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tion of scholars differ as much in the with the “Indo-Germanic Group,"and point of view from which they re- would have made but a poor figure by gard the works of antiquity, as the side of such scholars as Müller and poet and a geologist may in the dis- Donaldson and Bunsen. But they knew position with which they look forth Homer and Euripides, Horace and upon the face of nature. To the one Virgil to the backbone; had a thoits efflorescence is everything; the rough comprehension of their beauodour of a flower in spring--the vivid ties; were thoroughly imbued with, greenness and luxuriance of a mea- and if we may so speak, drenched dow in summer--the hues of the with the juice of the classics. They copse in autumn- each perhaps awa- thus wrote the language with a ken some sweet and beautiful asso- geniality and a fluency wholly unatciation, or stir (up in his mind some tainable by us, who are too much exquisite poetic train of thought. occupied in probing among its roots Yet, he knows nothing necessarily of to distil the honey from its flowers. botany, agriculture or woodcraft. Which pursuit may be the most worHe has only a keen sympathetic ap- thy of admiration, the reader will obpreciation of the beauty around him. serve it is not the business of this Its very spirit enters into him, and essay to determine. All we wish to when the time of utterance arrives, see is a due recognition of the purely his whole song is redolent of it. But literary value of the classical lanthe other looks deeper than this. A guiages, as opposed to the exclusive particular vegetation on the surface appreciation of their philological will suggest to him a particular value. Philology may promote the “ formation" underneath. Hills and interests of science, but the lighter valleys and rivers carry his mind far scholarship of our forefathers cultiaway into antediluvian ages, or deep vated and nourished innumerable indown into the bowels of the myste- tellects of a less severe and special rious earth. His thoughts are of character, which are now left to run strata, varied perhaps by occasional riot in all the extravagancies of our reflections on the Mammoth and contemporary literature-in which Leviathan. And so too the men of too often convulsions pass for healthy eighty years ago had, it is to be energy, egotism for earnestness, and feared, but an imperfect acquaintance darkness for depth.

FRENCH VERSIONS OF SHAKESPEARE.

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A WRITER, whose name it is sufficient reform, the lady of the bloomer nom to mention in order to dispense with de plume, has set a trap for her preliminary considerations as to her critics, by offering for their apprecititle for having undertaken such a ation one of the sweetest productions task, George Sand, in fact, has just of the greatest of names ; as much made an attempt to "arrange” Shake- as to say,

if you do not relish this, speare's As You Like it for the no wonder you should not like me.” Theatre Français. George Sand has Now, the idea of Sand and Shakeherself produced many original plays, speare having to sir.!: or swim togeand it is not by way of disparaging ther, was no doubt consoling to this remarkable genius we venture to wounded pride ; and had George repeat the judgment passed by her Sand simply and seriously, and in a own countrymen upon her dramatic spirit of devout reverence, applied performances, that they have, with herself to translate, instead of to arhardly an exception, proved failures. range that work of unsurpassable Undeterred by want of success, she beauty, we firmly believe that she has, nevertheless, persisted, upon the would not have had to add one more, sustaining conviction that it is the and that the most striking, to her public who is in fault. With the loug nomenclature of abortive expeview of proving how much popular riments. Why she turned to Shaketaste has been perverted by false speare in her distress, and why, havsystem which it is her mission to ing resolved to shelter her own name under the awful majesty of the mighty dramatic writers threatens to degeBard, she yet dared to trim, and al- nerate into culpable servility.” Now, ter, and dress him up in a fantasti- what George Sand has undertaken to cal garb of shreds and patches, like do is to correct not only those modern a milliner who invents a new fashion play-wrights who have spoiled the out of old costumes paired down to public for her own productions, which modern conveniences,

why she

their violent incidents have made to should, like a vender of adulterated look monotonous, but to correct Shakewine, take so much, and no more, of speare as well, who, “ yielding to the the pure spirit as should give decep- fiery impulses, or the delicious cative flavour to her foreigu drugs - prices of his inspirations, trampled why she sanded Shakespeare to give under foot, along with the rules of him due weight, is what we are not composition, certain legitimate needs left to conjecture; for we must do of the mind, such as order, sobriety, the arranger” the justice to say harmony, and logic !" In order to that she has acknowledged her own show how George Sand has infused misgivings, while she has attempted into 18 You Like It the order, so

As to shift the blame of her daring free- briety, harmony, and logic of Comme doms upon her audience, who would il vous plaira, we shall proceed to not have ladies in the forest of Arden detail the story--mind, good reader, in any other attire than crinoline and not that delicious story which thou flounces.

hast already treasured up in thy In a letter to Monsieur Regnier, of heart, as a native song of thy childthe Theatre Français, intended to hood, interwoven through all thy serve as a preface to her “ Comme il dearest associations, and to which, vous plaira,"* George Sand lays when thou art rendered impatient her finger on what she considers, not and irritable by modern dogmatism, without truth, the danger which be- paradox, distorted style, barbasets dramatic art by the growing l'ous taste, and immoderate pretensubstitution of mere incidents for sion, thou turnest for attunement of poetry, wit, and sentiment. People thy disarranged feelings--oh no, not go more now-a-days to see rather that story, but one as offensively difthan to listen--to be surprised rather fering in its sober perversion, as than subdued-startled rather than could the most whimsically absurd gently pleased, or agreeably exhilirat- parody got up for the diversion of a ed. “It is certain,” says our author, minor theatre. We sat down with “that the slightest vaudeville is, as far pencil in hand, prepared to mark as plot is concerned, more skilfully ar- what we expected to find-namely, ranged than the most admirable dra- occasional deviation from the orima of the masters of old. But," she ginal, with curtailments and even adds, “the able play-wrights of the transmutations sparingly attempted ; present day run the risk of falling but we had not advanced many pages into excess, and to habituate the before we perceived the utter usepublic to an adroit machinery of lessness of attempting any comparicrowded situations, without allowing son of any kind whatever. It is not breathing time for reflection-with

an arrangement, nor even is it that out admitting those sacrifices of its pleasant joke which the author herimpatience, which it would be some- self lets fly for sake of depriving times desirable to exact, for sake of her ready-witted countryman of a too forming a judgment of the charac

obvious play on a word at her exters and of becoming embued with an pense. It is not a derangement. What understanding of their action in the it is we shall not say until we have piece, so as, in a word, to seize the put the reader in a position to judge true meaning of the performance. for himself. Here is the story, or, Before this public, sated, inattentive, in more technical language, the plot. and actually spoiled by the super- Jacques, the melancholy Jacques, fluity of incidents with which it is arrives with a letter from the banished overwhelmed, the condescension of Duke for his daughter Roselind, at

Comme il vous plaira. Comedie en trois actes et en prose, tirée de Shakspeare et ar nagéng par George Sand. Paris. 1856.

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the very moment Orlando is in angry Duke had recognized Jacques, who contestation with his brother Oliver. had better begone, and how he had As soon as the latter leaves, and Or- seen Rosalind give him the letter, and lando sits down to weep, Jacques ad- how he had issued a decree of banish vances and questions old Adam as to ment against her; on which the ladies the meaning of certain preparations resolve to fly, under Jacques' protecwhich attract his attention, and is tion and accompanied by Touchard, told that the Duke with the lords to the forest of Arden. and ladies of the court, is about to The second act discovers the exiled witness games of wrestling between Duke and his friends, who are prethe famous Charles and whoever shall paring for a collation in a spot where dare to measure strength against so Jacques, when he returns with the formidable an antagonist; whereupon letter, will know where to find the Jacques, affecting to mistake the two anxious father. The Duke's suspense brothers for a pair of boxers, and hav, is soon relieved by Jacques, who pre. ing his error corrected by the annoy. sents a young gentleman whose feel. ed Orlando-whom we had better call ings will not permit of his long Roland, according to the French ver: guarding his incognito, and with a sion-replies to the latter's assurance cry of Ah ! mon pere ! c'est moi, of their being. gentlemen and bro- Rosalind is in her father's arms, whom thers, in this wise : “ You, nobles ! she assures that she had put on male you, brothers ! Tell that to others, my attire from fear of the effect of too friend. You are nobles as are the sudden a surprise, and so she wished to bulls browsing in the field, and bro- break her arrival by little and little. thers as are the wolves who bite at As the appearance of Rosalind in one another, without regard to rela- male attire delights the Duke, by re. tionship.” As these civilities are not minding him of a son he had lost, taken in good part, this sententious nothing remains but to begin the speaker utters a good deal of sound feast, which is interrupted by the armorality, which is happily shortened rival of Roland with poor old Adam by the appearance of Rosalind and hungry and exhausted. A mutual Celia, followed by Pierre Touchard recognition takes place between Ro, (Touchstone), through whose conver- land and Rosalind, who soon drop sation is learned the affection of the together out of view, in order to allow two ladies for one another. Jacques the true hero and heroine of the advancing delivers the letter to Rosa- piece, the lovers Jacques and Celia, lind, and having satisfied her anxious to absorb the attention of the auenquiries, piques and amuses the la- dience. Here Madame Sand takes dies with maxims a la Rochefoucauld, leave of Shakespeare altogether. The and they in turn call to mind that scene is her own, and so characteris, the gentieman was once known at tically her own, as to make us faney court for his brilliant manners and we are reading a chapter of one of luxurious habits. Jacques promises her own novels--her * Jacques" for to wait for Rosalind's letter of reply instance, in which a young man fallen to that of her father; while she is writ- into premature old age from wither. ing, Celia is falling in love with one ing experience of the world, is genwhose "eye is still bright and beau: tly softened and allured back to feeltiful, but whose mouth is the tomb of ings more in accordance with his time a buried smile.”. Jacques overhears of life, by the subtle artifices of love.. the recommendation given by Oliver We are not done yet with the famous to Charles not to spare his brother, wrestler Charles, who, arrived with a makes some useless efforts to pre- warrant from her father, comes at: vent that combat which is to end in the head of a troop of soldiers to seiza the triumph of Roland and in his her and put her into a convent. recovering a gold chain from the Jacques draws his sword against Charhands of Rosalind, before, accompa- les, when Roland rushes between nied by Adam, he quits a place where them, and the wrestler, recognising his life is no longer in safety. Jacques, the man who alone of all the world although he has received kosa- had the honour to conquer him, adlind's letter, is still hanging about dresses to him a heroic speech and the footsteps of the ladies, with one of takes his leave, and Jacques underwhom he is already smitten, when takes to escort Celia home.

1:1 Touchard rushes in to tell how tho Touchard and Audrey enliven tho VOL. XLVIII.-30. CCLXXXIV.

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opening of the third act, which is soon darkened by the entry of Jacques, who by this time has become jealous of Roland. The two gentlemen are entangled in the usual mesh of dramatic equivoque, to the particular annoyance of Jacques, whose ill humour is not improved by the entry of Celia in a merry mood at finding Sir Roland with the "governor of her castle," and she utters many pleasant jests about the luxuries of her ducal palace, as she calls her hermitage amongst the rocks and woods. Jacques, who is in no jesting humour, allows his jealousy to get the better of his breeding, and he draws his sword on Roland; but, yielding to the remonstrances of Celia, lays it at her feet; and Rosalind, entering on the instant, Roland receives in like manner her lover's sword. We are now of course hurried to the close. Touchard arrives with news of the abdication of the usurping Duke, and the restoration of Rosalind's father to his rights. The curtain does not yet drop. Oliver, insatiable in his thirst of vengeance, enters at the head of his myrmidons, dragging old Adam, whose arms they have bound. The Duke orders the prisoner to be released, but Oliver charges him with robbery, and his brother Roland with having attempted his life. Jacques, however, who had witnessed the quarrel between the brothers, offers his testimony in favour of Roland; and the Duke, in the plentitude of his restored power, orders Oliver to be thrown from the top of a rock; but at the entreaties of Roland spares his life; and the curtain drops as Jacques is on his knees to Celia, uttering the most fervid declaration of love.

In making the forest of Arden a scene of violent incidents, George Sand has completely missed the spirit which pervades the play of "As you like it." That forest, in which the banished Duke discovers the uses of adversity; where moralises the melancholy Jacques; which resounds with the love songs of Orlando, and in which Rosalind and Celia pour forth their exuberant notes of mirth and affection; where Touchstone plays the merry magpie, and shepherdesses and swains warble the pastoral poetry of fabled ages of purity, that Arden was sacred ground. No wicked passions could enter there. Anger

and vengeance fell away from whoever entered the sweet and solemn sanctuary of that wood. No one but a poet most sensitively alive to the influences of the woods and fields could have so conceived of the humanising and all harmonising spirit of nature, as enjoyed in solitude. Shakespeare did not, in cold imitation of the ancients, people the scene with Dryads and Hamadryads-he drew a charmed circle, within which all was gentle contentment, tender melancholy, soft love, and innocent gaiety. To George Sand the idea that Oliver should be wedded to Celia is shocking and intolerable. But Oliver in Arden is no longer the barbarous brother. The spirit of the place falls on him, and he is full of contrition. He is thrown not from the Tarpeian rock, but into his brother's forgiving arms. Penitence is made to absolve crime, and the purification is completed by the giving the hand of Oliver to the sister by adoption of Orlando's bride. Take again the example of the usurping Duke, who :—

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ment. A mistake, however lamentable, does not fall within the category of wilful profanation. If George Sand failed to perceive that Shakespeare meant to invest the scene of his drama with a spirit and purpose above a mere arbitrary selection of place, so indifferently chosen that any other place might have done as well, the worst we might say is, that her understanding has been at fault; but when we come to deal with her treatment of characters about whom there could be no mistake, we have serious charges indeed to prefer, and which we may do the more readily and boldly, as she has, in the published preface to which we have already referred, proved that she has not sinned in ignorance, but that she has wilfully and deliberately laid her hand upon the ark.

It is (writes George Sand) upon the most pleasing of Shakespeare's romantic dramas that I have dared to lay my hand. There appeared in it few expressions of a nature to require being suppressed, nor were the situations overstrained; but the irregularity of the design, or rather say, the almost total absence of plan, fully authorised some sort of arrangement. After a first act full of movement, after the exposition of an artlessly interesting subject, in which characters marked by life, grace, wickedness, or depth, are traced with the hand of a master, the story takes the form of an idyl, becomes altogether fantastic, and dissolves into gentle reveries, whimsical melodies, into almost fairy-like adventures; in conversations, sometimes sentimental, sometimes burlesque or jestingthen into love-teasings, or lyrical contests, until the time comes for Rosalind to embrace her father, and for Roland to recognise Rosalind under her disguise, and for Oliver to fall asleep under a palm tree in this fantastical forest, in which a lion--yes, a real lion straying in the Arden-is going to devour him, until at length it pleases the god Hymen in person to appear from the trunk of a tree, to marry them all, and some of them for the worse: the gentle Audrey with the smutty (grivois) Touchstone, and the faithfully devoted Celia with the detestable Oliver.

It has seemed good to Shakespeare to proceed after this fashion, and I freely confess that for serious minds, as well as for thorough enthusiasts, who are perhaps the only just judges of so mighty a genius, the arrangement I have taken the liberty to make is nothing but a useless d'erangem nt. I do not allow myself any illusion as to the little va lue of any plastering up of this kind, and I should have been much better pleased not to have been obliged to have need of it. But

not being able to render by a literal transla tion, for none such in our modern tongue gives the true color of the master, the beauties of this entrancing and trailing vision, I have, I trust, succeeded at least in rendering the little poem which traverses it accessible to the reason that French reason of which we are so vain, and which deprives us of so many original things not less precious. However that may be, I have been able to save the finest parts of the work from complete oblivion, and flittingly to seize the masterly figure of Jacques, so soberly sketched; this Alceste of the renaissance, who after mur. muring some doleful words in the ear of Shakspeare, appeared once more to reveal all his sufferings to the ear of Moliere. I had tenderly loved this Jacques, less real and more poetical than our own misanthrope. I have taken the great liberty of bringing him back to love, fancying to myself that I saw in him the same person who left Célimène, to live in the solitude of the forest, there to find a Celia worthy of curing his wound. This is my romance by the side of that of Shakspeare, and which is not more improbable than the sudden conversion of the traitor Oliver. Let those censure it who may. I allow them free scope. If in other respects I have been able to give an idea of this sweet pastoral, mixed up of philosophy, gaiety, poetry, heroism and love, I shall have attained my object, which was to prove that which I laid down at the beginning of this letter, viz. that to aim exclusively at surprising and fascinating the public by great cleverness of plot, does not fulfil the requirements of the theatre; and that independently of all these means acquired by modern art, authors may charm the heart and the imagination by simple and tranquil beauty, if the words heart and imagination be not a dead letter in these our times.

According to this curious passage, George Sand, in order to fit Shakespeare for the strictly logical character of the French mind, undertook to compound his genius with that of Moliere and her own. The process was easy and obvious. The melancholy Jacques of Shakespeare is found to be the ancestor of Moliere's Alceste, neither of whom would seem to have done justice to a hero, who, in Shakespeare's hands, is but a sober sketch-one who merely utters some sad words before revealing his depth of suffering to Moliere. But where docs George Sand find that Jacques is a sufferer? He is, on the contrary, a man of enjoyment after Lis own fashion. He loves the pleathrough the world, and out of its sures of memory. He has passed

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