Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

A wilderness is populous enough,
So Suffolk had thy heavenly company,
For where thou art, there is the world itself:
With ev'ry fev'ral pleasure in the world :
And where thou art not, desolation.

SCENE IX. Dying, with the Person belov'd, pre

ferable to parting.
If I depart from thee, I cannot live;
And in thy fight to die, what wert it else,
But like a pleasant flumber in thy lap?
Here could I breathe my soul into the air,
As mild and gentle as the cradle-babe
Dying with mother's dug between his lips.

Scene X. The Death-bed Horrors of a guilty

Conscience.
(8) Bring me unto my trial, when you

will. Dyd he not in his bed 'Where should he die? Can I make men live whether they will or no?

Oh,

language of love, and employed by Tibullus to his own mif. tress,

Sic ego fecretis possum bene vivere fylvis,

Qua nulla humano fit via trita pede :
Tu mihi curarum requics, tu noéte vel atra
Lumen & in Solis tu mihi turba locis.

L. 4. e. 121
A wilderness, unknown to man, with thee
Were bleft, and populous enough for me ;
For where thou art each sorrow flies away,

Desarts are worlds, and night outshines the day. I have often lamented we have not so good a translation of this delicate poet and polite lover, as his excellence deserves.

(8) Bring, &c.] Nothing can more admirably picture to us the horror of a guilty conscience, than this frantic raving of the cardinal :

When

Oh, torture me no more, I will confess.
Alive again? Then shew me where he is :
I'll give a thousand pounds to look upon him-
He hath no eyes, the dust hath blinded them:
Comb down his hair ; look! look! it stands upright,
Like lime-twigs set to catch my winged foul :
Give me some drink, and bid th' apothecary
Bring the strong poison that I bought of him.

ACT IV. SCENE I.

Night. (9) The gaudy, babling, and remorseful day Is crept into the bofom of the sea : (10) And now loud howling wolves arouse the jades, That dragic melancholy night;

Who

When death's approach is seen fo terrible

Ah, what a sign it is of evil life! Thus hath guilt, even in this world, its due reward, and iniquity is not suffered to go unpunished : the well-weighing such frightful scenes might, perhaps, be of no small service to fuch. as despise lectures from the pulpit, and laugh at the interested representations of divines.

(9) The, &c,] See the last passage in the Midsummer Night's Dream. Spencer, speaking of night, says;

And all the while she stood upon the ground,
The wakeful dogs did never cease to bay,
As giving warning of th’ unwonted sound,
With which her iron wheels did them affray,
And her dark griefly look, them much dismay.
The messenger of death, the ghaitly owl,
With dreary shrieks, did also her bewray,
And hungry wolves continually did howl,
At her abhorred face, fo filthy and so foul.

See Faerie Queene, B. 1. C. 5. I. 30. (10) No numbers can better express the thing than these, Shakespear shews us, that he can as well excel in that, as in every other branch of poetry. None of the so celebrated lines of Ho

mert

[ocr errors]

Who with their drowsy, flow, and flagging wings,
Clip dead mens graves; and from their misty jaws
Breathe foul contagious darkness in the air.

SCENE VI. Kent.
(11) Kent, in the commentaries Cæfar writ,
Is term’d the civil'st place of all this ifle;
Sweet is the country, because full of riches;
The people liberal, valiant, active, wealthy.

Lord Say's Apology for himself.
Justice, with favour, have I always done;
Prayers and tears have mov'd me, gists could never :
(12) When have I aught exacted at your

hands? Kent, to maintain, the king, the realm and you.

Large

mer and Virgil, of this fort, deserve more commendation : here
the line, as it ought, justly labours, and the verse moves flow.
However, I intend not to enter into any criticism on Shakespear's
versification, wherein could we prove him superior to all other
writers, we muit still acknowledge it the least and most trifing
matter wherein he is superior. It is worth observing, that
what Shakespear says of the clipping dead mens graves, might
not impoffibly be taken from Theocritus, who, speaking of He-
cate, the infernal and nocturnal deity, in his 2d Idyllium, says-

Τα χθονια Εκατα, &c.
Infernal Hecate, howling dogs abhor,
When ʼmidst the dead mens graves, and putrid gore,

She stalks-
(11) Kent, &c.] York, in the next play, A. i. S. 4. speaking
of the Keniiflimen, says,

In them I trust; for they are soldiers,
Wealthy and courteous, liberal, full of spirit.

[ocr errors]

(12) When, &c.] The interrogation in all the editions is placed at the end of this line: the passage, in my opinion, hould be pointed chus:

When

Large gifts have I bestow'd on learned clerks ;
Because my book preferr'd me to the king :
And seeing ignorance is the curse of God,
Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven,
Unless you be poffefs’d with dev'lish spirits,
You cannot but forbear to murder me.

When have I ought exacted at your hands,
Kint, to maintain, the king, the realm, and you ?

This renders the passage plain and easy : that he should have bestowed gifts on learned clerks to maintain Kent, the king, &c. is something very unreasonable; that he should have bestowed gifts on them because his book preferred him to the king, is Bot only reasonable, but extremely probable.

General Observations.

THE contention (says Mrs. Lenox ) between the two houses of York and Lancaster furnishes the incidents which compose this play. 'The action begins with King Henry's marriage, which wasin the twenty-third year of his reign, and closes with the first battle fought at St. Albans and won by the York faction, in the thirtythird year of his reign; so that it takes in the history and transactions of ten years.

Shakespear has copied Holing shed pretty closely throughout this whole play, except in his relation of the Duke of Suffolk's death. The Chronicle tells us, that King Henry, to satisfy the nobility and people, who hated this favourite, condemned him to banishment during the space of five years. In his passage to France he was taken by a ship of war belonging to the Duke of Excer, constable of the Tower; the captain of which ship carried him into Dover road, and there struck off his head on the side of a cock-boat.

In Shakespear, he is taken by English pirates on the coast of Kent, who, notwithstanding the large ransom he offers them, resolve to murder him. One of them, in the course of his conversation with the Duke, tells him, that his name is Walter

Whitmore;

Whilmore ; and observing him start, asks him, if he is frighted at death, to which Suffolk replied.

Thy name atfrights me, in whose found is death,
A cunning man did calculate my birth,

And told me that by Walter I should die. This circumstance is not to be found, either in Hall or Holingfhed; and as it has greatly the air of fiction, Sbakespear probably borrowed it from the same tale that furnished him with the loves of Suffolk and the Queen, on which several passionate scenes in this play, as well as the former, are built.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »