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For here I read for certain, that my ships
How now, Lorenzo ?
Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a fee.-
Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way
It is almost morning,
Gra. Let it be so: The first inter'gatory That my
Nerissa shall be sworn on, is, Whether till the next night she had rather stay; Or go to bed being two hours to day: But were the day come, I should wish it dark, That I were couching with the doctor's clerk. Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing So sore, as keeping safe Nerissa's ring. [Exeunt.
OF THE MERCHANT OF VENICE the style is even and easy, with few peculiarities of diction, or anomalies of construction. The comick part raises laughter, and the serious fixes expectation. The probability of either one or the other story cannot be maintained. The union of two actions in one event is in this drama eminently happy. Dryden was much pleased with his own address in connecting the two plots of his SPANISH Friar, which yet, I believe, the critick will find excelled by this play.
You, cousin; Within these two days if that thou beʼst found So near our publick court as twenty miles, Thou diest for it.
Act i. Sc. 3.
FROM THE CHISWICK PRESS.
As You Like Jt.
DR. Grey and Mr. Upton asserted that this Play was certainly borrowed from the Coke's Tale of Gamelyn, printed in Urry's Chaucer, but it is hardly likely that Shakspeare saw that in manuscript, and there is a more obvious source from whence he derived his plot, viz. the pastoral romance of 'Rosalynde, or Euphues' Golden Legacy,' by Thomas Lodge, first printed in 1590. From this he has sketched his principal characters, and constructed his plot; but those admirable beings, the melancholy Jaques, the witty Touchstone, and his Audrey, are of the poet's own creation. Lodge's novel is one of those tiresome (I had almost said unnatural) pastoral romances, of which the Euphues of Lyly and the Arcadia of Sidney were also popular examples: it has, however, the redeeming merit of some very beautiful verses interspered *, and the circumstance of its baving
* The following beautiful Stanzas are part of what is called • Rosalynd's Madrigal,' and are not unworthy of a place even in a page devoted to Shakspeare:
Love in my bosom like a bee
Doth suck his sweet:
Now with his feet.
Ah, wanton, will ye?
led to the formation of this exquisite pastoral drama, is enough to make us withhold our assent to Steevens's splenetic censure of it as 'worthless.'
Touched by the magic wand of the enchanter, the dull and endless prosing of the novelist is transformed into an interesting and lively drama. The forest of Arden converted into a real Arcadia of the golden age.
• The highly tched figures pass along in the most diversified succession; we see always the shady dark-green landscape in the back ground, and breathe in imagination the fresh air of the forest. The hours are here measured by no clocks, no regulated recurrence of duty or toi!; they flow on unnumbered in voluntary occupation or fanciful idleness. One throws himself down under the shade of melancholy boughs' and indulges in reflections on the changes of fortune, the falsehood of the world, and the self-created torments of social life: others make the woods resound with social and festive songs, to the accompaniment of their horns. Selfishness, envy, and ambition, have been left in the city behind them; of all the human passions, love alone has found an entrance into this silvan scene, where it dictates the same language to the simple shepherd, and the chivalrous youth, who hangs his loveditty to a tree *?'
And this their life, exempt from public haunts,
And if I sleep, then percheth he
With pretty flight;
The livelong night.