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tain he never put pen, or had lifted from plays with which he may or may not have been familiar. If The Tragical Reign of Selimus were not now commonly accepted as by Robert Green, the Shakespearian free-lance would pounce upon many a line "conclusively by the Master," either from similarity from similarity of phrase or likeness in imagery or thought. A single instance must suffice. After Bajazet has been horrified by the bringing before him of the mutilated corpses of his niece and nephew, Mahomet and Zonara, he exclaims against heaven:

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Meet, and agreeing with thine infancy; In that respect then, like a loving child, Shed yet some small drops from thy tender spring, Because kind nature doth require it so (Act V., Sc. 3),

suggest the accent of the poet of the Forest of Arden and the poet-father of the winsome boy-page Mamillius in A Winter's Tale, equally do


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mon to other and earlier plays of its kind) and the most poignant passages in Macbeth or Othello or Hamlet or Lear must surely be obvious to the most cursory student. There need be no overlooking the fact that even in so great a play as Hamlet we have almost as many carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts as in Andronicus or Selimus or the Jew of Malta, and the like. The King is stabbed by Hamlet, the Prince himself is mortally wounded by the envenom'd foil with which Laertes obtains death, the Queen dies of poison, Ophelia is drowned, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to a swift end, Polonius is spitted on a rapier behind the arras. But essential distinction! In the older plays alluded to all is illogical, gratuitous, repulsive in offensive detail. Here all is in the terrible logical sequence of a Nemesis involving great and small, by the same law as in Lear involves the innocent Gloucester in the doom of the central figure: the Aeschylean, the Sophoclean, the Euripidean law of that terrible Adrasteia who has but to sweep away all in the path of vengeance, as the wind of equinox sweeps before it both the fallen and the unfallen leaves of the forest. The intervention of the spiritual mandate of the spirit of Hamlet's father is, so to speak, the psychological axle round which this perfect dramatic wheel of destiny revolves. Nothing of this organic unity is in Titus Andronicus. It has not even the approximate unity of design of Selimus-one reason why the present writer, for one, doubts if it be the work of Greene, as the main drift of probabilities suggests.


There are now, as of old, two aspects of grandiloquence. It can appear bombast, as when, in the Frogs of Aristophanes, Euripides ridicules the speech of Aeschylos as absurd if to be taken as the speech of mortals; and it can appear heroic and convincing when rhetoric becomes impassioned either by grief or exultation, as when Lear breaks out,

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-or when in Macbeth the Thane calls on seeling night to scarf up the eye of pitiful day," and drags in Hecate and Tarquin in that great, terrible, and convincing premonitory murder scene where Macbeth's soul is seen like a gibbet wavering in the wind in sudden moonlight. In these passages neither Lear nor Othello nor Macbeth speaks as an aged English king, nor as a Moor, nor as a Scottish thane would speak in "real" life. But the answer that Aeschylos gives, in the Frogs, comes to mind: that his chief personages, being sons of gods, were likely to speak grandly. For, with all their outstanding greatness, these three giants of Shakespeare's creation are sons of Tradition-the histrionic tradition that the mean is unconvincing in art, that the oral extreme must cap the emotion, that a daring and superb exaggeration is necessary to enthrall the already shaken imaginations of those who hear and see. A French writer (M. George Bousquet, in the Revue des Deux Mondes for August, 1874) relates that when he was in Japan he asked the famous actor Sodjaro why in his tragical rôles he made such strange and strident cries and such exaggerated gestures-adding, in effect, that no one ever heard or saw a daïmio or a soldier so speak or act. "Even so," replied Sodjaro; "but if this great daïmio or that heroic soldier in a tragic play were to speak and act as in every-day life, who would for a moment recognize either as heroic?"

No one more adequately than Shakespeare understood this law of emphasis within truth, of excess within the limitations of nature.

The play we are discussing has been declared "unmistakably a youthful work of Shakespeare." But a "youthful work" must obviously reveal intellectual youthfulness in another sense than that of immaturity in style or crudeness in formative conception. This quality is lacking in Titus Andronicus. It is a patchwork of old and outworn material


shot with here a vivid dye, here a shining hand's-breadth. It is the work of a more or less mechanical maker, not of one pulsating with young life and rebellious individuality and new ideals. One may search the whole five acts in vain for any such revelation of intellectual youthfulness (in the sense of jubilant delight in the pageant of life) as the account of Prince Hal and his comrades setting out against Hotspur and Douglas:

. . . All furnish'd, all in arms, All plum'd like estridges, that wing the wind;

Bated like eagles having lately bath'd; Glittering in golden coats, like images; As full of spirit as the month of May, And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer.

Titus Andronicus, whether (as I do not believe) the original work of Shakespeare; or the adaptation by Shakespeare of a play by Greene (which external evidence, particularly parallelistic evidence, goes so far to prove; but that other considerations, such as the fact that Greene was living when — according to Fleay-Titus Andronicus was "given out," and died either soon before or soon after its production at the Rose Theatre, as forcibly invalidate); or the work of an unknown author of Shakespeare's youthful period; or a stage - property, like Jeronimo anonymously in the line of the popular Spanish Tragedy or Lust's Dominion or the earlier Misfortunes of Arthur or Marlowe's later Tamburlaine

or Jew of Malta - in any eventuality Titus Andronicus stands aloof from the rest of the acknowledged work of Shakespeare.

It does not owe this aloofness solely to the fact that it is a crude and for the most part uninspired sequence of sensational crime and revolting horrors. It owes this aloofness to the fact that it reveals nothing of that organic unity of great genius which we discover in Aeschylos, in Pindar, in Virgil, in Dante, in Milton, in Shakespeare: that organic unity wherein the innate genius is from the first distinguishable and unique, howsoever the theme persuade to this treatment or that, or the untrained intellect stumble in method of approach or manner of expression. There is no break in spiritual continuity between the youthful


Venus and Adonis or the " Sonnets" and the final sunset loveliness of The Tempest. The only ultimate way for the conscientious student of Titus Andronicus is to ask himself, after the most intimate dwelling with Shakespeare himself throughout the twenty years of his creative life-not, did he or did he not write this play, but could he have written it?

It is, it is time to add explicitly, the conviction of one such student that Shakespeare could not have been the original author of Titus Andronicus. In a few lines here and there it has the trumpet-blare or clarion-call or pastoralpipe of his own universal music, and there are passages such as the noble

King, be thy thoughts imperious, like thy


Is the sun dimm'd, that gnats do fly in it?
The eagle suffers little birds to sing,
And is not careful what they mean thereby,
Knowing that with the shadow of his wings
He can at pleasure stint their melody-

or, again, in

Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods? Draw near them, then, in being merciful: Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge . . .

in which we hear the authentic voice, or an echo so amazing that we stand confounded.

Nor do I see sufficient evidence, despite the imposing marshalling of parallel or kindred passages, lines, epithets, and (dubious) mannerisms by Dr. Grosart and others, to accept Greene's authorship of Titus Andronicus as now indisputable. Of all known to us, he seems the likeliest author. That, certainly, can be admitted. Nor, for all its occasional beauty, its rarer excellence, is it possible to believe that the play came, in however poverty-stricken a state, from the pen of Marlowe. That impetuous and genius - shaken dramatist has sins manifold, but he wrote nothing wherein the wandering fire of his soon-quenched torch does not convincingly reveal itself. Could one truly say that any single line in Andronicus is convincingly "Marlowesque" except that already quoted— Forced in the ruthless, vast, and gloomy woods

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