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Glendower.

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untamed animal spirits, the recklessness which we associate with youth, the sanguine gaiety of heart, the freakish character of his humour as seen in the badinage of his wife, in the mocking raillery of Glendower, in the petulance of his gibes against the king after their stormy collision.

The Welsh chieftain is a curious compound of the mystic and the man of action, the lover of poetry, art, refinement, and the turbulent, headstrong, assertor of his rights. He is as much in earnest in the one direction as in the other, thoroughly believes in himself, his supernatural powers, and his distance of superiority from all other men, and is driven almost wild with fury at Hotspur's daring to question his commerce with devilish agency. Indeed, to his scarcely sane imagination these pretensions are more than mere material possessions or success, and the very intensity of his belief in himself acts strongly upon others; insomuch that even Henry, it is said, when failing in his earliest attempts to bring him into subjection, found consolation in the thought that he had been baffled not so much by superiority of arms and tactics as by assistance derived from the unseen world-a hint of which we see in the anger of the king at "that great magician, damned Glendower," and in his assertion that Mortimer “durst as well have met the devil alone As Owen Glendower for an enemy." In all this Shakespeare does but follow the old chronicles, while, as in the scene at Bangor, he contrives to emphasize the arrogant complacency and sombre-textured concentration, no less than the refinement of speech and imaginative sensibility belonging to one brought up in courtly ways and studious habits,

INTRODUCTION.

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but driven in upon himself by loneliness of life amid wild, mountainous, and barren scenery, or again ascribes his absence from the field of Shrewsbury to the paralysing hold which superstition had upon him, though in reality that absence was due to the impossibility of bringing up his forces in time. Shakespeare also evidently intends that he should be a foil to Hotspur's unimaginative energy, that scorns culture of the mind, has no room for dreams, and believes in nothing but hard-hitting blows.

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Hallow

Chief-Justice.

Reference to this personage is made in Rymer's The Lord Fodera as one of the "attornies" to Bolingbroke when he sought restitution of his rights unjustly withheld by Richard, and his elevation to the bench followed shortly upon Henry's accession to the throne. In history he is represented as a high-minded judge who did not hesitate to refuse the king's requirement that he should pass sentence of death on Archbishop Scroop; and the committal to prison of Prince Henry for striking him in court-an actual an actual occurrence--gives Shakespeare the opportunity of doing justice to his fearless character and respect for his high office. On Henry's death Falstaff and his boon companions not unnaturally chuckle at the idea of revenging themselves on those who had reproved their scandalous courses, and if the father himself failed to see to the bottom of his son's character, it is not to be wondered at that the Chief-Justice should anticipate evil times for the commonwealth and retribution on his own head. Yet he scorns to "beg A ragged and forestall'd remission," and boldly vindicates the "indignities" of which the new king pretends to complain, his fearlessness

The Archbishop of York.

being rewarded by an answer in which the sovereign honouring a subject honours himself still more. But the poet is not content with showing us the ChiefJustice in his judicial aspect alone. His interviews with Falstaff are made the medium for bringing outwhether in accordance with history or not-a mellow humour and good-natured toleration that make his character lovable as well as honoured. He is, of course, bound to reprove the old sinner, but even when he does so with severest accents, it is easy to see that he enjoys the frolic of the thing, and allows himself to lengthen out the scenes because, like all who are brought into contact with "plump Jack," he is unable to resist the charm of his witty buffoonery, and cannot for the life of it take him altogether seriously. On both occasions he sets out with the sternness of the judge, but is evidently glad that he has no official status to maintain, gradually relaxes the rigour of his sentences, and before the adieux are made, is no doubt glad to get away without compromising his dignity by the open betrayal of an enjoyment which he cannot but feel.

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This prelate plays an important part in the troubles of the reign, and though he of course transgresses his first duty of loyal obedience, he does so more from a mistaken consideration for the public welfare than for any self-scheming hopes. It is true that Shakespeare, confounding him with the brother of the Earl of Wiltshire, represents vengeance for that brother's death as among the motives of his rebellion. But the eulogy put into Morton's mouth, Pt. II. i. 1. 187-209, does justice to that "integrity of life and incomparable learning" which, "with the reverend aspect of his

amiable personage, moved," says Holinshed, "all men to have him in estimation"; and nothing in the play discredits such eulogy. He is prompt and resolute, he has considered well the cause in which he acts, he sets forth his complaints in temperate and weighty words, is ready on the redress of grievances to lay down his arms, but is determined, if such redress is refused, to make his appeal to the God of battles. His promise he punctually redeems when an honourable peace is offered him by Lancaster, only to find his trust in that prince's good faith rewarded by judicial murder.

It has been remarked by Hudson in a fine piece Falstaff. of criticism on Falstaff that Henry's youthful days being represented by historians as spent in the wildest indulgence of riotous mirth, the poet had no way to set forth this part of the man's life but by creating one or more representative characters, concentrating in them such a fund of mental attractions as might overcome the natural repugnance of an upright and noble mind to their vices. . . . It must be no ordinary companionship that yields entertainment to such a spirit even in its loosest moments. Whatever bad or questionable elements may mingle in his mirth, it must have some fresh and rich ingredients, some sparkling and generous flavour to make him relish it. Here then we have a sort of dramatic necessity for the character of Falstaff. To answer the purpose it was imperative that he should be just such a marvellous congregation of charms and vices as he is." Perhaps in order to get at the real nature of such a companion as the Prince chose, it may be useful to look at him from the point of

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view of his wit, his vices, and his courage or want of courage. By his wit I mean not only those flashes of verbal agility which light up the whole play, but that ingenuity of resource whereby he eludes seemingly inevitable disgrace, and "out of this nettle, danger," plucks "this flower, safety." At our first introduction to him, he is scheming to persuade the Prince to join in a midnight robbery, and his sallies of repartee are somewhat laboured in their effort. But the circumstances are not such as to give free scope for a display of his characteristic talents. When we come to the meeting with the Prince after the robbery, we see him in the full swing of his mendacity set off by a dexterity not to be baffled. His lies are, indeed, gross as a mountain, open, palpable," but a man of his keen wit would not expand Gadshill's statement of " some dozen antagonists into "two or three and fifty," or his own first statement of two whom he had killed into seven, or involve himself in such a contradiction as to describe the colour of his assailants' dress while at the same time declaring the night to be so dark that "thou couldst not see thy hand," without having some ruse in the background; and here his device clearly is to invite certain detection and create mirth by the agility with which he will wind out of toils he has provided for the Prince to make use of. At the same time I cannot, with Hudson, believe that he all the while suspected who his assailants were; for this, it seems to me, would rob his claim to "instinct" of much of its comicality, and moreover when the Prince taunts him with his flight, there is in his answer a certain sense of shame not without reality. The

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