페이지 이미지

On the return of Titus Andronicus from a successful campaign, Marcus is represented as exhorting him to put on the white robe of those named for the empire:

Mar. Titus Andronicus, the people of Rome,
Whose friend in justice thou hast ever been,
Send thee by me, their tribune, and their trust,
This palliament of white and spotless hue;
And name thee in election for the empire,
With these our later deceased emperor's sons:
Be candidatus, then, and put it on,

And help to set an heud on headless Rome.*
With such a source the phrase we have italicised ceases to
be slang
Lear, when addressing Gloucester, says:

Get thee glass eyes ;
And, like a scurvy politician, seem

To see the things thou dost not.t Similar advice has been given in our day, and those who gave it allowed the, multitude to suppose it new. Phrases which some of us were sure had their birth in our own day, are some of them more than two hundred years old. We recognize one such in Henry the Eighth. The king, frowning on his flatterers, says:

But know I come not
To hear such flattery now, and in my presence ;
They are too thin and bare to hide offenses. I

The most astounding feature of these plays is the almost incredible number of subjects that the writer has touched with his wonder-working wand. In his “Student's Shakespeare,” lately published, the writer of this article has collated Shakespeare's thoughts on no less than five thousand subjects, and the rich mine is far from being exhausted. The most astounding thing about it all is that there is no repetition, either of thought or phraseology. No ringing of the changes on a few favorite ideas or characters. It has been said that Byron could only paint two portraits. The one was a rake, the other a misanthrope. So with the great living authors. They have a few characters with whom they seem to be in love, and they

*"Titus Andronicus," Act i, Scene 2. + "King Lear," Act iv, Scene 6. † " llenry the Eighth,” Act v, Scene 2.

repeat them with slight variations again and again. It is said of Dickens that he had to keep within the smoke of London, and that he was lost outside. Scott had to keep on his native heather, but Shakespeare sweeps through all lands and ages, and gives us pictures of all of human kind.

A distinction must be made between the plays of Shakespeare as they were written by him and as they are rendered on the stage. Swinburne tells us that the best passages in “ LIamlet” are never given on the stage. Lear, as acted on the boards, has a miserable love story, written by one Nalum Tate, running all through it. It has been affirmed that there are not twenty consecutive lines from the great poet to be found in any version used by “the profession.” His plays, we are told, have to be cut down to the level of the actors. Many of the things to which exceptions are taken at times, it is suspected, were never written by Shakespeare. The interpolations, in stage parlance, are called "gags,” and were extemporized by actors to suit the tastes of their audiences.

There are some things which Shakespeare has treated originally and almost prophetically-certainly he has treated them in advance of his times. It will be remembered that Shakespeare died more than half a century before Newton gave to the world his theory of gravitation. Yet he makes Cressida say:

The strong base and building of my love
Is as the very center of the earth,

Drawing all things to it.*
Before Flarvey made his name immortal by proclaiming his
great discovery of the circulation of the blood, Shakespeare's
Brutus said to Portia :

You are my true and honorable wife;
As dear to me, as are the ruddy drops

That visit my sad heart. It is only as yesterday that even scholars began to use with any degree of frequency the word heredity, but how much of it we have in Shakespeare. So with regard to insanity. The greatest of our modern physicians have recourse to Shakespeare for instruction in the diagnosis of this mysterious state. So, in regard to conscience, both the platforin and the pulpit

* "Troilus and Cressida," Act iv, Scene 2.
| "Julius Cæsar," Act ii, Scene 1.

are his debtors. Joseph Cook’s rendering of some passages from “ Richard the Third” is like a new revelation from the sky. The dream of Richard on the eve of the battle, as given by him, trilled us to the very core.

There are many who object to the realistic pictures with which our great artist's works abound. And yet the objectors are perhaps the very persons who listen admiringly to lascivious Italian songs, or read with undisguised satisfaction the nastiest French novels. Consistency is worth something, but these hypocrites ignore it. Every objection in this direction lies with measurable force against the Bible as translated under the patronage of King James. As compared with much that is read without a blush or an uttered protest, Shakespeare lies

Upon the wings of night
Whiter than new snow on a raven's back.*

In selecting an edition of this great master of English thought and expression, the student will, of course, be guided by his tastes, his means, and by the end he seeks to gain in his studies.

There are several editions that are utterly beyond the reach of all but millionaires. The Boydell edition of 1802 is without question the most sumptuous ever given to the public. The paper is heavy, the type larger than any we have elsewhere scen. The illustrations have a world-wide fame. It is difficult to obtain this edition at any price. It can be seen in some public libraries. We have not space to dwell upon other and equally rare editions, nor need we, as it would take the price of a principality to buy the cheapest of them.

A writer in the “Quarterly Review” (Eng.) in 1859 tells us that the works of Shakespeare have passed through three stages. In the first, they were printed with care. In the second, conjectural criticism prevailed. In the third, ancient readings were more thoroughly ascertained, and the Elizabethan literature ransacked to clear up the allusions and the language. They have now reached a fourth and, it may be, a final onea stage of digestion and comparison. This stage was inaugurated by Knight, who had perhaps an undue faith in the readings of the first folios. In 1813 Mr. Collier entered the lists, and he put his confidence in the quartos. Then came

* "Romeo and Juliet," Act iii, Scene 2.

the Dyce editions. That of 1875 is remarkable for the purity of its text. The notes are few, and they are marked by brevity and pointedness. The type is magnificent, it has broad margins, and is correspondingly expensive.

Furness' “ New Variorum,” (Phil., 1873,) is as yet incomplete, and belongs to the luxurious class. It bids fair to occupy a very enviable position among scholars, but its cost places it out of the reach of men of ordinary means. Nothing of this kind can be said of the Globe, and numerous other cheap editions. They are, however, printed in small type and often on inferior paper, and to most they would be dear at any price.

Much might be said in commendation of Hudson's edition, but upon the whole we give decided preference to the one in course of publication for Mr. Rolfe, of Cambridge, by the Ilarper Brothers. Twenty-five of the thirty-seven plays are already before the public. They are profusely illustrated, and in the highest style of typographical art. They are marvels of careful collation and painstaking accuracy.

If “Rolfe's Edition” was not sufficiently distinctive, we would call it the "Friendly Edition,” the edition which we can make a companion of. It is not a fatiguing book to hold, a play can be selected and put in our pocket, or it will lie modestly at the bottom of the smallest traveling-bag, furnishing just such a dainty morsel as an intellectual lunch should ever be. The compactness of the notes entitles it to the position of a standard “Variorum" edition. It contains a vast amount of incidental inforination illustrative of the times of the poet, the manners of the people, and of contemporary writers. As to Shakespearian localities, this edition is far in advance of all others.

It is surprising how ignorant some English editors seem to have been of the topography of their own country. Mr. Rolfe not only avoids all errors of this kind himself, but exhaustively corrects the errors of others, For instance, in “ Richard the Third” we do not know of a single English editor who seems to know the truth as to what “Crosby IIouse” was or is. Their statements are as various as the authorities on which they depend. The same and more is true of “Baynard's Castle," and " The Blue Boar." Of all editions, this for the teacher and the student is the best. To say more would be " wasteful and ridiculous excess."


Gulistán. Sheikh Sadi Shirazi. Munshi Newul Kishore Press, Lucknow. 1881. Bustán. Sheikh Sadi Shirazi. Munshi Newul Kishore Press, Lucknow. 1881. “ POETRY has ever been held in the greatest veneration in the East. If the ancient Greeks and Romans gave to their poets all the honors they lavished on their inferior divinities, the Persians have ranked them with their Imams and Prophets, and have as willingly abided by their commands as by the injunctions of their Holy Writ. The Persians are enthusiastically devoted to poetry. It forms the very essence of their religion. The meanest artisan, the rudest soldier, the prondest noble, and the tyrant king, are alike charmed by the strains of the minstrel who sings a mystic song of divine love. They may forget the words of Mohammed, they may neglect the maxims of their Sharehs, but the verses of Sadi and Hafiz are indelibly impressed on their memory.”

Centuries, long and busy and full of change, have passed since Ferdusi, Sadi, and Hafiz delighted the people of the country they adorned, but to-day, throughout Persia, India, and the lands that lie between, they are appealed to and their words quoted with a readiness and frequency difficult to describe. In street-preaching among Mohammedans we often hear the verse from Sadi,

Darogh i maslahat-amez bih az rast i fitna-angez.
A lie purporting good is better than a truth exciting disturb.


This is quoted with the greatest possible assurance, and the verse is used in its widest signification. In the year 1792, when the embassadors of Tippoo Sultan were at Madras, engaged in their mission of raising an insurrection against the British Government, one of them, in his letter to his inaster, advises him to agree to a proposal“ upon the principle recommended by the sage and worthy Khivaja Hatiz Shirazi, (on whom may the mercy of the Lord forever rest,) With friends cordiality, with enemies dissimulation."

As has been well remarked by Sir William Jones, the verses which justify vice are oftener quoted than those in praise of virtue—so weak, alas! is human nature, especially in Oriental

« 이전계속 »