« 前へ次へ »
nity of rank, taking a peculiar hue You bred him as my playfellow, and he is
A man worth any woman: overbuys mé from the conjugal character which Almost the sum he pays.' is shed over all like a consecration " When Posthumus is driven into exand a holy charm.” It is thus that ile, he comes to take a last farewell of his this delightful writer expresses ge- wife: nerally her conception of a character, . Imogen. My dearest husband, and then she proceeds to evolve it, I something fear my father's wrath, but noth'ng
(Always reserved my holy duty) what and to illustrate it by the most beau- His rage can do on me. You must be gone, tiful and apt quotations.
And I shall here abide the hourly shot
of angry eyes: not comforted to live, “ It is true, that the conjugal tender
But that there is this jewel in the world
That I may see again. ness of Imogen is at once the chief sub- Posthumus. My queen! my mistress! ject of the drama, and the pervading charm
O lady, weep no more ! lest I give cause
To be suspected of more tenderness of her character ; but it is not true, I Than doth become a man. I will remain think, that she is merely interesting from The loyal'st husband that did e'er plight troth. her tenderness and constancy to her hus
Should we be taking leave band. We are so completely let into the
As long a term as yet we have to live, essence of Imogen's nature, that we feel The loathness to depart would grow-Adieu ! as if we had known and loved her before
Nay, stay a little :
Were you but riding forth to air yourself, she was married to Posthumus, and Such parting were too petty. that her conjugal virtues are a charm
Look here, love,
This diamond was my mother's: take it, heart; superadded, like the colour laid upon a But keep it till you woo another wife, beautiful groundwork. Neither does it When Imogen is dead!' appear to me, that Posthumus is un
“ Imogen, in whose tenderness there worthy of Imogen, or only interesting on is nothing jealous or fantastic, does not Imogen's account. His character, like seriously apprehend that her husband will those of all the other persons of the drama, woo another wife when she is dead. It is kept subordinate to hers; but this could is one of those fond fancies which women not be otherwise, for she is the proper are apt to express in moments of feeling, subject-the heroine of the poem. Every merely for the pleasure of hearing a prothing is done to ennoble Posthumus, and testation to the contrary. When Posjustify her love for him; and though we thumus leaves her, she does not burst certainly approve him more for her sake forth in eloquent lamentation, but that than for bis own, we are early prepared silent, stunning, overwhelming sorrow, to view him with Imogen's eyes; and not which renders the mind insensible to all only excuse, but sympathize in her ad- things else, is represented with equal miration of one
force and simplicity. • Who sat ʼmongst men like a descended god.' ' Imogen. There cannot be a pinch in death
More sharp than this is.
o disloyal thing, • Who lived in court, which it is rare to do, That shouldst repair my youth! thou heapest Most praised, most loved :
A year's age on me. A sample to the youngest ; to the more mature Imogen.
I beseech you, sir, A glass that feated them.'
Harm not yourself with your vexation; I
Am senseless of your wrath; a touch more rare And with what beauty and delicacy is her Subdues all pangs, all sears. conjugal and matronly character discri.
Past grace? obedience?
Imogen. Past hope, and in despair—that way minated! Her love for her husband is as
past grace." deep as Juliet's for her lover, but without
Imogen, we believe, was the most any of that headlong vehemence, that flut- beautiful being ever beheld by Shaktering amid hope, fear, and transportthat giddy intoxication of heart and sense,
Cytherea, which belongs to the novelty of passion, How bravely thou becom'st thy bed! fresh which we feel once, and but once, in our lives. We see her love for Posthumus
And whiter tban the sheets! That I acting upon her mind with the force of an babitual feeling, heightened by enthu
But kiss-one kiss ! Rubies unparagoned siastic passion, and hallowed by the sense of duty. She asserts and justifies her
How dearly they do't! 'Tis her breathaffection with energy indeed, but with a
ing that a calm and wife-like dignity
Perfumes the chamber thus. The flame
o the taper • Cym. Thou took'st a beggar, wouldst have Bows toward her; and would underpeep
inade my throne A seat for baseness.
her lids Imogen. No, I rather added a lustre to it. To see the enclos'd lights now canopied Cym. O thou vile one! Imogen.
Under those windows, white and azure, Sir, It is your fault that I have loved Posthumus;
With blue of heaven's own tinct ! the dignity, without the assumption
On her left breast, of rank and royal birth.” A mole, cinque-spotted, like the crimson But, in few words, Posthumus redrop
veals to us the character of the sinI'th' bottom of a cowslip !
less creature he had in his delusion Under her breast
doomed to death.
“ She of my lawful pleasure me reOf that most delicate lodging—by my life
strained, I kiss'd it, and it gave me present hunger
And prayed me ost forbearance ; did it
A prudency so rosy, the sweet view on't
Might well bave warm'd Old Saturn, that loveliness given by the licentious
I thought her
It was not to be thought that such
a critic would overlook any passages holy to be voluptuous, subdues his
or incidents that convey strong impassion, and arrests his steps in adiniration and worship!
pression of the tenderness of ImoSecretly wedded, we almost for
gen for her husband; and she quotes get that Imogen is not a virgin. Mrs
several, mentioning at the same time Jameson remarks that the stupid
the unobtrusive simplicity with obstinate malignity of Cloten, and which they are introduced, and the the wicked machinations of the
perfect unconsciousness on her part, Queen,
which adds to the effect. Thus,
when she has lost her bracelet“ A father cruel and step-dame false,
“ Go, bid my women A foolish suitor to a wedded lady,"
Search for a jewel, that too casually justify whatever might need excuse
Hath left mine arm. It was thy masin the conduct of Imogen-as her
ter's : 'shrew me concealed marriage, and her fight
If I would lose it for a revenue from her father's court—and serve
any king in Europe. I do think to call out several of the most beau. I saw't this morning; confident I am, tiful and striking parts of her cha
Last night 'twas on mine arm-I kiss'd it. racter-particularly that decision and I liope it has not gone to tell my lord vivacity of temper which in her har
That I kiss aught but be." monize so beautifully with exceeding It had so "gone—and our knowdelicacy, meekness, and submission. ledge that lachimo bad stolen it, In the scene with her detested suitor makes the expression of that hope there is at first a careless majesty of not only natural but pathetic—which disdain—but when he dares to pro- else might have seemed too fantasvoke her by reviling the absent Pos- tical. thumus, her indignation heightens When she opens her bosom to her scorn, and her scorn sets a keen meet the death to which her husedge on her indignation.
band had doomed her, she finds his And here we cannot omit noticing letters preserved next her heart. another of those fine observations
“ What's here? that drop so naturally from the mind
The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus ?of feminine genius.“ One thing
Soft, we'll no defence." more must be particularly remarked, because it serves to individualize The baseness and folly of the conthe character from the beginning to duct of Posthumus in staking his the end of the poem. We are con- ring on the virtue of his wife, adstantly sensible that Imogen, besides mits, says our admirable critic, of being a tender and devoted woman, no defence, and has been justly cenis a princess and a beauty, at the sured. But on proceeding to shew same time that she is ever superior that Shakspeare, feeling that Posto her position and her external thumus needed every excuse, has charms." There is, for instance, a managed the quarelling scene becertain airy majesty of deportment tween him and lachimo with the -a spirit of accustomed command most admirable skill, she makes for breaking out every now and then- him an excellent defence-almost a
justification. For Posthumus is not, I be revenged ?' And when he explains
* Away! I do contemn mine ears, that have foolish, no doubt; but it was not So long attended thee. If thou wert honourable, base—nor was his order to Pisanio
Thou wouldst have told this tale for virtue, not
For such an end thou seek'st, as base as strange. to kill her cruel (for the times); Thou wrong'st a gentleman, who is as far since he believed on damning evi
From thy report, as thou from honour; and
Solicit'st here a lady that disdains dence, that “thy mistress, Pisanio, Thee and the devil alike.' hath played the strumpet in my bed " It has been remarked by IIazlitt, —the testimonies whereof lie bleed that her readiness to pardon Iachimo's ing in me.” But if he were cruel in false imputation, and his designs against commanding her to be killed, re- herself, is a good lesson to prudes, and member his agony over the bloody may show that where there is a real áttoken of Imogen's death, in the field tachment to virtue, there is no need of between the British and Roman an outrageous antipathy to vice.' camps. Though he even then be- " This is true; but can we fail to perlieved her guilty, he passionately ceive that the instant and ready forgivedesired that Pisanio“ had saved the
ness of Imogen is accounted for, and rennoble Imogen to repent.” And what dered more graceful and characteristic by makes him “ disrobe himself of his the very means which Iachimo employs Italian weeds, and suit himself as
to win it? He pours forth the most endoes a British peasant?” He answers
thusiastic praises of her husband, professes -“So I'll die for thee, O Imogen, that he merely made this trial of her out even for whom my life is every
of his exceeding love for Posthumus, and breath a death.” His guilt against her
she is pacified at once; but with exceedstill believed guilty, he longs to
ing delicacy of feeling she is represented cleanse by such expiation. There.
as maintaining her dignified reserve and fore, honour to the loyal Leonatus,
her brevity of speech to the end of the
scene." It is hard to say whether Imogen appears more admirable in the inter- Hazlitt's remark is bad and false view with the false Italian who at- Mrs Jameson's remark is good and tempts her honour, or in the scene true; Imogen had an outrageous anwith Pisanio, near Milford Haven, tipathy to vice; and so we hope has when she is told she is to die for in- every virtuous woman, when solifidelity to her husband's bed. cited to sin, in her husband's absence "In the interview between Imogen audacious villain like Iachimo.
from home on foreign travel, by an and Iachimo, he does not begin his attack on her virtue by a direct accusation
" We must also observe how beautiagainst Posthumus; but by dark bints fully the character of Imogen is distin. and half-uttered insinuations, such as lago guished from those of Desdemona and uses to madden Othello, he intimates Hermione. When she is made acquaintthat her husband, in his absence from her,
ed with her husband's cruel suspicions, has betrayed her love and truth, and for. we see in her deportment neither the gotten her in the arms of another. All meek submission of the former, nor the that Imogen says in this scene is compri- calm resolute dignity of the latter. The sed in a few lines-a brief question or a first effect produced on her by her husmore brief remark. The proud and deli. band's letter is conveyed to the fancy by cate reserve with which she veils the an- the exclamation of Pisanio, who is gazing guish she suffers, is inimitably beautiful. on her as she reads : The strongest expression of reproach he What shall I need to draw my sword? The paper can draw from her, is only, “My lord, I Has cut her throat already!' No, 'tis slander, fear, hath forgot Britain.' When he con
Whose edge is sharper than the sword ! tinues in the same strain, she exclaims in And in her first exclamations we trace an agony, “Let me hear no more !' When besides astonishment, and anguish, and he urges her to revenge, she asks, with the acute sense of the injustice inflicted all the simplicity of virtue, “How should on her, a flash of indignant spirit which
we do not find in Desdemona or Her for poor sick Fidele, and their sorrow mione.
for his supposed death! False to his bed !-what is 't to be false? To lie in watch there, and to think of him?
“ Arv. The bird is dead, To weep 'twixt clock and clock? If sleep charge That we have made so much on! I had nature,
rather To break it with a fearful dream of him, And cry myself awake ?--that's false to his bed, Have skipped from sixteen years of age Is it?'
to sixty, “ This is followed by that affecting la- To have turned my leaping time into a mentation over the falsehood and injus- crutch, tice of her husband, in which she betrays Than have seen this !” no atom of jealousy or wounded self-love, but observes, in the extremity of her an
In her seeming death in that cave, guish, that after his lapse from truth, all Imogen is more beautiful even than good seeming would be discredited,' and in her own chamber, when lachimo she then resigns herself to his will with describes her as she lies in sleep. the most entire submission,"
All gentlest and tenderest epithets
of love, and sorrow, and pity, are Imogen has now
lavished on the fair Fidele, then " Forgot that rarest treasure of her thought to be a corpse, by those cheek,
young poets, and princes, and paraExposing it unto the greedy bite gons of nature. And when they have Of common kissing Titan, and forgot lightened the burden of their sorrow, Her laboursome and dainty trims wherein by pouring it out in all wildest and She made great Juro angry,"
most wailing lamentations, yet all and is standing, in boy's clothes, be- “ beautiful exceedingly" in the imafore the cave of Belarius. She en- gery of the woods, how pure and deep ters, and how perfectly beautiful the the moral vein that sanctifies their picture in the few following lines ! elegiac song! But from beneath all Belarius says to the noble boys, their sweet and sad bestrewments, Guiderius and Averagas,
she who is their sister revives, un
conscious of having lain so long in “ Stay! come not in! But that it eats our victuals, I should Milford-haven ; which is the way ?”
that perilous swoon—“ Yes, sir, on think
The most touching words her pale Here were a fairy ! Guit. What's the matter, sir?
lips could have uttered - and we Bel. By Jupiter, an angel! or, if not,
feel, as she returns to sorrow and An earthly paragon! Behold divineness
suffering, as if these funereal obseNo elder than a boy!
quies had been celebrated but in a Imo. Good masters, harm me not:
dream! Before I enter'd here, I called ; and
Mrs Jameson, with the best taste, thought
says but little of Imogen in the cave. To have begged or bought what I have She alludes to the preservation of her took: Good troth
feminine character under her masI have stolen nought; nor would not, culine attire, her delicacy, her mothough I had found
desty, and her timidity, which are Gold strewed o’the floor. There's money all managed with the most perfect for my meat :
consistency and unconscious grace. I would have left it on the board, so soon Nor must we, says she, forget that As I had made my meal, and parted her " neat cookery,” which is so With prayers for the provider.
prettily eulogised by GuideriusGuid. Money, youth?
“ He cut our roots in characters, Arv. All gold and silver rather turn to dirt !
And sauced our broths, as Juno had been As 'tis no better reckoned, but of those
sick, Who worship dirty gods!
And he her dieter," Imo. I see you are angry.
formed part of the education of a Know, if you kill me for my fault, I should princess in those remote times. To Have died, had I not made it."
say more of such painting and such But what heart has not kindled at poetry, so wild as almost to be preo the sudden love and friendship of ternatural, and yet natural all over, those two young nobles of nature for and of wondrous elevation, she herthe beautiful boy Imogen, their pity self felt would be worse than needless,
and in her delight and admiration less well of purest affection, but its her eloquent lips are mute.
waters sleep in silence and obscurity. But we must give the beautiful Every thing in her seems to lie beconclusion of her critique :
yond our view, and affects us in a “The catastrophe of this play has been manner which we feel rather than much admired for the peculiar skill with perceive. The character appears to which all the various threads of interest have no surface, no salient points on are gathered together at last, and en. which the fancy can readily seize; twined with the destiny of Imogen. It there is little external developement may be added, that one of its chief beau. of intellect, less of passion, and still ties is the manner in which the character less of imagination.” It is completely of Imogen is not only preserved, but made out in the course of a few rises upon us to the conclusion with add. scenes, and we are surprised to find, ed grace: her instantaneous forgiveness of that in these few scenes there are maher husband before he even asks it, when terials enough for twenty heroines. she flings herself at once into his arms, She then gives us her idea of Corde"Why did you throw your wedded lady from lia's character :
“ It appears to me that the whole claand her magnanimous reply to her father, when he tells her; that by the discovery ciples of human action, the love of truth
racter rests upon the two sublimest prinof her two brothers she has lost a king, and the sense of duty; but these, when dom
they stand alone, (as in the Antigone,) *No-I have gain'd two worlds by it
are apt to strike us as severe and cold. clothing a noble sentiment in a noble Shakspeare has, therefore, wreathed them image, give the finishing touches of ex- round with the dearest attributes of our cellence to this most enchanting portrait. feminine nature, the power of feeling and
“ On the whole, Imogen is a lovely com- inspiring affection. The first part of the pound of goodness, truth, and affection, play shews us how Cordelia is loved, the with just so much of passion, and intel- second part how she can love. To her lect, and poetry, as serve to lend to the father she is the object of a secret preferpicture that power and glowing richness ence; his agony at her supposed unkind. of effect which it would otherwise have ness draws from him the confession, that wanted; and of her it might be said, if he had loved her most, and thought to set we could condescend to quote from any his rest on her kind nursery.' Till then she other poet with Shakspeare open before had been ‘his best object, the argument of us, that 'her person was a paradise, and his praise, balm of his age, most best, most her soul the cherub to guard it."
dearest!' The faithful and worthy Kent We come now to Cordelia. Words- is ready to brave death or exile in her de. worth says, that to her
fence; and afterwards a farther impres
sion of her benign sweetness is conveyed “ The meanest flower that blows can give in a simple and beautiful manner, when Thoughts that do often lie tvo deep for we are told that since the lady Cordelia
went to France, her father's poor fool had To weep over a flower, would much pined away.' We have her sensi. scarcely, under any circumstances, bility when patience and sorrow strove except association with miserable which should express her goodliest ;' and sufferings of the heart, be becoming all her filial tenderness when she comin a man not only full-grown, but mits her poor father to the care of the "somewhat declined into the vale physician, when she hangs over him as he of years." Yet tears flow from pro
is sleeping, and kisses him as she confound depths; and we wish Words. templates the wreck of grief and majesty." worth, in place of that startling as- We have then, accompanied by ilsertion, would express some of those lustrative quotations, 'unpretending thoughts inspired by the sight of but admirable remarks on Cordelia's “ the meanest flower that blows,” mild magnanimity, as it shines out that are “ too deep for tears." in her farewell to her sisters, of
They would probably be not a little whose evil qualities she is perfectly lachrymose. But Mrs Jameson right aware,- in the modest pride with ly says, that "there is in the beauty of which she replies to the Duke of Cordelia's character, an effect too sa- Burgundy—the motives with which cred for words, and almost ‘too deep she takes up arms, “not for ambition for tears;' within her heart is a fathom- but a dear father's rights,”-in her