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thinking it had strayed into the covert that was O'er sixteen years, and leave the growth hard by, sought very diligently to find that
untried which he could not see, fearing either that the Of that wide gap; since it is in my power wolves or eagles had undone him (for he was so To o'erthrow law, and in one self born hour poor as a sheep was half his substance), wandered To plant and o’erwhelm custom.” down towards the sea-cliffs to see if perchance Lyly, without such an apology, gives us a the sheep was browsing on the sea-ivy, whereon lapse of forty years in his ‘Endymion.' they greatly do feed; but not finding her there, Dryden and Pope depreciated the “Winter's as he was ready to return to his flock he heard Tale !' and no doubt this violation of the a child cry, but, knowing there was no house near, he thought he had mistaken the sound, unity of time was one of the causes which and that it was the bleating of his sheep. blinded them to its exquisite beauties. But Wherefore looking more narrowly, as he cast his Dr. Johnson, without any special notice of eye to the sea he spied a little boat, from whence, the case before us, has made a triumphant as he attentively listened, he might hear the cry defence against the French critics of Shakto come. Standing a good while in amaze, at spere's general disregard of the unities of last he went to the shore, and, wading to the time and place :boat, as he looked in he saw the little babe lying
“By supposition, as place is introduced, time all alone ready to die for hunger and cold,
may be extended; the time required by the wrapped in a mantle of scarlet richly em
fable elapses for the most part between the broidered with gold, and having a chain about
acts; for, of so much of the action as is reprethe neck.”
sented, the real and poetical duration is the Although the circumstances of the child's If, in the first act, preparations for war exposure are different, Shakspere adopts the against Mithridates are represented to be made shepherd's discovery pretty literally. He
in Rome, the event of the war may, without even makes him about to seek his sheep by absurdity, be represented in the catastrophe as the sea-side, “ browsing on the sea-ivy.” The happening in Pontus. We know that there is infant in the novel is taken to the shepherds that we are neither in Rome nor Pontus—that
neither war nor preparation for war; we know home, and is brought up by his wife and
neither Mithridates nor Lucullus are before us. himself under the name of Fawnia. In a
The drama exhibits successive imitations of narrative the lapse of sixteen years may successive actions, and why may not the second occur without any violation of propriety. imitation represent an action that happened The shepherd of Greene, every night at his years after the first, if it be so connected with it coming home, would sing to the child and that nothing but time can be supposed to dance it on his knee : then, a few lines intervene? Time is, of all modes of existence, onward, the little Fawnia is seven years old; most obsequious to the imagination ; a lapse of and very shortly,
years is as easily conceived as a passage of hours.
In contemplation we easily contract the time of “ when she came to the age of sixteen years real actions, and therefore willingly permit it she so increased with exquisite perfection both to be contracted when we only see their imiof body and mind, as her natural disposition tation.” did . bewray that she was born of some high parentage."
Shakspere has exhibited his consummate
art in opening the fourth act with Polixenes These changes, we see, are gradual. But in and Camillo, of whom we have lost sight a drama, whose action depends upon a since the end of the first. Had it been manifest lapse of time, there must be a
otherwise,-had he brought Autolycus, and sudden transition. Shakspere is perfectly Florizel, and Perdita, at once upon the scene, aware of the difficulty ; and he diminishes —the continuity of action would have been it by the introduction of Time as a Chorus : destroyed; and the commencement of the
fourth act would have appeared as the “Impute it not a crime To me, or my swift passage, that I slide
* Preface to his edition of 1765.
commencement of a new play. Shakspere | But Greene was unequal to conceive the made the difficulties of his plot bend to his grace of mind which distinguishes Perdita :art; instead of wanting art, as Ben Jonson
“Sir, my gracious lord, says. Autolycus and the Clown prepare us
To chide at your extremes it not becomes me; for Perdita ; and when the third scene opens,
0, pardon, that I name them : your high self, what a beautiful vision lights upon this The gracious mark o' the land, you have earth! There perhaps never was such a obscur'd union of perfect simplicity and perfect grace With a swain's wearing; and me, poor lowly as in the character of Perdita. What an maid, exquisite idea of her mere personal appear Most goddess-like prank'd up.” ance is presented in Florizel's rapturous Contrast this with Greene :exclamation, “When you do dance, I wish you
"Fawnia, poor soul, was no less joyful that, A wave o' the sea, that you might ever do
being a shepherd, fortune had favoured her so
as to reward her with the love of a prince, Nothing but that.”
hoping in time to be advanced from the daughter Greene, in describing the beauties of his of a poor farmer to be the wife of a rich king.” shepherdess, deals only in generalities :
Here we see a vulgar ambition, rather than " It happened not long after this that there a deep affection. Fawnia, in the hour of was a meeting of all the farmers' daughters in discovery and danger, was quite incapable Sicilia, whither Fawnia was also bidden as the of exhibiting the feminine dignity of Permistress of the feast, who, having attired herself | dita :in her best garments, went among the rest of
“I was not much afeard : for once, or twice, her companions to the merry meeting, there
I was about to speak; and tell him plainly, spending the day in such homely pastimes as
The selfsame sun that shines upon his court, shepherds use. As the evening grew on and
Hides not his visage from our cottage, but their sports ceased, each taking their leave
Looks on alike.—Will 't please you, sir, be at other, Fawnia, desiring one of her companions
[to FLORIZEL. to bear her company, went home by the flock to
I told you what would come of this: 'Beseech see if they were well folded ; and, as they re
you, turned, it fortuned that Dorastus (who all that
Of your own state take care: this dream of day had been hawking, and killed store of game)
mine, encountered by the way these two maids, and,
Being now awake, I 'll queen it no inch casting his eye suddenly on Fawnia, he was half
farther, afraid, fearing that with Acteon he had seen
But milk my ewes, and weep.” Diana, for he thought such exquisite perfection could not be found in any mortal creature. As This is something higher than the sentiment thus he stood in amaze, one of his pages told of a “queen of curds and cream.” him that the maid with the garland on her head In the novel we have no trace of the was Fawnia, the fair shepherd whose beauty was interruption by the father of the princely so much talked of in the court. Dorastus, de lover in the disguise of a guest at the sirous to see if nature had adorned her mind shepherd's cottage. Dorastus and Fawnia with any inward qualities, as she had decked her body with outward shape, began to question of the king. The ship in which they embark
flee from the country without the knowledge with her whose daughter she was, of what age, and how she had been trained up? who answered
is thrown by a storm upon the coast of him with such modest reverence and sharpness
Bohemia. Messengers are despatched in of wit, that Dorastus thought her outward beauty search of the lovers ; and they arrive in was but a counterfeit to darken her inward Bohemia with the request of Egistus that qualities, wondering how so courtly behaviour the companions in the flight of Dorastus could be found in so simple a cottage, and shall be put to death. The secret of Fawnia's cursing fortune that had shadowed wit and birth is discovered by the shepherd ; and her beauty with such hard fortune.”
father recognises her. But the previous
circumstances exhibit as much grossness of the region of the literal that it would be conception on the part of the novelist, as the worse than idle to talk of its costume. When different management of the catastrophe the stage-manager shall be able to reconcile shows the matchless skill and taste of the the contradictions, chronological and geodramatist. We forgive Leontes for his early graphical, with which it abounds, he may folly and wickedness ; for during sixteen decide whether the characters should wear years has his remorse been bitter and his the dress of the ancient or the modern world, affection constant. The pathos of the fol- and whether the architectural scenes should lowing passage is truly Shaksperean : partake most of the Grecian style of the
times of the Delphic oracle, or of the Italian “ Leon.
Whilst I remember
in the more familiar days of Julio Romano. Her, and her virtues, I cannot forget
We cannot assist him in this difficulty. It My blemishes in them; and so still think of The wrong I did myself: which was so much, may be sufficient for the reader of this deThat heirless it hath made my kingdom; and licious play to know that he is purposely Destroy'd the sweet'st companion that e'er man
taken out of the empire of the real ;-to Bred his hopes out of.
wander in some poetical sphere where BoPaul.
True, too true, my lord: hemia is but a name for a wild country upon If, one by one, you wedded all the world, the sea, and the oracular voices of the pagan Or, from the all that are took something world are heard amidst the merriment of good,
“Whitsun pastorals” and the solemnities of To make a perfect woman, she, you kill'd, “Christian burial;” where the “Emperor of Would be unparallel’d.
Russia” represents some dim conception of a Leon. I think so. Kill'd!
mighty monarch of far-off lands; and “that She I kill'd! I did so: but thou strik'st me
rare Italian master, Julio Romano,” stands Sorely, to say I did; it is as bitter
as the abstract personification of excellence Upon thy tongue as in my thought. Now, in art. It is quite impossible to imagine good now,
that he who, when it was necessary to be Say so but seldom.”
precise, as in the Roman plays, has painted The appropriateness of the title of the manners with a truth and exactness which Winter's Tale' has been prettily illustrated have left at an inmeasurable distance such by Ulrici :
imitations of ancient manners as the learned “ From the point of view taken in this drama, have perplexed this play with such anomalies
Ben Jonson has produced,—that he should life appears like a singular and serene, even while terrifying, winter's tale, related by the through ignorance or even carelessness. There flickering light of the fire in a rough boisterous
can be no doubt that the most accomplished night, in still and homelike trustiness, by an
scholars amongst our early dramatists, when old grandmother to a listening circle of children dealing with the legendary and the romantic, and grandchildren, while the warm, secure, and purposely committed these anachronisms. happy feeling of the assembly mixes itself with Greene, as we have shown, of whose scholara sense of the fear and the dread of the related ship his friends boasted, makes a ship sail adventures and the cold wretched night without. from Bohemia in the way that Shakspere But this arises only through the secret veil makes a ship wrecked upon a Bohemian which lies over the power of chance, and which coast. Yet, when we consider how differently is here spread over the whole. It appears Jonson and Shakspere worked, in their reserene, because everywhere glimmers through spective schools, it is not to be wondered at this veil the bright joyful light of a futurity that Jonson, in his free conversations with leading all to good; because we continually feel Drummond of Hawthornden, in January, that the unhealthy darkness of the present will 1619, should say that “Shakspere wanted be again thrown off even through an equally
art." When Jonson said this, he was in obscure inward necessity.”
no laudatory mood. Drummond heads his This comedy is so thoroughly taken out of record of the conversation thus :
censure of the English poets was this.” , absurd opinion so long propagated that Censure is here, of course, put for opinion; Shakspere worked without labour and withalthough Jonson's opinions are by no means out method. Jonson's own testimony, defavourable to any one of whom he speaks. livered five years after the conversation with Spenser's stanzas pleased him not, or his Drummond, offers the most direct evidence matter; Sir John Harrington's 'Ariosto,' against such a construction of his expresunder all translations, was the worst ; sion :Abraham France was a fool ; Sidney did not “Yet must I not give Nature all: thy art, keep a decorum in making every one speak My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part. as well as himself; Shakspere wanted art. For though the poet's matter Nature be, And so, during two centuries, a mob of His art doth give the fashion: and that he critics have caught up the word, and with Who casts to write a living line must sweat the most knowing winks, and the most (Such as thine are), and strike the second profound courtesies to each other's sagacity, heat have they echoed—“Shakspere wanted art.” Upon the Muses' anvil: turn the same But a cunning interpolator, who knew the (And himself with it) that he thinks to frame; temper of the critics, the anonymous editor
Or, for the laurel, he may gain a scorn, of Cibber's 'Lives of the Poets,' took the
For a good poet's made as well as born:
And such wert thou.” "heads of a conversation” between Jonson and Drummond, prefixed to Drummond’s There can be no difficulty in understanding works in 1711, and bestowed a few finishing Jonson's dispraise of Shakspere, small as it touches upon them, after his own fashion. was, when we look at the different characters And thus, to the great joy of the denouncers of the two men. Jonson, in all likelihood, of anachronisms, and other Shaksperean did not intend to impute an ignorant blunder absurdities, as they are pleased to call them, to Shakspere, but à wilful inconsistency. we have read as follows for a hundred Mr. Collier has quoted a passage from Taylor, years :—“He said, Shakspere wanted Art, the water-poet, who published his "Journey and sometimes Sense; for, in one of his plays, to Prague,' in which the honest waterman he brought in a number of men, saying they laughs at an alderman who “catches me by had suffered shipwrack in Bohemia, where is the goll, demanding if Bohemia be a great no sea near by 100 miles.” Jonson, indeed, town, whether there be any meat in it, and makes the observation upon the shipwreck whether the last fleet of ships be arrived in Bohemia, but without any comment upon there.” Mr. Collier infers that Taylor “ridiit. It is found in another part of Drum- cules a vulgar error of the kind” committed mond's record, quite separate from “Shak- by Shakspere. We rather think that he spere wanted art ;” a casual remark, side by meant to ridicule very gross ignorance side with Jonson’s gossip about Sidney's generally ; and we leave our readers to take pimpled face and Raleigh's plagiaries. It their choice of placing Green and Shakspere was probably mentioned by Jonson as an in the same class with Taylor's “Gregory illustration of some principle upon which Gandergoose, an Alderman of Gotham,” or Shakspere worked; and in the same way of believing that a confusion of time and “Shakspere wanted art” was in all likelihood place was considered (whether justly is not explained by him, in producing instances of here the question) a proper characteristic of the mode in which Shakspere's art differed the legendary drama-such as 'A Winter's from his (Jonson’s) art. It is impossible to Tale.' receive Jonson's words as any support of the
"THE Tragedie of Cymbeline' was first , apparel, and fled to meet her love at Milford printed in the folio collection of 1623. The Haven ; and chanced to fall on the cave in the play is very carefully divided into acts and woods where her two brothers were : and how scenes—an arrangement which is sometimes by eating a sleeping dram they thought she had wanting in other plays of the folio edition. been dead, and laid her in the woods, and the We have in previous chapters given ex
body of Cloten by her, in her love's apparel that tracts from 66
he left behind him, and how she was found by a book of plays and notes thereof, for common policy,” kept by Dr.
Lucius,” &c. Symon Forman, in 1610 and 1611. These
“ This,” Mr. Collier adds, “is curious ; notes, which were discovered and first printed principally because it gives the impression by Mr. Collier, contain not only an account of the plot upon the mind of the spectator, of some play of Richard II., at which the at about the time when the play was first writer was present, but distinctly give the produced.” We can scarcely yield our plots of Shakspere's 'Winter's Tale,' 'Mac- implicit assent to this. Forman's note-book beth,' and 'Cymbeline.' We shall take the is evidence that the play existed in 1610 liberty of reprinting from Mr. Collier’s ‘New or 1611; but it is not evidence that it was Particulars' Forman’s account of the plot of first produced in 1610 or 1611. Mr. Collier, Cymbeline :'
in his ‘Annals of the Stage,' gives us the Remember, also, the story of Cymbeline, following entry from the books of Sir Henry King of England, in Lucius' time: how Lucius Herbert, Master of the Revels :-“On Wedcame from Octavius Cæsar for tribute, and, nesday night the first of January, 1633, being denied, after sent Lucius with a great Cymbeline’ was acted at Court by the King's army of soldiers, who landed at Milford Haven, players. Well liked by the King.” Here is and after were vanquished by Cymbeline, and
a proof that for more than twenty years Lucius taken prisoner, and all by means of three after Forman saw it Cymbeline' was still outlaws, of the which two of them were the acted, and still popular. By parity of reasons of Cymbeline, stolen from him when they soning it might have been acted, and might were but two years old, by an old man whom have been popular, before Forman saw it. Cymbeline had banished; and he kept them as Coleridge, in his classification of 1819, his own sons twenty years with him in a cave. places "Cymbeline,' as he supposes it to have
been originally the first
the love of Imogen the King's daughter, whom he epoch I place 'The Winter's Tale' and 'Cymhad banished also for loving his daughter.
beline,' differing from the Pericles by the “And how the Italian that came from her
entire rifaccimento of it, when Shakspere's love conveyed himself in a chest, and said it was a chest of plate sent from her love and others to
celebrity as poet, and his interest no less be presented to the King. And in the deepest to bring forward the laid-by labours of his
than his influence as manager, enabled him of the night, she being asleep, he opened the chest and came forth of it, and viewed her in youth.” Tieck, whilst he considers it “the her bed, and the marks of her body, and took last work of the great poet, which may have away her bracelet, and after accused her of been written about 1614 or 1615," adds, “it adultery to her love, &c. And, in the end, is also not impossible that this varied-woven how he came with the Romans into England, romantic history had inspired the poet in his and was taken prisoner, and after revealed to youth to attempt it for the stage.” Tieck Imogen, who had turned herself into man's | assigns no reason for believing that the play