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STUDY OF SHAKESPEARE.

137 ould fill a very large house; and the wonder still rows

. "It is we who are Shakespeare," said Coleridge, iting him as the one man who contained all the Engsh nation. Yes, it is we, men and women too; for, ntil he wrote, the beauty, purity, nobility, and loving ondness of woman had received but slight poetic exression. His servants are the best servants, his dairynaids the freshest and prettiest, his hinds the quaintest and nattiest, his jesters the most piquant and wittiest,

s gentlemen and soldiers the bravest, his ladies the noblest and fairest, his counsellors the most sage, and his kings the most kingly upon earth. What a man and what a woman should be, he knew; and this not only of the greatest, but of the most vicious and degraded. To be compared to a gentleman as drawn by Shakespeare, is the highest praise for man; to be paralleled with one of Shakespeare's women, the finest compliment that can be paid to any lady in the land

Now, all this said, much more could be written for the poet went beyond the earth in his creations, 01. as Dr. Johnson, moved to fervour in the contemplation, said

Exhausted worlds, and then imagined new ; and this is no high-flown description, but simply the barest truth. It follows, then, that the study of Soake. speare should be one of the principal studies of lives. We should read him by day, and metitute of him by night. His lines are full of light, 2. of that never leads astray. His purity is besar prase. his proverbial wisdom wholesome, his religion join In short, ther

which, attendi

died will

to know in

world; they are—the Bible, and the works of William Shakespeare.

| For an admirable edition of Shakespeare's text, cleared of blunders and crude conjectures, and enriched by acute critical remarks, the student is referred to that of the Rev. Alexander Dyce (Lond. 1867). The Cambridge Shakespeare is also very valuable, exhibiting not only the various readings of the old copies, but also the conjectures and emendations of the commentators. Of the old variorum editions, the last and best is Malone's, edited by Boswell (1821). Cheap, yet reliable reprints of Shakespeare are the “Globe” (Macmillan), and the “Handy Volume Shakespeare” (Bradbury and Co.). As quotations from this author are so common in school-books and elsewhere, it has been thought advisable to reserve valuable space for extracts from works less generally known.

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DRAMATIC LITERATURE.

(Continued.) ACKET, Bishop of Lichfieldand Coventry, used this motto, no bad one: "Fear God and be cheerful ;" and English intellect seems to have followed the advice through

many ages. Hence, while we abound with divines and learned theologians, with grave tragedians, distinguished by deep thought and a continual and reverential reference to the higher powers, we equally abound with comic writers, sketchers of manners, students of human nature, and those who observingly distil from life its cheerful, health-inspiring lessons, or who move our laughter at its petty annoyances and the humorous aspect of our countrymen.

Shakespeare was equally at home in tragedy or comedy; and, as Sir Joshua Reynolds has painted Garrick, haled on one hand by Tragedy and on the other by Comedy, and not knowing which side to take, so our greatest poet might be symbolically depicted, hardly knowing to which to devote his ever-present and mighty genius.

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Following in his train come a crowd of writers, many of whom certainly had commenced dramatic authorship before him, and of the more important of whom we may say, if time permit, the student should read; he may be sure of finding in their tragedies elevated and pure thoughts, and in their comedies pastoral scenes, or those drawn from the domestic and city life of the period, which will help him to understand the everyday and even the intellectual life of the great nation from which we are sprung.

Chapman, Middleton, Decker, Webster, Marston, Heywood, Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger, Ford, and Shirley are among the principal of these; and it is proposed to introduce them to the student in the order in which they are named, some of them necessarily in brief fashion. It is just to add that the list is not a complete one: the merits of the minor playwrights are not enlarged upon, though many of these are superior to those who stood in the first rank in the period following the Restoration.

To George Chapman, as a dramatic writer, slight reference has already been made. He was the author of seventeen plays, in some of which he was assisted by contemporaries. Charles Lamb says of him that he approaches nearest to Shakespeare in the descriptive and didactic, but that he did not excel in dramatic imitation. He could not go out of himself, as Shakespeare could shift at pleasure to inform and animate other existences, but in himself he had an eye to perceive and a soul to embrace all forms.

“ I have often thought that the vulgar misconception of Shakespeare, as of a wild irregular genius, in whom great faults are compensated by great beauties,' would be

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