Page images

"O benefit of ill! now I find true

That better is by evil still made better ;
And ruined love, when it is built anew,

Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater."

In the later ripeness of their friendship, Herbert complained that his friend had ceased to write to him as in the earlier stages of their intercourse. Shakespeare explains and excuses his silence thus:


My love is strengthened, though more weak in seeming;

I love not less, though less the show appear;
That love is merchandised whose rich esteeming
The owner's tongue doth publish everywhere.
Our love was new, and then but in the spring,
When I was wont to greet it with my lays;
As Philomel in summer's front doth sing,
And stops his pipe in growth of riper days:
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burthens every bough,

And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
Therefore, like her, I sometimes hold my tongue,
Because I would not dull you with my song."

Shakespeare, in his modesty, and in the felt disparity of his performance to his idea and aspiration, undervalued his own productions. But Herbert admiringly applauded and cherished them, and scorned to care what the fashionable world might think of the incompatibility of an equal friendship between a peerless earl and a despised player. In a mood of melancholy presentiment, the poet, foreseeing that after his death some persons will task his noble friend to recite what merit he had seen in him to love so much, says:

"O, lest your true love may seem false in this,
That you for love speak well of me untrue,
My name be buried where my body is,
And live no more to shame nor me nor you.
For I am shamed by that which I bring forth,

And so should you, to love things nothing worth."

[ocr errors]

One more quotation and strangely lofty and plaintive is its strain, as if a snatch of melody, wailed over some angel's hearse in the hall of heaven, had wandered down to mortal ears must suffice. The conceptions of Prospero, Hamlet, and Lear, stirring all the depths of affection and wonder as VOL. LXXIII. — 5TH S. VOL. XI. NO. III. 37


they do, evoke and fix upon their author our personal love and admiration in a fainter degree than the unmatched disinterestedness, the divine humanity of these lines:

"No longer mourn for me when I am dead,
Than you shall hear the surly, sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell.
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it: for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O if, I say, you look upon this verse
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay;

Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone."

It cannot but be regretted that no record of this friendship on the part of Pembroke exists from his own pen: though the omission is not mysterious, but natural, since it is not customary for men, save those like a Goethe, in whom the literary propensity is predominant, to write the history of their affections. We know not how he bore the death of his immortal companion, whether he attended his funeral, or paid any other tribute to his memory besides accepting the dedication of his plays. He survived that event fourteen years, and died instantly in the night, of apoplexy,- a sudden rush of blood into the rich chambers of the brain where lived so many of Shakespeare's thoughts, and perchance so many thoughts of Shakespeare. A melancholy tradition in the Pembroke family relates that, when an incision was made in his side for the purpose of embalming, the right arm rose in gesture of deprecation.

And here ends the story of the friendship recounted in the Sonnets of Shakespeare, though the portions brought forward only hint the riches contained in the rest. The contemptuous estimate of them once current is no longer possible; but the final verdict of the world on their merits will furnish as striking a contrast to that now popular, as is already afforded by a comparison of the rank now assigned by mankind to the intellectual and moral quality of his plays with that assigned by Hume and Voltaire, when the former said, "Born in a rude age, without any instruction either from

the world or from books, a reasonable propriety of thought he cannot for any time uphold," and the latter said, "Hamlet seems the work of a drunken savage." They are personal and autobiographic, crowded with glorious opulence of genius, art, and tenderness to a degree which few even of their fondest readers have yet discerned. Whoever would see the interior of Shakespeare must look at him here, in these spirit-mirrors which reflect the deepest phases of his heart. They show that he was gifted to admire and love in the same transcendent degree as to see and write. Indeed, the popular separation of intellect and affection, as if they were endowments quite apart, one often being mighty while the other is petty, is essentially a fallacy. They are but different phases of one process of spirit. Under equally favorable conditions the same mass and motion of spirit go to each, and they are mutual measures. Normally, the greater and finer the mind, the greater and finer also the heart.


1. The Cotton Kingdom. By FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED. New York: Mason Brothers. 1861. 2 vols.

2. Letters to the President, on the Foreign and Domestic Policy of the Union, and its Effects, as exhibited in the Condition of the People and the State. By H. C. CAREY. Philadelphia: M. Polock. 1858.

3. The Future Civilization of the South. A Sermon preached on the 13th of April, 1862, in the South Congregational Church, Boston. By EDWARD E. HALE.

THE month of September, just passed, will be looked back to, in future time, as the turning-point in the history of the war and of the nation. In the history of the war it marks the termination of the second period of military operations. Twice since the war began we have moved upon the rebel capital; both times we were foiled, and both times, by a curious coincidence, the plains of Manasses witnessed the crowning success of the enemy's arms. The first period was short,

and characterized by a feverish excitement and impatience. Its military history may be summed up in our occupation of Cairo and Fortress Monroe, the most important strategic points west and east, and Fort Pickens; also by the triumphant career of Lyon in Missouri, and of McClellan in Western Virginia. But politicians were not satisfied with the slowmaturing plans of the general-in-chief, and succeeded in July in precipitating the advance of a half-organized, poorly disciplined, and ill-provided army upon the strong position of the enemy. It was driven back in utter rout and confusion, and before many weeks our line had given way before the surging hosts of the rebels, who were only checked by our fast hold upon the three positions of Cairo, Fortress Monroe, and Washington. Missouri was overrun, hostilities renewed in Western Virginia, and the war carried into Kentucky.

Then followed weary months of inaction, in which the country, profiting well by the severe lesson of July, waited with wonderful patience until this undisciplined body of men was transformed, in the words of General McClellan, into "a real army, magnificent in material, admirable in discipline and instruction, excellently equipped and armed." The rapid and solid successes gained testify to the comprehensiveness and good judgment of the plans at head-quarters. All the Southern coast, except the three ports of Wilmington, Charleston, and Mobile, and the coast of Texas, all the line of the Mississippi except Vicksburg, nearly the whole State of Tennessee, and a part of Arkansas, were speedily in our possession. In those few glorious weeks the American flag was planted on the soil of seven States from which it had been defiantly driven a year before. The two powers — the Republic and the Rebellion-were fairly measured, with all resources and energies called into action, and the rebel invariably went to the wall. It seemed as if we had but to send a fleet of gunboats, and the fort surrendered. Our armies advanced, and, as General Mitchell said, found their only difficulty in getting a sight of the enemy. The chief censure our commanders received was for suffering the foe to run away. But a change came, we will not inquire whence. Historians will be able to decide whose is the responsibility for the mismanagement that sacrificed so many of these gains,

reduced this splendid army by a half, and drove it back in disgrace to the fortifications of Washington. We have nothing to do with this question, and have only introduced this sketch to show how it is that the month of September saw the third campaign for the suppression of the rebellion open auspiciously with the victories of South Mountain and Antietam.

But this memorable month will form an era in a second and still more important respect, by reason of the proclamation of President Lincoln, announcing a new line of policy with relation to slavery. Until this time the administration has made a sincere effort to suppress the rebellion by purely military means; now it resorts to extraordinary measures, grounded indeed in military usage and necessity, but designed to act especially upon a social and political institution, and that too one which has been the subject of the most violent political disputes. In this proclamation the President declares that the war will continue to be prosecuted, as heretofore," for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States and the people thereof" in the revolted States; that the executive policy heretofore announced, of compensated emancipation and colonization, will continue to be urged; that, meanwhile, the recent acts of Congress relating to slavery are to be faithfully enforced, the claim of loyal citizens being respected, to compensation for losses incurred by acts of the United States, "including the loss of slaves." In addition, he proclaims,

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or any designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free, and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons or any of them in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

"That the executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof respectively shall then be in rebellion against the United States, and the fact that any State or the people thereof shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto, at elections wherein a majority of

« PreviousContinue »