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his rose of womanhood for us in Imogen, who is, however, not a living woman at all, any more than his earliest ideal, Juliet, was a woman.

The contrast between these two sketches is the contrast between Shakespeare's strength and his weakness. Here is how the fourteen-year-old Juliet talks of love:

Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night,
That runaways' eyes may wink, and Romeo
Leap to these arms, untalk'd of and unseen.
Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
By their own beauties."

And here what Posthumus says of Imogen:

“Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd,

And pray'd me oft forbearance: did it with
A pudency so rosy, the sweet view on't
Might well have warmed old Saturn.”

When Shakespeare praises restraint in love he must have been very weak; in full manhood he prayed for excess of it, and regarded a surfeit as the only rational cure.

I think Shakespeare liked Posthumus and Imogen; but he could not have thought “Cymbeline” a great work, and so he pulled himself together for a masterpiece. He seems to have said to himself, “ All that fighting of Posthumus is wrong; men do not fight at forty-eight; I will paint myself simply in the qualities I possess now; I will tell the truth about myself so far as I can.

The result is the portrait of Prospero in “ The Tempest.”

Let me just say before I begin to study Prospero that I find the introduction of the Masque in the fourth act extraordinarily interesting. Ben Jonson had written classic masques for this and that occasion; masques which were very successful, we are told; they had “ caught on,” in fact, to use our modern slang. Shakespeare will now show us that he, too, can write a masque with classic deities in it, and better Jonson's example. It is pitiful, and goes to prove, I think, that Shakespeare was but little esteemed by his generation.

Jonson answered him conceitedly, as Jonson would, in the Introduction to his “Bartholomew Fair” (1612-14), “If there be never a Servant monster i' the Fayre, who can help it, he sayes; nor a nest of Antiques. He is loth to make nature afraid in his Playes, like those that beget Tales, Tempests, and such like Drolleries."

At the very end, the creator of Hamlet, the finest mind in the world, was eager to show that he could write as well in any style as the author of “Every Man in his Humour.' To me the bare fact is full of interest, and most pitiful.

Let us now 'turn to “ The Tempest," and see how our poet figures in it. It is Shakespeare's last work, and one of his very greatest; his testament to the English people; in wisdom and high poetry a miracle.

The portrait of Shakespeare we get in Prospero is astonishingly faithful and ingenuous, in spite of its idealization. His life's day is waning to the end, and shadows of the night are drawing in upon him, yet he is still the same bookish, melancholy student, the lover of all courtesies and generosities, whom we met first as Biron in “ Love's Labour's Lost.” The gaiety is gone and the sensuality; the spiritual outlook is infinitely sadder—that is what the years have done with our gentle Shakespeare.

Prospero's first appearance in the second scene

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of the first act is as a loving father and magician; he says to Miranda:

I have done nothing but in care of thee,

Of thee, my dear one! thee, my daughter." He asks Miranda what she can remember of her early life, and reaches magical words:

“ What seest thou else In the dark backward and abysm of time?” Miranda is only fifteen years of age. Shakespeare turned Juliet, it will be remembered, from a girl of sixteen into one of fourteen; now, though the sensuality has left him, he makes Miranda only fifteen; clearly he is the same admirer of girlish youth at forty-eight as he was twenty years before. Then Prospero tells Miranda of himself and his brother, the “perfidious ” Duke: And Prospero, the prime Duke, being so reputed

In dignity, and for the liberal arts
Without a parallel; those being all my study.”

He will not only be a Prince now, but a master “ without a parallel” in the liberal arts. He must explain, too, at undue length, how he allowed himself to be supplanted by his false brother, and speaks about himself in Shakespeare's very words:

"I thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicate

To closeness, and the bettering of my mind
With that, which, but by being so retired,
O'erprized all popular rate, in my false brother
Awaked an evil nature; and my trust,
Like a good parent, did beget of him,
A falsehood, in its contrary as great
As my trust was; which had, indeed, no limit,
A confidence sans bound.”

Shakespeare, too, “neglecting worldly ends," had dedicated himself to “bettering of his mind,” we

6 may be sure. Prospero goes on to tell us explicitly how Shakespeare loved books, which we were only able to infer from his earlier plays:

Me, poor man, my library
Was dukedom large enough.”

And again, Gonzalo (another name for Kent and
Flavius) having given him some books, he says:

“Of his gentleness,
Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me
From my own library, with volumes that

I prize above my dukedom." His daughter grieves lest she had been a trouble to him: forthwith Shakespeare-Prospero answers :

“O, a cherubim
Thou wast, that did preserve me. Thou didst smile
Infused with a fortitude from heaven,
When I have deck'd the sea with drops full salt
Under my burden groan'd; which raised in me
An undergoing stomach, to bear up
Against what should ensue."

But why should the magician weep or groan under a burden? had he no confidence in his miraculous powers? All this is Shakespeare's confession. Every word is true; his daughter did indeed “

preserve” Shakespeare, and enable him to bear up under the burden of life's betrayals.

No wonder Prospero begins to apologize for this long-winded confession, which indeed is “ most impertinent” to the play, as he admits, though most interesting to him and to us, for he is simply.

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Shakespeare telling us his own feelings at the time. The gentle magician then hears from Ariel how the shipwreck has been conducted without harming a hair of anyone.

The whole scene is an extraordinarily faithful and detailed picture of Shakespeare's soul. find significance even in the fact that Ariel wants his freedom“ a full year" before the term Prospero had originally proposed. Shakespeare finished “ The Tempest,” I believe, and therewith set the seal on his life's work a full year earlier than he had intended; he feared lest death might surprise him before he had put the pinnacle on his work. Ariel's torment, too, is full of meaning for me; for Ariel is Shakespeare's “ shaping spirit of imagination," who was once the slave of “a foul witch,"

,6 and by her “imprisoned painfully” for “a dozen

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years."

That “ dozen years ” is to me astonishingly true and interesting; it shows that my reading of the duration of his passion-torture was absolutely correct--Shakespeare's “delicate spirit” and best powers bound to Mary Fitton's earthy service from 1597 to 1608.

We can perhaps fix this latter date with some assurance.

Mistress Fitton married for the second time a Captain or Mr. Polwhele late in 1607, or some short time before March, 1608, when the fact of her recent marriage is mentioned in the will of her great-uncle. It seems to me probable, or at least possible, that this event marks her complete separation from Shakespeare; she may very likely have left the Court and London on ceasing to be a Maid of Honour.

Shakespeare is so filled with himself in this last play, so certain that he is the most important per

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