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his relations with others, and his we saw the rebellion of Caliban sensual philosophy-witness his in- successful, and the airy spirits of imitable soliloquies on honour, on the Prospero ministering to the brutality influence of wine upon bravery, and of his slave. his description of the beggarly vaga- “Hence, perhaps, may be derived bonds whom he had enlisted." great part of that infinite amusement
Perbaps the cowardice of Falstaff which succeeding audiences bare is too much insisted on, both by the always found from the representaEnglish and the German critic. tion of Falstaff. We have not only In Falstaff, cowardice is not so much the enjoyment of those combina. a weakness as a principle,-less an tions and that contrast to which innate quality than the dictate of philosophers have ascribed the pleawisdom and reflection. He has the sure we derive from wit in general; sense of danger, but not the discom- but we have that singular combinaposure of fear. He retains bis sagacity, tion and contrast which the grose, quick-wittedness, and presence of the sensual, and the brutish mind of mind-and invariably contrives to Falstaff exhibits, when joined and extricate himself from his dangers compared with that admirable powor embarrassments. With such a er of invention, of wit, and of hubody as he is obliged to drag about mour, which his conversation perhim, what could courage avail him ? petually displays. He sees that military prowess would, “In the immortal work of Cervantes, on his part, be a ridiculous and we find a character with a remarkahopeless affectation; the better part ble mixture of wisdom, and absurof valour, whatever it may be in dity, which in one page excites our other cases, he most potently believes highest ridicule, and in the next is in his own case must be discre. entitled to our highest respect. tion. Falstaff's cowardice is only Don Quixote, like Falstaff, is enproportionate to the danger, and so dowed with excellent discernment, would every wise man's be, did not sagacity, and geniu; but his good other feelings make him valiant. sense holds fief of his diseased ima. To such feelings—the dread of dis. gination, of bis overruling madness grace, the sense of honour, and the for the achievements of knight-erlove of fame, he makes no preten- rantry, for heroic valour, and heroic sion. It is the very characteristic of love. The ridicule in the character his nature to be totally insensible to of Don Quixote consists in raising them. He looks only to self pre- low and vulgar incidents, through servation, and that he finds can be the medium of his disordered fancy, much more effectually secured by to a rank of importance, dignity, and wit than weapons.
solemnity, to which in their nature On the wit of Falstaff we find they are the most opposite that can little in our German friends that is be imagined. With Falstaff it is new or deserves quotation. We nearly the reverse; the ridicule is prefer extracting the following plea- produced by subjecting wisdom, bing and discriminating passage from honour, and other the most grave one of the essays of Mackenzie * and dignified principles, to the con, " The imagination of Falstaff is won- trol of grossness, buffoonery, and derfully quick and creative, in the folly. It is like the pastime of a fa. pictures of humour and the associa- mily masquerade, where the laugh. tions of wit. But the pregnancy of ter is equally excited by dressiog his wit,” according to bis own phrase, clowns as gentlemen, or gentlemen * is made a tapster;' and his fancy, as clowns. how vivid soever, still subjects itself Almost all critics have concurred to the grossness of those sensual con- in condemning the needless barshcuprions which are familiar to bis ness of Falstaff's treatment by the new mind. We are astonished at that king: Falstaff, agreeably surprised art by which Shakspeare leads the by the intelligence of the death of powers of genius, imagination, and Henry IV., while engaged in a most wisdom in captivity to this son of serious carousal at Justice Shallow's, earth; it is as if, transported into posts up to London, in the full perthe enchanted island in the Tempest, suasion of the truth of Pistol's 2884
Lounger, No. 69.
rance. "Sweet Kuight, thou art pain of their heads, never after that now one of the greatest men in the day to come into his presence.” realm.” He has even begun to In the First Part of Henry IV. lavish dignities upon bis friends on Falstaff is the Atlas upon whose the strength of his own immediate shoulders the support of almost the promotion; and to threaten his ene- whole comic portion of the plot is mies with his vengeance.
“ Master laid; for Bardolph is but the recipient Robert Shallow, choose what office and the butt of the wit of other men. thou wilt in the land - 'Tis He bas no wit sare in his "malmsey thine.”-“Let us take any man's nose;" deprived of that feature, he horses,—the laws of England are at would be less than nothing and vaour commandment. Happy are they nity. Shakspeare himself, however, which have been my friends, -and appears to have felt the demands on woe to my Lord Chief Justice !" his humorous invention in the chaSuch is the magic which the wit and racter of Faļstaff to be too great and bonhommie of Falstaff exercise incessant; for, in the second part of over our minds, that we feel it like
the play, he divides the duiies of a personal stroke of injustice and the comic among several auxiliaries cruelty, when in return for the en. --Pistol, the Hostess, Shallow, and thusiastic and bearty,
" God save
Silence and the comic is more of thee, my sweet boy,” with which he the passive than the active kind. greets his old associate in the coro- Pistol is a character of a more temnation procession, he receives the porary and local cast than is usual freezivg answer,- not even address. with Shakspeare; a braggadocio, ed to himself,—"My Lord Chief Jus. whose language is a patchwork tice, speak to that vain man.” And
of passages from plays in wbich this at last is followed by a sermon the poet had been occasionally a on his vices, and a sentence of ba. performer. This language, originally nishment for ten miles from the adopted to aid his swaggering mana royal person.
At first he cannot ner, has, in the end, become natural to believe bis misfortune real; “ 'tis bim; he thinks, as well as he speaks, but a colour.” “I shall be sent for in fustian. It is in vain that Falstaff in private to him;" he endeavours, entreats him, when he brings the though obviously with some sink- news of Henry's death, to "deliver ings of heart, to persuade Shallow them like a man of this world." The that his thousand pounds are safe: only answer he receives is, till the entrance of the Chief Justice, and his committal to the Fleet Pri.
“ A foutra for the world and worldlings base! son-a committal for which there is
I speak of Africa, and golden joys." no warrant in the speech of the To many he appears, by dint of his King-banish the last remains of bis “Ercles' vein," an absolute hero ; delusion. It is singular, that Shak- but Falstaff, with bis usual sagacity, speare should bare introduced this has detected his thorough cowardice, needless and unmeaning piece of has long set him down as "a tome cruelty; for the real conduci of Hen cheater," and actually dares (!) to ry, as described by Stowe, would draw his sword upon the boaster, * have afforded materials for a noble and drive him out of the Boar's Head scene, in which justice might have with contempt. The Hostess is a been done to the cause of morality still more carefully finished characwithout any injury to feeling. “After ter, and more interesting, because his coronation, King Henry called less connected with the mere man. unto him all those young lords and ners of the time. Hers is one of gentlemen who were the followers which the prototype can never enof his young acts, to every one of tirely disappear. To her imaginawhom he gave rich gifts, and then tion, the knight whom she has known commanded that as many as would “these nine-and-twenty years, come change their manners, as he intend. peascod time," appears a very pated to do, should abide with him in his tern of honour and a mirror of court; and to all that would persevere knighthood. It is evident she could in their former like conversation, he never have mustered up courage to gave express commandment, upon bave him arrested, had her bill
* Part 2, act ii, scène 4,
amounted to two hundred nobles in. lutely appears sprightly or philosostead of one, but for his breach of phical. Well might Falstaff observe of promise of marriage, after that en- him, “I do see the bottom of Justice gagement of his on “Wednesday in Shallow.” He is the very pattern of Whitsun-week, upon the parcel-gilt self conceited, characterless inanity. goblet, sitting in the Dolphin cham- He even seems to think it necessary ber, the day the Prince broke his to translate his ideas so as to render head for likening his father to a them level to the capacity of others, singing man of Windsor.” And how for he generally repeats his observainstantaneously does the old respect tions three or four times over, vary. and attachment revive when Falstaffing the phrase in all ways. “I will reappears! He has but to whisper not excuse you-you shall not be in her ear, “ As I am a gentleman,” excused-excuses shall not be ad. -a phrase which she has too good mitted there is no excuse sball reason to say she has heard from him
serve-you shall not be excused.” before,—and the demand for the With what senile triumph does he hundred nobles is converted into a recal to the recollection of Silence the loan of ten pounds more, though days when he was called mad Shal"she pawn her gown for it.” low, lusty Shallow, when, in com
There is something peculiarly de- pany with Falstaft, little John Dort; lightful in the country scenes at and others, be had known the baunts Justice Shallow's. Every one, in- of the bona robus, had been one of the deed, must have felt the pleasing swash-bucklers of the inns of court, effect produced in a novel or play, and fought" with one Sampson Stockby carrying the hero out of the tur. fish, a fruiterer, behind Gray's Inn !” bulence and bustle of the city into Then his inimitable transitions from the calm and retirement of the coun- moralizing on death to the price of try. Don Quixote never appears more fat cattledelightful than when lecturing the “ O, the mad days I have spent! and to goatherds on the golden age in the see how many of mine old acquaintances are Sierra Morena, or assisting in the dead ! festivities of the marriage of Cama- “ Silence. We shall all follow, cousin. cho; Gil Blas is never so great a “ Shallow. Certain ---'tis certain : very favourite with us than when we see sure, very sure ; death, as the Psalmist says, bim with Scipio, in the pavilion at is certain to all--all shall die.--How a good Lirias, sitting down to the first olla yoke of bullocks at Stamford fair ? podrida which had been produced “ Silence. Truly, cousin, I was not there. under the auspices of Master Joa
" Shallou. Death is certain, - Is old and Falstaff no where appears Double of your town living yet ? " more imposing or agrecable than Silence, though an absolute caput when accepting the hospitalities of mortuum when sober, has an underthe Justice's seat, and eating pipping current of gaiety in him too-when and carraways in the orchard, in drunk. Wine seems to make little Gloucestershire. With what a con- impression on Shallow, or rather, on sciousness of the favour he is con- the whole, he is more reasonable in ferring does he yield to the impor- his cups than otherwise. But Situnities of the Justice to stay and lence loses the only safeguard he taste bis short-legged hens, his joint had when sober, namely, the conof mutton, and “tiny little kick- sciousness of his own utter imbecishaws." He accepts the homage lity: he becomes a roysterer, insists which is paid him by Shallow and on inflicting on the company a vahis cousin with the same lordly air riety of new songs, then subsides, with which he receives the sword of like an expiring candle, into second his captive, Sir John Colville of the childishness and mere oblivion, till Dale.
Falstaff, who, amidst all the excite. Shallow and Silence--what a pair! ment which the news of Henry's We should hesitate at first to admit death and his own prospects prothe possibility of a lower depth of duces, has kept an eye on his new commonplace imbecility than is ex- pupil in the art of toping, consigns hibited in Shallow, till we see him him to that Euthanasia for which he fairly placed beside his cousin Si- was most fitted~"Carry Master Silence; but in his company he abso- lence to bed.”
Printer hu Ballantine and Company, Paul's Work. Edinburgh.
717 JOB PIPPINS; THE MAN WHO “COULDN'T HELP IT.” CHAPs. IX. X. XI. 740 REMINISCENCES OF STOTHARD. Part II.,
753 OXFORD AND DR HAMPDEN,
768 Sonnets. BY THE SKETCHER,
772 WHAT IS OUR EXTERNAL POLICY AND CONDITION ?
780 TRANSLATIONS FROM THE GREEK ANTHOLOGY. BY WILLIAM HAY,
793 The METAPHYSICIAN. No. I. On The PhiloSOPAY OF Locke, 798 " THE ANGLO-NORMAN TROUVERES," OF THE 12TH AND 18TH CENTURIES,
806 DEFINITIONS OF WEALTH,
821 VERNAL SKETCHES. BY DELTA,
831 THE SONG OF DEMODOCUS. BY SIR D. K. SANDFORD,
834 LETTER FROM A LIBERAL Waig,
836 THE SILLER Gun,
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