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figure of it, under the name of tibia utricularis, though this is not precisely the same as the modern instrument. Luscinius, in his 'Musurgia' (1536), has a woodcut of it, whence it appears that the bagpipe in his time was in all respects the same as ours. Indeed, it is mentioned, though not described, by Chaucer, who says of his miller
'A baggepipe wel coude he blowe and soune;' and this, we are told in the same prologue, was the music to which the Canterbury pilgrims performed their journey." The preceding engraving is copied from a carving in the church of Cirencester, which is supposed to be of the period of Henry VII.
18 SCENE I.
"The quality of mercy is not strain'd," &c.
Douce has pointed to the following verse in Ecclesiasticus (xxxv. 20) as having suggested the beautiful image of the rain from heaven :"Mercy is seasonable in the time of affliction, as clouds of rain in the time of drought." The subsequent passage, when Portia says, "we do pray for mercy," is considered by Sir William Blackstone to be out of character as addressed to a Jew. Shakspere had probably the Lord's Prayer immediately in his mind; but the sentiment is also found in Ecclesiasticus, ch. xxviii.
32 SCENE I.
-“she doth stray about By holy crosses."
These holy crosses still, as of old, bristle the land in Italy, and sanctify the sea. Besides those contained in churches, they mark the spots where heroes were born, where saints rested, where travellers died. They rise on the summits of hills, and at the intersection of roads; and there is now a shrine of the Madonna del Mare in the midst of the sea between Mestre and Venice, and another between Venice and Palestrina, where the gondolier and the mariner cross themselves in passing, and whose lamp nightly gleams over the waters, in moonlight or storm. The days are past when pilgrims of all ranks, from the queen to the beggar-maid, might be seen kneeling and praying "for happy wedlock hours," or for whatever else lay nearest their hearts; and the reverence of the passing traveller is now nearly all the homage that is paid at these shrines.—(M.)
33 SCENE I.-"How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank."
One characteristic of an Italian garden is that its trees and shrubs are grown in avenues and gathered into thickets, while the grass-plots and turfy banks are studded with parterres of roses and other flowers, which lie open to the sunshine and the dews. The moonlight thus sleeps upon such lawns and banks, instead of being disturbed by the flickering of overshadowing trees.-(M.)
34 SCENE I.-"Sit, Jessica," &c.
Mr. Hallam, in his very interesting account of the philosophy of Campanella, thus paraphrases one of the most imaginative passages of the Dominican friar:-"The sky and stars are endowed with the keenest sensibility; nor is it unreasonable to suppose that they signify their mutual thoughts to each other by the transference of light, and that their sensibility is full of pleasure. The blessed spirits, that inform such living and bright mansions, behold all things in nature, and in the divine ideas; they have also a more glorious light than their own, through which they are elevated to a supernatural beatific vision." Mr. Hallam adds: "We can hardly read this, without recollecting the most sublime passage perhaps in Shakspere;" and he then quotes the following lines,
which our readers will thank us for offering to them apart from the general text:—
"Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold. There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st But in his motion like an angel sings, Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins: Such harmony is in immortal souls; But whilst this muddy vesture of decay Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.". Campanella was of a later period than Shakspere, who probably found the idea in some of the Platonic works of which his writings un- | questionably show that he was a student. In his hands it has reached its utmost perfection of beauty. After these glorious lines, the parallel passage in Milton's 'Arcades,' fine as it is, appears to us less perfect in sentiment and harmony: :
"In deep of night when drowsiness Hath lock'd up mortal sense, then listen I To the celestial Sirens' harmony, That sit upon the nine infolded spheres, And sing to those that hold the vital shears, And turn the adamantine spindle round, On which the fate of gods and men is wound. Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie, To lull the daughter of Necessity, And keep unsteady Nature to her law, And the low world in measur'd motion draw After the heavenly tune, which none can hear Of human mould, with gross unpurged ear." Coleridge has approached the subject in lines which are worthy to stand by the side of those of Shakspere and Milton :
"Soul of Alvar!
Hear our soft suit, and heed my milder spell;-
Who in broad circle, lovelier than the rainbow,
(Remorse, Act II. Sc. L
35 SCENE I." The man that hath no music in himself."
There is a great controversy amongst the commentators upon the moral fitness of this passage; and those who are curious in such matters may turn to the variorum edition, for a long and perilous attack upon Shakspere's opinions by Steevens, and to a defence of them, in their separate works, by Douce and Monck
Literature of Europe,' vol. iii. p. 147. Mr. Hallam has quoted from memory: having put "vault" for "floor," with two or three minor variations.
Mason. The interest of the dispute wholly consists in the solemn stupidity with which it is conducted. The summing-up of Steevens is unequalled :—" Let not this capricious sentiment of Shakspere descend to posterity unattended by the opinion of the late Lord Chesterfield upon the same subject;" and then he quotes one of his Lordship's letters, containing an insolent attack upon "fiddlers."
36 SCENE I. "The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark," &c.
The animals mentioned in this play are all proper to the country, and to that part of it, to which the play relates. The wren is uncommon; but its note is occasionally heard. The crow, lark, jay, cuckoo, nightingale, goose, and eel, are all common in Lombardy.—(M.)
37 SCENE I." This night, methinks, is but the daylight sick."
The light of moon and stars in Italy is almost as yellow as sunlight in England. The planets burn like golden lamps above the pinnacles and pillared statues of the city and the tree-tops of the plain, with a brilliancy which cannot be imagined by those who have dwelt only in a northern climate. The infant may there hold out its hands, not only for the full moon, but for "the old moon sitting in the young moon's lap,""-an appearance there as obvious to the eye as any constellation. Two hours after sunset, on the night of new moon, we have seen so far over the lagunes, that the night seemed indeed only a paler day,-"a little paler.”—(M.)
The dresses of the most civilised nations of Europe have at all periods borne a strong resemblance to each other: the various fashions having been generally invented amongst the southern, and gradually adopted by the northern, ones. Some slight distinctions, however, have always remained to characterise, more or less particularly, the country of which the wearer was a native; and the Republic of Venice, perhaps, differed more than any other State in the habits of its nobles, magistrates, and merchants, from the universal fashion of that quarter of the globe in which it was situate.
To commence with the chief officer of the Republic:-The Doge, like the Pope, appears to have worn different habits on different occasions. Cæsar Vecellio describes at some length the alterations made in the ducal dress by several princes, from the close of the twelfth century down to that of the sixteenth, the period of the action of the play before us; at which time the materials of which it was usually composed were cloth of silver, cloth of gold, and crimson velvet, the cap always corresponding in colour with the robe and mantle. On the days sacred to the Holy Virgin the Doge always appeared entirely in white. Coryat, who travelled in 1608, says, in his 'Crudities,' "The fifth day of August, being Friday . . . I saw the Duke in some of his richest ornaments.
He himself then wore two very rich robes, or long garments, whereof the uppermost was white cloth of silver, with great massy buttons of gold; the other cloth of silver also, but adorned with many curious works made in colours with needlework." Howell, in his 'Survey of the Signorie of Venice,' Lond. 1651, after telling us that the Duke "always goes clad in silk and purple," observes, that sometimes he shows himself to the public in a robe of cloth of gold, and a white mantle; he hath his head covered with a thin coif, and on his forehead he wears a crimson kind of mitre, with a gold border, and, behind, it turns up in form of a horn on his shoulders he carries ermine skins to the middle, which is still a badge of the Consul's habit; on his feet he wears embroidered sandals, tied with gold buttons, and about his middle a most rich belt, embroidered with costly jewels, in so much, that the habit of
C. Vecellio, a much better authority, says slippers. "Porta in piedi le piandelle piu del medesimo usasi anche da cavallieri nobili di Venetia."
the Duke, when at festivals he shows himself in the highest state, is valued at about 100,000 crowns." a
The chiefs of the Council of Ten, who were three in number, wore "red gowns with long sleeves, either of cloth, camlet, or damask, according to the weather, with a flap of the same colour over their left shoulders, red stockings, and slippers." The rest of the Ten, according to Coryat, wore black camlet gowns with marvellous long sleeves, that reach almost down to
[Costume of the "Clarissimoes."]
the ground. The "clarissimoes" generally wore gowns of black cloth faced with black taffata, with a flap of black cloth, edged with taffata, over the left shoulder; and "all these gowned men," says the same author, "do wear marvellous little black caps of felt, without any brims at all, and very diminutive falling bands, no ruffs at all, which are so shallow, that I have seen many of them not above a little inch deep." The colour of their under garments was also generally black, and consisted of "a! slender doublet made close to the body, without much quilting or bombast, and long hose plain, without those new-fangled curiosities and ridiculous superfluities of panes, pleats, and other light toys used with us Englishmen. Yet," he continues, "they make it of costly stuff, well
In the collection at Goodrich Court is the walkingstaff of a Doge of Venice of the sixteenth century. b Coryat.
beseeming gentlemen and eminent persons of their places, as of the best taffatas and satins that Christendom doth yield, which are fairly garnished also with lace of the best sort. The Knights of St. Mark, or of the Order of the Glorious Virgin, &c., were distinguished by wearing red apparel under their black gowns." "Young lovers," says Vecellio, "wear generally a doublet and breeches of satin, tabby, or other silk, cut or slashed in the form of crosses or stars, through which slashes is seen the lining of coloured taffata: gold buttons, a lace ruff, a bonnet of rich velvet or silk with an ornamental band, a silk cloak, and silk stockings, Spanish morocco shoes, a flower in one hand, and their gloves and handkerchief in the other." This habit, he tells us, was worn by many of the nobility, as well of Venice as of other Italian cities, especially by the young men before they put on the gown with the sleeves, "a comito," which was generally in their eighteenth or twentieth year.
Vecellio also furnishes us with the dress of a doctor of laws, the habit in which Portia defends Antonio. The upper robe was of black damask cloth, velvet, or silk, according to the weather. The under one of black silk with a silk sash, the ends of which hang down to the middle of the leg; the stockings of black cloth or velvet; the cap of rich velvet or silk.
[Costume of a Doctor of Laws.]
And now to speak of the dress of the principal character of this play. Great difference
of opinion has existed, and much ink been shed, upon this subject, as it seems to us very needlessly. If a work, written and published by Venetians in their own city, at the particular period when this play was composed, is not sufficient authority, we know not what can be considered such. Vecellio expressly informs us that the Jews differed in nothing, as far as regarded dress, from Venetians of the same professions, whether merchants, artisans, &c.", with the exception of a yellow bonnet, which they were compelled to wear by order of the government. Can anything be more distinct and satisfactory? In opposition to this positive assertion of a Venetian writing upon the actual subject of dress, we have the statement of Saint Didier, who, in his 'Histoire de Venise,' says that the Jews of Venice wore scarlet hats lined
with black taffata, and a notification in Hakluyt's 'Voyages' (p. 179, edit. 1598), that in the year 1581 the Jews wore red caps for distinction's sake. We remember also to have met somewhere with a story, apparently in confirmation of this latter statement, that the colour was changed from red to yellow, in consequence of a Jew having been accidentally taken for a cardinal! But besides that neither of the two lastmentioned works are to be compared with Vecellio's in respect of authority for what may be termed Venetian costume, it is not likely that scarlet, a sacred colour among Catholics generally, and appropriated particularly by the Venetian knights and principal magistrates, would be selected for a badge of degradation, or rather infamous distinction. Now yellow, on the contrary, has always been in Europe a mark of disgrace. Tenne (i. e. orange) was considered by many heralds as stainant. The Jews, in England, wore yellow caps of a peculiar shape as early as the reign of Richard I.; and Lord Verulam, in his 'Essay on Usury,' speaking of the witty invectives that men have made against usury, states one of them to be that usurers should have orange-tawny bonnets, because they do Judaize."
As late, also, as the year 1825, an order was issued by the Pope that "the Jews should wear a yellow covering on their hats, and the women a yellow riband on their breast, under the pain of severe penalties."-Vide 'Examiner,' Sunday
a "Imitano gli altri mercanti e artigiani di questa litta." Edit. 1590.
b "Portano per comandamento publico la berretta gialla." Ibid.