Puslapio vaizdai

Caf. My heart is thirsty for that noble pledge.
Fill, Lucius, till the wine o'er-swell the cup;
I cannot drink too much of Brutus' love.

SCENE V. Opportunity to be seiz’d on in all Affairs.
There is a tide in the affairs of

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows, and in miseries,
On such a full fea are we now a-float:
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.


The Parting of Brutus and Caffius.

Bru. No, Cassius, no ; think not, thou noble Row

man, That ever Brutus will


bound to Rome ;
He bears too great a mind. But this same day
Must end that work, the ides of March began;
And, whether we shall meet again, I know not ;
Therefore our everlasting farewel take;
For ever, and for ever, farewel, Caffius !
If we do meet again, why we shall smile;
If not, why, then this parting was well made.

Caf. For ever, and for ever, farewel, Brutus !
If we do meet again, we'll smile indeed :
If not, 'tis true, this parting was well made.
Bru. Why then, lead on. O, that a man might

The end of this day's business ere it come!
But it sufficeth, that the day will end;
And then the end is known.


Melancholy, the Parent of Error.
Oh hateful error, melancholy's child !
Why doft thou shew to the apt thoughts of men
The things that are not ? error, foon conceiv'd,
Thou never com'st' unto a happy birth,
But kill'st the mother that engender'd thee.

- Antony's Chorsetir of Brutus.
This was the nobleit Roman of them all :
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did, that they did, in envy


Cæsar :
He, only, in a general honest thought,
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixt in him, that nature might stand up,
* And say to all the world ; “ This was a man!"

It may perhaps be needless to inform the reader, that the duke of Buckingham, displeas’d with what the critics esteem so great a fault in this play, the death of Julius Cæsar, in the third Act, hath made two plays of it ; but I am afraid the lovers of ShakeSpear will be apt to place that nobleman's performance on a level with the reft of those who have attempted to alter, or a. mend Shakespear.


King LEAR.


An alienated Child

(1) LET it be fo, thy truth then be thy dower:

For by the facred radiance of the fun,
The mysteries of Hecate, and the night,
By all the operations of the orbs,

From whom we do exist, and cease to be ;
Here I difclaim all my paternal care,
Propinquity, and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my l
heart and me,

[ocr errors]

Hold thee, from this, for ever. The barb'rous Scy


Or he that makes his generation meffes
To gorge his appetite, fhall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev'd,
As thou my fometime daughter.


Thou, nature, art my goddefs; to thy law My fervices are bound; (2) wherefore should I


(1) Let, &c.] The reader will do well to obferve, Shakespear makes his characters in king Lear strictly conformable to the religion of their times: the not attending fufficiently to this, hath accafioned fome Critics greatly to err in their remarks on this play.

(2) Wherefore, &c.] The baftard is here complaining of the tyranny of cuftom, and produces two inftances, to fhew the plague and oppreffion of it; the firft, in the cafe of elder brothers; the


A San An

Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curtesy of nations to deprive me,

For that I am fome twelve or fourteen moon-fhines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? Wherefore base?
When my dimenfions are as well compact,
My mind as gen'rous, and my fhape as true,
As honest madam's iffue? Why brand they us
With base? with basenefs? bastardy ? base, base?
(3) Who, in the lufty ftealth of nature, take
More compofition and fierce quality;
Than doth, within a dull, ftale, tired bed,
Go to creating a whole tribe of fops,
(4) Got 'tween afleep and wake?


fecond, of baftards. With regard to the firft, we are to fuppofe him fpeaking of himself only as an objector, making the cafe his own, according to a common manner of arguing: "Wherefore, fays he, fhould I (or any man) ftand in [within] the plague [the punishment or fcourge] of cuftom, why fhould I continue in its oppreffive power, and permit the courtesy of nations to deprive me, to take away from, rob, and injure me, because, &c.

(3) Who, &c.] Mr. Warburton quotes a paffage here, well worth remarking----"How much the lines following this are in character, fays he, may be feen by that monftrous wish of Vanini, the Italian atheist, in his tract, De admirandis naturæ reginæ deaque mortalium arcanis, printed at Paris 1616, the very year our poet died. O utinam extra legitimum & connubialem thorum effem procreatus! Ita enim progenitores mei in venerem incaluiffent ardentius, accumulatim affatimq; gene ofa femina contuliffent, èquibus ego formæ blanditiam, ac elegantiam robuftas corporis vires, mentemque innubilam confequutus fuiffem. At quia conjugatorum fum foboles his orbatus fum bonis. Had the book been publish'd but ten or twenty years fooner, who would not have believ'd that Shakespear alluded to this paffage? But the divinity of his genius foretold, as it were, what fuch an atheist, as Vanini, would fay, when he wrote upon fuch a fubject."

I have forbore giving a translation of the Latin, because ShakeSpear's words are a fine paraphrafe of it, and because it perhaps, is not proper for all ears: but if, fuppofing Vanini had wrote firft, we fhould have imagined, Shakespear alluded to him may we not, as it is, believe Vanini alluded to Shakespear? (4) Got 'tween asleep and wake This reading runs thro' all the editions, and is indeed very plaufible: tho' it feems to me, the

; why


SCENE VIII. Aftrology ridicul'd

(5) This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are fick in fortune, (often the furfeits of our own behaviour) we make guilty of our difafters, the fun the moon and ftars; as if we were villains on neceffity, fools, by heavenly compulfion; knaves, thieves, and treacherous, by spherical predominance; diunkards, lyars and adulterers, by an inforc'd obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evafion of whore-mafter man, to lay his goatish difpofition on the charge of a ftar! my father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail, and my nativity was under Urfa major; fo that it follows, I am rough and lecherous. I fhould

paffage originally flood, Got atween fleep and wake. The a might very eafily have been fo tranfpofed, and atween is very common with all the old writers down to, and below our author.

(5) This, &c] Aftrology was in much higher credit in our author's time than in Milton's, who, nevertheless, hath satirised it in the fevereft manner poffible, by making it patronifed even by the devil himself: for in the 4th book of his Paradife Regain'd, the devil thus addreffes our faviour.

If I read aught in heaven,

Or heav'n write aught of fate, by what the ftars
Voluminous or fingle characters
In their conjunction met, give me to fpell,
Sorrows and labours, oppofitions, hate,
Attend thee, fcorns reproaches, injuries,
Violence and ftripes, and laftly cruel death:
A kingdom they portend thee, but what kingdom,
Real or allegoric, I difcern not,

Nor when eternal fure, as without end.
Without beginning; for no date prefixt
Directs me in the starry rubric fet.

V. 382.

Where it is to be obferv'd, fays Mr. Warburton, that the poet thought it not enough to difcredit judicial aftrology, by making it patronifed by the devil, without fhewing at the fame time, the abfurdity of it. He has therefore very judiciously made him blunder, in the expreffion of portending a kingdom, which was without beginning. This deftroys all he wou'd infinuate,"

« AnkstesnisTęsti »