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Speak this no more.
Antony . . . Be it art or hap,
'Twas merry when
Pompey. Then so much have I heard:
Casar. Contemning Rome, he has done all this, and more,
Were publicly enthron'd : &c., &c.-Ibid., iii. 6. We have selected the following passages as being among the many that show his mode of employing historical truths, and moulding them to dramatic purpose, and his admirable manner of taking merest hints from original sources, while making them his own by judicious adaptation, alteration, and improvement :
Arthur. God shall forgive you Cœur-de-Lion's death
But with a heart full of unstained love.-Yohn, ii. 1. Historic fact showed Prince Arthur to be older than the dramatist represents him to be; but Shakespeare knew that the pathos of the story would be heightened by his making the boy a child of tencer years.
The poet found justification for his causing the boy to speak with a grace and propriety seldom distinguishing children of his age from a record made by Froissart in his “ Chronicles "; where he describes the conduct of the Princess of France, then “a yonge childe of eyght yere of age."
Groom. I was a poor groom of thy stable, king,
King Richard. Rode he on Barbary ? &c., &c.-R. II., v. 5.
Froissart relates an anecdote of a favorite greyhound that belonged to King Richard, and fawned upon him exclusively; till once, the dog left the King and leapt upon the Duke of Lancaster with the same shows of fondness that he formerly showed only to the King; a piece of canine fickleness that, it is said, struck Richard keenly. Probably it was this anecdote that suggested to Shakespeare the incident which he has so affectingly introduced, judiciously changing the animal from a dog to a horse.
Cassius. Ha, ha! how vilely doth this cynic rhyme!-Ful. C., iv. 3. In North's Plutarch the intruder upon Brutus and Cassius is represented to be "a cynic philosopher;" but the drainatist, with appropriate effect, makes him one of those cynical professional rhymesters that used to follow the camp in ancient wars (such as Thersites in “ Troilus and Cressida "), serving to amuse the idler hours of the leaders, to celebrate in doggrel their feats, and occasionally to administer biting sarcasms and rebukes. Paulina.
Sir, my liege,
I thought of her, Even in these looks I made.-W.T., v. 1. The conduct of the plot at this juncture of the story in the original source, whence Shakespeare derived the groundwork of his drama of · The Winter's Tale" (Robert Greene's novel of “Pandosto: the Triumph of Time”; afterwards entitled “ The History of Dorastus and Fawnia"), is of so coarse a character, as to raise still higher our admiration of Shakespeare's exquisite treatment of the subject, by reason of his supreme tact and taste in adaptation.
First Gentleman. But I much marvel that your lordship, having
Shake off the golden slumber of repose.—Per., iii. 2. Instead of a physician, as in the original (the “Gesta Romanorum ") Shakespeare makes Cerimon a nobleman who dedicates his wealth and leisure to the study of physic and to the relief of his suffering fellowcreatures; thereby reading the lesson of benevolent opulence and wisdom preferring a life of active utility to one of ease and selfindulgence.
Pericles. . . . Didst thou not say, when I did push thee back, (Which was when I perceived thee), that thou cam'st
From good descending ?-Ibid., v. I. The dramatist, with his usual sense of delicate propriety, makes the King put his daughter aside with a gesture of impatient rejection, instead of following the original; which describes Pericles as striking the unknown maiden when she first accosts him.
As evidence of the consummate skill with which Shakespeare invented characters from faintest indications, we would mention that his choice full-length picture of the “humorous patrician," Menenius Agrippa, had no more marked origin than a brief sentence in North’s Plutarch, which relates that “ The senate being afeard of their de
parture, did send unto them certaine of the pleasantest old men, and the most acceptable to the people among them. Of those Menenius Agrippa was he who was sent for chiefe man of the message from the senate. He, after many good perswasions and gentle requests made to the people on behalfe of the senate, knit up his oration in the end with a notable tale, in this manner: that on a time all the members of man's body did rebell against the belly, complaining of it," &c. Similarly the dramatist's fine portraiture of Domitius Enobarbus, with its spirited delineation and profoundly touching close, grew from these few lines in North's Plutarch :-“ He dealt very friendly and courteously with Domitius, and against Cleopatra's mind. For he being sick of an ague when he went and tooke a little boate to go unto Cæsar's campe, Antonius was very sorie for it, but yet he sent after him all his cariage, traine, and men : and the same Domitius, as though he gave him to understand that he repented his open treason, died immediately after."
Shakespeare has registered the names of certain historically mentioned brave men “in the bead-roll of eternal fame," by allusion to them in his chronicle-plays :
Where is the number of our English dead ?-
And Rice ap Thomas, with a valiant crew.-R. III., iv. 5. There are some inaccuracies found in Shakespeare that are attri. butable to the original sources whence he derived his historical plots or incidents (See ALLEGED ANACHRONISMS, &c.]:
Also King Lewis the Tenth (Ninth],
IDIOMS. Shakespeare, the most vigorous writer of English that ever set pen to paper, abounds in idiomatic phrases. He uses several idioms that were in use when he wrote, but which have either fallen into disuse or have become slightly modified in expression ; and he uses others that are still in familiar use among us. He employs several idioms similar in sense, but variously worded ; and several similarly worded idioms, but with various significations. It will be obvious that there is difficulty in classifying the examples collected under the present heading; and still more difficulty-nay, impossibility-in placing them alphabetically. The utmost that can be done is to collect, under the general denomination of Idioms, such phrases as are usually understood to rank as idiomatic expressions; and this we have done to the best of our power.
And bring them after in the best advantage [' in the most advantageous manner '). Oth., i. 3.
Yes, a dozen; and as many to the vantage [' over and above,' in addition to them ').Otk., iv. 3.
My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd (if not with vantage) [* additionally so,' * more so ') as Demetrius'.—Mid. N. D., i. I. Go, bid thy master well advise himself [' reflect,' consider ').-H. V., iii. 6. Have you nothing said upon his party 'gainst the duke of Albany? Advise yourself * recollect yourself,' bethink yourself,' reflect,'• consider ').-Lear, ii. 1.
You go against the hair [' against the grain,' contrary to the nature or quality '] of your professions.—Merry W., ii. 3.
He is melancholy without cause, and merry against the hair ['contrary to the nature of mirth'].—Tr. & Cr., i. 2.
Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair [' contrary to the spirit of jesting ').-R. & Jul., ii. 4.
Made you against the grain (the more usual idiom : 'contrary to your inclination '] to voice him consul.—Coriol., ii. 3.
This is for all [' once for all,' 'I tell you this as your guidance for the future'].Hamlet, i. 3.
And all the madness is [' what makes me feel more mad, or vexed, is '] he cheers them up too.—Timon, i. 2.
You are such another! [* such an extraordinary creature '].—Tr. & Cr., i. 2.
That 's as much to say as (old form of as much as to say '], I wear not motley in my brain.-Tw. N., i. 5.
Which is as much to say as–let the magistrates.—2 H. VI., iv. 2.
That 's as much as to say [here Shakespeare uses the more usual form of this idiom]
Say [*supposing'], this were death.—Temp., i. 2.
Ha! I have said (similar to the Italian idiom, Basta! 'enough,' I say no more,' let it suffice']. Be gone.-Henry VIII., V. I.
My wife kill'd too ?-I have said.-Be comforted.-Macb., iv. 3.
What fifty of my followers, at a clap ? [all at once,' suddenly ']. Lear, i. 4.
Ten masts at each [' each placed at the end of each'] make not the altitude.Ibid., iv. 6.
May worthy Troilus be half attached with [' possessed by,' seized with,' powered by ') that which here his passion doth express.—Tr. & Cr., V. 2.
No, faith, die by attorney [' by deputy,' . by proxy').-As You L., iv. 1.
And there awake God's gentle-sleeping peace [* arouse divine patience, and convert it into avenging wrath '].-Ibid., i. 3.
In the mildness of your sleepy thoughts, which here we waken [*rouse into energy', to our country's good.-R. III., iii. 7.
We will not wake your patience ['rouse your patience, and convert it into wrath"; -M. Ado, v. I.
If none, awake your dangerous lenity [“ arouse your perilous forbearance, and convert it into more judicious severity').-Coriol., ill. 1.
And extort a poor soul's patience [* force a poor soul's patience into wrath '], all to make your sport.- Mid. N. D., iii. 2.
She never could away with me [i never could bear me'].–Never, never ; she would always say she could not abide [* could not endure '] Master Shallow.—2 H. IV., ill. 2.
'A could never abide carnation.-H. V., ii. 3.
Nay, I do bear a brain [' I have my wits about me,' • I have a good memory').R. & Jul., i. 3.
0, there has been much throwing about of brains [' wit-contest,' 'sharp argument on both sides ').-Hamlet, ii. 2.
Cudgel thy brains [' puzzle thy wits '] no more about it.—Ibid., v. I.
And let us knog our prains together [' lay our heads together,' .debate together ') to be revenge on this same.
e.- Merry W., ii. i. I see them lay their heads together [' consult together '], to surprise me.2 H. VI., iv. 8.
What! Bear her in hand [' beguile her on by false appearance of good-will '] until they come to take hands.-M. Ado, iv. I.
I tell you, sir, she bears me fair in hand [' she gives me fair encouragement ').Tam. of S., iv. 2.
To bear a gentleman in hand [' lure a gentleman on with false expectation '], and then stand upon security !--2 H. IV., i. 2.
Your daughter, whom she bore in hand to love [i beguiled under an appearance of love'] with such integrity.--Cym., v. 5.
How you were borne in hand [' led on by false expectations '], how cross'd.Macb., iii. I.
Was falsely borne in hand [' deluded, beguiled by pretexts'].--Hamlet, ii. 2.
Cæsar doth bear me hard [' bear a hard opinion of me,' • bear me ill-will,'. bear me a grudge '].—Jul. C., i. 3.
Caius Ligarius doth bear Casar hard.-Ibid., ii. 1.
As we'll direct her how 'tis best to bear it [' carry the matter,' .conduct the affair']. -All's W., iii. 7.
But bear it [' conduct yourselves,' demean yourselves ') as our Roman actors do.Ful. C., ii. 1.
And, for turning away, let summer bear it out [' enable me to endure it'].Tw. N., i. 5.
I hope your warrant will bear out [' authorise,' • exonerate you in,' bear you harmless through '] the deed.--Wohn, iv. 1.
If I cannot once or twice in a quarter bear out [uphold,'* support,' . carry through. justify,' • vindicate '] a knave against an honest man, I have but very little credit with your worship.—2 H. IV., v. 1.
To bear up [' have fortitude '] against what should ensue.—Temp., i. 2.
So long as nature will bear up with ['sustain '] this exercise, so long I daily vow to use it.-W. T., iii. 2.
I pray you, bear with [' be patient with '] me; I can go no farther.-For my part, I had rather bear with you.-As You L., ii. 4.