« 上一頁繼續 »
lando throws Charles so heavily that he has to be carried away half dead. Upon being questioned by the Duke, Orlando declares himself to be the son of Sir Rowland de Boys. This fact gives him a further interest in Rosalind's eyes, Sir Rowland having been one of her father's dearest friends; and, after a fashion common in the days of chivalry, she now rewards his prowess by the gift of a chain from her own neck. Shortly after the wrestling the usurping Duke, who, when expelling his brother, had detained Rosalind as a companion for his daughter, suddenly determines to banish her also on the pretence of her being a traitor. On hearing this Celia resolves to accompany Rosalind in her exile, and they at once make preparations for their flight, Rosalind disguising herself as a young forester, while Celia assumes the character of a rustic maiden. They also persuade the court Clown, who is devoted to Celia, to follow their fortunes, and during the night make their escape with the intention of seeking the banished Duke who, followed in his exile by many of his old courtiers, is now in the forest of Arden leading a life of careless freedom, and "fleeting the time" in various healthy pastimes. Meanwhile Orlando,-his brother being stirred to still greater malignity by the failure of his stratagem,—abandons his home, and as chance has it, wanders in the same direction. After a time he falls in with Rosalind and Celia, whom their disguise prevents him from recognizing. Rosalind's image, however, is in his heart, for at first sight he had fallen in love with her, while his comeliness, courage, and modesty had inspired her with a like passion. Little suspecting who his companions are, he in his wretchedness confides to Rosalind the secret of his hopeless love. She, deter
mined to test the reality of his devotion, pretends to know how to cure his disease, his “quotidian of love,” as she terms it, and to have successfully treated one suffering in a similar way. Her treatment of that case she describes as follows: “He was to imagine me his love, his mistress; and I set him every day to woo me: at which time would I, being but a moonish youth, grieve, be effeminate, changeable, longing and liking; proud, fantastical, apish, shallow, inconstant, full of tears, full of smiles; for every passion something and for no passion truly anything, as boys and women are for the most part cattle of this colour : would now like him, now loathe him ; then entertain him, then forswear him; now weep for him, then spit at him; that I drave my suitor from his mad humour of love to a loving humour of madness; which was, to forswear the full stream of the world and to live in a nook merely monastic. And thus I cured him ; and this way will I take upon me to wash your liver as clean as a sound sheep's heart, that there shall not be one spot of love in't.” Though protesting that he does not wish to be cured, Orlando undertakes to follow her course of treatment, and the next day she pretends to experiment upon him with her healing art. In the midst of this her first endeavour, Orlando has to leave her in order to attend upon the banished Duke whose service he has entered since coming to the forest, but promises to return in two hours. The two hours pass by, but no Orlando appears. A little later, however, Oliver,—who, driven from his home by the usurping Duke on the pretext that he had been privy to the flight of Rosalind and Celia, has wandered out into the forest, and while asleep has been saved by his brother from the attack of a lioness,-comes on the scene to explain that Orlando's failure to keep his engagement with Rosalind is due to the wounds he has received in the encounter. At this news Rosalind goes off into a swoon. Recovering from this, and anxious to keep up her assumed character, she pretends to have been counterfeiting faintness; but Celia, who of course knows the truth of the matter, will not allow Oliver to leave them until Rosalind has been got safely home to their cottage in the forest. Brief as his acquaintance with Celia has been, it is long enough for him to fall desperately in love with her. On rejoining Orlando he confesses the sudden passion he has conceived for the country maiden, as he supposes her to be, and declares his intention, if she will marry him, to “live and die a shepherd” for her sake, making over all his possessions to the brother whose return for his cruel treatment was to save his life. Orlando and Rosalind, Oliver and Celia, are not, however, the only characters in the play whose hearts have been “cleft with the blind bowboy's butt shaft.” Others are Touchstone, the Clown, who, accompanying Rosalind and Celia to the forest, has become enamoured of a rustic beauty and coquette, named Audrey ; Silvius, a shepherd, devoted to Phebe, a shepherdess, who in her turn is captivated by Rosalind under her guise of a young forester. To bring them all together in marriage is to be Rosalind's achievement. Satisfied that Orlando's love for herself is as genuine as hers for him, she obtains from the Duke, her father, a promise that if she can produce Rosalind, he will give her to Orlando, and exacting from Phebe an engagement that if she (Phebe) refuses to marry her (Rosalind) she will accept Silvius as her husband, she undertakes that on the morrow Orlando shall have his Rosalind, Silvius his Phebe, and that in company with Oliver and Celia, Touchstone and Audrey, they shall all be married in the presence of the Duke. Accordingly on the morrow, discarding her disguise, she appears in her own character and gives herself to Orlando, while Phebe, discovering the delusion under which she had been, keeps her word to take Silvius, and the fourfold marriage is celebrated beneath the forest trees. The ceremony is scarcely over when the second son of Sir Rowland de Boys appears on the scene to announce that the usurping Duke, surrendering his dukedom and restoring to the banished lords and to Oliver the lands he had confiscated from them, has resolved to spend the remainder of his life in religious seclusion. The rightful Duke then returns, with his daughter and niece and their respective husbands, to resume his proper position,
and the play comes to an end in general joy. Character of Of all Shakespeare's comedies none other is so alto
gether bright, joyous, and sunny., In the Merchant of Venice a broad vein of gloom runs throughout the play, and it is not till the very close that our doubts and fears are resolved into happiness : in Twelfth Night, Viola's grief for her lost brother lies heavy on her young life, while the Duke's love for Olivia is tragic in its intensity : the mirth and brilliant repartee of Much Ado are darkened by the terrible cloud of Claudio's mistake: A Midsummer Night's Dream is of too fantastic and airy a texture to count as a comedy of real life. In As You Like It, for the keen and not seldom caustic sallies which so readily spring to Beatrice's lips we have in Rosalind's pleasantry and badinage a wit that, no less sparkling, is throughout/
informed with tenderness, and for the somewhat boisterous merriment of Sir Toby and his companions the quaint humour of Touchstone and the fanciful melancholy of Jaques. But above all the life of open-air enjoyment, the freedom from carking care and selfish ambition which make the Duke's exile less a grievance than a happy release from the artificiality of court life, the bright fun to which Rosalind's disguise gives birth, the diverting entanglements of rustic love, the glad chorus of the foresters, Amiens' blithe songs, the feastings beneath the greenwood tree,—these have a charm unique of their kind. Moreover, As You Like It “is through and through an English comedy, on English soil, in English air, beneath English oaks; and it will be loved and admired, cherished and appreciated, by English men as long as an English word is uttered by an English tongue. Nowhere else on the habitable globe could its scene live been laid but in England, nowhere else but in Sherwood Forest has the golden age, in popular belief, revisited the earth, and there alone of all the earth a merry band could, and did, fleet the time carelessly. England is the home of As You Like It, with all its visions of the Forest of Arden and heavenly Rosalind ; but let it remain there; never let it cross the narrow seas. No Forest of Arden, 'rocking on its towery top all throats that gurgle sweet,' is to be found in the length and breadth of Germany and France, and without a Forest of Arden there can be no Rosalind” ...*
By no other pen than Shakespeare's could there be The principal painted a picture of such lovely grace, such arch humour
* Furness, Preface to New Variorum Shakespeare, p. vii.