Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

bling haste and airy grace, borne upon the thoughts of love, does the Friar's exclamation give of her, as she approaches his cell to be married

“ Here comes t'te ladly. Oh, so light a foot
Will ne'er wear out the everlasting flint :
A lover may bestride the gossamer,
That idles in the wanton summer air,

And yet not fall, so light is vanity." The tragic part of this character is of a piece with tne rest. It is the heroic founded on tenderness and delicacy. Of this kind are her resolution to follow the Friar's advice, and the con. flict in her bosom between apprehension and love when she comes to take the sleeping poison. Shakspeare is blamed for the mixture of low characters. If this is a deformity, it is the source of a thousand beauties. One instance is the contrast between the guileless simplicity of Juliet's attachment to her first love, and the convenient policy of the nurse in advising ber to marry Paris, which excites such indignation in her mistress. “ Ancient damnation! oh most wicked fiend," &c.

Romeo is Hamlet in love. There is the same rich exuberance of passion and sentiment in the one, that there is of thought and sentiment in the other. Berth are atuent and sell involved, bwcb live out of themselves in a world of imagination. Hamlet is ab. stracted from everything; Reo is abstracted froin everything but his love, and lost in it. His " frail thoughts dally with faint surinise," and are fashioned out of the suggestions of hope, “the flatteries of sleep." He is himself only in his Juliet; she is his only reality, his heart's true home and ids. The rest of the world is to him a passing dream. flow finely is this character portrayed where be recollects himself on seeing Paris slain at the tomb of Juliet!

** What sand my man when my beforand sul Dul not attend bien as we mode! I think

He told me Paria shuid have married Juliet "
And again. just before he bears the sudden tidings of her death

* If I may trust the fatiety of sleep.
My dreams prouge sme jopfael new* w hond.

My bosom’s lord sits lightly on his throne,
And all this day an unaccustom'd spirit
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.
I dreamt my lady came and found me dead
(Strange dream! that gives a dead man leave to think)
And breath'd such life with kisses on my lips,
That I reviv'd and was an emperor.
Ah me! how sweet is love itself possess'd,

When but love's shadows are so rich in joy!" Romeo's passion for Juliet is not a first love: it succeeds and drives out his passion for another mistress, Rosaline, as the sun hides the stars. This is perhaps an artifice (not absolutely necessary) to give us a higher opinion of the lady, while the first absolute surrender of her heart to him enhances the richness of the prize. The commencement, progress, and ending of his second passion are however complete in themselves, not injured, if they are not bettered by the first. The outline of the play is taken from an Italian novel ; but the dramatic arrangement of the different scenes between the lovers, the more than dramatic interest in the progress of the story, the development of the characters with time and circumstances, just according to the degree and kind of interest excited, are not inferior to the ex. pression of passion and nature. It has been ingeniously remarked, among other proofs of skill in the contrivance of the fable, that the improbability of the main incident in the piece, the administering of the sleeping-potion, is softened and obviated from the beginning by the introduction of the Friar on his first appearance culling simples and descanting on their virtues. Of the passionate scenes in this tragedy, that between the Friar and Romeo when he is told of his sentence of banishment, that between Juliet and the Nurse when she hears of it, and of the death of her cousin Tybalt (which bear no proportion in her mind, when passion, after the first shock of surprise, throws its weight into the scale of her affections), and the last scene at the tomb, are among the most natural and overpowering. In all of these it is not merely the force of any one passion that is given, but the slightest and most unlooked-for transitions from one to another, the mingling currents of every different feeling rising

1412931

up and prevailing in turn, swayed by the master.mind of the poet, as the waves undulate beneath the gliding storm. Thus when Juliet has by her complaints encouraged the Nurse to say, “Shame come to Romeo," she instantly repels the wish, which she had herself occasioned, by answering

• Blister'd be thy tongue
For such a wish, he was not born to shame.
l'pon his brow shame is ashamed to sit,
For 'tis a throne where honor may be crown'd
Sole monarch of the universal earth!
o, what a beast was I to chide him so !

Nurse. Will you speak well of him that killed your cotasun!

Juliet Shall I speak all of him that is my husband?
Ah, my poor lor, what tongue shall smooth thy name,

When I, thy three-hours' wife, have mangled it?" And then follows, on the neck of her remorse and returning fondness, that wish treading almost on the brink of impiety, but still held back by the strength of her devotion to her lord, that " father, mother, nay, or both were dead," rather than Romeo banished. If she requires any other excuse, it is in the manner in which Romeo echoes ber frantio grief and disappointment in the next scene at being banished from her. Perhaps one of the finest pieces of acting that ever was witnessed on the stage, is Mr. Kean's manner of doing this scene and his repetition of the word Banished. He treads close indeed upon the genius of his author.

A passage which this celebrated actor and able commentator on Shakspeare (actors are the best commentators on the poets) did not give with equal truth or furco of feeling was the one which Ronco makes at the tomb of Juliet, before he drinks the poison.

- " Let me prouse this face
Merrutu's kinsman' le erunt Paris
What said my man when my brt'd sal
Dad not attend him as we ride! I think,
He told me Paris should have marry'd Juliet
Said he bul mo? o ded I dream it so!
Or am I mad, hearing him talk of Juliet,
To think it was so, gire me thy ho

One writ with me in sour misfortune's book!
P'll bury thee in a triumphant grave
For here lies Juliet.

O, my love ! my wife !
Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath,
Hath had no power yet upon iny beauty :
Thou art not conquer'd; beauty's ensign yet
Is crimson in thy lips, and in thy cheeks,
And Death's pale flag is not advanced there.-
Tybalt, ly'st thou there in thy bloody sheet ?
0, what more favor can I do to thee,
Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain,
To sunder his that was thine enemy?
Forgive me, cousin! Ah, dear Juliet,
Why art thou yet so fair! I will believe
That unsubstantial Death is amorous ;
And that the lean abhorred monster keeps
Thee here in dark to be his paramour.
For fear of that, I will stay still with thee;
And never from this palace of dim night
Depart again : here, here will I remain
With worms that are thy chamber-maids ; O, here
Will I set up my everlasting rest ;
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, iook your last :
Arms, take your last embrace ! and lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss,
A dateless bargain to engrossing death !-
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavory guide !
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks, my sea-sick weary bark !
Here's to my love !--[Drinks.] 0, true apothecary !
Thy drugs are quick.–Thus with a kiss I die.

The lines in this speech describing the loveliness of Juliet, who is supposed to be dead, have been compared to those in which it is said of Cleopatra after her death, that she looked “as she would take another Antony into her strong toil of grace ;" and a question has been started which is the finest, that we do Dot pretend to decide. We can more easily decide between Shakspeare and any other author, than between him and him. self. Shall we quote any more passages to show his genius or The beauty of ROMEO AND JULIET ? At that rate, we might quote the whole. The late Mr. Sheridan, on being shown a volume of the Beauties of Shakspeare, very properly asked" But where are the other eleven ?" The character of Mercutio in this play is one of the most mercurial and spirited of the productions of Siakspeare's comic muse.

« AnteriorContinuar »