페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

found in the slender volume than a narrative of the Simon" for value and far above them for intrinsic few facts known about Vergil's life, and an analysis interest. The interior life of a court has never been of and commentary upon his poems. In a brief revealed so frankly or described so vividly and picbut luminous introductory chapter, the author points turesquely; and all future writers who may attempt out the essential characteristics of Greek and Roman to deal with the character or times of Napoleon will poetry, and the features in which it differs most find it necessary to accept Madame de Rémusat as widely from that of our modern world; and in an- one of the chief authorities. The period covered by other chapter, equally valuable, he discusses the rela- the third volume is that from 1806 to 1808, and the tions between literature and literary men and the principal events dealt with, aside from the daily life early Roman Empire, and the “General Character- of the palace, are the establishment of the depenistics of the Poetry of the so-called Augustan Age.” dent kingdoms and duchies with which Napoleon The narrative and explanatory chapters on Vergil's buttressed his throne, the campaign of Jena, the life and poems contain all the accessible information first war with Russia, the peace of Tilsit, the first that the student or reader will care to have, and are projects of the divorce from Josephine (1807-1808), extremely interesting; and the chapters on the gen- and the beginning of the war with Spain. With eral characteristics of Vergil's poetry, and on Vergil the opening incidents of the latter event the Meas a poet of nature, are full of the most instructive moirs come to an abrupt close ; but, though the and luminous criticism, which has a value much reader will keenly regret this, his regret will be temwider than the topic which suggests it. Practical pered by two considerations: first, as Madame de suggestions regarding the text of Vergil will be found Rémusat retired from the court with Josephine on helpful both to teachers and to students, and a table the divorce of the latter in 1810, her reminiscences of dates enables us to place Vergil in his proper place of the declining years of the Empire could not have in that great sequence of events of which history possessed that intimate charm that characterizes the proper is the record.

portion we have ; second, the son of Madame de Full of the racy charm of the frontier is Rémusat, who was entirely in her confidence, apMr. J. Mortimer Murphy's “Sporting Adventures in pends to the work a tolerably adequate summary of the Far West." * The author has been "a wanderer what she would have had to say concerning the prinfor nearly seven years in the far West," and his ob- cipal occurrences which she did not live to treat of. ject in writing the present work was to give "the ... The repertory of vocal musicians will be general characteristics, the haunts, habits, and the considerably and acceptably enlarged by the collecbest method of hunting the largest class of game” tion of “Songs from the Published Writings of Alto be found there. As his facts are either derived fred Tennyson, set to Music by Various Composers."* from his own personal experience, or based on that of the forty-five songs which the volume contains, of some of the most famous scouts and hunters of thirty-five are new and original compositions prethe frontier, they are doubtless entirely trustworthy; pared expressly for it; and the list of composers inand the record of them is enlivened with numerous cludes, along with many others almost equally emistories of hair-breadth escapes and stirring adven- nent, the names of Gounod, Goldschmidt, Liszt, tures. This latter feature renders the book inter- Raff, Hueffer, Joachim, Pinsuti, Blumenthal, Sir esting to those who are neither sportsmen nor tour. Julius Benedict, John Hullah, and Arthur Sullivan. ists, and who will never, probably, find themselves Thirty-nine composers in all contribute to the volamong the scenes described ; but it is painful to read ume; and, as an English reviewer has said, “a stuof the butchery (it would be absurd to dignify it with dent of lyrical composition may here trace and comthe name of "sport") that is being carried on indis. pare with each other not only the schools of Gercriminately among all kinds of game. After Mr. many, France, and England, but also the parties of Murphy's description of the murderous methods often the future,' the present, and the past." Most of the employed, one can no longer be surprised that the finer short poems of Tennyson are comprised in the buffalo is so nearly exterminated; the wonder is that selection, and, unlike the majority of such compilaany of the larger wild animals are left in any of the tions, the poetry is not a mere vehicle for the music, regions accessible to so-called “sportsmen."

but has an independent value and charm of its own. . .. After reading the third and concluding Of “ Tears, Idle Tears,” there are two distinct setvolume of the “ Memoirs of Madame de Rémusat," † tings; and some few pieces which were evidently we find no reason to modify the opinion expressed better suited to polyphonous treatment have been set in our review of the first volume, namely, that the as part-songs. The volume is issued by the pubwork deserves a place beside the Memoirs of Saint- lishers in substantial and attractive style, with a

portrait of Tennyson, and original illustrations by * Sporting Adventures in the Far West. By John Fredericks, Reinhart, Winslow Homer, and Jessie Mortimer Murphy. Illustrated. New York: Harper & Curtis. For the benefit of musicians we may add Brothers. 12mo, pp. 469.

that the songs are printed in the treble clef. + Memoirs of Madame de Rémusat. 1802-1808. With a Preface and Notes by her Grandson, Paul de * Songs from the Published Writings of Alfred TenRémusat. Translated from the French by Mrs. Cashel nyson. Set to Music by Various Composers. Edited by Hoey and John Lillie. In Three Volumes. Vol. III. W. G. Cusins. New York: Harper & Brothers. RogNew York: D. Appleton & Co. 8vo.

al 4to.

[blocks in formation]

B

[ocr errors]

ETWEEN the affirmative theory of the to explain that the lion was no lion, but only

Stratfordian authorship, then, and the dem- Snug the Joiner, “a man as other men are," so onstration of its utter impossibility and ab- Master Bully Jonson, however tropical and effusurdity, there remains but the single barrier of sive as to his contemporary in his prosody, in the Jonsonian testimony, contained in the copy his prologue in prose was scrupulous to leave of verses entitled “To the Memory of my Be- only the truth behind him. Mountains-Ossa loved, the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare, and piled on Pelion-of hearsay and lapse of time, what he hath left us,” written by Mr. Ben Jon- oceans of mere opinion and“ ‘gush," would, of son and prefixed to the famous folio of 1623. If course, amount to precisely nothing at all when this testimony should ever be ruled out as in- ranged alongside of the testimony of one single, competent, there would actually remain nothing competent, contemporary eye-witness. No wonexcept to lay the Shakespearean hoax away, as der the Shakespeareans are eager to subpæna Ben gently as might be, alongside its fellows in the Jonson's verses. But, all the same, they are marpopulous limbo of exploded fallacies.

velously careful not to subpæna his prose. However, let it not be ruled out merely on And yet this prose is extant and by no means the ground that it is in rhyme. We have no less inaccessible. When Jonson died in 1637, he left an authority than Littleton—"Auctoritas Philoso- behind him certain memoranda which were pubphorum, Medicorum et Poetarum sunt in causis lished in 1640, and are well known as Ben Jonallegandæ et tenendæ"t—to the effect that the son's Discoveries.” One of these memorandatestimony, even of poets, is sometimes to be re- for the work is in the disjointed form of a comceived. It is to be ruled out rather by a pra monplace-book of occasional entries—is devoted cess akin to impeachment of the witness-by its to the eminent men of letters in the era spanned appearing that the witness, elsewhere in the same by its author's own acquaintance or familiarity. controversy, testifies to a state of facts exactly It runs as follows: opposite. For the truth is that, whatever Ben Jonson felt moved to say about his “ pal" Wil

Cicero is said to be the only wit that the people liam Shakespeare, whenever, as a friend, he of Rome had equalled to their empire. Imperium par “ dropped into poetry,” he was considerably more

imperio. We have had many, and in their several careful when he sat himself down to write cold ages (to take in the former sæculum), Sir Thomas prose.” Just as Bully Bottom, fearing lest a lion More, the elder Wiat, Henry, Earl of Surry, Chalo

ner, Smith, Eliot, B. Gardiner, were, for their times, should "fright the ladies and “hang every admirable ; and the more because they began elo

i mother's son of his troupe, devised a prologue

Sir Nicholas Bacon was singular * See “ Appletons' Journal” for February and June, and almost alone in the beginning of Elizabeth's 1879.

quence
with us.

time. Sir Philip Sidney and Mr. Hooker (in different +“Co. Lit.," 264 A.

matter) grew great masters of wit and language, and VOL. VIII.-31

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

а

in whom all vigour of invention and strength of judg- personal acquaintance. This is all there is of ment met. The Earl of Essex, noble and high, and this paragraph as to the real William ShakeSir Walter Raleigh, not to be contemned, either for

speare : judgment or style. Sir Henry Saville, grave and truly lettered. Sir Edwin Sandys, excellent in both.

I remember the players have often mentioned it Lord Egerton, a grave and great orator, and best

as an honour to Shakespeare, that in his writing (what. when he was provoked. But his learned and able, answer hath been, "Would he had blotted out a thou

ever he penned) he never blotted out a line. My but unfortunate successor, is he that hath filled up all sand !" which they thought a malevolent speech. I numbers, and performed that in our tongue which may had not told posterity this but for their ignorance, be compared or preferred either to insolent Greece or who choose that circumstance to commend their haughty Rome.* In short, within this view, and about this time, were all the wits born that could friend by, wherein he most faulted. And to justify honour a language or help study. Now things daily our his memory on this side idolatry, as much as any).

mine own candour (for I loved the man, and do honfall; wits grow downward and eloquence grows He was indeed) honest and of an open and free na backward. So that he may be so named and stand as the mark and daun of our language.t

ture; had an excellent phantasie, brave notions, and

gentle expressions : wherein he flowed with that faOnly fourteen years before, this Ben Jonson cility that sometimes it was necessary he should be . had published the verses which made William stopped. Suflaminandus erat, as Augustus said of Shakespeare. Only fourteen years before he had Haterius. His wit was in his own power, would asserted—what the world has taken his word for, the rule of it had been so too! Many times he fell and never questioned from that day to this—that into those things could not escape laughter; as when his “ best beloved ” William Shakespeare had he said in the person of Cæsar-one speaking to him been the “soul of the age "_"not for an age,

“Cæsar, thou dost me wrong;” he replied, “Cæbut for all time”—and his works “such as neither sar never did wrong, but with just cause," and such

like; which were ridiculous. But he redeemed his man nor muse can praise too much.”

vices with his virtues. There was ever more in him We have no means of knowing the precise to be praised than pardoned.* date at which Ben Jonson's grief for his dead friend cooled, and his feelings experienced a

That is every word which a man who “loved change. But he leaves behind him, at his death, him” could say of William Shakespeare !—that this unembellished memoranda, this catalogue he was a skilled and careful penman,

never “of all the wits” living in his day, who, in his blotting out a line"; that he talked too fast, opinion, “could honour a language or help study,” sometimes, and had to be checked; that, in playand in this catalogue he inserts no such name as ing the part of Cæsar on the stage, somebody William Shakespeare-William Shakespeare, the interpolated the speech, “Cæsar, thou dost me name, not only of the “soul" and epitome of all wrong," and he made a bull in response;t and that — only about fourteen years ago—he had that he (Jonson) wished he (Shakespeare) had deemed worth mentioning among men “ born blotted out a thousand of his lines. Blot out a about this time"; but of his late most intimate thousand Shakespearean lines !-a thousand of and bosom friend! Had the “ Discoveries " pre- the priceless lines of the peerless book we call served an absolute silence concerning William 'Shakespeare”! Fancy the storm which would Shakespeare, the passage we have quoted might, follow such a Vandal proposition to-day! Ben perhaps, have been considered a studied and de- Jonson does not specify which thousand he would liberate slur on his dead friend's memory, on the have expurgated, but would be satisfied with any part of Jonson, made for reasons best known to thousand, taken anywhere at random out of the Jonson himself. But they are not silent. They writings of his “soul of the age,” the man “not devote a whole paragraph to William Shake- of an age, but for all time.” And yet it is on speare—but in the proper place, that is to say, the uncorroborated word of this man Jonson that not among “the wits who could honor a lan- we build monuments to the Stratford lad, and guage or help study," but among the author's make pilgrimages to his birthplace and worship

his ashes, and quarrel about the spelling of his * Judge Holmes ("Authorship of Shakespeare," third name! If there is not a strong smack of patronage edition, p. 650) italicizes these words to point the allusion to Bacon, and to notice that the passage in “The Dis. in this prose allusion to Shakespeare, we confess coveries,” immediately preceding the above, is a direct ourselves unable to detect its flavor. Very posallusion to Bacon, while the phrase "insolent Greece and sibly the fact was that, so far from having been haughty Rome" occurs in line thirty-nine of the verses an admirer of William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson eulogistic of William Shakespeare.

saw through his pretensions, and only through + " Timber, or Discoveries made upon Men and Matter : as they have flowed out of his Daily Readings, or *"Works," cited ante, vol. vii., p. 91. had their Reflux to his Peculiar Notion of the Time." + Possibly this may have occurred in playing the very By Ben Jonson. "Works," vol. vii., by Peter Whalley, version of the “Cæsar " we now possess, though there p. 99.

are, of course, no such lines to be found there.

[ocr errors]

a

a

policy sang his praises against the stomach of over some of his old verses for the occasion,
his sense. For Ben Jonson (though one of the which was all he felt it justified. Is it possible
ripest scholars of the day, we have history as that the ideal Shakespeare, the mighty miracle-
authority for that) was poor and a borrower, over working demigod, is only the accidental creation
head and ears in debt to Shakespeare; he was a of a man who was poking fun at a shadow ?
stock actor on the rich manager's boards, and Let us not proceed to such a violent surmise, but
could not take the bread out of his own mouth. return to a serious consideration of Mr. Ben Jon-
But the poor scholar, and still poorer actor, could son's unimpassioned prose.
yet indulge himself, and take his covert fling at If the paragraph from the “ Discoveries " last
the rich charlatan:

above quoted—which estimates William Shake“ Though need make many poets, and some such

speare precisely as history estimates him, name

ly, as a clever fellow, and a player in one of the As art and nature have not bettered much,

earliest theatres in London—is not to be regardYet ours for want hath not so loved the stage

ed as a confession that Ben Jonson's verses were As he dare serve the ill customs of the age : Or purchase your delight at such a rate

written (or rewritten) more out of generosity to As for it, he himself must justly hate.

his late friend's memory-rather in the exuberTo make a child now swaddled, to proceed

ance of a poetic license of apotheosis—than with Man, and then shoot up in one beard and weed- a literal adherence to truth,* then it must be conPast threescore years, or with three rusty swords ceded that the result is such a facing both ways And help of some few foot and half foot words- as hangs any Jonsonian testimony in perfect equiFight over York and Lancaster's long jars, librium as to the Shakespearean controversy, And in the tiring-house bring wounds to scars ! and entitles Ben Jonson himself, as a witness for He (that is, Ben himself] rather prays you will anybody or to anything, to simply step down and be pleased to see

out. For, admitting that his poetry is just as One such to-day, as other plays should be ;

good as his prose—and probably the ShakeWhere neither chorus wafts you o'er the seas, Nor creaking throne comes down the boys to - it is a legal maxim that a witness who swears

speareans would care to assert no more than that please."

for both sides swears for neither; and a rule of Ben says this himself—in the prologue to his common law no less than of common sense that " Every Man in his Humour."* And yet this his evidence must be ruled out, since no jury can is the “immortal Shakespeare” whom Ben be called upon to believe and disbelieve one and “honours this side idolatry,” but whom we are the same witness at the same time. not fearful of passing the bounds of idolatry in

But, since numberless good people are suspiworshiping to-day.

cious of rules of law as applied to evidence, reBen Jonson was an overworked rhymester, garding them as over-nice, finical, and as framed and made his rhymes do double and treble duty. rather to keep out truth than to let it in, let us The first couplet of the above

waive the legal maxim, and admit the Jonsonian

testimony to be one single, consistent block of “Though need make many poets, and some such

contemporary evidence. As art and nature have not bettered much ".

But, no sooner do we do this, than we find needs only a little hammering over to become the ourselves straightway foundering in a slough of

absurdities far greater, it seems to us, than any “While I confess thy writings to be such

we have yet encountered. To illustrate: It is As neither man nor muse can praise too much "- necessary to the Shakespearean theory that in the of the mortuary verses which—as we say—made been not only a man, but a genius, a wit, and a

days of Elizabeth and James there should have Shakespeare SHAKESPEARE. When the rich manager's alleged works were to be collected, that all these-man, genius, wit, and poet-should

poet, of the name of William Shakespeare; and the poor scholar who had borrowed money of have been one and the same individual. Taking him in his lifetime was called upon for a tribute, all the Jonsonian testimony, prose and poetry, and the poor scholar forbore to draw on the

together, such an individual there was, and his storehouse of his wits, but obligingly hammered

name was William Shakespeare, as required. * Again, in the “ Induction ” to his " Bartholomew But-still following Jonson's authority — at the Fair," he has his Aing at “The Tempest”: “ If there

same period and in the same town of London be never a servant-monster in the fair, who can help it,” he says, “nor a nest of antiques ? He is loth to make *A confession, say the Baconians, that Jonson, as Nature afraid in his plays, like those that beget tales, long as Bacon lived, was eager to serve him by shouldertempests, and such like drolleries.” “The Tempest ” of ing on his incognito—in poetry—while he was under no Ben's day was a "drollery,” at least in William Shake- compunction to do so in his own posthumous remains. speare's hands.

See post, ii., the Baconian theory.

i

there was a certain gentleman named Bacon, of each to the world outside (using the same who was “learned and able," and who had, figures of speech for each), and, in the presmoreover, “ filled up all numbers—and" in the ence of each, preserves so impenetrable a silence same days "performed that which may be com- as to the other, that of the two public characpared either to insolent Greece or haughty ters themselves each is absolutely ignorant of Rome.” We have, then, not only a "wit and the other's existence ! And yet they ought to poet" named Shakespeare, but a “wit and poet” have been close friends, for they borrowed each named Bacon; and, since Jonson is nowhere too other's verses, and loaned each other paragraphs modest to admit that he himself was a "wit and to any extent. Persons there have been who poet,” we have, therefore, actually not one but asserted, as we shall see, on merely the interthree of a kind, at each other's elbows in Lon- nal evidence of their writings, that Bacon and don, in the golden age of English literature. “Shakespeare " were one and the same man, and We have already seen that, of this trio, two, that what appeared to be “parallelisms” and Bacon and Shakespeare, if we are to believe the coincidences in Bacon and “Shakespeare" were Shakespeareans—were personally unknown to thus to be accounted for. But, admitting their each other. It is worth our while to pause right separate identity, it is absolutely certain that the here, and see what this statement involves. natural philosopher borrowed his exact facts

They are all three-Bacon, Jonson, and Shake- from the comedies of the .playwright, while the speare-dwelling in the same town at the same playwright borrowed the speeches for his come. moment; are all three writers and wits, earning dies from the natural philosopher, which looks their living by their pens. Ben Jonson is the very much like friendship, or at least a speaking mutual friend. He is of service to both — he acquaintance. For, as we shall see further on, translates Bacon's English into Latin for him,* some of these “ parallelisms" are not coinciand writes plays for William Shakespeare's stage, dences, but something very like identities. It and, as we have seen, he ultimately becomes will not lighten this new difficulty to rule out the the Boswell of both, and runs from one to the prose and leave in the poetry, for we can not another in rapture. His admiration for Bacon, on nihilate Francis Bacon nor yet William Shakethe one hand (according to his prose), amounts speare from their places in history. If, however, to a passion ; his admiration for Shakespeare, the Jonsonian poetry were wiped out, the Jonsoon the other hand (according to his poetry), nian prose would receive at least a negative coramounts to a passion. He declares (in prose) roboration, as follows: At the same time that that Bacon " hath filled up all numbers, and per- Bacon and Shakespeare are living, unknown to formed that in our tongue, which may be com- each other respectively, in London, there also pared and preferred either to insolent Greece or dwell there three other gentlemen-Sir Walter haughty Rome"; he declares (in poetry) of Shake- Raleigh, Edmund Spenser, and Sir Tobie Matspeare that he may be left alone

thew. We therefore actually have four well

known gentlemen of the day, in London, gentle... for comparison

men of elegant tastes-poets, men about town, Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome

critics who, if the town were being convulsed Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.”

by the production at a theatre of by far the And yet he never, while going from one to the most brilliant miracles of genius that the world other, mentions Shakespeare to Bacon or Ba- had ever seen, ought not, in the nature of things, con to Shakespeare; never “introduces” them to have been utterly uninformed as to the ciror brings them together; never gives his soul's cumstance. We do not add to this list Southidol Bacon any “orders” to his soul's idol Shake- ampton, Essex, Rutland, Montgomery, and the speare's theatre, that this absolutely inimitable rest, because these latter have left no memoranBacon (who has surpassed insolent Greece and dum or chronicle of what they saw and heard haughty Rome) may witness the masterpieces of on manuscript behind them. But the first four this absolutely inimitable Shakespeare (who has have left just precisely such memoranda of their likewise surpassed insolent Greece and haughty times as are of assistance to us here. Bacon, in Rome); this Boswell of a Jonson, go-between his “ Apothegms,” Spenser in his poems,* and of two men of repute and public character, travels from one to the other, sings the praises Home again," written in 1591, are :

* Spenser's well-known lines in “Colin Clout's come

“And there, though last not least, is Ætion, * Jonson assisted Dr. Hackett, afterward Bishop of A gentler shepherd may nowhere be found ; Litchfield and Coventry, in translating the essays of Lord Whose muse, full of high thought's invention, Bacon into Latin. (Whalley, “Life of Ben Jonson," Doth-like himself-heroically sound." Vol. I. of works, cited ante.) Jonson was at this time "Ætion” is generally assumed by commentators to “on terms of intimacy with Lord Bacon."-(W. H. stand in the verse for “Shakespeare." But it is difficult Smith, “ Bacon and Shakespeare," p. 29.)

to imagine how this can possibly be more than mere

a

« 이전계속 »