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anything by one who is bent on going the right way to work. Fanaticism is not to be con- quered by the plainest facts or the clearest inferences ; it stalks impassive over them all, or twists them to its own purpose as the Devil does when he quotes Scripture. A man who is firmly per- suaded that the moon is made of green cheese, will find it an easy thing to prove that doctrine, to his own satisfaction at least, out of Sir John Herschel's Treatise on Astronomy, and just such a feat as this has now been accomplished by the author of A New Exegesis of Shakespeare. He is the prophet of a new ethno- logical and political creed, and his book is only for those who are in some measure capable of participating in the transcendental belief that inspires it ; to all others it will appear—saving its su- perior literary pretensions—as monstrous as the Book of Mormon. The essence of its doctrine is that the Celtic race is the highest type of humanity—the race of rationality, universality, and so- ciability; that the Teuton (under which term the Englishman is of course included) is an inferior being—in fact, a more fully de- veloped Jew that the progeny. of the Teuton stock having in the scheme of history worked out the purposes for which they enjoyed a temporary predominance must now give place to their betters, leaving that juggle" called "English liberty" to vanish before the more orderly product of a higher civilization; and that in the coming time the foremost place in the world will belong to the Celts,—Scotch, Irish, &c.,—under the hegemony of their noblest member, the French nation. "The truth is," says the prophet of the new ethno-political gospel, "that the political future of these islands is infallibly to turn on the following alternative" • "Can the English population continue to keep down the Celts to its own coarse, commercial civilization at home, and to drag it abroad in the train of that uncouth cohtie of consort '-trading princes, cabalistical philosophers, and boorish or still barbarous hordes called the German Empire ? Or shall the Celts, on the contrary, sway their Saxon fellow-citizens to domestic emulation and diplomatic concert with the glorious Celtic nation that leads the destinies of humanity?

"The latter course alone can make the Irish Union real, and change the Anglo-French Alliance into a truth, from being a treachery."

And all this, and a great deal more to the same purpose, is proved out of Shakespeare's pages !

A work of a totally different character from that in which the Scotch monomaniac has invoked the reign of the Celtic and Na- poleonic Astatea,—a work to be prized for Shakespeare's sake by all who love him,—is the collection of papers by the late Dr. Maginn, now published for the first time in a collected form. They appeared originally in Bentley's Miscellany about twenty years ago, and it is a matter of painful wonder to us that such choice productions of the best days of our periodical literature should have been allowed to be buried so long in such a crypt as the back numbers of an old magazine. The subjects of the papers, which are eight in number, are the characters of Falstaff, Jaques, Romeo, Bottom the Weaver, Lady Macbeth, Timon, Polomus, and Iago. We do not always agree with Dr. Maginn's views of these characters; • especially we dissent from those he holds with regard to Lady Macbeth and her husband ; but even when we most disagree with this acute and genial critic we delight in his adroit and engaging manner of presenting his case, and we find it a profitable exercise to try the soundness of our own opinions by collision with those which he defends with such masterly skill and amplitude of resource. The essay on Falstaff is one of the most remarkable in the book, and its reasoning appears to us conclusive. Dr. Maginn refutes, one by one, Dr. Johnson's dicta upon the character, and shows how groundless is the popular notion of Falstaff, that he is no better than an upper class Scapin. The players, he says,

• New Exegesis of Shakespeare; Interpretation of his Principal Characters and Plays on the Principle of Races. Published by Adam and Charles Black. Shakespeare Papers : Pictures Grave and Gay. By William Maginn, LL.D. Published by Bentley. could hardly resist the temptation to represent the gross fat man as a mere buffoon, and to turn the attention of the spectators to his corporal qualities and the practical jests of which he is the object. But Shakespeare's Falstaff was a man utterly unlike this vulgar portrait. He is lord paramount of that ' wonderful court of princes, beggars, judges swindlers, heroes, bullies, gentlemen, scoundrels, justices, thieves, knights, ta.psters, and the rest whom he drew about him." He is the suzerain to whom all pay homage, and when Prince Hal himself thinks he is making a butt of the tun of a man the parts are exactly reversed. If we would not mistake appearances for realities if we would not be misled by what others say of Falstaff, and by what he himself says and does when he is playing a part for his own ad- vantage, we must consider for a moment who and what he was. " We find by incidental notices that be was reared, when a boy, page to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, head of one of the greatest houses that ever was in England, and the personal antagonist of him who was after- wards Henry. IV. ; that he was us his youth on familiar terms with John of Gaunt, the first man of the land after the death of his father and brother ; and that, through all his life, he had been familiar with the lofty and dis- tinguished. We can, therefore, conjecture what had been his youth and his manhood ; we see what he actually is in declining age. In this, if I mistake not, will be found the true solution of the character ; here is what the French call the mot d'enigme. Conscious of powers and talents far sur- passing those of the ordinary run of men, he finds himself outstripped in the race. He must have seen many a man whom he utterly despised, rising over his head to honours and emoluments. The very persona upon whom it would appear to Dr. Johnson, he was intruding, were many of them his early companions —many more his juniors at court. He might have at- tended his old patron, the Duke at Coventry, upon St. Lambert 's day, when Richard II. flung down the warder amidst the greatest men of England. If he jested in the tilt-yard with John of Gaunt, could he feel that any ma- terial obstacle prevented him from mixing with those who composed the court of John of Gaunt's son?

"In fact he is a dissipated man of rank, with a thousand times more wit than ever fell to the lot of all the men -of rank in the world. But he has ill played his cards in life. He grumbles not at the advancement of men of -his own order ; but the bitter drop of his soul overflows when he re- members how he and that cheeseparing Shallow began the world, and re- flects that the starveling justice has land and beeves, while he, the wit and the gentleman, is penniless, and living from hand to mouth, by the casual shifts of the day. He looks at the goodly dwelling and the riches of bin whom he had once so thoroughly contemned, with an inward pang that he has Scarcely a roof under which he can lay his head. The tragic Macbeth, in the agony of his last struggle, acknowledges with a deep despair that the thhiks which should accompany old age—as honour, love obedience, troops of friends—he must not look to have. The comic Fabstak says nothing on the subject ; but, by the choice of such associates as Bardolph, Pistol, and the rest of that following, he tacitly declares that he, too, has lost the ad- vantages which should be attendant on years. No curses loud or deep have accompanied his festive career,—its conclusion is not the less sad on that =- count : neglect, forgotten friendships, services overlooked, shared pleasures unremembered, and fair occasions gone for ever by, haunt him, no doubt, as sharply as the consciousness of deserving universal hatred galls the soul of

Macbeth. • • • ',With such feelings, what can Falstaff; after having gone through a life of adventure, care about the repute of courage or cowardice ? To divert the prinse he engages in a wild enterprise,—nothing more than what would be called 'lark' now. When doer-stealing ranked as no higher offence than robbing orchards—not indeed so high as the taking a slice off a loaf by a wandering beggar, which some weeks ago has sent the vagrant who com- mitted the 'crime' to seven years' transportation—such robberies as those at Gadahill, especially as all parties well knew that the money taken there was surely to be repaid, as we find it is in the end, were of a comparatively venial nature. Old father antic, the Law, had not yet established his un- doubted supremacy ; and taking purses, even in the days of Queen Eliza- beth, was not absolutely incompatible with gentility. • • •

" His Gadshill adventure was a jest,—a jest, perhaps, repeated after too many precedents; but still, according to the fashion and the humour of the time, nothing more than a jest. His own view of such transactions is re- corded ; he considers Shallow as a fund of jesting to amuse the prince, re- marking that it is easy to amuse with a sad brow' (with a solemnity of appearance) 'a fellow that never had the ache in his shoulders.' What was to be accomplished by turning the foolish justice into ridicule was also to be done by inducing the true prince to become for a moment a false thief. The serious face of robbery was assumed to keep Prince Harry in perpetual laughter.' That, in Falstaff's circumstances, the money obtained by the night's exploit would be highly acceptable, cannot be doubted ; but the real object was to amuse the prince. He had no idea of making an exhibition of bravery on such an occasion ; Poins well knew his man when he said be- forehand, As for the third, if he fight longer than he see reason, I'll for- swear arms : ' his end was as much obtained by the prince's jokes upon his cowardice. It was no matter whether he invented what tended to laughter, or whether it was invented upon him. The object was won so the laughter was in any manner excited. The exaggerated tale of the misbegotten knaves in Kendal-green, and his other lies, gross and mountainous, are told with no

other purpose ; and one is almost tempted to believe him when he says that he knew who were his assailants, and ran for the greater amusement. At all events, it is evident that he cares nothing on the subject. He offers a jocular defence ; but immediately passes to matter of more importance than the question of his standing or running :

But, lads, I'm glad you have the money. Hostess ! Clap to the doors ; watch tonight, pray tomorrow. Gallants, lads, boys, hearts-u -gold1 All the titles of Good fellowship come to you!'

The money is had the means of enjoying it are at hand. Why waste our time in inquiring how it has been brought here, or permit nonsensical dis- cussions on my valour or cowardice to delay for a moment the jovial appear- ance of the bottle ? "

There are no traces in the two parts of Henry IV. of Falstaff's being a glutton; nor is he ever represented as drunk, or even affected by wine. The copious potations of sack do not cloud his intellect or embarrass his tongue. "We must also observe that he never laughs. Others laugh with him, or at him ; but no laughter from him who occasions or permits it. He jests with a sad brow. The wit which he profusely scatters about is from the head, not the heart. Its satire is slight, and never malignant or affronting ; but still it is satirical, and seldom joyous. It is anything but fun. Original genius and long practice have rendered it easy and familiar to to him, and he uses it as a,matter of business. He has too much philosophy to show that he feels himself misplaced ; we discover his feelings by slight indica- tions, which are, however, quite sufficient. I fear that this conception of

the character could never be rendered popular on the stage; but I have heard in private the part of Falstaff read with a perfectly grave, solemn, slow; deep, and sonorous voice, touched occasionally somewhat with the broken tone of age, from beginning to end, with admirable effect. But I can imagine him painted according to my idea. He is always caricatured. . . . . He rises before me es an elderly and very corpulent gentleman, dressed like other military men of the time, [of Plivabeth, observe, not Henry,] yellow-checked, white-bearded, double-chinned, with a good- humoured but grave expression of countenance, sensuality in the lower features of his face, high intellect in the upper.

"Such is the idea I have formed of Falstaff, and perhaps some may think I am right. It required no ordinary genius to carry such a character through so great a variety of incidents with so perfect a consistency. It is not a difficult thing to depict a man corroded by care within, yet appearing gay and at ease without, if you every moment pull the machinery to pieces, as children do their toys, to show what is inside. But the true art is to let the attendant circumstances bespeak the character, without being obliged to label him Here you may see the tyrant' ; or, Here is the man heavy of heart, light of manner.' Your ever-melancholy and ostentatiously broken- hearted heroes are felt to be bores, endurable only on account of the occa- sional beauty of the poetry in which they figure. We grow tired of the gloom the fabled Hebrew wanderer wore,' &c. and sympathize as little with perpetual lamentations over mental sufferings endured, or said to be endured, by active youth and manhood, as we should be with its ceaseless complaints of the physical pain of corns or toothache. The death-bed of Falstafl, told in the patois of Dame Quickly to her debauched and profligate auditory, is a thousand times more pathetic to those who have looked upon the world with reflective eye, than all the morbid mournings of Childe Harold and his poetical progeny."