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The courtiers, in their pursuit of “that | Aminte. They dismiss their plain honest angel knowledge,” waste their time in subtle lovers, because marriage ought to be at the contentions how that angel is to be won ; end of the romance, and not at the begin—the ladies from France spread their pavi- ning. They dote upon Mascarille (the dislions in the sunny park, and there keep up guised lacquey) when he assures them “ Les their round of jokes with their “ wit's ped- gens de qualité savent tout sans avoir jamais dler,” Boyet, “ the nice ;"—Armado listens rien appris.” They are in ecstasies at everyto his page while he warbles Concolinel ;' thing. Madelon is "furieusement pour les -Jaquenetta, though she is “allowed for portraits ;" Cathos loves“ terriblement the dey," seems to have no dairy to look les énigmes.” Even Mascarille's ribbon is after ;-Costard acts as if he were neither “ furieusement bien choisi ;" — his gloves ploughman nor swineherd, and born for no “ sentent terriblement bons ;" and his other work than to laugh for ever at Moth, feathers are “effroyablement belles.” But, in and, in the excess of his love for that “ pa- the ‘Précieuses Ridicules,'Molière, as we have thetical nit,” to exclaim, “An I had but one said, dealt with one affectation ;-in ‘Love's penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to Labour 's Lost' Shakspere presents us almost buy gingerbread ;" — the schoolmaster ap- every variety of affectation that is founded pears to be without scholars, the curate upon a misdirection of intellectual activity. without a cure, the constable without watch We have here many of the forms in which and ward. There is, indeed, one parenthesis cleverness is exhibited as opposed to wisdom, of real business connected with the progress and false refinement as opposed to simplicity. of the action—the difference between France The affected characters, even the most fanand Navarre, in the matter of Aquitain. | tastical, are not fools ; but, at the same time, But the settlement of this business is de- the natural characters, who, in this play, are ferred till “to-morrow - the “packet of chiefly the women, have their intellectual specialties" is not come ; and whether Aqui- foibles. All the modes of affectation are tain goes back to France, or the hundred developed in one continued stream of fun thousand crowns return to Navarre, we never and drollery ;-every one is laughing at the learn. This matter, then, being postponed folly of the other, and the laugh grows till a more fitting season, the whole set louder and louder as the more natural chaabandon themselves to what Dr. Johnson | racters, one by one, trip up the heels of the calls “strenuous idleness.” The King and more affected. The most affected at last his courtiers forswear their studies, and join in the laugh with the most natural ; every man becomes a lover and a sonneteer ; and the whole comes down to “pain kersey the refined traveller of Spain resigns him- yea and nay,”—from the syntax of Holoself to his passion for the dairy-maid; the fernes, and the “fire-new words” of Armado, schoolmaster and the curate talk learnedly to “greasy Joan” and “roasted crabs.”after dinner ; and, at last, the King, the Let us hastily review the comedy under this nobles, the priest, the pedant, the braggart, aspect. the page, and the clown join in one dance The affectation of the King and his courof mummery, in which they all laugh, and tiers begins at the very beginning of the are laughed at. But still all this idleness is play. The mistake upon which they set out, too energetic to warrant us in calling this in their desire to make their court“
a little the Comedy of Leisure. Let us try again. academe,” is not an uncommon one. It is Is it not the Comedy of Affectations ? the attempt to separate the contemplative
Molière, in his · Précieuses Ridicules,' has from the active life; to forego duties for admirably hit off one affectation that had abstractions; to sacrifice innocent pleasures found its way into the private life of his for plans of mortification, difficult to be own times. The ladies aspired to be wooed executed, and useless if carried through. after the fashion of the Grand Cyrus. Ma- Many a young student has been haunted by delon will be called Polixène, and Cathos the same dream ; and he only required to
be living in an age when vows bound man- which they are clouded. We scarcely rekind to objects of pursuit that now present quire, therefore, to hear their eulogies debut the ludicrous side, to have had his livered from the mouths of the Princess's dreams converted into very silly realities. ladies, who have appreciated their real worth. The resistance of Biron to the vow of his Biron, however, has all along been our fafellows is singularly able, -his reasoning is vourite ; and we feel that, in some degree, deep and true, and ought to have turned he deserves the character which Rosaline them aside from their folly :
gives him :“Study is like the heaven's glorious sun,
“A merrier man, That will not be deep-search'd with saucy
Within the limit of becoming mirth, looks;
I never spent an hour's talk withal : Small have continual plodders ever won,
His eye begets occasion for his wit; Save base authority from others' books.” For every object that the one doth catch
The other turns to a mirth-moving jest ; But the vow is ratified, and its abjuration Which his fair tongue (conceit's expositor) will only be the result of its practical incon- Delivers in such apt and gracious words, venience. The “French king's daughter.” That aged ears play truant at his tales, the “admired princess,” is coming to confer And younger hearings are quite ravished; with the King and his court, who have re
So sweet and voluble is his discourse.” solved to talk with no woman for three But, with all this disposition to think highly years :
of the nobles of the self-denying court, the “So study evermore is overshot.”
“mad wenches ” of France are determined But the “ child of fancy” appears - the
to use their “civil wits” Navarre and “fantastic”-the “ magnificent”—the “ man
his bookmen,” for their absurd vows; and
well do they keep their determination. of great spirit who grows melancholy”—he who is “ill at a reckoning, because it fitteth Boyet is a capital courtier, always ready for the spirit of a tapster”—he who confesses a gibe at the ladies, and always ready to bear to be a “gentleman and a gamester," because
their gibes. Costard thinks he is “ a most “ both are the varnish of a complete man.” simple clown ;" but Biron more accurately Ilow capitally does Moth, his page, hit him describes him at length :off, when he intimates that only “ the base
· Why, this is he vulgar” call deuce-ace three! And yet this That kiss'd away his hand in courtesy: indolent piece of refinement is
This is the ape of form, monsieur the nice,
That, when he plays at tables, chides the dice "A man in all the world's new fashions planted,
In honourable terms; nay, he can sing That hath a mint of phrases in his brain;"
A mean most meanly; and, in ushering, and he himself has no mean idea of his
Mend him who can: the ladies call him, sweet; abilities—he is "for whole volumes in folio."
The stairs, as he treads on them, kiss his feet." Moth, who continually draws him out to We are very much tempted to think that, in laugh at him, is an embryo wag, whose com- his character of Boyet, Shakspere had in view mon sense is constantly opposed to his mas- that most amusing coxcomb Master Robert ter's affectations ; and Costard is another Laneham, whose letter from Kenilworth, in cunning bit of nature, though cast in a which he gives the following account of himcoarser mould, whose heart runs over with self, was printed in 1575 :-“ Always among joy at the tricks of his little friend, this the gentlewomen with my good will, and “nit of mischief."
when I see company according, then I can The Princess and her train arrive at Na- be as lively too. Sometimes I foot it with varre. We have already learnt to like the dancing ; now with my gittern and else with King and his lords, and have seen their fine my cittern ; then at the virginals ; ye know natures shining through the affectations by nothing comes amiss to me; then carol I up
a song withal, that by and by they come velopment of that character." * The rhetoric flocking about me like bees to honey, and of Biron produces its effect. “Now to plain ever they cry, "Another, good Laneham, dealing,” says Longaville ; but Biron, the another.'
merry man, whose love is still half fun, is for Before the end of Navarre's first interview more circuitous modes than laying their with the Princess, Boyet has discovered that hearts at the feet of their mistresses. He is he is “infected.” At the end of the next of opinion that act, we learn from Biron himself that he is in the same condition. Away then goes the
“Revels, dances, masks, and merry hours, vow with the King and Biron. In the fourth
Forerun fair Love;" act we find that the infection has spread to all the lords ; but the love of the King and and he therefore recommends “some strange his courtiers is thoroughly characteristic. It pastime” to solace the dames. But “the may be sincere enough, but it is still love gallants will be task’d.” fantastical.-It hath taught Biron “ to rhyme King and Princess, lords and ladies, must and to be melancholy.” The King drops make way for the great pedants. The form his paper of poesy; Longaville reads his of affectation is now entirely changed. It is sonnet, which makes flesh “a deity ;" and not the cleverness of rising superior to all Dumain, in his most beautiful anacreontic, other men by despising the “affects to -as sweet a piece of music as Shakspere which every man is born—it is not the cleverever penned—shows “how love can vary ness of labouring at the most magnificent wit.” The scene in which each lover is de- phrases to express the most common ideas ; tected by the other, and all laughed at by but it is the cleverness of two persons using Biron, till he is detected himself, is tho-conventional terms, which they have picked roughly dramatic ; and there is perhaps no- up from a common source, and which they thing finer in the whole range of the Shak- believe sealed to the mass of mankind, insperean comedy than the passage where Biron stead of employing the ordinary colloquial casts aside his disguises, and rises to the phrases by which ideas are rendered intelliheight of poetry and eloquence. The burst gible. This is pedantry—and Shakspere when the “rent lines" discover "some love” shows his excellent judgment in bringing a of Biron is incomparably fine :
brace of pedants upon the scene. In O'Keefe's “Who sees the heavenly Rosaline,
' Agreeable Surprise,' and in Colman's 'Heir That like a rude and savage man of Inde,
at Law,' we have a single pedant—the one At the first opening of the gorgeous east,
talking Latin to a milk-maid, and the other Bows not his vassal head; and, strucken blind, to a tallow-chandler. This is farce. But the Kisses the base ground with obedient pedantry of Holofernes and the curate is breast?"
comedy. They each address the other in
their freemasonry of learning. They each The famous speech of Biron, which follows, fatter the other. But for the rest of the is perhaps unmatched as a display of poetical world, they look down upon them. “Sir," rhetoric, except by the speeches of Ulysses saith the curate, excusing the “twice-sod to Achilles in the third act of "Troilus and simplicity” of Goodman Dull, "he hath Cressida.' Coleridge has admirably de- never fed of the dainties that are bred in a scribed this speech of Biron. “It is logic book; he hath not eat paper, as it were ; clothed in rhetoric ;—but observe how Shak- he hath not drunk ink: his intellect is not spere, in his twofold being of poet and phi- replenished.” But Goodman Dull has his losopher, avails himself of it to convey pro- intellect stimulated by this abuse. He has found truths in the most lively images--the heard the riddles of the “ink-horn” men, whole remaining faithful to the character and he sports a riddle of his own :supposed to utter the lines, and the expressions themselves constituting a further de
*'Literary Remains,' vol. ii. p. 105.
“ You two are book-men: Can you tell by your The ladies have received verses and jewels wit,
from their lovers ; but they trust not to the What was a month old at Cain's birth, that 's verses—they think them “ bootless rhymes,” not five weeks old as yet?”
-the effusions of“ prodigal wits :”—
' Folly in fools bears not so strong a note The answer of Holofernes is the very quin
As foolery in the wise.” tessence of pedantry. He gives Goodman Dull the hardest name for the moon in the When Boyet discloses to the Princess the mythology. Goodman Dull is with difficulty scheme of the mask of Muscovites, she is quieted. Holofernes then exhibits his poetry; more confirmed in her determination to laugh and he “ will something affect the letter, for at the laughers : it argues facility.” He produces, as all pe
“They do it but in mocking merriment; dants attempt to produce, not what is good
And mock for mock is only my intent.” when executed, but what is difficult of execution. Satisfied with his own performances The affectation of “speeches penn'd” is over
“the gift is good in those in whom it is thrown in a moment by the shrewdness of acute, and I am thankful for it”—he is pro- the women, who encounter the fustian hafuse in his contempt for other men's produc-rangue with prosaic action. Moth comes in tions. He undertakes to prove Biron's can
crammed with others' affectations :zonet “ to be very unlearned, neither savour
“ All hail, the richest beauties on the earth! ing of poetry, wit, nor invention.” The
A holy parcel of the fairest dames”portrait is two hundred years old, and yet The ladies turn their backs on himhow many of the present day might sit for it! Holofernes, however, is not meant by "That ever turn'd their backs—to mortal Shakspere for a blockhead. He is made of views !" better stuff than the ordinary run of those Biron in vain gives him the cue—" who “educate youth at the charge-house."
villain, their eyes :"_"the pigeon-egg of disShakspere has taken care that we should see
cretion" has ceased to be discreet-he is out, flashes of good sense an idst his folly. To say and the speech is ended. The maskers will nothing of the curate's commendations of his
try for themselves. They each take a masked “reasons at dinner,” we have his own de- lady apart, and each finds a wrong mistress, scription of Armado, to show how clearly he who has no sympathy with him. The keen could discover the ludicrous side of others. breath of “ mocking wenches” has puffed out The pedant can see the ridiculous in pedantry all their fine conceits :of another stamp. But the poet also takes care that the ridiculous side of “the two “Well, better wits have worn plain statutelearned men ”shall still be prominent. Moth
caps." and Costard are again brought upon the The sharp medicine has had its effect. The scene to laugh at those who “have been at a
King and his lords return without their disgreat feast of languages, and have stolen the guises ; and, being doomed to hear the echo scraps.” Costard himself is growing affected. of the laugh at their folly, they come down Ile has picked up the fashion of being clever, from their stilts to the level ground of comand he has himself stolen honorificabilitudi
sense :—from“ taffeta phrases ” and nitatibus out of “the alms-basket of words."
" figures pedantical" to But business proceeds :-Holofernes will present before the Princess the nine worthies,
"Russet yeas, and honest kersey noes." and he will play three himself. The soul of But the Worthies are coming; we have the schoolmaster is in this magnificent de not yet done with the affectations and the vice; and he looks down with most self- mocking merriment. Biron maliciously desatisfied pity on honest Dull, who has spoken sires “to have one show worse than the no word, and understood none.
King's and his company.” Those who have
_“ their eyes,
been laughed at now take to laughing at he has a natural fault to correct, worse than others. Costard, who is the most natural of any affectation; and beautifully does Rosathe Worthies, comes off with the fewest hurts. line hold up to him the glass which shows He has performed Pompey marvellously well, him how and he is not a little vain of his performance
“To choke a gibing spirit, _“I hope I was perfect.” When the learned
Whose influence is begot of that loose grace curate breaks down as Alexander, the apology
Which shallow laughing hearers give to fools." of Costard for his overthrow is inimitable : “There, an 't shall please you ; a foolish mild
The affectations are blown into thin air. man; an honest man, look you, and soon
The King and his courtiers have to turn dashed ! He is a marvellous good neighbour, from speculation to action—from fruitless in sooth; and a very good bowler ; but, for
vows to deeds of charity and piety. Armado Alisander, alas ! you see how 't is ; a little is about to apply to what is useful : “I have o'erparted.” Holofernes comes off worse than
vowed to Jaquenetta to hold the plough for the curate—“ Alas, poor Machabæus, how
her sweet love three years." The voices of hath he been baited!” We feel, in spite of the pedants are heard no more in scraps of our inclination to laugh at the pedant, that Latin. They are no longer “ singled from the his remonstrance is just—“This is not gene- barbarous.” But, on the contrary, “the diarous, not gentle, not humble.” We know logue that the two learned men have comthat to be generous, to be gentle, to be hum-piled, in praise of the owl and the cuckoo,” ble, are the especial virtues of the great; | is full of the most familiar images, expressed and Shakspere makes us see that the school in the most homely language. Shakspere, master is right. Lastly, comes Armado.
• unquestionably, to our minds, brought in His discomfiture is still more signal. The this most characteristic song-(a song that malicious trick that Biron suggests to Cos- he might have written and sung in the tard shows that Rosaline's original praise of i chimney-corner of his father's own kitchen, him was not altogether deserved—that his long before he dreamt of having a play acted merriment was not always
before Queen Elizabeth)—to mark, by an “Within the limit of becoming mirth.” emphatic close, the triumph of simplicity
over false refinement. The affectations of Biron are cast aside, but
ALL 'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
In Dr. Farmer's Essay on the Learning of ter, in his 'Disquisition on the Tempest,' Shakspeare,' we find this passage :-“The repudiates the notion that Love's Labour story of 'All's Well that Ends Well’or, as Won' and 'All's Well that Ends Well’are I
suppose it to have been sometimes called, identical. Mr. Hunter states that a passing 'Love's Labour Wonne (and here Farmer remark of Dr. Farmer, in the ' Essay on the inserts a reference to Meres' 'Wits' Trea- Learning of Shakspeare, first pointed out sury,' where 'Love's Labour Wonne' is men- this supposed identity; and he adds, “the tioned amongst plays by Shakspere,) “is remark has since been caught up and reoriginally indeed the property of Boccace, peated by a thousand voices. Yet it was but it came immediately to Shakspeare from made in the most casual, random, and hasty Painter's "Giletta of Narbon.”” Mr. Hun- manner imaginable. It was supported by