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To the Authors of the BRITISH MAgazine, GENTLEMÉN,
H E Caliban of Shakes readers, that it is actually made up Som speare has been con- of various images borrowed from
ftantly produced as the sublime and enchanting Spencer, an original character, And to begin : He very probably created, independent caught the generai idea of Caliban's
of all imitation, by defurmity, from a fine original dean amazing effort of the poet's scriprion of Lust in the Faery Queen, fancy; and has been univer. Book IV. Cant. vii, Sian. 5. fally mentioned as a striking proof It was to weet, a wild and savage man, of Shakespeare's unaccountable in Yet was no man, but only like in Thape, vention, and boundless energy
And eke in ftature higher by a span, of imagination. Lord Falkland,
All over-grown witb bair, that could awhape
An hardy heart, and his wide mouth did Lord Vaughan, and Mr. Selden,
gape have concurred in observing, “ That With huge great teeth, like to a tusked boar; Shakespeare had not only found out for ke liv'd all on sapine and on rape a new sbarežer in bis Galiban. but of men and beasts, and fed on fleshly gore,
The sign whereof yet stain'd bis lips'afore, had also devised and adapted a netu Marker of language for that charac- His net bet lip was not like man nor beast, ter.” The latter part of this af. But like a wide deep poke, down hanging fertion Dr. Johnson, in his late, low, edition of Shakespeare, has denied. In which he wont the relics of his feast
And cruel spoil, which he had spar'd, to show; and endeavoured to confute; the
And over it bis buge great nose did grow, refutation of tbe former fhall be the full dreadfully empurpled all with blood, subject of this letter, in which I And down both sides two wide long ears hall codeavoar to convince your
did glow. January 1766,
Here, give me leave to observe, ing peculiar actions to peculiar perhad a direct description of Caliban fonages. * Florimel, in the Faery been intended by the poet, he could Queen, in the course of her troubles, hot have conveyed a more lively arrives at the house of a witch, inidea of the monster. By the bye, to which the enters, and is, after the predominant paffion of Shake. some difficulty, kindly received by speare's brute is lust: Tould any the beldam (as the poet calls her). one here object, thal, as this quota. This wretched woman had a lon lion only holds forth to us a general equally bad with herself, a lazy resemblance between the iwo dia- ruffian ; whom the poet, 10 mark bolical characters, it is very likely, his character in a more picturesque Shakespeare might, independently manner, says, was used to fug beof imitation, have formed the fore the funny ray: (Even here there image by the mere force of his is some faint trace of a Caliban). creative faculties. To this I an. He coming home, found the un. fwer, that a resemblance, in circum- happy beauty fitting 'beside his Kances of beauty or deformity, mother, and was struck at the figlit where the ideas are to be derived of her charms, (Mr. Warton, in from fenfible objects, common to the Adventurer, observes, how wonthe search of every imagination, is derful must have been the beauty feldom to be admitted as an imita. of Miranda, which could affect rion : but the case here is fingular; such an unfeeling brute as Shakefor the originality of the descrip. speare's monster) and immediatevion plainly consifts, iit. In depart- ly conceives impure defires (the ing from all actual existing objects. fame circumstance in Caliban's 20. ln a combinatiou of every idea story is notorious). But now we of deformity, every feature of ūgli. come to the most striking part of ness, and every notion of vice. the imitation; to ingratiate him. Here then the description is so u*. self with the lady, he goes to the common, that we can scarcely imagine utmoft extent of his rude abilities. the extraordinary hint which fugo Book Ill. Can. vii, Stan. 17. gested to one poet the notion of Ort from the forest wildings he did bring, painting in this grotesque manner, Whose lides empúrpled were with smiling Thould likewise bestow a similar visit red;
[to sing on a succeeding one; so that two And oft young birds, which he had taught
His mistrefs' praises, sweetly caroled; descriprions, which exa&ly tally,
Girlonds of flow'rs, sometimes for her fair thould at the same time be both head
[rel wild originals.
He fine would dight; sometimes the squirAfter all, what has been said He brought to her in bands, as conquered may not be to some fatisfactory; To be her thrall. to convince, if posible, these bigote Change the actual gift into an ted admirers of the wonderful man, I offer, observing the same conduct will exhibit him descending to with the perfons of the receivers, minute and characteristic circum- and we Mall find Caliban venting his Aances, at the same time displaying aukward kindness, in the fame his wonderful knowledge in adapt. characteristic manner ;
The reader will please to observe, the story is related io the words of the poet.
Cal. I prithee let me bring thee where as a proof of his not having his crabs grow,
(nuts, eye upon Spencer, is in fa&t to supAnd I with my long nails will dig thợc pigShew thee a jay's nest, and instruct thee how
pore, he did not know how to imi. To nare the nimble marmozet: I'll bring
tate with propriety. thee
[get thee By this time, I hope, the reader To cluit'ring filberds: And sometimes I'll will perceive that an original deYoung Thamois from the rock. . 'scription is one of the most energe
Should any one object, that the tic efforts of the human mind. In circumstances of Caliban's intended pursuing it, he not only discovers present, are wholly different from the extent of his imagination, but those of Spenser's perfonage, he will also his art and judgment. But I only point out the exquiste judge am afraid we are too ready to esteem ment of Shakespeare, which could complicated descriptions, compofed imitate, but not suffer himself to of various images, and blended inbe blinded by imitation: 6.gr. had to one body, as the Atrokes of ori. Caliban said, he would bring her ginality. Thus, I have often heard, birds, which he had taught to fing, Shakespeare's witches and fairies the impropriety would strike every considered as the creatures of the body. In what then, perhaps some imagination; but how unjustly? one may alk, confifts Shakespeare's when it is plain, that they are no. imitation. In the fimilar and rude 'thing else but human beings, fure densaftrations of their kindness; their nished with preter- natural qualities ; fituations are in a measure parallel, it required no great effort of the their ignorance nearly the same, imagination, to describe beings, their luft the fame. So far their which in those days it is notorious case resembles. The witch's fon is made part of the popular creed : in love, pays his court with pre- it is true, they speak in character; sents entirely correspondent to his so far they bear the mark of oriignorance : Caliban offers to do the ginality. But I question whether fame, with this difference, that his Shakespeare would not rather have presents are still more favage, and founded his reputation upon his that en two accounts; first, the Lear, than his Midluminer's Night's Dature of the place required it, and Dream, notwithstanding it is an fecondly, the more gross and brutal exquisite piece of poetry. ignorance of the giver. So that to
I am yours, &c. produce here Shakespeare's art and judgment in adapting of characters,
IN the reign of Yamodia the Mag- the superstition of the country,
nificent, the kingdom of Gol- that they required the facrifice of a 'conda was depopulated by a peftin virgin of royal blood.
lence; and after every other at de happened that at this time tempt to propitiate the gods had there was no virgin of the royal * failed, it was believed, according to blood but Tamira, the daughter of
Yamodin, whom he had betrothed that he had bribed a priest to his to one of the princes of his court, interest, by whom the ceremonies intending that he should succeed to of marriage might be immediately ihe throne; for Yamodin had no performed; then on the morrow, son, and he was not willing that as she would be no longer a virgin, his empire should descend to a the propitiation of gods could not woman.
. be effected by her death; and that Yamodin considered himself not her father, though for political pur. less the father of his people, than poses he might appear to be dirof Tamira; and therefore, with pleased, would yet secretly rejoice whatever reluctance, determined to at an event, which, without his con. relieve the life of the public, with currence, had delivered him from that of the individual. He prof. the dreadful obligation of sacrificing trated himself in the temple, and an only child, through whom he invoked his principal idol as the hoped to transmit dominion to his fountain of life: “ From thee, said posterity. he, I have derived my being, and Tothis proposal Tamira, whose at. the life a hich I have propagated is tachment to life was now strengthenthine: when I am about to restore it, ed by love, and in whose borom the Jet me remember with gratitude, regret of precluded pleasure had that I possessed it by thy bounty; succeeded to the hope of glory, at and let thy mercy accept it as a length consented ; but she consent. Tansom for my people.”
ed with all the timidity, reluctance, Orders were given for the facris and confusion, which are produced fice on the next day; and Tamira by a consciousness of guilt; and was permitted to dispose of the in- the prince himself introduced the terval as the pleased. She received man, who was to accomplish the the intimation of her father's plea. purpose both of his ambition and Sure, without much surprise ; be. his love, with apparent tremor and cause, as he knew the custom of hesitation, her country, the scarce hoped that On the morrow, when the priest : the demand of her life would have stood ready at the altar to receive been delayed so long: the fortified the victim, and ihe king command. herself against the terrors of death, ed his daughter to be brought forth, by anticipating the honours that the prince produced her as his wife. would be paid to her memory; and Yamodin stood fome moments in had juft triumphed over the desire fufpence; and then dismifing the of life, when, upon perceiving her assembly, retired to his palace, lover enter her apartment, the lost After having remained about two her fortitude in a moment, and hours in private, he sent for, the burst into tears.
prince. “ The gods, said he, tho' When they were alone, after his, they continue the peftilence, bave eyes had, like her's, over-flowed with yet in mercy rescued my people filent sorrow, he took her hand, from the oppression of a tyrant, and with a look of inexpreffible who appears to consider the life of anxiety and tenderness, told her, millions as nothing in competithat one expedient was yet left, by tion with the indulgence of his which her life might be preserved; lust, his avarice, or his ambition.”