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with roses and marjoram, in his right hand a torch.”— STEVENS.
"ATONE together"-i. e. Agree together, or are reconciled: from at one. The use of this word is very frequent by the contemporaries of Shakespeare, who also use it actively, as he too does elsewhere.
"Enter Second Brother"-So called in the old copies, to avoid confusion with the "melancholy Jaques." The name of this "second brother" must have been also Jaques, and he is mentioned in the first scene as then "at school." He is in fact the third brother introduced in the play: but what is meant is, that he is second in point of age-younger than Oliver, and older than Orlando. Collier objects that this supposition would seem to make Orlando too much of a stripling. But one so well read in Old-English literature should have remembered that school was used with great latitude by Shake. speare and his contemporaries, so as to include even the highest academic instruction-as we still say, "the School of Medicine" at Paris, etc. Thus, Hamlet writes, "Go back to school at Wittenberg”—i. e. to the University there. In Lodge's novel, (which ends very differently,) Fernandine, the second of the three brothers, is represented as "a scholar in Paris." He, like Jaques de Bois, arrives quite at the end of the story.
"meeting with an old religious man"-In Lodge's novel, the usurping Duke is not diverted from his purpose by the pious counsels of a hermit, but is subdued and killed by the twelve peers of France, who undertake the cause of Rosader-the Orlando of this play.
"the measure of their STATES"-Not 'states, for estates, as in Collier's edition, which is a useless change of the old reading-" All shall receive such a share of my own returning property as may suit their several
"To see no pastime"—" Amid this general festivity, the reader may be sorry to take his leave of Jaques, who appears to have no share in it, and remains behind unreconciled to society. He has, however, filled, with a gloomy sensibility, the space allotted to him in the play, and to the last preserves that respect which is due to him as a consistent character, and an able, though solitary moralist.
"It may be observed, with scarce less concern, that Shakespeare has, on this occasion, forgot old Adam, the servant of Orlando, whose fidelity should have entitled him to notice at the end of the piece, as well as to that happiness which he would naturally have found, in the return of fortune to his master."-STEVENS.
"It is the more remarkable that old Adam is forgotten, since, at the end of the novel, Lodge makes him captain of the king's guard."-FARMER.
"As we do trust they'll end in true delights"- -"The universal modern stage-direction here is a dance,' which probably followed the Duke's speech. The ancient direction, however, is exit; but there seems no sufficient reason why the Duke should go out before the conclusion of the Epilogue. Nevertheless, according to the custom of our old stage, he may have done so. Malone, Stevens, and all the modern editors, (Capell excepted,) read And instead of 'As,' in this line, without any reason for change, and without attempting to assign any."-COLLIER.
while the wit of Rosalind bubbles up and sparkles like living fountains, refreshing all around. Her volubility is like the bird's song; it is the outpouring of a heart filled to overflowing with life, love, and joy, and all sweet and affectionate impulses. She has as much tenderness as mirth, and in her most petulant raillery there is a touch of softness By this hand, it will not hurt a fly.'
"As her vivacity never lessens our impression of her sensibility, so she wears her masculine attire without the slightest impugnment of her delicacy. Shakespeare did not make the modesty of his women depend on their dress. Rosalind has in truth no doublet and hose in her disposition.' How her heart seems to throb and flutter under her page's vest. What depth of love in her passion for Orlando; whether disguised beneath a saucy playfulness, or breaking forth with a fond impatience, or half betrayed in that beautiful scene where she faints at the sight of the kerchief stained with his blood! Here, the recovery of her self-possession-her fears lest she should have revealed her sex-her presence of mind and quick-witted excuse, 'I pray you tell your brother how well I counterfeited,' and the characteristic playfulness which seems to return so naturally with her recovered senses, are all as amusing as consistent.
"Then how beautiful is the dialogue managed between herself and Orlando; how well she assumes the airs of a saucy page, without throwing off her feminine sweetness! How her wit flutters free as air over every subject! with what a careless grace, yet with what exquisite propriety:
For innocence hath a privilege in her To dignify arch jests and laughing eyes. And if the freedom of some of the expressions used by Rosalind or Beatrice be objected to, let it be remembered that this was not the fault of Shakespeare or his women, but generally of the age. Portia, Beatrice, Rosalind, and the rest, lived in times when more importance was attached to things than to words: now we think more of words than of things. And happy are we, in these days of super-refinement, if we are to be saved by our verbal morality."-MRS. JAMESON.
"The plot of this delicious comedy was taken by our Poet from Lodge's Rosalynde, or Euphues' Golden Legacye.' Some of Lodge's incidents are judiciously omitted, but the greater part are preserved-the wrest ling scene, the flight of the two ladies into the forest of Arden, the meeting there of Rosalind with her father and mother, and the whole happy termination of the plot, are found in the prose romance. Even the names of the personages are but slightly changed; for Lodge's Rosalind, in her male attire, calls herself Ganymede, and her cousin, as a shepherdess, is named Aliena. But never was the prolixity and pedantry of a prosaic narrative transmuted by genius into such magical poetry. In the days of James I., George Heriot, the Edinburgh merchant, who built a hospital still bearing his name, is said to have made his fortune by purchasing for a trifle a quantity of sand that had been brought as ballast by a ship from Africa. As it was dry, he suspected from its weight that it contained gold, and he succeeded in filtering a treasure from it. Shakespeare, like Heriot, took the dry and heavy sand of Lodge, and made gold out of it.
"Before I say more of this dramatic treasure, I must absolve myself by a confession as to some of its improbabilities. Rosalind asks her cousin Celia, Whither shall we go?' and Celia answers, To seek my uncle in the forest of Arden.' But, arrived there, and having purchased a cottage and sheep-farm, neither the daughter nor niece of the banished Duke seem to trouble themselves much to inquire about either father or uncle. The lively and natural-hearted Rosalind discovers no impatience to embrace her sire until she has finished her masked courtship with Orlando. But Rosalind was in love, as I have been with the comedy these forty years; and love is blind-for until a late period my eyes were never couched so as to see this objection. The
truth, however, is, that love is wilfully blind; and now that my eyes are opened, I shut them against the fault. Away with your best-proved improbabilities, when the heart has been touched and the fancy fascinated! When I think of the lovely Mrs. Jordan in this part, I have no more desire for proofs of probability on this subject, (though proofs pellucid as the morning dews,') than for the cogent logic of a bailiff's writ.'
"In fact, though there is no rule without exceptions, and no general truth without limitation, it may be pronounced, that if you delight us in fiction, you may make our sense of probability slumber as deeply as you please.
"But it may be asked whether nature and truth are to be sacrificed at the altar of fiction? No! in the main effect of fiction on the fancy, they never are nor can be sacrificed. The improbabilities of fiction are only its exceptions, while the truth of nature is its general law; and unless the truth of nature were in the main observed, the fictionist could not lull our vigilance as to particular improbabilities.
Apply this maxim to Shakespeare's As You LIKE IT, and our Poet will be found to make us forget what is eccentric from nature in a limited view, by showing it more beautifully probable in a larger contemplation. In this drama he snatches us out of the busy world into a woodland solitude; he makes us breathe its fresh air, partake its pastoral peace, feast on its venison, admire its bounding wild-deer, and sympathize with its banished men and simple rustics. But he contrives to break its monotony by the intrusion of courtly manners and characters. He has a fool and a philosopher, who might have hated each other at court, but who like each other in the forest. He has a shepherdess and her wooing shepherd, as natural as Arcadians; yet when the banished court come to the country and beats it in wit, the courtiers seem as much naturalized to the forest as its natives, and the general truth of nature is equally preserved.
"The events of the play are not numerous, and its in
terest is preserved by characters more than incidents. But what a tablet of characters! the witty and impassioned Rosalind, the love-devoted Orlando, the friendship-devoted Celia, the duty-devoted old Adam, the humourous Clown, and the melancholy Jaques: all these, together with the dignified and banished Duke, make the forest of Arden an Elysium to our imagination; and our hearts are so stricken by those benevolent beings, that we easily forgive the other once culpable but at last repentant characters."-CAMPBELL.
"For pure comedy, rich in variety, interest, poetry, and a happy view of human life, AS YOU LIKE IT is the world's master-piece. It has been termed a pastoral comedy, but that implies an unreal description of shepherds and shepherdesses; here we have persons of every degree, true to nature as the trees under which they walk and talk. There is a frankness and freedom in the dialogue, belonging equally to the various characters, that seem to partake of the open air in which they breathe. Never is the scene within doors, except when something discordant is introduced to heighten, as it were, the harmony-when the usurper banishes Rosalind, and twice more, for a short while, just to give him time to threaten. These changes serve, without disturbing our calmer feelings, to increase our happiness among the pleasant exiles in the forest.
"At one time I thought a lioness was out of her sphere in the forest of Arden, notwithstanding the authority of the original novel for her appearance there. But the forest of Arden is a privileged place, once famous for Merlin's magic fountains, Angelica, and the knights of Charlemagne, surrounded by enchantments, according to Boiardo and Ariosto. Shakespeare avoids following the novel in specifying a certain king of France; he mentions no country; and therefore he has a right to bring a lioness into this poetical forest, placed we know not where."-CH. A. BROWN.