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sciousness of its notoriety,—the gnawing conviction that every show of respect is an effort of courtesy, which recalls, while it represses, a contrary feeling ;—this is the ever-trickling flow of wormwood and gall into the wounds of pride,-the corrosive virus which inoculates pride with a venom not its own,—with envy, hatred, and a lust for that power which, in its blaze of radiance, would hide the dark spots on his disc,—with pangs of shame personally undeserved, and therefore felt as wrongs, and with a blind ferment of vindictive working towards the occasions and causes, especially towards & brother, whose stainless birth and lawful honours were the constant remembrancers of his own debasement, and were ever in the way to prevent all chance of its being unknown, or overlooked and forgotten.
“Kent is, perhaps, the nearest to perfect goodness in all Shakspeare's characters, and yet the most individualized. There is an extraordinary charm in his bluntness, which is that only of a nobleman arising from a contempt of overstrained courtesy; and combined with easy placability where goodness of heart is apparent. His passionate affection for, and fidelity to Lear, act on our feelings in Lear's own favour : virtue itself seems to be in company with him.
“The Steward should be placed in exact, antithesis to Kent, as the only character of utter irredeemable baseness in Shakspeare. Even in this the judgment and invention of the poet are very observable ; for what else could the willing tool of a Goneril be? Not a vice but this of baseness was left open to him.
“The Fool is no comic buffoon to make the groundlings laugh,—no forced condescension of Shakspeare's genius to the taste of his audience. Accordingly the poet prepares for his introduction, which he never does with any of his common clowns and fools, by bringing him into living connection with the pathos of the play. He is as wonderful a creation as Caliban ;-his wild babblings, and inspired idiocy, articulate and guage the hcrrors of the scene.
“The monster Goneril prepares what is necessary, while the character of Albany renders a still more maddening grievance possible, namely, Regan and Cornwall in perfect sympathy of monstrosity. Not a sentiment, not an image, which can give pleasure on its own account, is admitted ; whenever these creatures are introduced, and they are brought forward as little as possible, pure horror reigns throughout.
“Edgar's assumed madness serves the great purpose of taking off part of the shock which would otherwise be caused by the true madness of Lear, and further displays the profound difference between the two. In every attempt at representing madness throughout the whole range of dramatic literature, with the single exception of Lear, it is mere light-headedness, as especially in Otway. In Edgar's ravings, Shakspeare all the while lets you see a fixed purpose, a practical end in view ; in Lear's, there is only the brooding of the one anguish, an eddy without progression."-COLERIDGE.
CORIOL A N U S.
trinsie, to assist inmong the poet's latest ception of some peentered to
“ The Tragedy of Coriolanus” appears to have been first printed in the folio of 1623. In the same year, November 8th, it was entered on the Registers of the Stationers' Company by Blount and Jaggard, the publishers of the folio, as one of the copies “not formerly entered to other men.” Malone ascribes it to the year 1610; but with the exception of some peculiarities in the style, which would lead us to class it among the poet's latest plays, there is not a particle of evidence, internal or extrinsic, to assist in determining within several years the date of its production. That it was written subsequently to the publication of Camden’s “ Remains ” in 1605 is probable, from the resemblance between the following version of the famous apologue of the members' rebellion against the belly, as told by that author, and the same story in the speech of Menenius, Act I. Sc. 1; for, as Malone remarks, although Shakespeare found this fable in North’s Plutarch, there are some expressions, as well as the enumeration of the functions performed by the respective instruments of the body, which he seems to have taken from Camden : *
“All the members of the body conspired against the stomach, as against the swallowing gulfe of all their labours ; for whereas the eies beheld, the eares heard, the handes laboured, the feete travelled, the tongue spake, and all partes performed their functions ; onely the stomache lay ydle and consumed all. Hereuppon they joyntly agreed al to forbeare their labours, and to pine away their lazie and publike enemy. One day passed over, the second followed very tedious, but the third day was so greevous to them all, that they called a common counsel. The eyes waxed dimme, the feete could not support the bodie; the armes waxed lazie, the tongue faltered, and could not lay open the matter. Therefore they all with one accord desired the advice of the heart. There Reason layd open before them,” &c.
So, Shakespeare :
" There was a time, when all the body's members
• According to Douce, Camden derived what he has related of the fable from John of Salisbury, who wrote in the
reign of Henry the Second, and professes to have received it from Pope Hadrian IV.
Like labour with the rest, where the other instruments
True is it, my incorporate friends,' quoth he,
- but, if you do remember,
In the several incidents, and in some of the principal speeches of his tragedy, as may be seen from the parallel passages at the end, Shakespeare has faithfully followed “ The Life of Caius Martius Coriolanus,” iff Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch ; a translation which was rendered from the French of Amyot, Bishop of Auxerre, and was first published in 1579, with the title,—“ The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romanes, compared together by that grave learned Philosopher and Historiographer Plutarke of Chæronea.”
Lieutenant to Aufidius.
Caius MarciUS CORIOLANUS, a noble Roman.
Generals against the Volscians.
} Tribunes of the People.
VOLUMNIA, Mother to Coriolanus.'
Roman and Volscian Senators, Patricians, Rdiles, Lictors, Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, Servants to
Aufidius, and other Attendants.
SCENE,— Partly in Rome; and partly in the territories of the Volscians and Antiates.