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We shall now see the pretty Helen in that drefs, in which she has barefoot plodded the cold ground, in her pilgrimage to St. Jacques—led thither by pure love. The old Widow, and her beauteous daughter, will of course he introduced; to whom this holy pilgrim may be addreffing her
Please it this matron, and this gentle maid,.
To eat with us to-night; the charge and thanking,
The pilgrim's drefs in Gravelot's print to Theobald's edition, is wanting in that grace which we often meet with in his defign's. The ‡
The late Thomas Davies fpeaks more candidly of her:
Helen's love is as honest as her parentage. It appears throughout the whole play, that the paßion of this fweet girl is of the noblest kind: "Nature, fays Shakespeare in Hamlet, is fine in love;" that is, it purifies and refines our paffions. Before marriage Helen diminishes the blemishes of Parolles, because he is the conftant companion of Bertram, and after marriage, though she might reasonably exclaim against the feducer of her husband, with the utmost delicacy fhe reftrains herfelf from the leaft reproach: nay, converts a question, implying cenfure, to a mark of honour.
It is scarce pardonable to pafs over the spirited lines with which the widow's daughter encounters Bertram, in p. 88, without withing they may give rife to fome animated (half-length) portraits of them, from the words:
Mine honour's fuch a ring:
most pleasing stile of engraving, for this propofed print of Helen, would be that, in which Celia appears: a beautiful coloured print from after Kauffman, and engraved by Bartolozzi. The dress may be likewise partly gathered from the print of Helen in Bell's laft edition. And fee a lately published print of a Nun. I do not immediately recollect its title; but I think it is defigned from a poem of Mr. Jerningham's.
A MOST interesting portrait of Helen, may be taken from page 79, as fondly fupplicating her absent husband :
Poor lord! is't I
That chafe thee from thy country, and expofe
Of the none-sparing war? and is it I
That drive thee from the fportive court, where thou
Waft shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark
Of smoky muskets? O you leaden meffengers,
SHE may be drawn in half-length, in the style which is recommended page 88-and a perufal of the whole of her tender address in this
The drefs of Bertram, might be partly taken from Bell's first edition; and partly from a very fpirited figure in the print of Tarquin and Lucrece, engr. by Bafan, from after Luc. Jordans; and the features of Bertram, might poffefs fomewhat more (perhaps) of that keen impatience which is so finely expreffed in this print. It appears from what the Clown fays in p. 128, that Bertram fhould have one of the delicate fine hats, and most courteous feathers.
prefent page 79, will be the beft guide, and the beft incitement to an artist, for producing a spirited and graceful portrait of this sweet dejected girl. *
* SHE would appear well in page 149: as faying-Tis but the shadow of a wife you fee-but it would be impoffible to receive any fatisfaction in introducing Bertram with her; for the reasons given by Dr. Johnson, in his concluding obfervations on this play. If the were to appear in this page, fhe might poffefs fomething of that foftened melancholy which is feen in the figure of Mifs Macklin, in Bell's first edition-or there might be a group of half-lengths, of the King, Countess, and the other characters, looking affectionately on her.
THE King himself might be well drawn from page 138, as faying :
This ring was mine.—
Or, as faying:
Of what thould ftead her most ?
you that craft, to reave her
A LIST of fuch Prints as have been published from this play. Thofe I have not feen, are printed in Italics.
1. Bell's two editions.
5. A cut by Fourdrinier, in an edition, in 8 vol. 8vo. printed for Tonfon, 1735
COMEDY OF ERRORS.
No author had ever fo copious, fo bold, fo creative an imagination, with fo perfect a knowledge of the paffions, the humours, and fentiments of mankind. He painted all characters, from heroes and kings, down to Inn-keepers and Peasants, with equal truth and with equal force. If human nature was quite deftroyed, and no monument left of it, except his works, other beings might learn what man was, from those writings.