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15 SCENE II.—“A bedchamber," &c. have here this advantage, that by the pillars
which divided the little central theatre from The stage directions in the original copies of the proscenium, or proper stage, not only could Shakspere are very scantily supplied ; and we have no indications either of general or par
a double group be presented, but it could be ticular localities. In the scene before us
, the partially concealed ; and thus two scenes might original direction is, enter Othello, and Desde- be played, which could be wholly comprehended, mona in her bed. It appears to us that, to although not everything in the smaller frame
was expressly and evidently seen.” It appears understand this scene properly, we must refer
to us not very material to determine whether to the peculiar construction of the ancient theatres. In 'Romeo and Juliet' (Illustrations
Ulrici is right about the “ broad steps.” Cer
tainly the elevation of the “little central of Act III.) we have described the balcony or
theatre” was not considerable-it was upper stage, in explanation of the old direction, what elevated," as Tieck observes. Now, let us enter Romeo and Juliet aloft. We there gave apply this principle to the scene before us; and Malone's description of the uses of this balcony. Mr. Collier has also thus described another anomalies which are presented to us in the
we doubt not that we shall get rid of some arrangement of the old stage, independent of
modern representations. Enter Othello, to the the balcony: “Besides the curtain in front of the stage, which concealed it from the spec- cealed from the audience in the little central
proper stage; Desdemona in her bed is contators until it was drawn on each side upon a rod, there were other curtains at the back of has said, “I'll smell thee on the tree,” he
stage, whose curtains are drawn. After Othello the stage, called traverses, which served, when ascends the little elevated stage, and undraws drawn, to make another and an inner apartment, when such was required by the business Desdemona then takes place. After the murder
its curtain. The dialogue between him and of the play. They had this name at a very early date.” The German commentators upon is knocking at the door; and after
he remains upon the central stage, while Emilia Shakspere have bestowed much attention upon
“ Soft,-hy and by:-let me the curtains draw," this subject. Ulrici says, “In the midst of the stage, not far from the proscenium, was erected he steps down. The dialogue between Emilia
and Othello at first goes on without any apa sort of balcony or platform, supported by two pillars which stood upon some broad steps. parent consciousness on the part of Emilia of
Desdemona's presence. When Desdemona has These steps led up to an interior and smaller stage, which, formed by the space under the spoken Emilia withdraws the curtain of the
When Montano, Gratiano, platform and betwixt the pillars, was applied to the most varied uses.” Tieck, in his notes upon between lago and Emilia, without Montano and
and lago enter, a long dialogue takes place 'Lear' has shown, we think very satisfactorily, that the horrid action of tearing out Gloster's Gratiano perceiving“ what is the matter.” Had eyes did not take place on the stage proper.
Desdemona been upon the stage proper, there He
says, “The chair in which Gloster is bound would have been no time for this dialogue. is the same which stood somewhat elevated in Her murder would have been at once disthe middle of the scene, and is the same from covered. The actors now get over the difficulty which he has delivered his first speech. This by having a four-post bedstead, with curtains little theatre in the midst was, when not in use,
closely drawn. When, however, Emilia ascends
the central stage, and exclaims, concealed by a curtain; when in use, the curtain was withdrawn. Shakspere, therefore, like “My mistress here lies murther'd in her bed," all the dramatists of his age, has frequently a double group is presented. Emilia is in the two scenes at one and the same time. In chamber with Desdemona; Othello and the 'Henry VIII.'the nobles stand in the ante-cham- others remain on the stage proper; Montano ber; the curtain of the smaller stage is with then follows Iago out, who has previously rushed drawn, and we are in the chamber of the king. to the central stage, and stabbed his wife. GraAgain, while Cranmer waits in the ante-chamber, tiano remains upon the proper stage; but why the curtains open to the council-chamber. We then does Montano order Gratiano to guard the door without? Othello has entered into the rejects him, because the word tribe appears to secondary stage, and he speaks from within the have a peculiarly Hebrew signification. To curtain to Gratiano,
show how far conjecture may be carried, we may “ I have another weapon in this chamber,
mention that a correspondent wishes to impress It is a sword of Spain, the ice-brook's temper ;- upon us that the allusion was to Judas Iscariot. 0, here it is:-Uncle, I must come forth."
Boswell, in a very sensible note, shows that tribe Gratiano, still remaining upon the proper stage, meant in Shakspere's day kindred ; that base is answers, “If thou attempt it, it will cost thee used in the sense of ignorant; and, what is very dear.” But when Othello says, “ Look in upon important, that two poets after Shakspere have me then,” the curtain is withdrawn, and Gra- described the Indians as casting away jewels of tiano ascends to the secondary stage. It is the which they knew not the value. Habbington, practice of the modern theatres to get over the in his 'Castara,' has these lines :difficulty by making Gratiano go out with “So the unskilful Indian those bright gems Montano, contrary to the original text; and to Which might add majesty to diadems make him enter again when Othello says, “ Look
'Mong the waves scatters." in upon me.” But how then shall we account And Sir Edward Howard, in “The Woman's for the speech of Lodovico, when he subse Conquest,' has
“ Behold my queenquently enters,—“Where is this rash and most
Who with no more concern I 'll cast away unfortunate man?” without the secondary stage? Than Indians do a pearl, that ne'er did know
Its value." From that stage Othello answers, “That's he that was Othello; here I am.” The subsequent
A correspondent adds the following valuable events take place upon the stage proper; illustration to those already given :although it was probably contrived that Othello In turning over the poems of Carew I lighted should kill himself on the secondary stage.
upon these two lines :
“I'll deal with no such Indian fool as sells 16 SCENE II.-“ Like the base Indian."
Gold, pearls, and precious stones for beads and bells.”
The reading “Judean" always puts into my The controversy as to
Indian or Judean, and who was the base Judean, occupies six points of resemblance being that there is a
head a passage in the 6th Satire of Juvenal—the pages of the variorum editions. Theobald main
base Judean,” and a precious stone in both. tained that he was “Herod, who, in a fit of blind
-“Adamas notissimus et Berenices jealousy, threw away such a jewel of a wife as
In digito factus pretiosior :-hunc dedit olim Mariamne was to him.” Steevens brings forward Barbarus incestæ, dedit hunc Agrippa, sorori." an old story of a Jew, which he has read in some There is such a seeming similarity between the book, who threw a pearl into the Adriatic. two, that I wonder some " Judean"-ite has not Steevens will not have the Indian, because he attempted to press the latter into his service thinks base is an improper epithet. Malone somehow or other.
The general costume of Venice, both male and casion which Shakspere has selected for the female, as well as the official habits of the doge like appointment of his “valiant Moor," namely, and senators, at the close of the sixteenth cen- the Turkish war, A.D. 1570. tury, have been described in the prefatory no- The Stradiots (Estradiots, or Stratigari), mentice to “The Merchant of Venice.' We have tioned by Howell, were Greek troops, first emonly to add that the figure engraved at p. 310 ployed by the Venetians, and afterwards by
1 is from Vecellio's often quoted work, and re- Charles VIJI. of France. The figure of one of presents the identical dress worn by prince these picturesque auxiliaries is engraved at p. Veniero, when he was raised to the dignity of 286 from Boissard's ‘Habitus Variarum Orbis general of the Venetian army, on the very oc- Gentium,' 1581.
• The Life of Tymon of Athens' was first The vices of Shakspere's Timon are not published in the folio collection of 1623. the vices of a sensualist. It is true that his The text, in this first edition, has no division offices have been oppressed with riotous into acts and scenes. We have reason to feeders, – that his vaults have wept with believe that, with a few exceptions, it is accu- drunken spilth of wine,—that every room rately printed from the copy which was in “Hath blaz'd with lights, and bray'd with minstrelsy." the possession of Heminge and Condell; and But he has nothing selfish in the enjoyment we have judged it important to follow that of his prodigality and his magnificence. He copy with very slight variations. In the himself truly expresses the weakness as well ‘Studies' we have entered into a minute as the beauty of his own character: "Why, examination of this play, for the purpose of I have often wished myself poorer, that I expressing our belief that it was founded by might come nearer to you. We are born to Shakspere upon some older play, of which do benefits : and what better or properer can much has been retained ; and that our poet's we call our own than the riches of our hand can only be traced with certainty in friends ? O, what a precious comfort 't is to those scenes in which Timon appears. have so many, like brothers, commanding
The Timon of Shakspere is not the Timon one another's fortunes !” Charles Lamb, in of the popular stories of Shakspere's day. his contrast between Timon of Athens' The 28th novel of “The Palace of Pleasure' and Hogarth’s ‘Rake's Progress' has scarcely has for its title “ Of the strange and beastly done justice to Timon: "The wild course of nature of Timon of Athens, enemy to man- riot and extravagance, ending in the one kind.” According to this authority, "he with driving the Prodigal from the society of was a man but by shape only”—he lived “ men into the solitude of the deserts; and, in beastly and churlish life.” Neither was the the other, with conducting Hogarth's Rake Timon of Plutarch the Timon of Shakspere. through his several stages of dissipation The Greek biographer indeed, tells us, that into the still more complete desolations of he was angry with all men, and would trust the mad-house, in the play and in the picture no man, “for the unthankfulness of those he are described with almost equal force and had done good unto, and whom he took to be nature.” Hogarth's Rake is all sensuality his friends ;” but that he was represented as and selfishness; Timon is essentially high"a viper and malicious man unto mankind, minded and generous : he truly says, in the to shun all other men's companies but the first chill of his fortunes,company of young Alcibiades, a bold and “ No villainous bounty yet hath pass'd my heart; insolent youth.” The Timon of Plutarch,
Unwisely, not ignobiy, have I given.” and of the popular stories of Shakspere's In his splendid speech to Apemantus in the time, was little different from the ordinary fourth Act, he distinctly proclaims, that in cynic. The Timon of Shakspere is in many the weakness with which he had lavished respects essentially different from any model his fortunes upon the unworthy, he had not with which we are acquainted, but it ap- pampered his own passions:proaches nearer, as Mr. Skottowe first “ Hadst thou, like us, from our first swath, proceeded observed, to the Timon of Lucian than the
The sweet degrees that this brief world affords
To such as may the passive drugs of it commentators have pointed out. The cha- Freely command, thou wouldst have plung'd thyself racter of Shakspere's misanthrope presents
In general riot; melted down thy youth
In different beds of lust; and never learn'd one of the most striking creations of his
The icy precepts of respect, but follow'd originality.
The sugar'd game before thee. But myself,
Who had the world as my confectionary;
that unjudging lavishness which was necesThe mouths, the tongues, the eyes, and hearts of men
sary to satisfy his morbid craving for human At duty, more than I could frame employment; That numberless upon me stuck, as leaves
sympathy. Do on the oak, have with one winter's brush
With this key to Timon's character, it Fell from their boughs, and left me open, bare
appears to us that we may properly underFor every storm that blows."
stand the “general and exceptless rashness The all-absorbing defect of Timon — the of his misanthropy. The only relations in root of those generous vices which wear the which he stood to mankind are utterly garb of virtue—is the entire want of dis- destroyed. In lavishing his wealth as if it crimination (by which he is also characterised
were a common property, he had believed in Lucian's dialogue). Shakspere has seized that the same common property would flow upon this point, and held firmly to it
. He back to him in his hour of adversity. “O, releases Ventidius from prison,-he bestows
you gods, think I, what need we have any an estate upon his servant, — he lavishes friends, if we shonld ne'er have need of jewels upon all the dependants who crowd them ? they were the most needless creatures his board. That universal philanthropy, of living should we ne'er have use for them : which the most selfish men sometimes talk, and would most resemble sweet instruments is in Timon an active principle; but let it hung up in cases, that keep their sounds to be observed that he has no preferences --a themselves." His false confidence is at once, most remarkable example of the profound and irreparably, destroyed. If Timon had sagacity of Shakspere. Had he loved a
possessed one friend with whom he could have single human being with that intensity which interchanged confidence upon equal terms, constitutes affection in the relation of the he would have been saved from his fall, and sexes, and friendship in the relation of man certainly from his misanthropy. to man, he would have been exempt from