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truth involves as high a moral in the one
as in the other. That Shakspere's notion of poetical justice was not the hackneyed notion of an intolerant age, reflected even by a Boccaccio, is shown by the difference in the lot of the offender in the Italian tale and the lot of Iachimo. The Ambrogiolo of the novelist, who slanders a virtuous lady for the gain of a wager, is fastened to a stake, smeared with honey, and left to be devoured by flies and locusts. The close of our dramatist's story is perfect Shakspere :
“ Post. Speak, Iachimo; I had you down,
Have made you finish.
I am down again:
Kneel not to me;
This comedy stands the first in the folio | Shakspere himself is Prospero, or rather the collection of 1623, in which edition it was superior genius who commands both Prospero originally printed. In the entry upon the and Ariel. But the time was approaching Stationers' registers of November the 8th, when the potent sorcerer was to break his 1623, claiming for the booksellers Blount staff, and to bury it fathoms in the ocean, and Jaggard such plays of Shakspere “ were not formerly entered to other men,” it
Deeper than did ever plummet sound.' also is the first in order. The original text That staff has never been, and never will be, is printed with singular correctness.
recovered.” But this feeling, pretty and A very general belief has always prevailed fanciful as it is, is certainly somewhat that “The Tempest’ was the last of Shakspere's deceptive. It is not borne out by the internal works. We are inclined to think that this evidence of the play itself. Shakspere never belief was rather a matter of feeling than of could have contemplated, in health and judgment. Mr. Campbell has put the feeling intellectual vigour, any abandonment of that very elegantly :—“The Tempest’ has a sort occupation which constituted his happiness of sacredness as the last work of a mighty and glory. We have no doubt that he wrote workman. Shakspere, as if conscious that on till the hour of his last illness. His later it would be his last, and as if inspired to plays are unquestionably those in which the typify himself, has made his hero a natural, mighty intellect is more tasked than the a dignified, and benevolent magician, who unbounded fancy. His later plays, as we could conjure up spirits from the vasty deep, believe, present the philosophical and hisand command supernatural agency by the torical aspect of human affairs rather than most seemingly natural and simple means. the passionate and the imaginative. The And this final play of our poet has magic Roman historical plays are, as it appears to indeed ; for, what can be simpler in language us, at the end of his career, as the English than the courtship of Ferdinand and Miranda, historical plays are at the beginning. Noand yet what can be more magical than the thing can be more different than the principle sympathy with which it subdues us? Here of art upon which the “Henry VI.' and the
' Antony and Cleopatra' are constructed. | that there are any productions of the human The Roman plays denote, we think, the mind in existence, ancient or modern, which growth of an intellect during five-and-twenty can give us so complete a notion of what years. "The Tempest' does not present the Roman life was under its great general characteristics of the latest plays. It has aspects. This was the effect, not only of the playfulness and beauty of the comedies, his instinctive wisdom, but of that leisure mingled with the higher notes of passionate for profound inquiry and extensive investigaand solemn thought which distinguished the tion which Shakspere possessed in the latter great tragedies. It is essentially, too, written years of his life. We cannot bring ourselves wholly with reference to the stage, at a to believe that “The Tempest' belonged to period when an Ariel could be presented to the latest period. Ulrici has said “5
"The an imaginative audience without the prosaic Tempest' is the completing companion-piece encumbrance of wings. The later plays, of the Winter's Tale' and 'A Midsunimersuch as "Troilus and Cressida,' and the three Night's Dream.'” The 'Midsummer-Night's Roman subjects, are certainly written without Dream' was printed in 1600;—it was probably any very strong regard to ramatic effect. written some five or six years previous. The They are noble acting plays, especially 'Julius Winter's Tale' was acted in 1611. From Cæsar' and 'Coriolanus;' but even in these the 'Extracts from the Accounts of the the poet appears to have poured himself forth Revels at Court,' edited by Mr. Peter Cunwith a philosophical mastery of the great ningham, we learn that on Hallowmas Night principles by which men are held in the (November 1), 1611, was presented at social state, without being very solicitous as Whitehall, before the King's Majesty, a play to the favourable reception of his opinions called "The Tempest.'” Four nights afterby the mixed audiences of the days of wards the 'Winter's Tale' was also presented. James I. The 'Antony and Cleopatra' is The Winter's Tale' appears to us to bear still more remarkable for its surpassing marks of a later composition than "The historical truth-not the mere truth of Tempest.'
are not disposed to chronological exactness, but that truth which separate them by any very wide interval: is evolved out of the power of making the more especially we cannot agree with Mr. past present and real, through the marvellous Hunter, who has brought great learning to felicity of knowing and representing how an investigation of all the points connected individuals and masses of men must have with 'The Tempest,' that this play, “ instead acted under circumstances which are only of being the latest work of this great master, assimilated to the circumstances of modern is in reality one of the earliest, nearly the tiines by the fact that all the great principles first in time, as the first in place, of the and motives of human action are essentially dramas which are wholly his." The diffithe same in every age and in every condition culty of settling the chronology of some of of civilization. The plays that we have Shakspere's plays by internal evidence is mentioned must have been the result of very much increased by the circumstance very profound thought and very accurate that some of them must be regarded as early investigation. The characters of the 'Troilus performances that have come down to us and Cressida’ are purposely Gothicised. An with the large additions and corrections of episode of “the tale of Troy divine” is maturer years. For example : ‘Pericles' seized upon, to be divested of its romantic was, it is probable, produced as a novelty in attributes, and to be presented with all the 1608, or not long before. There are portions bold colouring of a master regardless of of that play which we think no one could minute proprieties of costume, but producing have written but the mature Shakspere ; the most powerful and harmonious effect mixed up with other portions which indicate, through the universal truth of his delinea- not so much immature powers as the treattions. On the contrary, the Roman plays ment of a story in the spirit of the oldest are perfect in costume. We do not believe dramas. So it is with Cymbeline;' and, to
a certain extent, with the “Winter's Tale.' make nature afraid in his plays, like those The probability is, that these plays were that beget tales, tempests, and such-like produced in their present form soon after drolleries.” Gifford has contended, arguing the period of Shakspere's quitting the stage against the disposition of the commentators about 1603; and perhaps before the pro- to charge Jonson with malignity, that the duction of 'Macbeth,' Troilus and Cressida,' expressions servant-monster, and tales, tem· Henry VIII.,' and the Roman plays. "The pests, and such-like drolleries, had reference Tempest' appears to us to belong to the to the popular puppet-shows which were same cycle. The opinion which we here especially called drolleries. express is not inconsistent with a belief that however, still looks to us like a sly, though Mr. Hunter has brought forward several not ill-natured, allusion to Shakspere’s Calicurious facts to render it highly probable ban, and his “Winter's Tale,' and 'Tempest,' that it was produced in 1596. But the which were then popular acting plays. Mr. aggregate evidence, as we think, outweighs Hunter believes that in this passage Jonson these curious facts.
does pointedly direct his satire against The 'The Tempest’ is not included by name in Tempest;' but he also maintains that Jonson the list of plays ascribed to Shakspere by does, in the same way, satirize “The Tempest' Francis Meres in 1599. Mr. Hunter says in 1596, in the Prologue to 'Every Man in that it was included, under the name of his Humour:'* Love's Labour Won. We have endeavoured
“He rather prays you will be pleased to see to show, in the Chapter on 'All's Well that
One such to-day, as other plays should be; Ends Well,' not only that the comedy bearing Where neither chorus wafts you o'er the seas, that name had the highest pretension to the
Nor creaking throne comes down the boys to title of 'Love's Labour Won,' but that 'The please: Tempest' had no such pretension. We do Nor nimble squib is seen to make afeard not agree that the comedy called "The The gentlewomen; nor rolld bullet he Tempest,' when it was first printed, bore the To say, it thunders: nor tempestuous drum title, either as a leading or secondary title, Rumbles, to tell you when the storm doth when Meres published his list in 1599, of
come.” Love's Labour Won.' We believe that it It is scarcely probable, if Jonson had meant was always called “The Tempest;' and that, to allude to The Tempest,' either in the looking at its striking fable, and its beauty Prologue or the Induction, that he would of characterization and language, it would have been so wanting in materials for his undoubtedly have been mentioned by Meres
dislike of the romantic drama in general as if it had existed in 1599.
to select the same play for attack in works The ‘Bartholomew Fair' of Ben Jonson
separated by an
nterval of eighteen years. was produced at the Hope Theatre in 1614; The “creaking throne” is, according to Mr. and it was performed by “the Lady Eliza- Hunter, the throne of Juno as she descends, beth's servants." It is stated by Malone in the mask; the "nimble squib” is the that “it appears from MSS. of Mr. Vertue lightning, and the “tempestuous drum” the that The Tempest’ was acted by John thunder, of the first scene. Mr. Hunter adds Heminge and the rest of the King's company, that the last line of the Prologue, before Prince Charles, the Lady Elizabeth, and the Prince Palatine Elector, in the
“You that have so graced monsters may like
men,”beginning of the year 1613.” This circumstance gives some warrant to the belief of must allude to Caliban. Surely the term the commentators that a passage in the monsters, as opposed to men, must be a general Induction to 'Bartholomew Fair' is a sarcasm designation of what Jonson believed to be upon Shakspere : —“ If there be never a unnatural in the romantic drama, as conservant-monster in the fair, who can help it, trasted with the image of the times” in he says, nor å nest of antiques ? He is loth to comedy. But, if we must have real monsters,
there were plenty to be found in the older can be more absurd than Chalmers's attempt plays. Gosson, in 1581, thus writes : to make us believe that, because the King of “Sometimes you shall see nothing but the Naples is inconsolable for the supposed loss adventures of an amorous knight, passing of Ferdinand, there is an allusion to the death from country to country for the love of his of Prince Henry in 1612; that the line lady, encountering many a terrible monster, “Like poison given to work a great time after” made of brown paper, and at his return is plainly refers to the murder of Sir Thomas 80 wonderfully changed that he cannot be Overbury in the same year; and that a great known but by some posy in his tablet, or by storm which happened in January, 1613, a broken ring, or a handkerchief, or a piece
'gave the appropriate name to this adof a cockle-shell.” Sir Philip Sidney ridi
mirable drama!” cules the appearance of “ a hideous monster, with fire and smoke.” Much older theatres lated by Florio, there is the following
In the ' Essays' of Montaigne, as transthan the Globe were furnished with their
passage:thunder and lightning. In 1572 John Izarde,
“Me seemeth that what in those nations we according to an entry in the accounts of the
see by experience doth not only exceed all the revels at court, was paid for a device for
pictures wherewith licentious poesy hath proudly “counterfeiting thunder and lightning.”*
embellished the golden age, and all her quaint It is as likely that thrones descended in
inventions to feign a happy condition of man, other plays besides “The Tempest,' as it is but also the conception and desire of philosophy. certain that in “The Tempest’ Juno descended They could not imagine a genuitie so pure and with a classical fitness of which Jonson has simple as we see it by experience; nor ever begiven us many similar examples in his own lieve our society might be maintained with so masks. We can see nothing in these cir- little art and human combination. It is a nation, cumstances to connect the date of “The would I answer Plato, that hath no kind of traffic, Tempest' with that of Ben Jonson’s ‘Every no knowledge of letters, no intelligence of numMan in his Humour.'
bers, no name of magistrates, nor of politic The third point upon which Mr. Hunter superiority; no use of service, of riches, or of relies for fixing the date of “The Tempest," poverty; no contracts, no successions, no dias of 1596, is deduced from the passage in vidences; no occupation, but idle ; no respect of the third act where Gonzalo laughs at the kindred, but common; no apparel, but natural ;
no manuring of lands; no use of wine, corn, or stories of “men whose heads stood in their breasts." Raleigh told this story, in his
metal. The very words that import lying, false
hood, treason, dissimulation, covetousness, envy, account of his voyage to Guiana, in 1595.
detraction, and pardon, were never heard amongst Shakspere makes Othello, not in a boasting them. How dissonant would he find his imaor lying spirit, but with the confiding belief ginary commonwealth from this perfection!” that belonged to his own high nature, tell
This extract establishes beyond all possible Desdemona of
doubt that the lines of Gonzalo, “ The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads Do grow beneath their shoulders.”
“I' the commonwealth I would by contraries
Execute all things,” &c.—Would Mr. Hunter contend that this second
were founded upon Montaigne, and upon notice of “men whose heads do grow beneath
Florio's translation. That translation was their shoulders” fixes the date of Othello, not published before 1603. But portions of as well as that of "The Tempest,' in 1596 ? Şuch circumstances are, as we believe, of the it had been seen in manuscript, says Mr.
Hunter. Sir William Cornwallis mentions very slightest value. The argument may be
in his 'Essays' that “divers of his pieces I put ingeniously and learnedly, as Mr. Hunter
have seen translated,” and he describes puts it; or it may be rendered ludicrous, as Chalmers renders it. What, for example, Cornwallis were not printed till 1600; but
Florio as the translator. The “Essays' of * Collier, Annals of the Stage,' vol. iii. p. 370. they, also, had been seen in manuscript ;
and so Cornwallis might have written about and hopeless of any succour, most of them were “divers parts” of Florio’s ‘Montaigne' before gone to sleep, yielding themselves to the mercy 1596; and Shakspere might have read this of the sea, being all very desirous to die upon identical part of Florio’s ‘Montaigne' before any shore wheresoever. Sir George Sommers, 1596; and thus the dates both of Cornwallis's sitting at the stern, seeing the ship desperate of and Florio’s books go for nothing in this relief, looking every minute when the ship inquiry. Is this evidence ?
would sink, he espied land, which, according to The date of Shakspere's "Tempest' has his and Captain Newport's opinion, they judged been a fertile subject for the exercise of it should be that dreadful coast of the Bermudas
which islands were, of all nations, said and supcritical conjecture. Malone writes a pam- posed to be enchanted, and inhabited with phlet of sixty pages upon it; Chalmers
witches and devils, which grew by reason of another pamphlet somewhat longer. The
accustomed monstrous thunder-storm and temfirst has been reprinted in Boswell's edition; pest near unto those islands; also for that the the other costs as much as a manuscript in
whole coast is so wonderous dangerous of rocks the days before printing. It is worth the that few can approach them but with unspeakmoney, however, for a quiet laugh. The two able hazard of shipwreck. Sir George Sommers, critics differ very slightly in their opinions Sir Thomas Gates, Captain Newport, and the as to the date of the comedy ; but their rest, suddenly agreed of two evils to choose the proofs are essentially different. Malone least, and so, in a kind of desperate resolution, contends for 1611, holding that “the storm directed the ship mainly for these islands, which, by which Sir George Sommers was ship- | by God's divine providence, at a high water ran wrecked on the island of Bermuda, in 1609, right between two strong rocks, where it stuck unquestionably gave rise to Shakspeare's fast without breaking, which gave leisure and * Tempest,' and suggested to him the title, as
good opportunity for them to hoist out their well as some incidents." The whole rela- | boat, and to land all their people, as well sailors tion is contained in the additions to Stow's
as soldiers and others, in good fety; and being ‘Annals' by Howes:
come ashore they were soon refreshed and
cheered, the soil and air being most sweet and “In the year 1609 the Adventurers and delicate.” Company of Virginia sent from London a fleet of eight ships, with people to supply and make
Here we have a storm, a wreck, the Berstrong the colony in Virginia ; Sir Thomas mudas, and an enchanted island; and, in Gates being general, in a ship of 300 tons: in other descriptions of the same event, we have this ship was also Sir George Sommers, who was
mention of a sea-monster. “Nothing can be admiral, and Captain Newport, vice-admiral, more conclusive, then,” says Malone, “ that and with them about 160 persons. This ship the date of the play is fixed, with uncommon was ' Admiral,' and kept company with the rest precision, between the end of the year 1610 of the fleet to the height of 30 degrees; and, and the autumn of 1611.” No, says Chalmers, being then assembled to consult touching divers the shipwreck of Sir George Sommers did matters, they were surprised with a most extreme
suggest the incidents; but Malone himself violent storm, which scattered the whole fleet, had admitted that there was a great tempest yet all the rest of the fleet bent their course for
at home in 1612; "the author availed Virginia, where, by God's special favour, they himself of a circumstance then fresh in the arrived safely; but this great ship, though new, minds of his audience, by affixing a title to and far stronger than any of the rest, fell into a great leak, so as mariners and passengers were
it which was more likely to excite curiosity forced, for three days' space, to do their utmost
than any other that he could have chosen, to save themselves from sudden sinking: but while, at the same time, it was sufficient notwithstanding their incessant pumping, and justified by the subject of the drama.” casting out of water by buckets and all other “Now this tempest,” says Chalmers, “hapmeans, yet the water covered all the goods pened at Christmas 1612; and so the play within the hold, and all men were utterly tired, could not have been written in the summer and spent in strength, and overcome with labour; 1 of 1612.” Surely all this is admirable fooling,