« ZurückWeiter »
[114. Forrest of Arden]
to have a mission when, as in the present case, they mislead subsequent editors, who, having 'conveyed' without acknowledgement the learning of their predecessors, stand betrayed by the adoption of errors. In the present instance there is abundant excuse for Malone. The running title of Astrophel is, as Grosart has pointed out, through a printer's error, Colin Clouts Come home againe.-ED.] KNIGHT: Nothing can more truly show how immeasurably superior was the art of Shakespeare to the art of other poets than the comparison of Lodge's description [see Appendix] with the incidental scene-painting of his forest of Arden. It has been truly and beautifully said (Edin. Rev. vol. xxviii) of Shakespeare: 'All his excellences, like those of Nature herself, are thrown out together, and, instead of interfering, support and recommend each other. His flowers are not tied up in garlands, nor his fruits crushed into baskets, but spring living from the soil, in all the dew and freshness of youth.' But there are critics of another cast, who object to Shakespeare's forest of Arden, situated, as they hold, 'between the rivers Meuse and Moselle.' They maintain that its geographical position ought to have been known by Shakespeare, and that he is consequently most vehemently to be reprehended for imagining that a palm-tree could flourish, and a lioness be starving, in French Flanders. We most heartily wish that the critics would allow poetry to have its own geography. We do not want to know that Bohemia has no sea-board; we do not wish to have the island of Sycorax defined on the map; we do not require that our forest of Arden should be the Arduenna Sylva of Cæsar and Tacitus, and that its rocks should be 'clay-slate, grauwacke-slate, grauwacke, conglomerate, quartz-rock and quartzose sandstone.' We are quite sure that Ariosto was thinking nothing of French Flanders when he described how 'two fountaines grew, Like in the tast, but in effects unlike, Plac'd in Ardenna, each in other's vew: Who tasts the one, love's dart his heart doth strike; Contrary of the other doth ensew, Who drinke thereof, their lovers shall mislike' [i, st. 78, ed. 1634]. We are equally sure that Shakespeare meant to take his forest out of the region of the literal when he assigned to it a palm-tree and a lioness. Lady Morgan tells us, ' The forest of Ardennes smells of early English poetry. It has all the greenwood freshness of Shakespeare's scenes; and it is scarcely possible to feel the truth and beauty of his exquisite As You Like It without having loitered, as I have done, amidst its tangled glens and magnificent depths.' We must venture to think it was not necessary for Shakespeare to visit Ardennes to have described 'An old oak, whose boughs were moss'd with age, And high top bald with dry antiquity;' and that, although his own Warwickshire Arden is now populous, and we no longer meet there a desert inaccessible,' there are fifty places in England where, with the As You Like It in hand, one might linger 'from noon to dewy eve,' and say, 'Ay, now am I in Arden.' FRANÇOIS-VICTOR HUGO (p. 54): Apercevez-vous au bout de cette clairière cette forêt profonde dont l'automne dore les cimes mélancoliques? C'est la forêt des Ardennes! Mais ne vous y trompez pas, ce n'est pas la forêt historique à travers laquelle la Meuse conduit à la dérive le touriste charmé. Vous ne trouverez dans ces halliers ni le manoir d'Herbeumont, ni le château-fort de Bouillon, ni la grotte de Saint-Remacle. La forêt où nous transporte le poëte n'a pas d'itinéraire connu; aucune carte routière n'en fait mention, aucun géographe ne l'a défrichée. C'est la forêt vierge de la Muse. Elle rassemble dans sa pépinière unique toutes les végétations connues: le sapin du Nord s'y croise avec le pin du Midi, le chêne y coudoie le cèdre, le houx s'y acclimate à l'ombre du palmier. Dans ses taillis antédiluviens l'Arche a vidé toute sa ménagerie; le serpent de l'Inde rampe dans les hautes herbes qu'effloure le daim
[114. Forrest of Arden]
effaré; le rugissement de la lionne y fait envoler un essaim de cerfs.-Là la guerre et la vanité humaines n'ont jamais été admises à bâtir leurs demeures: là, ni palais ni forteresses. Tout au plus, sur la lisière du bois, quelque humble toit de chaume. [HALLIWELL notes Drayton's reference, in his Fifty-third Idea, to 'Where nightingales in Arden sit and sing, Amidst the dainty dew-impearlèd flowers,' and 'to "the rough woodlands" of Arden described in Poly-Olbion.' But this description in Poly-Olbion seems to me far more noteworthy than is the bare mention of the name as it occurs in the Idea; the mere name Arden is to be found in other Ideas as well as in the Fiftythird. The first hundred and fifty lines, more or less, of the Thirteenth Song of PolyOlbion are devoted to a description of the Forest of Arden in Warwickshire, and on this description Drayton dwells with especial affection, apostrophising Warwickshire as his own native country which so brave spirits hast bred.' Is this a gentle nod of recognition to Shakespeare? The Song then goes on to say that of all the forests in Britain, this is the greatest, and that 'We equally partake with wood-land as with plain, Alike with hill and dale; and every day maintain The sundry kinds of beasts upon our copious wastes That men for profit breed, as well as those of chase.' Here all birds are to be found, the throstel, with shrill sharps,' 'the nightingale hard by,' 'the woosel near at hand, that hath a golden bill;' and here also are both sorts of season'd deer; Here walk the stately red, the freckled fallow there: The bucks and lusty stags amongst the rascals strew'd, As sometimes gallant spirits amongst the multitude.' A hunt is then described, horns are sounded and the hunters cheer, and 'being then imbost, the noble stately deer When he hath gotten ground (the kennel cast arrear) Doth beat the brooks and ponds for sweet refreshing soil,' until at last, 'opprest by force, He who the mourner is to his own dying corse, Upon the ruthless earth his precious tears lets fall.' But this is not all, everything which sorts with solitude is to be found here. The hermit here leads a sweet retired life,'' From the lothsome airs of smoky-citied towns.' 'Suppose twixt noon and night, the sun his halfway wrought,' 'the hermit comes out of his homely cell,'' Who in the strength of youth, a man at arms hath been; Or one who of this world, the vileness having seen, Retires him from it quite; and with a constant mind Man's beastliness so loaths, that, flying human kind, The black and darksome nights, the bright and gladsome days, Indifferent are to him.' This man, that is alone a king in his desire, By no proud ignorant lord is basely over-aw'd;' 'nor of a pin he weighs What fools, abused kings, and humorous ladies raise.' 'Nor stirs it him to think on the imposter vile, Who seeming what he's not, doth sensually beguile The sottish purblind world; but, absolutely free, His happy time he spends the works of God to see.' I have given these extracts from Drayton, to which I am not aware that attention has ever been called, not only to show the deep impression on him which his friend Shakespeare's As You Like It had made, so that we seem to hear the very echo of the words of Jaques and of the Duke, but to show that to Drayton as well as to every listener at the play the Forest of Arden' was no forest in far-away France, but was the enchanted ground of their own home. That Shakespeare intended it to be so regarded, and meant to keep his audience at home, no matter in what foreign country soever the scene be laid, may be detected, I think, in the allusion to Robin Hood,' a name around which clustered all the romance of forest life. Let that name be once uttered as a key-note, and every charm of a life under the greenwood tree, be it in the forest of Sherwood or of Arden, is summoned up and the spell of the mighty magician begins.—ED.]
and a many merry men with him; and there they liue like the old Robin Hood of England: they fay many yong Gentlemen flocke to him euery day, and fleet the time carelefly as they did in the golden world.
Oli. What, you wraftle to morrow before the new Duke.
Cha. Marry doe I fir and I came to acquaint you with a matter: I am giuen fir fecretly to vnderstand, that your yonger brother Orlando hath a disposition to come in disguis'd against mee to try a fall to morrow fir I wraftle for my credit, and hee that escapes me without fome broken limbe, fhall acquit him well: your brother is but young and tender, and for your loue I would bee loth to foyle him, as I must for my owne honour if hee
121. came] come F, Rowe, Pope, Han.
115. a many] For many other instances of the insertion of a before numeral adjectives, see ABBOTT, § 87.
115, 116. and there... England] Schmidt, in his admirable revision of Schlegel's translation, thus translates this sentence: 'und da leben sie wie Zigeunervolk.' Few examples could better illustrate than this how emphatically, how ineradicably, Shakespeare belongs to England, and how impossible it is to transplant him to any foreign soil. Surely never a foreigner lived who better mastered the language of Shakespeare than he to whom we all owe gratitude for the ShakespeareLexicon, and yet on his ears the name Robin Hood falls with a dull, unmeaning sound; and all that band of merry men, who 'in summer-time when leaves grow green, And flowers are fresh and gay,' with Will Scarlet and Little John fleeted the time carelessly,—all this band, the gods of every English-speaking boy's idolatry and summed up in the one name Robin Hood, is to the learned German merely a band of gypsies.'-ED.
117. fleet] WRIGHT notes this as 'an instance of Shakespeare's habit of forming verbs from adjectives,' and ROLFE says that it is only here used transitively by Shakespeare, though as an intransitive verb it occurs often.' [Way (Prompt. Parv. s. v. Fletyn) cites Harrison, who in his Description of England, says 'the Lime water . . . . which commeth.... from the hils, fleting upon rockie soil, .... so falleth into the
sea.'-Holinsh. Chron. i, 58. Halliwell says that a vessel is said to fleet when the tide flows sufficiently to enable her to move. Is it too fanciful to suppose that in the use of this word in this particular passage, where a gay, careless, happy life flows on from hour to hour without a ripple of annoyance, there was in Shakespeare's mind a dim association between this word to fleet, and the meaning to float, to flow?-ED.]
122. a matter] For other instances where 'a' is used for 'a certain' see Abbott,
WRIGHT refers to V, i.
126. shall] ABBOTT, § 315: That is, must, will have to. 14. [See also II, iv, 92.]
137. him] them F
138. Ile] IFF, Rowe +.
come in therefore out of my loue to you, I came hither to acquaint you withall, that either you might stay him from his intendment, or brooke such disgrace well as he shall runne into, in that it is a thing of his owne search, and altogether against my will.
Oli. Charles, I thanke thee for thy loue to me, which thou fhalt finde I will most kindly requite: I had my felfe notice of my Brothers purpose heerein, and haue by vnder-hand meanes laboured to diffwade him from it; but he is refolute. Ile tell thee Charles, it is the ftubborneft yong fellow of France, full of ambition, an enuious emulator of euery mans good parts, a secret & villanous contriuer against mee his naturall brother : therefore vse thy difcretion, I had as liefe thou didst breake his necke as his finger. And thou wert beft looke to't; for if thou doft him any flight difgrace, or if hee doe not mightilie grace himselfe on thee, hee will practise against thee by poyfon, entrap thee by fome treacherous deuife, and neuer leaue thee till he hath tane thy life by fome indirect meanes or other: for I affure thee, (and almost with teares I fpeake it) there is not one fo young, and fo villanous this day liuing. I fpeake but brotherly of him,
146. entrap] to entrap FF, Rowe. 150. liuing.] living, Var. '21.
130. withall] ABBOTT, § 196: Sometimes this is understood after 'withal,' so that it means with all this, and is used adverbially: 'So glad of this as they, I cannot be, Who are surprised withal'-Temp. III, i, 93, i. e. surprised with, or at, this. Here, however, perhaps, and elsewhere certainly, with means in addition to, and 'with-all (this)' means besides; as in, 'I must have liberty withal,' II, vii, 51 [of this present play, and also in ‹ Marry, do, to make sport withal,' in I, ii, 26.] But [in the present line] there is no meaning of besides and 'withal' means therewith, with it.
138. Ile tell thee] The same phrase occurs in IV, i, 206; and Lettsom questions if it be not here a blunder for I tell thee. DYCE: It is not a blunder.
138. it is] The use of this impersonal phrase may be as various as the mood of Here, as WRIGHT points out, its import is contemptuous. In 'It is a pretty youth,' III, v, 118, there is a touch of coquettish familiarity.-ED.
141. naturall] HALLIWELL: This term did not formerly, as now, imply illegitimacy. Filius naturalis, a natural or lawfully-begotten son.'-Nomenclator, 1585.
142. breake his necke] See the Tale of Gamelyn, in Appendix.
143. thou wert best] See ABBOTT, § 230, for this and other ungrammatical remnants of ancient usage.'
145. practise] DYCE: To use arts or stratagems, to plot.
but should I anathomize him to thee, as hee is, I must blush, and weepe, and thou must looke pale and wonder.
Cha. I am heartily glad I came hither to you: if hee come to morrow, Ile giue him his payment : if euer hee goe alone againe, Ile neuer wraftle for prize more and fo God keepe your worship. Exit.
Farewell good Charles. Now will I ftirre this Gamefter I hope I shall see an end of him; for my foule (yet I know not why) hates nothing more then he : yet hee's gentle, neuer school'd, and yet learned, full of noble
151. anathomize] anatomize F2F. 157. Exit. Rowe. After Charles, line 158, Cap. Dyce, Cam. Wh. ii.
158. Farewell] Oli. Farewell Ff et
160. he] him Han. Johns.
153. wonder] MACDONALD (p. 126): If any one wishes to see what variety of the same kind of thoughts Shakespeare could produce, let him examine the treatment of the same business in different plays; as, for instance, the way in which the instigation to a crime is managed in Macbeth, where Macbeth tempts the two murderers to kill Banquo; in King John, where the King tempts Hubert to kill Arthur; in The Tempest, where Antonio tempts Sebastian to kill Alonzo; [the present passage cited] and in Hamlet, where Claudius urges Laertes to the murder of Hamlet.
158 et seq. COLERIDGE (p. 107): This has always seemed to me one of the most un-Shakespearian speeches in all the genuine works of our poet; yet I should be nothing surprised, and greatly pleased, to find it hereafter a fresh beauty, as has so often happened to me with other supposed defects of great men.-1810.
It is too venturous to charge a passage in Shakespeare with want of truth to Nature; and yet at first sight this speech of Oliver's expresses truths which it seems almost impossible that any mind should so distinctly, so livelily, and so voluntarily have presented to itself, in connection with feelings and intentions so malignant, and so contrary to those which the qualities expressed would naturally have called forth. But I dare not say that this seeming unnaturalness is not in the nature of an abused wilfulness, when united with a strong intellect. In such characters there is sometimes a gloomy self-gratification in making the absoluteness of the will (sit pro ratione voluntas) evident to themselves by setting the reason and the conscience in full array against it.-1818.
158. Gamester] STEEVENS: In the present instance and in some others, this does not mean a man viciously addicted to games of chance, but a frolicsome person. [The meaning is probably more specific here, and Caldecott is nearer right in defining it as 'disposed to try his fortune at this game. In the story of Faustina the Empresse in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, gladiators are said to be 'a certaine sort of gamsters in Rome, which we terme to bee maisters of defence,' ii, p. 104, ed. Haslewood.-ED.]
160. then he] See ABBOTT, § 206 et seq. for other instances of 'he' used for him; 'she' for her; 'thee' for thou, &c. And also I, ii, 17, 266.
161. gentle] Cf. 'gentle condition of blood,' supra.
161, 162. noble deuise] WRIGHT: That is, of noble conceptions and aims. In