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Mr. Hallam, keenly alive alike to the “meditative gets the better of her pride-her consistent coldness philosophy" of Hamlet, the passion of OTHELLO, and towards the Duke-the description of that smooth, disthe pure poetry of fancy, strikes me as entering some creet, and stable bearing' with which she rules her what coldly, as a critic, into the sympathetic enjoyment household—her generous care for her steward Malvolio, of broad humour.
in the midst of her own distress, -all these circumPerhaps such may be the reasons that caused these stances raise Olivia in our fancy, and render her caprice great critics to censure as improbable, and containing for the page a source of amusement and interest; not a
no just picture of life,” this delightful comedy, the de- subject of reproach. Twelfth Night is a genuine fects of which, if such they are, pass unmarked by comedy—a perpetual spring of the gayest and the sweetothers, in the exhilarating effect of the whole, arising est fancies. `In artificial society, men and women are from the complete connection and interlacing of the divided into castes and classes: and it is rarely that ex. ludicrous with the beautiful-of the impassioned sweet tremes in character or manners can approximate. To ness of the poetry, with the lively rapidity of incident, blend into one harmonious picture the utmost grace and and the fantastic originality of its revelling invention. refinement of sentiment, and the broadest effects of huIt is this which may explain what some readers may mour—the most poignant wit and the most indulgent think paradoxical or exaggerated—Coleridge's speaking benignity ;-in short, to bring before us, in the same of LEAR, Othello, HENRY IV., and the Twelfth scene, Viola and Olivia, with Malvolio and Sir Toby, Night, as giving the highest proof of the author's dra- belonged only to Nature and to Shakespeare.". matic talent."-(Remarks on "Shakespeare as a Poet Mr. Hazlitt thus felicitously characterizes its poetic generally." Hazlitt adds his own to the general suf beauties :frage, and says—“It is justly considered as one of the • We have a friendship for Sir Toby; we patronize most delightful of Shakespeare's comedies."
Sir Andrew; we have an understanding with the Clown; Mrs. Jameson thus defends Viola and Olivia from the a sneaking kindness for Maria and her rogueries; we censures above quoted :
feel a regard for Malvolio, and sympathy with his grav, “ Viola is engaged in the service of the Duke, whom ity, his smiles, his cross-garters, his yellow stockings, and she finds ‘fancy sick’ for the love of Olivia. We are his imprisonment in the stocks. But there is something left to infer, (for so it is hinted in the first scene,) that that excites in us a stronger feeling than all this—it is this duke—who, with his accomplishments and his per Viola's confession of her love. sonal attractions, his taste for music, his chivalrous ten “Shakespeare alone could describe the effect of his derness, and his unrequited love, is really a very fasci. own poetry: nating and poetical personage, though a little passionate
0! it came o'er my ear like the sweet south, and fantastic—had already made some impression on
That breathes upon a bank of violets, Viola's imagination; and when she comes to play the
Stealing, and giving odour. confidante, and to be loaded with favours and kindness What we so much admire here is not the image of Pain her assumed character, that she should be touched by tience on a monument, which has been so generally a passion made up of pity, admiration, gratitude, and quoted, but the lines before and after it. They give a tenderness, does not, I think, in any way detract from very echo to the seat where love is throned.' How long the genuine sweetness and delicacy of her character, ago it is since we first learned to repeat them! and still for she never told her love.'
they vibrate on the heart like the sounds which the “Now all this may not present a very just picture of passing wind draws from the trembling strings of a harp life, and it may also fail to impart any moral lesson for left on some desert shore ! the especial profit of young ladies; but is it not in truth “There are other passages of not less impassioned and in nature? Did it ever fail to charm or to interest, sweetness. Such is Olivia's address to Sebastian, whom to seize on the coldest fancy, to touch the most insen- she supposed to have already deceived her in a promise sible heart?
of marriage :“ Viola, then, is the chosen favourite of the enamoured
Blame not this haste of mine Duke, and becomes his messenger to Olivia, and the interpreter of his sufferings to that inaccessible beauty.
Plight me the full assurance of your faith; In her character of a youthful page, she attracts the fa
That my most jealous and too doubtful soul
May live at peace. vour of Olivia, and excites the jealousy of her lord. The situation is critical and delicate ; but how exqui “ After reading other parts of this play, and particnsitely is the character of Viola fitted to her part, carrying larly the garden-scene, where Malvolio picks up the her through the ordeal with all the inward and spiritual letter, if we were to say that Shakespeare's genius for grace of modesty! What beautiful propriety in the dis- comedy was less than his genius for tragedy, it would tinction drawn between Rosalind and Viola! The wild perhaps only prove that our own taste in such matters sweetness, the frolic humour, which sports free and un is more saturnine than mercurial.” blamed amid the shades of Ardennes, would ill become To conclude, Thomas Campbell, who, as our readers Viola, whose playfulness is assumed as part of her dis have seen, had found not a little to censure in Much guise as a court-page, and is guarded by the strictest ADO ABOUT Nothing, which Mr. Hallam places so far delicacy.
above the Twelfth Night, after analyzing the plot of “ The feminine cowardice of Viola, which will not al- the latter, concludes thus:low her even to affect a courage becoming her attire “This is a dry abbreviation of the story; but who her horror at the idea of drawing a sword, is very natu can abridge Shakespeare's stories, or tell them in any ral and characteristic; and produces a most humorous other language than his own ? The delicacy with which effect, even at the very moment it charms and interests us. a modest maiden makes love in male disguise, and the
“ Contrasted with the deep, silent, patient love of pathos with which she describes her imaginary but too Viola for the Duke, we have the lady-like wilfulness of real self—when .concealment, like a worm i the bud, Olivia ; and her sudden passion, or rather fancy, for the fed on her damask cheek,'—and the sudden growth disguised page, takes so beautiful a colouring of poetry of Orsino's attachment to her, on the discovery of her and sentiment, that we do not think her forward. sex, and on the recalling of her words from his memory Olivia is like a princess of romance, and has all the pri to his understanding, form beauties in this comedy vileges of one: she is, like Portia, high-born and high- which no touch of human revision could improve. The bred, mistress over her servants; but not like Portia comic and the grave and tender were never more finely
queen o'er herself.' She has never in her life been amalgamated than here. The characters play booty, as opposed; the first contradiction, therefore, rouses all the it were ; they are in collusion to aid each other, though woman in her, and turns a caprice into a headlong passion. | seemingly hostile. The character of Viola is so sweetly
“ The distance of rank which separates the countess peculiar that I have never seen justice done to it on the from the real page—the real sex of Viola—the dignified stage. Mrs. Siddons was too tragic for it, and Mrs. elegance of Olivia's deportment, except where passion Jordan too comic."
The critics who are precise upon points of dramatic natives of Illyria—Italians in race and tongue, whose geography and of historic costume, in its larger sense of characteristic names, in their own tongue, the Poet has manners, customs, names, etc., as well as dress, are translated into English for the sake of his audience. much at a loss to settle the questions of this sort arising | Sir Toby might have been the Cavaliere Rutto, but in this play. The “Pictorial" editor admits the difficul. the English audience would then have lost the signifities, and proposes a very ingenious solution of some of cance of that name; which the author, therefore, puts them :
in plain English, just as some of Cervantes's transla“ The scene is laid in Illyria, while the names of the tors have turned his characteristic Spanish compound dramatis persona are a mixture of Spanish, Italian, and names into their own vernacular. Illyria may well be English. The best mode of reconciling the discrepan- | the Ragusan part of the Illyria of ancient history and cies arising from so many conflicting circumstances ap- middle-age romance, as that was ruled by a noble Italian pears to us to be the assumption, first, that Duke or aristocracy. But it is to be presumed that the Poet had Count Orsino (for he is indifferently so entitled in the no intention of defining his locality any further than to play) is a Venetian governor of that portion of Dalmatia throw the scene far away from common-place and which was all of the ancient Illyria remaining under the home associations, to some place on the romantic and dominion of the republic at the commencement of the poetic Adriatic, such as would harmonize with the roseventeenth century, and that his attendants, Valentine, mantic incidents and poetic thoughts of his nobler perCurio, etc., as well as Olivia, Malvolio, and Maria, are sonages; while, as to the rest of his creations, poor hualso Venetians ; and, secondly, that Sir Toby Belch and man nature is so much alike everywhere and at all Sir Andrew Ague-cheek are English residents—the times, in its follies and vices, that his coxcombs, fools, former a maternal uncle to Olivia; her father, a Vene-, and frolickers would be as much at home on the shores tian count, having married Sir Toby's sister. If this be of the Adriatic as on the banks of the Thames. allowed, and there is nothing that we can perceive in The dramatic chronology is marked as much as the the play to prevent it, there is no impropriety in dress- locality, and no more. Its age is not of classical or baring the above-named characters in the Venetian and barous, or even legendary manners. They belong to the English costume of Shakespeare's own time, and the period of the existence of the independent Italian states, two sea-captains and Sebastian in the very picturesque and of the manners of Europe which were modern in habits of Chimariot, Illyrian, and dark Suliote.?" the author's day, without being marked as contempo
Ingenious as this is, it does not carry with it much rary—such as belonged generally to the two or three likelihood of such an explanation having ever been in preceding centuries ; thus affording ample latitude for the Poet's mind, and is besides a needless refinement. the romantic, without imposing any inconvenient reThe supposed English personages are clearly meant as straint on humorous and satirical delineation.