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themselves. Ariel defeats the conspiracy, by playing in the air upon a tabor and pipe, and leading Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban into a stagnant pool.
Ariel then tells Prospero of all that he has done, and Prospero sends him to bring the king and his party to his cave, where he receives them in his old dress as Duke of Milan. A reconciliation between the brothers takes place, and Antonio restores the dukedom to Prospero. The king asks his pardon for the part he took in his banishment, and Prospero brings him to his son, whom he mourned as lost in the shipwreck; and it is arranged that Ferdinand shall marry Miranda. The three men are released by Ariel from their mud bath in the stagnant pool, and the sailors from their sleep under the hatches of the ship. It is found that the ship has been put into complete order again, and is ready for sea.
Prospero releases Ariel from the spell which binds the spirit to his service, and asks him to call up fair breezes for their homeward voyage to Italy. Prospero now abjures his magic, breaks his magic wand, and resolves to drown' his book of charms in the depths of the sea. Henceforth he will live as Duke of Milan, holding his true relation to his fellow-men, and ruling wisely for their good.
Thus Shakespeare shows the final triumph of good after many years of apparently successful wrong. The charm of the play itself, its bright fancy, and deep thought, it is impossible to give in any sketch of it. It is supposed to have been Shakespeare's last.
We have taken Shakespeare as representing the highest dramatist of the Elizabethan time, but there were some among his contemporaries who must not be forgotten. The chief of these is Ben Jonson. His father was a Puritan preacher ; but he knew more of his step-father, a bricklayer, whom his mother married when Ben Jonson was only two years old. He had a good education in Westminster School,
provided for him by Camden, the historian. Then he served in the war in the Netherlands, which was being carried on against the tyranny of Philip II. On his return to London he joined the players. Like Shakespeare, he acted and altered plays, until he found his own power as a dramatist. One of his first plays was a comedy, Every Man in his Humour, first acted in 1596. Jonson was a man with a strong sense of what was right, and had an honest hatred of every kind of folly or affectation. This is powerfully shown in his three next plays, which were satires : Every Man out of his Humour was directed against the follies of London life; Cynthia's Revels exposed the affectations of Elizabeth's Court; and The Poetaster dealt with the false aims and tricks of Art in Literature. In 1603 he produced a tragedy, Sejanus; and in James I.'s reign he wrote other comedies and some masques.
In all his work Ben Jonson strove with manliness and courage to lead men to live for more serious aims, and to give the earnestness and labour bestowed on surface trifles to deeper things. He endeavoured constantly to make them more true to an independent standard of perfection, and to free them from the slavish subjection to the custom and fashion of the hour. He thus expresses what he desires to do for men in his work
“That these vain joys, in which their wills consume
Such powers of wit and soul as are of force
To God's high figures, which they have in power." Ben Jonson's honesty and scorn for everything false and base held him steadfast to his own purposes and standard, in the times of the Stuarts, when the stage became degraded to the lower tone of the Court of James I., and not falling in with the current of the day, the old dramatist, who had begun his work in Elizabeth's time, sank into neglect. He died in 1637, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. A friend of his commissioned a mason to carve on the stone above his grave the words, “O rare Ben Jonson,” which still remain as his most fitting epitaph, in its simple honesty and freedom from the flattering phrases he would have so much disliked and despised.
Human life under every variety of circumstances must be always full of interest. If we hear the story of a life very like our own we are delighted to find that others have had to do and feel and bear just what we have, and we gain hope and courage from their example; and if the life should be one altogether apart from our own we then enjoy the new picture it gives us, and by the help of imagination we realise and enter into the new experience, and gain a wider power of sympathy. It is easy to see that the stories of real men and women would not be nearly enough to satisfy the keen interest we feel in our fellow-creatures, and imagination has to set to work, therefore, to invent stories in order to supply the constant demand. Thus the old stories of Charlemagne, Roland, and other actual heroes were eagerly read, and then the cry arose for more and more stories of the same kind, so imagination was set to work to invent chivalric romances. The age of chivalry had now passed away, and yet the love for stories was as strong as ever ;
but a taste had arisen for stories of other forms of life than the chivalric, and a new kind of story now began to be written describing the life of the later time.
These were called novels.
One of the most popular and famous novels of the Elizabethan time was Euphues," written by a young man named John Lyly. The purpose of this story was to show the bad influence which the social life in Italy had upon the young Englishmen who travelled there.
We have seen how, at the time of the revival of learning, earnest scholars like Colet, Linacre, and Grocyn had gone to Italy to learn Greek; but after Greek was taught in the schools and universities in England, it was still the custom to send young men to Italy as a kind of finish to their education. They went with no fixed purpose of study beyond gaining acquaintance with the Italian literature of the day. They mixed in the society of the little courts in Italy, where literature was regarded as intended only for the pleasure of a small circle, and was written in courtly language and turned from its higher purposes into a frivolous amusement. Roger Ascham, Queen Elizabeth's tutor, had already pointed out in his “Schoolmaster” (a book on Education) the selfishness and corruption of Italian society, and the utter indifference of the Italians to religion; and he had shown the injury it was to a young Englishman to be thrown unguarded amongst those who lived only for their own pleasure, and scoffed at God and man,
Roger Ascham had used the word Euphues, taking it from Plato, to express a scholar who possessed a readiness to receive impressions through the perfect organisation and healthy condition of all his senses. Lyly took up Ascham's opinion in regard to the influence of Italian life on young Englishmen, and he made this the object of his story, while he chose Euphues for the name of his hero. The name was Greek, and for this reason, perhaps, he began his story by representing Euphues as a young gentleman of Athens. As soon as his education is ended at home, he is sent to visit Italy, according to the fashion of the day. He comes to Naples, “a place of more pleasure than profit, and yet of more profit than piety—a court more meet for an Atheist than one of Athens.” In Naples Euphues meets with an old gentleman named Eubulus, who gives him