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importance. It has given us that beautiful wit is out; God help us! it is a world to see ! altar-scene, that would be almost too tragical Well said, i' faith, neighbour Verges: — well, if we did not know that the “Much Ado" | God's a good man; and two men ride of a horse, was “about Nothing.” But that maiden's one must ride behind:-An honest soul, i' faith, sorrows, and that father's passion, are real sir; by my troth he is, as ever broke bread: but aspects of life, however unreal be the cause
God is to be worshipped: All men are not alike; of them. The instrumentality, too, of the alas, good neighbour ! hateful Don John has given us Dogberry and
Leon. Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of
you. Verges. Coleridge has said, somewhat bastily
Dogb. Gifts, that God gives. we think, — “any other less ingeniously
Leon. I must leave you." absurd watchmen and night-constables would have answered the mere necessities of the Truly did Don Pedro subsequently say, “This action.” Surely not. Make Dogberry in the learned constable is too cunning to be underslightest degree less self-satisfied, loquacious, stood.” The wise fellow, and the rich fellow, full of the official stuff of which functionaries and the fellow that hath had losses, and one are still cut out, and the action breaks down that hath two gowns, and everything handbefore the rejection of Hero by her lover. some about him, nevertheless holds his For it is not the ingenious absurdity that prisoners fast; and when he comes to the prevents the detection of the plot against Prince, with “Marry, sir, they have committed Hero; it is the absurdity which prevents the false report; moreover, they have spoken prompt disclosure of it after the detection. untruths; secondarily, they are slanders ; Let us take a passage of this inimitable piece sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady; of comedy to read apart, that we may see thirdly, they have verified unjust things; how entirely the character of Dogberry is and, to conclude, they are lying knaves,” necessary to the continuance of the action. though his method be not logical, his matter When Borachio and Conrade are overheard is all-sufficient. And so we agree with Ulrici, and arrested, the spectators have an amiable that it would be a palpable misunderstanding hope that the mischief of Don John's plot to ask what the noble constable Dogberry will be prevented; but when Dogberry and and his followers have to do with the play. Verges approach Leonato, the end, as they Dogberry is as necessary as all the other think, is pretty sure. Let us see how the personages; - to a certain degree more affair really works :
necessary. The passionate lover, the calm " Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious.
and sagacious Prince, the doting father, were Dogb. It pleases your worship to say so, but the dupes of a treachery, not well compact, we are the poor duke's officers; but, truly, for and carried through by dangerous instrumine own part, if I were as tedious as a king I ments. They make no effort detect what could find in my heart to bestow it all of your would not have been very difficult of worship
detection: they are satisfied to quarrel and to Leon. All thy tediousness on me! ha!
lament. Accident discovers what intelligence Dogb. Yea, and 't were a thousand times more
could not penetrate; and the treacherous than 't is: for I hear as good exclamation on
slander is manifest in all its blackness to the your worship as of any man in the city; and though I be but a poor man I am glad to
wise Dogberry:hear it.
“Flat burglary as ever was committed." Verg. And so am I. Leon. I would fain know what you have to
Here is the crowning irony of the philosophical say.
poet. The players of the game of life see Verg. Marry, sir, our watch to-night, ex nothing, or see minute parts only: but the cepting your worship's presence, have ta’en a dullest by-stander has glimpses of something couple of as arrant knaves as any in Messina.
Dogb. A good old man, sir; he will be In studying a play of Shakspere with the talking; as they say, When the age is in, the assurance that we have possessed ourselves of
the fundamental “idea” in which it was that there is an entirety, and therefore a composed, it is remarkable how many perfect accordance in all its parts, in every incidents and expressions which have pre- great production of a great poet,—and above viously appeared to us at least difficult of all in every production of the world's greatest comprehension are rendered clear and satis- poet; and then, studying with this conviction, factory. As believers in Shakspere we know when the parts have become familiar to us that he wrought in the spirit of the highest as in the case before us, the sparkling raillery art, producing in every case a work of unity, of Benedick and Beatrice, the patient gentleout of the power of his own "multiformity.” ness of Hero, the most truthful absurdity of But, as we have before said, we have not Dogberry—they gradually fuse themselves always, as in the case of the natural landscape, together in our minds, and the whole at last got the right point of view, so as to have the lies clear before us, perfect harmony of the composition made
“ A world manifest to us. Let us be assured, however, Of one entire and perfect chrysolite."
THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.
The first edition of this play was published without alteration in 1619 (the amended in 1602. The same copy was reprinted in copy then remaining unpublished), the copy 1619. The comedy, as it now stands, first of that first edition must not be considered appeared in the folio of 1623; and the play as an imperfect transcript of the complete in that edition contains very nearly twice play. The differences between the two copies the number of lines that the quarto contains. are produced by the alterations of the author The succession of scenes is the same in both working upon his first sketch. The extent copies, except in one instance; but the of these changes and elaborations can only speeches of the several characters are greatly be satisfactorily perceived by comparing the elaborated in the amended copy, and some of two copies, scene by scene. As an example, these characters are not only heightened, but we subjoin the scene at Herne's Oak, which new distinctive features given to them. For has no doubt been completely rewritten :example, the Slender of the present comedyone of the most perfect of the minor cha
QUARTO OF 1602. racters of Shakspere - is a very inferior conception in the first copy. Our Slender
“Qui. You fairies that do haunt these shady has been worked up out of the first rough
Look round about the wood if you can spy sketch, with touches at once delicate and
A mortal that doth haunt our sacred round: powerful. Again, the Justice Shallow of the
If such a one you can espy, give him his due, quarto is an amusing person—but he is not
And leave not till you pinch him black and the present Shallow; we have not even the
blue. repetitions which identify him with the
Give them their charge, Puck, ere they part Shallow of Henry IV. We point out these
away. matters here, for the purpose of showing Sir Hugh. Come hither, Peane, go to the that, although the quarto of 1602 was most
country houses, probably piratically published when the play And when you find a slut that lies asleep, had been remodelled, and was reprinted And all her dishes foul, and room unswept,
With your long nails pinch her till she cry, Eva. Where 's Pede?-Go you, and where And swear to mend her sluttish housewifery.
you find a maid, Fai. I warrant you, I will perform your will. That, ere she sleep, has thrice her prayers said, Hu. Where's Pead ? Go and see where Raise up the organs of her fantasy, brokers sleep,
Sleep she as sound as careless infancy; And fox-eyed serjeants, with their mace, But those as sleep and think not on their sins, Go lay the proctors in the street,
Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shoulders, sides, And pinch the lousy serjeant's face:
and shing. Spare none of these when th' are a bed,
Qu.* About, about; But such whose nose looks blue and red.
Search Windsor-castle, elves, within and out: Qui. Away, begone, his mind fulfil,
Strew good luck, ouphes, on every sacred room; And look that none of you stand still.
That it may stand till the perpetual doom, Some do that thing, some do this,
In state as wholesome, as in state 't is fit; All do something, none amiss.
Worthy the owner, and the owner it. Sir Hugh. I smell a man of middle earth. The several chairs of order look you scour Fal. God bless me from that Welsh fairy. With juice of balm, and every precious flower:
Qui. Look every one about this round, Each fair instalment, coat, and several crest, And if that any here be found,
With loyal blazon evermore be bless'd ! For his presumption in this place,
And nightly, meadow-fairies, look you sing, Spare neither leg, arm, head, nor face.
Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring : Sir Hugh. See, I have spied one by good luck, The expressure that it bears, green let it be, His body man, his head a buck.
More fertile-fresh than all the field to see; Fal. God send me good fortune now, and I And, Hony soit qui mal y pense, write, care not.
In emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue and Qui. Go straight, and do as I command,
white: And take a taper in your hand,
Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery, And set it to his fingers' ends,
Buckled below fair knighthood's bending knee: And if you see it him offends,
Fairies use flowers for their charactery. And that he starteth at the flame,
Away; disperse: But, till 't is one o'clock, Then is he mortal, know his name:
Our dance of custom, round about the oak If with an F it doth begin,
Of Herne the Hunter, let us not forget. Why then be sure he 's full of sin.
Eva. Pray you, lock hand in hand; yourAbout it then, and know the truth,
selves in order set: Of this same metamorphos'd youth.
And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be, Sir Hugh. Give me the tapers, I will try To guide our measure round about the tree. And if that he love venery.
But stay: I smell a man of middle earth.
Ful. Heavens defend me from that Welsh FOLIO OF 1623.
fairy ! Qui. Fairies, black, grey, green, and white, Lest he transform me to a piece of cheese!, You moonshine-revellers, and shades of night, Pist. Vild worm, thou wast o'erlook'd even You orphan-heirs of fixed destiny,
in thy birth. Attend your office and your quality.
Qui. With trial-fire touch me his finger end. Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy oyes.
If he be chaste, the flame will back descend Pist. Elves, list your names; silence, you And turn him to no pain; but, if he start, airy toys.
It is the flesh of a corrupted heart.
[They burn him with their tapers. There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry: Fal. Oh, oh, oh! Our radiant queen hates sluts and sluttery. Fal. They are fairies; he that speaks to * In the folio there is a distinction between the abbreviathem shall die:
tions of the names affixed to these speeches-Qui. and Qu. I'll wink and couch: no man their works must
The one may be taken for Quickly-the other for Queen.
It is certain that in the revised edition Anne was “ to preeye.
(Lies down upon his face. sent the fairy queen."
Qui. Corrupt, corrupt, and tainted in desire! | and Second Parts of King Henry IV.' But About him, fairies; sing a scornful rhyme; that it was not written then may be collected And, as you trip, still pinch him to your from the tradition above mentioned. The time.
truth, I believe, is, that, though it ought to If the quarto is not to be taken as a guide be read (as Dr. Johnson has observed) bein the formation of a text, it appears to us,
tween the ‘Second Part of King Henry IV.' viewed in connection with some circum- and 'King Henry V.,' it was written after stances which we shall venture to point out King Henry V.,' and after Shakspeare had as heretofore in some degree unregarded, to killed Falstaff. In obedience to the royal be a highly interesting literary curiosity.
commands, having revived him, he found it Malone, contrary to his opinion with regard necessary at the same time to revive all to the quarto edition of Henry V.,' says of those persons with whom he was wont to be the quarto of The Merry Wives of Windsor," exhibited, Nym, Pistol, Bardolph, and the “The old edition in 1602, like that of Romeo Page, and disposed of them as he found it and Juliet,' is apparently a rough draught, convenient, without a strict regard to their and not a mutilated or imperfect copy.” His situations or catastrophes in former plays.” view, therefore, of the period when this play
The opinion that this comedy was written was written applies to the “rough draught.” | after the two Parts of 'Henry IV.' is not Malone's opinion of the date of this sketch is quite in consonance with the tradition that thus stated in his . Chronological Order:'-
Queen Elizabeth desired to see Falstaff in "The following line in the earliest edition love ; for Shakspere might have given this of this comedy,
turn to the character in ‘Henry V., after
the announcement in the Epilogue to “The 'Sail like my pinnace to those golden shores,'
Second Part of Henry IV:-“our humble shows that it was written after Sir Walter author will continue the story, with Sir John Raleigh's return from Guiana in 1596. in it.” Malone's theory, therefore, that it
“ The first sketch of 'The Merry Wives of was produced after “Henry V.,' is in accordWindsor' was printed in 1602. It was entered ance with the tradition as received by him in the books of the Stationers' Company on with such an implicit belief. George Chalthe 18th of January, 1601–2, and was there mers, however, in his 'Supplemental Apofore probably written in 1601 after the two logy,' laughs at the tradition, and at Malone's Parts of 'King Henry IV.,' being, it is said, theory. He believes that the three historical composed at the desire of Queen Elizabeth, plays and the comedy were successively in order to exhibit Falstaff in love, when all written in 1596, and in 1597, but that ‘Henry the pleasantry which he could afford in any | V.' was produced the last. He says, “ In it other situation was exhausted. But it may (Henry V.') Fal
not come out not be thought so clear that it was written upon the stage, but dies of a sweat, after after 'King Henry V. Nym and Bardolph performing less than the attentive auditors are both hanged in ‘King Henry V.,' yet were led to expect : and in it ancient Pistol appear in 'The Merry Wives of Windsor.' appears as the husband of Mistress Quickly; Falstaff is disgraced in The Second Part of who also dies, during the ancient's absence King Henry IV.,' and dies in ‘King Henry V.;' in the wars of France. Yet do the combut, in 'The Merry Wives of Windsor,' he mentators bring the knight to life, and retalks as if he were yet in favour at court : vive and unmarry the dame, by assigning the 'If it should come to the ear of the court year 1601 as the epoch of The Merry Wives how I have been transformed,' &c.; and Mr. of Windsor.' Queen Elizabeth is said by Page discountenances Fenton's addresses to the critics to have commanded these miracles his daughter because he kept company with to be worked in 1601,-a time when she was the wild prince and with Pointz.' These in no proper mood for such fooleries. The circumstances seem to favour the supposition tradition on which is founded the story of that this play was written between the First Elizabeth's command to exhibit the facetious
knight in love, I think too improbable for she commanded a play to be written by belief." Chalmers goes on to argue that Shakspere in which he should show the after Falstaff's disgrace at the end of “The knight in love. Malone considers that the Second Part of Henry IV.' (which is followed tradition, as given by Dennis, came to him in Henry V.' by the assertion that “the from Dryden, who received it from Davenant; king has killed his heart”) he was not in a Rowe, Pope, and Theobald adopted a more fit condition for “
a speedy appearance circumstantial tradition from Gildon, who amongst the Merry Wives of Windsor ;" and published it in his · Remarks on Shakspere's further, that if it be true, as the first act of Plays,' in 1710. But even this authority is the Second Part evinces, that Sir John, soon more vague than the usual statement. It after doing good service at Shrewsbury, was runs thus :-“ The Fairies in the fifth act sent off, with some charge, to Lord John of make a handsome compliment to the queen, Lancaster at York, he could not consistently in her palace of Windsor ; who had obliged saunter to Windsor, after his re-encounter him (Shakspere] to write a play of Sir John with the Chief Justice.” Looking at these Falstaff in love, and which I am very well contradictions, Chalmers places “the true assured he performed in a fortnight.” The epoch of this comedy in 1596," and affirms tradition, as stated by Dennis, is not incon" that its proper place is before · The First sistent with the belief that “The Merry Part of Henry IV.?” We had been strongly Wives of Windsor' (of course we speak of impressed with the same opinion before we the sketch) was produced before the two had seen the passage in Chalmers, which is Parts of Henry IV. The more circumnot given under his view of the chronology stantial tradition is completely reconcileable of “The Merry Wives of Windsor.' But we only with Malone's theory, that Shakspere, are quite aware that the theory is at first continuing the comic characters of the hissight open to objection : though it is clearly torical plays in The Merry Wives of Windnot so objectionable as Malone's assertion sor,' ventured upon the daring experiment that Shakspere revived his dead Falstaff, of reviving the dead. Quickly, Nym, and Bardolph ; and it per- Malone, according to his theory, believes haps gets rid of the difficulties which belong that the sketch of «The Merry Wives of to Dr. Johnson's opinion that “the present Windsor,' “finished in fourteen days," was play ought to be read between ‘Henry IV.' written in 1601 ; Chalmers that it was writand Henry V.?” The question, altogether, ten in 1596. We are inclined to think that appears to us very interesting as a piece of the period of the production of the original literary history; and we therefore request sketch might have been earlier than 1596. the indulgence of our readers whilst we Raleigh returned from his expedition to examine it somewhat in detail.
Guiana in 1596, having sailed in 1595. In And first, of the tradition upon which the present text of the 'Merry Wives' (Act Malone builds. Dennis, in an epistle pre- 1. Scene 3) Falstaff says,
“ Here's another fixed to "The Comical Gallant,' an alteration letter to her : she bears the purse too; she of this play which he published in 1702, is a region in Guiana, all gold and bounty. says,—“ This comedy was written at her I will be cheater to them both, and they (Queen Elizabeth's) command, and by her shall be exchequers to me: they shall be my direction, and she was so eager to see it East and West Indies.” In the original acted that she commanded it to be finished sketch the passage stands thus -“ Here is in fourteen days; and was afterwards, as another letter to her ; she bears the purse tradition tells us, very well pleased at the too. They shall be exchequers to me, and representation.” The tradition, however, I'll be cheaters to them both. They shall soon became more circumstantial; for Rowe, be my East and West Indies.” In the and Pope, and Theobald each inform us that amended text we have, subsequently, Elizabeth was so well pleased with the Falstaff of the two parts of 'Henry IV.,' “Sail like my pinnace to those golden shores ;"