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death no more dreadfully but as a drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless of what's past, present, and to come." He is a fine antithesis to the morality and hypocrisy of the other characters of the play. Barnardine is Caliban transported from Prospero's wizard island to the forests of Bohemia or the prisons of Vienna. He is a creature of bad habits, as Caliban is of gross instincts. He has, however, a strong notion of the natural fitness of things, according to his own sensations—** He has been drinking hard all night, and he will not be hanged that day"and Shakspeare has let him off at last. We do not understand why the philosophical German critic, Schlegel, should be so severe on those pleasant persons, Lucio, Pompey, and Master Froth, as to call them “ wretches." They appear all mighty comfortable in their occupations, and determined to pursue them, * as the flesh and fortune shall serve." A very good exposure of the want of sell-knowledge and contempt for others, which is so common in this world, is put into the mouth of Abhorson, the jailor, when the Provost proposes to associate Pompey with him in his office—" A bawd, sir? Fie upon him, he will discredit our mystery." And the same answer would serve, in nine instances out of ten, to the same kind of remark, “ Go to, sir, you weigh equally ; a feather will turn the scale." Shakspeare was in one sense the least moral of all writers; for morality (commonly so called) is made up of antipathies; and his talent consisted in sympathy with human nature, in all its shapes, degrees, depressions, and elevations. The object of the pedantio moralist is to find out the bad in everything : his was to show that "there is some soul of goodness in thingsevil." Even Master Barnartine is not left to the mercy of what others think of him; but, when he comes in, speaks for himself, and pleads his own cause, as well as if counsel had been assigned him. In one sense, Shak. speare was no moralist at all: in another, he was the greatrst of all moralists. He was a moralist in the same sense in which nature is one. Ile taught what he had learnt from her. lle showed the greatest knowledge of humanity, with the greatest fellow-feeling for it.
One of the must dramatic passages in the present play is the interview between Claudio and his sister, when she comes to inform him of the conditions on which Angelo will spare his life.
“CLAUDIO. Let me know the point.
ISABELLA. 0, I do fear thee, Claudio: and I quake,
CLAUDIO. Why give you me this shame ?
ISABELLA. There spake my brother! there my father's grave
CLAUDIO. The princely Angelo ?
ISABELLA. Oh, 'tis the cunning livery of hell,
Claudio. Oh heavens! it cannot be.
ISABELLA. Yes, he would give it thee, for this rank offence,
CLAUDIO. Thou shalt not do't.
ISABELLA. Oh, were it but my life,
CLAUDIO. Thanks, dear Isabel.
CLAUDIO. Yes.--Has he affections in him,
ISABELLA. Which is the least ?
Claudio. If it were damnable, he, being so wise,
ISABELLA. What says my brother?
CLAUDIO. Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
ISABELLA. Alas! alas !
CLAUDIO. Sweet sister, let me live:
What adds to the dramatic beauty of this scene and the effect of Claudio's passionate attachment to life is, that it immediately follows the Duke's lecture to him, in the character of the Friar, recommending an absolute indifference to it.
- "Reason thus with hfe
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself:
MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.
The Merry Wives of Windsor is no doubt a very amusing play, with a great deal of humor, character, and nature in it; but we should have liked it much better, if any one else had been the hero of it, instead of Falstaff. We could have been contented if Shakspeare had not been * commanded to show the knight in love." Wits and philosophers, for the most part, do not shine in that character; and Sir John himself, by no means, comes off with flying colors. Many people complain of the degradation and insults to which Don Quixote is so frequently exposed in his various adventures. But what are the uncoascious indignities which he suffers, compared with the sensible mortifications which Falstaff is made to bring upon himself! What are the blows and buffetings which the Don receives from the staves of Yanguesian carriers, or from Sancho Panza's more hard-hearted hands, compared with the contamination of the buck-basket, the disguise of the fat woman of Brentford, and the horns of Ilerne the hunter, which are discovered on Sir John's head! In reading the play, we indeed wish him well through all these discomfitures, but it would have been as well if he had not got into them. Falstaff, in The MEURT Wives or WINDSOR, is not the man he was in the two parts of Henry IV. His wit and eloquence have left him. Instead of making a butt of others, he is made a butt of by them. Neither is there a single particle of love in him to excuse his follies ; he is merely a designing, bare faced knave, and an unsuccessful one. The scene with Ford as Master Brook, and that with Simple, Slender's man,