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of Women. No I.
macy, disowned and rejected, has been
ment of her innocence could make amends 5. for wrongs and agonies such as these? or er heal a heart which must have bled in
is wardly, consumed by that untold griel, ct, which burns worse than tears drown?" 11. Keeping in view the peculiar character
of Hermione, such as she is delineated, is -ho she one either to forgive hastily or forget Ton quickly? and though she might, in der cho solitude, mourn over her repentant busen band, would his repentance suffice to re. nly store him at once to his place in her acy heart ? to efface from her strong and re
Characters of the Affections. to the circumstances in which it is placed : breath suspended on that perfect command over her own feel quite inimitable. ings, that complete self-possession neces The expressions used here by Le sary to this extraordinary situation, is con
(Thus she sto sistent with all that we imagine ot Hermi.
Even with such life of majesty-warm
The fixture of her eye has motion in't, one; in any other woman it would be so
And we are mock'd with art!'
And by Polixenes,
• The very life seems warm upon her lip with Hermione for her obstinate and
appear strangely applied to a statue sullen seclusion of sixteen years,
as we usually imagine it--of the have found a stumbling block in the
colourless marble ; but it is eviden
in this scene Hermione personates Living Statue. The scene is extrava
those images or effigies, such as we gant, absurd, unnatural, incredible ;
see in the old gothic cathedrals, in v and so it is to critics without feeling,
the stone, or marble, was coloured passion, fancy, imagination, to all of
nature. I remember coming sude which that wondrous scene appeals,
upon one of these effigies, either at and over all of wbich it triumphs. or at Fribourg, which made me start The delusion is like reality, and the figure was large as life; the draper reality like delusion, and in delight crimson, powdered with stars of gold they both are dreadful. The sixteen face, and eyes, and hair tinted after the years are swallowed up in that one thougii faded by time; it stood in a go moment. Never was the passion of niche, over a tomb, as I think, and joy so tragic. Had Leontes been a kind of dim uncertain light. It would nobler being, it had proved mortal. been very easy for a living person to But our words are tame here are present such an ettigy, particularly ifit paragraphs poured forth in true in been painted by that 'rare Italian mas spiration.
Julio Romano,' who, as we are into
ed, was the reputed author of this wone “ This scene, then, is not only one ofthe
ful statue. most picturesque and striking instances of
“ The moment when Hermione desce stage effect to be found in the ancient or
from her pedestal to the sound of modern drama, but, by the skilful manner
music, and throws herself without spe in which it is prepared, it has, wonderful
ing into her husband's arms, is one of as it appears, all the merit of consistency
expressible interest. It appears to me t and truth. The grief, the love, the re
hier silence during the whole of this sce morse, and impatience of Leontes, are
(except where she invokes a blessing finely contrasted with the astonishment
her daughter's head) is in the finest ta and admiration of Perdita, who, gazing on
as a poetical beauty, besides being an the figure of her mother like one entran
mirable trait of character. The misf ced, looks as if she were also turned to
tunes of Hermione, her long religious marble. There is here one little instance
clusion, the wonderful and almost super of tender remembrance in Leontes, which
tural part she had just enacted, have adds to the charming impression of Her vested her with such a sacred and aw mione's character.
charm, that any words put into her mou "Chide me, dear stone! that I may say indeed must, I think, have injured the solemn a Thou art Hermione; or rather thou art she In thy not hiding, for she was as tender profound pathos of the situation. As infancy and grace.
“ There are several among Sha Thus she stood, Even with such life of majesty, warm life,
speare's characters which exercise a As now it coldly stands,) when first I wood her !" stronger power over our feelings, The effect produced on the different per fancy, our understanding, than that sons of the drama by this living statue
Hermione; but not one,-unless perhia and effect which at the same moment is, Cordelia,-constructed upon so high a and is not illusion-the manner in which pure a principle. It is the union the feelings of the spectators become en gentleness with power which constitut tangled between the conviction of death the perfection of mental grace. The and the impression of life, the idea of a de among the ancients, with whom the gra ception and the feeling of a reality, and the were also the charities, one and t exquisite colouring of poetry and touches same word signified equally streng of natural feeling with which the whole and virtue. This feeling, carried in is wrought up,--till wonder, expectation, the fine arts, was the secret of the a and intense pleasure, hold our pulse and tique grace-the grace of repose. T VOL. XXXIII. NO. CCIII.
are flecting mind the recollection of his miall serable weakness ? or can we fancy this 1pc high-souled woman-left childless through een
the injury which has been inflicted on ither, widowed in heart by the unworthi day mess of him she loved, 'a spectacle of 1e- grief to allo-to her husband a conti
nual reproach and humiliation-alking the through the parade of royalty in the court
is which had witnessed ber anguish, her uld shame, her degradation, and her despair?
Methinks that the want of feeling, nary, ture, delicacy, and consistency, would lie ed, in such an exhibition as this. In a mind or like Hermione's, where the strength of ep feeling is founded in the power of thought
and wbere there is little of impulse of en imagination, the depth, but not the
tumuit of the soul,' there are but two
influences which predominate over the is will, time and religion. And what then
remained, but that, wounded in heart and tic spirit, she should retire from the world?
-100 to brood over her wrongs, but 10
of the oracle which had promised the ter-
same eternal nature—the same sense of had fallen upon her unawares.' Thus immutable truth and beauty, which re. Belphæbe, in the Fairy Queen, issues vealed this sublime principle of art to from the flowering forest with hair the ancient Greeks, revealed it to the and garments all besprinkled with genius of Shakspeare; and the charac- the leaves and blossoms they had enter of Hermione, in which we have the tangled in her Alight; and so arrayed same largeness of conception and delicacy by chance and 'heedless hap,' takes of execution,—the same effect of suffer- all parts with stately presence and ing without passion, and grandeur with with princely port, most like to out effort, is an instance, I think, that he Perdita.” felt within himself, and by intuition, what 'Tis surely the loveliest pastoral we study all our lives in the remains of
poem in the world, this of Florizel ancient art. The calm, regular, classical
and Perdita. All unknown to Herbeauty of Hermione's character is the more impressive from the wild and gothic
mione, in her sad seclusion, has her accompaniments of her story, and the
lost child been leading a life of beaubeautiful relief afforded by the pastoral
tiful innocence and happiness; and and romantic grace which is thrown
the princely son of the man whom around her daughter Perdita.”
her infatuated husband had suspect
ed her of loving too well, has woo'd The character of Paulina is well
and won the royal shepherdess. understood by our fair critic, who, There is something infinitely dein several places, speaks of the use lightful in such an alliance, that Shakspeare delighted so powerfully finally heals and restores, and brings to make of the great principle of all disturbances within the dominion eontrast. She observes, that it is of reconciliation and peace. admirable how Hermione and Paulina, while sufficiently approximated
“ The qualities which impart to Per. to afford all the pleasure of contrast, dita her distinct individuality, are the are never brought too nearly in con- beautiful combination of the pastoral with tact on the scene or in the dialogue. the elegant-of simplicity with elevation Only in the last scene, when, with
-of spirit with sweetness. The exquisolemnity befitting the occasion, site delicacy of the picture is apparent. Paulina wishes the majestic figure to To understand and appreciate its effective “descend, and be stone no more,” truth and nature, we should place Perand where she presents her daughter dira beside some of the nymphs of Ar.' to her, “ Turn, good lady! our Per. cadia, or of the Italian pastorals, who, dita is found.” To have done other- however graceful in themselves, when wise, she remarks, would have been opposed to Perdita, seem to melt away a fault in taste, and would have ne into mere poetical abstractions: As, in cessarily weakened the effect of both Spenser, the fair but fictitious Florimel, characters-either the serene gran. which the subtle enchantress had moulded deur of Hermione would have sub out of snow, ' vermeil tinctured,' and dued and overawed the fiery spirit informed with an airy spirit, that knew of Paulina, or the impetuous temper
• all wiles of woman's wits,' fades and of the latter must have disturbed in
dissolves away, when placed next to the some respect our impression of the real Florimel, in her warm, breathing, calm, majestic, and somewhat melan
human, loveliness. choly beauty of Hermione.
“ Perdita does not appear till the of Perdita, Mrs Jameson speaks
fourth act, and the whole of the characin another part of her work, under the
ter is developed in the course of a single class of “ Characters of Passion and
scene, (the third,) with a completeness
of effect which leaves nothing to be reImagination;" but we canuot resist
quired_nothing to be supplied. She is the temptation of introducing here
first introduced in the dialogue between some of her fine sentences concern herself and Florize), where she compares ing that incomparable “ union of the her own lowly state to his princely rank, pastoral and romantic with the clas- and expresses her fears of the issue of sical and poetical, as if a Dryad of their unequal attachment. With all ber the woods had turned shepherdess. timidity, and her sense of the distance The perfections with which the poet which separates her from her lover, she has so lavishly endowed her, sit up breathes not a single word which could on her with a certain careless and lead us to impugn either her delicacy or picturesque grace, 'as though they her dignity.".
of had fallen upon her unawares.' Thus e. Belphebe, in the Fairy Queen, issues to from the flowering forest with hair He and garments all besprinkled with Ce the leaves and blossoms they had ende tangled in her flight; and so arrared cy by chance and 'heedless hap,' takes - all parts with ‘stately presence
and 1 with princely port,' most like to
'Tis surely the loveliest pastoral of
in the world, this of Florizel poem cal
and Perdita. All unknown to Her. thic
mione, in her sad seclusion, has her che
lost child been leading a life of beau. tiful innocence and happiness; and the princely son of the man whom her infatuated husband had suspect
ed her of loving too well, has woo'd cell and won the royal shepherdess
. ho, There is something intinitely de use lightful in such an alliance, that ully finally heals and restores, and brings
of all disturbances within the dominion - is of reconciliation and peace.
“ The qualities which impart to Per. ast, dita ber distinct individuality
, are the on- beautiful combination of the pastoral with
the elegant of simplicity with elevation ith of spirit with sweetness. The exquion, site delicacy of the picture is apparent.
to To understand and appreciate its effective e,
truth and nature, we should place Pet
dira beside some of the nymphs of Arer- cadia, or of the Italian pastorals, sho,
however graceful in themselves, when een opposed to Perdita, seem to melt away ne
into mere poetical abstractions: As in oth Spenser, the fair but fictitious Floricel,
which the subtle enchantress had moulded ib. out of snow, . vermeil tinctured,' and rit
informed with an airy spirit, that knew 'all wiles of woman's wits,' fades and dissolves away, when placed next to the real Florimel, in her warm, breathing, human, loveliness.
The impression of her perfect beau are touches of character conveye ty and airy elegance of demeanour rectly, and which serve to give a -the artless manner in which her finished effect to this beautiful pic innate nobility of soul shines forth through her partial disguise - her
From Hermione, after many natural loftiness of spirit, breaking turn we to Desdemona, after
of sorrow restored to life and out when she is menaced and reviled by the king, as one whom his months' bliss delivered into the son has degraded himself by merely
ness of death and the grave. looking on-the immediate recollec- that can render sorrow majes tion of herself, and of her humble gathered around Hermione-al state; and her hapless love, so full of
can render misery heart-break beauty, tenderness, and nature
assembled round Desdemona! that sense of truth and rectitude, that wronged but self-sustained i
of Hermione commands our ve upright simplicity of mind which disdains all crooked and indirect tion ; the injured and defenc
innocence of Desdemona so w means, and would not stoop for an instant to dissemblance, while it is
the soul,' that all for pity we c
die!'” mingled with a noble confidence in
Wordsworth's fine line is fan her love, and in her lover-to all
to all ears.
“ The gentle lady married to the M
Yet Desdemona displays at ti tracts
, which breathe of beauty like quoth our fair critic, * the groves in spring.
energy, arising from the powe
affection; but gentleness gives “ This love of truth, this conscientious prevailing tone to the characterness, which forms so distinct a feature in thought Othello." Then of so ge the character of Perdita, and mingles with a condition !” Iago. Aye, its picturesque delicacy a certain firmness gentle.” Poison presented in a fió and dignity, is maintained consistently Yet gentle as she is—to excess to the last. When the two lovers fly passiveness—to non-resistancetogether from Bohemia, and take refuge here truly said, that to us who in the court of Leontes, the real father ceive her character as a whole, of Perdita, Florizel, presents himself be
extreme gentleness is portrayed fore the king with a feigned tale, in which
such exceeding refinement, that he has been artfully instructed by the old
effect never approaches to fee counsellor Camillo. During this scene,
ness. If it ever do, Oh, Heave Perdita does not utter a word. In the
think on the face of the Moor w strait in which they are placed, she can
Desdemona says, not deny the story which Florizel re
when he rolled his eyes, he was lates; she will not confirm it. Her si.
tal then;" so it would seem that lence, in spite of all the compliments had seen him in fits before he thou and greetings of Leontes, has a peculiar of smothering her with pillow and characteristic grace; and at the con
bolster. Once only in ber whole clusion of the scene, when they are be
had she ever prevaricated ; al trayed, the truth bursts from her as if in
the handkerchief, when Othello s stinctively, and she exclaims with emo
“There's magic in the web of it.” tion,
do we remember to have heard . The heavens set spies upon us will not have remark Mrs Jamieson makes on t
prerarication :—“Desdemona, wh “ After this scene Perdita says very soft credulity, whose turn for little. The description of ber grief, while marvellous, wbose susceptible ir listening to the relation of her mother's gination had first directed death, and of her deportment as she thoughts and affections to Othello stands gazing on the statue of Hermione, precisely the woman to be frighter fixed in wonder, admiration, and sorrow,
out of her senses by such a tale as if she too were marble
this, and betrayed by her fears in • O royal piece!
a momentary tergiversation. It There's magic in thy majesty, which has most natural in such a being, a From thy admiring daughter ta'en the spirits,
shows us that even in the sweet Standing like stone beside thee !
“ Perdita does not appear till the fourth act, and the whole of the character is developed in the course of a single scene, (the third,) with a completeness of effect which leaves nothing to be re
quired nothing to be supplied. She is e first introduced in the dialogue between
herself and Florizel, where she compares e her own lowly state to his princely rank,
and expresses her fears of the issue of f their unequal attachment. With all ber
timidity, and her sense of the distance t which separates her from her lorer, she
breathes not a single word which could i lead us to impugn either her delicacy of
er in he
Our contract celebrated.'
ks he ed
natures, without moral energy there So completely did Shakspeare enter into can be no completeness and consist- the angelic refinement of the character. ency." Once she prevaricated, and “ Endued with that temper which is once she lied.
the origin of superstition in love as in “ Emilia. 0, who hath done this deed ? religion, -- which, in fact, makes love itDes. Nobody; I myself; farewell !
self a religion,-she not only does not Commend me to my kind lord ; O fare
utter an upbraiding, but nothing that well !"
Othello does or says, no outrage, no inOthello . She's
, like a liar, gone to burn- justice can tear away the charm with ing hell!
which her imagination had invested him, 'Twas I that kill'd her."
or impair her faith in his honour;
• Would you had never seen him!' exLike a liar gone to burning hell! a claims Emilia. jaundiced, a swarthy, and a bloody
• Des. So would not I!-my love doth so apjudgment. Was ever forgiveness so
prove him, taken up, before our very eyes, on
That even his stubbornness, his checks and frowns,
Have grace and favour in them.'" angel wings, to heaven!
We would not for all the world say The character is felt rightly by this one word in disparagement of Her- —her most eloquent eulogist of her mione; but the dignity of that virtues--to be vitally the same as that “Queen, matron, and mother,” ele- of Miranda. Throughout the whole vating as it is, and most noble, af- of the dialogue appropriated to Desfects us not so profoundly as the in- demona, there is not, it is hinted, one nocence--the holy ignorance of Des- general observation. Words are with demona.
her the vehicle of sentiment, and oi When Othello first outrages her in never of reflection; just as they ala manner which appears inexplicable, she ways are with the Lady of the Enseeks and finds excuses for him. She chanted Isle, and with no other of is so innocent, that not only she cannot Shakspeare's female characters of believe herself suspected, but she cannot any importance or interest-not even conceive the existence of guilt in others. Ophelia.
"Something, sure, of state, Either from Venice, or some unhatch'd practice
" Desdemona, as a character, comes Made demonstrable here in Cyprus to him, nearest to Miranda, both in herself as a Hath puddled his clear spirit. 'Tis even som
woman, and in the perfect simplicity and Nay, we must think, men are not gods,
unity of the delineation; the figures are Nor of them look for such observances
differently draped—the proportions are As fit the bridal.'
the same. There is the same modesty, And when the direct accusation of crime tenderness, and grace; the same artless is flung on her in the vilest terms, it devotion in the affections, the same predoes not anger but stun her, as if it disposition to wonder, to pity, to admire ; transfixed her whole being : she attempts the same almost etberial refinement and no reply, no defence ; and reproach or
delicacy; but all is pure poetic nature resistance never enter her thought; within Miranda and around her: Desde. Good friend, go to him for by this light of mona is more associated with the pal
pable realities of every-day existence, and
we see the forms and habits of society
no two beings can be more alike in chaOr that I do not yet, and ever did,
racter— or more distinct as individuals.'
Othello, beyond all doubt, was a
tures powerful o'er the blood,” her " And there is one stroke of consum
farther simply imputed Desdemona's mate delicacy, surprising, when we re lore, and lago, with devilish malig. member the intitude of expression pre- nity, to another cause, “aye there's valling in Shakspeare's time, and which the point."
the point." But Shakspeare knew he allowed to his other women general- better-and saw how it was beguiled ly: she says, on recovering trom her stu- into her bosom by “disparity of age, pefaction
character, country, complexion.' * Amt that name, Iago ?
We who are admitted into the se-
love rise naturally and necessarily
out of the leading propensities of her effect—lies in the character of D nature.
mona. No woman differently consti " At the period of the story a spirit of
could have excited the same intense wild adventure had seized all Europe. painful compassion, without losing s The discovery of both Indies was yet re thing of that exalted charm, which in cent; over the shores of the western he her from beginning to end, which we misphere still fable and mystery hung, apt to impute to the interest of situa with all their dim enchantments, vision, and to the poetical colouring, but w ary terrors, and golden promises; peril- lies, in fact, in the very essence of ous expeditions and distant voyages were character. Desdemona, with all her t every day undertaken from hope of plun- flexibility and soft acquiescence, is der, or mere love of enterprise ; and from weak; for the negative alone is w these the adventurers returned with tales and the mere presence of goodness of. Antres vast and desarts wild-of can affection implies in itself a specie nibals that did each other eat-of An- power ;—power without conscious thropophagi, and men whose heads did power without effort, power with rej grow beneath their shoulders.' With just
So completely did Shakspeare enter into the angelic refinement of the character.
" Endued with that temper which is the origin of superstition in love as in religion, which, in fact, makes love itself a religion,-she not only does not utter an upbraiding, but nothing that Othello does or says, no outrage, no injustice can tear away the charn with which her imagination had invested him, or impair her faith in bis honour; . Would you had never seen him!' er claims Emilia.
Des. So would not Il-my lore doth so apa
prove him, That even his stubbornness, his checks and fronts,
Have grace and favour in them.'" y The character is felt rightly by this
-her most eloquent eulogist of her at virtues—to be vitally the same as that te of Miranda. Throughout the whole af- of the dialogue appropriated to Des. 1- demona, there is not, it is hinted, one eg- general obserration. Words are with
her the vehicle of sentiment, and in nerer of reflection; just as they alhe ways are with the Lady of the Enbe chanted Isle, and with no other of 20t Shakspeare's female characters of lotans importance or interest--noieren Is Ophelia.
* Desdemona, as a character, come nearest to Miranda, bosh in berse' 31 woman, and in the perfect simp, cry and unity of the de ineation; the bgares are differentiy draped--the proportions et
the same. There is the same rodett, De tenderness, ard grace; the same 8:28 it derocion in the affections, the same time is disposition to wonder, to pitp, to sam; * the sare a post ezberial redderet 18 or dei sey; but a'i is pure puede *****
wiehin Mirzoda ard aroard bar: Desde mora is more associated with the se pable readies of every-das erstEDE, ENG we see the forces and like SOAT tiring ber last vaze and drama nutno beiros ao be more and rice: Ends susisies' 0:bera, beroad all doubt, vai
* To specs and it tunes powers o'er wie bilimciler forskersian rim wted Desdes : lure, and in via deri 3:17. $0 ber ruse, are the
Bar Selir IMT berar vi bord
v jenter and
--that soul of grace !" such stories did Raleigh and Clifford, and their followers, return from the New star, shining so resplendently
You have seen a large lustr World : and thus by their splendid or
none but itself was regarded, altho fearful exaggerations, which the imperfect
many other fair lights were aro knowledge of those times could not refute, was the passion for the romantic and deep line of clouds, that had aris
their queen, when all at once a la marvellous nourished at home, particu. larly among the women. A cavalier of you knew not whence, before so those days had no nearer, no surer way strong gust in the upper region, to his mistress's heart, than by entertain wholly hidden it, and brought da ing her with these wondrous narratives.
ness over all the heavens. Dim ho What was a general feature of his time, glimmer by, and, lo ! again the sa Shakspeare seized and adapted to his pur: luminary, less bright but not i pose with the most exquisite felicity of beauteous, is burning in the zeni effect. Desdemona, leaving her house
Such a star was Hermione. Y hold cares in haste, to bang breathless on have seen a milder, a meeker orl Othello's tales, was doubtless a picture dewy in its first rising-and ere lo from the life ; and her inexperience and struggling in its “innocent brig her quick imagination lend it an added ness,” through melancholy mists, propriety: then her compassionate dis- strangled by a savage tempest. position is interested by all the disastrous image of Desdemona! And wh chances, hair-breadth 'scapes, and moving the cloud-rack is driving fast, accidents by flood and field, of which he glimpses of blue sky are intersp has to tell; and her exceeding gentleness sed peacefully among the shifti and timidity, and her domestic turn of congregation of vapours, ever a mind, render her more easily captivated anon an Urn of Light reappears a by the military renown, the valour, and retires, now with a mournful a lofty bearing of the noble Moorm
now almost with a joyful beauty, And to his honours and his valiant parts its lonely pilgrimage along the wog Does she her soul and fortunes consecrate.'
ed ridges of the mountains. In “ The confession and the excuse for gen! her love is well placed in the mouth of Of those Three Ladies, which Desdemona, while the history of the rise the loveliest and the best? “Of of that love, and of bis course of wooing, Shakspeare's women, considered is, with the most graceful propriety, as individuals rather than as heroine far as she is concerned, spoken by Othel- Imogen is the most perfect. The lo, and in her absence. The last two
is no female portrait that can lines summing up the whole
compared to Imogen as a woman She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d, none in which so great a variety And I loved her that she did pity thein
tints are mingled together in su comprise whole volumes of sentiment and perfect barmony. In her we ha metaphysics."
all the fervour of youthful tende
ness, all the romance of youthf “ I will only add, that the source of the beauty, all the enchantment of ide pathos throughout-of that pathos which grace,-the bloom of beauty, th at once softens and deepens the tragic brightness of intellect, and the di
We vin I aimsiz mory M 1.30: Det