Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

2 Sen.
And shakes his threat'ning sword

SCENE III.—The Walls of Athens.
Against the walls of Athens.
1 Sen.
Therefore, Timon,-

Enter Two Senators, and a Messenger.
Tim. Well, sir, I will; therefore, I will, sir : i Sen. Thou hast painfully discoverd; are bisfiles
Thus,-

As full as thy report? If Alcibiades kill my countrymen,

Mess.

I have spoke the least;
Let Alcibiades know this of Timon,

Besides, his expedition promises
That Timon cares not. But if he sack fair Athens, Present approach.
And take our goodly aged men by the beards,

2 Sen. We stand much hazard, if they brin, nu? Giving our holy virgins to the stain

Timon. Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brain'd war;

Mess. I met a courier, one mine ancient friend ;Then, let him know,-and tell him, Timon speaks it, Whom, though in general part we were oppos'd, In pity of our aged, and our youth,

Yet our old love made a particular force, I cannot choose but tell him, that I care not,

And made us speak like friends :--this man was riding And let him take 't at worst; for their knives care not, From Alcibiades to Timon's cave, Wbile you have throats to answer : for myself,

With letters of entreaty, which imported There's not a whittle in the unruly camp,

His fellowship i' the cause against your city, But I do prize it at my love, before

In part for his sake mov'd. The reverendst throat in Athens. So I leave you

Enter Senators from Timon. To the protection of the prosperous gods,

1 Sen. As thieves to keepers.

Here come our brothers.

3 Sen. No talk of Timon, nothing of him expect.Flav.

Stay not, all's in vain. Tim. Why, I was writing of my epitaph ;

The enemies' drum is heard, and fearful scouring

Doth choke the air with dust: In, and prepare ; It will be seen to-morrow : my long sickness Of health, and living, now begins to mend,

Ours is the fall, I fear; our foes the stare. (Exeunt. And nothing brings me all things. Go, live still; Be Alcibiades your plague, you his,

SCENE IV.-The Woods. Timon's Care, and a

Tombstone seen.
And last so long enough!
1 Sen.
We speak in vain.

Enter a Soldier, seeking Timon.
Tim. But yet I love my country, and am not
One that rejoices in the common wrack,

Sold. By all description this should be the place. As commou bruit doth put it.

Who's here ? speak, hoa :- No answer ! — What is this! 1 Sen. That's well spoke.

Timon is dead, who hath outstretchd his span : Tim. Commend me to my loving countrymen,

Some beast rear'd this; there does not live a man. i Sen. These words become your lips as they pass I cannot readt; the character I 'll take with wax :

Dead, sure; and this his grave.- What's on this tomb through them. 2 Sen. And enter in our ears like great triumphers

Our captain hath in every figure skill;
In their applauding gates.

An ag'd interpreter, though yonng in days:
Tim.
Commend me to them;

Before proud Athens be 's set down by this,

Whose fall the mark of his ambition is. (Erit. And tell them, that, to ease them of their griefs, Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses, Their pangs of love, with other incident throes

SCENE V.- Before the walls of Athens. That nature's fragile vessel doth sustain

Trumpets sound. Enter ALCIBIADES and Forces. In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do

Alcib. Sound to this coward and lascivious town them :

Our terrible approach.

[A parley sounded I 'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades' wrath. 2 Sen. I like this well, he will return again.

Enter Serators on the walls.
T'im. I have a tree, which grows here in my close, Till now you have gone on, and filld the time
That mine own use invites me to cut down,

With all licentious measure, making your wills
And shortly must I fell it: Tell my friends,

The scope of justice; till now, myself, and such Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree,

As slept within the shadow of your power, From high to low throughout, that whoso please Have wander'd with our travers d arms, and breath To stop affliction, let him take his haste,

Our sufferance vainly: Now the time is flush, Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe,

When crouching marrow, in the bearer strong, And hang himself :- I pray you, do my greeting; Cries, of itself, " No more :" now breathless wrong Fliw. Trouble him no further, thus you still shall Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease; find him.

And pursy insolence shall break his wind,
Tim. Come not to me again : but say to Athens, With fear, and horrid flight.
Timon hath made his everlasting mansion

I Sen.

Noble, and young, Upon the beached verge of the salt flood;

When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit, Whom once a day with his embossed froth

Ere thou hudst power, or we had cause of fear, The turbulent surge shall cover; thither come,

We sent to thee; to give thy rages balm, And let my grave-stone be your oracle.—

To wipe out our ingratitude with loves Lips, let sour words go by, and language end :

Above their quantity, What is amiss, plague and infection mend !

2 Sen.

So did we woo
Graves only be men's works; and death their gain! Transformed Timon to our city's love,
Sun, hide thy beams! Timon hath done his reign. By humble message, and by promis'd means ;

[Exit Timon. We were not all unkind, nor all deserve i Sen. His discontents are unremoveably

The common stroke of war. Coupled to nature.

1 Sen.

These walls of ours 2 Sen. Our hope in him is dead : let us return, Were not erected by their bands from wbom And strain what other means is left unto us

You have receiv'd your grief : nor are they such In our dear peril.

That these great towers, trophies, and schools should fall i Sen.

It requires swift foot. (E.ceunt For private faults in them.

2 Sen.
Nor are they living

Descend, and open your uncharged ports:
Who were the motives that you first went out;

Those enemies of Timon's, and mine owl., Shame that they wanted cunning, in excess,

Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof, Hath broke their hearts. March, noble lord,

Fall, and no more : and,—to atone your fears Into our city with thy banners spread :

With my more noble meaning,-not a man By decimation, and a tithed death,

Shall pass his quarter, or oflend the stream (If thy revenges hunger for that food,

Of regular justice in your city's bounds, Which nature loathes,) take thou the destin d tenth; But shall be remedied, to your public laws, And by the hazaid of the spotted die,

At heaviest answer. Let die the spotted.

Both.

'T is most nobly spoken. I Sen. All have not offended;

Alcib. Descend, and keep your words. For those that were, it is not square to take,

| The Senators descend, and open the gates. On those that are, revenges: crimes, like lands,

Enter a Soldier. Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman,

Sol. My noble general, Timon is dead;
Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage:

Entomb'd upon the very hem o'the sea :
Spare thy Athenian cradle, and those kin
Which, in the bluster of thy wrath, must fall

And on his grave-stone this insculpture, which
With those that have offended : like a shepherd,

With wax I brought away, whose soft impression

Interprets for my poor ignorance.
Approach the fold, and cull the infected forth,
But kill not altogether.

Alcib. [Reads.1 Here lies a wretched corse, of wretched soul

Dereft: 2 Sen. What thou wilt,

Seek not my name: A plague consume you wicked caitiffs left! Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile,

Here lie I Timon; who, alive, all Itving men did hate : Than hew to 't with thy sword.

Pass by, and curse thy fill; but pass and stay not here thy gait. 1 Sen. Set but thy foot

These will express in thee thy latter spirits : Against our rampir'd gates, and they shall ope; Though thou abhorr'dst in us our human griefs, So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before,

Scorn dst our brain's flow, and those our droplets To say thou 'lt enter friendly.

which 2 Sen.

Throw thy glove; From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit Or any token of thine honour else,

Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep

for

aye That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress,

On thy low grave, on faults forgiven. Dead And not as our confusion, all thy powers

Is noble Timon; of whose memory Shall make their harbour in our town, till we

Hereafter more.— Bring me into your city, Have seald thy full desire.

And I will use the olive with my sword : Alcib. Then there is my glove; Make war breed peace; make peace stint war; make

each * Cunning in this line is not used in an evil sense, b it with its ancient meaning of knowledge, wisdom ;-Excessive shame Prescribe to other, as each other's leech. that they have wanted wislom has broken their hearts. Let our drums strike,

Exeunt.

[graphic][subsumed]

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.

[ocr errors]

Tue original quarto edition of Troilus and Cressida Cressida' into a regular tragedy. He complains that was printed in 1609. No other edition of the play was “ the chief persons who give name to the tragedy are left published until it appeared in the folio collection of alive: Cressida is false, and is not punished." The 1623.

excitement of pity and terror, we are told, is the ouls “The original story," says Dryden, “ was written ground of tragedy. Tragedy, too, must have “ a moby one Lollius, a Lombard, in Latin verse, and trans- ral that directs the whole action of the play to one lated by Chaucer juto English ; intended, I suppose, a centre.” To this standard, then, is Shaksple's Troilus satire on the inconstancy of women. I find nothing of and Cressida' to be reduced. The chief persons who it among the ancients, not so much as the name Cressida give name to the tragedy are not to be left alive. once mentioned. Shakspere (as I hinted), in the appren- Cressida is not to be false; but she is to die: and so ticeship of his writing, modelled it into that play which terror and pity are to be produced. And then comes is now called by the name of Troilus and Cressida.'” the moral: Withont entering into the question who Lollius was, “ Then, since from home-bred factions ruin springs, we at once receive the “Troilus and Creseide' of Chau. Let subjects learn obedience to their kings." cer as the foundation of Shakspere's play. Of his per- The management by which Dryden has accomplished fect acquaintance with that poem there can be no this metamorphosis is one of the most remarkable exdoubt. Chaucer, of all English writers, was the one amples of perverted ingenuity. He had a licentious who would have the greatest charm for Shakspere. age to please. He could not spare a line, or a word, of Mr. Godwin has justly observed that the Shaksperian what may be considered the objectionable scenes be commentators have done injustice to Chaucer in not

tween Pandarus, Troilus, and Cressida. They formeel more distinctly associating his poem with this remark. no part of the “rubbish " he desired to remove. He has able play. But although the main incidents in the heightened them wherever possible; and what in Shakalventures of the Greek lover and his faithless mistress, spere was a sly allusion becomes with him a positive as given by Chaucer, are followed with little deviation, grossness. Now let us consider for a moment what yet, independent of the wonderful difference in the cha- Shakspere intended by these scenes. Cressida is the racterisation, the whole story under the treatment of exception to Shakspere's general idea of the female cha Shakspere becomes thoroughly original. In no play racter. She is beautiful, witty, accomplishel,—but she does he appear to us to have a more complete mastery is impure. In her, love is not a sentiment, or a passion, over his materials, or to mould them into more plastic ---it is an impulse. Temperament is stronger than will. shapes by the force of his most surpassing imagination. Her love has nothing ideal, spiritual, in its composition. The great Homeric poem, the rude romance of the de- It is not constant, because it is not discriminate. Setstruction of Troy, the beautiful elaboration of that ting apart her inconstancy, how altogether different is romance hy Chancer, are all subjected to his wondrous Cressida from Juliet, or Viola, or Helena, or Perdita! alchemy; and new forms and combinations are called There is nothing in her which could be called love: no forth so lifelike, that all the representations which have depth, no concentration of feeling,—nothing that can preceded them look cold and rigid statues, not warm bear the name of devotion. Shakspere would not perand breathing men and women. Coleridge's theory of mit a mistake to be made on the subject; and he has the principle upon which this was effected is, we have therefore given to Ulysses to describe her, as he conno doubt, essentially true :

ceived her. Considering what his intentions were, and “I am half inclined to believe that Shakspere's main what really is the high morality of the characterisation, object (or shall I rather say his ruling impulse ?) was

we can scarcely say that he has made the representation to translate the poetic heroes of Paganism into the not two prominent. When he drew Cressida, we think he less rude, but more intellectually vigorous, and more had the feeling strong on his mind which gave birth to featurely, warriors of Christian chivalry, and to substan- the 129th Sonnet. A French writer, in a notice of this tiate the distinct and graceful profiles or outlines of the play, says, “ Les deux amants se voient, s'entendent, et Homeric epic into the flesh and blood of the romantic sont heureux." Shakspere has described such happidrama,-in short, to give a grand history-piece in the ness :robust style of Albert Dürer."*

“ A bliss in proof,-and pror'd, a very woe: Dryden, we have seen, speaks of Shakspere's "Troilus

Before, a joy propos’d; behind, a dream : and Cressida' as a work of his apprenticeship. Dryden

All this the world well knows; yet none knows well

To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell." himself aspired to reform it with his owu master-hand. It was this morality that Shakspere meant to teachi The notion of Dryden was to convert the • Troilus and when he painted this one exception to the general purity • Literary Remains, vol. ii. p 183.

of his female characters.

« PredošláPokračovať »