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Thus their fault lies not in the nature of their passion, but in its excess, that they love each other in a degree that is due only to their Maker; but this is a natural reaction from that idolatry of interest and of self which pervades the rest of society, turning marriage into merchandise, and sacrificing the holiest instincts of nature to avarice, ambition, and pride.

The lovers, it is true, are not much given to reflection, because this is a thing that cannot come to them legitimately bat hy exe perience, which they are yet without. Life lies glitering with gollen hopes before them, owing all its enchantmeni. perhaps, to distance : if their bliss seems perfect, it is only because their bounty is infinite; but such bounty and such bliss may not with mortal man abide." Berest of the new life they have found in each other, nothing remains for them but the bitter dregs from which the wine has all evaporated; and they dash to earth the stale and vapid draught, when it has lost all the spirit that caused it to foam and sparkle before them. Nevertheless, it is not their passion, but the enmity of their houses, that is punished in their death; and the awful lesson read in their fate is against that bar. barism of civilization, which makes love excessive by trying to esclude it from its rightful place in life, and which subjects inen to the just revenges of nature, because it puts them upon thwart ing her noblest purposes. Were we deep in the ways of Prov idence, we might doubtless anticipate from the first, that these two beings, the pride and hope of their respective friends, would, even because themselves most innocent, fall a sacrifice to the guilt of their families; and that in and through their death would be punished and healed those fatal strifes and animosities which have made it at once so natural and so dangerous for them to love.

It bas been aptly remarked, that the hero and heroine of this play, though in love, are not love-sick. Romeo, however, is something love-sick before bis meeting with Juliet. His seeming love for Rosaline is but a matter of faney, with which the heart has little or nothing to do. That the Poet so meant it, is plain from what is said about it in the Chorus at the end of Act i. Accordingly, it is airy, affected, and fantastical, causing him to think much of his feelings, to count over bis sighs, and play with language, as a something rather generated from within than inspired from without : his thoughts are not so much on Rosaline or any thing be bas found in her, as on a figment of his own mind, whick he has baptised into her name and invested with her form. This is just the sort of love with which people often imagine themselves about 10 die, but which they always manage to survive, and that, without any further harm than the making them somewhat ridiculous. Romeo's love is a thing infinitely different. A mere idolater, Juliet converts him into a true worshipper; and the fire of his new passion burns up the old idol of his fancy. Love works a sort of regeneration upon him : his dreamy, sentimental

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fancy giving place to a passion that interests him thoroughly in an external cbject, all his fine energies are forthwith tuned into narmony and eloquence, so that he becomes a true man, with every thing clear and healthy and earnest about him. As the Friar suggests, it was probably from an instinctive sense of his jelf-delusion, and that be made love by rote and not by heart, hat Rosaline rejected his suit. The dream, though, has the effect of preparing him for the reality, while the contrast between them oeightens our appreciation of the latter.

Hazlitt pronounces Romeo to be Hamlet in love; than which

could not well have made a greater mistake. In all that most truly constitutes character, the two, it seems to us, have nothing in common. To go no further, Hamlet is all procrastination, Romeo all precipitancy: the one reflects away the time of action, and loses the opportunity in getting ready for it; the other, pliant to impulse, and seizing the opportunity at once, or making it, acts first, and then reflects on what he has done, not on what he has to do. With Hamlet, it is a necessity of nature to think ; with Romeo, to love : the former, studious of consequences, gets entangled with a multitude of conflicting passions and purposes; the 'alter, absorbed in one passion and one purpose, drives right ahead regardless of consequences. It is this necessity of loving that, until the proper object appears, creates in Romeo an object for tself: hence the love-bewilderment in which he first comes before

Which explains and justifies the suddenness and vehemence of his passion, while the difference between this and his fancysickness amply vindicates him from the reproach of inconstancy

Being of passion all compact, Romeo of course does not gen. eralize, nor give much heed to abstract truth : intelligent indeed of present objects and occasions, he does not, however, study to shape bis feelings or conduct by any rules : he therefore sees no use of philosophy in his case, unless it can make a Juliet; nor does he care to hear others speak of what they do not feel. He has no life but passion, and passion lives altogether in and by its object : therefore it is that he dwells with such wild exaggeration on the sentence of banishment. Thus his love, by reason of its excess, exalting a subordinate into a sovereign good, defeats its own security and peace.

Yet there is a sort of instinctive rectitude in his passion, which makes us rather pity than blame its excess; and we feel that death coines upon him through it, not for it. We can scarce conceive any thing more full of manly sweetness and gentleness than his character. Love is the only thing wherein he seems to lack selfcontrol, and this is the very thing wherein self-control is least a virtue. He will risk his life for a friend, but he will not do a inean thing to save it; has no pride and revenge to which he would sacrifice others, but has high and brave affections to which he will not shrink from sacrificing himself. Thus even in his resentments he

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is in noble contrast with those about him. His heart is so preoccupied with generous thought as to afford no room for those furious transports which prove so fatal in others : where their swords jump in wild fury from their scabbards, his sleeps quietly by his side ; but then, as he is very hard to provoke, so is he very dangerous when provoked.

Mr. Hallam - a man who weighs his words well before pronouncing them - gives as his opinion, that it is impossible to place Juliet among the great female characters of Shakespeare's creation.” Other critics of high esteem, especially Mrs. Jameson, take a different view ; but this may result, in part, from the representation being so charged, not to say overcharged, with poetic warmth and brilliancy, as to hinder a cool and steady judgment of the character. For the passion in which Juliet lives is most potently infectious; one can scarce venture near enough to see what and whence it is, without falling under its influence; while in her case it is s) frauglit with purity and tenderness, and self forgetting ardour and constancy, and has so much, withal, that challenges a respectful pity, that the moral sense does not easily find where to fix its notes of reproof. And if in her intoxication of soul and sense she loses whatsoever of reason her youth and inexperience can have gathered, the effect is breathed forth with an energy and elevation of spirit, and in a transporting affluence of thought and imagery, which none but the sternest readers can well resist, and which, after all, there may not be much virtue in resisting

We have to confess, however, that Juliet appears something better as a heroine than as a woman, the reverse of which commonly holds in the Poet's delineations. But she is a real heroine, in the best sense of the term ; her womanhood being developed through her heroism, not eclipsed or obscured by it. Wherein she differs from the general run of tragic heroines, who act as if they knew not how to be heroic, without unsexing themselves, and becoming something mannish or viraginous: the trouble with them being, that they set out with a special purpose to be heroines, and study to approve themselves such ; whereas Juliet is surprised into heroism, and acts the heroine without knowing it, simply because it is in her to do so, and, when the occasion comes, she cap. not do otherwise.

It is not till the marriage with Paris is forced upon her, that the proper heroism of her nature displays itself. All her feelings as a wɔman, a lover, and a wife, are then thoroughly engaged ; and because her heart is all truth, therefore she cannot but choose rather to die “an unstain'd wife to her sweet love," than to live on any other terms. To avert what is to her literally an infinite avil, she appeals imploringly to her father, ber mother, and the Nurse, in succession ; nor is it till she is cast entirely on her own strength that she finds herself sufficient for herself. There is


Roinetning truly fearful in the resolution and energy of her dis. course with the Friar; yet we feel that she is still the same soft, lender, gentle being whose breath was lately so rich and sweet with words of love. When told the desperate nature of the remcdy, she rises to a yet higher pitch, her very terror of the deed inspiring her with fresh energy of purpose.

And when she comes to the performance, she cannot indeed arrest the workings or her imagination, neither can those workings shake her resolution the contrary, in their reciprocal action each adds vigour anu in. lensity to the other, the terrific images which throng upon her excited fancy developing within her a strength and courage to face them. In all which there is certainly much of the heroine, but then the heroism is the free, spontaneous, unreflecting outcome of her native womanhood.

It is well worth noting, with what truth to nature the different qualities of the female character are in this representation distrib. uted. Juliet has both the weakness and the strength of woman, and she has them in the right, that is, the natural places. For, if she appears as frail as the frailest of her sex in the process of becoming a lover, her frailty ends with that process : weak in yielding to the first touch of passion, all her strength of character comes out in courage and constancy afterwards. Thus it is in the cause of the wife that the greatness proper to her as a woman transpires. Moore, in his Life of Byron, speaks of this as a peculiarity of the Italian women ; but surely it is nowise peculiar to them, save that they may have it in a larger measure than others. For, if we mistake not, the general rule of women everywhere is, that the easiest to fall in love are the hardest 10 get out of it, and at the same time the most religiously tenacious of their honour in it.

It is very considerable that Juliet, though subject to the same necessity of loving as Romeo, is nevertheless quite exempt from the delusions of fancy, and therefore never gets bewildered with a love of her owu making. The elements of passion in her dlo not, it is against her nature that they should, act in such a way is in send her in quest of an object : indeed they are a secret even to herself, she suspects not their existence, till the proper object appears, because it is the inspiration of that object that kindles them into effect. - Her modesty, 100, is much like Romeo's honour ; that is, it is a living attribule of her character, and not merely a form impressed upon her manners from without. She therefore does not try to conceal or disguise from herself the impulses of her nature, because she justly regards them as sanctified by the religion of her heart. On this point, especially with reference to her famous soliloquy at the beginning of the second scene in Act iii., we leave her in the hands of Mrs. Jameson ; who, with a raro gift to sce what is right, joins an equal felicity in expressing what she sees.

“ Let it be remembered,” says she, “ that in this speech Juliet is not supposed to be addressing an audience, nor even a confidante ; ard I confess I have been shocked at the utter want of taste and refinement in those who, with coarse derision, or in a spirit of prudery yet more gross and perverse, have dared to comment on this beautiful · Hymn to the Night,' breathed out by Juliet in the silence and solitude of her chamber. She is think. ing aloud; it is the young heart triumphing to itself in words.' In the midst of all the vehemence with which she calls upon the night to bring Romeo to her arms, there is something so almost infantine in her perfect simplicity, so playful and fantastic in the linagery and language, that the charm of sentiment and innocence is thrown over the whole; and her impatience, to use her own expression, is truly that of a child before a festival, that hath new robes and may not wear them.'"

The Nurse is in some respects another edition of Mrs. Quickly, though in a different binding. The character has a tone of reality that almost startles us on a first acquaintance. She gives the im. pression of a literal transcript from actual life ; which is doubtless owing in part to the predominance of memory in her mind, causing her to think and speak of things just as they occurred; as in her account of Juliet's age, where she cannot go on without bringing in all the accidents and impertinences which stand associated with the subject. And she has a way of repeating the same thing in the same words, so that it strikes us as a fact cleaving to her thoughts, and exercising a sort of fascination over them : it seems scarce possible that any but a real person should be so enslaved to actual events.

This general passiveness to what is going on about her naturally makes her whole character “ smell of the shop.” And she has a certain vulgarized air of rank and refinement, as if, priding her. self on the confidence of her superiors, she had caught and assim. ilated their manners to her own vulgar nature. In this mixture of refinement and vulgarity, both elements are made the worse for being together; for, like all those who ape their betters, she exaggerates whatever she copies ; or, borrowing the proprieties of those above her, she turns them into their opposite, because she bas no sense of propriety. Without a particle of truth, or honour, or delicacy; one to whom life has no sacredness, virtue no beauty, love no boliness ; a woman, in short, without womanhood; she abounds, however, in serviceable qualities ; has just that low servile prudence which at once fits her to be an instrument, and makes her proud to be used as such. Yet she acts not so much from a positive disregard of right as from a lethargy of conscience; or as if her soul had run itself into a sort of moral dry-rot through a leak at the mouth.

Accordingly, in her basest acts she never dreams but that she is a pattern of virtue. And because she is thus unconscious and, as it were, innocent of her own vices, therefore Juliet thinks bei

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