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than by extorting this testimony from so insensible a monster.

Shakspeare seems to be the only poet who possesses the power of uniting poetry with propriety of character; of which I know not an instance more striking than the image Caliban makes use of to express silence, which is at once highly poetical, and exactly suited to the wildness of the speaker :

Pray you tread softly, that the blind mole may not
Hear a foot-fall.

I always lament that our author has not preserved this fierce and implacable spirit in Caliban to the end of the play; instead of which, he has, I think injudiciously, put into his mouth words that imply repentance and understanding :

I'll be wise hereafter,
And seek for grace. What a thrice double ass
Was I, to take this drunkard for a God,
And worship this dull fool?

It must not be forgotten that Shakspeare has artfully taken occasion from this extraordinary character, which is finely contrasted to the mildness and obedience of Ariel, obliquely to satirize the prevailing passion for new and wonderful sights, which has rendered the English so ridiculous. • Were I in England now,' says Trinculo, on first discovering Caliban, and had but this fish painted, not an holiday-fool there but would give a piece of silver.—When they will not give a

doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian.'

Such is the inexhaustible plenty of our poet's invention, that he has exhibited another character in this play, entirely his own; that of the lovely and innocent Miranda.

When Prospero first gives her a sight of Prince Ferdinand, she eagerly exclaims,

What is't? a spirit?
Lord, how it looks about! Believe me, sir,
It carries a brave form. But 'tis a spirit.

Her imagining that, as he was so beautiful, he must necessarily be one of her father's aerial agents, is a stroke of nature worthy admiration; as are likewise her intreaties to her father not to use him harshly, by the power of his art :

Why speaks my father so ungently? This
Is the third man that e'er I saw; the first
That e'er I sigh'd for!

Here we perceive the beginning of that passion which Prospero was desirous she should feel for the prince, and which she afterwards more fully expresses upon an occasion which displays at once the tenderness, the innocence, and the simplicity of her character. She discovers her lover employed in the laborious task of carrying wood, which Prospero had enjoined him to perform. Would,' says she, “the lightning had burnt up those logs that you are enjoined to pile !

If you'll sit down,
I'll bear your logs the while. Pray give me that,
I'll carry't to the pile.--

You look wearily. It is by selecting such little and almost imperceptible circumstances, that Shakspeare has more truly painted the passions than any other writer : affection is more powerfully expressed by this simple wish and offer of assistance, than by the unnatural eloquence and witticisms of Dryden, or the amorous declamations of Rowe.

The resentment of Prospero for the matchless cruelty and wicked usurpation of his brother; his parental affection and solicitude for the welfare of his daughter, the heiress of his dukedom; and the awful solemnity of his character, as a skilful magician; are all along preserved with equal consistency, dignity, and decorum. One part of his behaviour deserves to be particularly pointed out: during the exhibition of a mask with which he had ordered Ariel to entertain Ferdinand and Miranda, he starts suddenly from the recollection of the conspiracy of Caliban and his confederates against his life, and dismisses his attendant spirits, who instantly vanish to a hollow and confused noise. He appears to be greatly moved; and suitably to this agitation of mind, which his danger has excited, he takes occasion, from the sudden disappearance of the visionary scene, to moralise on the dissolution of all things :

These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits; and

Are melted into air, into thin air.
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this unsubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.

To these noble images he adds a short but comprehensive observation on human life, not excelled by any passage of the moral and sententious Euripides :

We are such stuff
As dreams are made of; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep!

Thus admirably is an uniformity of character, that leading beauty in dramatic poesy, preserved throughout the Tempest. And it may be farther remarked that the unities of action, of place, and of time, are in this play, though almost constantly violated by Shakspeare, exactly observed. The action is one, great, and intire, the restoration of Prospero to his dukedom : this business is transacted in the compass of a small island, and in or near the cave of Prospero; though, indeed, it had been more artful and regular to have confined it to this single spot; and the time which the action takes up is only equal to that of the representation; an excellence which ought always to be aimed at in every well-conducted fable, and for the want of which a variety of the most entertaining incidents can scarcely atone.'


• In regard to the necessity for a strict observance of the unities of time and place, we must here make some allowance for the classical. prejudices of Dr. Warton, who has certainly rated their importance much beyond that to which they are entitled. The following remarks of a recent and very sensible critic may be quoted as an excellent corrective of the Doctor's Aristotelian bias. “ Of the three unities of action, time, and place," he observes, “ which Aristotle had deemed indispensable, the first I have always thought important to every composition, as consisting in the relation of every incident to some great action or end; and it is no less necessary to preserve it in epic poetry than in tragedy. It is essential even to history, for the detail of two narratives at once, or the intermixture of them can only serve to confuse.

“ The second unity is that of time, which (according to those absurd critics who have merely copied from the imperfect sketches left by the ancients) requires that a play should occupy no more time in the supposed action than it does in the representation. Unity of place, (according to the same prejudiced judges, who never looked at the origin of the prejudice,) required that the scene should be never shifted from one place to another. By observing the first of these, the ancients had great difficulty to find any interesting events which could be supposed to be acted in so short a time; on this account, Aristotle himself, who was a slave to precedent, was obliged to change the time, and allowed them twenty-four hours.

“That they might not violate the third unity, they were obliged to fix their action in some public place, such as a court or area before a palace ; on which account much business was transacted there which ought to have been done in private.

“ The truth is, these two last unities arose out of the imper

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