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What great creation, and what dole of honour,
Was in my nobler thoughts most base, is now
Nothing can be less like cowardice than this
"The dark house, and the detested wife."
tainly not a hypocrite: and, when he returns to Rousillon, we are bound to believe him when he speaks of Helena as
"She, whom all men praised, and whom myself
Since I have lost have loved."
For ourselves, we can see no poetical injustice that he is "dismissed to happiness;" for, unless he has become a "sadder and a wiser man," he will not be happy.
"In this piece," says Schlegel, “age is exhibited to singular advantage: the plain honesty of the King, the good-natured impetuosity of old Lafeu, the maternal indulgence of the Countess to Helena's love of her son, seem all, as it were, to vie with each in endeavours to conquer the arrogance of the young Count." The general benevolence of these characters, and their particular kindness towards Helena, are the counterpoises to Bertram's pride of birth, and his disdain of virtue unaccompanied by adventitious distinctions. The love of the Countess towards Helena is habit,—that of the King is gratitude: in Lafeu the admiration which he perseveringly holds towards her is the result of his honest sagacity. He admires what is direct and unpretending, and he therefore loves Helena: he hates what is evasive and boast
The Bertram of the Florentine wars has something to recommend him besides his ancestry: "he has done worthy service." But the young, proud, courageous Bertram is also a libertine. Schlegel asks, “Did Shakspere ever attempt to mitigate the impression of his unfeeling pride and giddy dissipation? He intended merely to give us a military portrait." This is quite true. The libertines of the later comedy are the only generous, spirited, intellectual persons of the drama; the virtuous characters are as dull as they are discreet. Shakspere goes out of his usual dramatic spirit in this play, to Parolles has been called by Ulrici "the mark emphatically the impression which little appendix of the great Falstaff." SchleBertram's actions produce upon his own asgel says, "Falstaff has thrown Parolles into sociates. In the third scene of the fourth the shade." Johnson goes farther, and deact they comment with indignation upon his clares, "Parolles has many of the lineaments desertion of Helena, and his practices toof Falstaff." In our view this opinion of wards Diana: "As we are ourselves what Johnson exhibits a singular want of disthings are we!" But then all the Shak-crimination in one who relished Falstaff so sperean tolerance is put forth to make us highly. Parolles is literally what he is described by Helena :
understand that Bertram is not isolated in his vices, and that even his vices, as those of all other men, are not alone to be regarded in our estimates of character: "The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our virtues." This is philosophy, and, what is more, it is religion-for it is charity. In this spirit the poet undoubtedly intended that we should judge Bertram. He is cer
ful, and he therefore despises Parolles.
"I know him a notorious liar, Think him a great way fool, solely a coward." For the "fool," take the scene in the second act, in which he pieces out the remarks of Lafeu upon the King's recovery with the most impertinent commonplaces — ending "Nay, 't is strange, 't is very strange, that is the brief and the tedious of it." It was in this dialogue that Lafeu "smoked him;” and he makes no secret, afterwards, of his
self. There is nothing but plain knavery,
"Yet am I thankful: if my heart were great,
But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft
opinion: "I did think thee, for two ordina- | Essays.' But Parolles certainly knows himries, to be a pretty wise fellow; thou didst make tolerable vent of thy travel; it might pass yet the scarfs and the bannerets about thee did manifoldly dissuade me from believing thee a vessel of too great a burthen, I have now found thee." To the insults of Lafeu the boaster has nothing to oppose,neither wit nor courage. His very impuIdence is overborne. We thoroughly agree with Lafeu, that "there can be no kernel in this light nut." All this is but a preparation for the comic scenes in which he is to play so conspicuous a part-in which his folly, his falsehood, and his cowardice conspire to make him odious and ridiculous. Before this exhibition he is denounced to Bertram, by his companions in warfare, as a hilding"-" a bubble "-" a most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise-breaker, the owner of no one good quality." The disclosure which he makes of his own folly before he is seized, when the lords overhear him, is perfectly true to nature, and therefore in the highest degree true comedy:
'Par. Ten o'clock: within these three hours 't will be time enough to go home. What shall I say I have done? It must be a very plausive invention that carries it: They begin to smoke me: and disgraces have of late knocked too often at my door. I find my tongue is too foolhardy; but my heart hath the fear of Mars before it, and of his creatures, not daring the reports of my tongue.
1 Lord. This is the first truth that e'er thine own tongue was guilty of. [Aside.
Par. What the devil should move me to undertake the recovery of this drum; being not ignorant of the impossibility, and knowing I had no such purpose? I must give myself some hurts, and say I got them in exploit: Yet slight ones will not carry it: They will say, Came you off with so little? and great ones I dare not give. Wherefore? what 's the instance? Tongue, I must put you into a butter-woman's mouth, and buy
myself another of Bajazet's mule, if you prattle
me into these perils.
1 Lord. Is it possible he should know what he is, and be that he is? Aside."
Let him fear this; for it will come to pass,
Safest in shame! being fool'd by foolery
There's place and means for every man alive.” And he will "live." Lafeu understands him to the last, when he says, "Though you are a fool and a knave, you shall eat."
And is this crawling, empty, vapouring, cowardly representative of the off-scourings of social life, to be compared for a moment with the inimitable Falstaff?-to be said to have "many lineaments in common" with him-to be thrown into the shade by himto be even "a little appendix" to his greatness? Parolles is drawn by Shakspere as utterly contemptible, in intellect, in spirit, in morals. He is diverting from the situations into which his folly betrays him; and his complete exposure and humiliation constitute the richness of the comedy. If he had been a particle better, Shakspere would have made his disgrace less; and it is in his charity even to the most degraded that he has represented him as utterly insensible to his own shame, and even hugging it as a good :—
"If my heart were great,
"T would burst at this."
But Falstaff, witty beyond all other characters of wit-cautious, even to the point of being thought cowardly-swaying all men by his intellectual resources under the greatThe last sentence is worth a folio of 'Moral est difficulty-boastful and lying only in a
spirit of hilarity, which makes him the first | The character belongs to the school of which to enjoy his own detection-and withal, Molière is the head, rather than to the school though grossly selfish, so thoroughly genial of Shakspere. that many love him and few can refuse to laugh with him-is Falstaff to be compared with Parolles, the notorious liar-great way fool-solely a coward? The comparison will not bear examining with patience, and much less with painstaking.
But Parolles in his own way is infinitely comic. "The scene of the drum," according to a French critic, "is worthy of Molière."* This is the highest praise which a French writer could bestow; and here it is just. * Letourneur, Traduction,' tome ix. p. 329.
And what shall we say of the clown? He is "the artificial fool;" and we do not like him, therefore, quite so much as dear Launce and dearer Touchstone. To the Fool in Lear' he can no more be compared than Parolles to Falstaff. But he is, nevertheless, great-something that no other artist but Shakspere could have produced. Our poet has used him as a vehicle for some biting satire. There can be no doubt that he is a witty fool," "a shrewd knave, and an unhappy."
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.
"THE TAMING OF THE SHREW' was first printed in the folio collection of Shakspere's Plays in 1623. It is not one of those plays enumerated as Shakspere's by Meres, in
The matured opinion of Malone as to the date of this play is thus given :-"I had supposed the piece now under consideration to have been written in the year 1606. On a more attentive perusal of it, and more experience in our author's style and manner, I am persuaded that it was one of his very early productions, and near, in point of time, to 'The Comedy of Errors,' 'Love's Labour's Lost,' and 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona.' In the old comedies, antecedent to the time of our author's writing for the stage (if, indeed, they deserve that name), a kind of doggrel measure is often found, which, as I have already observed, Shakspeare adopted in some of those pieces which were undoubtedly among his early compositions: I mean his Errors' and 'Love's Labour's Lost.' This kind of metre, being found also in the play before us, adds support to the supposition that it was one of his early productions." Mr. Collier, however, doubts whether 'The Taming of the Shrew' can be treated
| altogether as one of Shakspere's performances :-"I am satisfied," he says, "that more than one hand (perhaps at distant dates) was concerned in it, and that Shakespeare had little to do with any of the scenes in which Katharine and Petruchio are not engaged." Farmer had previously expressed the same opinion, declaring the Induction to be in our poet's best manner, and a great part of the play in his worst, or even below it. To this Steevens replies-"I know not to whom I could impute this comedy, if Shakspeare was not its author. I think his hand is visible in almost every scene, though perhaps not so evidently as in those which pass between Katharine and Petruchio." Mr. Collier judges that "the underplot much resembles the dramatic style of William Haughton, author of an extant comedy, called 'Englishmen for my Money,' which was produced prior to 1598."
But there is another play, 'The Taming of a Shrew,' which first appeared in 1594, under the following title:-'A pleasant conceited Historie called the taming of a Shrew. As it was sundry times acted by the Right honourable the Earle of Pembrooke his servants. Printed at London by Peter Short,
characters; though a merchant is brought to personate the Duke of Cestus. The real duke arrives, as Vincentio arrives in our play, to discover the imposture; and his indignation occupies much of the latter part of the action, with sufficient tediousness. All parties are ultimately happy and pleased; and the comedy ends with the wager, as in Shakspere, about the obedience of the several wives, the Shrew pronouncing a homily upon the virtue and beauty of submission, which sounds much more hypocritical even than that of the Kate of our poet. There cannot be a doubt that the anonymous author and
and are to be sold by Cuthbert Burbie, at | younger sisters do not woo them in assumed his shop at the Royal Exchange, 1594.' The comedy opens with an Induction, the characters of which are a Lord, Slie, a Tapster, Page, Players, and Huntsmen. The incidents are precisely the same as those of the play which we call Shakspere's. There is this difference in the management of the character of Sly in the anonymous comedy, that, during the whole of the performance of 'The Taming of a Shrew,' he occasionally makes his remarks; and is finally carried back to the alehouse door in a state of sleep. In Shakspere we lose this most diverting personage before the end of the first act. After our poet had fairly launched him in the In-Shakspere sometimes used the same images duction, and given a tone to his subsequent demeanour during the play, the performer of the character was perhaps allowed to continue the dialogue extemporally. We doubt, by the way, whether this would have been permitted after Shakspere had prescribed that the Clowns should "speak no more than what is set down for them."
"Welcome to Athens, my beloved friend,
To Plato's school, and Aristotle's walks."
Alfonso, a merchant of Athens (the Baptista of Shakspere), has three daughters, Kate, Emilia, and Phylema. Aurelius, son of the duke of Cestus (Sestos), is enamoured of one, Polidor of another, and Ferando (the Petrucio of Shakspere) of Kate, the Shrew. The merchant hath sworn, before he will allow his two younger daughters to be addressed by suitors, that
"His eldest daughter first shall be espoused."
The wooing of Kate by Ferando is exactly in the same spirit as the wooing by Petrucio; so is the marriage; so the lenten entertainment of the bride in Ferando's countryhouse; so the scene with the Tailor and Haberdasher; so the prostrate obedience of the tamed Shrew. The underplot, however, is essentially different. The lovers of the
and forms of expression-occasionally several whole lines: the incidents of those scenes in which the process of taming the shrew is carried forward are invariably the same. The spectators of each play had the same plots to delight them. They would equally enjoy the surprise and self-satisfaction of the drunken man when he became a lord; equally relish the rough wooing of the master of "the taming school;" rejoice at the dignity of the more worthy gender when the poor woman was denied "beef and mustard ;" and hold their sides with convulsive laughter when the tailor was driven off with his gown, and the haberdasher with his cap. This undoubted resemblance involves some necessity for conjecture, with very little guide from evidence. The first and most obvious hypothesis is, that 'The Taming of a Shrew' was an older play than Shakspere's; and that he borrowed from that comedy. The question then arises, who was its author?
The dramatic works of Greene, which have been collected as his, are only six in number; and one was written in connexion with Lodge. The 'Orlando Furioso' is known to have been his, by having been mentioned by a contemporary writer. This play, in its form of publication, appears to us to bear a striking resemblance to 'The Taming of a Shrew.' The title of the first edition is as follows: The Historie of Orlando Furioso, one of the twelve Pieres of France. As it was plaid before the Queenes Maiestie. London, Printed by John Danter for Cuthbert
Burbie, and are to be sold at his Shop nere the Royal Exchange, 1594.' Compare this with the title of 'The Taming of a Shrew.' Each is a "Historie;" each is without an author's name; each is published by Cuthbert Burbie; each is published in the same year, 1594. Might not the recent death of Greene-the reputation which he left behind him-the unhappy circumstances attending his death, for he perished in extreme poverty -and the remarkable controversy between Nash and Harvey, in 1592, "principally touching Robert Greene"-have led the bookseller to procure and publish copies of these plays, if they were both written by him? It is impossible, we think, not to be struck with the striking resemblance of these anonymous performances, in the structure of the verse, the extravagant employment of mythological allusions, the laboured finery intermixed with feebleness, and the occasional outpouring of a rich and gorgeous fancy. In the comic parts, too, it appears to us that there is an equal similarity in the two plays a mixture of the vapid and the coarse, which looks like the attempt of an educated man to lower himself to an uninformed audience. It is very difficult to establish these opinions without being tedious; but we may compare a detached passage or two :
TAMING OF A SHREW.
"Fer. Tush, Kate, these words add greater love in me,
And make me think thee fairer than before: Sweet Kate, thou lovelier than Diana's purple robe,
Whiter than are the snowy Apennines,
Or icy hair that grows on Boreas' chin.
And care not thou, sweet Kate, how I be clad;
Enchased with precious jewels fetch'd from far
Take a passage, also, of the prose, or comic, parts of the two plays, each evidently intended for the clowns :
"Tom. Sirrah Ralph, an thou 'lt go with me, I'll let thee see the bravest madman that ever thou sawest.
Ralph. Sirrah Tom, I believe it was he that was at our town o' Sunday: I'll tell thee what he did, sirrah. He came to our house when all our folks were gone to church, and there was nobody at home but I, and I was turning of the spit, and he comes in and bade me fetch him some drink. Now, I went and fetched him
"Orl. Is not my love like those purple- some; and ere I came again, by my troth, he
That gallop by the coach of Cynthia?
Org. Yes, marry is she, my lord.
ran away with the roast meat, spit and all, and
Orl. Is not her face silver'd like that milk- sirrah, he did so course the boys last Sunday; white shape,
When Jove came dancing down to Semele?
Orl. Then go thy ways and climb up to the
And tell Apollo, that Orlando sits
And if he do deny to send me down
and, if ye call him madman, he 'll run after you, and tickle your ribs so with flap of leather that he hath, as it passeth."
TAMING OF A SHREW.
"San. Boy, oh disgrace to my person! Zounds, boy, of your face, you have many boys with such pickadenaunts, I am sure. Zounds, would you not have a bloody nose for this?
Boy. Come, come, I did but jest; where is that same piece of pie that I gave thee to keep?
San. The pie? Ay, you have more mind of your belly than to go see what your master does.
Boy. Tush, 't is no matter, man; I prithee give it me, I am very hungry I promise thee.