Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

meal, and indulges in a pathetic soliloquy, qualified by a spirited resolve.

Well, baud will I turn,
And something lean to cutpurse of quick hand;
To England will I steal, and there I'll steal,
And patches will I get into these scars,

And swear I got them in the Gallia wars. But here we take leave of the Ancient; whether he succeeded in his vocation of cutting purses, whether he acted well the scarred soldier, or shared the fate of his friend Bardolph, a fate of which he entertained a strong abhorrence, styling it" a damned death,” is left to dark conjecture. He does not, however, leave us without a moral; we see the dreary close of an ill-spent life in these words, “Old do I wax, and from my weary limbs Honour is cudgeled.”

as

2. Sır ANDREW AGUE-CHEEK. Maria. That quaffing and drinking will undo you. I heard my lady talk of it yesterday; and of a foolish knight, that you brought here one night to be her wooer. Sir Toby. Who? Sir Andrew Ague-cheek?

Twelfth Night Act 1st, Scene 3d. While a sea of ink has been shed on the merits of FalstaffJustice Shallow and Slender have met due notice and even Fluellen has had his commentator—Sir Andrew Ague-cheek, tall a man as any in Illyria,” has been left unnoticed. Be it ours, then, to right him, and, as far as lies in our limited power, to raise him to that notoriety he justly claims.

There are many sorts of heroes, or different degrees of heroism. Some are born great,’ ‘some achieve greatness,' and some have greatness thrust upon them. Though a man lack that furious kind of valour, which made the fiery Hotspur think it an easy leap to pluck bright honour from the pale faced moon, he may still possess enough to furnish a tolerable hero. Sir Andrew has not the wit nor the waist of Falstaff, nor the downright courage of Fluellen. He is destitute of the humours of Nym, and the swearing talent and poetic gifts of Pistol; but “he plays the viol de gambo; and speaks three or four languages, word for word, without the book, and hath all the good gifts of nature :" nor in this age, when gold is your only wear, will it be amiss to add that he possessed “ three thousand ducats a year.” That he was not favoured with personal advantages, we learn from the jest of Sir Toby Belch, who, speaking of his hair, says, “it hangs like flax on a distaff, and I hope to see a housewife take thee between her legs and spin it off." This criticism,

which his friend uttered in his presence, so discouraged the diffident Sir Andrew, that he was sain to leave the hope of winning Olivia's love.

Sir And. 'Faith, I'll home to-morrow, Sir Toby: your niece will not be seen; or, if she be, it's four to one she'll none of ine; the count himself, here hard by, wooes her.

Sir To. She'll none o' the count; she'll not match above her degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit; I have heard her swear it. Tut, there's life in't, man.

Sir And. I'll stay a month longer. I am a fellow of the strangest mind i' the world ; I delight in masques and revels sometimes altogether.

Sir To. Art thou good at these kick-shaws, knight?

Sir And. As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be, under the degree of my betters; and yet I will not compare with an old man.

Sir To. What is thy excellence in a galliard, knight?
Sir And. 'Faith, I can cut a caper.
Sir To. And I can cut the mutton to't.

Sir And. And, I think, I have the back-trick, simply as strong as any man in Illyria.

Sir To. Wherefore are these things hid? wherefore have these gifts a curtain before them? Are they like to take dust, like mistress Mall's picture ? why dost thou not go to church in a galliard, and come home in a coranto? My very walk should be a jig.--Act 1, Scene 3.

When we meet Sir Andrew again, it would seem that he has fulfilled his intention of reveling. He and Sir Toby enter into a grave discussion upon an important point. Sir Toby indulges in a soothing sophistry, which does not, however, warp the upright mind of Sir Andrew. He sees things as they are, and calls them by their right names; a quality which we fear would render the knight unfashionable in these latter days. What consternation would such a literal man produce in a fashionable circle. A talent for compliment and agreeable flattery he might term hypocrisy-a pleasant flirtation, coquetry, forsooth—and might even venture to style embellishment, that ornament of conversation-lying. We do not need Madame de Genlis' beautiful illustration to convince us that the palace of truth must be a quarrelsome and dismal abode, and that it is necessary not only " to speak truth, but to time it too."

But to return to Sir Andrew. In answer to Sir Toby's proposition, “ that not to be abed after midnight is to be up betimes,” he says in his straight forward manner, “nay, by my troth, I know not, but to be up late, is to be up late.” He has something of an English taste also; for though he allows with Sir Toby that man's life consists of four elements, he thinks that eating and drinking are two of them. Indeed, he acknowledges that he was a great beef-eater : “Methinks, sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has; but I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit.” A shining merit of Sir Andrew is his extreme candour. This en

gaging virtue appears in all his words and actions. Thus, when about to sing a catch, in which the words " hold thy peace, thou knave,” occur, and the clown apologizes for using the opprobrious epithet, he remarks with interesting simplicity, “'tis not the first time I have constrained one to call me knave.” No mention is made of his past life; but we should conjecture, from one sentence which escapes him, that he had been disappointed in love. When Sir Toby boasts that Maria adores him, Sir Andrew says disconsolately, “I was adored once too,” I also was an Arcadian.

It is said to be the sum of human knowledge to know thyself, and that increase of wisdom bringeth humility. Both these virtues adorn the character of our knight. While listening to Malvolio's soliloquy, he instantly recognises his own likeness, though not drawn by a partial hand.

Mal. Besides, you waste the treasure of your time upon a foolish knight.
Sir And. That's me, I warrant you.
Mal. One Sir Andrew,
Sir And. I knew 'twas I, for many do call me fool.'

The knight is in love, and therefore jealous; for jealousy is ever the companion of love. The disguised Viola is the object of his suspicions; and his friends tell him he must redeem the lost favour of Olivia by policy or valour. His answer is a brave one :" An 't be any way, it must be with valour; for policy I hate : I'd as lief be a Brownist as a politician.” Under the influence of this sentiment, he prepares a challenge and submits it to the judgment of his friends. Will our readers take the scene?

Sir And. Here's the challenge, read it; I warrant there's vinegar and

pepper in't.

Fab. Is't so saucy?
Sir And. Is't? | warrant him: do but read.
Sir To. Give me.

(Sir Toby reads.) “ Youth, whatsoever thou art, thou art but a scurvy fellow.” Fab. Good, and valiant.

Sir To. “ Wonder not, nor adınire not in thy mind, why I do call thee so, " for I will show thee no reason for't."

Fab. A good note: that keeps you from the blow of the law. Sir To. “ Thou com'st to the lady Olivia, and in my sight she uses thee kindly: but thou liest in thy throat, that is not the matter I challenge thee “ for."

Fab. Very brief, and exceeding good sense-less.
Sir To. “I will waylay thee going home: where if it be thy chance to

“ kill me,

[ocr errors]

Fab. Good. Sir To. “ Thou kill'st me like a rogue and a villain.” Fab. Still you keep o' the windy side of the law: Good. Sir To. “Fare thee well; and God have mercy upon one of our souls ! “ He may have mercy upon inine ; but my hope is better, and so look to thy“self. Thy friend, as thou usest him, and thy sworn enemy, ANDREW “ AGUE-CHEEK.")

It has often been observed, that the courage of all men is subject to fluctuation. The general who would boldly meet his enemy, dreads to encounter the gentle waves of an undisturbed sea; a brave soldier has been known to tremble before a cat; and it is said of a modern hero, whose brows are encircled with a coronet, that when he first entered the list of fame, and heard the loud shout of angry battle, he trembled. We will therefore more readily excuse a transient failure in Sir Andrew's valour, when he hears such serious accounts of his opponent's skill.

Sir Toby. Why man, he's a very devil ; I have not seen such a virago; I had a pass with him, rapier, scabbard and all, and he gives me the stuck in with such a mortal motion, that it is inevitable: and on the answer, he pays you as surely as your feet hit the ground they step on; they say he has been sencer to the Sophy.'

Sir Andrew's reply, though not a very bold, is an extremely natural one, and contains a sentiment which many men in his situation, were they as candid as he, would express. “Plague on't : an I had thought he had been so valiant, and so cunning in fence, I'd have seen him damned ere I'd have challenged him.” The unwilling combatants, however, draw near; while, to inspirit Sir Andrew, Sir Toby assures him that his enemy has sworn not to harm him, to which the Knight most earnestly answers, “ Pray God he keep his oath.” Officers of the law interfere, and prevent bloodshed; but when Viola is led off under arrest, Sir Andrew's fugitive courage returns, and he pursues his supposed rival on murderous deed intent. But alas for the rash Knight-he mistook his man, and lighted upon Sebastian, and the consequences he thus bewails. “ He has broke my head across, and given Sir Toby a bloody coxcomb too: for the love of God your help: I had rather than forty pound I were at home,”—and thus discomfited in love and in battle, Sir Andrew takes his final leave.

But we cannot take our leave without trespassing further on the reader's attention, and turning a little aside from our subject, to indulge in some literary scandal. Every one must recollect Wamba, in Ivanhoe, and the artifice he uses to gain access into the castle of Front-de-Bouf: where, in assuming the friar's cowl, he too evidently doffs the fool's cap and bells; and though he substantiates his fidelity as a friend, weakens his reputation as a true fool. No one has forgotten his “Pax vobiscum," or his too sensible remarks on assuming his disguise, or if they have, can fail to remember it, when they read the following scene from the Twelfth Night.

Maria. Nay, I prithee, put on this gown and beard ; make him believe thou art Sir Topas, the curate: do it quickly, I'll call Sir Toby the whilst.

Clown. Well, I'll put it on, and I will dissemble myself in it ; and I would

[blocks in formation]

I were the first that ever dissembled in such a gown: I am not half fat enough to become the function well, nor lean enough to be thought a good student.

Sir Toby. Jove bless thee, master parson.
Clown. Bonos dies, Sir Toby.'

The Clown wears his cowl as easily, though not in such peril, as his successor, Wamba : “The knave counterfeits well; a good knave.” We do not remark this coincidence with any desire to depreciate the merit of the extraordinary genius who has added so much to the literary treasures of the age, but cite it as an instance of the felicity with which he adopts remote hints, and by making them his own, renders them more valuable.

Art. III.- Travels in France and Italy, in 1817 and 1818. By

the Rev. William BERRIAN, an Assistant Minister of Trinity Church, New-York. 8vo. pp. 403. T. & J. Swords.

We do not agree with those reviewers, who believe the day for the personal narratives of travellers to be past. It is true, that much idle and egotistical matter may be obtruded on our notice in this manner; yet we greatly prefer a lively detail of occurrences, which represents incidentally the customs of a people, to any

formal and dull statistical account. The chance for novelty, at least, is on the side of the traveller; and we conceive there can be no safer method of forming our opinions of a people at a distance, than by listening to the relation of well chosen facts.

He who travels with a view to write, should seize every opportunity of coming in contact with the inhabitants he visits; and then nothing more is necessary than ability to discern and fidelity to record. We wish not to be understood as saying, that after hastily running over a certain district of country, a writer is always qualified to convey a just idea of the character of its people; but we wish every man to relate what he sees, as it occurs, and by so doing, he enables us to form a juster estimate of the value of his facts. But to explain ourselves more fully : Suppose two men undertake to give an account of any particular country, from the result of their own observations. One travels through it, sees the people as well as he can, collects what anecdotes he may, draws his own conclusions, and then, perhaps with the aid of a few books, communicates the result to the world, under the sounding title of Remarks, National Character, or perhaps Statistics. The other travels also—relates, in the form of a personal narrative, every thing of moment which occurs-gives us his method of reasoning, it is true, but so closely connected with the facts that we are

« ПредишнаНапред »