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CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMEN. *
CHARACTERS OF INTELLECT.
Wept have we-or in thoughts ture, were those loveliest creations, that lay“ too deep for tears"-gazed of virtues that have their empire bepale on Juliet, and Ophelia, and neath the " common light of day,'' Cordelia, and Desdemona--as we and are enthroned in many a lovelisaw them in suffering and in sorrow est bosom alive in the chaste warmth -like fair creatures going to sacri- of innocence! 'Tis thus that poetry fice-led on-slowly, step by step. ministers to religion. The saints in or sometimes with a hurried motion her calendar, are they not holy? And
to death. And, one after another, may they not be blamelessly worwe saw them die. Juliet in distrac- shipped in spirit and in truth? tion, vainly draining the dregs of Hermione - Imogen — Miranda that fatal cup that had frozen the ye too are Phantoms whose features heart-blood of Romeo-by sharper seem to darken or to brighten with death expiring on his bosom--and, shadow or sunshine of our own with her husband, buried in one clime! How many a widowed and tomb! Ophelia, her poor wits gone, unchilded mother-even some humeven like the flowers she scattered, ble Hermione – in dim seclusion down to the grave on a clear stream: wears weepingly, but uncomplainlet, floating like a Swan! Cordelia, ingly, away her long, forsaken, soliwith “ holy water from her heavenly tary years! Nor ever blessed with eyes,” bathing the brow of her mad sight of those she hath so yearned father, till, like dew through a smil. once more to see, been carried like ing calm shed by Mercy, it sank a fallen statue to the tomb—“ palm with healing into his brain, and Lear to palm upon its breast!” Woful, almost “became whole.” And we saw Imogen, were thy wanderings among him bearing in his daughter from “antres vast and deserts idle;" most their prison-cell in his arms; and we strange thy death-like slumbers in the heard " And my poor Fool is hang. cave, where those young Nobles of ed !” his heart-strings crack as he Nature their fair Fidele's corpse with gave up the ghost. Desdemona, the flowers bestrewed; ghastly, on the Gentle, the Immaculate, she who bosom of what thou thoughtest thy was
murdered Posthumus, thy half-awa" Woo'd, won, nd wed, and murder'd
kened sleep; and much,ere closed thy by the Mo "!"
weary pilgrimage, thy sobbing heart
endured of this hard world's worst Immortal is the memory of the grief. But wide over the roaring seas Martyrs. Nor call them beings of our ships traverse, and many a faithan imaginary world. Phantoms are ful heart, as young as thine, they they of this our human life. Know- bear to journeyings wild and ventuest thou not that such trials have rous-all in the face of disease and been undergone by many creatures death-in the grim heart of many an clothed in the robes of dust-by uncouth, barbarous land. A wild Christian women purified by the and wondrous lot was thine, O starfires of affliction that consumed eyed daughter of the Enchanted Isle ! their bodies but to let their spirits Happiness wafted thee away on her escape to heaven? Embodyings in wings from that stormy strand, to let ideal forms, by genius inspired by thee drop down among thy own a holy faith in the revelation of na- new-discovered kind in a far off ha
* Characteristics of Women, Moral, Poetical, and Historical; with fifty vignette etchings. By Mrs Jameson. In two volumes. London ; Saunders and Otley,
ven, where Love was to guard thy But we hate exaggeration; and if
But Shakspeare rejoiced some with a perennial flow, from which times to sing a lowlier and a livelier we deduce, whenever the shallower strain – to shew our common life source of our genius runs dry, and di. with its sunniest southern aspect, all vert the “fragrant lymph" into many teeming with blossoms and fruitage a meandering rill, till our page smiles -blossoms to be woven into wreaths green as a variegated meadow a week and garlands of joy-fruitage, afore merry hay-time-what mean
eth the gracious lady by“ Characters “ not too bright and good of Intellect?” She means that in some For human nature's daily food;" women, intellect is the dominant
power-the most conspicuous in the for fruitage, say at once, females, constitution of the character. You
would not say it was so in Ophelia, " For transient sorrows, simple wiles, though that simple and sunny flower Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and loved to look up to thesky; and though smiles !"
she utters things that would appear to
be even the product of genius. You We are carried in among his--Co. would not say it was so in Cordelia, medies; and what Bevies of Beauty! whose character was all affection, and We mingle with “the gay creatures the loveliestofall affections, filial piety of our element,” in parlours, and her thoughts being sentiments boudoirs, and drawing-rooms, and and the performance of duty with her halls, and gardens, and beneath the easy and sure as by an instinct. You porticoes of pillared palaces, among would not say it was so in Desdemona, the graces, the elegancies, the orna- the all-accomplished, for she meekly ments, the decorations, the luxuries, made such total surrender of her. the splendours, the magnificences of self to Othello, with all her feelings life, all made rich by the most rare and faculties, as could not have and exquisite culture. Webreathe the been with a woman of high and comair of high life, rightly so called; and manding intellect, though with such hear melodious noises attuned to there may be total abandonment; “ fancies high and noble,” warbling but that is very different from surfrom lilied throats that tower from render. Juliet, again, had fine ta, full-bosomed busts, and bearing lofty lents, but she was a passion-kindled heads all-glorious with thick cluster- child of imagination, with flame-coing ringlets, freely confined within loured thoughts. But you may say “ webs of woven air,” or fragrant so of Beatrice and Rosalind, and wantoning with the enamoured wind, Portia and Isabella, “ of whom it is artlessly, except that their glossy our hint to speak.” In them, intelblackness is bedropt with diamonds, lect is ever seen working wonders or the pale pearls liesubduedamid the in unison, more or less beautiful, glittering auburn. Daughters of gen- with the loveliest attributes of the ilemen-ladies indeed-duchesses female character. Mrs Jameson with coronets-princesses-queens classes them together by that de, with imperial crowns, who by their signation, because, when compared native loveliness beautify their state, with others, they are at once disand whose state dignifies their love. tinguished by their mental superiliness, making “it a thing so majes- ority: “ Thus,” she says finely," in tical,” that the proudest lip would in Portia, it is intellect 'kindled into lowly reverence kiss its footstool, or exercise, by a poetical imaginationthe hem of its garment,-as the Ap. in Isabel, it is intellect elevated by sarition settled into stillness, like religious principle-in Beatrice, in
oud, or went floating by in the tellect overruled by spirit-in Rosaour of sunset,
lind, intellect softened by sensi- She knew his love, lest she make sport at bility."
But how like you Beatrice? You llero. Why, you speak truth : I never agree with us in disliking satirical, yet saw man, sarcastic women. One reason of our How wise, how noble, young, how rarely joint dislike is, that their intellectual featur'd, is almost always as low as their mo. But she would spell him backward : if ral character; so that our dislike,
fair-faced, you perceive, is a mixture of con She'd swear, the gentleman should be her tempt and disgust. The subject of
sister; their supposed wit is the foibles and
If black, why nature, drawing of an anfrailties of their friends. But their
tick, friends being, of course, common
Made a foul blot : if tall, a lance ill
headed : place people, and though vulgar, 110ways distinguished, even by their
If low, an agate very vilely cut :
If speaking, why, a vane blown with all vulgarity, from the other vulgar per
winds : sons with whom they live, their
If silent, why, a block moved with none.
If silent hy foibles and frailties cannot be such
So turns she every man the wrong side as to furnish matter even for such
out; poor wit as theirs; and instead of any And never gives to truth and virtue, that ihing of the truly satirical sort, they Which simpleness and merit purchaseth. give vent merely to crude pieces, Urs. Sure, sure, such carping is not larger or smaller, of stupid ill-nature, commendable. the odour of which is exceedingly Hero. No: not to be so odd, and from unpleasant in itself, and more un all fashions, bearable from being, nine cases out of As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable : of ten, accompanied in utterance But who dare tell her so ? if I should with a very bad breath, as if the scoffer fed exclusively on onions. She'd mock me into air ; 0, she would
But Beatrice is a bright, bold, joy- laughi me ous being who lives in the best so. Out of myself, press me to death with ciety, and we do not find that she
wit." much abuses any but her equals On overhearing all this, Beatrice we may not say her betters, for we exclaims find none such in the play. She is
18 “What fire is in mine ears? Can this be well-born and well-bred, a lady from
true ? snood to slipper-the child, if we
Stand I for pride and scorn condemn'd mistake not, of Antonio, brother to
so much?” Leonato, governor of Messina. True that her coz, Hero, paints a sad pic
We feel at once, that though ture of her, while she lies couching
proud and scornful more than is in the “ pleached bower;"and per.
quite proper or reasonable in any haps there may be too much truth
young lady: 5
young lady, Beatrice has not been in it; but the limner lays it on thick
on thick aware of the degree of her guilt,
aw for a special purpose, and it is a most
and that she neither studied the art unfavourable likeness
or science of being disagreeable
nor practised it according to its theo“ Hero. But nature never framed a
la retical principles. She has all her woman's heart
lifelong been saying sharp things of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice ;
from a kindly disposition, from deDisdain and scorn ride sparkling in her light in the ludicrous; “ give and eyes,
take,” has still been the spirit of her Misprising what they look on; and her
bearing, in skirmish or in pitch-batwit
tle; it cannot be said of her,Values itself so highly, that to her
“She laughs at scars who never felt a All matter else seems weak: she cannot
wound;" love, Nor take no shape nor project of affection, for, though skilful of fence, no She is so self-endeared.
swordswoman can parry every Urs. Sure, I think so ;
thrust; and she always contends for And therefore, certainly, it were not victory" selon les regles de la guerre." good
Of all her butts, the chief is Benedick. Now Benedick, though he quisite, and proves that it had thrillhave generally the worst of it, is ed through his heart. sometimes, we think, the aggressor; But though Beatrice had a lurking and even if he never be, Beatrice liking for Signior Montanto," we knows he is stillexpecting her attack, do not believe that she often—if at of course on his guard, and ready for all-had thought of him as a hus. the assault with foil or rapier. band. She enjoyed her own wit too
It is plain to the dullest eye much to think of such a serious and meanest capacity, that a “mu matter. And a chaster creature tual inclination had commenced be- never breathed-not to be cold. fore the opening of the play.” They Wit was with her a self-sufficing are not in love; but Beatrice thinks passion. How her fine features him a proper man, and he is never must have kindled at its flashes ! an hour out of her head. “I pray you, is Signior MONTANTO returned
“ Beat. Who, I pray you, is his comfrom the wars, or no? He set up
panion ? his bills here in Messina and chal.
Mess. He is most in the company of lenged Cupid at the flight; and my
the right noble Claudio.
Beal. O Lord! he will hang upon him uncle's Fool reading the challenge,
like a disease: he is sooner caught than subscribed for Cupid, and challenged him at the bird-bolt.
the pestilence, and the taker runs presentI pray you,
you, ly mad. God help the noble Claudio ! if how many hath he killed and eaten in
he have caught the Benedick, it will cost these wars? But how many hath he
him a thousand pound ere he be cured.” killed, for indeed I promised to eat all of his killing ?” She knew he
But though Beatrice, if you take was brave as his sword. But the our word for it, had nerer thought witty witch would have her will, and of marrying Benedick some evening must be jibing. Leonato, fearing the or other, yet, like all other young messenger may have light thoughts ladies, she had considered the subof her, says, “ You must not be
ject of marriage in the abstract, and mistaken in my niece; there is a kind had come to Tave a very tolerable of merry war betwixt Signior Bene- understanding of its various bear. dick and her; they never meet, but ings. there is a skirmish of wit between them.” He was about to return from « Leon. Well, niece, I hope to see you the wars after some considerable one day fitted with a husband. absence; and Beatrice was breathing Beat. Not till God make men of some herself with a little preparatory other metal than earth. Would it not pastime, and keeping her hand in for grieve a woman to be overmastered with the encounter. “In the unprovoked a piece of valiant dust ? to make an achostility with which she falls upon count of her life to a clod of wayward him in his absence, in the perti.
marl? No, uncle, I'll none : Adam's sons nacity of her satire, there is cer are my brethren; and truly, I hold it a tainly,” says Mrs Jameson, “ great
sin to match in my kindred. Hear me, argument that he occupies more of
Hero; wooing, wedding, and repenting, her thoughts than she would have
is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a been willing to confess, even to her
cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and
basty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fan. self.” In the same manner, Benedick
tastical ; the wedding, mannerly-modest, betrays a lurking partiality for his
is a measure full of state and ancientry; fascinating enemy; he shews that he and then comes repentance, and, with his bas looked upon her with no care- bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster
ess eye, when he says, “ There's and faster, till he sink into his grare." ber cousin" (Hero's), “an she were not possessed with a fury, excels her T here is something very kindly in as much in beauty as the first of May all this contempt of marriage. Nor does the last of December.” “Pos- did “ Lady Disdain” suppose that sessed by a fury !" language scarcely any rational person would credit her consistent with the usages of the antinuptial asseverations. What suParliament of Love. The honourable perior young lady ever professes a gentleman ought to liave been called rooted resolution to marry? They to order; he is, at least, fair game. all disown “the soft impeachment," But bis praise of her beauty is cx- and were they believed, the old and
new worlds would be caterwauling purpose, because they would go thiwith old maids. Beatrice knew that iher; so, iudeed, all disquiet, horror, she would have to be married at and perturbation follow her.” last, like the rest of her unfortunate Poo-poo-p0o-- what is all this? sex, but 'twas not even like a cloud “ She had misused him past all enher marriage day, but quite beyond durance," not thinking that he had the visible horizon. Of it she had not been himself; yet really she was even a dim idea; therefore came her not so bitter bad upon him as he warm wit in jets and gushes from her says-he is manifestly more mortified untamed heart. It is sincere, and in than any man would hare been, if “ measureless content" she enjoys fairly out of love; and believing (oh! her triumphs. Marry when she may, the simpleton) that she spoke her she will not be forsworn. She has sincere sentiments, he has the folly but used her “ pretty oath by yea to say to Don Pedro, “I cannot enand nay," and Cupid in two words dure my Lady Tongue.” will justify the fair apostate in any But we admire Benedick. « In court of Hymen.
him," says Stevens, rightly, “ the But 'tis different with Benedick. wit, the humorist, the gentleman, When you hear a man perpetually and the soldier are combined.” We dinning it into your ears that he is admire him so much, that we are determined to die a bachelor, you delighted to laugh at him, when made set him down at once as a liar. You the happy victim of that most crafty then begin, if he be not simply a and Christian plot upon his celibacy, blockhead, to ask yourself what he wbich is followed with such instant means by forcing on you such un- and signal success. Benedick is a provoked falsehood, and you are modest man. He has no suspicion ready with an answer—“He is in that Beatrice, beautiful as the First love." He sees bis danger. A wild of May, (the day is often biting,) beast, pot far off, is opening its jaws cares for him but to torment him; to devour bim; and to keep up bis and the moment he is led to believe courage, he jests about horns. Why she loves him, he is ready to leap must Benedick be ever philosophizout of his skin and his vows of ce. ing against marriage ? The bare, libacy, and without ceremony, even the naked idea of it haunts him like in that condition, to leap into her a ghost. In spite of all his bravado arms. he knows he is a doomed man. “I « Infinite skill,” says Mrs Jameson, will not be sworn but love may trans- “ as well as humour, is shewn in form me to an oyster; but I'll take making this pair of airy beings the my oath on it, till he have made an exact counterpart of each other; oyster of me, he shall never make but of the two portraits, that of Beme such a fool.” He then paints a nedick is by far the more pleasing, picture of imaginary excellence, and because the independence and easy in the very midst of his fancies he indifference of tempor, the laughing is manifestly thinking of Beatrice- defiance of love and marriage, the “Mild, or come not near her.” There satirical freedom of expression comflashed upon him the face “ of one mon to both, are more becoming to possessed by a Fury," but yet“beau- the masculine than to the feminine tiful as the first of May."
character. Any woman might lore “I would not marry her," quoth such a cavalier as Benedick, and be Benedick (“Nobody axed you sir, proud of his affection; his valour, bis she said,”) “ though she were en- wit, and his gaiety, sit so gracefully dowed with all that Adam had left upon him; and his light scotis against him before he transgressed; she the power of love are but just suffiwould bave made Hercules have cient to render more poignant the turned spit; yca, and have cleft his conquest of this “liereiic in dispite club to make the fire too. Come, talk of beauty." But a man might well not of her; you shall find her the be pardoned who should shrink from nfernal Até in good apparel. I would encountering such a spirit as that of to God, some scholar would conjure Beatrice, unless, indeed, he had “serher; for, certainly, while she is here, ved an apprenticeship to the taming a man may live as quiet in hell, as school.” It is observable that the in a sanctuary; and people sin upon love is throughout on her side, and