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Julio Romano”'_“ However misplaced the vokes a blessing on her daughter's head,) is in the finest praise, it is no small honour to Julio Romano to be taste, as a poetical beauty, besides being an admirable thus mentioned by the Poet. By eternity Shakespeare trait of character. The misfortunes of Hermione, her only means immortality. It should seem that a painted long religious seclusion, the wonderful and almost superstatue was no singularity in that age: Ben Jonson, in natural part she has just enacted, have invested her his “ Magnetic Lady," makes it a reflection on the bad with such a sacred and awful charm, that any words taste of the city:-
put into her mouth must, I think, have injured the Rut. I'd have her statue cut now in white marble.
solemn and profound pathos of the situation.”-MRS. Sr. Moth. And have it painted in most orient colours. JAMESON.
Rut. That's right! all city statues must be painted, Else they be worth nought in their subtle judgments.
“ --- would beguile nature of her custom”—That is, Sir Henry Wotton, who had travelled much, calls it an
of her trade-would draw nature's customers from her. “ English barbarism.” But painted statues were known “ – Let boors and FRANKLINS say it”-A “franklin" to the Greeks, as appears from the accounts of Pausa- was a freeholder, or yeomun : a man above a villain, nias and Herodotus. That semi-barbarous nations but not a gentleman. should paint them, is not, therefore, to be wondered at;
“ – thou art a TALL fellor of thy hands"_i, e. A it is a custom which has prevailed everywhere in the
courageous fellow. (See Note on MERRY WIVES OF infancy of art."-STEVENS, and others.
WINDSOR, act i. scene 4.) « This scene is not only one of the most picturesque and striking instances of stage-effect to be found in the « — we'll be thy GOOD MASTERS"_" The Clown conancient or modern drama, but, by the skilful manner
ceits himself already man of consequence at court. in which it is prepared, it has, wonderful as it appears,
It was the fashion for an inferior, or suitor, to beg of all the merit of consistency and truth. The grief, the the great man, after his humble commendations, that love, the remorse, and impatience of Leontes, are he would be good master' to him. Many ancient finely contrasted with the astonishment and admiration letters run in this fashion. Thus, Fisher, Bishop of of Perdita, who, gazing on the figure of her mother, Rochester, when in prison, in a letter to Lord Cromlike one entranced, looks as if she were also turned to well, (in the time of Henry VIII.,) says:-Furthermarble. There is here one little instance of tender more, I beseech you, to be good master unto one in my remembrance in Leontes, which adds to the charming necessities; for I have neither shirt nor suit, nor yet impression of Hermione's character :
other clothes, that are necessary for me to wear.'"
“PAULINA undraws a curtain, and discovers a Thus she stood,
statue"-"In the old editions there is no stage-direction, Even with such life of majesty,-warm lifeAs now it coldly stands- when first I woo'd her!
excepting that, at the beginning of the scene, Her
mione (like a statue,)' is inserted among the characters. “ The effect produced on the different persons of the Hermione was probably concealed by a curtain." drama by this living statue--an effect which, at the COLLIER. same moment, is and is not illusion-the manner in This whole act, with the idea of the statue and the which the feelings of the spectators become entangled restoration of Hermione, is entirely of Shakespeare's between the conviction of death and the impression of own invention, there being no trace of any similar life, the idea of a deception, and the feeling of a reality, thought in the novel, where the queen dies with sudand the exquisite colouring of poetry and touches of den grief, upon the death of her son. Some of the natural feeling with which the whole is brought up- critics of the last century, when this piece was unknown till wonder, expectation, and intense pleasure, hold our on the stage, and branded, in the ordinary editions, pulse and breath suspended on the event—are quite with Dryden's censure and Pope's doubts, have specially inimitable.
remarked upon this scene as improbable and undraThe expression used here by Leontes
matic. Mrs. Lennox brands it as low and ridiculous." thus she stood,
But the revival of the play on the stage, in latter days, Even with such life of majesty,-warın life.
has proved that Shakespeare was a better judge than The fixure of her eye has motion in't,
his critics of stage-etfect and dramatic probability. T. As we are mcck'd with art
Campbell appeals to the public recollection of Mrs. and by Polixenes
Siddons, in this scene, as a sufficient refutation of the
criticism of Mrs. Lennox, and all her tribe ; while HazThe very life secms warm upon her lip
litt, among his dramatic reminiscences of this piece, appear strangely applied to a statue, such as we usually besides noticing the “fine classical phrensy" of Kemble, imagine it-of the cold colourless marble; but it is evi- || in Leontes, says that Mrs. Siddons, “in the last scene, dent that in this scene Hermione personates one of acted the painted statue to the life-with true nonu. those images, or effigies, such as we may see in the old mental dignity, and noble passion." Gothic cathedrals, in which the stone, or marble, was
“ Would I were dead, but that, methinks, already"coloured after nature. I remember coming suddenly upon one of these effigies, either at Basle or Fribourg,
Leontes, in his ecstasy, breaks off without completing which made me start. The figure was as large as life;
what he was about to say: what was in his thought
seems to have been something to contradict his wish, the drapery of crimson, powdered with stars of gold;
“Would I were dead," because he almost fancies that the face and eyes, and hair, tinted after nature, though the statue of Hermione is alive. faded by time. It stood in a Gothic niche, over a tomb, as I think, and in a kind of dim, uncertain light. It
“ The FIXURE of her eye has MOTION in'l"_“The would have been very easy for a living person to repre
meaning is, though her eye be fixed, yet it seems to sent such an effigy, particularly if it had been painted
have “motion" in it: that tremulous motion which is by that órare Italian master, Julio Romano,' who, as
perceptible in the eye of a living person, how much we are informed, was the reputed author of this won
soever one endeavours to fix it."-EDWARDS. derful statue.
“Ox; Those that think"-The folio reading is re“ The moment when Hermione descends from her tained, because it is not clear that it can be changed pedestal, to the sound of soft music, and throws herself, for the better, with probability. Knight and Collier rewithout speaking, into her husband's arms, is one of tain it; the former (with whom we agree) understands inexpressible interest. It appears to me that her silence, it as, Let us go on. The king immediately adds, during the whole of this scene, (except when she in- Proceed. Collier interprets—“Let those go on, or de part," etc. Hanmer, followed by other editors, changes “ The qualities which impart to Perdita her distinct "on" into or, thus :
individuality, are the beautiful combination of the Or those that think it is unlawful business.
pastoral with the elegant-of simplicity with elevation
--of spirit with sweetness. The exquisite delicacy of « This play, throughout, is written in the very spirit the picture is apparent. To understand and appreciate of its author; and in telling this homely and simple, its effective truth and nature, we should place Perdita though agreeable country-tale
beside some of the nymphs of Arcadia, or the Italian Our sweetest Shakespeare, fancy's child,
pastorals, who, however graceful in themselves, when Warbles his native wood-notes wild.
opposed to Perdita, seem to melt away into mere poetical This was necessary to observe, in mere justice to the abstractions :-as, in Spenser, the fair but fictitious play; as the meanness of the fable, and the extrava- Florimel, which the subtle enchantress had moulded gant conduct of it, had misled some of great name into out of snow, 'vermeil tinctured,' and informed with an a wrong judgment of its merit; which, as far as regards ! airy spirit, that knew • all wiles of woman's wits,' sades sentiment and character, is scarce inferior to any in and dissolves away, when placed next to the real Florithe whole collection."—WARBURTON.
mel, in her warm, breathing, human loveliness. Dr. Warburton, by “some of great name," means “Perdita does not appear till the fourth act, and the Dryden and Pope. (See the Essay at the end of the whole of the character is developed in the course of a second part of the “ Conquest of Granada.")
single scene, (the third,) with a completeness of effect “ The Winter's Tale is as appropriately named as which leaves nothing to be required-nothing to be the MIDSUMMER Night's Dream. It is one of those supplied. She is first introduced in the dialogue between tales which are peculiarly calculated to beguile the herself and Florizel, where she compares her own lowly dreary leisure of a long winter evening, which are even state to his princely rank, and expresses her fears of attractive and intelligible to childhood ; and which, ani- the issue of their unequal attachment. With all her mated by fervent truth, in the delineation of character timidity, and her sense of the distance which separates and passion, invested with the decoration of a poetry her from her lover, she breathes not a single word lowering itself, as it were, to the simplicity of the sub
which could lead us to impugn either her delicacy or ject, transport even manhood back to the golden age of her dignity. imagination. The calculation of probabilities has nothing “There are several among Shakespeare's characters to do with such wonderful and fleeting adventures, end- which exercise a far stronger power over our feelings, ing at last in general joy; and, accordingly, Shakespeare
our fancy, our understanding, than that of Hermione; has here taken the greatest liberties with anachronisms
but not one,-unless perhaps Cordelia,-constructed and geographical errors."-SCHLEGEL. * The idea of this delightful drama, (says Coleridge, gentleness with power which constitutes the perfection
upon so high and pure a principle. It is the union of in his • Literary Remains,' vol. ii. p. 250,) is a genuine
of mental grace.
Thus, among the ancients, with jealousy of disposition ; and it should be immediately
whom the graces were also the charities, one and the followed by the perusal of OTHELLO, which is the direct
same word signified equally strength and virtue. This contrast of it, in every particular. For jealousy is a vice
feeling, carried into the fine arts, was the secret of the of the mind, a culpable tendency of temper, having cer
antique grace—the grace of repose. The same eternal tain well-known and well-defined effects and concomi.
nature—the same sense of immutable truth and beauty, tants, all of which are visible in Leontes, and, I boldly
which revealed this sublime principle of art to the say, not one of which marks its presence in Othello:
ancient Greeks, revealed it to the genius of Shakesuch as, first, an excitability by the most inadequate causes, and an eagerness to snatch at proofs ; secondly,
speare; and the character of Hermione, in which we
have the same largeness of conception and delicacy of a grossness of conception, and a disposition to degrade the object of the passion by sensual fancies and images;
execution,—the same effect of suffering without passion, thirdly, a sense of shame of his own feelings, exhibited
and grandeur without effort,-is an instance, I think, in a solitary moodiness of humour, and yet, from the
that he felt within himself, and by intuition, what we violence of the passion, forced to utter itself, and there
study all our lives in the remains of ancient art. The fore catching occasions to ease the mind by ambiguities,
calm, regular, classical beauty of Hermione's character equivoques, by talking to those who cannot, and who
is the more impressive from the wild and Gothic accomare known not to be able to understand what is said to paniments of her story, and the beautiful relief afforded them—in short, by soliloquy in the form of dialogue,
by the pastoral and romantic grace which is thrown and hence a confused, broken, and fragmentary man
around her daughter Perdita. ner; fourthly, a dread vulgar ridicule, as distinct “ The character of Paulina, in the WINTER's Tale, from a high sense of honour, or a mistaken sense of
though it has obtained but little notice and no critical duty; and lastly, and immediately consequent on this,
remark, (that I have seen,) is yet one of the striking a spirit of selfish vindictiveness."
beauties of the play: and it has its moral too. As we We learn from Mr. Collier that, in his extemporary see running through the whole universe that principle though elaborately prepared lectures, in 1815, “ Cole- of contrast which may be called the life of nature, so ridge dwelt on the not easily jealous' frame of Othello's we behold it everywhere illustrated in SHAKESPEARE: mind, and on the art of the great Poet in working upon upon this principle he has placed Emilia beside Desdehis generous and unsuspecting nature: he contrasted mona, the Nurse beside Juliet; the clowns and dairythe characters of Othello and Leontes in this respect ; maids, and the merry pedlar-thief Autolycus round the latter, from predisposition, requiring no such malig. Florizel and Perdita ;-and made Paulina the friend of nant instigator as Iago."
Hermione. Mrs. Jameson thus delineates her ideas of the delicately “ Paulina does not fill any ostensible office near the ponrtrayed and finely discriminated female characters
person of the queen, but is a lady of high rank in the of this drama :
court—the wife of the Lord Antigonus. She is a “ The story of Florizel and Perdita is but an episode character strongly drawn from real and common lifein the WINTER'S TALE; and the character of Perdita is a clever, generous, strong-minded, warm-hearted woproperly kept subordinate to that of her mother, Hermi- man, fearless in asserting the truth, firm in her sense one: yet the picture is perfectly finished in every part; of right, enthusiastic in all her affections; quick in Juliet herself is not more firmly and distinctly drawn. thought, resolute in word, and energetic in action ; but But the colouring in Perdita is more silvery light and heedless, hot-tempered, impatient, loud, bold, voluble, delicate; the pervading sentiment more touched with and turbulent of tongue; regardless of the feelings of the ideal; compared with Juliet, she is like a Guido those for whom she would sacrifice her life, and injuring hung beside a Georgione, or one of Paesiello's airs from excess of zeal those whom she most wishes to heard after one of Mozart's.
“How many such are there in the world! But Paulina, his own cruel injustice. It is admirable, too, that though a very termagant, is yet a poetical termagant in Hermione and Paulina, while sufficiently approximated her way; and the manner in which all the evil and to afford all the pleasure of contrast, are never brought dangerous tendencies of such a temper are placed before too nearly in contact on the scene in the dialogue; for us, even while the individual character preserves the this would have been a fault in taste, and have necessastrongest hold upon our respect and admiration, forms rily weakened the effect of both characters :-either the an impressive lesson, as well as a natural and delightful serene grandeur of Hermione would have subdued and portrait.
overawed the fiery spirit of Paulina, or the impetuous “We can only excuse Paulina by recollecting that it is temper of the latter must have disturbed, in some a part of her purpose to keep alive in the heart of Leon- respect, our impression of the calm, majestic, and sometes the remembrance of his queen's perfections, and of what melancholy beauty of Hermione."