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which greatly enhances the piece's beauty, ingenuity, and significance. The discussion would be too long for our space, and the reader must be referred to the author's Essays of an Ex-Librarian.1

The source of the plot of The Tempest has until lately been a mystery, and Source of the even the most recent writers seem unacquainted with the important discovery plot by Edmund Dorer of a Spanish novelette from which it is evidently derived, unless Shakespeare and the Spaniard resorted to a common source. The story, a most dull and pedantic production, occurs in a collection entitled Noches de Invierno (Winter Nights), by Antonio de Eslava, Madrid, 1609 (the last of the multitudinous licences is dated in September). The plot is thus summarised by Anders (Shakespeare's Books) :-

Dardanus, King of Bulgaria, a virtuous magician, is dethroned by Niciphorus, Emperor of Greece, and has to flee with his only daughter, Seraphina. They go on board a little ship. In mid-ocean Dardanus, having parted the waters, rears by art of magic a beautiful submarine palace, where he resides with his daughter till she becomes marriageable. Then the father, in the disguise of a fisherman, carries off the son of Niciphorus to his palace under the sea. The youth falls in love with the maiden. The Emperor having died in the meantime, Dardanus returns with his daughter and his son-in-law to his former kingdom, which he leaves the latter to rule over, while he withdraws into solitude.

This is unquestionably the groundwork of the plot of The Tempest. It is some argument for Shakespeare having obtained it directly from Eslava, and not from a common source, that the title of Eslava's book, Noches de Invierno, may have suggested to him the title of A Winter's Tale, which he began to write in 1610, the year following the publication of the Spanish

stories.

The Tempest is the most worthy conclusion imaginable of Shakespeare's Shakespeare, dramatic career. It is a noble sunset. All is serenity, and all is splendour. Prospero and James I. The poetry is of the highest order. The action is admirably planned. The balance between the serious and the comic elements is most happily maintained. Of the imagination that could create a Caliban and an Ariel nothing need be said, and we have spoken already of its scarcely less marvellous exercise in embodying that adorable phantom, Miranda. We need not doubt that Prospero's book and staff are Shakespeare's own, and that Shakespeare partly impersonated himself in the benevolent magician. Yet not entirely.

1 One confirmatory circumstance may be added, not observed by the author when he wrote, but pointed out by the writer of a German essay (in a Schul-Programm, he thinks), whose name has unfortunately passed from his remembrance. In Act I, scene 2, Prospero inquires from Ariel the time of day, and is told that it is "past the mid season." He replies:

"At least two glasses: The time twixt six and now

Must by us both be spent most preciously."

Why should the hour be two in the afternoon? The average day of twelve hours represents what, slightly departing from the letter of Scripture to suit the duodecimal system by which diurnal time is measured, should be the normal term of human existence, seventy-two years. Allowing six years to the hour, two in the afternoon answers to forty-eight years, Shakespeare's precise age when he wrote The Tempest, if this was written for the Princess Elizabeth's marriage. Prospero's admonition to himself that his remaining time must be " spent most preciously" corresponds to his concluding declaration that henceforth "Every third thought shall be my grave."

Prospero betrays foibles which Shakespeare would not have put to his own account, and his confession that he lost his dukedom through seclusion from

HEERE LYETHY BODY OF SVSANNA
WIFE TO JOHN HALL,GENT ÝDAVGH
TER OF WILLIAM SHAKÉspeare, gent
SHEE DECEASEDY OF IVLY,
1649. AGED 60

Witty above her sexe, but that's not all
Wife to falvation was good Miftris Hall,
Something of Shakespeare was in that, but this
Wholy of him with whom fhe's now in bliffe
Then Paffenger haft nere a teare
To weepe with her that wept with all
That wept yet fet her felfe to chere
Them up with comforts cordiall
Her love fhall live her mercy fpread
When thouha st nere a teare to shed

[graphic]

The Inscription on the grave of Shakespeare's Daughter in Stratford Church

affairs of State, "rapt in secret studies," is manifestly intended as a warning to James, whose family concerns are the veiled subject of the piece, and whose ideal of himself is faithfully reproduced in Prospero's character. As we have written elsewhere, "A wise, humane, pacific prince, gaining his

"HENRY THE EIGHTH "

253

ends not by violence but by policy; devoted to far-off purposes which none but himself can realise, much less fathom; independent of counsellors, safely contemptuous of foes, and controlling all about him by his superior wisdom; keeping in the background till the decisive hour has struck, and then interfering effectually; devoted to lawful knowledge, but the sworn enemy of black magic-such was James in James's eyes, and such is Prospero."1

Shakespeare's magic book, nevertheless, was not cast so deeply into the Henry sea that it could not upon occasion, like Timon's gold in Lucian, be fished up

VIII."

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Two views of Shakespeare's Bust at Stratford-on-Avon

Specially photographed to show the curious difference between the two profiles

again. The metre of Henry VIII. alone would betoken a very late date,
even if we did not know that it was in course of performance when, on June 29,
1613, the Globe Theatre was burned down. These metrical peculiarities
are not all of one kind; some portions indicate beyond dispute the authorship
of Fletcher, while the metre of other parts is fully consistent with the author-
ship of Shakespeare. That Shakespeare had a hand in it is certain from its
The editors must
appearance in the First Folio during Fletcher's lifetime.
certainly have known who wrote the play that burned down their own theatre!
The play is evidently a hasty piece of work, produced in response to a popular

1 Essays of an Ex-Librarian.

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