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Coriolanus;' but even in these the poet appears to have poured himself forth with a philosophical mastery of the great principles by which men are held in the social state, without being very solicitous as to the favourable reception of his opinions by the mixed audiences of the days of James I. The · Antony and Cleopatra' is still more remarkable for its surpassing historical truth—not the mere truth of chronological exactness, but that truth which is evolved out of the power of making the past present and real, through the marvellous felicity of knowing and representing how individuals and masses of men must have acted under circumstances which are only assimilated to the circumstances of modern times by the fact that all the great principles and motives of human action are essentially the same in every age and in every condition of civilization. The plays that we have mentioned must have been the result of very profound thought and very accurate investigation. The characters of the “Troilus and Cressida’ are purposely Gothicised. An episode of “the tale of Troy divine” is seized upon, to be divested of its romantic attributes, and to be presented with all the bold colouring of a master regardless of minute proprieties of costume, but producing the most powerful and harmonious effect through the universal truth of his delineations. On the contrary, the Roman plays are perfect in costume. We do not believe that there are any productions of the human mind in existence, ancient or modern, which can give us so complete a notion of what Roman life was under its great general aspects. This was the effect, not only of his instinctive wisdom, but of that leisure for profound inquiry and extensive investigation which Shakspere possessed in the latter years of his life. We cannot bring ourselves to believe that * The Tempest' belonged to the latest period. Ulrici has said “The Tempest' is the completing companion-piece of the Winter's Tale' and “A Midsummer-Night's Dream.'” The Midsummer-Night's Dream' was printed in 1600;-it was probably written some five or six years previous. The Winter's Tale' was acted in 1611. From the Extracts from the Accounts of the Revels at Court,' recently edited by Mr. Peter Cunningham, we learn that on Hallowmas Night (November 1), 1611, “ was presented at Whitehall, before the King's Majesty, a play called. The Tempest.?” Four nights afterwards the “Winter's Tale' was also presented. The Winter's Tale' appears to us to bear marks of a later composition than · The Tempest.' But we are not disposed to separate them by any very wide interval : more especially we cannot agree with Mr. Hunter, who has brought great learning to an investigation
of all the points connected with «The Tempest,' that this play, “ instead of being the latest work of this great master, is in reality one of the earliest, nearly the first in time, as the first in place, of the dramas which are wholly his.” The difficulty of settling the chronology of some of Shakspere's plays by internal evidence is very much increased by the circumstance that some of them must be regarded as early performances that have come down to us with the large additions and corrections of maturer years. ample: “ Pericles' was, it is probable, produced as a novelty in 1608, or not long before. There are portions of that play which we think no one could have written but the mature Shakspere; mixed up with other portions which indicate, not so much immature powers as the treatment of a story in the spirit of the oldest dramas. So it is with “ Cymbeline;' and, to a certain extent, with the Winter's Tale.' The probability is, that these plays were produced in their present form soon after the period of Shakspere's quitting the stage about 1603; and perhaps before the production of Macbeth,' "Troilus and Cressida,” • Henry VIII.,' and the Roman plays. “The Tempest' appears to us to belong to the same cycle. The opinion which we here express is not inconsistent with a belief that Mr. Hunter has brought forward several curious facts to render it highly probable that it was produced in 1596. But the aggregate evidence, as we think, outweighs these curious facts.
• The Tempest’ is not included by name in the list of plays ascribed to Shakspere by Francis Meres in 1599. Mr. Hunter says that it was included, under the name of Love's Labour Won.' We have endeavoured to show, in the Introductory Notice to “ All’s Well that Ends Well,' not only that the comedy bearing that name had the highest pretension to the title of “Love's Labour Won,' but that “The Tempest' had no such pretension. The Love Labours of The Tempest,' according to Mr. Hunter, are the labours of Ferdinand under the harsh commands of Prospero, and the title given to The Tempest' by Meres is derived from this incident. To this argument we have answered,—“ We venture to say that our belief in the significancy of Shakspere's titles would be at an end, if even a main incident were to suggest a name, instead of the general course of the thought or action.
In this case there are really no Love Labours at all. The lady is not won by the piling of the logs; the audience know that both Ferdinand and Miranda are under the influence of Prospero's spells, and the magician has explained to them why he enforces these harsh labours.” We do not agree that the comedy called “The Tem
pest,' when it was first printed, bore the title, either as a leading or secondary title, when Meres published his list in 1599, of " Love Labour's Won.' We believe that it was always called “The Tempest;' and that, looking at its striking fable, and its beauty of characterization and language, it would undoubtedly have been mentioned by Meres if it had existed in 1599.
The · Bartholomew Fair' of Ben Jonson was produced at the Hope Theatre in 1614; and it was performed by “ the Lady Elizabeth's servants.” It is stated by Malone that “it appears from MSS. of Mr. Vertue that “The Tempest’ was acted by John Heminge and the rest of the King's company, before Prince Charles, the Lady Elizabeth, and the Prince Palatine Elector, in the beginning of the year 1613.” This circumstance gives some warrant to the belief of the commentators that a passage in the Induction to · Bartholomew Fair' is a sarcasm upon Shakspere :“ If there be never a servant-monster in the fair, who can help it, he says, nor a nest of antiques ? He is loth to make nature afraid in his plays, like those that beget tales, tempests, and such-like drolleries.” Gifford has contended, arguing against the disposition of the commentators to charge Jonson with malignity, that the expressions servant-monster, and tales, tempests, and such-like drolleries, had reference to the popular puppet-shows which were especially called drolleries. The passage, however, still looks to us like a sly, though not ill-natured, allusion to Shakspere's Caliban, and his · Winter's Tale,' and · Tempest, which were then popular acting plays. Mr. Hunter believes that in this passage Jonson does pointedly direct his satire against The Tempest;' but he also maintains that Jonson does, in the same way, satirize “The Tempest' in 1596, in the Prologue to “ Every Man in his Humour:
“ He rather prays you will be pleas`d to see
Rumbles, to tell you when the storm doth come." It is scarcely probable, if Jonson had meant to allude to “The Tempest,' either in the Prologue or the Induction, that he would have been so wanting in materials for his dislike of the romantic drama in general as to select the same play for attack in works separated by an interval of eighteen years. The “creaking throne" Vol. IV.
is, according to Mr. Hunter, the throne of Juno as she descends, in the mask; the “ nimble squib” is the lightning, and the “tempestuous drum” the thunder, of the first scene. Mr. Hunter adds that the last line of the Prologue,
“ You that have so grac'd monsters may like men,”must allude to Caliban. Surely the term monsters, as opposed to men, must be a general designation of what Jonson believed to be unnatural in the romantic drama, as contrasted with the “ image of the times” in comedy. But, if we must have real monsters, there were plenty to be found in the older plays. Gosson, in 1581, thus writes :—“Sometimes you shall see nothing but the adventures of an amorous knight, passing from country to country for the love of his lady, encountering many a terrible monster, made of brown paper, and at his return is so wonderfully changed that he cannot be known but by some posy in his tablet, or by a broken ring, or a handkerchief, or a piece of a cockle-shell.” Sir Philip Sidney ridicules the appearance of “ a hideous monster with fire and smoke.” Much older theatres than the Globe were furnished with their thunder and lightning. In 1572 John Izarde, according to an entry in the accounts of the revels at court, was paid for a device for “ counterfeiting thunder and lightning."* It is as likely that thrones descended in other plays besides · The Tempest,' as it is certain that in “The Tempest’ Juno descended with a classical fitness of which Jonson has given us many similar examples in his own masks.
We can see nothing in these circumstances to connect the date of “The Tempest' with that of Ben Jonson's • Every Man in his Humour.'
The third point upon which Mr. Hunter relies for fixing the date of “The Tempest' as of 1596 is deduced from the passage in the third act where Gonzalo laughs at the stories of “men whose heads stood in their breasts." Raleigh told this story, in his account of his voyage to Guiana, in 1595. (See Illustrations of “Othello,' Act I.) To mention the matter here very briefly, Shakspere makes Othello, not in a boasting or lying spirit, but with the confiding belief that belonged to his own high nature, tell Desdemona of
“ The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders.” Would Mr. Hunter contend that this second notice of “ men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders fixes the date of · Othello,' as well as that of · The Tempest,' in 1596 ? Such circumstances
* Collier, ' Annals of the Stage,' vol. iii., p. 370.
are, as we have always contended, of the very slightest value. The argument may be put ingeniously and learnedly, as Mr. Hunter puts it; or it may be rendered ludicrous, as Chalmers renders it. What, for example, can be more absurd than Chalmers's attempt to make us believe that, because the King of Naples is inconsolable for the supposed loss of Ferdinand, there is an allusion to the death of Prince Henry in 1612; that the line
“ Like poison given to work a great time after" plainly refers to the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury in the same year; and that a great storm which happened in January, 1613, “ gave the appropriate name to this admirable drama”?
In the Illustrations of Act II, the reader will find an extract from the Essays' of Montaigne, as translated by Florio, which establishes beyond all possible doubt that the lines of Gonzalo,
“ I' the commonwealth I would by contraries
passage in Montaigne, and upon Florio's translation. That translation was not published before 1603. But portions of it had been seen in manuscript, says Mr. Hunter. Sir William Cornwallis mentions in his · Essays' that “ divers of his pieces I have seen translated,” and he describes Florio as the translator. The · Essays' of Cornwallis were not printed till 1600; but they, also, had been seen in manuscript; and so Cornwallis might have written about “divers parts” of Florio's • Montaigne' before 1596; and Shakspere might have read this identical part of Florio's
Montaigne' before 1596; and thus the dates both of Cornwallis's and Florio's books go for nothing in this inquiry. Is this evidence ?
The date of Shakspere's "Tempest' has been a fertile subject for the exercise of critical conjecture. Malone writes a pamphlet of sixty pages upon it; Chalmers another pamphlet somewhat longer. The first has been reprinted in Boswell's edition; the other costs as much as a manuscript in the days before printing. It is worth the money, however, for a quiet laugh. The two critics differ very slightly in their opinions as to the date of the comedy; but their proofs are essentially different. Malone contends for 1611, holding that “the storm by which Sir George Sommers was shipwrecked on the island of Bermuda, in 1609, unquestionably gave rise to Shakspeare's “ Tempest,' and suggested to him the title, as well as some incidents.” The whole relation is contained in the additions to Stow's - Annals' by Howes :
“ In the year 1609 the Adventurers and Company of Virginia sent from London