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of half a page of Italian rhymes, which gives the whole an air of burlesque. The conversation of Lucio and Andrugio, again, after his defeat, seems to invite, but will not bear a comparison with Richard the Second's remonstrance with his courtiers, who offered him consolation in his misfortunes; and no one can be at a loss to trace the allusion to Romeo's conduct on being apprized of his banishment, in the termination of the following speech :
“ Antonio. Each man takes hence life, but no man death;
The following short passage might be quoted as one of exquisite beauty and originality
-"As having clasp'd a rose
Act IV, Scene 1
The character of Felice in this play is an admirable satirical accompaniment, and is the favourite character of this author (in all probability his own), that of a shrewd, contemplative cynic, and sarcastic spectator in the drama of human life.
It runs through all his plays, is shared by Quadratus and Lampatho in What you Will,' (it is into the mouth of the last of these that he has put that fine invective against the uses of philosophy, in the account of himself and his spaniel, “ who still slept while he baus'd leaves, tossed o'er the dunces, por'd on the old print"), and is at its height in the Fawn and Malevole, in his Parasitas. ter' and · Malcontent.' These two comedies are his chef-d'æuures. The character of the Duke Hercules of Ferrara, disguised as the Parasite, in the first of these, is well sustained throughout,
with great sense, dignity, and spirit. He is a wise censurer of men and things, and rails at the world with charitable bitter
He may put in a claim to a sort of family likeness to the Duke, in . Measure for Measure, only the latter descends from his elevation to watch in secret over serious crimes ; the other is only a spy on private follies. There is something in this cast of character (at least in comedy-perhaps it neutral. izes the tone and interest in tragedy), that finds a wonderful reciprocity in the breast of the reader or audience. It forms a kind of middle term or point of union between the busy actors in the scene and the indifferent bystander, insinuates the plot, and suggests a number of good wholesome reflections, for the saga. city and honesty of which we do not fail to take credit to our. selves. We are let into its confidence, and have a perfect reliance on its sincerity. Our sympathy with it is without any drawback; for it has no part to perform itself, and" is nothing, if not critical.” It is a sure card to play. We may doubt the motives of heroic actions, or differ about the just limits and extreme workings of the passions; but the professed misanthrope is a character that no one need feel any scruples in trusting, since the dislike of folly and knavery in the abstract is common to knaves and fools with the wise and honest! Besides the instructive moral vein of Hercules as the Fawn or Parasitaster, which contains a world of excellent matter most aptly and wittily delivered, there are two other characters perfectly hit off, Gon. zago, the old prince of Urbino, and Granuffo, one of his lords in waiting. The loquacious, good-humoured, undisguised vanity of the one is excellently relieved by the silent gravity of the other. The wit of this last character (Granuffo) consists in his not speaking a word through the whole play; he never contra. dicts what is said, and only assents by implication. He is a most infallible courtier, and follows the prince like his shadow, who thus graces his pretensions.
“We would be private, only Faunus stay; he is a wise fellow, daughter, a very wise fellow, for he is still just of my opinion; my Lord Granuffo, you may likewise stay, for I know you'll say nothing."
And again, a little farther on, he says'Faunus, this Granuffo is a right wise good lord, a man of excellent dis
course, and never speaks; his signs to me and men of profound reach instruct abundantly; he begs suits with signs, gives thanks with signs, puts off his hat leisurely, maintains his beard learnedly, keeps his lust privately, makes a nodding leg courtly, and lives happily.”—“Silence,” [replies Hercules,] "is an excellent modest grace; but especially before so instructing a wisdom as that of your Excellency.”
The garrulous self-complacency of this old lord is kept up in a vein of pleasant humour; an instance of which might be given in his owning of some learned man, that “though he was no duke, yet he was wise ;” and the manner in which the others play upon this foible, and make him contribute to his own discomfiture, without his having the least suspicion of the plot against him, is full of ingenuity and counterpoint. In the last scene he says, very characteristically,
“Of all creatures breathing, I do hate those things that struggle to seem wise, and yet are indeed very fools. I remember when I was a young man, in my father's days, there were four gallant spirits for resolution, as proper for body, as witty in discourse, as any were in Europe; nay, Europe had not such. I was one of them. We four did all love one lady; a most chaste virgin she was: we all enjoyed her, and so enjoyed her, that, despite the strictest guard was set upon her, we had her at our pleasure. I speak it for her honour, and my credit. Where shall you find such witty fellows now-adays ? Alas! how easy is it in these weaker times to cross love-tricks ! Ha! ha! ha! Alas, alas ! I smile to think (I must confess with some glory to mine own wisdom), to think how I found out, and crossed, and curbed, and in the end made desperate Tiberio's love. Alas! good silly youth, that dared to cope with age and such a beard !
Hercules. But what yet might your well-known wisdom think,
To which Gonzago replies, in a strain of exulting dotage
" May one have the sight of such a fellow for nothing? Doth there breathe such an egregious ass? Is there such a foolish animal in rerum natura? How is it possible such a simplicity can exist ? Let us not lose our laughing
at him, for God's sake ; let folly's sceptre light upon him, and to the Ship of Fools with him instantly.
Dondolo. Of all these follies I arrest your grace.”
Molière has built a play on nearly the same foundation, which is not much superior to the present. Marston, among other topics of satire, has a fling at the pseudo-critics and philosophers of his time, who were “full of wise saws and modern instances." Thus he freights his Ship of Fools.
" Dondolo. Yes, yes; but they got a supersedeas; all of them proved themselves either knaves or madmen, and so were let go: there's none left now in our ship but a few citizens that let their wives keep their shop-books, some philosophers, and a few critics; one of which critics has lost his flesh with fishing at the measure of Plautus' verses; another has vowed to get the consumption of the lungs, or to leave to posterity the true orthography and pronunciation of laughing.
Hercules. But what philosophers ha' ye ?
Dondolo. Oh, very strange fellows; one knows nothing, dares not aver he lives, goes, sees, feels.
Nymphadoro. A most insensible philosopher.
Dondolo. Another, that there is no present time; and that one man to-day and to-morrow, is not the same man; so that he that yesterday owed money, lo-day owes none; because he is not the same man.
Herod. Would that philosophy hold good in law?
Herculis. But why has the Duke thus laboured to have all the fools shipped out of his dominions ? Dondolo. Marry, because he would play the fool alone without any rival.
Molière has enlarged upon the same topic in his Mariage Forcé, but not with more point or effect. Nymphadoro's reasons for devoting himself to the sex generally, and Hercules's description of the different qualifications of different men, will also be found to contain excellent specimens, both of style and matter. The disguise of Hercules as the Fawn is assumed voluntarily, and he is comparatively a calm and dispassionate observer of the times. Malevole's disguise in the Malcontent has been forced upon him by usurpation and injustice, and his invectives are accordingly more impassioned and virulent. His satire does not “ like a wild goose fly, unclaimed of any man,” but has a bitter and personal application. Take him in the words of the usurping Duke's account of him:
"This Malevole is one of the most prodigious affections that ever conversed with Nature; a man, or rather a monster, more discontent than Lucifer when he was thrust out of the presence. His appetite is unsatiable as the grave, as far from any content as from heaven. His highest delight is to procure others vexation, and therein he thinks he truly serves heaven; for 'tis his position, whosoever in this earth can be contentea is a slave, and damned; therefore does he afflict all, in that to which they are most affected. The elements struggle with him; his own soul is at variance with herself; his speech is halterworthy at all hours. I like him, 'faith; he gives good intelligence to my spirit, makes me understand those weaknesses which others' flattery palliates. Hark! they sing
Enter MALEVOLE, after the song.
Malevole. From the public place of much dissimulation, the church.
up at interest.
Malevole. Sects, sects. I am weary; would I were one of the Duke's hounds.
Pietro Jacomo. But what's the common news abroad? Thou dogg'st rumour still.
Malevole. Common news? Why, common words are, God save ye, Fare ye well: common actions, flattery and cozenage : common things, women and cuckolds."
Act I. Scene 3.
In reading all this, one is somehow reminded perpetually of Mr. Kean's acting : in Shakspeare we do not often think of him, except in those parts which he constantly acts, and in those one cannot forget him. I might observe on the above passage, in excuse for some bluntness of style, that the ideal barrier between names and things seems to have been greater then than now. Words have become instruments of more importance than formerly. To mention certain actions, is almost to participate in them, as if consciousness were the same as guilt. The standard of delicacy varies at different periods, as it does in different coun. tries, and is not a general test of superiority. The French, who pique themselves (and justly, in some particulars) on their quick. ness of tact and refinement of breeding, say and do things which we, a plainer and coarser people, could not think of without a