent.
THE NOBLE GENTLEMAN.
HY have the dramatists of the times of Eli- NE
zabeth, James I. and the first Charles become almost obsolete, with the exception of Shakspeare? Why do they no longer belong to the English, being once so popular? And why is
Shakspeare an exception ? - One
thing, among fifts, necessary to the full solution is, that they all employed poetry and poetic diction on unpoetic subjects, both characters and situations, especially in their comedy. Now Shakspeare is all, all ideal, -of no time, and therefore for all times. Read, for instance, Marine’s panegyric in the first scene of this play:
And fasten on her blessings, is a sun, &c. What can be more unnatural and inappropriate(not only is, but must be feit as such)-than such poetry in the mouth of a silly dupe ? In short, the scenes are mock dialogues, in which the poet solu plays the ventriloquist, but cannot keep down his own way of expressing himself. Heavy complaints have been made respecting the transposing of the old plays by Cibber; but it never occurred to these critics to ask, how it came that no one ever attempted to transpose a comedy of Shakspeare's.
Act I. Speech of Seleucus :
Altho' he be my enemy, should any
tell me so, I durst, &c. Colman's note.
HAW I* Sit' is either a misprint for set,'
or the old and still provincial word for ' set,' as the participle passive of' seat' or 'set. I have heard an old Somersetshire gardener say :—“Look, Sir! I set these plants here; those yonder I sit yesterday." Act II. Speech of Arcadius :
Nay, some will swear they love their mistress,
young Apollo's; and yet, after this, ic. • They would hazard'-furnishes an anapæst for an iambus. “And yet,' which must be read, anyét, is an instance of the enclitic force in an accented monosyllable. 'And yet,' is a complete iambus ; but anyet is, like spirit, a dibrach trocheized, however, by the arsis or first accent damping, though not extinguishing, the second.
WIT AT SEVERAL WEAPONS.
I'm arm’d at all points, &c.
to metre, by supplying a sentence of four syllables, which the reasoning almost demands, and by correcting the grammar. Read thus :
Arm'd at all points 'gainst treachery, I hold My humour firm. If, living, I can see thee Thrive by thy wits, I shall have the more courage, Dying, to trust thee with my lands. If not, The best wit, I can hear of, carries them. For since so many in my time and knowledge, Rich children of the city, have concluded For luck of wit in beggary, I'd rather Make a wise stranger my erecutor, Than a fool son my heir, and have my lands callid After my wit than name : and that's iny nature ! Ib. Oldcraft's speech :To prevent which I have sought out a match for hier.Read Which to prerent l're sought a match out for her. Ib. Sir Gregory's speech :
think I'll hare any of the wits hang upon me after I am married
Do you think
l'pon me after I an married once ? and afterwards
it a fashion in London To marry a woman, and to never see her ? The superfluous “to' gives it the Sir Andrew Ague-cheek character.
THE FAIR MAID OF THE INV.
Act II. Speech of Albertus :
Clop his hand off!
parably superior to Fletcher and his friend, -in judgment! What can be conceived more unnatural and motiveless than this brutal resolve? How is it possible to feel the least interest in Albertus afterwards ? or in Cesario after his conduct?
THE TWO NOBLE KINSME.V.
O Scomparing the prison scene of Palamon and
Arcite, Act ii. sc. 2, with the dialogue between the same speakers, Act i. sc. 2, I can scarcely retain a doubt as to the first act's having been written by Shakspeare. Assuredly it was not written by B. and F. I hold Jonson more probable than either of these two.
The main presumption, however, for Shakspeare's share in this play rests on a point, to which the sturdy critics of this edition (and indeed all