Billeder på siden

and Fengon were made Govenours of the Province of Ditmarsc, and Horvendile married Geruth, the daughter to Roderick, chief K of Denmark, by whom he had Hamblet: and how, after his marriage, his brother Fengon slew him trayterously, and marryed his brother's wife, and what followed.

CHAPTER II. How Hamblet counterfeited the mad man, to escape the tyrannie of his uncle, and how he was tempted by a woman (through his uncle's procurement), who thereby thought to undermine the Prince, and by that means to find out whether he counterfeited madness or not; and how Hamblet would by no means be brought to consent unto her, and what followed.

CHAPTER III. How Fengon, uncle to Hamblet, a second time to intrap him in his politick madness, caused one of his counsellors to be secretly hidden in the Queene's chamber behind the arras, to hear what speeches passed between Hamblet and the Queene, and how Hamblet killed him and escaped that danger, and what followed.

CHAPTER IV, How Fengon the third time devised to send Hamblet to the King of England with secret letters to have him put to death; and how Hamblet, when his companions slept, read the letters, and instead of them counterfeited others, willing the King of England to put the two messengers to death, and to marry his daughter to Hamblet, which was effected, and how Hamblet escaped out of England.

CHAPTER V. How Hamblet, having escaped out of England, arrived in Denmarke the same day that the Danes were celebrating his funeral, supposing him to be dead in England, and how he revenged his father's death upon his uncle and the rest of his courtiers; and what followed.

According to Saxo Grammaticus, Fengo (Shakspeare's Claudius)

made no pretence to conceal his guilt, but boasted that he had slain his brother for his ill-treatment of Gerutha, the Queen. Amlethus, after his father's death, assumed imbecility, though openly avowing to avenge his father's death. A counsellor of the King's arranged to be present behind a curtain at an interview which should take place between Amlethus and his mother, so that, should the Prince drop his feigned madness, sure proof might be obtained. Amlethus, however, suspecting, comes into the room crowing, flapping his arms, and jumping about, and thus discovering the hidden counsellor, slays him on the spot. It is but necessary to point out that the entire plot differs greatly from the play now so much known and quoted, the end being the murder of Fengo by Amlethus, who succeeds him on the throne.

More might be added, but our readers may easily from the facts above mentioned draw their own conclusions as to the value of the edition of 1603. Whatever may be thought of the various editions and various readings, Shakspeare will always be remembered, perhaps, better through this one play than through any other. And to Germany we owe, indeed, a debt of gratitude for the careful study which some of the noblest minds of that country have expended upon this play, for seeking out hidden beauties and truths, for casting aside all feelings of jealousy, and entering into their work with ardent admiration. The French people, unable to understand the master genius which directed the pen, have contented themselves with defacing by weak emendations the play itself, or, represented by Voltaire, to groan out, "Nous allons tomber dans l'outré et le gigantesque, adieu les sentiments du cœur."





O, PARIS! Paris! when thy masked balls

Fill with the young and gay, the fair and frail, To revel thro' the night in dazzling halls

Where virtue certainly doth not prevail;

When thousands play-wards on the Sabbath flock,
To see the last new "spicy" bouffe or ballet,
To drink in Hervé, Offenbach, Lecocq,

And chuckle o'er each too-suggestive sally;
When pert cocottes, supreme in gilded vice,
Along the streets their tinsel splendours flaunt,
And all that's "naughty" is so far from "nice"
As to obtrude in every public haunt,-
Who would suppose thou hast for patroness
A virgin Saint of wondrous holy living?
If she can know thee, yet protect and bless,
Her nature must indeed be most forgiving!


St. Geneviève was nurtur'd in Nanterre,
In the fifth century; and 'neath the wing
Of great St. Germain, Bishop of Auxerre,
Her holy growth progress'd with rapid spring;
The angels of the skies,
Rejoicing in her birth,
Therein did recognize

A sister come on earth;

And so they made a rare
"Fête extraordinaire;"

They set the planets whirling

In mazy dance,

All over France,

Like girls that follow Girling;

Angelic lights

(So Giry writes)

Jump'd thro' the clouds quite frisky,

As if the Deuce

Had broken loose,

And taken too much whisky!


To such a grand débût,
Her after life was true;

And meek, devout, and grave,
And full of holy fire
And spiritual desire

Was sweet young Geneviève.
At fifteen years of age
The maid began to wage

Her war with sin;
And training hard and fast
(Especially the last),

She grew quite thin ;
And this is how she train'd,
And stamina obtain'd

Her cause to win:
On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, her fare

Its narrow range

Would never change,
Consisting totally of praise and prayer ;

On Thursday night

A banquet slight Of stalest bread and beans the Saint partook of ;

To quench her thirst,

The very worst Of water-stuff none else could bear the look of,

When Sunday came

'Twas just the same ; She took one meal so spare and thrifty,

Tho'since the last

Three days had pass'd.
Thus lived the maid from fifteen up to fifty.


No wonder by such deeds our Saint's renown
Soon burst the limits of her native town.
At home she was beset with sordid cares,
Her mundane mother saw that her affairs
Domestic suffer'd from the girl's neglect,
To this Gerontia strongly did object,
Forbade her going to church six times a week,
And, on remonstrance, slapp'd her on the cheek :
Such sacrilege unpunish'd could not go,
That slap was answer'd by a harder blow;
For Dame Gerontia soon was stricken blind,
And for two years in total darkness pined;

Till Geneviève, by prayer, her sight restored.

Her parents saw they could no more afford
To thwart a child so back'd by Heaven's grace:
They let her a monastic life embrace.


A beldame " came down like a wolf on the fold,"
Stole Geneviève's sandals, so holey and old,

And "toted them home," where this naughty old soul
Became on a sudden as blind as a mole;

'Twas fearful to witness her horror and fright,

For blindness at best is a terrible sight;

She took up the shoes, not to sell or to "swop "
With travelling Jew or at pawnbroker's shop,
But back to the owner, and own'd to the theft,

And begg'd for the sense which her vengeance had reft.
Kind Geneviève never such plea could refuse-
"I'll give you your sight if you'll give me my shoes,"
And added, while pulling one on with a strain,
"Mind, don't put your foot in it this way again!"


So fared many more 'gainst the Saint who transgress'd.
One woman-no doubt by the demon possess'd—
With deep curiosity ventured to pry

Where, closely conceal'd from humanity's eye,

The maid had withdrawn to her sanctum sanctorum.
eyes of the spy felt a darkness come o'er 'em,
And not till her Saintship came out of her cell

The sinner was freed from the terrible spell;

That sanctified hand scarce her forehead had cross'd

Ere came in perfection the sight she had lost.

On other occasions did blindness descend

On those who St. Geneviève chanced to offend ;

Whilst those, we suppose, who most pleased her, she blest With sharpness of vision beyond all the rest.


Success on earth, too well we know,
Arouseth green-eyed jealousie ;
"Tho' chaste as ice and pure as snow,"
From slander none are wholly free.

Evil with good its war will wage

And till the Right its foe shall quell, Make earth the Devil's acting-stage, The battlefield of heaven and hell;

So Geneviève, so good and pure,

Was even branded as impostor, And ere she made her footing sure,

What pain and anguish did it cost her! But virtue in the end must win,

However sinners may resist,
Anon the maid rejoiced in

The love of every pietist;
Pupils were placed beneath her care,

And nuns she train'd in holy ways,
While godly people everywhere

Pronounced her name with reverent praise ; Far nations saw with great content

The heavenly radiance that did fill ber, And our old friend Stylites sent

His blessing-posted at his pillar.


The virtues of St. Geneviève,

Her power and fame among the French, So made the Devil fume and rave,

He long'd her holy star to quench; He did put out her candle's light,

And when she came, the church was dark ; She touch'd the wick, which soon was bright,

Relumed as by some heavenly spark, For Geneviève possess’d the gift

Of making fire by touch alone ;
Such privilege conduced to thrift,

For May and Bryant were unknown,
Tho' Lucifer, call'd otherwise “ Old Scratch,"
Burnt freely, yet he seldom found his match.


The Devil he sat on a flask of oil,

A practical joke loved he,
And deem'd all mortals his lawful spoil;

So laugh'd to himself in glee,
To think of the girl who carried the cruet ;
“O wouldn't she drop me and run if she knew it!"
For he wore his best invisible coat;
But soon he alter'd his joysome note-
A little way off from his moving perch
St. Geneviève stood at the door of her church,
And Satan trembled in every limb,
For Geneviève's eyes were fir'd on him.

« ForrigeFortsæt »