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Willie Hughes, “that you have written in these terms about the so many personalities ?” and then heatre; but we must remember he goes on to point out that his that in Sonnets cx. and cxi. Shakebeauty is such that it seems to speare shows us that he too was realise every form and phase of wearied of the world of puppets. fancy, to embody each dream of and full of shame at having made the creative imagination-an idea himself “a motley to the view." that is still further expanded in The 111th Sonnet is especially the sonnet' that immediately fol bitter : lows, where,' beginning with the fine thought,
“O, for my sake do you with Fortune
chide “0, how much more doth beauty beau
The guilty goddess of my harmful
deeds, teous seem
That did not better for my life provide By that sweet ornament which truth
Than public' means which public doth give !"
Thence comes it that my name receives Shakespeare invites us to notice
a brand, how the truth of acting, the truth And almost thence my nature is of visible presentation on the stage, subdued adds to the wonder of poetry, giv- To what it works in, like the dyer's ing life to its loveliness, and actual
hand : Pity me,
then, and wish I reality to its ideal form. And yet,
renewed " in the 67th sonnet, Shakespeare calls upon Willie Hughes to abandon the stage with its arti
and there are many signs elsewhere ficiality, its false mimic life of
of the same feeling, signs familiar
to all real students of Shakespeare. painted face and unreal costume, its immoral influences and sugges
One point puzzled me immensely
as I read the Sonnets, and it was tions, its remoteness from the true world of noble action, and sincere days before I struck on the true
interpretation, which indeed Cyril utterance.
Graham himself seems to have Ah! Wherefore with infection should how it was that Shakespeare set
missed. I could not understand he live, And with his presence grace impiety,
so high a value on his That sin by him advantage should marrying. He himself had married achieve,
young, and the result had been unAnd lace itself with his society ? happiness, and it was not likely Why should false painting imitate his that he would have asked Willie
cheek And steal deal seeming of his living The boy - player of Rosalind had
Hughes to commit the same error. huo? Why should poor beauty indirectly seek nothing to gain from marriage, or Roses of shadow, since his rose is from the passions of real life. The true?”
early sonnets, with their strange
entreaties to have children, seered It inay seem strange that so great to me a jarring note. The explana dramatist as Shakespeare, who ation of the mystery came on me realised his own perfection as an quite suddenly, and I found it in artist and his humanity as a man the curious dedication. It will be on the ideal plane of stage-writing remembered that the dedication and stage-playing, should have runs as follows :
TO • THE • OXLIE · BEGETTER • OF .
THESE • INSUING • SONNETS.
PROMISED • BY.
is this beauty of yours if it be pot
field, Thy youth's proud livery, 80 gazed
on now, Will be a tattered weed, of small
worth held : Then being asked where all thy beauty
lies, Some scholars have supposed Where all the treasure of thy lusty that the word "begetter" in this
days, dedication means simply the pro
To say, within thine owi) deep-sunken
eyes, curer of the Sonnets for Thomas
Were an all-eating shame and thriftThorpe the publisher; but this
less praise." view is now generally abandoned, and the highest authorities are You must create something in quite agreed that it is to be taken art: my verse " is thine, and born in the sense of inspirer, the meta- of thee;" only listen to me, and phor being drawn from the anal. I will “bring forth eternal numogy of physical life. Now I saw bers to outlive long date," and you that the same metaphor was used shall people with forms of your by Shakespeare himself all through own image the imaginary world of the poems, and this set me on the the stage. These children that right track. Finally. I made my you beget, he continues, will not great discovery. The marriage that wither away, as mortal children Shakespeare proposes for Willie do, but you shall live in them and Hughes is the “marriage with his in my plays : do but Muse," an expression which is definitely put forward in the 82d “Make thee another self, for love of Sonnet, where, in the bitterness of me, his heart at the defection of the
That beauty still may live in thine or
thee !" boy-actor for whom he had written his greatest parts, and whose
I collected all the passages that beauty had indeed suggested them, he opens his complaint by say- view, and they produced a strong
seemed to me to corroborate this ing
impression on me, and showed “I'll grant thou wert not married to me how complete Cyril Graham's
theory really was.
I also saw
that it was quite easy to sepaThe children he begs him to be- rate those lines in which he speaks get are no children of flesh and of the Sonnets themselves from blood, but more immortal children those in which he speaks of his of undying fame. The whole cy- great dramatic work. This was a cle of the early sonnets is simply point that had been entirely overShakespeare's invitation to Willie looked by all critics up to Cyril Hughes to go upon the stage Graham's day. And yet it was and become a player. How bar- one of the most important points ren and profitless a thing, he says, in the whole series of poems. To
the Sonnets Shakespeare was more And to be praised of ages yet to be. or less indifferent. He did not wish Then do thy office, Muse; I teach
thee how to rest his fame on them. They
To make him seem long hence as he were to him his "slight Muse,'
shows now." as he calls them, and intended, as Meres tells us, for private circula- It is, however, perhaps in the 55th tion only among a few, a very Sonnet that Shakespeare gives to few, friends. Upon the other this idea its fullest expression. To hand he was extremely conscious imagine that the “powerful rhyme” of the high artistic value of his of the second line refers to the plays, and shows a noble self-re. sonnet itself, is to entirely mistake liance upon his dramatic genius. Shakespeare's meaning. It seemed When he says to Willie Hughes : to me that it was extremely likely, “ But thy eternal summer shall not sonnet, that a particular play was
from the general character of the fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou meant, and that the play was none owest;
other but “ Romeo and Juliet." Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
“Not marble, nor the gilded monu
ments When in eternal lines to time thou growest ;
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful So long as men can breathe or eyes
But you shall shine more bright iv So long lives this and this gives Than unswept stone besineared with
these contents life to thee ; ”.
sluttish time. the expression “eternal lines”
When wasteful wars shall statues overclearly alludes to one of his plays And broils root out the work of
turn, that he was sending him at the
masonry, time, just as the concluding couplet Not Mars his sword nor war's quick points to his confidence in the fire shall burn probability of his plays being The living record of your memory. always acted. In his address to
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity the Dramatic Mụse (Sonnets c.
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall
still find room end ci.), we find the same feeling. Even in the eyes of all posterity “Where art thou, Muse, that thou That wear this world out to the ending forget'st so long
doom. To speak of that which gives thee all
So, till the judgment that yourself thy might?
arise, Spends thou thy fury on some worth
You live in this, and dwell in lovers'
eyes.” Darkening thy power to lend base sub
It also extremely suggesjects light?"
tive to note how here as elsehe cries, and he then proceeds to where Shakespeare promised Willie reproach the mistress of Tragedy Hughes immortality in a form and Comedy for her “neglect of that appealed to men's eyes—that Truth in Beauty dyed,” and says— is to say, in a spectacular form, in
a play that is to be looked at. " Because he needs no praise, wilt thou For two weeks I worked hard be dumb ?
at the Sonnets, hardly ever going Excuse not silence 80; for 't lies in thee
out, and refusing all invitations. To make him much outlive a gilded Every day I seemed to be distomb,
covering something new, and
Willie Hughes became to me a could not have been used of Ohapkind of spiritual presence, an ever- man's work, however applicable it dominant personality. I could might have been to the style of almost fancy that I saw him his later Jacobean plays. No: standing in the shadow of my Marlowe was clearly the rival room, so well had Shakespeare dramatist of whom Shakespeare drawn him, with his golden hair, spoke in such laudatory terms; his tender flower-like grace,
his and that dreamy deep-sunken eyes, his deli
“ Affable familiar ghost cate mobile limbs, and his white
Which nightly gulls him with intellilily hands. His very name fascin
gance," ated me. Willie Hughes ! Willie
. Hughes ! How musically it sound- was thc Mephistopheles of his ed! Yes; who else but he could Doctor Faustus. No doubt, Marhave been the master-mistress of lowe was fascinated by the beauty Shakespeare's passion, the lord of and grace of the boy-actor, and his love to whom he was bound lured him away from the Blackin vassalage, the delicato minion friars' Theatre, that he might play of pleasure,3 the rose of the whole the Gave ton of his “ Edward II." world, the herald of the spring' That Shakespeare had the legal decked in the proud livery of right to retain Willie Hughes in youth, the lovely boy whom it his own company is evident from
6 was sweet music to hear, and Sonnet lxxxvii., where he says :whose beauty was the very
raiment of Shakespeare's heart, as it was
“ Farewell ! thou art too dear for my the keystone of his dramatic
possessing, power? How bitter now seemed And like enough thou know'st thy the whole tragedy of his desertion estimate : and his shame!-shame that he The charter of thy worth gives thee remade sweet and lovely by the
leasing; mere magic of his personality, but My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy that was none the less shame.
granting? Yet as Shakespeare forgave him, Ard for that riches where is my deshould not we forgive him also ? serving ? I did not care to pry into the The cause of this fair gift in me is mystery of his sin,
wanting, His aband ment of Shake- And so my patent back again is swerv
ing. speare's theatre was a different mat
Thyself thou gavest, thy own work then ter, and I investigated it at great
not knowing, length. Finally I came to the Or me, to whom thou gavest it, else conclusion that Cyril Graham had mistaking; been wrong in regarding the
regarding the So thy great gift, upon misprision grow. rival dramatist of the 80th ing, Sonnet as Chapman.
It was ob
Comes none again, on better judgment
making, viously Marlowe who was alluded
Thia have I had thee, as a dream dotu to. At the time the Sonnets were
flatter, written, such an expression as “the In sleep a king, but waking no such proud full sail of his great verse
1 Sonnet xx. 2.
2 Sonnet xxvi. 1.
3 Sonnet cxxvi. 9.
But him whom he could not hold separably connected with Shakeby love, he would not hold by speare's plays, he was to live in force. Willie Hughes became a them. member of Lord Pembroke's com
" Your name from hence immortal life pany, and, perhaps in the open
shall have, yard of the Red Bull Tavern, Though 1, once gone, to all the world played the part of King Edward's must die : delicate minion. On Marlowe's The earth can yiell me hut a common death, he seems to have returned grave,
When you entonbed in nieu's eyes shall to Shakespeare, who, whatever his
lie. fellow-partners may have thought Your inonument shall be ny gentle of the matter, was not slow to
verse, forgive the wilfulness and treach
Which eyes not yet created shall v'erery of the young actor.
read, How well
, too, had Shakespeare And tongnes to be your being shall drawn the temperament of the
When all the breathers of this worll stage-player! Willie Hughes was
are dead." one of those "That do not do the thing they most There were endless allusions, also, do show,
to Willie Hughes's power over Who, inoving others, are themselves as his audience, - the gazers," as stone."
Shakespeare calls them ; but perHe could act love, but could not haps the most perfect description feel it, could mimic passion with of his wonderful nastery over out realising it.
dramatic art was in “The Lover's
Complaint," where Shakespeare “In many's looks the false heart's
says of him :history Is writ in noods and frowns and "In him a plentitude of subtle matter, wrinkles strange,”
Applied to cautels, all strange forms
receives, but with Willie Hughes it was Of burning blushes, or of weeping water, not so.
“Heaven,” says Shake- Or swooning paleness ; and he takes speare, in a sonnet of mad idol
and leaves, atry
In eitler's aptness, as it best deceives,
To blush at speeches rank, to weep at "Heaveu in thy creation did decree
woes, That in thy face sweet love should ever Or to turn white and swoon at tragic dwell ;
shows. Whate'er thy thoughts or thy heart's workings be,
So on the tip of his subiluing tongue, Thy looks should nothing thence but All kind of arguments and questions sweetness tell."
deep, In his “inconstant mind” and
All replication pronipt and
strong, his “ false heart," it was easy to
For his advantage still did wake and recognise the insincerity and
sleep, treachery that somehow seem in To make the weeper laughi, the laugher separable from the artistic nature, weep. as in his love of praise, that desire
He had the dialect and the different for immediate recognition that
skill, characterises all actors.
Catching all passions in his craft of
will." more fortunate in this than other actors, Willie Hughes was to know Once I thought that I had really something of immortality. In found Willie Hughes in Eliza