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Veramarken immediately entered. The lat- undulations of beauty. Thy nose shall ter's disappointment, however, was extreme be restored to such perfection as to baffle at finding himself an object of such hide- the limner's art. Thy limbs shall assume ous deformity. Without a nose, covered the roundness and proportions of the most with disease from head to foot, detested by admirable symmetry ; thy breath shall exhis queen, and despised by his subjects, hale the perfume wafted from the spicy how small was his prospect of happiness! groves of Arabia the happy ;-in sum thou He repaired to the queen's apartment, she shalt be the envy of woman, and the idol shrank from him with disgust; and when of thy now detesting queen.” he explained to her that his soul had been The delighted monarch was revived by separated from her for a long interval, and these assurances, and as the divinity his body possessed by that of his slave, she vanished from his sight, he offered up a turned from him with a look of scornful mantra of thanksgiving, to which none but incredulity, which showed she was not to a devout Suniassi would give utterance. be persuaded to receive as truth a fact, so According to the injunction of the godentirely out of the ordinary course of na- dess, he appeared at the time specified beture.
fore his royal consort, and besought her Poor Veramarken was more miserable to look upon him with an eye of pity at than ever. He summoned all the cele- least if not of affection. She was moved brated physicians in his dominions to re- by the tender humility of his appeal, and store him to health, and to his nose, or bending her beautiful eyes upon him, said rather his nose to him; but they could not in a tone of unwonted gentleness, give him back what had been so wantonly “If I have looked upon you with colddissipated : as for his nose, the sagest among ness, you must admit that your harshness them admitted with one accord, that this has provoked it; as, however, you appear was a loss utterly irreparable. The wretched sensible that your conduct has been unjusSuniassi now found that by resuming his tifiable, assure yourself of my forgiveness, original form, instead of regaining his lost though the deformity which your unhalhappiness, he had only secured additional lowed indulgences have brought upon you, misery, and the melancholy which instantly positively repel my love. preyed upon his mind aggravated the infir- While she was yet speaking, Veramarken mities of his frame. He grew hourly uttered the potential mandiram. The queen worse, and at length began to apprehend attracted by his muttering, looked earnestly that he had merely resumed his body to upon him, when, to her astonishment, his yield it up a prey to the great conqueror form suddenly rounded, and his flesh asdeath. This was a grievous affliction, for he sumed the tension of vigorous health : had a young wife on whom he doated, and the skin tightened, the muscles protruded, not having yet numbered more than forty the eyes grew bright, the nose was graduyears, his meridian of existence being only ally developed; the whole body quickly just passed, he had promised himself a still exhibited the exactest symmetry, and long interval of enjoyment, having deter- the Suniassi stood before her in the perfecmined to relinquish the severe life of a tion of youthful beauty. Notwithstanding devotee for the more befitting dignities of a the change, his identity was not to be missovereign.
taken. The marks of his long and holy The merciful Bhavani, compassionating penances were still upon his body. The his sufferings, condescended to visit him in queen was amazed, but delight soon overhis palace, invisible to all eyes but his own. mastering her astonishment, she sprang
Veramarken,” she cried, with a bland towards her royal consort and threw hersmile, “ thou hast sufficiently suffered, and self passionately into his arms. Their hapshalt now have thy reward. Obey my in- piness was now complete, and the piety of junctions, and thou shalt be happy. So the regal ascetic rewarded. soon as the sun peeps from yonder plain, Meanwhile the spirit of Yougal had been repair to the queen's chamber, and stand be- repelled from the Swerga, as unfit for its fore her in all thy present bodily deformity. purity. The wretched soul upon returning Whilst thy ears receive the taunts of her to earth was overwhelmed with consternascorn, invoke my name, and instantly the tion at finding the Suniassi had once more rich glow of youth shall suffuse thy occupied his own body, in which he was cheeks, which shall swell to the nicest restored to the confidence both of his queen and of his subjects. The spirit of the slave, one body, it occupied another still lower in after floating about the capital of Vera- the scale of animal existence, and will thus marken like a pestilential miasm, was com- continue until it shall have completed its pelled to enter the trunk of a lean ox, metempsychosis, when it will take its everwhich was daily driven to a distant tank lasting abode in the infernal Naraka, over for water to irrigate the palace garden, which the implacable Yama presides. being sparingly fed and unsparingly be- From this time forward, until they were labored. The groans of Yougal's incar- visited by the angel of death, the lives of cerated soul were neither pitied nor Veramarken and Maldavee were uniformly heeded, and when death released it from happy.
OBSERVATIONS ON SHAKSPEARE.
“ He was a man, take him for all in all,
We shall not look upon his like again."
It is an extraordinary fact that, of a unclouded sun dispersing the noxious vapoet so universally admired in every Chris- pours from a stagnant lake. tian country as Shakspeare, so little should The deplorable modesty of Shakspearebe known, scarcely more than of Homer for it is deeply to be deplored, as the result and of Hesiod, who wrote upwards of has proved, -in estimating his own works twenty-seven centuries before him. This is so low and in withholding from the world the more remarkable, as Shakspeare lived in any account of himself, probably arose, an age when literature was cultivated with the former from the consciousness that he considerable assiduity, and in a country
was a man of but moderate education, with which has ever delighted to distinguish her little or no knowledge of the classical literary progeny. He was moreover con- writers, then, as now, the study of all well fessedly the most eminent dramatist of his educated persons; the latter, from the fact time, and had the unprecedented honour of of his being born in humble circumstances, a solicitation from the Queen to give a new which probably caused him to refrain from cast to one of the characters of his histo- putting forth a name for distinction, which rical plays, which produced “ The Merry he imagined too humble to deserve it, and Wives of Windsor," upon the whole per- not sufficiently elevated by the mere outhaps the most exquisitely comic of all our ward circumstances of birth and social conauthor's immortal productions.
nexions to render it attractive among a That so little is known of Shakspeare people with whom the feudal pride of birth has in general been mainly attributed to and ancestry obtained to so great a degree the remarkable fact, that, unconscious of that nothing was esteemed highly which his marvellous powers, he did not write did not emanate from such as were far with
any expectation of those glorious above the ordinary level of the vulgar. master-pieces of his pen surviving the period Whatever the cause of that obscurity in in which he lived and the purpose for which every thing connected with Shakwhich he designed them ; but it is no doubt speare is wrapped, it is unquestionably cermore to be attributed to the sluggish in- tain that at this moment there exists no difference of his cotemporaries in collecting life of him but what is infinitely meagre facts respecting the life of a man ordained and unsatisfactory to the last degree, conto descend to posterity with a reputation taining for the most part mere assumptions unparalleled in the chronicles of literary instead of facts, speculation instead of hishistory. The emulation of cotemporaneous tory, and affording us nothing but disapexcellence, the jealousy of those who were pointment instead of that information which eclipsed by his success, the vulgar and delights our hearts while it improves our pitiful spirits with whom Shakspeare had to understandings. We never investigate the deal, threw a mist around him which has, labours of those who have endeavoured to a certain extent, shrouded him from the to throw some light upon the early history public eye, though his genius shone through of this remarkable man without lamenting and dispelled them, like an everlasting and how little they have added to the real stock
of information upon a subject which has and nuns frequently mingling in scenes as engaged some of the brightest talents during revolting to the spectator, as they were the last century.
abominable to the Deity ; - acts from Shakspeare has justly been called the the Sacred Scriptures being literally reprefather of the English drama, for before his sented as described by the inspired writer; time, with some few, and very few, excep
Adam and Eve appearing in Paradise, tions, the stage was devoted to the repre- when they had no other garb than that of sentation of mere mummeries, such as their innocence to cover them. Such were would now disgrace the fair-booths of the considered pious exhibitions calculated to Richardsons and Sadlers, whose itinerant raise the minds of the devout to the concompanies address their efforts to no higher templation of heavenly things. Men and order of audiences than clowns and artisans. women appearing in that state of undeUp to the reign of Elizabeth the stage was praved nature described in the second almost exclusively confined to the exhibi- chapter of Genesis, was looked upon by the tion of bungling masquerades little superior holy brotherhoods and sisterhoods under to the village drolleries which, in most the dominion of papal supremacy, as an country villages at a distance from the me- act every way worthy of that religion which tropolis, now signalize the presence of Christ- they professed to believe purified the carna) mas *.
mind and fitted the lapsed soul for the The characters of the drama were repre- eternal fruition of Paradise. sented before the time of our immortal The “ Mysteries
were the earliest bard by persons of a very low grade in so- dramas known in Europe, and obtained ciety, poorly born and worse educated, and during the middle ages in all Catholic all the female parts were sustained by men. countries, where they were represented as It was the practice then to introduce the helps to devotion, though they too frelowest ribaldry, the spontaneous effusions quently tended to pamper the worst pasof those ignorant and vulgar artists, which sions and to produce a demoralizing effect was received as wit by their audiences, and especially upon the younger auditors; who, frequently applauded in proportion as it upon certain occasions, crowded to witness was gross and indecent. This practice is the most meretricious exhibitions, to which indirectly impeached by Shakspeare in the seal of sanctity was as it were affixed Hamlet's address to the players, in which as a sort of voucher for the propriety of he
says, “And let those that play your those indecent mummeries. These, in fact, clowns speak no more than is set down for continued to form the standard drama of them: for there be of them, that will England until they were succeeded by the themselves laugh, to set on some quantity “Moralities," a somewhat higher order of of barren spectators to laugh too; though, dramatic representation, and these latter in the mean time, some necessary question were finally superseded by the regular of the play be then to be considered : drama, as it now exists in the plays of our that's villainous, and shows a most pitiful immortal Shakspeare. ambition in the fool that uses it t."
The“ Mysteries," or miracle-plays, were The earliest kind of drama exhibited in performed in this country so early as the this country was those sacred representa- twelfth century, probably earlier. The tions known by the name of " Mysteries.” subjects were generally, though not invaThese were played in convents and other riably, selected from Scripture, and the resacred places, chiefly for the edification of presentation took place with little or no aid that cænobite community, to whom the of scenery. “ In the year 1110,” says Mr. ordinary recreations of life were denied; Malone in his historical account of the though the laity were likewise admitted to English stage, as Dr. Percy and Mr. these spiritual dramaticexhibitions, in which Warton have observed, the miracle-play the characters were sustained by the mem- of Saint Catherine, written by Geoffrey, a bers of those religious fraternities, monks learned Norman, afterwards abbot of St.
Alban's, was acted, probably by his scho* It is the practice in country villages in several
lars, in the abbey of Dunstable ; perhaps counties in England for the rustics to get up a rude sort of drama at Christmas. The parties go from
the first spectacle of this kind exhibited in house to house and exhibit their histrionic powers. England. William Fitzstephen, a monk They are termed mummers, This practice is uni
of Canterbury, who, according to the best versal in Devonshire. + Hamlet, Act iii. Scene 2.
accounts, composed his very curious work
in 1174, about four years after the murder times and falsely directed to a religious end, of his patron archbishop Becket, and in and to the still ruder efforts of mountebanks the twenty-first year of the reign of king in public market-places, and at fairs, the Henry the Second, mentions that London, advancing art of scenic exhibitions had a for its theatrical exhibitions, has religious charm which gave encouragement to numeplays, either the representations of miracles rous writers of the improved drama. wrought by holy confessors, or the suffer- The "Mysteries” being nothing more than ings of martyrs."
bald and literal representations of facts from It is notorious that those miracle-plays Scripture history, running on without order were the rudest compositions imaginable, of time or place; or of some sacred legend utterly devoid of art; they were composed sanctified by superstition and therefore vewithout regard to plot and altogether defi- nerated as a source of spiritual edification, cient in those rules since adhered to, as but utterly destitute of invention, and viohad been previously done by the Greeks lating all rules of art; it was not difficult to and Romans, in the composition of the re- supplant them by something which appealed gular and authorised national drama. The as strongly to the passions, and more strongly cause of the introduction of miracle-plays to the intellects. The “Moralities,” thereinto England, is supposed to have arisen fore, soon obtained the preference. In these from the following circumstance :-The there were some contrivances; they were clergy, observing that the mummeries re- constructed with much more than usual represented at fairs demoralised the people, gard to dramatic effect. In them there was prohibited the use of them under pain of an attempt, and not altogether unsuccessful, ecclesiastical penalties; but finding that to discriminate character by the blended these threats, and even the infliction of light and shade of action, of sentiment, and punishment in many cases, did not abate of feeling. They aimed at exhibiting nathe nuisance, they concluded that by in- tional customs and manners; at presenting troducing religious dramas into their con- nature before the eye of the spectator in vents and other places rendered sacred by those broad episodes of her history, which being subject to their authority, to which so often happily direct the mind from partithe public might be admitted under cer- culars to generals, and lead, by inference, to tain restrictions, they would at once con- a contemplation of the whole, from a just tribute to the rational amusement as well as and accurate scrutiny of a part. These edification of the community at large, and Moralities," although in every respect far at the same time materially serve the cause superior to the miracle-plays, were, neverof religion ; but in truth some of those theless, extremely rude specimens of dramasacred exhibitions were of so obscene a na- tic construction, and were chiefly addressed ture—Adam and Eve, as I have already said, to the multitude who had little discrimination appearing upon the stage perfectly naked in such matters, and being utterly unlettered that they too often tended to produce an had no relish for any intellectual art of a effect the very reverse of what was declared high order : they were, therefore, content to be contemplated by the pious projectors with any improvement, however small, and of so grave an innovation; and in due time the clumsy conception of the plots and chatheir “mysteries," as they were called, from racters in the Moralities exhibited up to representing mystical subjects taken out of the time of Shakspeare, sufficiently show Holy Writ, gave place to that lighter order the extremely low elevation to which of drama not inaptly termed “ Moralities.” the drama had attained among our unenThese were so designated from the circum- lightened ancestors at this period of their stance of their exhibiting impersonations of history, when the haughty pride and sullen the passions and virtues, which appeared as consciousness of individual power kept the living characters on the scene, and worked titled orders from encouraging any efforts out their moral in a tangible identity before of intellect that should tend to raise the the eyes of the spectators. They su- lower classes to a higher degree of intellecperseded the tamer spectacles in a great tual distinction, by which an unfavourable degree, because there was a higher reach comparison with their social superiors might of art shown in them; and to persons only be provoked—a period, however, from accustomed to the rude histrionic displays of which the drama was beginning to rise monks and nuns, mixed up as they were into something more worthy the name of with all the legendary superstitions of the
A curious passage from the Poeticks of the supplanted them, for which the country elder Scaliger will show us the condition of was indebted to the classical labours of the stage in his time. “At present in France,” Peele, Lodge, Marlowe, Nashe, Green, that is, about the middle of the sixteenth Kyd, and Lily, who paved the way for that century, “plays are represented in such a revolution in dramatic taste, which nearly manner that nothing is withdrawn from the reached perfection under the commanding view of the spectators.
The whole appa
and colossal genius of Shakspeare. These ratus of the theatre consists of some high authors, however, had not the power to seats ranged in proper order. The persons impress upon their performances the minof the scene never depart during the repre- tage of true genius; and though their labours sentation. He who ceases to speak is con- were received, in a comparatively rude age, sidered as if he were no longer on the stage. as commendable improvements upon very But in truth it is extremely ridiculous barbarous models, they nevertheless did not that the spectator should see the actor possess sufficient vitality to give them a listening, and yet the latter should not hear perpetuation of existence beyond the period what one of his fellow actors says concern- in which they appeared, or that immediately ing him, though in his own presence and subsequent. within his hearing; as if he were absent “In the reign of Elizabeth, there existed while he is present.
It is the great object no less than seven principal theatres. Three of the dramatic poet to keep the mind in a of these were private houses, namely, that constant state of suspense and expectation ; in Blackfriars, that in Whitefriars, and the but in our theatres there can be no novelty, Cockpit or Phænix, in Drury Lane : and no surprise, insomuch that the spectator four that were called public theatres, viz. is more likely to be satiated with what he the Globe on the Bankside, the Curtain in has already seen, than to have any appetite Shoreditch, the Red Bull at the upper end for what is to come. Upon this ground it of St. John Street, and the Fortune in was, that Euripides objected to Æschylus, Whitecross Street. The last two were in the Frogs of Aristophanes, for having in- chiefly frequented by citizens. There were, troduced Niobe and Achilles as mutes upon however, but six companies of comedians ; the scene, with a covering which entirely for the playhouse in Blackfriars and the concealed their heads from the spectators.” Globe belonged to the same troop.
BeIn the account of the stage arrange- sides these seven theatres, there were for ments by Leland, who describes an enter- some time on the Bankside three other tainment given to king James the First, at public theatres, the Swan, the Rose, and the Oxford, in 1605: that writer says, Hope ; but the latter being chiefly used as stage was built close to the upper end of the a bear-garden, and the two former having hall, as it seemed at the first sight; but fallen to decay early in king James's reign, indeed it was but a false wall faire painted, they ought not be enumerated with the and adorned with stately pillars, which pil- other regular theatres *.” lars would turn about ; by reason whereof, All the plays of Shakspeare appear to with the help of other painted cloths, their have been performed either at the Globe or stage did vary three times in the acting of the theatre in Blackfriars, and these, conone tragedy.' These passages may suffice sequently, became the favourite houses. to convey an idea of the stage in Shak- The dramatic entertainments presented in speare's time, and at the period imme- them had already assumed the more elediately subsequent.
vated tone of the stage as at present existing, During the reign of Elizabeth, dramatic though these entertainments were still exexhibitions still continued to be given at hibited with very
inferior accompaniments, fairs and on market days, in towns remote as will appear from the account of the from, and in the neighbourhood of, the celebrated Sir Philip Sidney ; who, describmetropolis. Nothing could well exceed ing the state of the stage and of the drama the ribaldry of those exhibitions, in spite of in his time, about the year 1583 says, the pains taken by the conventual autho. Now
shall have three ladies walk to rities to suppress them; and though super- gather flowers, and then we must beleeve seded in a degree by the “Mysteries” and the stage to be a garden. By-and-by we “Moralities,” they nevertheless continued to heare news of shipwrack in the same place; attract popular attention, until a more attractive form of drama almost entirely
VOL. X.--No V.—MAY, 1837.