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deformity, grinning with deadly malice, with the venom of his heart congealed in the expression of his countenance, sullen, morose, gloomy, inflexible, brooding over one idea, that of his hatred, and fixed on one unalterable purpose, that of his revenge. We were disappointed, because we had taken our idea from other actors, not from the play. There is no proof there that Shylock is old, but a single line, “Bassanio and old Shylock, both stand forth,"-which does not imply that he is infirm with age-and the circumstance that he has a daughter marriageable, which does not imply that he is old at all. It would be too much to say that his body should be made crooked and deformed to answer to his mind, which is bowed down and warped with prejudices and passion. That he has but one idea, is not true; he has more ideas than any other person in the piece; and if he is intense and inveterate in the pursuit of his purpose, he shews the utmost elasticity, vigour, and presence of mind, in the means of attaining it. But so rooted was our

habitual impression of the part from seeing it caricatured in the representation, that it was only from a careful perusal of the play itself that we saw our error. The stage is not in general the best place to study our author's characters in. It is too often filled with traditional common-place conceptions of the part, handed down from sire to son, and suited to the taste of the great vulgar and the small. “”Tis_an unweeded garden: things rank and gross do merely gender in it!" If a man of genius comes once in an age to clear away the rubbish, to make it fruitful and wholesome, they cry, "'Tis a bad school: it may be like nature, it may be like Shakespear, but it is not like us." Admirable critics!



We wonder that Mr Pope should have entertained doubts of the genuineness of this play. He was, we suppose, shocked (as a certain critic suggests) at the Chorus, Time, leaping over sixteen years with his crutch between the third and fourth act, and at Antigonus's landing with the infant Perdita on the sea-coast of Bohemia. These slips or blemishes however do not prove it not to be Shakespear's; for he was as likely to fall into them as anybody; but we do not know any body but himself who could produce the beauties. The stuff of which the tragic passion is composed, the romantic sweetness, the comic humour, are evidently his. Even the crabbed and tortuous style of the speeches of Leontes, reasoning on his own jealousy, beset with doubts and fears, and entangled more and more in the thorny labyrinth, bears every mark of Shakespear's peculiar manner of conveying the painful struggle of different thoughts and feelings, labouring for utterance, and almost strangled in the birth. For instance:

"Ha' not you seen, Camillo ?

(But that's past doubt; you have, or your eye-glass
Is thicker than a cuckold's horn) or heard,

(For to a vision so apparent, rumour

Cannot be mute) or thought (for cogitation
Resides not within man that does not think it)
My wife is slippery? If thou wilt, confess,
Or else be impudently negative,

To have nor eyes, nor ears, nor thought."-

Here Leontes is confounded with his passion, and does not know which way to turn himself, to give words to the anguish, rage, and apprehension, which

tug at his breast. It is only as he is worked up into a clearer conviction of his wrongs by insisting on the grounds of his unjust suspicions to Camillo, who irritates him by his opposition, that he bursts out into the following vehement strain of bitter indignation: yet even here his passion staggers, and is as it were oppressed with its own intensity.

"Is whispering nothing?

Is leaning cheek to cheek? is meeting noses?
Kissing with inside lip? stopping the career
Of laughter with a sigh? (a note infallible
Of breaking honesty!) horsing foot on foot?
Skulking in corners ? wishing clocks more swift?
Hours, minutes? the noon, midnight? and all eyes
Blind with the pin and web, but theirs; theirs only,
That would, unseen, be wicked? is this nothing?
Why then the world, and all that's in't, is nothing,
The covering sky is nothing, Bohemia's nothing,
My wife is nothing!"

The character of Hermione is as much distinguished by its saint-like resignation and patient forbearance, as that of Paulina is by her zealous and spirited remonstrances against the injustice done to the queen, and by her devoted attachment to her misfortunes. Hermione's restoration to her husband and her child, after her long separation from them, is as affecting in itself as it is striking in the representation. Camillo, and the old shepherd and his son, are subordinate but not uninteresting instruments in the development of the plot, and though last, not least, comes Autolycus, a very pleasant, thriving rogue; and (what is the best feather in the cap of all knavery) he escapes with impunity in the end.

THE WINTER'S TALE is one of the best-acting of our author's plays. We remember seeing it with great pleasure many years ago. It was on the night that King took leave of the stage, when he and Mrs Jordan played together in the after-piece of the Wedding-day. Nothing could go off with more éclat,

with more spirit, and grandeur of effect. Mrs Siddons played Hermione, and in the last scene acted the painted statue to the life — with true monumental dignity and noble passion; Mr Kemble, in Leontes, worked himself up into a very fine classical phrensy; and Bannister, as Autolycus, roared as loud for pity as a sturdy beggar could do who felt none of the pain he counterfeited, and was sound of wind and limb. We shall never see these parts so acted again; or if we did, it would be in vain. Actors grow old, or no longer surprise us by their novelty. But true poetry, like nature, is always young; and we still read the courtship of Florizel and Perdita, as we welcome the return of spring, with the same feelings as ever.

“Florizel. Thou dearest Perdita,

With these forc'd thoughts, I pr'ythee, darken not
The mirth o' the feast: or, I'll be thine, my fair,
Or not my father's: for I cannot be

Mine own, nor any thing to any, if

I be not thine. To this I am most constant,

Tho' destiny say, No. Be merry, gentle;

Strangle such thoughts as these, with any thing

That you behold the while. Your guests are coming:
Lift up your countenance; as it were the day

Of celebration of that nuptial, which

We too have sworn shall come.

Perdita. O lady fortune,

Stand you auspicious!

Enter Shepherd, Clown, MOPSA, DORCAS, Servants; with POLIXENES, and CAMILLO, disguised.

Florizel. See, your guests approach.

Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
And let's be red with mirth.

Shepherd. Fie, daughter! when my old wife liv'd, upon

This day, she was both pantler, butler, cook;

Both dame and servant: welcom'd all, serv'd all :

Would sing her song, and dance her turn: now here
At upper end o' the table, now i' the middle:

On his shoulder, and his; her face o fire

With labour; and the thing she took to quench it
She would to each one sip. You are retir'd,

As if you were a feasted one, and not
The hostess of the meeting. Pray you, bid
These unknown friends to us welcome; for it is
A way to make us better friends, more known.
Come, quench your blushes; and present yourself
That which you are, mistress o' the feast.
Come on,
And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
As your good flock shall prosper.

Perdita. Sir, welcome ! [To Polixenes and Camillo. It is my father's will I should take on me

The hostess-ship o' the day: you're welcome, sir!

Give me those flowers there, Dorcas.-Reverend sirs,

For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep

Seeming, and savour, all the winter long :
Grace and remembrance be unto you both,
And welcome to our shearing!

Polixenes. Shepherdess,

(A fair one are you) well you fit our ages With flowers of winter.

Perdita. Sir, the year growing ancient,

Not yet on summer's death, nor on the birth

Of trembling winter, the fairest flowers o' the season
Are our carnations, and streak'd gilly-flowers,

Which some call nature's bastards of that kind

Our rustic garden's barren; and I care not

To get slips of them.

Polixenes. Wherefore, gentle maiden,

Do you neglect them?

Perdita. For I have heard it said

There is an art, which, in their piedness, shares
With great creating nature.

Polixenes. Say, there be :

Yet nature is made better by no mean,

But nature makes that mean: so, o'er that art

Which you say, adds to nature, is an art

That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry

A gentler scyon to the wildest stock;

And make conceive a bark of baser kind

By bud of nobler race. This is an art

Which does mend nature, change it rather: but

The art itself is nature.

Perdita. So it is.1

1 The lady, we here see, gives up the argument, but keeps her


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