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the studied approximation to the intractable character of real madness, his apparent insensibility to all external considerations, and utter indifference to every thing but the wild and extravagant freaks of his own self will. There is no contending with a person on whom nothing makes any impression but his own purposes, and who is bent on his own whims just in proportion as they seem to want common
With him a thing's being plain and reason. able is a reason against it. The airs he gives himself are infinite, and his caprices are sudden as they are groundless. The whole of his treatment of his wife at home is in the same spirit of ironical attention and inverted gallantry. Every thing flies before his will, like a conjuror's wand, and he only metamorphoses his wife's temper by metamorphosing her senses and all the objects she sees, at a word's speaking. Such are his insisting that it is the moon and not the sun which they see, &c. This extravagance reacbes its most pleasant and poetical height in the scene wbere, on their return to her father's they meet old Vincen. tio, whom Petruchio immediately addresses as a young lady:
“ Petruchio. Good morrow, gentle mistress, where away?
Happy the parents of so fair a child :
Petruchio. Why, how now, Kate, I hope thou art not mad :
Katherine. Pardon, old father, my mistaken eyes
The whole is carried off with equal spirit, as if the poet's comick Muse bad wings of fire. It is strange how one man could be so many things; but so it is. The concluding scene, in which trial is made of the obedience of the new-married wives (so triumphantly for Petruchio) is a very happy one.--In some parts of this play there is a little too much about musick masters and masters of philosophy. They were things of greater rarity in those days than they are now. Nothing however can be better than the advice which Tranio gives his master for the prosecution of his studies :
"The mathematicks, and the metaphysicks,
We have heard the Honey Moon called “an elegant Katherine and Petruchio.” We suspect we do not understand this word elegant in the sense that many people do. But in our sense of the word, we should call Luceptio's description of his mistress elegant.
Tranio, I saw her coral lips to move,
When Biondello tells the same Lucentio for his encouragement, “ I knew a wench married in an afternoon as she went to the garden for parsley to stuff a rabbit, and so may you, sir”—there is nothing elegant in this, and yet we hardly know which of the two passages is the best.
The TaminG OF THE Shrew is a play within a a play. It is supposed to be a play acted for the benefit of Sly the tinker, who is made to believe himself a lord, when he wakes after a drunken brawl. The character of Sly and the remarks with which he accompanies the play are as good as the play itself. His answer when he is asked how he likes it, “Indifferent well ; 'tis a good piece of work, would 'twere done,” is in good keeping, as if he were thinking of his Saturday night's job. Sly does not change his tastes with his new situation, but in the midst of splendour and luxury still calls out lustily and repeatedly “for a pot o' the smallest ale.” He is very slow in giving up his personat identity in his sudden advancement.--"I am Christophero Sly, call not me honour nor lordship. I ne'er drank sack in my life: and if you give me any conserves, give me conserves of beef: ne'er ask me what raiment l'll wear, for I have no more doublets than backs, no more stockings than legs, por no more shoes than feet, nay, sometimes more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look through the over-leather. What, would you make me mad? Am not I Christophero Siy, old Sly's son of Burtonheath, by birth a pedlar, by education a cardmaker, by transmutation a bear-herd, and now by present profession a tinker? Ask Marian Hacket, the fat
alewife of Wincot, if she know me not ; if she say I am not fourteen pence on the score for sheer ale, score me up for the lying'st knave in Christendom.”
This is honest. 66 The Slies are no rogues," as he says of himself. We have a great predilection for this representative of the family; and what makes us like him the better is, that we take him to be of kin (not many degrees removed) to Sancho Panza.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
Tuis is a play as full of genius as it is of wisdom. Yet there is an original sin in the nature of the subject, which prevents us from taking a cordial interest in it. “ The height of moral argument,” which the author has maintained in the intervals of passion or blended with the more powerful impulses of nature, is hardly surpassed in any of his plays. But there is in general a want of passion; the affections are at a stand; our sympathies are repulsed and defeated in all directions. The only passion which influences the story is that of Angelo; and yet he seems to have a much greater passion for hypocrisy than for his mistress. Neither are we greatly enamoured of Isabella's rigid chastity, though she could not act otherwise than she did. We do not feel the same confidence in the virtue that is “sublimely good” at another's expense, as if it had been put to some less disinterested trial. As to the Duke, who makes a very imposing and mysterious stage character, he is more absorbed in his own plots and gravity than anxious for the welfare of the state; more tenacious of his own character than attentive to the feelings