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SHAKESPEARE AND WOMAN., Issue 7910, 18 May 1889, Supplement
SHAKESPEARE AND WOMAN.
TO THE EDITOB. Snt,—Now over three hundred years since died poor Shakespeare. I say poor Shakespnare, becauae most certain it looks that when moving among his kinsmen in the flesh they made it pretty hot for him. It would seem he had often to hide his head, not alone from the tongue of slander, but also from being assaulted ; which indeed may account much for so little being known about him. It would seem that while he might be known to a few sensible men who understood and befriended him, and the favorite of women generally, the masses of men would be against him. It's a certainty that in the toils of villains he was nearly had more than once. If Christ was delivered up for envy, with poor Shakespeare she was very busy too. So it seems he fared in his day. Living to-day, would he fare any better? I do not know if he would. Such men, through insufficiency of intelligence on the part of the mob, are nearly always misrepresented, hated, slandered, and abused; and if it is not certain that he was cunningly poisoned, it is certain enough he wa* much hated without a cause. It could not be otherwise than that the presence of such a detective caused distrust and uneasiness wherever he went. The denouncer of lagoa was sure to have been hunted by lagos. But he had his consolations in writing. In his writings it is a fact to be much remarked how little he has said abusively or harshly of woman. This was not because he thought woman had uo faults. Never perhaps a man who knew better than he of the many faults of woman. But for one thing he was gentle to woman because he saw how much she was treated with injustice. He understood that woman is a being much more sacred than most men imagine or allow. With that he had in him a secret love for them all. Not likely, therefore, he'd say much ill of those he loved,' looking upon every woman as being his sister. Many, of course, take a sensual view of this fact. It has been said, with other bad things, he was no less than a very greedy adulterer and seducer. How else, it is said, could he know to write much of what he has written? Are not his written sentiments the results of his own concrete actions ? Not necessarily so. The most perfect knowledge of many things came to Shakespeare without their knowledge in practice. If he loved the whole mass of womanhood, that love was a love of purity. He had a world of love created in himself. The best proof to show he was no great sinner (though at times—perhaps to humble his prond soulhe was led by some irresistible force to taste the dirtiest of sins) is what he has so greatly accomplished. For the very sake of how much he was able to have done, we should give in that he was on the whole a pure moral man, on whose being, so divinely sensitive, adultery would work like poison. So that not a greedy adulterer could he be. And his writings ! They have continued to interest, to amuse, to enlighten and instruct, not alone England, but the whole world of civilised men. They have done this for nearly three hundred years, and they are sure to continue to do so for at least three thousand years to come. In fact, much of his writings, as said by so many wise, are for all time. Somewhat like the Bible, you may read them a thousaud times, and their interest is not exhausted. No matter how often read, they would still disclose some additional meaning, _ something new, and by them the millions are millionised. For solid literature give me but the Bible with commentary, a Shake3pc:»re with commentary, and a complete dictionary of rooted words, and I'm well supplied. What better choice for the worker in the backwoods! In a sense, it may be said, the Bible books and the Shakespeare plays have in essence nearly all the moral books that have been written. They are the great fires from which the others are but the sparks. Worthy books and plays, because they are from worthy hearts.
I have heard it said—and the opinion ia held by many—that with praise Shakespeare is much overrated. Now what little of Shakespeare I know it is from reading him carefully twice and committing some of the best passages to memory, and, to ray mind, no man ever yet understood Shakespeare sufficiently so as to praise him sufficiently. No living man is able to praise him enough. His soul is equal to large and small. Not half so praised as he deserves. To value him as he merits understand him thoroughly he whose conclusions are throughout like the rapid races of great strong men. Moses was buried unknown to the children of Israel in case they should turn to and idolise the man they were at one time ready to stone. And it would seem, too, that some power unknown has purposely kept in the dark much about Shakespeare in ease he should be worshipped by a certain class of palaver, which, indeed, to some extent does exist now. There are those who write paragraphs in praise of him who, had they lived together, would scruple not to injure him, like the Israelites and tho stones and Moses, Much worship of such dead men is hardly well when it should be better when they had lived. It should be known by this time that it is when men with weighty gifts are In the living toils that such gifts are sure to bring them into they stand in need of a little of the worship so profusely bestowed when the great soul passes beyond, where not caring nor feeling for nought from man’s hand.—l am, etc., Shakespeare. Dunedin, May 14,
SHAKESPEARE AND WOMAN., Issue 7910, 18 May 1889, Supplement
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