Imagens das páginas

rapidly does the chivalrous duke resolve to but at the same time so original that they avenge their wrongs :

appear to defy copying or imitation. The “ And right anon, withouten more abode,

whole scene is full of the same remarkable His banner he display'd, and forth he rode

word-painting. There is another quality To Thebes ward, and all his host beside." which it exhibits, which is also peculiar to

the highest order of minds—the ability to The Queen and her sister remained at

set us thinking—to excite that just and apAthens. Out of this rapid narration, which propriate reflection which might arise of occupies little more than a hundred lines in itself out of the exhibition of deep passions Chaucer, has the first scene of “The Two and painful struggles and resolute selfNoble Kinsmen' been constructed. As

denials, but which the true poet breathes suredly, the reader who opens that scene for

into us without an effort, so as to give the the first time will feel that he has lighted key to our thoughts, but utterly avoiding upon a work of no ordinary power. The

those sententious moralizings which are mere interruption of the bridal procession by sometimes deemed to be the province of the widowed queens—the contrast of their tragedy. When the Queens commend the black garments and their stained veils with surrender which Theseus makes of his affecthe white robes and wheaten chaplets and tions to a sense of duty, the poet gives us hymeneal songs with which the play opens the philosophy of such heroism in a dozen is a noble dramatic conception ; but the words spoken by Theseus :poet, whoever he be, possesses that command of appropriate language which realizes all

As we are men, that the imagination can paint of a dramatic Thus should we do; being sensually subdued, situation and movement ; there is nothing

We lose our humane title." shadowy or indistinct, no vague explanations,

The first appearance, in Chaucer, of Palano trivial epithets. When the First Queen

mon and Arcite is when they lie wounded says

on the battle-field of Thebes. In 'The Two “Oh, pity, duke !

Noble Kinsmen' the necessary conduct of Thou purger of the earth, draw thy fear'd

the story, as a drama, requires that the prinsword That does good turns to the world; give us

cipal personages should be exhibited to us

before they become absorbed in the main the bones Of our dead kings, that we may chapel them!" action. It is on such occasions as these that

a dramatist of the highest order makes his we know that the thoughts which belong to characters reveal themselves, naturally and her condition are embodied in words of no without an effort ; and yet so distinctly that common significancy. When the Second their individual identity is impressed upon Queen, addressing Hippolyta, “ the sol- the mind, so as to combine with the subsedieress,” says,

quent movement of the plot. The second Speak’t in a woman's key, like such a woman scene of “The Two Noble Kinsmen' appears As any of us three; weep ere you fail ; to us somewhat deficient in this power. It Lend us a knee;

is written with great energy ; but the two But touch the ground for us no longer time friends are energetic alike : we do not preThan a dove's motion, when the head's pluck'd cisely see which is the more excitable, the off!

more daring, the more resolved, the more we feel that the poet not only wields his generous. We could change the names of harmonious language with the decision of a the speakers without any material injury to practised artist, but exhibits the nicer the propriety of what they speak. Take, as touches which attest his knowledge of natural an opposite example, Hermia and Helena, in feelings, and employs images which, how- | A Midsummer Night's Dream,' where the ever strange and unfamiliar, are so true that differences of character scarcely required to we wonder they never occurred to us before, be so nicely defined. And yet in description

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the author of "The Two Noble Kinsmen' Seward, the editor of Beaumont and Fletcher, makes Palamon and Arcite essentially dif- makes this comparison, and prefers the deferent:

scription in The Two Noble Kinsmen.' “ Arcite is gently visaged : yet his eye

Weber assents to this preference. We have Is like an engine bent, or a sharp weapon

no hesitation in believing the passage in the In a soft sheath ; mercy and manly courage play before us to be an imitation of the pasAre bedfellows in his visage. Palamon sage in ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream,' and Has a most menacing aspect; his brow therefore inferior in quality; we do not Is graved, and seems to bury what it frowns think that Shakspere would thus have reon;

peated himself. Our readers shall judge :Yet sometimes 't is not so, but alters to The quality of his thoughts; long time his


I was acquainted eye

Once with a time, when I enjoy'd a playWill dwell upon his object; melancholy

fellow; Becomes him nobly; so does Arcite's mirth ;

You were at wars when she the grave enBut Palamon's sadness is a kind of mirth,

rich'd, So mingled, as if mirth did make him sad,

Who made too proud the bed, took leave o' And sadness, merry; those darker humours,

th' moon, that

(Which then look'd pale at parting), when our Stick misbecomingly on others, on him

count Live in fair dwelling."

Was each eleven. This is noble writing; and it is quite suffi- Hip.

'Twas Flavina. cient to enable the stage representation of Emi.

Yes. the two characters to be well defined. Omit You talk of Perithous' and Theseus' love; it, and omit the recollections of it in the Theirs has more ground, is more maturely reading, and we doubt greatly whether the season'd, characters themselves realize this descrip

More buckled with strong judgment, and

their needs tion: they are not self-evolved and manifested. The third scene, also, is a dramatic

The one of th’ other may be said to water addition to the tale of Chaucer. It keeps

Their intertangled roots of love ; but I the interest concentrated upon Hippolyta,

And she (I sigh and spoke of) were things

innocent, and, especially, Emilia ; it is not essential to

Loved for we did, and like the elements the action, but it is a graceful addition to it.

That know not what, nor why, yet do effect It has the merit, too, of developing the cha

Rare issues by their operance ; our souls racter of Emilia, and so to reconcile us to

Did so to one another: what she liked the apparent coldness with which she is

Was then of me approved; what not, consubsequently content to receive the triumph- demn'd, ant rival, whichever he be, as her husband. No more arraignment; the flower that I The Queen and her sister talk of the friend- would pluck ship of Theseus and Perithous. Emilia tells And put between my breasts (oh, then but the story of her own friendship, to prove

beginning “That the true love 'tween maid and maid

To swell about the blossom), she would long

Till she had such another, and commit it More than in sex dividual.”

To the like innocent cradle, where phoenix

like This, in some sort, modifies the subsequent

They died in perfume: on my head no toy position of Emilia, “ bride-habited, but

But was her pattern; her affections (pretty, maiden-hearted.” Her description of her

Though happily her careless wear) I follow'd early friendship has been compared to the

For my most serious decking; had mine ear celebrated passage in A Midsummer Night's Stol’n some new air, or at adventure humm'd Dream :“ Is all the counsel that we two have shared,"&c. From musical coinage, why, it was a note

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Whereon her spirits would sojourn (rather "The

very lees of such, millions of rates dwell on),

Exceed the wine of others; all our surgeons And sing it in her slumbers: this rehearsal, Convent in their behoof; our richest balms, Which, every innocent wots well, comes in Rather than niggard, waste ! their lives conLike old importment's bastard, has this end,

cern us That the true love 'tween maid and maid Much more than Thebes is worth."

The fifth scene of The Two Noble KinsMore than in sex dividual.

men' is a scenic expansion of a short pasHip.

You're out of breath; And this high speeded pace is but to say,

sage in Chaucer :That you shall never, like the maid Flavina, “But it were all too long for to devise Love any that's call'd man.

The greaté clamour and the waimenting, Emi. I am sure I shall not.” Which that the ladies made at the brenning

Of the bodies." In Chaucer, Theseus makes swift work with Creon and with Thebes :

The epigrammatic ending of the scene is "With Creon, which that was of Thebés king,

perhaps familiar to many :He fought, and slew him manly as a knight “ The world's a city full of straying streets; In plain bataille, and put his folk to flight; And death 's the market-place, where each And by assault he won the city after,

one meets." And rent adown both wall, and spar, and

Pursuing the plan with which we set out, rafter; And to the ladies he restored again

of following the course of Chaucer's story, The bodies of their husbands that were slain,

we pass over all those scenes and parts of To do th' obsequies, as was then the guise."

scenes which may be called the underplot.

Such in the second act is the beginning of It in the battle-field that Palamon and Scene I. In Chaucer we learn that, Arcite are discovered wounded :

“In a tow'r, in anguish and in woe, “Not fully quick ne fully dead they were,

Dwellen this Palamon and eke Arcite But by their cote-armure and by their gear

Forevermore, there may no gold them quite." The heralds knew them well in special.”

The old romantic poet reserves his dialogue The incident is literally followed in the for the real business of the story, when the play, where the herald says, in answer to two friends, each seeing Emilia from the the question of Theseus, “They are not prison-window, become upon the instant dead:"

defying rivals for her love. This incident is “Nor in a state of life: had they been taken not managed with more preparation by the When their last hurts were given, 't was pos- dramatist ; but the prelude to it exhibits sible

the two young men consoling each other They might have been recover'd; yet they | under their adverse fortune, and making breathe,

resolutions of eternal friendship. It is in And have the name of men."

an attentive perusal of this dialogue that In Chaucer, Theseus is to the heroic friends we begin to discover that portions even of a merciless conqueror :

the great incidents of the drama have been

written by different persons ; or that, if “He full soon them sent

written by one and the same person, they To Athenes, for to dwellen in prison

have been composed upon different prinPerpetual, he n'oldé no ranson."

ciples of art. In 1833 appeared a little work But in 'The Two Noble Kinsmen’ he would of great ability, entitled, “ A Letter on Shakappear to exhibit himself as a generous foe, speare's Authorship of The Two Noble Kinswho, having accomplished the purposes of men. The writer of that letter is understood his expedition, has no enmity with the to be the accomplished professor of logic and honest defenders of their country :

rhetoric in the University of St. Andrews,

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their live at

the inner

William Spalding, Esq.; and, although we Il our surpans have reason to believe that his opinions on rieket ialad this particular question have undergone

some change or modification, it would be unjust, not only to the author, but to our

readers, not to notice with more than como Noble A mon respect the opinions of a writer who, a short po

' although then a very young man, displayed

a power of analysis and discrimination which lerine

marked him as belonging to a high school of imenting

criticism. Mr. Spalding assumes that a considerable portion of this drama was unquestionably the production of Shakspere ; that

the under-plot was entirely by a different the scene band ; but that the same hand, which was

that of Fletcher, was also engaged in producing some of the higher scenes of the main action. The whole of the first act,

according to the traditional opinion, he holds h mesta

to have been written by Shakspere. The neer's S

dialogue before us in the first scene of the second act, and the subsequent contest for the love of Emilia, he assigns to Fletcher. Our readers will not regret the length of our extract:

Shall we two exercise, like twins of honour,
Our arms ag. in, and feel our fiery horses
Like proud seas under us! Our good swords

now, (Better the red-eyed god of war ne'er wore,) Ravish'd our sides, like age, must run to rust, And deck the temples of those gods that hate

us; These hands shall never draw them out like

lightning, To blast whole armies more ! Arc.

No, Palamon, Those hopes are prisoners with us : here we

are, And here the graces of our youths must

wither, Like a too-timely spring; here age must find

us, And, which is heaviest, Palamon, unmarried ; The sweet embraces of a loving wife, Loaden with kisses, arm’d with thousand

Cupids, Shall never clasp our necks ! no issue know us ; No figures of ourselves shall we e'er see, To glad our age, and like young eagles teach

them Boldly to gaze against bright arms, and say, Remember what your fathers were, and con

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" Pal. How do you, noble cousin ? Arc.

How do you, sir? Pal. Why, strong enough to laugh at

misery, And bear the chance of war yet. We are

I fear for ever, cousin.

I believe it;
And to that destiny have patiently
Laid up my hour to come.

Oh, cousin Arcite, Where is Thebes now? where is our noble

country? Where are our friends, and kindreds ? Never

more Must we behold those comforts; never see The hardy youths strive for the games of

honour, Hung with the painted favours of their ladies, Like tall ships under sail; then start amongst

'em, And, as an east wind, leave 'em all behind us Like lazy clouds, whilst Palamon and Arcite, Even in the wagging of a wanton leg, Outstripp'd the people's praises, won the gar

lands, Ere they have time to wish 'em ours. Oh, never

The fair-eyed maids shall weep our banish

ments, And in their songs curse ever blinded For.

tune, Till she for shame see what a wrong she has

done To youth and nature : this is all our world; We shall know nothing here, but one another; Hear nothing, but the clock that tells our

woes; The vine shall grow, but we shall never see it; Summer shall come, and with her all delights, But dead cold winter must inhabit here still! Pal. 'Tis too true, Arcite! To our Theban

hounds, That shook the aged forest with their echoes, No more now must we halloo: no more shake Our pointed javelins, whilst the angry swine Flies like a Parthian quiver from our rages, Struck with our well-steel'd darts: All va

liant uses (The food and nourishment of noble minds) In us two here shall perish; we shall die, (Which is the curse of honour !) lastly, Children of grief and ignorance.

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Yet, cousin, Pal.

You have made me
Even from the bottom of these miseries, (I thank you, cousin Arcite !) almost wanton
From all that fortune can inflict upon us, With my captivity: what a misery
I see two comforts rising, two mere blessings, It is to live abroad, and everywhere !
If the gods please to hold here,-a brave 'Tis like a beast, methinks ! I find the court

here, And the enjoying of our griefs together. I'm sure a more content; and all those Whilst Palamon is with me, let me perish

pleasures, If I think this our prison !

That woo the wills of men to vanity, Pal.


I see through now; and am sufficient 'Tis a main goodness, cousin, that our fortunes To tell the world, 'tis but a gaudy shadow, Were twinn'd together: 'tis most true, two That old Time, as he passes by, takes with him. souls

What had we been, old in the court of Creon, Put in two noble bodies, let them suffer

Where sin is justice, lust and ignorance The gall of hazard, so they grow together, The virtues of the great ones! Cousin Arcite, Will never sink; they must not; say they Had not the loving gods found this place for

could, A willing man dies sleeping, and all's done. We had died as they do, ill old men unwept,

Arc. Shall we make worthy uses of this place, And had their epitaphs, the people's curses ! That all men hate so much?

Shall I say more?
How, gentle cousin ? Arc.

I would hear you still.
Arc. Let's think this prison holy sanc- Pal.

You shall. tuary,

Is there record of any two that loved
To keep us from corruption of worse men ! Better than we do, Arcite ?
We are young, and yet desire the ways of Arc.

Sure there cannot. honour;

Pal. I do not think it possible our friend. That liberty and common conversation,

ship The poison of pure spirits, might, like women,

Should ever leave us. Woo us to wander from. What worthy blessing Arc.

Till our deaths it cannot ; Can be, but our imaginations

And after death our spirits shall be led May make it ours? and here being thus To those that love eternally.”

together, We are an endless mine to one another ;

The following is Mr. Spalding's criticism We are one another's wife, ever begetting

with reference to this scene:"The dialogue New births of love; we are father, friends, is in many respects admirable. It possesses acquaintance,

much eloquence of description, and the chaWe are, in one another, families ;

racter of the language is smooth and flowing; I am your heir, and you are mine; this place the versification is good and accurate, frequent Is our inheritance; no hard oppressor in double endings, and usually finishing the Dare take this from us : here, with a little

sense with the line; and one or two allusions patience,

occur, which, being favourites of Fletcher's, We shall live long, and loving ; no surfeits may be in themselves a strong presumption

of his authorship; the images too hare in The hand of war hurts none here, nor the seas

some instances a want of distinctness in apSwallow their youth ; were we at liberty,

plication, or a vagueness of outline, which A wife might part us lawfully, or business ;

could be easily paralleled from Fletcher's acQuarrels consume us ; envy of ill men Crave our acquaintance; I might sicken, knowledged writings. The style is fuller of

allusions than his usually is, but the images cousin, Where you should never know it, and so

are more correct and better kept from conperish

fusion than Shakspere's; some of them inWithout your noble hand to close mine eyes, deed are exquisite, but rather in the roOr prayers to the gods: a thousand chances, mantic and exclusively poetical tone of Were we from hence, would sever us.

Fletcher than in the natural and universal

seek us;

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