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that some of the breaks into acts in organization works out its own results Shakspeare's plays occur where there is no distinct and tangible, not by association suspension whatever of the action, but with other minds, but by that mysterious those are evidently capricious sections sub- and subtle influence which more or less sequently adventured upon, with great pre- actuates every individual apart from the sumption certainly, by the early editors of restrictions of imposed discipline, or the his works, and did not originally exist; our strong influential bias of education. What author probably not having adhered, in all the painting of the artist is, compared with instances, to the established divisions. the living man, are such delineations of They were, no doubt, made in order to life. They are the mere puppets of a separate the subject into five acts, that Fantoccini, which move but as they are being established as the number into which directed by the artist's hand. The beings all legitimate dramas, whether tragedy or which such writers present to the mind's comedy, should be divided ; no consistent eye lack the unseen pulse, the vascular reason, however, can be given why a circulation, that muscular elasticity which tragedy or comedy should be trenched into imparts expression, embodying thoughts five acts, rather than into more or less, this without the aid of words—that mysterious being an arbitrary rule of custom, not an agency which communicates motion to the imperative law of composition.
limbs, lustre to the eyes, and animation to We have been the more particular in the features. The colours indeed are bright our observations upon the structure of and beautiful, the symmetry and conformShakspeare's dramas, because it is upon ation perfect, the general impression just this point that he has been considered open and true; but the changing hues of life are to the most fatal critical objections; Vol- wanting, the perpetually shifting modes taire especially having attacked him with and aspects by which the living principle a caustic asperity peculiar to the splenetic, moves in its brief cycle of unceasing roand often morbid, vivacity of that eloquent tations and change, being never for an but superficial critic. We shall now pro- instant fixed, are not seized by those who ceed to consider the characters of Shak- commonly represent human nature in the speare's dramas.
pages of fiction. They merely give pictures In general, nay I may say it will almost of animated objects, not the objects themuniversally be found that the characters selves. To this Shakspeare is a glorious attempted to be delineated in those writings and immortal exception. His characters which embody living personages
which live and move, and have their being, as if represent the actions of social life, or cause fresh from the hand of their Creator. They to pass before the reader's mind the in are not shown through a medium-through trigues of courts, the juggles of state, the the reflex mirror of the author's concepartificial modes of society, or the more tion, which seems to be placed between us natural habits of ordinary intercourse and them, but we see the object direct, between individuals of the same classes, acting before us with the energy of vital contain for the most part elaborate yet consciousness, and exhibiting the finely imperfect portraits of originals with which susceptible faculties of identical nature, we are tolerably familiar ;-but they are free from the glowing hues and transparent portraits only; they want the living prin- gloss of art. The characters of Avon's ciple. There is not the sustained vigour immortal bard are not copies, but living of life--the spirit that suggests feeling, principles; not representations of nature, motion, thought. The husk is seen, with but her actual progeny; not transcripts, nature's green and freshness upon it, but but prototypes; and I know of no other beneath there is the void which a soul man of whom this, without any reservation, ought to occupy but does not. There is can be said. They are not specimens of not the constantly varying expression that a certain classification of character, but are gives us more than a superficial insight into individualised with a fidelity amounting those spiritual idiosyncrasies peculiar to almost to the marvellous, and by a creative the person represented, and which consti- process peculiar to his original mind and tutes his especial identity. These writings, inexhaustible powers of production. No with a few rare exceptions, always bring two are alike. Wherever there is a superbefore us, in their several characters, one ficial resemblance the shades of difference of a species, not an individual who has his will be perceived to be marked with a skill own abstract qualities, and whose moral and exquisite facility of delineation that,
when examined by the delicate test of part the second, act the fourth, scene the moral influence, shows the nearest apparent fourth, where the king reproaches the affinities to be susceptible of the remotest prince of Wales with having taken the resemblances, which give more positive crown from his pillow to place it upon light and shade to the fluctuating tempera- his own head. ments of living agents than the broader contrasts of strong passions with gentle emotions. Nor is it alone in the indi
I never thought to hear you speak again. viduality of Shakspeare's personages that his admirable felicity of delineation may Thy wish was father, Harry, to that thought :
I stay too long by thee, I weary thee. be traced; the specific action, the genuine
Dost thou so hunger for my empty chair sentiment, nay the very phrases, are each That thou wilt needs invest thee with mine honours and all specifically consonant to the cha
Before thy hour be ripe? O foolish youth,
Thou seek'st the greatness that will overwhelm thee. racter. Every one speaks the language best
Stay but a little ; for my cloud of dignity adapted to colour his peculiar thoughts; Is held from falling with so weak a wind the words are always exactly appropriate That it will quickly drop-my day is dim.
Thou hast stol'n that, which, after some few hours, to the person who uses them. Even in
Were thine without offence, and at my death the scenes exclusively tragic, where the Thou hast seal'd up my expectation. most elevated sentiments are delivered, Thy life did manifest thou loved'st me not,
And thou wilt have me die assured of it. they are never hampered by the gilded Thou hid’st a thousand daggers in thy thoughts, fetters of declamation--they are not made Which thou hast whetted on thy stony heart
To stab at half an hour of my life. subservient to the tickling cadences of
What ! could'st thou not forbear me half an hour? rythm, which fall like gently gushing Then get thee gone, and dig my grave thyself ; waters upon the ear, or cramped by me
And bid the merry bells ring to thine ear,
That thou art crowned, not that I am dead. trical restraints; but they come pregnant Let all the tears that should bedew my hearse with appropriate meaning and racy elo Be drops of balm to sanctify thy head. quence from the bosoms of those who are Only compound me with forgotten dust;
Give that which gave thee life unto the worms. supposed to utter them, the prosodical and
Pluck down my officers, break my decrees, philological art being hidden under the For now a time is come to mock at form ;natural and appropriate expressions which Harry the Fifth is crowned :-Up, vanity!
Down, royal state! all you sage counsellors hence! embody the thoughts. The language, how
And to the English court assemble now, ever poetical, and though arrayed in the From every region, apes of idleness ! golden manacles of verse, is nevertheless Now, neighbour confines, purge you of your scum:
Have you a ruffian, that will swear, drink, dance, the language of conversation :—that is, the
Revel the night; rob, murder, and commit phrases are conversational ; they are not the The oldest sins the newest kind of ways ! conventional phrases of the declamatory England shall double gild his treble guilt:
Be happy; he will trouble you no more: drama. They are the clear and distinct England shall give him office, honour, might; echoes of the thoughts—the vivid and in
For the fifth Harry from curb'd licence plucks,
The muzzle of restraint, and the wild dog telligible expositions of the mind. And
Shall flesh his tooth in every innocent. when we say that the language of Shak O, my poor kingdom, sick with civil blows ! speare's plays is the language of conver
When that my care could not withhold thy riots
What wilt thou do when riot is thy care? sation, we mean of the highest order of
0, thou wilt be a wilderness again, conversation to which the most expressive Peopled with wolves, thy old inhabitants. language belongs. It is often in the first degree poetical, and is susceptible of almost 0, pardon me, my liege! but for my tears (kneeling) every variety of eloquence. Some of the The moist impediments unto my speech,
I had forestall'd this dear and deep rebuke finest portions of the Paradise Lost will
Ere you with grief had spoke, and I had heard be found among those spoken by the dif The course of it so far. There is your crown ; ferent agents of the poem.
And He that wears the crown immortally
Long guard it yours! If I affect it more In the particular adaptation of his lan
Than as your honour and as your renown, guage to the character, our immortal bard Let me no more from this obedience risehas shown a judgment peculiar to himself, (Which my most true and inward duteous spirit
Teacheth) this prostrate and exterior bending! and it is this which imparts the charm of Heaven witness with me when I here came in never ceasing variety to the inimitable And found no course of breath within your Majesty,
How cold it struck my heart! If I do feign, productions of his pen. I cannot exhibit
O let me in my present wildness die, a more beautiful specimen of the just And never live to show the incredalous world adaptation of thought and expression to
The noble change that I have purposed !
Coming to look on you, thinking you dead the persons by whom they are uttered,
(And dead almost, my liege, to think you were) than in the play of Henry the Fourth, ispake unto the crown, as having sense,
And thus upbraided it. The care on thee depending expression of humility on the other. There Hath fed upon the body of my father ;
is no noisy declamation—no turgid vituTherefore, thou best of gold art worst of gold. Other, less fine in carat, is more precious
peration-no trim, canting verbosity. The Preserving life in medicine potable :
king's speech is full of earnest warmth, he But thou most fine, most honor'd, most renown'd, Hust eat the bearer up. Thus, my most royal liege,
employs strong and numerous figures, but Accusing it, I put it on my head
they seem to rise out of the thoughts like To try with it—as with an enemy
bright and beautiful inspirations: they are That had before my face murder'd my fatherThe quarrel of a true inheriter.
fitted to the sentiment, not the sentiment But if it did ipfect my blood with joy,
to them. They are spontaneous and akin Or swell my thoughts to any strain of pride :If any rebel or vain spirit of mine
to the thought, which they strengthen and Did, with the least affection of a welcome
embellish. Here is nothing above the Give entertainment to the might of it ;
language of polished and eloquent converLet God for ever keep it from my head,
sation, in which there is often more poetry And make me as the poorest vassal is That doth with awe and terror kneel to it.
than in the most elaborate and rhetorical
effusions. The pathos is of the highest kind, KING HENRY.
intense without being lachrymose, and na
tural without being common-place. The O my son ! Heaven put it in thy mind to take it hence
reply of the prince nobly conforms the That thou might'st win the more thy father's love, character of that generous and valiant Pleading so wisely in excuse of it. Come hither, HARRY, sit thou by my bed,
youth, which until now had not reached And hear, I think, the very latest counsel
the climax of its moral development; it That ever I shall breathe. Heaven knows, my son, had only been seen through transient By what by-paths and indirect crook'd ways I met this crown; and I myself know well
glimpses, when the occasional efforts of a How troublesome it sat upon my head :
nobler nature emancipated it for a moment To thee it shall descend with better quiet,
from the thraldom of tyrannical habit. Better opinion, better confirmation ; For all the soil of the achievement goes
His earnest but manly humility is conWith me into the earth. It seem'd in me
veyed in language so affectingly suited to But as an honor snatch'd with boisterous hand,
what he intends to express, that it would And I had many living, to upbraid My gain of it by their assistances;
be difficult to shew where a word could be Which daily grew to quarrel and to bloodshed, supplied or omitted for the better, and yet all Wounding supposed peace. All these bold fears, Thou seest, with peril I have answered:
the graces of poetry are brought in to aid and For all my reign hath been but as a scene
adorn the sentiment, without abating for an Acting that argument, and now my death
instant the natural tone of the dialogue. Changes the mode: for what in me was purchas'd Falls upou thee in a more fairer sort,
Their presence, however, is rather felt than So thou the garland wear'st successively.
perceived, and it is in this mysterious blendYet, tho' thou stand'st more sure than I could do,
ing of the artificial with the natural, giving Thou art not firm enough, since griefs are green, And all thy friends, which thou must make thy friends, grace as well as force to the one,
without Have but their stings and teeth newly ta'en out ; causing the other to become apparent, that By whose fell working I was first advanc'd, And by whose power I might lodge a fear
Shakspeare immeasurably surpasses all who To be again displac'd: which to avoid
have preceded or followed him in that path I cut them off, and had a purpose now
which he so pre-eminently pursued. He, To lead out many to the Holy Land ; Lest rest and lying still might make them look
indeed, has a language of his own, or at Too near unto my state. Therefore, my Harry, least idioms peculiar to himself in which his Be it thy course to busy giddy minds
characters speak, but with so just a proWith foreign quarrels; that action, hence born out, May waste the memory of the former days.
priety, that those idioms seem to be identical More would I, but my lungs are wasted so,
with the very structure of their minds. That strength of speech is utterly denied me. How I came by the crown, O God, forgive !
Here is one of the greatest charms of our And grant it may with thee in true peace live! author's plays. They are in every particular
original, and in nothing more so than in the PRINCE HENRY.
language, which, moreover, is the language My gracious liege,
of all ages—the vernacular idiom of all You won it, wore it, kept it, gave it me,
countries of all people—of all tongues; for Then plain and right must my possession be ; Which I, with more than with a common pain,
while that of Chaucer and the earlier poets is 'Gainst all the world will rightfully maintain.
now scarcely understood, being seldom, if
ever read without the aid of a glossary, that Nothing can exceed the perfect consis- of Shakspeare is, with the exception of a few tency of the language in this extract. It isolated expressions, intelligible to all ; is unrivalled for just force of reproof on it is a language that can never become the one hand, and for delicate, but manly obsolete—a language that can never die.
THE CHAMBER OF THE PALE LADY.
EVERY old mansion of an size or re- England almost a twelvemonth, and had pute, that stands away from cities, and has already begun that career of blood, which the good-luck to outlast a few generations, has given an odious celebrity to her name. is sure to have its legends. They gather Thus encouraged by the royal example, and
grow about the original truth, like ivy the zeal of the Catholics grew hotter and about ruins, till they have completely hid- hotter every day at the fires they had den the substance that supports them. kindled for the spiritual benefit of their Some of these reliques of past ages have Protestant brethren, till at last there was their haunted chambers; others have their little safety for the heretic in their neighwarning spirits to announce the approaching bourhood. Much, however, in the more death of the lord of the mansion; and not a distant counties depended upon the characfew retain the dim lustre of chivalrous dar- ters of the leading individuals professing ing and warlike achievement. My father's the predominant faith; if they chanced hall, had its chamber of the Pale Lady, to be tolerant, there was comparative ima name given to a particular room from punity for the Protestant, who, if he did the presence of a certain portrait painted not make too intrusive a display of his on a pannel of the oaken wainscot. The principles, might then hope to pass unlady in question was of a very small figure, noticed. Luckily for the neighbourhood and, though beautiful, had a complexion of Ivy Hall, Sir Hugh Trevor, though in of singular paleness, while there was a other respects a good Catholic, was of this startling wildness about her large black better class of spirits, so that the faggot eyes,-at least, all those said so, who saw had not yet been kindled within the circle the portrait after having heard her story of his influence. But to no one, not even For myself, I perfectly well remember that to the father confessor of the family, did she had inspired me, when a boy, with so this tolerant disposition give so much dismuch awe, that I never ventured into the pleasure, as to his own lady mother; so room occupied by her portrait, except in deadly was her hatred of the heretics, that broad daylight, and then I always took had she loved her son a grain less than she good care to have a companion. Even now, actually did, it was an even chance she when time has destroyed all other youth- had used her influence with Bonner, to ful fancies, mercilessly banning and banish warm his zeal by the help of the stake ing the spirits, black, white, and grey, that and the faggot. As it was, Dame Margaonce delighted while they terrified me, I ret contented herself with attributing his feel a sort of lingering veneration for the lukewarmness to the bad example of an Pale Lady, and find a pleasure—childish, early friend, a certain Sir Robert Lonsdale, perhaps, but still a pleasure-in gazing at who had latterly abandoned his faith for the old picture when the moon shines full the uncourtly and dangerous creed of the upon it. Then is the hour for such a tale ; reformers. On him, therefore, who was shorn of those circumstances of time and many years older than Sir Hugh, she place, which have made it so striking to poured down all her wrath, and he in a my imagination, I fear its shadows will great measure served as a sort of conductor become as substantial, and as little apt to to carry off its lightnings from the head of awe, as the ghost of Banquo upon the the near offender. modern stage, represented, as he always is, Such was the state of affairs at Ivy Hall, by some portly feeder, who seems sent on when one night, just as the mother and to vouch for the good living of folks in the son were about to leave the supper-table other world. But, not to draw out the for their respective bed-rooms, a loud and grace much longer than the meal, thus hasty ringing was heard at the great gateruns the legend.
“ Sancte Maria !” exclaimed the old
lady, crossing herself in much trepidation, Queen Mary had been on the throne of and sinking back again into the armVOL. X.-NO. VI.--JUNE, 1837.
chair, from which she had just risen. as may warrant the service of your mo“ What unhallowed thing is abroad at this ther.” hour?"
A faint smile passed over the pale fea“ There is no occasion for any alarm,” tures of the stranger, and Sir Hugh ansaid Sir Hugh. “ If the visiter be a friend, swered hastily, if not harshly,—“ The he is welcome, late as the hour is; if
daughter of a friend—of a near and dear enemy, we are strong enough, I hope, to friend.” protect ourselves.”
66 And her name ?” asked Dame Mar“ Against such an enemy the arm of the garet. flesh is all too weak,” replied Dame Mar “. To-morrow, mother,” replied SirHugh, garet, her head shaking as much from her -“ to-morrow you shall know all—all, at fear as from the effects of a slight blow of least, that is beseeming for you to know.” palsey.
There was something in the tone of this Again the bell rang, and yet more vio- qualified promise, that awed the querist, lently than at first, its shrill clamours into an unwilling silence. Never before seeming to be blown about the house by had she seen her son in so uncompromising the wind as it howled in fierce and fitful a mood, and the very novelty of the occureddies.
rence vouched for the occasion being of no “ A plagrie upon the coward knaves !” ordinary a nature. exclaimed Sir Hugh. “ Tall fellows, and But days elapsed after this eventful stout are they in the broad day ; but at night, and still there appeared no signs of night, a shadow would start the best of the promised to-morrow; the utmost them. Not one, I'll be sworn for it, will amount of information that her pertinacity leave the hall-fire, unless I drive him from could extract, was only this—the stranger's the ingle-corner.”
name was Emmeline. To add to her disThey believe in a devil,” solemnly comfort, as the character of the little damobserved Dame Magaret, in whom even sel unfolded itself, which it did not fail to her extreme terror could not for a single do in a very short time, she saw reason to instant tame the fierceness of her bigotry. fear that an esprit follet had taken up its
Sir Hugh made no reply, but seizing a residence in her orthodox domicile. The candle, hurried out to enquire into the Pale Lady, as she now began to be called cause of this nocturnal visit, while the old from the extreme fairness of her comlady, left alone with her terrors, mumbled plexion, was no less capricious in her moveprayer upon prayer, and invoked all the ments than Will-o'-the-Wisp himself, and saints in the calendar to her assistance. took the same delight in leading those, Perhaps, the good folks listened to so fer- who followed her, into trouble. Hence, vent a votary, for it was not long before it was no wonder if the servants, who were her fears were silenced by the return of her often the subjects of these pranks, became son, who half supported, half carried, into convinced that they had got a fairy, or the room a beautiful little female, about some elementary spirit, for an inmatea sixteen years of age, apparently exhausted conviction which, when the first sentiment by the fatigues of a long journey. At the of fear had worn off, did not make the first glance, Dame Margaret was much stranger less welcome to them. She bescandalized in seeing such service rendered came to their fancy a sort of household by the Lord of Ivy Hall, and the inheritor spirit, a freakish elf, such as Robin Goodof so many broad acres, to one, apparently fellow had been to the cotters of yet earlier so humble, for the maiden wore the garb times, full of humorous pranks indeed, of a wandering minstrel, and carried a lute but friendly in temper, and never missuspended at her back by a plain, green chievously disposed except when provoked ribbon. Nor was this feeling much dimi- by the ill-will or thwartings of her mortal nished, when in a few hurried words, Sir companions. When once the little maiden Hugh committed the damsel to her own grew conscious of this belief in her superimmediate care, begging, and it might be natural nature, she seemed rather to dealmost said commanding, that she should light in it than to wish to conceal her fairy receive every attention her situation re origin; the milk was often found churned, quired.
and the hearth swept, without the help of “ She is noble, I hope," said the old human hands, or at least of those hands lady, or at least of such gentle blood whose proper occupation it would have