Imatges de pÓgina


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Cal. I have seen thee in her, and I do adore thee;

My mistress show'd me thee, thy dog, and bush. Which profession of faith elicits the scornful scepticism of Trinculo as to the monster's intellectuals. But the wine gets higher and higher to Caliban's head, and down he grovels lower and lower at Stephano's feet. His gratitude is exuberant to the wine-giver, his promises unbounded in return. Stephano and Trinculo are only fuddled into extra prosiness ; Caliban is elevated into characteristic poetical licence.

I'll show thee every fertile inch o' the island;
And kiss thy foot: I pr’ythee, be my god.
I'll kiss thy foot ; I'll swear myself thy subject.
I'll show thee the best springs; I'll pluck thee berries ;
I'll fish for thee, and get thee wood enough.
A plague upon the tyrant that I serve!
I'll bear him no more sticks, but follow thee,

Thou wondrous man. The interspersed prose comments of matter-of-fact Trinculo, give additional effect to Caliban's consistently sustained blank verse. A most ridiculous monster," protests the jester, " to make a wonder of a poor drunkard.” Heedless of any such animadversions, the enthusiastic devotee persists in his poetics:

I pr’ythee, let me bring thee where crabs grow;
And I with my long nails will dig thee pig.nuts ;
Show thee a jay's nest, and instruct thee how
To snare the nimble marmozet; I'll bring thee
To clustering filberds, and sometimes I'll get thee

Young sea-mells from the rock. With tipsy dignity master butler accepts the offer, and anon Caliban bursts forth into a frenzy of drunken joy. The change of masters, together with that celestial liquor, is too much for him ; and he makes the welkin ring with ecstatic howlings, till his contemptuous censor rates him as “a howling monster, a drunken monster.” Caliban's song of freedom certainly justifies M. Girardin's caustic remarks on sons of freedom, and their intoxication, in later ages and other climes:

No more dams I'll make for fish;

Nor fetch in firing

At requiring,
Nor scrape

trencher, nor wash dish;
Ban, ban, Ca-Caliban,

Has a new master-Get a new man. "Freedom, hey-day! hey-day, freedom ! freedom, hey-day, freedom !”* And so the inebriated monster wends his way to the woods, hugging the chains of his new thraldom.

And now there are sweet, fitful noises in the air: “a shaggy monster, his lips glued to a bottle-his eyes scarlet with wine-wine throbbing in the very soles of his feet-heaves and rolls along, mocked at by a sparkling

* The Tempest, Act II. Sc. 2 passim.

creature, couched in a cowslip’s bell."* With the wine fermenting in his brain, and the god of his idolatry at his elbow, Caliban is ripe for mischief on an ambitious scale. Prospero must be ousted forthwith from his usurped dominion:

I say, by sorcery he got this isle;
From me he got it. If thy greatness will

Revenge it on him, then Caliban will at once show the place where, and the manner how, and will hail Stephano as sovereign in Prospero's stead. “I'll yield him thee asleep, where thou may’st knock a nail into his head.” For it is Prospero's custom to sleep of afternoons : "there thou may'st brain him, having first seized his books; or with a log

Batter his skull, or paunch him with a stake,
Or cut his wezand with thy knife: Remember
First, to possess his books; for without them
He's but a sot, as I am, nor hath not

One spirit to command. One spirit, meanwhile, quaint, delicate, aërial, listens to, and ridicules, and frustrates the plot—a “sparkling creature,” whose mocking-bird tunes, even on homely pipe and tabor, occasion one of Caliban's most poetical speeches :

Be not afeard ; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds, methought, would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,

I cried to dream again.t Evidently, as Mr. de Quincey remarks, Caliban is not meant for scorn, but for abomination mixed with fear and respect. He is mortal, doubtless, as his “dam ” Sycorax; but from her he inherits such qualities as a witch could be supposed to bequeath. His parentage may in a manner recal to us the fabulous origin assigned to Attila's Scythian hordes, an origin worthy of their form and manners,-namely, that the witches of Scythia, who for their foul and deadly practices had been driven from society, had herded in the desert with infernal spirits ; and that the Huns were the offspring of this execrable conjunction. The tale, observes Gibbon, "SO full of horror and absurdity, was greedily embraced by the credulous haters of the Goths; but while it gratified their hatred, it increased their fear; since the posterity of demons and witches might be supposed to inherit some share of the supernatural powers, as well as the malignant temper, of their parents.”! The son of Sycorax trembles indeed before the moral supremacy of Prospero án Christian wisdom; but, " in presence of dissolute and unprincipled men, he rises at once into the dignity of intellectual power.''An anomalous being he may be, but at any rate

* Cakes and Ale: Shakspeare at Bankside.

The Tempest, Act III. Sc. 3. | Gibbon, Roman Empire, ch. xxvi. § De Quincey's essay on Shakspeare.

he is made consistent with himself. He may be discordant from the general concourse of men, but he is in harmony with himself

, as an imaginative creation. Abrupt transitions, as an Edinburgh Reviewer once remarked, and paradoxical contrasts, and crimes of complicated enormity, and passions of demoniacal violence, are favourite ingredients in the literary caldron of Sturm-und-Drang third-rates: whereas Shakspeare produced his effects by legitimate means, and without sacrificing one iota of truth. “ So thoroughly did this great principle of truth pervade his writings, that, far from attempting to dazzle the world with glaring exhibitions of man as he is not, he even so described supernatural beings that (as has been already well remarked) we feel a conviction, that if such beings had existed, they would have acted and spoken as he has represented."* Charles Lamb is bold to affirm that where Shakspeare seems most to recede from humanity, there will he be found the truest to it. Admirably that most admirable Shakspearean critic maintains that whenever Sbakspeare summons possible existences from beyond the scope of Nature, he subjugates them to the law of her consistency, and is beautifully loyal to that sovereign directress, even when he appears most to betray and desert her. “His ideal tribes submit to policy; his very monsters are tamed to his hand, even as that wild seabrood, shepherded by Proteus. He tames, and he clothes them with attributes of flesh and blood, till they wonder at themselves, like Indian Islanders forced to submit to European vesture. Caliban, the Witches, are as true to the laws of their own nature (ours with a difference), as Othello, Hamlet, and Macbeth.” Herein, as Elia so clearly shows, the great and the little wits are differenced ; that if the latter wander ever so little from nature or actual existence, they lose themselves, and their readers. “ Their phantoms are lawless; their visions nightmares. They do not create, which implies shaping and consistency. Their imaginations are not active for to be active is to call something into act and form, but passive, as men in sick dreams. For the super-natural, or something super-added to what we kuow of nature, they give you the plainly non-natural.”+ Now Caliban is preter-natural or extra-naturalwithout the range of ordinary human existence— beyond the pale of the human family. But, given this exceptional existence, there is nothing disorderly in its subsequent delineation and dramatic development. A monster Caliban may be, but the monster lives, moves, and has its being consistently throughout with the postulate which admits of its entrance on the scene.

* Edinburgh Review, No. lxxx, p. 447.
of The Last Essays of Elia: "Sanity of True Genius."







WALDEMAR FALKENSTEIN AND VALÉRIE L'ESTRANGE. “A QUARTER to twelve! By Heaven, if my luck don't change before the year is out, I vow I'll never touch a card in the next!” exclaimed one of several men playing lansquenet in Harry Godolphin's rooms at Knightsbridge.

There were seven or eight of them, some with long rent-rolls, others within an ace of the Queen's Bench; the poor devils losing in the long run much oftener and more recklessly than the rich fellows; all of them playing high, as that beau joueur of the Guards, Godolphin, always did.

Luck had been dead against the man who spoke ever since they had deserted the mess-room for the cartes in the privacy of Harry's rooms. If Fortune is a woman, he ought to have found favour in her eyes. His age was between thirty and thirty-five, his figure with grace and strength combined, his features nobly and delicately cut, his head, like Canning's, one of great intellectual beauty, and by the flash of his large dark eyes, and the additional paleness of his cheek, it was easy to see he was playing high once too often.

Five minutes passed-he lost still; ten minutes' luck was yet against him. A little French clock began the Silver Chimes that rang out the Old Year; the twelfth stroke sounded, the New Year was come, and Waldemar Falkenstein rose and drank down some cognac-a ruined man.

“ A happy New Year to you, and better luck, Falkenstein,” cried Godolphin, drinking his toast with a ringing laugh and a foaming bumper of Chambertin. “What shall I wish you? The richest wife in the kingdom, a cabal that will break all the banks, for Mistletoe to win the Oaks, or for your eyes to be opened to your sinful state, as the parsons phrase it-which, eh?”

“Thank you, Harry," laughed Falkenstein. (Like the old Spartans, we can laugh while the wolf gnaws our vitals). 66 You' remind me of what my holy-minded brother wrote to me when I broke my shoulderbone down at Melton last season : “My dear Waldemar, I am sorry to hear of your sad accident; but all things are ordered for the best, and I trust that in your present hours of solitude your thoughts may be mercifully turned to higher and better things. Queer style of sympathy, wasn't it? I preferred yours, when you sent me Adélaïde Méran,' and that splendid hock I wasn't allowed to touch."

“I should say so; hut catch the Pharisees giving anybody anything warmer than texts and counsels, that cost them nothing," said Tom Bevan of the Blues. “Apropos of Pharisees, have you heard that old Cash is going to build a chapel-of-ease in Belgravia, to endow that young owl Gus with as soon as he can pull himself through his 'greats?' It is thought that the dear Bella will be painted as St. Catherine for the altar-piece."

"She'll strychnine herself if we're all so hard-hearted as to leave her to St. Catherine's nightcap,” laughed Falkenstein.

Why don't you take up with her, old fellow ?” said a man in Godolphin's troop. “ Not the sangue puro, you'd say; rather sullied with XXX. But what does that signify? you've quarterings enough for two."

“Much good the quarterings do me. No, thank you,” said Falkenstein, bitterly. “I'm not going to sell myself

, though my dear friends would insinuate that I was sold already to a gentleman who never quits hold of his bargains. I've fetters enough now too heavy by half to add matrimonial handcuffs to them."

“Right, old boy," said Harry. “The Cashranger hops and vats, even done in the brightest parvenu or, would scarcely look well blazoned on the royal gules. Come, sit down. Where are you going?" .

" He's going to Eulalie Brown's, I bet,” said Bevan. “ Nonsense, Waldemar; throw her over, and stay and take your revenge-it's so early.” No, thank


,” said Falkenstein, briefly. “By the way, I suppose you all go to Cashranger's to-morrow?”

"Make a point of it,” answered Godolphin. “I feel I'm sinning against my Order to visit him, but really his Lafitte's so good—I'm sorry you will leave us, Waldemar, but I know I might as well try to move the Marble Arch as try to turn you."

“ Indeed! I never set up for a Roman, Harry. The deuce take this pipe, it won't light. Good night to you all.” And leaving them drinking hard, laughing loud, and telling grivois tales before they sat down to Play in all its delirious delight, he sprang into a Hansom, and drove, not to Eulalie Brown's petit souper, but to his own rooms in Dukestreet, St. James's.

Falkenstein's governor, some twoscore years before, had got in mauvaise odeur in Vienna for some youthful escapade at court; powerful as his princely family was, had been obliged to fly the country; and, coming over here, entered himself at the Bar, and, setting himself to work with characteristic energy, had, wonderful to relate, made a fortune at it. A fine, gallant, courtly ancien noble was the Count, haughty and passionate at times, after the manner of the house ; fond of his younger son Waldemar, who at school had tanned boys twice his size ; rode his


in at the finish; smoked, swam, and otherwise conducted himself, till all the rest of the boys worshipped him, though I believe the masters generally attributed to him more diablerie than divinity. But of late, unluckily, his father had been much dominated over by Waldemar's three sisters, ladies of a chill and High Church turn of mind, and by his brother, who in early life had been a prize boy and a sap, and received severe buffetings from his junior at football; and now, being much the more conventional and unimpeachable of the two, took his revenge by carrying many tales to the old Count of his wilder son-tales to which Falkenstein

gave strong foundation. For he was restless and reckless, strikingly original, and, above the common herd, too impatient to take any meddling with



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