Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

for its own sake, or to show how well he can paint natural objects: he is never tedious or elaborate, but while he now and then displays marvellous accuracy and minuteness of knowledge, he usually only touches upon the larger features and broader characteristics, leaving the fillings up to the imagination. Thus in “ As You Like It' he describes an oak of many centuries growth in a single line :

Under an oak whose antique root peeps out.' Other and inferior writers would have dwelt on this description, and worked it out with all the pettiness and impertinence of detail. In Shakespeare the antique root’ furnishes the whole picture.”

These expressions are copied from notes made at the time; and they partially, though imperfectly, supply an obvious deficiency of general criticism in vol. ii. p. 115, of Coleridge's “Literary Remains."

Adam Spencer is a character in "The Coke's Tale of Gamelyn," and in Lodge's “ Rosalynde:” and a great additional interest attaches to it, because it is supposed, with some appearance of truth, that the part was originally sustained by Shakespeare himself. We have this statement on the authority of Oldys's MSS.: he is said to have derived it, intermediately of course, from Gilbert Shakespeare, who survived the Restoration, and who had a faint recollection of having seen his brother William“ in one of his own comedies, wherein, being to personate a decrepit old man, he wore a long beard, and appeared so weak and drooping, and unable to walk, that he was forced to be supported and carried by another person to a table, at which he was seated among some company, who were eating, and one of them sung a song.". This description very exactly tallies with “ As You Like It," A. ii. sc. 7.

Shakespeare found no prototypes in Lodge, nor in any other work yet discovered, for the characters of Jaques, Touchstone, and Audrey. On the admirable manner ir, which he has made them part of the staple of his story, and on the importance of these additions, it is needless to enlurge. It is rather singular, that Shakespeare should have introduced two characters of the name of Jaques into the same play; but in the old impressions, Jaques de Bois, in the prefixes to his speeches, is merely called the - Second Brother."

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

DUKE, Senior, living in exile.
FREDERICK, his Brother, usurper of his dominions.
AMIENS, Lords attending upon the exiled
JAQUES, Duke.
LE BEAU, a Courtier.
OLIVER,
JAQUES, Sons of Sir Rowland de Bois.
ORLANDO,
ADAM,

Servants to Oliver.
DENNIS,
CHARLES, a Wrestler.
TOUCHSTONE, a Clown.
SIR OLIVER MAR-Text, a Vicar.

SILVIUS

, Shepherds.

WILLIAM, a Country Fellow, in love with Audrey.
HYMEN.

ROSALIND, Daughter to the exiled Duke.
CELIA, Daughter to the usurping Duke.
PHEBE, a Shepherdess.
AUDREY, a Country Wench.

Lords ; Pages, Foresters, and Attendants.
The SCENE lies, first, near Oliver's House ; afterwards

in the Usurper's Court, and in the Forest of Arden.

AS YOU LIKE IT.

.

ACT I.

SCENE I.--An Orchard, near OLIVER's House.

Enter ORLANDO and ADAM. Orl. As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion: he bequeathed me by will' but a poor thousand crowns ; and, as thou say’st, charged my brother on his blessing to breed me well: and there begins my sadness. My brother Jaques he keeps at school, and report speaks goldenly of his profit : for my part, he keeps me rustically at home, or, to speak more properly, stays me here at home unkept; for call you that keeping for a gentleman of my birth, that differs not from the stalling of an ox? His horses are bred better; for, besides that they are fair with their feeding, they are taught their manage, and to that end riders dearly hired : but I, his brother, gain nothing under him but growth, for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him as I. Besides this nothing that he so plentifully gives me, the something that nature gave me, his countenance seems to take from me: he lets me feed with his hinds, bars me the place of a brother, and, as much as in him lies, mines my gentility with my education. This is it, Adam, that grieves me; and the spirit of my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against this servitude. I will no longer endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it.

Adam. Yonder comes my master, your brother. Orl. Go apart, Adam, and thou shalt hear how he will shake me up.

[ADAM retires. Enter OLIVER. Oli. Now, sir! what make you here? Orl. Nothing: I am not taught to make any thing.

Oli. What mar you then, sir ? * it was upon this fashion bequeathed, &c.

2 Behavior.

3 Not in f. e.

Orl. Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God made, a poor unworthy brother of yours, with idle

ness.

Oli. Marry, sir, be better employed, and be naught awhile.

Orl. Shall I keep your hogs, and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent that I should come to such penury ?

Oli. Know you where you are, sir ?
Orl. O! sir, very well : here, in your orchard.
Oli. Know you before whom, sir ?

Orl. Ay, better than he I am before knows me. I know, you are my eldest brother; and, in the gentle condition of blood, you should so know me. The courtesy of nations allows you my better, in that you are the first-born; but the same tradition takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt us. I have as much of my father in me, as you, albeit, I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his reverence.

Oli. What, boy!

Orl. Come, come, elder brother, you are too young in this.

Oli. Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain ?

Orl. I am no villain : I am the youngest son of sir Rowland de Bois; he was my father, and he is thrice a villain, that says, such a father begot villains. Wert thou not my brother, I would not take this hand from thy throat, till this other had pulled out thy tongue for saying so.' [Shaking him”.] Thou hast railed on thyself.

Adam. (Coming forward.] Sweet masters, be patient: for your father's remembrance, be at accord

Oli. Let me go, I say. Orl. I will not, till I please : you shall hear me. My father charged you in his will to give me good education: you have trained me like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all gentleman-like qualities: the spirit of my father grows strong in me, and I will no longer endure it; therefore, allow me such exercises as may become a gentleman, or give me the poor allottery my father left me by testament: with that I will go buy my fortunes. Oli. And what wilt thou do? beg, when that is

1 A petty malediction. Not in f. e.

spent? Well, sir, get you in: I will not long be troubled with you; you shall have some part of your will. I pray you, leave me.

Orl. I will no further offend you, than becomes me for my good.

Oli. Get you with him, you old dog.

Adam. Is old dog my reward ? Most true, I have lost my teeth in your service.--God be with my old master! he would not have spoke such a word.

(Exeunt Orlando and Adam. Oli. Is it even so ? begin you to grow upon me? I will physic your rankness, and yet give no thousand crowns neither. Hola, Dennis !

Enter DENNIS. Den. Calls your worship?

Oli. Was not Charles, the duke's wrestler, here to speak with me?

Den. So please you, he is here at the door, and importunes access to you.

Oli. Call him in. [Exit DENNIS.]—’T will be a good way; and to-morrow the wrestling is.

Enter CHARLES. Cha. Good morrow to your worship.

Oli. Good monsieur Charles, what's the new news at the new court ?

Cha. There's no news at the court, sir, but the old news; that is, the old duke is banished by his younger brother the new duke, and three or four loving lords have put themselves into voluntary exile with him, whose lands and revenues enrich the new duke ; therefore he gives them good leave to wander.

Oli. Can you tell, if Rosalind, the old' duke's daughter, be banished with her father?

Cha. 0! no; for the new duke's daughter, her cousin, so loves her, being ever from their cradles bred together, that she would have followed her exile, or have died to stay behind her. She is at the court, and no less beloved of her uncle than his own daughter; and never two ladies loved as they do.

Oli. Where will the old duke live?

Cha. They say, he is already in the forest of Arden, and a many merry men with him; and there they livé like the old Robin Hood of England. They say, many

1 This is not in f. e. This word is not in f. e. Vol. Ill.-2

« AnteriorContinuar »