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signified equally strength and virtue. This feel. ing, carried into the fine arts, was the secret of the antique grace—the grace of repose. The same eternal nature—the same sense of immutable truth and beauty, which revealed this sublime principle of art to the ancient Greeks, revealed it to the genius of Shakspeare ; and the character of Hermione, in which we have the same largeness of conception and delicacy of execution,-the same effect of suffering without passion, and grandeur without effort, is an instance, I think, that he felt within himself, and by intuition, what we study all our lives in the remains of ancient art. The calm, regular, classical beauty of Hermione's character is the more impressive from the wild and gothic accompaniments of her story, and the beautiful relief afforded by the pastoral and romantic grace
which is thrown around her daughter Perdita:
The character of Paulina, in the Winter's Tale, though it has obtained but little notice, and no critical remark, (that I have seen,) is yet one of the striking beauties of the play: and it has its moral too. As we see running through the whole universe that principle of contrast which may be called the life of nature, so we behold it every where illustrated in Shakspeare: upon this principle he has placed Emilia beside Desdemona, the nurse beside Juliet; the clowns and dairymaids, and the merry pedlar thief Autolycus round Florizel and Perdita ;-and made Paulina the friend of Hermione.
Paulina does not fill any ostensible office near the person of the queen, but is a lady of high rank in the court—the wife of the Lord Antigones. She is a character strongly drawn from real and common life-a clever, generous, strong-minded, warm-hearted woman, fearless in asserting the truth, firm in her sense of right, enthusiastic in all her affections; quick in thought, resolute in word, and energetic in action ; but heedless, hottempered, impatient, loud, bold, voluble, and turbulent of tongue; regardless of the feelings of those for whom she would sacrifice her life, and injuring from excess of zeal those whom she most wishes to serve.
How many such are there in the
world! But Paulina, though a very termagant, is yet a poetical termagant in her way; and the manner in which all the evil and dangerous tendencies of such a temper are placed before us, even while the individual character preserves the strongest hold upon our respect and admiration, forms an impressive lesson, as well as a natural and delightful portrait.
In the scene, for instance, where she brings the infant before Leontes with the hope of softening him to a sense of his injustice—“ an office which," as she observes, “becomes a woman best? - her want of self-government, her bitter, inconsiderate reproaches, only add, as we might easily suppose, to his fury.
I say I come
Good queen, my lord, good queen : I say good queen ;
And would by combat make her good, so were I
Force her hence,
Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes,
Will you not push her out ? Give her the bastard.
Unvenerable he thy bands, if thou
He dreads his wife.
So, I would you did ; then 'twere past all doubt
Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her husband, And now baits me!—That brat is none of mine,
It is yours,
A gross hag!
Hang all the husbands