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are the indications of a great mind;-the emotion of anger, which Prospero discovers towards the termination of the vision, proceeding from the recollection of Caliban's plot, perhaps, led him into that train of feeling, as to look upon the insignificancy of all human affairs, in the view, which has just now been described. It has, however, been observed, that the plot of Caliban, was a circumstance, not sufficient to move a man like Prospero, into that gust of passion, by which, he was influenced; but, Dr. Warburton, very justly remarks, that, if we look more narrowly into the case, we shall have reason to admire our author's wonderful knowledge of nature.
“ There was,” says he, “ something in it, with which great minds, are most deeply affected, and that is the crime of ingratitude.” Prospero probably, was under the impression, that Caliban was ungrateful, and which, combined with the recollection of his brother's conduct, would, very naturally, affect a generous mind, with the most bitter anguish.
In many of his plays, Shakspere seems, not to have studied that scenic effect, which the Greek tragedians were passionately fond of, nor to have relied upon the success of his dramatic skill, like some of the moderns, to the pomp and splendour of stage exhibition ;-his scenes are often so comparatively diminutive, that, in representation, the effect is much obscured ;--it is in the closet, however, where intellectual enjoyment is more frequently found, by the perusal of those pages, which tell us, with what truth, our poet could delineate the feelings and passions of the human heart;—when we take into consideration, the circumstances under which Shakspere wrote, when the playhouse, of his time, was little better than a barn, without any adventitious aid, to produce, to his unlettered audience, any thing like scenic grandeur, we need not wonder, that
not wonder, that many of his plays are deficient in these advantages; yet, notwithstanding those defects in dramatic arrangement, his genius has overcome every obstacle, as we, in the present day, have witnessed the power, by which he was guided, when his brilliant fancy, led him to display, what is considered, the beauty and elegance of stage exhibition. No one, therefore, who has lately seen this scene of the vision, where Ferdinand and Miranda receive the complimentary adulation of the spirits, Ceres, Juno, and Iris, but must have done homage to the unrivalled fame of Shakspere; at the same time, feeling deeply impressed, with the noble exertions of Mr. Macready, who, in his splendid and beautiful exhibition of the Tempest, has given us, a strong proof of the excellence of his judgment, in connection, with a classic taste, which will ever reflect, upon him, the highest honour ;-by an unparalleled devotion to the works of this great poet of nature, Mr. Macready has deservedly won the applause, and gained the esteem of his country.
The last scene of the fourth act, brings us the re-appearance of Caliban, and his two drunken companions; and the same drollery and comic humour prevail, which characterize all Shakspere's delineations of low comedy. There is, however, an expression of Caliban's in this scene, which I cannot omit, as I believe it has been passed over, without notice, by the numerous commentators upon the writings of Shakspere. Caliban, in leading Stephano and Trinculo, to the cell of Prospero, with the intent of murdering him, their attention is occupied, by finding the garments, belonging to Prospero, a prize, not to be overlooked, by the two drunken sailors ;-Caliban, enraged at the delay, which this circumstance creates, reproaches his associates, and tells them,
We shall lose our time,
With foreheads villanous low, an observation, which seemingly has never been adverted to, though it evidently corresponds, with the science of Phrenology, of the present day, the general principles of which, were well known to the ancients; Shakspere seems likewise to have been aware of these principles, and to have understood, what is now generally admitted, that the capacity of intellect, in different animals, depends upon the particular formation of the brain. The same knowledge is also displayed by our poet, in the play of Hamlet, where the young prince, in speaking of the likeness of his father, uses these words,
The front of Jove himself. (10)
The fifth, and last act, opens with Prospero appearing in his magic robes, saying to his spirit Ariel,
Now does my project gather to a head,
Prospero asks Ariel,
How's the day?
On the sixth hour, at which time, my lord,
Shakspere had met with much censure from the learned Ben Johnson, and other fastidious critics of his day, in not adhering, in his plays, to the unity of time, in the composition of which, he was guided by no antecedent laws; the model of the Grecian stage was, to him, no beacon, and, forsaking all the established rules of Aristotle, his wild poetic imagination, luxuriated in the regions of nature, unfettered by the learning, either of ancient or modern times,
Existence saw him, spurn her bounded reign,
We have however, in the play of the Tempest, the most strict observance, with regard to these unities, and our author, not only here, but in other parts of the piece, particularly alludes to this,-shewing, as a commentator, very justly observes, “ that Shakspere, notwithstanding the satire of his contemporaries, could write a play, within all the strictest laws of regularity, the fable scarcely taking up, a greater number of hours, than are employed in the representation.”
Prospero, hearing from Ariel, that the king, and his followers, are still prisoners,
In the lime-grove
gives orders, to relieve them; but, not before, he exhibits some fine touches of feeling, for their afflictions, displaying every noble and generous sentiment, though, by their grievous wrongs, he had been deeply injured.
The feelings of humanity are here so affectingly touched and the nobleness of remission upon repentance so finely depicted, that I cannot refrain giving, in full, the sentiments of Prospero, conveying to us a beautiful proof, how far the mind of Shakspere, rising by degrees to the summit of all human virtue, exceeds, in moral feeling, any thing which is to be found in ancient or modern times.
says to Prospero,