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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 172


172    Wisconshn Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters.
returned in after years to enlarge it, remodel it and enrich it with' .
the matured fruits of years of observation and reflection. Love',t
Labor Lost first appeared in print with the annunciation that it Ad,
was "newly revised and augmented."    It is now very generally'
regarded as a revision of a play which Shakspere had produced
ten years before and named Love's Laboro IVon. Cymnbeline w as-
an entire r9i/fUcimento of an early dramatic attempt, showing not
only matured fulnesq of thought but laboring intensity of corn-
pressed expression." This being the fact, it is clear that Shaks.
.
pere treated hit dramas as Guido did his Cleopatra which he i
would not let leave his studio till ten vears after the non-artisti
woild had deemed that portrait finished.
  Meantime the painter was penciling his canvas with curio
touches, each approximating some fraction nearer his ideal. z
the poet sought to find out acceptable words, or what he ter
"an army of good words."  He poured his new wine into ne
bottles, and never was at rest till he had arrayed his ideas in th
fitness of phrase which comes only by fits.
  I-ad he survived fifty years longer I suppose he would to th
last have been, like Plato, perfecting his phrasrs.  One coup
which vs he left it reads
          Find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
          Sermons in stones, and good in everything,"
he might possibly have corrected and improved, as some comme
tator has done for him, so as to express more truth, if less poetr
making the words to stand
         "Find leaves on trees, stogies in the running brooks,
         Sermons in books, and gain in everything."
To speak seriously, " His manner in diction was progressive, a
this progress has been deemed so clearly traceable in his pf
that it can enable us to determine their chronological ord
This view would have been accepted by Dryden, who treatin'
Caliban remarks: " his language is as hobgoblin as his pen
In him Sha kspere not only found out a new character, bat dev
and adapted a new manner of language for that character.
  On first thought it may seem beneath Sha1ksperian dignit
be careful and troubled about verbal niceties. But no one


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