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Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume V (1877-1881)

Butler, James D.
The Απαξ Λεγὁμενα in Shakspere[Shakespeare],   pp. 161-174 PDF (3.7 MB)


Page 171


              TkCe       Jq,>LJry6pea io Shai ks)ere.         171
the start of the majestic world so far as that, however myriad-
minded we may consider him.
  An instinct which would have rendered him aware of each and
every individual of five thousand words that he had employed
once only would be as inconceivable as that of Falstaff which
made him discern at midnight the heir apparent in Prince Ha],
when disguised as a highwayman. In short, Shakspere could not
be conscious of all the words he had once used more than Brigham
Young could recognize all the wives he bad once wedded.
  In the absence of other theories concerning the reasons for the
Shaksperian "'Afrao s; omEva being so abundant, I throw out a sug-
gestion of my own, which may stand till a better one shall sup-
plant it.
  Shakspere's forte lay in diversified characterization, and, in my
judgment, when he hadl sketehed each several character, he was
never content till he had either found or fabricated the aptest
words possible for painting its form and pressure even in all nuances
most tiue to life. No two characters being identical in any par-
ticular, more than two faces are, no two descriptions as drawn by
his genius could repeat many of the self-same words. Each of his
vocables thus became like each one of the seven thousand pieces
in a locomotive which fits the one niche it was ordained to fill,
but is out of place everywhere else, yes even dislocated.
  The more his ethical differentiations, the more his language was
differentiated. his personages were as diversified as have been
portrayed by the whole banl of Italian painters, but being a wizard
in words he resembled the magician in mosaic who can delineate
in stone every feature of those portraits, thanks to his discrimi-
nating and imitating shades of color more numberless than even
Shakspere's words.
  It is hard to believe that Shakspere's characters were born like
Athene from the brain of Jove in panoplied perfection. They
grew. The play of Troilus was a dozen years in growth. Ac-
cor(limn to the best eorninentatorX, 'internal evidence favors the
Opinion that IRmn en (nul Jl1',{t w is an early worl, and that it was
Subseqtently revise l and enlarged.  Shakspere after having
sketched out a play on the fashion of his youthful taste and skill,


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