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All adoration, duty, and obedience; .: | The general cast of character in
All humbleness, all patience, all impatience; Shakspeare's females is. as I have
All purity, all trial, all observance."
Sighs, tears, passion, trial, and hu-

already said, tenderness and pathos; mility, are truly the essence of her

but this is not because our author character; and, however the drama

was unable to depict woman in her tic writer may endeavour to “ele

more dignified and commanding, vate and surprise,” as Bayes has it,

though less ordinary, attitude. Thus by pursuing a different course, these

there is nothing more majestic, and are the materials with which Nature

actually awful, on the stage, than will furnish him; and if he wish to

Katherine defending herself against follow her, “ to this complexion must

the malice and hypocrisy of Henry; he come at last."

and nothing more fearful and terrific The elevation and surprise, which

than the whole character of Lady Mr. Bayes deemed so essential in

Macbeth, from the first scene, in which writing, has been achieved by Shak

her ambition is awakened by the perspeare; but not at the expense of us

usal of her husband's letter, to the truth and nature. He places his fe- |||

| last, in which we discover its bitmale characters in situations which | ter fruits in treason, murder, and incritics of the French school would sanity. Then there is the Lady shudder at; and yet, when on an en

Constance, who is a fine mixture of chanted island, like Miranda, orwan- suffering and of grandeur

suffering and of grandeur; a wodering through the wilds of Wales in

man, a mother, and a princess, seen man's attire, like Imogene, or becom

in all the fearful vicissitudes of huing the wooer instead of the wooed,

man life; hoping, exulting, fearing, like Helen, they are infinitely more

blessing, weeping, despairing,' and at natural, more feminine, and more

last-dying. Shall I add the Weird probable, than Marcia, though she

Sisters? I feel that I am travelling never leaves her father's hall; and

somewhat out of my subject: yet I the heroine in the “ Cid,” though

cannot resist the mention of Cleoshe shews the most decorous atten

patra and Isabella, as farther intion to ceremony, even when she

stances of Shakspeare's power of dehears of the destruction of all whom

lineating the loftier and stronger she holds dear. Shakspeare recon

traits of the female character; and ciled poetry and nature; he made

how strange is the neglect with which my readers will pardon a colloquial

the play, in which the former chaexpression—both ends meet; he bor

racter occurs, is treated! It is cerrowed her wildest wing of romance,

tainly altogether one of Shakspeare's and yet stooped to the severest disci.

most magnificent productions. Above pline of truth. He reveled in the

all, his picture of the fascinating impossible, without violating the pro-cgyptian 9

Egyptian queen is a master-piece. bable; he preserved the unity of

In perusing it, we feel no longer as. character, while he spurned the uni.

tonished that crowns and empires țies of time, place, and action; and

were sacrificed for her. “ The soft combined propriety, nature, truth,

triumvir's fault” is easily “forgiven.” and feeling, with wildness, extrava

We no longer wonder at, we scarcely gance, and an unbounded licence of pity him, so splendid is the prize for imagination.

which he is content to

“Let Rome in Tyber melt, and the wide || the author intended to have worked arch

| up into a more elaborate portrait. of the ranged empire fall !"

Her early misfortunes, her roinantic The reader, for this is not on the love, her extraordinary and embarlist of acting plays, is himself caught rassing situation as Orsino's ambasin the golden snare. The play is oc- sador to Olivia—but we need not decupied with battles and treaties, with scribe her farther; whoever has seen wars and commotions, with the quar- \ -and who has not?--Miss Tree's rels of monarchs and the destinies personation of Viola is in possession of the world; yet all are forgotten of a finer commentary upon the chawhen Cleopatra is on the scene. We racter, than it is in the power of lanhave many and splendid descriptions guage to convey. The acting of that of her personal charms; but it is her lady, throughout the part, is an exmind, the strength of her passion, quisite paraphrase of those lines in the fervour and fury of her love, the which the character is so beautifully bitterness of her hatred, and the summed up: desperation of her death, which take

“She never told her love, so strong a hold upon the imagination. But let concealment, like a worm i'the bud, We follow her, admire her, sympa

Feed on her damask cheek. She pined in thize with her through all; and after

thought,

And, with a green and yellow melancholy, the asp has done its fatal work, who she sat, like Patience on a monument, does not exclaim with Charmion? Smiling at Grief--." “Now boast thee, Death! In thy possession My remarks have hitherto been lies

confined to Shakspeare's tragedies; A lass unparallel'd!”

but it is fair to retort upon those How different a being from this is who deny his power of portraying the ill-fated fair who slumbers in the female character, by pointing to "the tomb of all the Capulets!" She the exquisite specimens with which is all gentleness and mildness, all hid- his comedies abound. It will be sufden passion and silent suffering; but ficient to adduce two, Rosalind and her love is as ardent, her sorrows are Beatrice. What a fascinating creaas overwhelming, and her death as ture is the first! What an admirable melancholy. “The gentle lady wed-compound of wit, gaiety, and goodded to the Moor" is another sweet humour, blended, at the same time, still picture, which we contemplate with deep and strong passion, with with admiration, till death draws his courage and resolution, as evinced curtain over it. Imogene and Mi- in her departure from her uncle's randa, Perdita and Ophelia, Cor- court, with unshaken affection to her delia, Helen, and Viola, need only father, and constant and fervent love be mentioned to recal to the mind for Orlando! How extraordinary the most fascinating pictures of fe- and romantic is the character of Romale character which have ever been salind, if we contemplate it in the delineated. The last is a mere sketch, abstract; yet how beautiful and true but it is a most charming one. It to nature if we examine it in detail ! seems to be a kind of study, if I Beatrice is a character of a very difmay borrow an expression from the ferent stamp from Rosalind. She technicalities of the sister art, which has indeed all her wit, but she has

none of her gentleness and good-na- || gin minds, in all put together. How ture. Her arrows are not merely || fine, how exquisitely fine, is the pas. piercing, but poisoned. Rosalind's sionate exuberance of the following: wit is cheerful raillery; Beatrice's “ Look, here is writ, love-wounded Proteus : satirical bitterness. Rosalind is not

Poor wounded name! my bosom, as a bed,

Shall lodge thee till thy wound be thoroughly only afraid to strike, but unwilling to

heal'd; wound; Beatrice is, at least, care And thus ( search it with a sovereign kiss. less of the effect of her wit, if she || But twice and thrice was Proteus written can but find an opportunity to utter

down:

Be calm, good wind, blow not a word away, it. But Shakspeare has no heart

Tilt I have found each letter in the letter, less characters in his dramas; he has Except mine own name : that some whirlno mere “ intellectual gladiators," as wiod bear Johnson has well styled the actors

Uuto a ragged, fearful, banging rock,

And throw it thence into the raging sea!” in the witty scenes of Congreve. Beatrice has strong and easily excited

It is, however, in the second act, feelings. Love is called into action

passing over the leave-taking, that

we know her completely. We have by the stratagems of the garden scene; and rage, indignation, and

her there in an undress. No " robes revenge, by the slander cast upon

of gold" to restrain her, she “ floats her cousin. I have heard the cha

as wild as mountain-breezes” blow,

but is still true to nature and to pasracter called inconsistent; but what

sion: is human nature but a tissue of incon

“ Didst thou but know the inly touch of love, sistencies? or rather, are not our

Thou wouldst as soon go kindle fire with hopes, fears, affections, and passions snow, Jinked together by a thread so fine, As seek to quench the fire of love with words." that only the gifted eye of such a || Then her next speech, how it riots poet as Shakspeare can discover it? | in beauties! The sentiment—the very The changes of purpose and passion, | soul of poetry is embodied in it. Its as developed by Beatrice, strike us current, like the one which it deas being any thing but inconsisten-scribes, doth indeed cies: abrupt and surprising they cer- “ Make sweet music with the enamell'd tainly are, but they are accounted

stones,

Giving a gentle kiss to every sedge for by motives of extraordinary

He overtaketh in his pilgrimage.” weight, and by feelings of singular | She will go at any rate; that is fixsusceptibility.

ed, resolved; and she is willing to Yet after all, Julia, the fond, ad

make every necessary sacrifice but venturous, passionate Julia, in the

one, and her refusal to submit to this “ Two Gentlemen of Verona," is my presents us with a truly feminine favourite. How pretty is her first trait: scene! She is neither afraid nor

1 “ Luc.-Why then your ladyship must cut ashamed, and would as soon tell her

your hair. maid of her love for Proteus as her || Jul.-No, girl: l'll knit it up in silkeb pet bird; but then there is maidenly

strings,

With twenty odd-conceited, true-love knots; feeling, that best characteristic of To be fantastic may become a youth the sex, which is neither to be found of greater time than I shall shew to be.” in pride nor modesty, vanity nor ti. The whole of this scene is excellent. midity; nor, even as it exists in vir- | She has no suspicion; if she had,

pride, however weak before such love sion, are necessary to the story, and as hers, must have restrained her. indeed to her character. She is too She trusts in him wholly and truly, | far gone for resistance: there is no and forgets all possibility of forgot | reaction in such love as this. The ten faith and broken vows. She has whole of the scene between her and been so long enshrined and worship Sylvia is delicious, fit to be read unped, that she has caught some of der the shade of an acacia in “ Arathe dignity of the altar, and expects by the blest," or reposing on a “ bank homage of necessity. She lodges of violets in the sweet south.” And Proteus in her heart, and neither her last speech, maidenly shame baremembers, nor wishes to remember, nishing all else for the moment, but that he is still an independent being. still affording her the best opporShe will not speculate on his con tunity for rebuke: stancy, for to doubt were worse than

« () Proteus ! let this habit make thee blush!

Be thou asham'd that I have took upon me to hate him:

Such an immodest raiment, if shame live “ His words are bonds; his oaths are ora- In a disguise of love! cles ;

It is the lesser blot modesty finds, His lore sincere; his thoughts immaculate; l Women to chauge their sbapes, than inen His tears pure messengers sent from his

their minds." heart;

In conclusion, I would say a few His beart as far from fraud as heaven from

words upon the neglected play, enearth.”

titled “ Pericles:" first, because it But in the next scene we have a

contains a very sweet and interesting sorrowful change. The high-mind

female character--that of Mariana, ed woman,

the heroine; and, secondly, because “_Breatbing, moving

its authenticity has been strangely In an atmosphere of loving," rioting in the luxury of passion, and

questioned by the commentators. To triumphing in the eternity of love is I begin with the last-mentioned topic: lost. The enchanter has thrown his

it appears clearly to me to be a prospell around her; misfortune has

duction of Shakspeare's, although touched her lovely form and lovelier

certainly a production of his earlier mind; but she is chastened as well as

years. The inconsistency and condepressed. Had it come in other

fusion of the plot, and the inartificial

manner in which many of the events times, and in other situations, she would have met it with human pride.

are brought about, prove it to be But there is now nobody either to

the work of a tyro; but the deli

cate touches of nature, the beautiful see or admire. She is thrown on

delineations of character, the sweet a cold world, unmindful either of

flow of its verse, and the rich vein her sorrows or her joys, and necessity |

of poetry and imagination which perteaches humility.

vades the whole, disclose the master's "He plays false, father."

hand, and entitle it to a high rank There is no expression, even in Shak

among the works of Shakspeare, speare, more affecting than this.

How fine, for instance, is the follow Her perfect devotedness under the

ing soliloquy of Pericles, on a ship strongest sense of the injury done

at sea: her, her meek complainings, and,

!“ Thou god of the great vast! rebuke these above all, her still unrepressed pas

surges

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Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou « Leonine.--Come, say your prayers speed.

that hast Upon the winds command, bind them in

Mar.-What mean you? brass,

Leo. If you require a little space for prayer, Having call’d them from the deep! Oh! still

I grant it. Pray, but be not tedious; thy deafʼning,

For the gods are quick of ear, and I am sworn Thy dreadful thunders! gently quench thy |

To do iny work with haste. nimble,

in Mur.-Why will you kill me? Sulphureous flashes! Then storm, then venomously

3. Leo.To satisfy my lady. Wilt thou spit all thyself! The seaman's || Mar.-Why would she have me killed? whistle

Now, as I can remember, by my troth Is a: a whisper in the ear of death unheard."

I never did her hurt in all iny life;

I never spake bad word, nor did ill turn The description of the recovery

To any living creature: believe me now, of Thaisa from a state of suspended | I never kill'd a mouse, nor hurt a fly: animation is also very eloquent: | I trod upon a worm against my will, “ Nature awakes; a warmth

But I wept for it. How have I offended, Breathes out of her; she hath uot been en

Wherein my death will yield her profit, or tranced

My life imply her danger? Above five hours. See how she 'gins to blow

Leo.- My commission Into life's flower again! She is alive: behold Is not to reason of the deed, but do it. Her eyelids, cases to those heavenly jewels || Mar.-You will not do't for all the world I Which Pericles hath lost, Begin to part their fringes of bright gold; You are well-favour'd, and your looks foreThe diamonds of a most praised water

shew Appear, to make the world twice rich."

You have a gentle heart. I saw yon lately, But it is with Mariana that I have || When you caught hurt in parting two that most to do at present, who is born

fought; at sea during a storm. Our author

Good sooth, it shewd well in you ; do so

now: in this play, as in the “ Winter's | Your lady seeks my life, come you between, Tale," leaps over the intervening || And save poor me—the weaker." years, and shews Mariana in the She is rescued from the hands of fourth act“ on the eve of woman- | the assassin by pirates, and afterhood;" and her first speech on the wards undergoes a variety of advendeath of her nurse is sweetly plain tures, in all of which the mingled tive and poetical:

gentleness and dignity of her cha. “ No, no, I will rob Tellus of her weed

racter is most admirably developed. To strew thy grave with flowers; the yellows,

The interview with her father in the blues, Shall as a chaplet hang upon thy grave fifth act is indeed one of the most While summer-days do last. Ah, me! poor powerful and affecting passages in maid,

the whole range of the British draBorn in a tempest when my mother died ! This world to me is like a lasting storm,

ma: but I hope I have said enough Whirring me from my friends."

to induce such of my readers as are The pathos and eloquence with unacquainted with this fine play to which she pleads for her life with peruse it immediately, and so judge the ruffian who is hired to murder for themselves whether the mighty her, will remind the reader of the hand of Shakspeare is not visible scene between Hubert and Prince throughout. Arthur:

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