« 前へ次へ »
spired by any mere motives of flattery. Polonius has thought aloud, as it were, and his honest mind has produced this reservation. And yet the reservation is, in fact, no detraction at all, for what King could possibly object to a man's owing his soul to his God?
Second. The mood of abstract, or impersonal, thought, is the best soil out of which flattery can spring. For abstract impersonal thought is wholly engaged upon a question something entirely aside from the mere person of the party under consideration. Flattery would therefore seem to be far from the particular state of mind. A fine distinction serves the purpose, for it is the very nature of conscientious thought to observe distinctions and differences. It is by making mental corrections and verbal qualifications that truth is arrived at. And so, when we have a character like Polonius, we may expect to see flattery swim in her own native element. What he has to say is really very simple — He owes his duty to his king as he owes his soul to God. He starts out in a way that would seem quite spontaneous and natural — I owe my duty as I owe my soul; and right there he sees the force of having a mental qualm and making, for the king's edification, a most conscientious distinction. His abstract and well-pondered revery has been given, also, a very religious turnnot a small point in impressing the king with his incorruptible veracity.
When Ophelia, even in her insanity, says “You must wear your rue with a difference, she is a true daughter of the Polonius family always observing differences and making fine distinctions.
Hudson, in adopting the reading and, explains his understanding of it by a paraphrase
“I hold my duty both to my God and to my king as I do my soul.” After reading this explanation one would be justified in inquiring, Holds his soul to whom? It is difficult to make consistent sense out of and; and the more one contemplates it as the substance of a Shakespearean remark the more hopeless it appears. The First Folio, besides offering the proper sense, is even correctly punctuated to enforce it.
In ist Henry VI, iii, 4, 12, we have: First to my God and next unto your Grace - an interesting parallel.
THE PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT
Scene I. An apartment in the Duke's palace.
Enter Duke, Escalus, Lords and Attendants
Duke. Of government the properties to unfold,
as your worth is able,
(Measure for Measure, i, 1, 8, Modern editions)
Then no more remains
(First Folio, 1623)
The vacancy indicated by the row of dots does not occur in the original editions of Shakespeare. The passage is thus printed by modern editors upon the theory that part of the text is missing. Many attempts have been made to fill out the supposed lacuna by conjecture, but as none have proved successful, the most approved practice is to indicate a loss in the text.
As this hitch in the lines occurs at the very opening of the play, it has been the cause of much perplexity. Henry Irving said: “This clause in the Duke's first sentence has proved a more awkward stumbling block to commentators than almost any passage in Shakespeare. It is one of the four passages in all the plays which Neilson particularly notes as “hopelessly corrupt.” The Globe editors have marked it with the obolus according to their explanation in the preface: “Whenever a lacuna occurs too great to be filled out with any approach to certainty by conjecture, we have marked the passage with an obolus (t)”.
What we need here is some thought upon the play as a whole. “Measure for Measure is a play which deals with the nature of government. Being a product of Shakespeare's riper years, it has behind it much deep and thoroughgoing thought upon the problems which confront society as a whole. In the outcome Shakespeare emphasizes the fact that though a government may have any number of laws, true justice and the public welfare are, after all, dependent upon the character and insight of those who hold the reins of authority.
In a good public officer three things are necessary — power, intellect and character. A man may have great intellectual ability but it will avail him little in a public position if he have not the authority or power to put his ideas into practice. On the other hand, a man may
be in a position of absolute authority and have any amount of brains, and yet his influence for good will still be dependent upon his moral character — his personal nature or “worth” as Shakespeare calls it; for it is this quality which is needed to temper his administration with high beneficent aims and a deep sympathetic insight of human weaknesses and needs. This inner personal government, which is as strict with itself as it is with others, and which looks its own shortcomings in the face, is necessary to guide the intellect and make the authority of good effect.
As I wish to offer this to the reader as a recognized truth, and not a mere interpretation of Shakespeare upon my part, let us take our information upon government from a great political economist of today. Nearest at hand, as I write, I find Outlines of Economics (1893) by Richard T. Ely of the University of Wisconsin. On page 293 he lays down broadly “The Nature and State of Public Activity.” After remarking that something more is needed than mere selfish interest to make a successful government, he lays down the following axiom (the italics being his own):
“We must add the social nature, teaching men to act in concert; the intellectual nature, teaching them to act consciously; the moral nature, teaching them to act rightly."
When we remember that people act in concert in order to have power, it will be seen that