Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

to us and to mankind the departed brother whom we now commemorate, because his works do indeed 'praise God,' by their intellectual excellency, and by their moral worth: and because, being what they are, they form a gift of inestimable value to ourselves. It is true he is to all men the poet of humanity, master of our nature in its weakness and in its strength ; and, as such, to be honoured and admired of all; but he is moreover, as I have said, to us Englishmen the national, the domestic Poet, whom we love as we love our own homes. Above all, he is one of whom, judged of in the character up to which he grew, the Church of Christ has no need to be ashamed ;-because in him, as a poet, Poetry has filled every purpose for which in the mercy of God she was given to our fallen race as, next to Revelation, His most precious boon; and because in him, as a man, the Gospel has exemplified that truest element of the Christian character, of which it is written-and fulfilled as on this day—“Blessed are the meek,* for they shall inherit the earth. And, there. fore, though this tercentenary commemoration points con

[ocr errors][merged small]

* Our poet is well known as the 'honest Shakspeare.'

See above, p. 3. But he is also known as the gentle Shakspeare.' See Spenser, quoted in Dowden's Primer, p. 23; and Prefatory Address to the first folio, supposed to have been written by Ben Jonson :-'As he was a happy

imitator of nature, he was a most gentle expresser of it; his mind and hand I went together. My honoured relative, the late Poet-Laureate, has re.

marked, 'I cannot account for Shakspeare's low estimate of his own wiitings'-compare above, p. 394—'except from the sublimity, the superhumanity of his genius' (see Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 470). But may it

not be accounted for from his characteristic meekness, which the same 1 poet himself has elsewhere described, as

• The cherished bent Of all the truly great, and all the innocent?'

fessedly to the year of his birth, yet it was the day* of his death which we celebrated yesterday; as the Church has ever been wont to celebrate not the birthday, but the deathday—as being the truer and more glorious nativity-of her saints and confessors.

But, my brethren, if, not having seen, we honour and we love our departed brother for his works' sake, how greatly how infinitely—more ought we to love and to bless Him Who made our brother what he was, and gave him to us; not to become (as human genius, alas ! has sometimes proved) an instrument of desolation, but of culture, of refreshment, of fruitfulness; not to resemble the full but faithless reservoir, which, when it has burst its barriers, carries death and ruin in its course ;t but the varying, yet ever-faithful Nile, which, while it is the grandest of all rivers, and while it is subject no less than the feeblest rivulet to the law which regulates its boundless floods, is at the same time the most beneficent

He himself leads us to suggest this explanation where he writes, in Much Ado, &c.:

'It is the witness still of excellency

To put a strange face on his own perfection.'— Act ii. Sc. 3. At the same time it is to be remembered that Shakspeare, in his sonnets, frequently expresses himself as fully conscious that what he wrote would be read as long as time shall last. See Sonn. 18, 19, 63, 81, 101, 107. On the perplexing evidence of the sonnets, as bearing upon his moral character, see Dr. Drake's Shakspeare and his Times, vol. ii. p. 72 sq., and compare Mr. C. Knight's Studies of Shakspeare, p. 460 and p. 484 sq. For my own part I am inclined to regard them as dramatic rather than autobiographical.-Also Keightley, p. 8. Dowden, p. 394 note,

399 note.

* See above, p. 397 note.

+ An accident of that kind, causing the most ruinous and melancholy results, had then recently occurred in the North of England.

1

in its influence, and the sweetest in its taste. And as in the surface of that majestic stream the traveller sees a true reflection of the heavens which are above his head, so in the poetry of Shakspeare the reader may behold no uncertain image of the Word of God; may behold shining in its depths the starlike truths of the Bible ; may behold and may adore the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, overclouded, we must confess, from time to time, with the mists of earth, but still shedding around His divine rays, and lighting up all with faith and hope, with love and joy.

GENERAL INDEX.

A, an, prefixed to Numericals, &c.,

I 2
A, an, prefixed to Nouns, &c., 25
Abbott's Shaksp. Grammar, 360
Abjects, 29
Abraham's bosom, 297
Absalom, 79
Adam, 55
Adjectives used as Verbs, 248 note
Ado=trouble, tumult, 30
Adultery, 221
Adverbs used as Adjectives, 21
Adversity, uses of, 243, 257
Advice for life, 133
Against, preposition of time, 23
Agone=ago, 361
Alford, Dean, 16 note
Allow=approve of, 30
Alms, 13
Amaze=alarm, 30
Ambition, 120
Amen, 272
And, or an, redundant before .if,

26
Andrewes, Bishop, 263 note, 287
Angels, holy, 117

the fallen, 120
Animals, kindness to, 220

similitudes from, 330
Anon, 361
Apologue of Menenius Agrippa,

340
Article, definite, 10

indefinite, 12
Atone, atonement, 30
At unawares, 26
Avoid=escape, 361
Away with, 362

Bacon, Lord, 25, 389 note, 395
Baptism, 274
Baynes, Professor, 359
Because in order that, 25
Bestow=lay up, 31
Bewray=discover, 31
Blackstone, Judge, Ini
Blaze abroad=proclaim, 31
Book of Life, 309
Boswell, Mr., 3 note, 51
Bowdler, Mr., 15, 51, 52, 59, 64,

74. 85, 91, 93, 114, 156, 230,
240, 261, 270, 275, 279, 289,

297, 307, 331
Brave, bravery, 31
Bring on way=escort, 32
Bruit=report, 12
Bull, Bp., UIT, 120
Burghley, Lord, 267 note
Burial, 275
By-and-by, 27

Cain and Abel, 58
Calvinism, 142
Celibacy, 371
Carriage=thing carried, 32
Cast-away, 33
Chalmers, Dr., 358
Charity, 212
Charles II., King, 2 26 sq.
Chastisement, Divine, 116
Choice, adj. and subst., 33
CHRIST JESUS, 130
Christmas, 274
Church Catechism, 375
Cicero, quoted, 129, 172, 228, 299,

368, 401

Claudian, quoted, 311
Clergy, 261
Coleridge, quoted, 48, 346 note,

Falstaff, his death, 226
Farmer, Dr., 332, 349, 350, 351
Fatalism, 143
Favour=to countenance, 34
Fear=to frighten, 35
Ferrar, Nicholas, 201
Filial duty, 197
Folly=unchastity, 361
For, prefixed to Verbs, 22
Forgiveness of injuries, 163, 212
Friendship, 219
Froude, Mr. James A., 359, 395
Full, adv.=very, 35
Furnivall, Mr., 359, 376

Genitive case, sign of, 14
Gervinus, Professor, 380
Gibbon, 209 note, 312, 396 note
Gifford accuses Shakspeare of pro.

faneness, 3
Gon.-His names, 100

His omnipresence, 103
His omniscience, 102, 274
His providence, 103
His justice, 106
His mercy, 109, 115
His watchfulness, 83, 103
His goodness in creation

352 note

Contession to God, 162
Conscience, 155
Contentment, 245
Converse, conversation, 33
Coronation Service, 280
Corruption of human nature, 136
Courtenay, Mr. P., 373
Covetousness, 231
Cowardice, a result of sin, 154
Cunning, subst. and adj., 34

Daniel, 87
Day-spring, 34
Death, 267, 287
Death-bed scenes, 226, 294 sq.
Death, the, 10, 359
Deborah, 73
Degrees of society, 277
Deluge, 61
Devil quoting Scripture, 66
Dictum quasi factum, 341
Divorce, 223
Double comparatives, 19

superlatives, 20
Douce, Mr., 112, 288
Dowden, Professor E., 359, 376
Drake, Dr., 6 note, 96 note, 265

note, 394 note
Drunkenness, 225
Dyce, Mr., 4 note, 6 note, 53 note,
265 note, 287 note, 370, 397
note, 398

and in redemption of

man, 125

His personality, 275
Goethe, 211
Good-man=paterfamilias, 35
Good out of evil, 249
Go to! 361
Grace, divine, 141
Grace said at meals, 172
Grief, excessive, 301
Guthrie, Dr., 358

Ear=to plough, 34
Earle, Bp., 86 note
Easter, 274
Edinburgh Review, 374
Egypt, first-born of, 69
Elijah, 82
Elizabeth, name of, 364
Elizabeth, Queen, 6 note, 81
End of the world, 302
England, praise of, 276
Eve, 56

Habits, formation of, 141
Hallam, Mr., 349
Hamnet Shakspeare, death of,

199, 298, 397
Hanmer, Sic T., 253 note
Hard, adv.=close, near, 35
Hare, Archdeacon, 360
Harness=armour, 36

« ZurückWeiter »