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he mentions in his will as his godson, and who was baptized at Stratford, Oct. 16, 1608. The familiar use of the response Amen (the 'Aunu of S. Paul, i Cor. xiv. 16), which occurs in our author's plays more than sixty times (and in some places not very appropriately, being put into the mouth of heathen characters), may also be regarded as another indication to the same effect. There is something singularly solemn and impressive in his employment of it towards the close of King Henry V.:

That English may as French, French Englishmen,
Receive * each other-God speak to this Amen.

And again, at the end of King Richard III.:

That peace may long live here-God say Amen.

From our poet's allusion to the observance of Sunday not much is to be inferred-except that it would seem, in his time, to have been the most usual day for the celebration of marriages. In Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio, in answer to Baptista's question how he had sped with his daughter Katharina, replies :

We have 'greed so well together,
That upon Sunday is the wedding day.

Act ii. Sc. 1. Whether this remark may help to throw any light upon a passage in Much Ado About Nothing, over the meaning of which critics have disagreed,

* See Rom. xv. 7.

you made.

I will not undertake to say; but it may be worth considering. Benedict says to Claudio :

Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again? Go to, i' faith: an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away Sundays.

Act i. Sc. I. i.e., sigh away the days which, if married on Sunday, will most of all serve to remind you of the mistake

Neither Warburton's explanation that even Sundays, the days formerly (he says) of most ease and diversion, will be passed uncomfortably; nor Steevens', that there is probably an allusion to the strict manner in which the Sabbath was observed by the Puritans, appears satisfactory. It would be simpler to suggest that Sunday is the day of the week which is generally spent most domestically.

It is not probable that at the court of Cleopatra the difference was understood between Sundays and working days, unless it could be supposed that the notion had come down by tradition from the captivity of the Israelities in Egypt; and then it would go far to settle an important question in theology :—but our poet has not scrupled to speak, in Antony and Cleopatra, of 'a worky-day fortune;' meaning a fortune not rich and splendid, but ordinary and commonplace, see Act i. Sc. 2; just as, with a propriety which admits of no question, he makes Marcellus to ask Horatio, in Hamlet :

Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
Does not divide the Sunday from the week ? Act i. Sc. 1.

T

In the same scene we have a reference to the season of Christmas, and to the popular traditions concerning it :

Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad;
The nights are wholesume; then no planets strike,
No fairy* takes, nor witch hath power to charm :

So hallowed and so gracious is the time! This passage, so beautiful in its simplicity, could only have been written by one who had the sense and feeling of a true Christian and loyal member of the Church in regard to the Nativity of our Blessed Lord. Of the two other great festivals I am not aware that our poet makes mention, except to let us know, in Romeo and Juliet, Act iii. Sc. I, that 'new doublets' were worn at Easter; and, in King Henry V., Act ii. Sc. 4, that Whitsuntide-called, in Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act iv. Sc. 4, Pentecost-was the season for 'morris dances,' and pageants of delight.' There is an allusion to Good Friday as a day of Fasting in King John, Act i. Sc. 1.

It remains to notice here, that Shakspeare appears to have received and held, without misgiving, the doctrine of Baptismal Grace, which he would have been taught as an orthodox member of the Anglican Church. “We will believe,' says King Henry V. to the Archbishop of Canterbury,

i.e., Strikes with lameness or diseases.

That what you speak is in your conscience washed
As pure as sin with (i.e., by) baptism.

K. Henry V., Act i. Sc. 2. And in Othello, the villainous lago is made to represent Desdemona's influence to be such, that it would be easy for her, if she wished

To win the Moor-wer't to renounce his baptism

All seals and symbols of redeemed sin. Act ii. Sc. 3. The judicious reader will be surprised—and not, I think, well pleased—to learn that Mr. Bowdler, in his * Family Shakspeare,' has seen reason to omit the latter of these two lines.

And passing from the first scene of the Christian life to the last, from baptism to burial, we find, in Cymbeline, the rationale of interment with the face towards the east alluded to, and also the beautiful custom of strewing the grave with flowers described in language no less beautiful. The two brothers are engaged in burying Fidele :-

Guid. Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head * to the east :
My father hath a reason for't.

Act iv. Sc. 2. The 'reason' could not properly have been, in the mouth of a Pagan, the Christian one; and therefore no further explanation is given : Arvig.

With fairest flowers,
Whilst summer lasts, and I live here, Fidele,
I'll sweeten thy sad grave. Thou shalt not lack
The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose; nor
The azured hare-bell, like thy veins ; no, nor

* Is not 'head' used for 'face'? See below, Ad 1. Illustr., p. 376.

The leaf of eglantine, whom

*

not to slander,
Out-sweeten'd not thy breath : the ruddockt would,
With charitable bill, bring thee all this;
Yea, and furr'd moss besides, when flowers are none,
To winter-ground thy corse.

(Re-enter Belarius.
Bel. Here's a few flowers; but about midnight, more:
The herbs that have on them cold dew o'the night
Are strewings fitt’st for graves.

Sect. 15. Of Politics-Peace and War.

We cannot conceive of Shakspeare otherwise than as a Conservative and a Royalist-if the anachronism involved in the use of both names may be pardoned. I On the one hand, we are sure that he loved his country no less than the Prophets of old loved their chosen land, from

land, from the enthusiastic descriptions which he has given of it and its inhabitants :

This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
This fortress, built by Nature for herself,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone, set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land.

King Richard II., Act ii. Sc. 1.
Come the three corners of the world in arms,
And we shall shock them ! Nought shall make us rue
If England to itself do rest but true.

King John, Act v. Sc. 7.

* See above, p. 18.

+ Redbreast.

I See Append., p. 376.

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