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And why not death, rather than living torment?
To die is to be banished from myself;
And Silvia is myself: banished from her,
Is self 'from self; a deadly banishment.
What light is light, if Silvia be not seen?
What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by?
Unless it be to think that she is by
And feed upon the shadow of perfection.
Except I be by Silvia in the night
There is no music in the nightingale,"

and so forth. I might compare this with what Romeo says of his banishment, and perhaps infer from this two-fold treatment of the theme that Shakespeare left behind in Stratford some dark beauty who may + have given Anne Hathaway good cause for jealous rage. It must not be forgotten here that Dryasdust tells us he was betrothed to another girl when Anne Hathaway's relations forced him to marry their kinswoman.

A moment later and this lover Valentine uses the very words that we found so characteristic in the mouth of the lover Orsino in “ Twelfth Night”:

“O I have fed upon this woe already,

And now excess of it will make me surfeit."

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Valentine, indeed, shows us traits of nearly all Shakespeare's later lovers, and this seems to me interesting, because of course all the qualities were in the youth, which were later differenced into various characters. His advice to the Duke, who pretends to be in love, is far too ripe, too contemptuous-true, to suit the character of such a votary of fond desire as Valentine was; it is mellow with experience and man-of-the-world wisdom, and the last couplet of it distinctly foreshadows Benedick:

“Flatter and praise, commend, extol their graces ;

Though ne'er so black, say they have angels' faces.
That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man
If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.”

But this is only an involuntary aperçu of Valentine, as indeed Benedick is only an intellectual mood of Shakespeare. And here Valentine is contrasted with Proteus, who gives somewhat different advice to Thurio, and yet advice which is still more characteristic of Shakespeare than Valentine-Benedick's counsel. Proteus says:

“You must lay lime to tangle her desires

By wailful sonnets, whose composed rhymes
Should be full fraught with serviceable vows."

In this way the young poet sought to give expression to different views of life, and so realize the complexity of his own nature.

The other traits of Valentine's character that do not necessarily belong to him as a lover are all characteristic traits of Shakespeare. When he is playing the banished robber-chief far from his love, this is how Valentine consoles himself:

This shadowy desert, unfrequented woods,

I better brook than flourishing peopled towns:
Here can I sit alone unseen of any,
And to the nightingale's complaining notes
Tune my distresses and record my woes.”

This idyllic love of nature, this marked preference for the country over the city, however peculiar in a highway robber, are characteristics of Shakespeare from youth to age. Not only do his comedies lead us continually from the haunts of men to the forest and stream, but also his tragedies. He turns to nature, indeed, in all times of stress and trouble for its healing unconsciousness, its gentle changes that can be foreseen and reckoned upon, and that yet bring fresh interests and charming surprises; and in times of health and happiness he pictures the pleasant earth and its diviner beauties with a passionate intensity. Again and again we shall have to notice his poet's love for “unfrequented woods,” his thinker's longing for “ the life removed."

At the end of the drama Valentine displays the gentle forgivingness of disposition which we have already had reason to regard as one of Shakespeare's most marked characteristics.

As soon “false, fleeting Proteus” confesses his sin Valentine pardons him with words that echo and re-echo through Shakespeare's later dramas:

Then I am paid,
And once again I do receive thee honest.
Who by repentance is not satisfied
Is nor of heaven nor earth; for these are pleased;
By patience the Eternal's wrath's appeased.”

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He even goes further than this, and confounds our knowledge of human nature by adding:

“And that my love may appear plain and free

All that was mine in Silvia I give thee.”

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And that the meaning may be made more distinct than words can make it, he causes Julia to faint on hearing the proposal. One cannot help recalling the passage in “ The Merchant of Venice” when Bassanio and Gratiano both declare they would sacrifice their wives to free Antonio, and a wellknown sonnet which seems to prove that Shakespeare thought more of a man's friendship for a man than of a man's love for a woman. But as I shall have to discuss this point at length when I handle the Sonnets, I have, perhaps, said enough for the moment. Nor need I consider the fact here that the whole of this last scene of the last act was manifestly revised or rewritten by Shakespeare circa 1598-years after the rest of the play.

I think everyone will admit now that Shakespeare revealed himself in “ The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” and especially in Valentine, much more fully than in Biron and in “Love's Labour's Lost.” The three earliest comedies prove that from the very beginning of his career Shakespeare's chief aim was to reveal and realize himself.

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CHAPTER II

SHAKESPEARE AS ANTONIO THE MERCHANT

O one, so far as I know, has yet tried to identify

Antonio, the Merchant of Venice, with Shakespeare, and yet Antonio is Shakespeare himself, and Shakespeare in what to us, children of an industrial civilization, is the most interesting attitude possible. Here in Antonio for the first time we discover Shake

t speare in direct relations with real life, as real life is understood in the twentieth century. From Antonio we shall learn what Shakespeare thought of business men and business methods—of our modern

way

of liv- + ing. Of course we must be on our guard against drawing general conclusions from this solitary example, unless we find from other plays that Antonio's attitude towards practical affairs was indeed Shakespeare's. But if this is the case, if Shakespeare has depicted himself characteristically in Antonio, how interesting it will be to hear his opinion of our money-making civilization. It will be as if he rose from the dead to tell us what he thinks of our doings. He has been represented by this critic and by that as a master of affairs, a prudent thrifty soul; now we shall see if this monstrous hybrid of t tradesman-poet ever had any foundation in fact. +

The first point to be settled is: Did Shakespeare reveal himself very ingenuously and completely in Antonio, or

royal merchant » pose of his, a mood or a convention? Let us take

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