Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Shakspere was a constant searcher of all religious bibles, and particularly pondered on the Christian story of the creation, prophecies, crucifixion and revelation. Paganism was the advanced guard of Christianity!

Monks, priests, preachers, bishops, cardinals, popes, princes, kings, emperors and czars had exercised their minds and hands as commentators on the old philosophy of an unknown God; and William saw no reason why he should not extract from or paraphrase the best logical phrases and sentences of the Bible.

[ocr errors]

His sonnets and plays are filled with the hidden meaning of the scriptures, and those who read closely and delve deeply into the works of the Bard of Avon will need no better moral teacher. His axioms and epigrams are used to-day as the proverbial philosophy of practical life, and the whole world is indebted to the sons of a carpenter and a butcher for the greatest pleasure and philosophy that has ever been enunciated on the globe!

The years 1611, 1612 and 1613 found William at the pinnacle of his dramatic glory, and like a ripe philosopher he finished his most thoughtful plays, "Timon of Athens," "A Winter's Tale," 'Antony and Cleopatra," "Pericles," "Cymbe line," "Henry the Eighth," and his cap sheaf in the grain field of thought, "The Tempest."

The constant intellectual labor of Shakspere began to tell on his body, but his mind like a slumbering volcano, emitted flashes of heat and light, irradiating the midnight of literary mediocrity and gilding his declining days with golden flashes of fame and fortune.

He sold his interest in the Blackfriars and Globe theatres, and purchased property in London and Stratford, making every preparation as a wise and thrifty man for himself and his children and family. William ever kept an eye on the glint and glory of gold, and while his bohemian theatrical companions were squandering their shillings at midnight taverns with "belles and beaux" he "put money in his purse," and kept it there.

Gold is power everywhere;
Best of friends in toil and care;
And it surely will outwear
Royal purple here or there!

King James, in searching for an alliance to strengthen his throne by a marriage with his beautiful and brainy daughter, Elizabeth, finally hit upon the Elector Frederick, Count Palatine of Germany, and in the spring of 1613 all the loyal nobility of England were delighted that a matrimonial alliance had been made with a Protestant prince.

While King James lent his official power to the Protestant religion and aided the Reformation in its rapid encroachments upon the papal power of Rome, he socially and clandestinely gave ear to the priests, bishops and cardinals of the Catholic church.

The ceremonials incident to the marriage of Frederick and Elizabeth were splendid in the songs, dances, masques, parades, fireworks, and dramatic entertainments at Whitehall.

A dozen of the most appropriate plays of Shak

Whitehall.
Fela 14. 1613,
to Wm. Shakeparti Poeti
Our Royal Dramatic Poet,
Great Gir:

You will appear this evening
at seven o'clock, at Whitehall,
to Enterlain, by monologue, at
suptural banquet thee thousand
quests.

James B.

spere were enacted before the nobility of the realm; and the diplomatic corps from foreign lands were greatly charmed by the magnificence of the theatrical displays.

The King spent one hundred thousand dollars in the palace and London festivities of the marriage of his beautiful daughter, and he secretly pawned his word and jewels to secure the ready cash.

As an intellectual climax to the splendid, royal nuptials, King James invited to the wedding banquet three thousand of the most noted men and women of the world and informed his guests that at the conclusion of the feast the most wonderful dramatic artist of the age-William Shakspere, would recite in monologue from his own plays rare bits of philosophic eloquence.

The benevolent reader will be glad to know and see that I have carefully preserved the following autographic note of His Majesty King James, inviting William to the wedding banquet:

"WHITEHALL, Feb. 14th, 1613. "TO WILLIAM SHAKSPERE,

"Our Royal Dramatic Poet.

"GREAT SIR: You will appear this evening at seven o'clock, at Whitehall, to entertain by monologue, at nuptial banquet, three thousand guests. "JAMES, Rex."

The Archbishop of Canterbury tied the nuptial knot. The bride and groom, arrayed in white satin and German purple, respectively, looked magnificent as they knelt at the palace altar to receive the final blessing of the Episcopal Church amid the glorious greetings of wealth and power.

« AnteriorContinuar »