Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Cassio. 'Fore heaven, they have given me a rouse already.
Montano. Good faith, a little one; not past a pint, as I am a soldier.
Iago. Some wine, ho!

(Singing) And let me the canakin, clink, clink; ..
Cassio. 'Fore heaven, an excellent song.
Iago. I learned it in England, where indeed they are most potent in potting :

Cassio. Is your Englishman so exquisite in his drinking? ... To the health of our general !

Montano. I am for it, lieutenant; and I'll do you justice.
Iago. O sweet England !

(Singing) King Stephen was a worthy peer, Cassio. Why, this is a more exquisite song than the other. Iago. Will you hear it again?

Cassio. No; for I hold him to be unworthy of his place, that does those things. Well, heaven 's above all; and there be souls must be saved, and there be souls must not be saved.

Iago. It's true, good lieutenant.

Cassio. For mine own part-no offence to the general, nor any man of quality-I hope to be saved.

Iago. And so do I too, lieutenant.

Cassio. Ay, but, by your leave, not before me; the lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let's have no more of this; let's to our affairs. Forgive us our sins! Gentlemen, let's look to our business. Do not think, gentlemen, I am drunk: this is my ancient ;—this is my right hand, and this is my left hand: I am not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and speak well enough.

All. Excellent well.
Cassio. Why, very well, then; you must not think, then, that I am drunk.-Oth., ii. 3.
Lepidus. You have strange serpents there.
Antony. Ay, Lepidus.

Lepidus. Your serpent of Egypt is bred, now, of your mud by the operation of your sun: so is your crocodile.

Antony. They are so.
Pompey. Sit-and some wine! A health to Lepidus.
Lepidus. I am not so well as I should be, but I'll ne'er out.
Enobarbus. Not till you have slept; I fear me, you 'll be in till then.

Lepidus. Nay, certainly, I have heard, the Ptolemies' pyramises are very goodly things; without contradiction, I have heard that. ... What manner o thing is your crocodile ?

Antony. It is shaped, sir, like itself: ...
Lepidus. What colour is it of?
Antony. Of its own colour too.
Lepidus. 'Tis a strange serpent.
Antony. 'Tis so: and the tears of it are wet.
Cæsar. Will this description satisfy him ?
Antony. With the health that Pompey gives him, else he is a very epicure.
Pompey.

This health to Lepidus!
Antony. Bear him ashore. I'll pledge it for him, Pompey. . .
Enobarbus. There's a strong fellow, Menas !

[Pointing to the Attendant who carries off LEPIDUS. Menas.

Why?
Enobarbus.

He bears
The third part of the world, man, see'st not?

Menas. The third part, then, is drunk: would it were all,
That it might go on wheels!

Enobarbus. Drink thou; increase the reels.
Shall we dance now the Egyptian bacchanals,
And celebrate our drink?

Cæsar. What would you more? Pompey, good night. Good brother,
Let me request you off: our graver business
Frowns at this levity. Gentle lords, let's part;

You see, we have burnt our cheeks : strong Enobarbe
Is weaker than the wine; and mine own tongue
Splits what it speaks : the wild disguise hath almost
Antick'd us all. What needs more words ? Good night.
Good Antony, your hand.
Pompey.

I'll try you on the shore.
Antony. And shall, sir: give 's your hand.
Pompey.

O Antony,
You have my father's house, -But, what? we are friends.
Come, down into the boat.
Enobarbus.

Take heed you fall not.-Ant. & C., ii. 7.
For numerous other resources of Shakespeare's dramatic art see the
following headings :- INDICATIONS OF Look, GESTURE, &c., INDIRECT
PRAISE OF OTHER CHARACTERS, HISTORIANS' Passages ADOPTED, BRIEF
SCENES, CLOSING SCENES, CHORUSES, and Dumb Shows.

DRAMATIC TIME. One of the most interesting themes for study among Shakespeare's powers as a play-writer lies in his treatment of Dramatic Time. In the first place, he has distinctly stated the usual time of stage duration for a play's performance :

Those that come to see
Only a show or two, and so agree
The play may pass, if they be still and willing,
I'll undertake may see away their shilling

Richly in two short hours.-H. VIII. (Prologue).
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,

And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, naught could remove,

Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage.-R. & Jul. (Prologue). And he has also manifested his knowledge that a play should generally depict a brief period :

Our wooing doth not end like an old play;
Jack hath not Jill : these ladies' courtesy
Might well have made our sport a comedy.--
Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a day,
And then 'twill end.

That's too long for a play.Love's L. L., V. 2. In the second place, he has shown that he was thoroughly acquainted with the classical laws* of strictness in Dramatic Time by his plays 01 “ The Tempest” and “ The Comedy of Errors”; in both of which the time is accurately preserved within the bounds of visible representation. This he has taken care to mark with great precision, and denote as the play proceeds :

Prospero. What is the time o' the day?
Ariel.

Past the mid season.

We have the authority of Milton (in his Introductory Essay to his “Samson Agonistes ") for the due length of dramatic time in a play. He says: The circumscription of time, wherein the whole drama begins and ends, is, according to ancient rule and best example, within the space of twenty-four hours.”

I did say so,

Prospero. At least two glasses. The time 'twixt six and now Must by us both be spent most preciously.— Temp., i. 2.

My father
Is hard at study; pray now, rest yourself:
He's safe for these three hours.-Ibid., iii. 1.
Now farewell, till half an hour hence.-Ibid., iii. 1.

I'll to my book;
For yet, ere supper-time, must I perform
Much business appertaining.-Ibid., iii. 1.
I'll yield him thee asleep 'tis a custom with him
I' the afternoon to sleep.-Ibid., iii. 2.
Within this half-hour will he be asleep.-Ibid., iii. 2.

How 's the day?
Ariel. On the sixth hour; at which time, my lord,
You said our work should cease.

Prospero. When first I raised the tempest.-Ibid., v. I. How thou hast met us here, who three hours since Were wreck'd upon this shore.-Ibid., v. 1. What is this maid, with whom thou wast at play? Your eld'st acquaintance cannot be three hours.-Ibid., v. I. The best news is, that we have safely found Our king and company: the next, our shipWhich, but three glasses since, we gave out split-Is tight, and yare, and bravely rigg'd, as when We first put out to sea.-Ibid., v. 1. Sir, I invite your highness, and your train, To my poor cell, where you shall take your rest For this one night; which, part of it, I'll waste With such discourse as, I not doubt, shall make it Go quick away;

and in the morn I'll bring you to your ship, and so to Naples.Ibid., v. 1. Therefore, by law thou art condemn'd to die.

Ægeon. Yet this my comfort-when your words are done,
My woes end likewise with the evening sun.Com. of E., i. 1.
Therefore, merchant, I 'll limit thee this day,
To seek thy help by beneficial help:
Beg thou, or borrow, to make up the sum,
And live; if no, then thou art doom'd to die.-Ibid., i, 1.
This very day, a Syracusan merchant
Is apprehended for arrival here;
And, not being able to buy out his life,
According to the statute of the town,
Dies ere the weary sun set in the west.-Ibid., i. 2.
Within this hour it will be dinner-time.-Ibid., i. 2.

Soon at five o'clock,
Please you, I 'll meet with you upon the mart.-Ibid., i. 2.
The clock hath strucken twelve upon the bell.-Ibid., i. 2.
Sure, Luciana, it is two o'clock.-Ibid., ii. 1.

When spake I such a word ?-
Even now, even here, not half an hour since.-Ibid., ii. 2.
In Ephesus I am but two hours old.-Ibid., ii. 2.
Come, come, Antipholus, we dine too late.-Ibid., ii. 2.
And let us to the Tiger all to dinner ;
And about evening come yourself alone
To know the reason of this strange restraint.-Ibid., iii. 1.

I'll meet you at that place, some hour hence.-Com. of E., iii. 1.
And soon at supper-time I 'll visit you,
And then receive my money for the chain.-Ibid., iii. 2.
He had of me a chain : at five o'clock
I shall receive the money for the same.-Ibid., iv. 1.
The hour steals on ; I pray you, sir, despatch.
You hear how he importunes me: the chain.-Ibid., iv. I.
The money that you owe me for the chain.-
I owe you none till I receive the chain.-
You know I gave it you half an hour since.-Ibid., iv. I.
'Tis time that I were gone: it was two ere I left him.-Ibid., iv. 2.
By this, I think, the dial points at five.-Ibid., v. 1.
This day, great duke, she shut the doors upon me,
While she with harlots feasted in my house.-
A grievous fault. Say, woman, didst thou so ?-
No, my good lord: myself, he, and my sister,
To-day did dine together.-Ibid., v. 1.
Within this hour I was his bondman, sir ;
But he, I thank him, gnaw'd in two my cords.-Ibid., v. i.
Why, here begins his morning story right.Ibid., v. I.
And all that are assembled in this place,
That by this sympathised one day's error
Have suffer'd wrong, go, keep us company

And we shall make full satisfaction.-Ibid., v, I. But in the majority of his plays Shakespeare has substituted for the antique rules of strictness in this particular an original and admirable system of Dramatic Time, which permits his adopting a story that demands scope of period to properly delineate its various incidents, to develop its different characters, and to depict the multiform emotions elicited by successive events and situations. This system is so ingenious in itself, and is put into operation with so masterly a skill, that it enables the reader or spectator to see a long course of time, or a limited space of time, or even a simultaneous progress of protracted time and current time both together, without a violation of probability or injury to naturalness of effect. The critics who first pointed out this system of combined long and short time in Shakespeare's dramatic art as being invented and practised by him were the Rev. N. J. Halpin and Professor Wilson, in November, 1849, each gentleman laying claim to having made the discovery by his own separate perception from study of the subject : and certain is it, that every fresh and minute examination of Shakespeare's process in managing Dramatic Time proves that this discovery is a veritable elucidation of the scheme upon which he worked. He made fresh laws in Art for himself; and regulated his method of procedure according to their ordination, with equal ease and might of power. Where, as in his great tragedy of “Othello,” the passion demanded prompt action with immediate despatch, he allows the spectator to behold but a few hours' space between the conception of wrong and the fulfilment of vengeance; but where, also, the impression of long-wedded faith and happiness destroyed by iniquitous suggestion demanded protracted period, he permits the spectator to imagine that many days, weeks, months have elapsed between the arrival of the married pair in Cyprus and the final murder of Desdemona by her husband.

So in other of his dramas, where the appropriateness of stage representation or the exigencies of hurried act and feeling require acceleration, impetus, and rapid movement, he conveys the effect of brief time; while where latitude for a needed series of passing occurrences is no less imperative, he contrives to produce the sense of lengthened time. The means by which he establishes these two impressionssometimes by stated mention of particular hours or epochs, sometimes by casual allusion, sometimes by vaguely worded inference, but always of set purpose and with admirably effectual fulfilment of intended object —will be made obvious by the collected citations here given ; which shall first denote the traces of Short Time and then the traces of Long Time in each play, so as to illustrate the dramatist's motives and plan with regard to both. Thus, in “ The Two Gentlemen of Verona," Shakespeare having to give the effect of a passage in the lives of two young men which is placed before the eyes of an audience at a single sitting, he contrives to impart the idea of swift progress time by various touches indicative of haste and immediate action ; but having also to represent sufficient space for the several journeys from Verona to Milan, the sojourn there, and the subsequent adventures of the heroes and their ladies, he has thrown in such hints of lengthened time as shall serve this purpose :

Saw you my master?--
But now he parted hence, to embark for Milan.--
Twenty to one, then, he is shipp'd already.Two G. of V., i. 1.
Madam, dinner is ready, and your father stays.-Ibid., i. 2.
No more of stay; to-morrow thou must go.-Ibid., i. 3.
Sir Proteus, your father calls for you :
He is in haste; therefore, I pray you, go.-Ibid., i. 3.

Why muse you, sir ? 'tis dinner-time.-Ibid., ii. 1. Launce, away, away, aboard! thy master is shipp'd, and thou art to post after with oars.-Ibid., ii. 3.

I'll send him hither to you presently.*-Ibid., ii. 4.
I must unto the road, to disembark
Some necessaries that I needs must use;
And then I 'll presently attend you.-
Will you make haste ? -

I will.-Ibid., ii. 4.
This night he meaneth with a corded ladder
To climb celestial Silvia's chamber-window;
Myself in counsel, his competitor.
Now, presently, I 'll give her father notice
Of their disguising and pretended flight.-Ibid., ii. 6.
Love, lend me wings to make my purpose swift,
As thou hast lent me wit to plot this drift.-Ibid., ii. 6.
For which the youthful lover now is gone,
And this way comes he with it presently.Ibid., iii. 1.
Sir Valentine, whither away so fast?-Ibid., iii. 1.
Advise me where I may have such a ladder.-
When would you use it? pray, sir, tell me that.-
This very might; for love is like a child,
That longs for every thing that he can come by.-
By seven o'clock I'll get you such a ladder.-Ibid., ii. 1.

* " Presently," meaning immediately.'

« ZurückWeiter »