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characteristic of our author's genius, and which has had but few successful imitators. Among these few, stands pre-eminent the poet Collins, who seems to have trodden this consecrated ground with a congenial mind, and who has sung the sorrows of Fidele in strains worthy of their subject, and which will continue to charm the mind and soothe the heart 'till pity's self be dead.'
“When compared with this fascinating portrait, the other personages of the drama appear but in a secondary light. Yet are they adequately brought out, and skilfully diversified; the treacherous subtlety of Iachimo, the sage experience of Belarius, the native nobleness of heart, and innate heroism of mind, which burst forth in the vigorous sketches of Guiderius and Arviragus, the temerity, credulity, and penitence of Posthumus, the uxorious weakness of Cymbeline, the hypocrisy of his Queen, and the comic arrogance of Cloten, half fool and half knave, produce a striking diversity of action and sentiment.
“Of this latter character, the constitution has been thought so extraordinary, and involving elements of a kind so incompatible, as to form an exception to the customary integrity and consistency of our author's draughts from nature. But the following passage from the pen of an elegant female writer, will prove, that this curious assemblage of frequently opposite qualities has existed, and no doubt did exist in the days of Shakspeare :-'It is curious that Shakspeare should, in so singular a character as Cloten, have given the exact prototype of a being whom I once knew. The unmeaning frown of the countenance; the shuffling gait; the burst of voice ; the bustling insignificance ; the fever and ague fits of valour; the froward tetchiness; the unprincipled malice; and, what is most curious, those occasional gleams of good sense, amidst the floating clouds of folly which generally darkened and confused the man's brain ; and which, in the character of Cloten, we are apt to impute to a violation of unity in character ; but in the sometime Captain C-n, I saw that the portrait of Cloten was not out of nature.'
“Poetical justice has been strictly observed in this drama ; the vicious characters meet the punishment due to their crimes, while virtue, in all its various degrees, is proportionably rewarded. The scene of retribution, which is the closing one of the play, is a masterpiece of skill; the development of the plot, for its fulness, completeness, and ingenuity, surpassing any effort of the kind among our author's contemporaries, and atoning for any partial incongruity which the structure or conduct of the story may have previously displayed.”—DRAKE.
END OF VOL. II.
BREAD STREET HILL.