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have encouraged the common errour on this subject by saying "But stronger Shakspeare felt for man alone."
The passage we mean is Juliet's apology for her maiden boldness.
"Thou know'st the mask of night is on my face;
I'll frown and be perverse, and say thee nay,
And therefore thou may'st think my 'haviour light;
In this and all the rest her heart fluttering between pleasure, hope, and fear, seems to have dictated to her tongue, and "calls true love spoken, simple modesty." Of the same sort, but bolder in virgin innocence, is her soliloquy after her marriage with Romeo.
"Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds, Towards Phoebus' mansion; such a waggoner As Phaeton would whip you to the west,
And bring in cloudy night immediately,
Come, night!--Come, Romeo! come, thou day in night;
Whiter than new snow on a raven's back.
Come, gentle night; come, loving, black-brow'd night,
Not yet enjoy'd: so tedious is this day,
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child, that hath new robes,
We the rather insert this passage here, in as much as we have no doubt it has been expunged from the Family Shakspeare. Such criticks do not perceive that the feelings of the heart sanctify, without, disguising, the impulses of nature. Without refinement themselves, they confound modesty with hypocrisy. Not so the German critick, Schlegel. Speaking of ROMEO AND JULIET, he says, "It was reserved for Shakspeare to unite purity of heart and the glow of imagination, sweetness, and dignity of manners, and
passionate violence, in one ideal picture." The character is indeed one of perfect truth and sweetness. It has nothing forward, nothing coy, nothing affected or coquettish about it;—it is a pure effusion of nature. It is as frank as it is modest, for it has no thought that it wishes to conceal. It reposes in conscious innocence on the strength of its affections. Its delicacy does not consist in coldness and reserve, but in combining warmth of imagination and tenderness of heart with the most voluptuous sensibility. Love is a gentle flame that rarefies and expands her whole being. What an idea of trembling haste and airy grace, borne upon the thoughts of love, does the Friar's exclamation give of her, as she approaches his cell to be married
"Here comes the lady. Oh, so light of foot
The tragick part of this character is of a piece with the rest. It is the heroick founded on tenderness and delicacy. Of this kind are her resolution to follow the Friar's advice, and the conflict in her bosom between apprehension and love when she comes to take the sleeping poison. Shakspeare is blamed for the mixture of low characters. If this is a deformity, it is the source of a thousand beauties. One instance is the contrast between the guileless simplicity of Juliet's attachment to her first love, and the convenient policy of the nurse in advising her to marry Paris, which excites such indignation in her mistress. "Ancient damnation! oh most wick
ed fiend," &c.
Romeo is Hamlet in love. There is the same rich exuberance of passion and sentiment in the one, that there is of thought and sentiment in the other. Both are absent and self-involved, both live out of themselves in world of imagination. Hamlet is abstracted from every thing; Romeo is abstracted from every thing but his love, and lost in it. His "frail thoughts dally with faint surmise," and are fashioned out of the suggestions of hope, "the flatteries of sleep." He is himself only in his Juliet; she is his only reality, his heart's true home and idol. The rest of the world is to him a passing dream. How finely is this character pourtrayed where he recollects himself on seeing Paris slain at the tomb of Juliet !
"What said my man when my betossed soul Did not attend him as we rode ? I think
He told me Paris should have married Juliet."
And again, just before he hears the sudden tidings of her death
"If I may trust the flattery of sleep,
My dreams presage some joyful news at hand;
My bosom's lord sits lightly on his throne,
And all this day an unaccustom'd spirit
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.
I dreamt my lady came and found me dead,
(Strange dream! that gives a dead man leave to think)
And breath'd such life with kisses on my lips,
That I reviv'd and was an emperour,
Ah me! how sweet is love itself possess'd,
Romeo's passion for Juliet is not a first love: it succeeds and drives out his passion for another mis
tress, Rosaline, as the sun hides the stars. This is perhaps an artifice (not absolutely necessary) to give us a higher opinion of the lady, while the first absolute surrender of her heart to him enhances the richness of the prize. The commencement, progress, and ending of his second passion are however complete in themselves, not injured, if they are not bettered by the first. The outline of the play is taken from an Italian novel; but the dramatick arrangement of the different scenes between the lovers, the more than dramatick interest in the progress of the story, the development of the characters with time and circumstances, just according to the degree and kind of interest excited, are not inferiour to the expression of passion and nature. It has been ingeniously remarked among other proofs of skill in the contrivance of the fable, that the improbability of the main incident in the piece, the administering of the sleeping potion, is softened and obviated from the beginning by the introduction of the Friar on his first appearance culling simples and descanting on their virtues. Of the passionate scenes in this tragedy, that between the Friar and Romeo when he is told of his sentence of banishment, that between Juliet and the Nurse when she hears of it, and of the death of her cousin Tybalt, (which bear no proportion in her mind, when passion, after the first shock of surprise, throws its weight into the scale of her affections) and the last scene at the tomb, are among the most natural and overpowering. In all of these it is not merely the force of any one passion that is given, but the slightest and most unlooked for transitions from one to an