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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” on Navarre and “ fantastic”—the “ magnificent”—the “man
his bookmen,” for their absurd vows; and of great spirit who grows melancholy”—he well do they keep their determination. 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
a most to be a “gentleman and a gamester,” because their gibes. Costard thinks he is “ both are the varnish of a complete man."
simple clown ;" but Biron more accurately How 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
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
to a tallow-chandler. This is farce. But the Bows not his vassal head; and, strucken blind, Kisses the base ground with obedient pedantry of Holofernes and the curate is breast?”
coinedy. They each address the other in
their freemasonry of learning. They each The famous speech of Biron, which follows, flatter 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 bath 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 faircst dames”portrait is two hundred years old, and yet how many of the present day might sit for The ladies turn their backs on himit! Holofernes, however, is not meant by: “ That ever turn'd thcir -- 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“ their eyes, 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 amidst 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 He 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 pre
“Russet ycas, and honest kersey noes.” sent before the Princess the nine worthies, 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
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 Rosa
1 the 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 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
no kind of argument or evidence ; and I | labour hastily taken up, pursued in a light cannot find that any persons who have re- temper, assuming the character of “ pleasant peated it after him have shown any probable jest and courtesy.” The Princess and her grounds for the opinion.” Malone, in the ladies would not accept it as “labour” withfirst edition of his “Chronological Order of out a year's probation. It was offered, they Shakspeare's Plays,' assigns the date of this thought, “ in heat of blood;"—theirs was a comedy to 1598, upon the authority of the love which only bore “gaudy blossoms.” passage in Meres. He says, “No other of What would naturally be the counterpart of our author's plays could have borne that such a story? One of passionate, enduring, title ( Love's Labour Won') with so much all-pervading love-of a love that shrinks propriety as that before us ; yet it must be from no difficulty, resents no unkindness, acknowledged that the present title is in- fears no disgrace, but perseveres, under the serted in the body of the play :
most adverse circumstances, to vindicate its "All's well that ends well : still the fine 's the
own claims by its own energy, and to achieve
success by the strength of its own will. crown.'
This is the Labour of Love which is Won. This line, however, might certainly have Is not this the story of “All's Well that suggested the alteration of what has been Ends Well ?' thought the first title, and affords no deci- When Helena, in the first scene, so beausive proof that this piece was originally tifully describes the hopelessness of her called “All's Well that Ends Well.?” When loveColeridge describes this play as “originally
" It were all one intended as the counterpart of 'Love's La
That I should love a bright particular star, bour's Lost,'”—when Mrs. Jameson, with
And think to wed it, he is so above me”reference to the nature of the plot and the suitableness of the title found in Meres, could she propose
to come within “his states, complainingly, “Why the title was sphere” without some extraordinary effort ? altered, or by whom, I cannot discover,”– “ Hic labor, hoc opus est.” She does resolve and when Tieck says, “The poet probably to make the effort; it is within the bounds first called this play ‘Love's Labour Won,"" of possibility that her labour may
be --we may add the opinions of these eminent cessful, and therefore her “ intents are writers on Shakspere to the original opinion fix'd :"of Malone, in opposition to the opinion of
“ The mightiest space in fortune nature brings Mr. Hunter, that “the leading features of
To join like likes, and kiss like native things. the story in 'All's Well’ cannot be said to
Impossible be strange attempts to those be aptly represented by the title in Meres'
That weigh their pains in sense, and do suplist.”
pose Coleridge described this play as the coun- What hath been cannot be." terpart of 'Love's Labour's Lost.' Shakspere's titles, in the judgment of our philosophical Inferior natures, that estimate their labours critic, always exhibit “great significancy.” | by a common standard—“ that weigh their The Labour of Love which is Lost is not a
pains in sense”—that are not supported in very earnest labour.
The King and his
their labours by a spirit which rejects all courtiers are fantastical lovers. They would
fear and embraces all hope,-confound the win their mistresses by “bootless rhymes" difficult with the impossible: they know and “speeches penn’d,” and their most sin
that courage has triumphed over difficulty, cere declarations are thus only received as
but they still think “ what hath been cannot “mocking merriment.”
be“ again. Helena is not of their mind :speeches of the ladies to their lovers show
"My project may deceive me, clearly that Shakspere meant to mark the But my intents are fix'd, and will not leave cause why their labour was lost-it was me."