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of Desdemona more beautisully perhaps than in any other, and certainly the following instances ought not to be omitted. First, she prays for the author of the slander brought against her by Othello. Emilia had suggested that it had been devised by some villain to get some office ; ' she replies
If any such there be, Heaven pardon him !-Act iv. Sc. 2, And then, when she was on the point to die through the hand of the husband who had most cruelly and wrongfully distrusted her fidelity, and Emilia, awestruck at seeing her condition, had exclaimed, 'Oh! who hath done this deed ?' her last words were :
Nobody ; I myself: farewell :
Commend me to my kind lord : 0! farewell.-ll'id. Thus it was made to appear that her prayer in a former scene had been granted. Emilia had counselled retaliation for the injurious treatment she had received :
Let husbands know
Desd. Good night, good night; Heaven me such uses send
Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend.-Act iv. Sc. 3. i.e., 'Not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil,' both my own evil and that of others, with good.'
Ibid., p. 222, before last paragraph. It is observed by Mrs. Jameson that “Margaret of Anjou, as exhibited in ihe 2nd and 3rd Pts. of K. Henry VI., is a dramatic portrait of considerable truth and vigour and consistency; but she is not one of Shakspeare's women.' Upon the supposition that he drew the character, how is this to be accounted for ? Partly, I believe, because she was a French woman; but much more because, as he repre
* That is, such habits of action. The first quarto reads 'usage.'
sents her (though without warrant from history, according to Mrs. Jameson, and Mr. Courtenay is inclined to support her, Commentaries, vol. ii. p. 287), she was an adulteress. All ó Shakspeare's women' are pure; of course I do not include Cressida or Cleopatra, any more than I include Mrs. Quickly. And so, while we recognize the justice of the remarks in which Margaret of Anjou is held up to scorn for her "base, revengeful spirit,' her 'atrocious cruelty, the bitterness of her mockery, and her unwomanly malignity, &c.' (Characteristics, p. 371), may we not ask, Did not our poet, in depicting an adulteress—and such an adulteress—a queen faithless to a husband, weak indeed, but ever faithful and devoted—do well to make her “unwomanly ?' See Proverbs vi. 26, xxx. 20.
IBID., p. 245. To the passages there quoted in praise of Contentment, I may first add the dispraise of its opposite from 2nd Pt. of K. Henry VI. :
For what's more miserable than discontent? Act iii. Sc. I. And then, further, I may go on to notice how the motive for contentment which S. Paul suggests in 1 Tim. vi. 7,
8· we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out : and having food and raiment, let us be therewith content'-is caught up by Shakspeare in Measure for Measure, where the Duke says—as quoted above, p. 148:
If thou art rich, thou’rt poor;
Act iii. Sc. I. To the same section it appertains to speak of the duty of Peaceableness, and of avoiding strife and quarrels, upon which the Bible is so very full and explicit, as in Rom. xii. 18, Heb. xii. 14, Phil. ii. 3, James iii. 16, 17. From Shakspeare it may suffice to produce what Fluellen says to the soldier Williams, in K. Henry V.:
Hold, there is twelve pence for you, and I pray you to serve Got, and keep out of prawls, and prabbles, and quarrels, and dissensions, and, I warrant you, it is the petter for you.
Act iv. Sc. 8. Ibid, pp. 264-75. Upon the subject of the attempts made to represent Shakspeare as a Romanist, see an article in the Edinburgh Review, January, 1866; which appeared soon after the publication of the first edition of this work, and in which the conclusions I had indicated respecting our Poet's Churchmanship were repeated and confirmed. Of course in the representation of times and characters before the Reformation we expect to see evidence of sentiments and practices which then prevailed, and of these some notice has been taken above; see p. 117 note, and p. 164; and other instances might be found, as in Pl. 1, K. Henry VI., where the Duke of Bedford exclaims :
Henry the Fifth! thy ghost I invocate ;
Prosper this realm, keep it from civil broils ! Act i. Sc. 1. But that Shakspeare's own religious position and sympathies were entirely on the side of the Church as reformed, cannot, I think, be reasonably doubted. Besides the facts of his life referred to in my Tercentenary Sermon, and the passages from his plays, quoted above, p. 265 sq. and p. 272, the reader may compare the different impression conveyed by the characters given of Cardinal Wolsey and Archbishop Cranmer, the virtuous Cranmer,' as he is called in K. Henry VIII., Act iv. Sc. I; although it must be confessed that so large a portion of that play being now very generally ascribed to Fletcher, it will not be fair to lay too much stress upon the details of that comparison. And a similar objection may be urged against the remark that no Romanist would
have allowed that ‘Oldcastle died a martyr,' as we read in the epilogue to Pt. 2, K. Henry IV. Neither would a Romanist have suffered Juliet to propose to Friar Laurence to come to him at evening mass,' Rom. and Jul., Act iv. Sc. 1. To what I have already observed above, p. 266, in qualification of Schlegel's remarks that our Poet always represents a monk's influence as beneficial,' let me add here references to K. John, Act v. Sc. 6, where a monk is spoken of as "a resolved villain,' who had killed the king by poison ; and to All's Well, Act ii. Sc. 2, where the clown finds a peculiar fitness in 'a nun's lip to a friar's mouth.'
That Shakspeare as a boy had learnt the Church Catechism has been remarked above, p. 141; and a further curious indication of the same fact may be derived from the words which he puts into the mouth of Hamlet, in answer to Rosencrantz :
Ros. My lord, you once did love me.
Act iii. Sc. 2. That is, by these hands,' which the Catechism had taught him to keep from picking and stealing.' Stephano in the Tempest uses the adjuration by his hand' several times ; see Act iii. Sc. 2 bis, and Act iv. Sc. I; and it is to be found in other Plays.
There is also a plain reference to the words of the Reformed Marriage Service of the Prayer Book in Much Ado, &c., at the beginning of Act iv. Comp. Palmer's Orig. Liturg. vol. ii. p. 212 sq.
It has been justly remarked that the fact of Shakspeare's interment in the chancel—the place of honour-in the parish church, proves conclusively that, as he had been brought up, so he remained to the last, a member of the Reformed Church of England.
IBID., p. 225. On the subject of temperance, I gladly refer to Miss O'Brien's article in the Westminster Review', October, 1876, on 'Shakspeare's Young Men,' as quoted in Mr. Furnivall's Introduction to the Leopold Shakspeare, p, cxiii. “One point,' she writes, should not be overlooked in connection with these young men.
With all their sociability, their friendship and hospitality, it is remarkable how little allusion there is to anything of a rollicking, drinking style of conviviality.'
Ibid., p. 275. My attention was drawn by a friendly correspondent to the statement there made respecting interment, as inconsistent with the common usage of laying the head towards the west, but upon the whole I have thought it better to allow the passage still to remain as it before stood ; only altering 'head' into 'face' in line 15, and suggesting in a note that this may have been what Shakspeare intended. I confess, I am unable to offer any other explanation of Guiderius' words; and so am content to leave what I wrote, in the hope that light may be thrown upon them from some other quarter.*
Ibid., p. 276, sect. 15. Although I have ventured to speak of Shakspeare, by anticipation, as 'a Conservative and a Royalist,' as in the preceding section I had spoken of him as
a Churchman,' I readily subscribe to the justice of Professor E. Dowden's remark that we must not look to find our several creeds, political or religious, in the poetry of Shakspeare. See Shakspeare, his Mind and Art, pp. 165, 322. As far as
* See Comber, Comp. to Temple, Vol. iv., p. 439; who remarks that the custom among Christians has always been to turn the feet to the east, with the head toward the west ; but there is evidence (from Plutarch and Ælian) that the Athenians turned their dead towards the west; though the Scholiast in Thucydides says that the Greeks generally did the contrary.