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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 174


174    Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters.
  The Shaksperianr plots are analogous to the grouping Of
Raphael, the characters to the drawing of Micbael Angelo, but
the word-painting exceeds the coloring of Titian. Accordingly'
in view of Shakspere's diction, I would long ago have said, if I
could, what I-read in Arthur Helps concerning a perfect style,
that " there is a sense of felicity about it, declaring it to be
the
pro-
duct of a, bh  r momenfn  t. son     thaty it will not hflnnun
again to that man who writes the sentence, nor to any other of
the sons of men, to say the like thing so choicely, tersely, mellif.
luously and completely." In the central court of the Neapolitan
museum I observed grape-clusters, volutes, moldings, fingers and
antique fragments of all sorts wrought in the rarest marble, lying
scattered on the pavement, exposed to sun and rain, east down
the wrong side up, and seemingly thrown away, as when th
stones of the Jewish sanctuary were poured out in every street
Nothing reveals the sculptural opulence of Italy like that appa
ent wastefulness. It seems to proclaim that Italv can afford t
make nothing of what would elsewhere be judged worthy of
shrines. We say to ourselves, " If such be the things she throw
away, what must be her jewels! " A similar feeling rises in me
while exploring Shakspere's prodigality in 'Awoa9 ).a-6Oje-a. HI
exchequer must have been more exhaustless than the Bank o
England, and he threw away more dies for coining words tba
the British mint ever possessed for coining money.
  On the whole, in whatever aspect we survey the Bard of Avo
I am reminded of the retired Boston merchant who, in his old ag
reading Hamlet for the first time was enraptured. When aske
how he liked Shakspere, his answer was, "H How do I like bimn
Like is no word for my admiration. The truth is that not twent
men in modern Boston can write anything better than old Sh
spere." I say ditto to the Boston man. INot more than forty m
in Madison (the present company excepted) can produce pla
superior to the old Shaksperian.


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