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adopted a single hint for his descriptions, or a line for his dialogue; while in point of passion and sentiment Greene is cold, formal, and artificial-the very opposite of everything in Skakespeare."
Without wearying the reader with any very extensive comparisons of the novel and the drama, we shall run through the production of Greene, to which our great poet has incidentally imparted a real interest.
"In the country of Bohemia," says the novel, "there reigned a king called Pandosto." The 'Leontes' of Shakspere is the 'Pandosto' of Greene. The Polixenes of the play is Egistus in the novel :
"It so happened that Egistus, King of Sicilia, who in his youth had been brought up with Pandosto, desirous to show that neither tract of time nor distance of place could diminish their former friendship, provided a navy of ships, and sailed into Bohemia to visit his old friend and companion."
Here, then, we have the scene of the action reversed. The jealous king is of Bohemi, -his injured friend of Sicilia. But the visitor sails into Bohemia. The wife of Pandosto is Bellaria; and they have a young son called Garinter. Pandosto becomes jealous, slowly, and by degrees; and there is at least some want of caution in the queen to justify
"Bellaria noting in Egistus a princely and bountiful mind, adorned with sundry and excellent qualities, and Egistus finding in her a virtuous and courteous disposition, there grew such a secret uniting of their affections, that the one could not well be without the company of the other."
The great author of 'Othello' would not deal with jealousy after this fashion. He had already produced that immortal portrait
gentleness. The instant the idea enters the mind of Leontes the passion is at its height:— "I have tremor cordis on me:-my heart dances."
Very different is the jealous king of Greene:
"These and such-like doubtful thoughts, a long time smothering in his stomach, began at last to kindle in his mind a secret mistrust, which, increased by suspicion, grew at last to a flaming jealousy that so tormented him as he could take no rest."
Coleridge has described the jealousy of Leontes with incomparable truth of analysis:—
"The idea of this delightful drama is a genuine jealousy of disposition, and it should be immediately followed by the perusal of 'Othello,' which is the direct contrast of it in every particular. For jealousy is a vice of the mind, a culpable tendency of the temper, having certain well-known and well-defined effects and concomitants, all of which are visible in Leontes, and, I boldly say, not one of which marks its presence in Othello;-such as, first, an excitability by the most inadequate causes, and an eagerness to snatch at proofs; secondly, a grossness of conception, and a disposition to degrade the object of the passion by sensual fancies and images; thirdly, a sense of shame of his own feelings exhibited in a solitary moodiness of humour, and yet, from the violence of the passion, forced to utter itself, and therefore catching occasions to ease the mind by ambiguities, equivoques, by talking to those who cannot, and who are known not to be able to, understand what is said to them,-in short, by soliloquy in the form of dialogue, and hence a confused, broken, and fragmentary manner; fourthly, a dread of vulgar ridicule, as distinct from a high sense of honour, or a mistaken sense of duty; and lastly, and immediately consequent on this, a spirit of selfish vindictiveness."*
The action of the novel and that of the drama continue in a pretty equal course. Pandosto tampers with his cupbearer, Franion,
"Of one, not easily jealous, but, being wrought, to poison Egistus; and the cupbearer, terriPerplex'd in the extreme."
He had now to exhibit the distractions of a mind to which jealousy was native; to depict the terrible access of passion, uprooting in a moment all deliberation, all reason, all
fied at the fearful commission, reveals the design to the object of his master's hatred. Eventually they escape together :"Egistus, fearing that delay might breed *Literary Remains,' vol. ii.
danger, and willing that the grass should not be cut from under his feet, taking bag and baggage, by the help of Franion conveyed himself and his men out at a postern gate of the city, so secretly and speedily, that without any suspicion they got to the sea-shore; where, with many a bitter curse taking their leave of Bohemia, they went aboard."
matter, there was word brought him that his young son Garinter was suddenly dead, which news so soon as Bellaria heard, surcharged before with extreme joy and now suppressed with heavy sorrow, her vital spirits were so stopped that she fell down presently dead, and could never be revived."
Greene mentions only the existence and
Bellaria is committed to prison where she the death of the king's son. The dramatic gives birth to a daughter. The guard "carried the child to the king, who, quite devoid of pity, commanded that without delay it should be put in the boat, having neither sail nor rudder to guide it, and so to be carried into the midst of the sea, and there left to the wind and wave as the destinies please to appoint."
The queen appeals to the oracle of Apollo; and certain lords are sent to Delphos, where they receive this decree :
exhibition of Mamillius by Shakspere is amongst the most charming of his sketches. The affection of the father for his boy in the midst of his distraction, and the tenderness of the poor child, to whom his father's ravings are unintelligible—
"I am like you, they say,”—
are touches of nature such as only one man has produced. How must he have studied the inmost character of childhood to have
'SUSPICION IS NO PROOF: JEALOUSY IS AN UN- given us the delicious little scene of the
EQUAL JUDGE: BELLARIA IS CHASTE; EGISTUS
On their return, upon an appointed day, the
"Bellaria had no sooner said but the king commanded that one of his dukes should read the contents of the scroll, which, after the commons had heard, they gave a great shout, rejoicing and clapping their hands that the queen was clear of that false accusation. But the king, whose conscience was a witness against him of his witless fury and false suspected jealousy, was so ashamed of his rash folly that he entreated his nobles to persuade Bellaria to forgive and forget these injuries; promising not only to show himself a loyal and loving husband, but also to reconcile himself to Egistus and Franion; revealing then before them all the cause of their secret flight, and how treacherously he thought to have practised his death, if the good mind of his cupbearer had not prevented his purpose. As thus he was relating the whole
thinking it had strayed into the covert that was hard by, sought very diligently to find that which he could not see, fearing either that the wolves or eagles had undone him (for he was so poor as a sheep was half his substance), wandered down towards the sea-cliffs to see if perchance the sheep was browsing on the sea-ivy, whereon they greatly do feed; but not finding her there, as he was ready to return to his flock he heard a child cry, but, knowing there was no house near, he thought he had mistaken the sound, and that it was the bleating of his sheep. Wherefore looking more narrowly, as he cast his eye to the sea he spied a little boat, from whence, as he attentively listened, he might hear the cry to come. Standing a good while in amaze, at last he went to the shore, and, wading to the boat, as he looked in he saw the little babe lying all alone ready to die for hunger and cold, wrapped in a mantle of scarlet richly embroidered with gold, and having a chain about the neck."
Although the circumstances of the child's exposure are different, Shakspere adopts the shepherd's discovery pretty literally. He even makes him about to seek his sheep by the sea-side, “browsing on the sea-ivy." The infant in the novel is taken to the shepherd's home, and is brought up by his wife and himself under the name of Fawnia. In a narrative the lapse of sixteen years may occur without any violation of propriety. The shepherd of Greene, every night at his coming home, would sing to the child and dance it on his knee: then, a few lines onward, the little Fawnia is seven years old; and very shortly,
"when she came to the age of sixteen years she so increased with exquisite perfection both of body and mind, as her natural disposition did bewray that she was born of some high parentage."
These changes, we see, are gradual. But in a drama, whose action depends upon a manifest lapse of time, there must be a sudden transition. Shakspere is perfectly aware of the difficulty; and he diminishes it by the introduction of Time as a Chorus:
"Impute it not a crime To me, or my swift passage, that I slide
O'er sixteen years, and leave the growth untried
Of that wide gap; since it is in my power To o'erthrow law, and in one self born hour To plant and o'erwhelm custom." Lyly, without such an apology, gives us a lapse of forty years in his 'Endymion.' Dryden and Pope depreciated the 'Winter's
Tale!' and no doubt this violation of the
unity of time was one of the causes which blinded them to its exquisite beauties. But Dr. Johnson, without any special notice of the case before us, has made a triumphant defence against the French critics of Shakspere's general disregard of the unities of time and place:
"By supposition, as place is introduced, time may be extended; the time required by the fable elapses for the most part between the acts; for, of so much of the action as is represented, the real and poetical duration is the same. If, in the first act, preparations for war against Mithridates are represented to be made in Rome, the event of the war may, without
absurdity, be represented in the catastrophe as happening in Pontus. We know that there is that we are neither in Rome nor Pontus-that neither war nor preparation for war; we know
neither Mithridates nor Lucullus are before us. The drama exhibits successive imitations of successive actions, and why may not the second imitation represent an action that happened years after the first, if it be so connected with it that nothing but time can be supposed to intervene? Time is, of all modes of existence, most obsequious to the imagination; a lapse of years is as easily conceived as a passage of hours. In contemplation we easily contract the time of real actions, and therefore willingly permit it to be contracted when we only see their imitation."*
Shakspere has exhibited his consummate art in opening the fourth act with Polixenes and Camillo, of whom we have lost sight since the end of the first. Had it been otherwise, had he brought Autolycus, and Florizel, and Perdita, at once upon the scene,
the continuity of action would have been destroyed; and the commencement of the fourth act would have appeared as the
* Preface to his edition of 1765.
"Sir, my gracious lord,
To chide at your extremes it not becomes me; O, pardon, that I name them: your high self, The gracious mark o' the land, you have obscur'd
¦ commencement of a new play. Shakspere | But Greene was unequal to conceive the made the difficulties of his plot bend to his grace of mind which distinguishes Perdita :art; instead of wanting art, as Ben Jonson says. Autolycus and the Clown prepare us for Perdita; and when the third scene opens, what a beautiful vision lights upon this earth! There perhaps never was such a union of perfect simplicity and perfect grace as in the character of Perdita. What an exquisite idea of her mere personal appearance is presented in Florizel's rapturous exclamation,
"It happened not long after this that there was a meeting of all the farmers' daughters in Sicilia, whither Fawnia was also bidden as the mistress of the feast, who, having attired herself in her best garments, went among the rest of her companions to the merry meeting, there spending the day in such homely pastimes as shepherds use. As the evening grew on and their sports ceased, each taking their leave at other, Fawnia, desiring one of her companions to bear her company, went home by the flock to see if they were well folded; and, as they returned, it fortuned that Dorastus (who all that day had been hawking, and killed store of game) encountered by the way these two maids, and, casting his eye suddenly on Fawnia, he was half afraid, fearing that with Acteon he had seen Diana, for he thought such exquisite perfection could not be found in any mortal creature. As thus he stood in amaze, one of his pages told him that the maid with the garland on her head was Fawnia, the fair shepherd whose beauty was so much talked of in the court. Dorastus, desirous to see if nature had adorned her mind with any inward qualities, as she had decked her body with outward shape, began to question with her whose daughter she was, of what age, and how she had been trained up? who answered him with such modest reverence and sharpness
of wit, that Dorastus thought her outward beauty
was but a counterfeit to darken her inward qualities, wondering how so courtly behaviour could be found in so simple a cottage, and cursing fortune that had shadowed wit and beauty with such hard fortune."
With a swain's wearing; and me, poor lowly maid,
Most goddess-like prank'd up." Contrast this with Greene :—
"Fawnia, poor soul, was no less joyful that, being a shepherd, fortune had favoured her so as to reward her with the love of a prince, hoping in time to be advanced from the daughter of a poor farmer to be the wife of a rich king." Here we see a vulgar ambition, rather than a deep affection. Fawnia, in the hour of discovery and danger, was quite incapable of exhibiting the feminine diguity of Perdita :
"I was not much afeard: for once, or twice, I was about to speak; and tell him plainly, The selfsame sun that shines upon his court Hides not his visage from our cottage, but Looks on alike.-Will 't please you, sir, be gone? [to FLORIZEL
I told you what would come of this: 'Beseech you,
Of your own state take care: this dream of mine,
Being now awake, I'll queen it no inch farther,
But milk my ewes, and weep."
This is something higher than the sentiment of a "queen of curds and cream."
In the novel we have no trace of the interruption by the father of the princely lover in the disguise of a guest at the shepherd's cottage. Dorastus and Fawnia flee from the country without the knowledge of the king. The ship in which they embark is thrown by a storm upon the coast of Bohemia. Messengers are despatched in search of the lovers; and they arrive in Bohemia with the request of Egistus that the companions in the flight of Dorastus shall be put to death. The secret of Fawnia's birth is discovered by the shepherd; and her father recognises her. But the previous
circumstances exhibit as much grossness of conception on the part of the novelist, as the different management of the catastrophe shows the matchless skill and taste of the dramatist. We forgive Leontes for his early folly and wickedness; for during sixteen years has his remorse been bitter and his affection constant. The pathos of the following passage is truly Shaksperean :
Whilst I remember
the region of the literal that it would be worse than idle to talk of its costume. When the stage-manager shall be able to reconcile the contradictions, chronological and geographical, with which it abounds, he may decide whether the characters should wear the dress of the ancient or the modern world, and whether the architectural scenes should partake most of the Grecian style of the times of the Delphic oracle, or of the Italian in the more familiar days of Julio Romano. We cannot assist him in this difficulty. It may be sufficient for the reader of this delicious play to know that he is purposely taken out of the empire of the real ;-to wander in some poetical sphere where Bohemia is but a name for a wild country upon the sea, and the oracular voices of the pagan world are heard amidst the merriment of "Whitsun pastorals" and the solemnities of "Christian burial;" where the "Emperor of Russia" represents some dim conception of a mighty monarch of far-off lands; and "that rare Italian master, Julio Romano," stands as the abstract personification of excellence Now, in art. It is quite impossible to imagine that he who, when it was necessary to be precise, as in the Roman plays, has painted manners with a truth and exactness which have left at an inmeasurable distance such imitations of ancient manners as the learned Ben Jonson has produced,-that he should
To make a perfect woman, she, you kill'd,
She I kill'd! I did so: but thou strik'st me
The appropriateness of the title of the 'Winter's Tale' has been prettily illustrated by Ulrici:
"From the point of view taken in this drama,
life appears like a singular and serene, even while terrifying, winter's tale, related by the flickering light of the fire in a rough boisterous night, in still and homelike trustiness, by an old grandmother to a listening circle of children and grandchildren, while the warm, secure, and happy feeling of the assembly mixes itself with a sense of the fear and the dread of the related adventures and the cold wretched night without. But this arises only through the secret veil which lies over the power of chance, and which is here spread over the whole. It appears serene, because everywhere glimmers through this veil the bright joyful light of a futurity leading all to good; because we continually feel that the unhealthy darkness of the present will be again thrown off even through an equally obscure inward necessity."
have perplexed this play with such anomalies through ignorance or even carelessness. There
can be no doubt that the most accomplished scholars amongst our early dramatists, when dealing with the legendary and the romantic, purposely committed these anachronisms. Greene, as we have shown, of whose scholarship his friends boasted, makes a ship sail from Bohemia in the way that Shakspere makes a ship wrecked upon a Bohemian coast. Yet, when we consider how differently Jonson and Shakspere worked, in their respective schools, it is not to be wondered at that Jonson, in his free conversations with Drummond of Hawthornden, in January, 1619, should say that "Shakspere wanted art." When Jonson said this, he was in no laudatory mood. Drummond heads his This comedy is so thoroughly taken out of record of the conversation thus: "His