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never less the artist, through all the changes of the time. Fully influenced, as we see in Hamlet he was, by the graver and more philosophic cast of thought of the later time of Elizabeth; passing on into the reign of James I., when pedantry took the place of gayety, and sensual the place of imaginative love in the drama, and artificial art the place of that art which itself is nature; he preserves to the last the natural passion, the simple tenderness, the sweetness, grace, and fire of the youthful Elizabethan poetry. The Winter's Tale is as lovely a love story as Romeo and Juliet, the Tempest is more instinct with imagination than the Midsummer Night's Dream, and as great in fancy, and yet there are fully twenty years between them. The only change is in the increase of power and in a closer and graver grasp of human nature. Around him the whole tone and manner of the drama altered for the worse as his life went on, but his work grew to the close in strength and beauty.'
NOTE.—"The dates and arrangement of Shakespeare's plays given above are only tentative. They are so placed by the conjectures of the latest criticism, and the conjectures wait for proof. Julius Cæsar, e.g., is now dated 1601.”
BIBLIOGRAPHY. SHAKESPEARE'S WORKS.-Clarendon Press Ed.; Mieklejohn's Ed.; J. P. Collier's Ed.; Leopold Shakespeare Ed., with an Int. by F. J. Furnivall; Knight's Ed.; H. H. Furness's New Variorum Ed.; H. N. Hudson's Ed.; Rolfe's Ed.; R. G. White's Ed.; G. C. Verplanck's Ed ; Dyce's Ed.; and others.
BIOGRAPHIES AND CRITICAL STUDIES IN.-H. N. Hudson's Lectures on Shak. and his Life, Art, and Characters of; S. T. Coleridge's Notes and Lectures upon Shak.; Dowden's Critical Study of Mind and Art of Shak.; T. Carlyle's Hero as Poet ; R. W. Emerson's Shakespeare, or the Poet, in Rep. Men; Gervinus' Shak. Commentaries ; H. Giles' Human Life in Shak. ; R. G. White's Memoirs of, with an Essay toward the Expression of the Genius of ; J. Weiss' Wit, Humor, and Shak.; J. R. Lowell's Among my Books ; Whipple's Lit. of Age of Eliz.; C. & M. C. Clarke's The Shak. Key; E. A. Abbott's Shak. Grammar ; H. Reed's Lectures on Eng. Hist. and Tragic Po. as illustrated by Shak.; Minto's Characteristics of Eng. Poets.
READING. - It is impossible to quote from Shakespeare as much as is needed, and so we quote nothing. His plays, admirably annotated, are published separately, and can easily be procured. We suggest that a Comedy, As You Like It, or Much Ado About Nothing, for instance; a Tragedy, Macbeth. King Lear, Othello, or Hamlet ; and a Historical play, Hen. IV., Part II., or Hen. V., be read. If possible, these should be read (1) till the pupils can give the plot of the play, (2) till they fairly understand the characters, and can point out the influence of each upon
the others and his agency in the development of the play, (3) till they can quote the notable passages and tell who uttered them, and (4) till they have acquired some mastery of Shakespeare's language, imagery, and thought.
LESSON 26. BEN JONSON.—“The Decay of the Drama begins while Shakespeare is alive. At first one can scarcely call it decay, it was so magnificent. For it began with rare BEN JONSON,' who was born in 1573. His first play, in its very title, Every Man in his Humor, 1596–98, enables us to say in what the first step of this decay consisted.
The drama in Shakespeare's hands had been the painting of the whole of human nature, the painting of characters as they were built up by their natural bent, and by the play of circumstance upon them. The drama in Ben Jonson's hands was the painting of that particular human nature which he saw in his own age; and his characters are not men and women as they are, but as they may become when they are mastered by a special bias of the mind, or HUMOR. • The Manners, now called Humors, feed the Stage,' says Jonson himself. Every Man in his Humor was followed by Every Man out of his Humor, and by Cynthia's Revels, written to satirize the courtiers. The fierce satire of these plays brought the town down upon him, and he replied to their ‘noise in the Poetaster, in which Dekker and Marston were satirized. Dekker answered with the Satiro-Mastix, a bitter parody on the Poetaster, in which he did not spare Jonson's bodily defects. The staring Leviathan, as he calls Jonson, is not a very untrue description. Silent then for two years, he reappeared with the tragedy of Sejanus, and shortly after produced three splendid comedies in James I.'s reign, Volpone the Fox, The Silent Woman, and The Alchemist, 1605–9–10.
The first is the finest thing he ever did, as great in power as it is in the interest and skill of its plot; the second is chiefly valuable as a picture of English life in high society; the third is full to weariness of Jonson's obscure learning, but its character of Sir Epicure Mammon redeems it. In 1611 his Catiline appeared, and eight years after he was made Poet Laureate. Soon he became poor and palsy stricken, but his genius did not decay. The most graceful and tender thing he ever wrote was written in his old age. His pastoral drama, The Sad Shepherd, proves that, like Shakespeare, Jonson grew kinder and gentler as he grew near to death, and death took him in 1637. He was a great man. The power of the young Elizabethan age belonged to him; and he stands far below, but still worthily by, Shakespeare, a robust, surly, and observing dramatist.””
From Jonson's Sejanus.*
* Sejanus was the prime minister of Tiberius Claudius Nero Cæsar, Emperor of Rome, 14-37 A.D. For eight years Sejanus possessed an undivided influence over his wicked master, and procured the death or banishment of almost every one opposed to his own ambition-the attainment of imperial power. The Senate were servile to him, and the people gave him honors second only to those accorded to the Emperor. Tiberius at length became aware of the plans of Sejanus, and had him arrested, condemned, and put to an ignominious death.
This extract describes his eminence and the feelings of patriotic Romans toward him just before his fall,
O Marcus Lepidus,
Lep. What we are left to be we will be, Lucius,
Arr. T hath so on Sabinus.
Lep. I saw him now drawn from the Gemonies,
Arr. O act to be envied him of us men!
Lep. Arts, Arruntius!
Arr. I would begin to study 'em if I thought
1 Steps near the Roman prison, down which bodies were thrown. ? Corpse.
Nothing hath privilege 'gainst the violent ear.
I dare tell you, whom I dare better trust,
Lep. They must not see it, Lucius.
Arr. He is our monster: forfeited to vice
2 Hinder. * Sejanus had persuaded Tiberius to retire to the island of Capreæ, now Capri, near Naples.
4 A Semitic people from Mesopotamia, given to astronomy and astrology.