« 上一頁繼續 »
hate as the results of the same ill-regu- “More counsel with more money, bounteous lated temperament, we can appreciate the
Timon.” beautiful distinction which Shakspere has It tells, in a word, the impotence of his misdrawn between the intellectual cynicism of anthropy. It is cherished for his own graApemantus and the passionate misanthropy tification alone. Deeper than this fancy of of Timon. The misanthropy of Timon is not hatred to the human race lies the romantic practical—it wastes itself in generalizations ; feeling with which he cherishes images of
, native—it gratifies itself in petty insults and tranquillity beyond this agitating life : unkindnesses :
“Come not to me again: but say to Athens,
Timon hath made his everlasting mansion “ Apem. I love thee better now than e'er I
Upon the beached verge of the salt flood; did.
Whom once a day with his embossed froth Tim. I hate thee worse.
The turbulent surge shall cover." А рет.
Thou flatter'st misery. The novelist of the 'Palace of Pleasure' thus Apem. I flatter ' not; but say thou art a explains Timon's choice of “his everlasting caitiff.
mansion:"_"He ordained himself to be inTim. Why dost thou seek me out?
terred upon the sea-shore, that the waves and Арет.
To vex thee. surges might beat and vex his dead carcass. Tim. Always a villain's office, or a fool's; Shakspere has made Alcibiades furnish a more Dost please thyself in 't?
poetical solution of this choice, which is at Apem. Ay.
the same time a key to Timon's general chaTim. What! a knave too ?”
racter:The soldier, the courtezan, the thief, are
“ Though thou abhorr’dst in us our human griefs, equally included in Timon's fiery denuncia
Scorn'dst our brain's flow, and those our droptions; but they are all equally gratified in lets which essentials. The equanimity with which the From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit fair companions of Alcibiades submit to his Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for railings, when accompanied by his gifts, is
aye profoundly satirical:
On thy low grave, on faults forgiven.”
ARDEN OF FEVERSHAM.
In 1592 was first published. The lamentable of that town and port), with a preface, in and true Tragedie of M. Arden of Feversham which he endeavours to prove that the train Kent.' Subsequent editions of this tragedy gedy was written by Shakspere, upon the appeared in 1599 and 1633. Lillo, the author fallacious principle that it contains certain of George Barnwell,' who died in 1739, left expressions which are to be found in his acan unfinished tragedy upon the same subject, knowledged works. This is at once the in which he has used the play of the 16th easiest and the most unsatisfactory species century very freely, but with considerable of evidence. Resemblances such as this may judgment. In 1770 the 'Arden of Fever- consist of mere conventional phrases, the sham?' originally published in 1592 was for common property of all the writers of a parthe first time ascribed to Shakspere. It was ticular period. If the phrases are so striking then reprinted by Edward Jacob, a resident that they must have been first created by an of Feversham (who also published a history individual process of thought, the repetition
of them is no proof that they have been called, there is necessarily very little; but twice used by the same person. Another there is still some invention, and that of a may have adopted the phrase, perhaps un- nature to show that the author had an imaconsciously. General resemblances of style ginative conception of incident and chalead us into a wider range of inquiry; but racter. Upon the whole, we should be ineven here we have a narrow inclosed ground clined to regard it as the work of a young compared with the entire field of criticism, man; and the estion then arises whether which includes not only style, but the whole that young man was Shakspere. If Arden system of the poet's art. It has been said of Feversham,' like the ‘Yorkshire Tragedy,' of this play, “ Arden of Feversham, a domes had been founded upon an event which haptic tragedy, would, in point of absolute pened in Shakspere's mature years, that cirmerit, have done no discredit to the early cumstance would have been decisive against manhood of Shakspere himself; but, both in his being in any sense of the word the conception and execution, it is quite unlike author. But whilst we agree with the writer even his earliest manner; while, on the other in the · Edinburgh Review' that “ both in hand, its date cannot possibly be removed so conception and execution it is quite unlike far back as the time before which his own even his earliest manner," we are not so constyle had demonstrably been formed.” * fident that “its date cannot possibly be Tieck has translated the tragedy into Ger- removed so far back as the time before which man, and he assigns it with little hesitation his own style had demonstrably been formed.” to Shakspere. Ulrici also subscribes to this Whether it be due to the absorbing nature opinion; but he makes a lower estimate of of the subject, or to the mode in which the its merit than his brother critic. The versi- story is dramatically treated, we think that fication he holds to be tedious and monoto- Arden of Feversham' cannot be read for nous, and the dialogue, he says, is conducted the first time without exciting a very conwith much exaggeration of expression. The siderable interest; and this interest is cerplay appears to us deserving of a somewhat tainly not produced by any violent exhibifull consideration. It was printed as early tions of passion, any sudden transitions of as 1592, and was most probably performed situation, or any exciting display of rhetoric several
years earlier; the event which forms or poetry; but by a quiet and natural sucits subject took place in 1551. What is very cession of incidents, by a tolerably consistent, remarkable too for a play of this period (and if not highly forcible, delineation of character, in this opinion we differ from Ulrici), there and by equable and unambitious dialogue, in is very
little extravagance of language; and which there is certainly less extravagance of the criminal passion in all its stages is con- expression than we should readily find in ducted with singular delicacy. There are any of the writers for the stage between 1585 many passages too which aim to be poetical, and 1592. Do we then think that 'Arden of and are in fact poetical; but for the most Feversham' belongs to the early manhood of part they want that vivifying dramatic power Shakspere? We do not think so with any which makes the poetry doubly effective confidence; but we do think that, considerfrom its natural and inseparable union with ing its date, it is a very remarkable play, the situation which calls it forth and the and we should be at a loss to assign it to any character which gives it utterance. The writer whose name is associated with that tragedy is founded upon a real event which early period of the drama, except to Shakhad been popularly told with great minute- spere. In questions of this nature there ness of detail ; and the dramatist has evi- may be a conviction resulting from an exadently thought it necessary to present all mination of the whole evidence, the reasons the points of the story, and in so doing has for which cannot be satisfactorily communiof course sometimes divided and weakened cated to others. But we are less anxious to the interest. Of invention, properly so make our readers think with us than to en* Edinburgh Review, vol. Ixxi. p. 471.
able them to think for themselves; and we
shall endeavour to effect this object in the Master. Arden. She at length, inflamed in love analysis to which we now proceed.
with Mosbie, and loathing her husband, wished, The murder of Arden of Feversham must and after practised, the means how to hasten his have produced an extraordinary and even
end." permanent sensation in an age when deeds
The first evidence of a sound judgment of violence were by no means unfrequent. in the dramatist is the rejection of the imHolinshed’s ‘ Chronicle' was first published putation of the chronicler that Arden conin 1577; the event happened twenty-six nived at the conduct of his wife from meryears before, but the writer of the Chro-cenary motives. In the opening scene he
“ The which murder, for the puts Arden in a thoroughly different posihorribleness thereof, although otherwise it tion. The play opens with a dialogue bemay seem to be but a private matter, and
tween Master Arden and his friend Master therefore as it were impertinent to this his- Franklin, in which Franklin exhorts him to tory, I have thought good to set it forth
cheer up his spirits because the king has somewhat at large, having the instructions granted him letters-patent of the lands of delivered to me by them that have used
the abbey of Feversham. This is the answer some diligence to gather the true under
of Arden :standing of the circumstances.” The narra
Franklin, thy love prolongs my weary life; tive in Holinshed occupies seven closely
And but for thee, how odious were this life, printed columns, and all the details are
That shows me nothing, but torments my brought out with a remarkable graphic
soul; power. We have no doubt that this narra
And those foul objects that offend mine eyes, tive strongly seized upon the imagination of
Which make me wish that, for* this veil of the writer of the play. To judge correctly heaven, of the poetical art of that writer, we must The earth hung over my head and cover'd me! follow the narrative step by step. The rela- Love-letters post 'twixt Mosbie and my wife, tive position of the several parties is thus And they have privy meetings in the town; described :
Nay, on his finger did I spy the ring This Arden was a man of a tall and comely
Which, at our marriage, the priest put on:
Can any grief be half so great as this?" personage, and matched in marriage with a gentlewoman, young, tall, and well favoured of Presently Arden breaks out into a burst of shape and countenance, who chancing to fall in passion, and Franklin thus counsels him :familiarity with one Mosbie, a tailor by occupation, a black swart man, servant to the Lord
“ Be patient, gentle friend, and learn of me North, it happened this Mosbie upon some mis
To ease thy grief and save her chastity:
Entreat her fair; sweet words are fittest taking to fall out with her ; but she, being desirous to be in favour with him again, sent him
To raze the flint walls of a woman's breast; a pair of silver dice by one Adam Foule, dwelling at the Flower-de-luce, in Feversham. After
In any case be not too jealous, which he resorted to her again, and oftentimes
Nor make no question of her love to thee, lay in Arden's house; and although (as it was
But, as securely, presently take horse,
And lie with me at London all this term ; said) Arden perceived right well their mutual familiarity to be much greater than their
For women when they may, will not, honesty, yet because he would not offend her, But, being kept back, straight grow outand so lose the benefit he hoped to gain at
rageous." some of her friends' hands in bearing with her Alice, the wife of Arden, enters; and he lewdness, which he might have lost if he should
accuses her, but mildly, of having called on have fallen out with her, he was contented to Mosbie in her sleep; the woman dissembles, wink at her filthy disorder, and both permitted and they part in peace. We have then the and also invited Mosbie very often to lodge in
incident of the silver dice sent to the parahis house. And thus it continued a good space before any practice was begun by them against
* For instead of.
mour by Adam of the Flower-de-luce. The That which I ever feard, and find too true : chronicler has represented Alice as the prin
A woman's love is as the lightning flame, cipal agent in procuring the murder of her Which even in bursting forth consumes itself. husband; and the dramatist has, it appears
To try thy constancy have I been strange : to us with considerable skill, shown the
Would I had never tried, but liv'd in hopes ! woman from the first under the influence of Alice. What needs thou try me, whom thou
never found false ? a headlong passion, which cannot stop to
Mosbie. Yet, pardon me, for love is jealous. conceal its purposes, which has no doubts,
Alice. So lists the sailor to the mermaid's no suspicions, no fears. The earnestness
song; with which she proceeds in her terrible de
So looks the traveller to the basilisk. sign is thoroughly tragic; and her ardour is
I am content for to be reconcil'd, strikingly contrasted with the more cautious
And that I know will be mine overthrow. guilt of her chief accomplice. She avows Mosbie. Thine overthrow ? First let the her passion for Mosbie to the landlord of
world dissolve. the Fiower-de-luce; she openly prompts Alice. Nay, Mosbie, let me still enjoy thy Arden's own servant Michael to murder his
love, master, tempting him with a promise to And happen what will, I am resolute.” promote his suit to Mosbie's sister. The first scene, between Mosbie and Alice is a It is impossible to doubt, whoever was the striking one :
writer of this play, that we have before us
the work of a man of no ordinary power. “ Mosbie. Where is your husband?
The transitions of passion in this scene are Alice. 'T is now high water, and he is at true to nature ; and, instead of the extrava
gant ravings of the writers of this early Mosbie. There let him; henceforward, know period of our drama, the appropriateness of me not.
the language to the passion is most remarkAlice. Is this the end of all thy solemn able. There is poetry too, in the ordinary oaths ?
sense of the word, but the situation is not Is this the fruit thy reconcilement buds?
encumbered with the ornament. We would Have I for this given thee so many favours, Incurr'd my husband's hate, and out, alas !
remark also, what is very striking throughMade shipwreck of mine honour for thy sake?
out the play, that the versification possesses And dost thou say, henceforward know me
that freedom which we find in no other not?
writer of the time but Shakspere. Ulrici Remember when I lock'd thee in my closet,
holds a contrary opinion, but we cannot conWhat were thy words and mine? Did we not sent to surrender our judgment to a foreign both
There is too in this scene the condenDecree to murder Arden in the night? sation of Shakspere, that wonderful quality The heavens can witness, and the world can by which he makes a single word convey a tell,
complex idea :Before I saw that falsehood look of thine, Fore I was tangled with thy 'ticing speech,
“ Is this the fruit thy reconcilement buds ?” Arden to me was dearer than my soul,And shall be still. Base peasant, get thee gone,
is an example of this quality. The whole And boast not of thy conquest over me,
scene is condensed. A writer of less genius,
whoever he Gotten by witchcraft and mere sorcery,
would have made it thrice For what hast thou to countenance my love,
as long. The guilty pair being reconciled, Being descended of a noble house,
Mosbie says that he has found a painter who And match'd already with a gentleman,
can so cunningly produce a picture that the Whose servant thou mayst be;--and so, fare person looking on it shall die. Alice is for well.
more direct measures—for a poison to be Mosbie. Ungentle and unkind Alice, now I given in her husband's food. Here again
the Chronicle' is followed :
“There was a painter dwelling in Feversham, who had skill of poisons, as was reported; she therefore demanded of him whether it were true that he had such skill in feat or not? And he denied not but that he had indeed. Yea, said she, but I would have such a one made as should have most vehement and speedy operation to despatch the eater thereof. That can I do, quoth he; and forthwith made her such a one. The painter enters, and his reward, it appears, is to be Susan Mosbie. The painter is a dangerous and wicked person, but he speaks of his art and of its inspiration with a high enthusiasm :For, as sharp-witted poets, whose sweet verse Make heavenly gods break off their nectar
nance, A weeping eye that witnesseth heart's grief.” The conference is interrupted by the entrance of Arden, of whom Mosbie readily asks about the abbey-lands. The following scene ensues, and it is an example of the judgment with which the dramatist has adopted the passage from the Chronicle' that Arden“ both permitted and also invited Mosbie very often to lodge in his house,” without at the same time compromising his own honour :
“Arden. Mosbie, that question we'll decide
Arden. So, sirrah, you may not wear a
sword, The statute made against artificers forbids it. I warrant that I do*. Now use your bodkin, Your Spanish needle, and your pressing-iron; For this shall go with me : And mark my
words,— You, goodman botcher, 't is to you I speak,The next time that I take thee near my house, Instead of legs, I'll make thee crawl on
stumps. Mosbie. Ah, master Arden, you have in
jured me, I do appeal to God and to the world. Franklin. Why, canst thou deny thou wert
a botcher once ? Mosbie. Measure me what I am, not what
I once was. Arden. Why, what art thou now but a velvet
drudge, A cheating steward, and base-minded peasant ? Mosbie. Arden, now hast thou belch'd and
vomited The rancorous venom of thy mis-swoln heart, Hear me but speak : As I intend to live With God, and his elected saints in heaven, I never meant more to solicit her, And that she knows; and all the world shall
I lov'd her once, sweet Arden; pardon me :
Alice, make ready my breakfast, I must hence.
[Exit ALICE. As for the lands, Mosbie, they are mine By letters-patent of his majesty. But I must have a mandat for my wife ; They say you seek to rob me of her love : Villain, what mak’st thou in her company ? She's no companion for so base a groom. Mosbie. Arden, I thought not on her, I
came to thee;
Franklin. What will you do, sir ?
And, Arden, though I frequent thine house,
Arden. With these thy protestations
slanderous tongues ? Franklin. Then, Mosbie, to eschew the
speech of men, Upon whose general bruit all honour hangs, Forbear his house.
Arden. Forbear it ! nay, rather frequent it
* Ijustify that which I do.