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There is a Prologue to the grand drama of “Henry VIII.," and one to " Troilus and Cressida

I come no more to make you laugh, &c.-H. VIII., i.

In Troy, there lies the scene. From isles of Greece
The princes orgulous,

and hither am I come
A prologue arm'd, but not in confidence
Of author's pen or actor's voice; but suited
In like conditions as our argument-

To tell you, fair beholders, that our play, &c.Tr. & Cr., i.
The above words, that we have italicised, show that in this case the
Prologue was clad in armour ; whereas the usual dress worn by the
speaker of a prologue was a suit of black.

There is an incidental prologue (to the interlude of “ Pyramus and Thisbe”) in the course of “ A Midsummer Night's Dream”:

Enter PROLOGUE. If we offend, it is with our good will, &c.—Mid. N. D., V. 1. And there is another incidental prologue (to the “ Murder of Gonzago " in the course of “ Hamlet":


For us, and for our tragedy, &c.Hamlet, iii. 2.
And there are epilogues appended to the following plays

EPILOGUE (spoken by Prospero).
Now my charms are all o'erthrown, &c.Temp.

EPILOGUE (spoken by Rosalind).
It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue, &c.—As You L.

EPILOGUE (spoken by a Dancer).
First, my fear; then my court'sy ; last, my speech, &c.—2 H. IV.

EPILOGUE. 'Tis ten to one, this play can never please all, &c.-H. VIII. There are final speeches,* forming a kind of epilogue, to the two following dramas:

Puck. If we shadows have offended, &c.—Mid. N. D., V. 2.
King. Let us from point to point. .

The king 's a beggar, now the play is done, &c.—All's W., v. 3. And in the two following, songs are sung that have the effect of an epilogue :

When daisies pied, and violets blue, &c.Love's L. L., V. 2.

When that I was, and a little tiny boy, &c.Tw. N., v. I.

At the close of " Troilus and Cressida " there are some lines that appear some. what like an intended epilogue of this kind; but we have recorded our conviction of their being spurious under the heading, COARSENESSES AND DELICACIES.

CLOSING SCENES: BRIEF SCENES. It is observable that Shakespeare generally makes the closing scenes of his plays conclude with a speech from one of the leading or most high-ranked characters therein; and that this character (even in his comedies) is invariably a male personage; whereas, in modern dramas (especially comedies) it is almost always a woman character who speaks the final words—what, in theatrical parlance, is called “the tag." Another peculiarity in his closing scenes is the mode in which he winds up the plot or story of a drama in its final scene; sometimes giving the dialogue in such succinct style as shall merely recount points needful to be explained to the audience, but leaving unrecapitulated those already known to them (See Passages of IncomPLETE EXPLANATION).

Many of his apparently slight and insignificant scenes are worthy of notice as containing indications of his artistic skill in dramatic writing. Certain of these brief scenes are introduced preparatively to a long and important one; as, for example, where two officers of the Capitol enter, “to lay cushions," and prepare for the entrance of the Roman Senators and Tribunes, coming to recognise and reward the military services of Coriolanus against the Volsces. The dialogue between these two attendants, serves admirably to bring forward the view taken of Marcius's haughty and unbending disposition, his claims, his merits, and his chances of attaining the consulship. It commences thus :

First Off. Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand for consulships ? Sec. Off. Three, they say: but 'tis thought of every one Coriolanus will carry it.

First Öff. That's a brave fellow; but he's vengeance proud, and loves not the common people.

Sec. Off. Faith, there have been many great men that have flattered the people, who ne'er loved them; and there be many that they have loved, they know not wherefore, &c., &c.-Coriol., ii. 2.

So likewise the scene where “two or three servants ” enter, to prepare a banquet (rear-banquet, or dessert, rather), on board Pompey's galley, when the illustrious guests, Cæsar, Antony, with Lepidus, Enobarbus, and others, have been invited to feast there; the dialogue, with its free discussion of the wine-heated revellers, their unsteady feet, half rendered so by the unaccustomed motion of the vessel, half by the deep potations they have already imbibed, its contempt of the weak yet conceited “third " in the Triumvir—Lepidus, is thoroughly true to nature and highest dramatic art :

First Serv. Here they'll be, man. Some o' their plants are ill-rooted already; the least wind i' the world will blow them down.

Sec. Serv. Lepidus is high-coloured.
First Serv. They have made him drink alms-drink.

Sec. Serv. As they pinch one another by the disposition, he cries out “No more;” reconciles them to his entreaty, and himself to the drink, &c., &c.-Ant. & C., ii. 7.

Several of Shakespeare's brief scenes (though often omitted in stage representation) are of marked importance to the dramatic evolvement and conduct of the story ; and serve significant purpose, moral as well


with me,

as dramatic, notwithstanding the objections that certain commentators have made to some of these very scenes.

So essential are they to the completeness of our great dramatist's design, that he frequently uses them as the “ Chorus " was used by the Grecian dramatists—to form an elucidatory comment upon the passing incidents, to denote popular feeling and opinion concerning characters and events, or to carry on the main plot by subsidiary occurrences. In the first of the following examples, it is worthy of remark how Shakespeare has contrived to subtly show the way in which men unconsciously miss valuable opportunities. Had Leonato listened to what his “ tedious neighbours had to say to him, he would have been spared his misery in the scene of his daughter's broken-off marriage : Leon. What would


honest neighbour ? Dogberry. Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you, that decerns you nearly, &c., &c.—M. Ado, iii. 5.

By the following short scene, the dramatist not only keeps well before the mind Shylock's unrelenting persecution of the merchant creditor whom he has got within his power, but also shows how impossible it is for the Venetian state legally or expediently to rescue the Christian from the Jew's exaction of the penalty

Shylock. Gaoler, look to him: tell not me of mercy;
This is the fool that lent out money gratis:

Ant. The duke cannot deny the course of law, &c., &c.--Mer. of V., iii. 3. By the following, Portia (as the young Doctor of Laws) is shown to fulfil, in careful, practical, professional way, the duty of conveying the deed to Shylock for signature ; to receive the ring from her husband which she desired to obtain ; and to desire Gratiano's conducting her clerk to the Jew's house, which affords the opportunity for Nerissa also to secure possession of her husband's ring in a natural manner :

Portia. Inquire the Jew's house out, give him this deed,
And let him sign it:..

Gratiano. Fair sir, you are well o'erta'en:
My lord Bassanio, upon more advice,
Hath sent you here this ring,
Portia. . . . I pray you, show my youth old Shylock's house, &c., &c.

Ibid., iv, 2. The following is ingeniously calculated to impress upon the audience the fact of the king's absence from England, to denote the rumours of the king's death that have arisen while he is away in Ireland, the vain efforts made by his adherents to preserve allegiance to him, and the dark foreboding with which his downfall is poetically foreshadowed. Dr. Johnson remarks upon this scene that it is “unartfully and irregularly thrust into an improper place," and advises that it should be inserted later on in the play, so as to form the second scene of the third act; but, to our thinking, the objects of the dramatist, as we have above stated them, are better effected by being introduced at the close of the second act, and thus set apart from the scenes in the third act, where Richard returns to England, and Salisbury joins him with the news of the Welsh defection, than if brought into juxtaposition therewith :

SCENE IV.-A camp in Wales.
Cap. My lord of Salisbury, we have stay'd ten days,
And hardly kept our countrymen together,
And yet we hear no tidings of the king:
Therefore we will disperse ourselves : farewell.

Sal. Stay yet another day, thou trusty Welshman:
The king reposeth all his confidence in thee.

Cap. 'Tis thought, the king is dead; we will not stay.
The bay-trees in our country are all wither'd,
And meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven :
Sal. Ah, Richard, with the eyes of heavy mind
I see thy glory, like a shooting star,

Fall to the base earth from the firmament! &c., &c.R. II., ii. 4. The following lets the misgiving of the populace and their discussion of public events be perceived in the most dramatically natural way possible:

SCENE III.-London. A street.

Enter Two CITIZENS, meeting.
First Cit. Good morrow, neighbour : whither away so fast?
Sec. Cit. I promise you, I scarcely know myself:
Hear you the news abroad?
First Cit.

Yes—that the king is dead.
Sec. Cit. Ill news, by'r lady; seldom comes the better :
I fear, I fear, 'twill prove a giddy world.

Third Cit. Neighbours, God speed !
Doth the news hold of good King Edward's death ?
Sec. Cit. Ay, sir, it is too true ; &c., &c.—R. III., ii.

3. The following, consisting merely of a soliloquy from “a Scrivener," appointed to write out the indictment of Lord Hastings, succinctly depicts the summariness with which the usurper proceeds in putting out of his way those who obstruct his path, and the dismayed clearness though prudent silence with which his course is discerned by lookerson:

Scene VI.-London. A street.

Scriv. Here is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings;
Which in a set hand fairly is engrossid,

That it may be to-day read o'er in Paul's, &c., &c.-Ibid., iii. 6. The following graphically details the picture of Buckingham's trial and condemnation ; together with the public perception of Wolsey's being the originator of this and other state attainders, court disgraces, and removals from royal favour :

SCENE 1.-London. A street.

Enter Two GenTLEMEN, meeting.
First Gent. Whither away so fast?
Sec. Gent.

Oh, God save you !
E'en to the hall, to hear what shall become
Of the great Duke of Buckingham.
First Gent.

I'll save you
That labour, sir. All's now done, but the ceremony
Of bringing back the prisoner, &c., &c.-H. VIII., ii. 1.

The following, with equal vividness, gives the description of public feeling concerning the divorce between the king and his first queen, Katharine of Arragon, the marriage with Anne Boleyn ; and the gorgeous account of her coronation and great personal beauty, together with allusions to Wolsey's downfall, Gardiner's enmity towards Cranmer, and Thomas Cromwell's advance in royal favour :

Scene I.-A street in Westminster.

Enter Two GENTLEMEN, meeting.
First Gent. You 're well met once again.
Sec. Gent.

So are you.
First Gent. You come to take your stand here, and behold
The Lady Anne pass from her coronation ?

Enter a Third GENTLEMAN.
God save you, sir ! where have you been broiling ?

Third Gent. Among the crowd i' the abbey ;
Sec. Gent.

He of Winchester
Is held no great good lover of the archbishop's,

The virtuous Cranmer, &c. &c.,-H. VIII., iv. 1. The following is well contrived and inserted, to indicate the insurrectionary condition of Rome, and the auspicious condition of the Volscian State, at the time being ; preparing well the subsequent events in the drama :

SCENE III.-A highway between Rome and Antium.

Enter a Roman and a Volscian, meeting. Rom. I know you well, sir, and you know me : your name, I think, is Adrian. Vols. It is so, sir : truly, I have forgot you. Rom. I am a Roman ; and my services are, as you are, against them : know you me Vols. Nicanor ? No. Rom. The same, sir, &c. &c.-Coriol., iv. 3.

The following is used by the dramatist as a means of confirming to us the fact of Timon's benevolence and generosity of disposition, and as a means of showing the superficial compassion excited in casual witnesses of social injustices. These three men behold the callous ingratitude with which Timon is treated, they pity his condition, they profess themselves willing to relieve his distress-had they been applied to ; but, as it is, they consider it no business of theirs, make no pause to inquire into the truth of his need, but go on their way with a shrug of the shoulders and a trite axiom upon the prudence of dispensing with pity and suppressing conscience :

Scene II.-Athens. A public place.

Enter Lucius, with THREE STRANGERS. Luc. Who, the Lord Timon ? he is my very good friend, and an honourable gentleman.

First Stran. We know him for no less, though we are but strangers to him, &c., &c. -Timon, iii. 2.

In the following, picturesque description of the natural portents that accompany last night's regicidal act is put into dramatic form and most artistically made part of this grand tragic play; as also the reports that are current on the events immediately consequent upon the deed that has been done ;

yet ?

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