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nature, and with all the familiarity of an old recollection. whole coheres semblably together," in time, place, and circumstance.
In reading this author, you do not merely learn what his characters say ; you see their persons. By something expressed or understood, you are at no loss to decipher their peculiar physiognomy, the meaning of a look, the grouping, the by-play, as we might see it on the stage. A word, an epithet, paints a whole scene, or throws us back whole years in the history of the person represented. So (as it has been ingeniously remarked), when Prospero describes himself as being left alone in the boat with his daughter, the epithet which he applies to her, “Me and thy crying self,” flings the imagination instantly back from the grown woman to the helpless condition of infancy, and places the first and most trying scene of his misfortune before us, with all that he must have suffered in the interval.
How well the silent anguish of Macduff is conveyed to the reader, by the friendly expostulation of Malcolm,—“What ! man, ne'er pull your hat upon your brows !” Again, Hamlet, in the scene with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, somewhat abruptly concludes his fine soliloquy on life by saying, “Man delights me not, nor woman neither, though, by your smiling, you seem to say so :” which is explained by their answer—“My lord, we had no such stuff in our thoughts; but we smiled to think, if you delight not in man, what scanty entertainment the players shall receive from you, whom we met on the way ;"- as if, while Hamlet was making his speech, his two old school-fellows from Wittenberg had been really standing by, and he had seen them smiling by stealth, at the idea of the players crossing their minds. It is not 6 a combination and a form” of words, a set-speech or two, a preconcerted theory of a character, that will do this, but all the persons concerned must have been present in the poet's imagination, as at a kind of rehearsal ; and whatever would have passed through their minds on the occasion, and bave been observed by others, passed through his, and is made known to the reader.
WOLSEY AND CROMWELL.
Wolsey.-Farewell, a long farewell, to I humbly thank his grace; and from these all my greatness !
shoulders, This is the state of man: to-day he puts These ruined pillars, out of pity, taken forth
A load would sink a navy, too much honour: The tender leaves of hopes; to-morrow 'tis a burden, Cromwell, 'tis a burden blossoms,
Too heavy for a man that hopes for heaven! And bears his blushing honours thick upon Crom.--I am glad your grace has made him;
that right use of it. The third day comes a frost, a killing frost; Wol.-I hope I have. I am able now, And—when he thinks, good easy man, full
(Out of a fortitude of soul I feel), His greatness is a ripening—nips his root, T'endure more miseries, and greater far, And then he falls, as I do. I have ven- Than my weak-hearted enemies dare offer, tured,
What news abroad? Like little wanton boys that swim on blad- Crom. —The heaviest, and the worst, ders,
Is your displeasure with the king. This many summers in a sea of glory;
Wol. God bless him ! But far beyond my depth: my high-blown Crom.-The next is, that Sir Thomas pride
More is chosen
Wol.---That's somewhat sudden:
tice Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate For truth's sake and his conscience; that ye;
his bones, I feel my heart new opened: Oh, how When he has run his course, and sleeps in wretched
blessings, Is that poor man that hangs on princes' | May have a tomb of orphans' tears wept favours!
on 'em! There is, betwixt that smile we would What more? aspire to,
Crom. That Cranmer is returned with That sweet aspect of princes, and their welcome, ruin,
Installed Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. More pangs and fears than wars or women Wol. - That's news indeed. have;
Crom.-Last, that the Lady Anne, And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,- Whom the king hath in secrecy long Never to hope again.
This day was viewed in open, as his queen, Enter CROMWELL, amazedly.
Going to chapel; and the voice is now Why, how now, Cromwell ?
Only about her coronation. Crom.--I have no power to speak, sir. Wol.-There was the weight that pulled Wol. - What! amazed
me down. O Cromwell! At my misfortunes? Can thy spirit wonder The king has gone beyond me; A great man should decline? Nay, an you glories weep,
In that one woman I have lost for ever. I am fallen indeed.
No sun shall ever usher forth my honours, Crom.-How does your grace?
Dr gild again the noble troops that waited Wol.-Why, well.
Upon my smiles. Go, get thee from me, Never so truly happy, my good Cromwell. Cromwell; I know myself now; and I feel within me I am a poor fallen man, unworthy now A peace above all earthly dignities
To be thy lord and master. Seek the king; A still and quiet conscience. The king That sun, I pray, may never set! I have has cured me,
What and how true thou art: he will ad- | A sure and safe one, though thy master vance thee;
missed it. Some little memory of me will stir him Mark but my fall, and that which ruined (I know his noble nature not to let Thy hopeful service perish too. Good Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away amCromwell,
bition : Neglect him not; make use now, and pro- By that sin fell the angels; how can man, vide
then, For thine own future safety.
The image of his Maker, hope to win by't? Crom.--0, my lord,
Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that Must I then leave you? must I needs forego hate thee; So good, so noble, and so true a master? Corruption wins not more than honesty. Bear witness, all that have not hearts of Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace, iron,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and With what a sorrow Cromwell leaves his fear not: lord.
Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy The king shall have my service; but my country's, prayers
Thy God's, and truth's; then if thou fall'st, For ever and for ever shall be yours.
O Cromwell, Wol.--Cromwell, I did not think to shed Thou fall'st a blessed martyr. Serve the a tear
king; In all my miseries ; but thou hast forced And-Prithee, lead me in :
There take an inventory of all I have, Out of thy honest truth to play the woman. To the last penny; 'tis the king's: my Let's dry our eyes, and thus far hear me, robe, Cromwell;
And my integrity to Heaven, is all And--when I am forgotten, as I shall be, I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, And sleep in dull cold marble, where no Cromwell! mention
Had I but served my God with half the Of me more must be heard of-say, I zeal taught thee;
I served my king, he would not in mine Say, Wolsey—that once trod the ways of age glory,
Have left me naked to mine enemies. And sounded all the depths and shoals Crom.--Good sir, have patience. of honour
Wol. ----So I have. Farewell Found thee a way, out of his wrack, to The hopes of court! my hopes in heaven
SCENE FROM MACBETH.
thou not hear a noise?
the crickets cry. Did not you speak ? Macb.
When ? Lady M.
As I descended?
Lady M. A foolish thought, to say a sorry
sight. Macb. There's one did laugh in his sleep, and one cried,
“Murther!” That they did wake each other; I stood
and heard them : But they did say their prayers, and ad
dressed them Again to sleep. Lady M. There are two lodged to
gether. Macb. One cried, “God bless us !” and
* Amen," the other; As they had seen me, with these hangman's
Listening their fear, I could not say, Macb.
go no more : Amen,”
I am afraid to think what I have none; When they did say, “God bless us.
Look on't again I dare not.
Infirm of purpose ! Macb. But wherefore could I not pro- Give me the daggers: the sleeping and the nounce, Amen?"
dead I had most need of blessing, and “Amen" Are but as pictures; 'tis the eye of childhood Stuck in my throat.
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed, Lady M. These deeds must not be thought i'll gild the faces of the grooms withal, After these ways; so, it will make us For it must seem their guilt. mad.
[Exit. Knocking within. Macb. Methought I heard a voice cry, Macb. Whence is that knocking ? * Sleep no more!
How is't with me, when every noise Macbeth does murther sleep!”--the inno- appals me? cent sleep;
What hands are here? Ha! they pluck Sleep, that knits up the ravelled sleave of out mine eyes ! care,
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this The death of each day's life, sore labour's blood bath,
Clean from my hand? No; this my hand Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second will rather course,
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.
Re-enter LADY MACBETH.
Lady M. My hands are of your colour; Glamis hath murthered sleep: and there- but I shame fore Cawdor
To wear a heart so white. [Knock.] I hear Shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep a knocking no more !”
At the south entry :-retire we to our Lady M. Who was it that thus cried ? chamber : Why, worthy thane,
A little water clears us of this deed : You do unbend your noble strength, to How easy is it then! Your constancy think
Hath left you unattended.--[Knocking. So brain-sickly of things :-Go, get some Hark! more knocking. water,
Get on your night-gown, lest occasion call And wash this filthy witness from your us, hand.
And show us to be watchers :--Be not lost Why did you bring these daggers from the So poorly in your thoughts. place?
Macb. To know my deed, 'twere best not They must lie there : go, carry them; and know myself.
Wake Duncan with thy knocking !-I The sleepy grooms with blood.
would thou couldst !
THE KNOCKING AT THE GATE, IN MACBETH. From my boyish days I had always felt a great perplexity on one point in Macbeth. It was this : the knocking at the gate, which succeeds to the murder of Duncan, produced to my feelings an effect for which I never could account. The effect was, that it reflected back upon the murder a peculiar awfulness and a depth of solemnity; yet, however obstinately I endeavoured with my understanding to comprehend this, for many years I never could see why it should produce such an effect.
My understanding could furnish no reason why the knocking at the gate in Macbeth should produce any effect, direct or reflected. In fact, my understanding said positively that it could not produce any effect. But I knew better : I felt that it did ; and I waited and clung to the problem until further knowledge should enable me to solve it. At length I solved it to my own satisfaction, and my solution is this: Murder in ordinary cases, where the sympathy is wholly directed to the case of the murdered person, is an incident of coarse and vulgar horror; and for this reason, that it flings the interest exclusively upon the natural but ignoble instinct by which we cleave to life ; an instinct which, as being indispensable to the primal law of self-preservation, is the same in kind (though different in degree) among all living creatures : this instinct, therefore, because it annihilates all distinctions, and degrades the greatest of men to the level of “the poor beetle that we tread on,” exhibits human nature in its most abject and humiliating attitude.
Such an attitude would little suit the purposes of the poet. What, then, must he do ? He must throw the interest on the murderer. Our sympathy must be with him (of course I mean a sympathy of comprehension, a sympathy by which we enter into his feelings and are made to understand them—not a sympathy of pity or approbation). In the murdered person all strife of thought, all flux and reflux of passion and of purpose, are crushed by one overwhelming panic: the fear of instant death smites him “ with its petrific mace.” But in the murderer (such a murderer as a poet will condescend to) there must be raging some great storm of passion-jealousy, ambition, vengeance, hatred—which will create a hell within him; and into this hell we are to look.
In Macbeth, for the sake of gratifying his own enormous and teeming faculty of creation, Shakspeare has introduced two murderers; and, as usual in his hands, they are remarkably discriminated: but, though in Macbeth the strife of mind is greater than in his wife—the tiger spirit not so awake, and his feelings caught