Abbildungen der Seite

Again in the specimen which Nick Bottom selects for the purpose of showing how well he can spout and rant :

The raging rocks
And shivering shocks
Shall break the locks

Of prison-gates;
And Phibbus' car
Shall shine from far
And make and mar

The foolish fates.Mid. N. D., i. 2. Shakespeare himself occasionally uses alliteration for a special purpose of effect. As where Biron is railing at love :

This wimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy; . .
Th' anointed sovereign of sighs and groans,
Liege of all loiterers and malcontents,

Dread prince of plackets.Love's L.L., iii. 1. And where Biondello is heaping up contumelious description on the steed which brings Petruchio to the wedding :

Sped with spavins ., ; stark spoiled with the staggers, begnawn with the bots, swaved in the back, and shoulder-shotten ; two letters for her name fairly set down in studs, and here and there pieced with packthread.Tam. of S., iii. 2.

Also, where Mercutio is jeeringly citing some of the noted beauties of antiquity, as compared with Romeo's charmer, Rosaline :

Laura to his lady was a kitchen-wench; ... Dido, a dowdy; ... Helen and Hero, hildings and harlots.-R. & Ful., ii. 4.

Likewise, where the insolent Iago is coarsely goading Brabantio into alarm at his daughter's elopement with the Moor :

You 'll have your nephews neigh to you; you 'll have coursers for cousins, and gennets for germans.-Oth., i. 1.

And, again, where he is rollickingly describing the powers of the English in drinking, as an incitement to Cassio to get drunk :

I learned it in England, where, indeed, they are most potent in potting.-Ibid., ii. 3.


Shakespeare, among the many varied resources of expressive style, has availed himself of antithesis in several forms. He sometimes introduces words, antithetical to each other, in the same sentence :

I forget :
But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours ;
Most busy, least when I do it. *—Temp., iii. 1.
Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity
In least speak most, to my capacity.–Mid. N. D., V. I.

* The Folio prints “ lest" for “least" in this passage; and many substitutions have been made for this word by various commentators. But we think that the other instances here cited by us of passages similarly constructed, serve to prove that the antithesis of " most and “least was intended by Shakespeare in the present instance.

Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy.-As You L., iv. 3.
Hold little faith, though thou hast too much fear.—Tw. N., v. 1.

Then poor Cordelia !
And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's
More richer than my tongue.-Lear, i. 1.
I could have given less matter a better ear.-Ant. & C., ii. 1.
The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus,
All turn'd to heresy ?-Cym., iii. 4.

But to win time, to lose so bad employment.Ibid., iii. 4. Sometimes he uses an epithet that is antithetical with the noun to which it is appended. [See LOVE-EXAGGERATIONS] :

This senior-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid.-Love's L. L., iii. 1.
According to the fool's bolt, sir, and such dulcet diseases.-As You L., V. 4.
Dead life, blind sight, poor mortal living ghost.R. III., iv. 4.
Courteous destroyers, affable wolves, meek bears.Timon, iii. 6.
O thou sweet king-killer, and dear divorce
'Twixt natural son and sire! thou bright defiler.-Ibid., iv. 3.
And come down with fearful bravery.-7 ul. C., V. I.
Such a holy witch, that he enchants societies.-Cym., i. 7.

O most delicate fiend !
Who is 't can read a woman ?-Ibid., v. 5.
How now, wholesome iniquity:-Per., iv. 6.
And he sometimes links antithetical terms together in a sentence :-
Thy speaking of my tongue, and I thine, most truly falsely, must needs be granted
to be much at one.-H. V., v V. 2.

Ignorance itself knows is so abundant scarce.-Tr. & Cr., ii. 3.
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits

To laughter and contempt.-Lear, i. 4.
Sometimes he has entire passages of antithetical diction :-

The king's a beggar, now the play is done :
All is well ended, if this suit be won,
That you express content; which we will pay,
With strife to please you, day exceeding day:
Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts;
Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.-All's W., v. 3.
Woe's scene, world's shame, grave's due by life usurp'd,
Brief abstract and record of tedious days,
Rest thy unrest on England's lawful earth,
Unlawfully made drunk with innocent blood !-R. III., iv. 4.
Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main."-Lear, iii. 1.

But that your royalty
Holds idleness your subject, I should take you
For idleness itself.

'Tis sweating labour
To bear such idleness so near the heart.-Ant. & C., i. 3.

The borders maritime
Lack blood to think on't, and flush youth revolt.Ibid., i. 4.
The breaking of so great a thing should make
A greater crack: the round world
Should have shook lions into civil streets,
And citizens to their dens.--Ibid., v. 1.

* "Main" here used for the mainland.

There are

several instances of Shakespeare using the words “ general” and “particular" antithetically ; in the same way that he uses “ beast” and “man” See BEAST AND MAN):

My brother general, the commonwealth,
To brother born a household cruelty,
I make my quarrel in particular.2 H. IV., iv. 1.

Where's our general ?
Here I am, thou particular fellow.—2 H. VI., iv. 2.
Now let the general trumpet blow his blast,
Particularities and petty sounds
To cease !-Ibid., v. 2.

For the success,
Although particular, shall give a scantling
Of good or bad unto the general.Tr. & Cr., i.

Our general doth salute you with a kiss.
Yet is the kindness but particular;
'Twere better she were kiss'd in general.-Ibid., iv. 5.

You hear what he hath said,
Which was sometime his general; who lov'd him
In a most dear particular.Coriol., v. I.
Of him that, his particular to foresee,
Smells from the general weal.— Timon, iv. 3.

Though in general part we were oppos'd,
Yet our old love made a particular force,
And made us speak like friends.-Ibid., v. 3.
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault.-Hamlet, i. 4.

Nor doth the general care
Take hold of me; for my particular grief

Is of so flood-gate and o'erbearing nature.-Oth., i. 3. Shakespeare has some passages where there is an effect given of an intended antithesis, but where there is no real antithesis existing :

If you be not mad, be gone; if you have reason, be brief.-Tw. N., i. 5.
Are you not mad indeed ? or do you but counterfeit ??-Ibid., iv, 2.
But let him say so then, and let him go ;

But let him swear so, and he shall not stay.-W. T., i. 2.
If I thought it were a piece of honesty to acquaint the king withal, I would not do't:
I hold it the more knavery to conceal it; and therein am I constant to my profession.-
Ibid., iv. 3.

Then say at once if I maintained the truth ;
Or else* was wrangling Somerset in error?-1 H. VI., ii. 4.
Speak, Prince of Ithaca; and be 't of less expect
That matter needless, of importless burden,
Divide thy lips than we are confident,
When rank Í hersites opes his mastiff jaws,
We shall hear music, wit, and oracle-Tr. & Cr., i. 3.
Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls ? —
No, nor a man that fears you less than he,

That's lesser than a little.-Coriol., i. 4.
Promise me friendship, but perform none: if thou wilt not promise, the gods plague
thee, for thou art a man ! if thou dost perform, confound thee, for thou art a man! -
Timon, iv. 3.

If thou hadst not been born the worst of men,

Thou hadst been a knave and flatterer.-Ibid., iv. 3. If I bring you no sufficient testimony that I have enjoyed the dearest bodily part of

• " Or else” is here used to express or, in other words."

your mistress, my ten thousand ducats are yours; so is your diamond too; if I come 011, and leave her in such honour as you have trust in, she your jewel, this your jewel, and my gold are yours.-Cym., i. 5.

If you can penetrate her with your fingering, so ; we'll try with tongue too: if none will do, let her remain ; but I'll never give o'er.-Ibid., ii. 3.

If you will swear you have not done 't, you lie ;

And I will kill thee, if thou dost deny.-Ibid., ii. 4. In the following passage there is the real antithesis between “ inn (which originally meant an abode, or dwelling; and here implies a stately dwelling) and “alehouse” (as meaning a lowly house of entertainment): while, at the same time, there is the effect of antithesis between “inn " (in its more usual and exclusive acceptation) and "alehouse," as being both houses of wayside entertainment, though superior in grade the one to the other :

Thou map of honour, thou King Richard's tomb,
And not King Richard; thou most beauteous inn,
Why should hard-favour'd grief be lodg'd in thee,
When triumph is become an alehouse guest.—R. II., V, 1.

APPRECIATION OF FRIENDSHIP: INTIMACY. The intensity of strength wherewith Shakespeare appreciated the sentiment of friendship, the passionate fervour with which he depicts its attachment and glorifies its object, as evidenced in various passages in his plays, serve not only to denote his own warmth of nature and might of heart, but also serve to illustrate many of the ardent expressions that abound in his sonnets,—those veiled yet glowingly demonstrative outpourings of his own affection. The diction of his time permitted much more lavish utterance of feeling, the habits of his time allowed much more marked and open token of preference, between man and man, than the diction and habits of modern times permit; and when we read the following eloquently effusive passages, we cannot but rejoice that William Shakespeare lived and wrote in an age that gave scope to unrestricted words and behaviour from one man. friend towards another. Thus passionately does he make Antonio, the noble-hearted and romantic-spirited sea-captain, express himself towards the youth for whom he has conceived a devoted personal attachment after saving him from perishing at sea :

If you will not murder me for my love, let me be your servant. The gentleness of all the gods go with thee! ... I do adore thee so.—Tw. N., ii. 2.

I could not stay behind you : my desire,
More sharp than filed steel, did spur me forth;
And not all love to see you (though so much
As might have drawn one to a longer voyage)
But jealousy what might befall your travel,
Being skilless in these parts; which to a stranger,
Unguided and unfriended, often prove
Rough and unhospitable : my willing love,
The rather by these arguments of fear,
Set forth in your pursuit.

Hold, sir, here's my purse. •
Haply your eye shall light upon some toy
You have desire to purchase ; and your store,
I think, is not for idle markets, sir.-Ibid., iii. 3.

Is 't possible that my deserts to you
Can lack persuasion ? Do not tempt my misery,
Lest that it make me so unsound a man
As to upbraid you with those kindnesses
That I have done for you.
Let me speak a little. This youth that you see here
I snatch'd one half out of the jaws of death;
Reliev'd him with such sanctity of love,
And to his image, which methought did promise
Most venerable worth, did I devotion.
But, o, how vile an idol proves this god !
Thou hast, Sebastian, done good feature shame.
In nature there's no blemish but the mind;
None can be call'd deform'd but the unkind :
Virtue is beauty; but the beauteous evil
Are empty trunks, o'erflourish'd by the devil !—Tw. N., iii. 4.

A witchcraft drew me hither ;
That most ingrateful boy there, by your side,
From the rude sea's enrag'd and foamy mouth
Did I redeem ; a wreck past hope he was:
His life I gave him, and did thereto add
My love, without retention or restraint,
All his in dedication; for his sake
Did I expose myself, pure for his love,
Into the danger of this adverse town;

Drew to defend him when he was beset.-Ibid., v. I. In reference to William Shakespeare himself might aptly be quoted his own words,—“ You have a noble and a true conceit of godlike amity.” Thus earnestly, with the simple yet firm manliness of truth in an esteeming as well as loving attachment, does Hamlet speak to his bosom friend Horatio :

Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice,
And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath seal'd thee for herself: for thou hast been
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing;
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks: and bless'd are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well co-mingled,
That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,

As I do thee.-Hamlet, iii. 2.
The terms in which men-friends addressed each other were formerly
scarcely less fond and caressing than those employed between lovers:-
Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus.

Sweet Valentine, adieu !
Think on thy Proteus, when thou haply see'st
Some rare noteworthy object in thy travel.

Sweet Proteus, no; now let us take our leave.Two G. of V., i. 1. One of his young court friends says to Bertram :

O my sweet lord, that you will stay behind us !-All's W., ii. 1. And Parolles says to Bertram :

What is the matter, sweet-heart? ... What, what, sweet-heart?-Ibid., ii. 3. And Poins says to Prince Hal :

Now, my good sweet honey lord, ride with us.—1 H. IV., i. 2.

« ZurückWeiter »