Imagens das páginas

given by the four Inns of Court, in London, in 1633, cost more than a thousand pounds. After the Restoration the masque seems to have degenerated into a mere fancy dress ball or masquerade.

Shakespeare's employment of the masque was quite in line with the taste of his time, which desired every species of pageant upon the stage. If the scenery was sadly deficient in the Shakespeare theatre, this was made up by the splendour of some of the costumes and the ingenuity of the machinery. Of this, however, we shall speak more at length in a later chapter.

Not only was dancing introduced in the Shakespearian plays, but even between the acts, and after the last act, some species of Terpsichorean revelry was added to the dramatic entertainment,' very much as the ballet is interpolated in operatic performances in Paris at present.

Only once does Shakespeare mention that round dance which the rustics loved, the hay. It is in "Love's Labour's Lost" (Act v. Sc. 1) that Dull says:

[ocr errors]

"I'll make one in a dance or so; or I will play upon a tabor to the worthies, and let them dance the hay."

The hay, as well as the morris-dance, was associated with May-day festivities; in fact, all kinds of 'See Chapter XIII.

musical and Terpsichorean sport were indulged in on that day, as may be judged from the following quotation from Spenser's "Shepherds' Calendar" (Eclogue v.):

"Siker this morrow, no longer ago,

I saw a shole of shepherds outgo

With singing, and shouting, and jolly cheer;
Before them yode a lusty Tabrere,
That to the many a horn-pipe play'd,

Whereto they dancen each one with his maid.
To see these folks make such jouissance,
Made my heart after the pipe to dance.
Then to the greenwood they speeden them all,
To fetchen home May with their musical:
And home they bring him in a royal throne
Crowned as king; and his queen attone
Was Lady Flora, on whom did attend
A fair flock of fairies, and a fresh bend

Of lovely nymphs - O that I were there,
To helpen the ladies their May bush to bear!"

We can sum up the style of the English dancing and its musical adjuncts with a quotation from an old pamphlet (1609), which says:

"The Courts of Kings for stately measures, the City for light heels and nimble footing; Western men for gambols; Middlesex men for tricks above ground; Essex men for the Hey; Lancashire for Hornpipes; Worcestershire for Bagpipes; but Herefordshire for a Morris dance, puts down not only all Kent, but very near three quarters of Christendom if one had line enough to measure it." ("Old Meg of Herefordshire for a Maid Marian.")

But it must be added that these "stately measures" of the aristocracy, whether in England, Poland, Italy, France, or any important European court, were chiefly processional, and consisted in the dancers imitating the steps and gestures of the first couple, which explains Beatrice saying to Benedick ("Much Ado About Nothing," Act ii. Sc. 2): "We must follow the leaders!"


Shakespeare's Esthetic Appreciation of Music-Index to Characters by Their Appreciation of Music Famous Persons Who Have Disliked Music - Shakespeare's Jests at Music Balanced by His Tributes to the Art-Evening Music - The Music of the Sea The Music of the Spheres.

In this chapter we propose to leave for awhile the technical references to music with which Shakespeare teems, and study the tributes which the poet has given to the art in general, the praises which he brings to it, and the enthusiasm which it evidently excites in him. Here the poet appeals not only to the musician, but to every person whose culture or refined instinct enables him to vibrate responsive to artistic beauty.

Perhaps no greater tribute to the power of music can be found than in Shakespeare's presentation of the psychical side of a character by its appreciation, half-appreciation, or non-appreciation of the art. The superficial critic will at once seize upon the wellknown lines at the end of the following scene ("Merchant of Venice," Act v. Sc. 1), as the sum of it all:


Why should we go in?

My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
Within the house, your mistress is at hand;
And bring you music forth into the air. -
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night,
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica: Look, how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;

[Exit Stephano.

There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold'st,
But in his motion like an angel sings,

Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims:
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay

Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.

Enter Musicians.

Come, ho, and wake Diana with a hymn;

With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,

And draw her home with music.

Jessica. I am never merry, when I hear sweet music. [Music

Lorenzo. The reason is, your spirits are attentive:
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,

Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing, and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,

You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze,

By the sweet power of music: Therefore, the poet
Did feign, that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods;
Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,

« AnteriorContinuar »