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not untried, nor did she yield to him her heart with the sweet proneness of Desdemona :

“ Three crabbel months had sour'd themselves to death
Ere I could make thee open thy white hand,
And clap thyself my love; then didst thou utter

*I am yours for ever.'” Hermione is suspected of sudden and shameless dishonour, she who is a matron, the mother of Leontes' children, a woman of serious and sweet dignity of character, inured to a noble self-command, and frank only through the consciousness of invulnerable loyalty.* The passion of Leontes is not, like that of Othello, a terrible chaos of soulconfusion and despair at the loss of what had been to him the fairest thing on earth; there is a gross personal resentment in the heart of Leontes, not sorrowful, judicial indig.

* The contrast between Othello and The Winter's Tale has been noticed by Coleridge, and is admirably drawn out in detail by Gervinus and Kreyssig, to whose treatment of the subject the above paragraph is indebted.

[Coleridge's remarks are as follows: “The idea of this delightful drama is a genuine jealousy of disposition, and it should be immediately followed by the perusal of Othello, which is the direct contrast of it in every particular. For jealousy is a vice of the mind, a culpable tendency of the temper, having certain well-known and well-defined effects and concomitants, all of which are visible in Leontes, and, I boldly say, not one of which marks its presence in Othello ;-such as, first, an excitaLility by the most inadequate causes, and an eagerness to snatch at proofs ; secondly, a grossness of conception, and a disposition to degrade the object of the passion by sensual fancies and images; thirdly, a sense of shame of his own feelings exhibited in a solitary moodiness of humour, and yet from the violence of the passion forced to utter itself, and therefore catching occasions to ease the mind by ambiguities, equivoques, by talking to those who cannot, and who are known not to be able to, understand what is said to them-in short, by soliloquy in the form of dialogue, and hence a confused, broken, and fragmentary manner; fourthly, a dread of vulgar ridicule, as distinct from a high sense of honour, or a mistaken sense of duty; and lastly, and immediately, consequent on this, a spirit of selfish vindictiveness.”

See extract from Gervinus in note on i. 2. 87 below.-E..]

nation ; his passion is hideously grotesque, while that of Othello is pathetic.

The consequences of this jealous madness of Leontes are less calamitous than the ruin wrought by Othello's jealousy, because Hermione is courageous and collected, and possessed of a fortitude of heart which years of suffering are unable to subdue. ... But although the wave of calamity is broken by the firm resistance offered by the fortitude of Hermione, it commits ravage enough to be remembered. Upon the Queen comes a lifetime of solitude and pain. The hopeful son of Leontes and Hermione is done to death, and the infant Perdita is estranged from her kindred and her friends. But at length the heart of Leontes is instructed and purified by anguish and remorse. He has “performed a saintlike sorrow,” redeemed his faults, paid down more penitence than done trespass :

“Whilst I remember
Her and her virtues, I cannot forget
My blemishes in them, and so still think of
The wrong I did myself; which was so much,
That heirless it hath made my kingdom and
Destroy'd the sweet'st companion that e'er man
Bred his hopes out of.”

And Leontes is received back without reproach into the arms of his wife; she embraces him in silence, allowing the good pain of his repentance to effect its utmost work. ...

From the first, Hermione, whose clear-sightedness is equal to her courage, had perceived that her husband laboured under a delusion which was cruel and calamitous to himself. From the first she transcends all blind resentment, and has true pity for the man who wrongs her. But if she has fortitude for her own uses, she also is able to accept for her husband the inevitable pain which is necessary to restore him to his better mind. She will not shorten the term of his suffering, because that suffering is beneficent. And at the

last her silent embrace carries with it—and justly—a portion of that truth she had uttered long before :

“How will this grieve you,
When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that
You thus have publish'd me! Gentle my lord,
You scarce can right me throughly then to say

You did mistake." The calm and complete comprehension of the fact is a possession painful yet precious to Hermione, and it lifts her above all vulgar confusion of heart or temper, and above all unjust resentment. ...

Over the beauty of youth and the love of youth there is shed, in these plays of Shakspere's final period, a clear yet tender luminousness not elsewhere to be perceived in his writings. In his earlier plays, Shakspere writes concerning young men and maidens, their loves, their mirth, their griefs, as one who is among them, who has a lively, personal interest in their concerns, who can make merry with them, treat them familiarly, and, if need be, can mock them into good sense. There is nothing in these early plays wonderful, strangely beautiful, pathetic about youth and its joys and sorrows. ... But in these latest plays the beautiful, pathetic light is always present. There are the sufferers, aged, experienced, tried-Queen Katherine, Prospero, Hermione. And over against these there are the children absorbed in their happy and exquisite egoism-Perdita and Miranda, Florizel and Ferdinand, and the boys of old Belarius. ... In each of these plays we can see Shakspere, as it were, bending tenderly over the joys and sorrows of youth. We recognize this rather through the total characterization, and through a feeling and a presence, than through definite incident or statement. But some of this feeling escapes in the disinterested joy and admiration of old Belarius when he gazes at the princely youths, and in Camillo's loyalty to Florizel and Perdita ; while it obtains more distinct expression in such a


word as that which Prospero utters, when from a distance he watches with pleasure Miranda's zeal to relieve Ferdinand from his task of log - bearing :-"Poor worm, thou art infected.”

[From Furnivall's Introduction to the Play.*] We turn from our murky Britain again to sunlit Sicily and the Mediterranean, and though Mamillius tells us that

“ A sad tale 's best for winter," yet, notwithstanding all Hermione's suffering, and the death of her gallant boy, who used to frighten her with goblin stories, we can't call Shakspere's Winter's Tale sad. It is so fragrant with Perdita and her primroses and violets, so happy in the reunion and reconciliation of her and her father and mother, so bright with the sunshine of her and of Florizel's young love, and the merry roguery of that scamp Autolycus, that none of us can think of The Winter's Tale as a “sad tale” or play.

The last complete play of Shakspere's as it is, the golden glow of the sunset of his genius is over it, the sweet country air all through it; and of few, if any of his plays, is there a pleasanter picture in the memory than of Winter's Tale. As long as men can think, shall Perdita brighten and sweeten, Hermione ennoble, men's minds and lives. How happily, too, it brings Shakspere before us, mixing with his Stratford neighbours at their sheep-shearing and country sports, enjoying the vagabond pedlar's gammon and talk, delighting in the sweet Warwickshire maidens, and buying them "fairings," telling goblin stories to the boys, “There was a man dwelt by a churchyard,” t-opening his heart afresh to all the innocent mirth, and the beauty of nature around him. He borrowd the improbable story of his play from a popular tale by his old abuser Greene, Pandosto (or Dorastus and

* The Leopold Shakspere (London, 1877), p. xci.
| Who will finish it for us?

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Fawniawho is Perdita), of which the first edition in 1588 was followd by thirteen others, and which puts the inland Bohemia on the sea-shore, as Shakspere does. This tale contains no original of Paulina and Autolycus, or the reconciliation of Leontes and Hermione ;* the shepherd's wife's name is Mopsa; the queen dies on hearing of the death of her son.

Shakspere changes Bohemia for Sicily, and vice versa. We must accept the medley and anachronisms of this play, as Hudson says, "making Whitsun pastorals, Christian burial, Giulio Romano, the Emperor of Russia, and Puritans singing psalms to hornpipes, all contemporary with the oracle of Delphi.”† “ It is a winter's tale, an old tale," and one must not object to confusions in it. It is Greene's tale, informd by a new spirit, instinct with a new life. The play is late in metre, in feeling, in purpose. It has no fivemeasure ryme in the dialogue, its end-stopt lines are only one in 2.12, its double-endings are as many as one in 2.85; it has passages in Shakspere's latest budding style, “What you do, still betters what is done,” etc. Its purpose, its lesson, are to teach forgiveness of wrongs, not vengeance for them; to give the sinner time to repent and amend, not to cut him off in his sin; to frustrate the crimes he has purpost. And as in Pericles, father and lost daughter, and wife and mother thought dead, meet again; as in Cymbeline, father and injured daughter meet again, she forgiving her wrongs; as there, too, friends meet again, the injured friend forgiving his wrongs, so here do lost daughter, injured daughter and injuring father, meet, he being forgiven; so injured friend forgiving, meets injuring friend forgiven; while above all rises the figure of the noble, long-suffering wife Hermione, forgiving the base though now repentant husband who had so cruelly injured her. She links this play to Shakspere's

* And none of Antigonus or the shepherd's son.

| Compare what Ulrici and Gervinus say in the extracts on pp. 13 and 17 above.-ED.

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