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If love ambitious sought a match of birth,
Whose veins bound richer blood than lady Blanch ?
Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,
Is the young dauphin every way complete :
If not complete of, say he is not she;
And she wants nothing, to name want,
If want it be not, that she is not he.
He is the half part of a blessed man,
Left to be finished by such as she;
And she a fair divided excellence,
Whose fulness of perfection lies in him.
0, two such silver currents, when they join,
Do glorify the banks that bound them in:
And two such shores to two such streams made one,
Two such controlling bounds, shall you be kings,

To these two princes, if you marry them.” Another instance, which is certainly very happy as an exam. ple of the simple enumeration of a number of particulars, is Salisbury's remonstrance against the second crowning of the king.

“Therefore to be possessed with double pomp,
To guard a title that was rich before ;
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, to add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper light
To seek the beauteous eye of heav'n to garnish:
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.”


This is justly considered as one of the most delightful of Shak. speare's comedies. It is full of sweetness and pleasantry. It is perhaps too good-natured for comedy. It has little satire, and no spleen. It aims at the ludicrous rather than the ridiculous. It makes us laugh at the follies of mankind, not despise them, and still less bear any ill.will towards them. Shakspeare's corno genius resembles the bee rather in its power of extracting sweets from weeds or poisons, than in leaving a sting behind it. He gives the most amusing exaggeration of the prevailing fuibles of his characters, but in a way that they themselves, instead of being offended at, would almost join in to humor; he rather contrives opportunities for them to show themselves off in the hap. piest lights, than renders them contempuble in the perverse comstruction of the wit or malice of others. There is a certain stage of society in which people become conscious of their pe. culiarities and absurdities, affect to disguise what they are, and set up pretensions to what they are not. This gives rise to a corresponding style of comedy, the object of which is to detect the disguises of self love, and to make reprisals on these preposterous assumptions of vanity, by marking the contrast be{ween the real and the atfected character as severely as possi. ble, and denying to those who would impose on us for what they are not, even the merit which they have. This is the comedy of artificial life, of wit and satire, such as we see it in Congreve, Wycherley, Vanbrugh, &c. To this succeeds a state of society from which the same sort of affectation and pretence are banished by a grrater knowledge of the world or by their successtul exposure on the stage ; and which by neutralising the materials of comic character, both natural and artificial, leaves no comedy at all—but the sentimental. Such is our modern comedy. There is a period in the progress of manners anterior to both these, in which the foibles and follies of individuals are of nature's planting, not the growth of art or study; in which they are therefore unconscious of them themselves, or care not who knows them, if they can but have their whim out; and in which, as there is Do attempt at imposition, the spectators rather receive pleasure from humoring the inclinations of the persons they laugh at, than wish to give them pain by exposing their absurdity. This may be called the comedy of nature, and it is the comedy which we generally find in Shakspeare. Whether the analysis here given be just or not, the spirit of his comedies is evidently quite distinct from that of the authors above mentioned, as it is in its essence the same with that of Cervantes, and also very frequently of Molière, though he was more systematic in his extravagance than Shakspeare. Shakspeare's comedy is of a pastoral and poetical cast. Folly is indigenous to the soil, and shoots out with native, happy, unchecked luxuriance. Absurdity has every encouragement afforded it; and nonsense has room to fourish in. Nothing is stunted by the churlish, icy hand of in. difference or severity. The poet runs riot in a conceit, and idolizes a quibble. His whole object is to turn the meanest or rudest objects to a pleasurable account. The relish which he has of a pun, or of the quaint humor of a low character, does not interfere with the delight with which he describes a beautiful image, or the most refined love. The clown's forced jests do not spoil the sweetness of the character of Viola ; the same house is big enough to hold Malvolio, the Countess, Maria, Sir Toby, and Sir Andrew Ague-cheek. For instance, nothing can fall much bwer than this last character in intellect or morals: yet how are his weaknesses nursed and dandled by Sir Toby into some. ming “high fantastical,” when on Sir Andrew's commendation of himself for dancing and fencing, Sir Toby answers—“Wherefore are these things hid? Wherefore have these gifts a curtain before them? Are they like to take dust like mistress Moll's nicture? Why dost thou not go to church in a galliard, and come home in a coranto? My very walk should be a jig!


What dost thou mean? Is this a world to hide virtues in ? 1 did think by the excellent constitution of thy leg, it was framed under the star of a galliard !” How Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and the Clown afterwards chirp over their cups, how they “rouse the night-owl in a catch, able to draw three souls out of one weaver ?" What can be better than Sir Toby's unanswerable answer to Malvolio, “Dost thou think, because thou art virtu. ous, there shall be no more cakes and ale ?"—In a word, the best turn is given to everything, instead of the worst. There is a constant infusion of the romantic and enthusiastic, in propor. tion as the cha racters are natural and sincere ; whereas, in the more artificial style of comedy, everything gives way to ridiculo and indifference, there being nothing left but atfectation on one side, and incredulity on the other. Much as we like Shak. speare's comedies, we cannot agree with Dr. Johnson that they are better than his tragedies ; nor do we like them half so well. If his inclination to comedy sometimes led him to trifle with the seriousness of tragedy, the poetical and impassioned passages are the best parts of his comedies. The great and secret charm of Twelfth Night is the character of Viola. Muchi as we think of catches and cakes and ale, there is something that we like better. We have a friendship for Sir Toby; we patronise Sir Andrew; we have an understanding with the Clown, a sneak. ing kindness for Maria and her rogueries; we feel a regard fere Malvolio, and sympathize with his gravity, his smiles, his cmes garters, his yellow stockings, and imprisonment in the sticks, But there is something that excites in us a stronger feeling than all this it is Viola's confession of her love.

** Dere. What's her history!

VIOLA. A Nank, my lord, she never told her love:
She let concealment, like a worm i'th' bud,
Feed on her damask cherk. she pin'd in thoughly
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument.
Smiling at grief was not this love indeed!
We men may ay m«re, swou more, bat need.
Our sh** are note than will, 6** 11 we prese
Mob in our vums, but little in 'ur love

Drxe Hut ared thy sister of her leve, my boy!

VIOLA. I am all the daughters of my father's house,
And all the brothers too ;-and yet I know not.”-

Shakspeare alone could describe the effect of his own poetry.

“Oh, it came o'er the ear like the sweet south
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odor.”

What we so much admire here is not the image of Patience on a monument, which has been generally quoted, but the lines before and after it. “ They give a very echo to the seat where love is throned.” How long ago it is since we first learnt to repeat them; and still, still they vibrate on the heart, like the sounds which the passing wind draws from the trembling strings of a harp left on some desert shore! There are other passages of not less impassioned sweetness. Such is Olivia's address to Se. bastian, whom she supposes to have already deceived her in a promise of marriage.

“ Blame not this haste of mine: if you mean well,
Now go with me and with this holy man
Into the chantry by: there before him,
And underneath that consecrated roof,
Plight me the full assurance of your faith,
That my most jealous and too doubtful soul

May live at peace.” We have already said something of Shakspeare's songs. One of the most beautiful of them occurs in this play, with a preface of his own to it.

“DUKE. O fellow, come; the song we had last night.
Mark it, Cesario, it is old and plain ;
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,
And the free maids that weave their thread with bones,
Do use to chaunt it: it is silly sooth,
And dallies with the innocence of love,
Like the old age.


Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cyprus let me be laid;


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