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female; he was certainly far in advance of Darwin's ape, since, though new to Italian, he could make use of his own dialect, which the insolent stranger called gabbling.
Hunter has already pointed out the fact that Shakespeare was indebted for the original conception of The Tempest' to Ariosto; but Caliban is the creation of his own genius, even though he may have had Middleton's Firestone' in his mind's eye.
In no part of his writings does Shakespeare throw aside so completely his allegiance to nature as in the play of Cymbeline.' By so doing he likewise falls into contradiction with himself, not only if we take into consideration the entire body of his writings, but in the selfsame play. The king, father to Imogen and her brothers, is throughout exhibited to us as a mean, weak, poor-spirited person, subjected through his sensuality to a flagitious woman, ready to sacrifice at her behest his daughter's person and reputation to a licentious fool, and in all respects a slave to irrational passion. Yet when Belarius comes to pronounce the eulogium of his two nurslings, Guiderius and Arviragus, he reasons after the following fashion :
O thou goddess,
Shakespeare forgets that the speaker who delivers this rhapsody is himself, according to the teaching of the whole play, a nobleman endowed with great virtue, distinguished by the refinement of his manners, who consequently need not wonder that they who have been brought up with his example always before them, familiar with his courtly language, inspired by his lofty sentiments, and sedulously withheld from everything base and mean, should when occasion calls display some proofs of their education. He wonders, however, without much cause. The first of virtues, whether in prince or peasant, is reverence to parents, the absence of which excites his doting eloquence; the instinct, too, which is the cause of so much surprise to Belarius, is blinder than that of Caliban, since even with the aid of Imogen’s feminine beauty it fails to discern the sex of their new idol. Thus, however, they express their instinct:
I love thee; I have spoke it:
As I do love my father.
What! how ! how !
In my good brother's fault: I know not why
Instead of the disgust which sentiments so unnatural ought to beget, Belarius feels nothing but admiration : O noble strain ! O breed of greatness !' he exclaims, in a fit of loyalty worthy of Beaumont and Fletcher. Afterwards instinct breaks down when the youths are brought into the presence of their real father, and the mole, a sanguine star, is alone relied upon to establish their identity.
The fancy about instinct breaks forth once more in * As You Like It,' where it is again interwoven with the hereditary transmission of knowledge and polished manners. Orlando, in spite of the gross rusticity in which he has been brought up, feels by instinct the nobility of his birth, and his caitiff brother Oliver, who meditates his taking off, thus sets forth his qualifications:
He's gentle, never schooled and yet learned, full of noble device, of all sorts enchantingly beloved, and indeed so much in the heart of the world, and especially of my own people, who best know him, that I am altogether misprised.
In the development of this story Shakespeare abandons his theory of instinct, and regard for probability along with it, for Rosalind, by the aid of a little male attire, so completely defeats the observation and common sense of her lover that he toys with her, kisses and embraces her, not once but habitually day by day for weeks, not only without suspecting her identity, but without even suspecting her sex. Phoebe, too, mistakes this slender girl for a man, just as Olivia does Viola. Julia, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona,' manages by the help of a suit of clothes to deceive the princess Silvia, together with her own lover Proteus.
The Greek dramatists had formed a much truer theory of the nature of instinct. The strongest of all the ties of blood, that which unites mother and son, is not discovered by Edipus or Jocasta, who become husband and wife, live together, and have many children, without the least interference from instinct. It is through knowledge derived from an external source that their relationship is made apparent. When the terrible truth breaks upon them, the force of what we call instinct exerts itself, but at the same time reveals the truth that it is not nature but custom that directs the currents of human thought, as well on this as on every other subject. No mind acts and thinks independently, but is swayed by antecedent thought, which invests itself with the sacred character of nature, and its voice when it speaks is constantly mistaken for the voice of God. Shakespeare suffered his ideas to be bewildered for awhile by the subtle intricacies of this question, but at length escaped from them and co-ordinated his speculations more in harmony with truth.
PHILOSOPHY : COUNTRY LIFE-OLD AGE-DISTRIBUTION
In physical philosophy Shakespeare might perhaps have held a high place had he chosen to withdraw his observation from the moving and living world to fix it on unsentient nature. But his mission was to deal with man, his actions, his passions, and that ocean of thought through which he has to make his way towards the objects of his aim in life. He seems, like the great sophist of antiquity, to have represented to himself man as the measure of all things, which, whatever may be urged to the contrary, he is to himself, since everything lying beyond the range of his thought and experience has no existence for him.
Our relations to the outward world—that is, to all things external to ourselves—are so completely involved in mystery as to have led in some minds to the belief that they have no real being, but exist exclusively in the sphere of our ideas. This notion, however, was altogether foreign to Shakespeare, though, as I have already observed, he contrived to unite with belief in the ultimate evanescence of matter the persuasion that whatever we feel and see is real. Hence the singular charm of his poetry. The agents about us are all flesh and blood, the scene on which they live and move is substantial, solid, unequivocal matter; as you hear and