« AnteriorContinua »
It is uncommon to find the same spirit and interest diffused through the sequel, as in the first part of a play: but the fertile and happy mind of Shakspeare could create or diversify at pleasure; could produce new characters, or vary the attitudes of those before exhibited, according to the occasion. He leaves us in doubt, whether most to admire the fecundity of his imagination in the variety of its productions; or the strength and steadiness of his genius in sustaining the spirit, and preserving unimpaired, through various circumstances and situations, what his invention had originally produced.
We shall hardly find any man to-day more like to what he was yesterday, than the persons here are like to what they were in the First Part of Henry IV. This is the more astonishing as the author has not confined himself like all other dramatic writers to a certain theatrical character; which, formed entirely of one passion, presents to us always the patriot, the lover, or the conqueror. These, still turning on the same hinge, describe, like a piece of clock-work, a regular circle of movements. In human nature, of which Shakspeare's characters are a just imitation, every passion is controlled and forced into many deviations by various incidental dispositions and humours. The operations of this complicated machine are far more difficult to trace, than the steady undeviating line of the artificial character. formed on one simple principle. Our poet seems to have as great an advantage over ordinary dramatic, poets, as Dædalus had above his predecessors in sculpture. They could make a representation of the limbs