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does, and most that he speaks. He has indeed a reasonable gift of practical shrewdness, is not without frequent flashes of strong and ready sense ; yet even these, through his overweening selfimportance of rank and place, only serve to invest him all the more with the air of a conceited, blustering, consequential booby. It is very curious to observe how his vein of pithy and sententious remark goes to heighten the ridiculousness of his character, from the Saint-Vitus’-Dance of mind, so to speak, through which it comes sprawling out. Therewithal, he is rude, coarse, boisterous, vain, insolent, ambitious, malignant. Thus rendered ludicrous by whatsoever is best in him, and rendered frightful by whatsoever is not ludicrous; savage in feeling, awkward in person, absurd in manners; he is of course just the last man that any lady of sense or sensibility could be brought to endure. His calling Imogen an “imperceiverant thing," for not appreciating his superiority to Posthumus in the qualities that invite a lady's respect and affection, aptly illustrates the refined irony with which the character is drawn.
The character of Cloten was for a long time thought to be out of nature and monstrous. But Miss Seward tells us, in one of her letters, that he is the exact prototype of a man she once knew : “ The unmeaning frown of the countenance; the shuffling gait; the burst of speaking ; the bustling insignificance; the fever-andague fits of valour; the froward tetchiness; the unprincipled malice; and, what is most curious, the occasional gleams of good sense amid the floating clouds of folly which generally darkened and confused the man's brain, and which, in Cloten, we are apt lo impute to a violation of unity of character ;- but in the somelime Captain C-n I saw the portrait of Cloten was not out of nature." All which would seem to infer that in this instance Shakespeare made the original, and nature imitated him !
The part of lachimo illustrates, though not on a very large scale, Shakespeare's peculiar science and learned dealing in the moral constitution of man. At our first meeting with Iachimo, he is in just that stage of moral sickness, that he must be worse be.. fore he can be better; and in his sharp practice on the wager bis disease reaches the extreme point which, even because it is extreme, starts a process of moral revolution within him ; setting him to a hard diet of remorse and repentance, and conducting him through these to renovation and health. So that his treachery is one of those large over-doses of crime which sometimes have the effect of purging off men's criminality. Such is the cunning leechcraft of nature : out of men's vices she hatches scorpions to sash and sting them into virtue.
Those who think poetry dwells more in the palace than the cottage, and that Shakespeare is apt to postpone the rights of untitled manbood in favour of conventional aristocracy, may be sent to school to Pisanio; who is, socially, the humblest person in the drama, yet bis being is “all compact” of essential heroism. His action shows not one self-regarding thought or purpose : he alone seems to live and breathe purely for others. And what shrewdness, what forecast, what fertility of beneficence there is in him! His character is lifted into the highest region of poetry by his oblivion of self; and even those whom he serves derive much of their poetry from his self-forgetting, incorruptible loyalty to them.
In the two princes the Poet again shows his preference of the innate to the acquired ; if indeed one may venture to affirm wha is due to nature, and what to årt, in a place where have fallen the instructions of the veteran sage and hero whom they call father From the lips of old Belarius they have drunk in the lore of wis dom and virtue : all their nobler aplitudes have been fed and nur. tured alike by the stories of his life and by the influences of their mountain home. What they hear from him only makes them desire to be like himn when they are old; and this desire prompts them to go where he has been, see what he has seen, and do as he has done. So that all bis arguments for keeping them withdrawn fiom the world are refuted by his own character; they cannot rest away from scenes where such treasures grow. The wisdom of expe. rience in him and the wisdom of nature in thein are both equaily beautiful in their way, both equally becoming in their place; and if they have been to him the best of materials to work upon, he bas been to them the best of workmen. Except themselves, truth, piety, gentleness, heroism, are the only inmates of their rocky dwelling. Love and reverence, the principles of whatsoever is greatest and best in human character, have sprung up in their breasts in healthy, happy proportion, and indissolubly wedded themselves to the simple and majestic forms of nature arouna tbem. Aud how inexpressibly tender and sweet the pathos that mingles in their solemnities round the tomb of their gentle visitor, supposed to be dead! But, indeed, of these forest scenes it is impossible to speak with any sort of justice. And we cannot tell wbether the “ holy witchcraft” of these scenes be owing more to the heroic veteran, the two princely boys, or the “ fair youth” that has strayed ainongst them,
“ A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament." It is hardly too much to say, that whatsoever is most beautiful elsewhere in the Poet, is imaged here in happier beauty. And when the youthful dwellers in the mountain and the rock, awed and melted by the occasion, weep and warble over the grave of that “ blessed thing" that seems to have dropped down from heaven merely to win their love and vanish; one would think the scene must, as Schlegel says, “give to the most deadened imagi. pation a new life for poetry.”
CYMBELINE, King of Britain.
PHILARIO, Friend to posthumus, } Italians.
QUEEN, Wife to Cymbeline.
Lords, Ladies, Roman Senators, Tribunes, Apparitions a
Soothsayer, a Dutch Gentleman, a Spanish Gentleman, Musicians, Officers, Captains, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.
SCENE, sometimes in Britain, sometimes in Italy,
The Garden behind CYMBELINE's Palace.
Enter Two Gentlemen. 1 Gent. You do not meet a man but frowns : ou
bloods No more obey the heavens, than our courtiers Still seem as does the king.' 2 Gent.
But what's the matter ? 1 Gent. His daughter, and the heir of 's kingdom,
whom He purpos'd to his wife's sole son, (a widow That late he married,) hath referr'd herself
I That is, our bloods do not more feel the changes of the weather, or our tempers, the “ skyey influences,” thau our courtiers still put on the seeming of the king, and look as he looks. The same thought occurs a little after, thus : “ Not a courtier, although they wear their faces to the bent of the king's looks, bath a heart that is not glad at the thing tbey scowl at.” So in Greene's Never too Late, 1599 : “ If the king smiled, every one in court was in his jollitie ; if he frowned, the:r plumes fell like peacock's feathers ; so that their outward presence depended on bis inward passions." Bloods was often used for dispositions or tempers ; and the tém: pers of men were supposed to obey or sympathise with the heavens, that is, the tempers of the sky. The original has kings, which is evidently a misprint for king. The passage has caused a great deal of discussion, owing to the naughty s in kings. A
Unto a poor but worthy gentleman : She's wedded,
None but the king ? 1 Gent. He that hath lost her, too; so is the
queen, That most desir'd the match : but not a courtier, Although they wear their faces to the bent Of the king's looks, hath a heart that is not Glad at the thing they scowl at. 2 Gent.
And why so ?
I do not think
You speak him far.”
and birth ? 1 Gent. I cannot delve him to the root. His father Was call's Sicilius, who did gain his honour Against the Romans with Cassibelan, But had his titles by Tenantius," whom
· That is, run your speech of him to an extreme.
* The meaning is, my praise, however extreme it may appear is less than the truth warrants : I rather stop short of his merits than go the full length of them.
4 Tenantius was the father of Cymbeline, and the son of Lud