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acquired anything more than the merest smattering of any language but his own.
But although the dialect of Shakespeare does not exhibit the same relative superiority as that of Chaucer over all older and contemporaneous literature, its absolute superiority is, nevertheless, unquestionable. I have before had occasion to remark that the greatest authors very often confine themselves to a restricted vocabulary, and that the power of their diction lies, not in the multitude of words, but in skilful combination and adaptation of a few. This is strikingly verified by an examination of the stock of words employed by Shakespeare. He introduces, indeed, terms borrowed from every art and every science, from all theoretical knowledge and all human experience; but his entire vocabulary little exceeds fifteen thousand words, and of these a large number, chiefly of Latin origin, occur but once or at most twice in his pages. The affluence of his speech arises from variety of combination, not from numerical abundance. And yet the authorized vocabulary of Shakespeare's time probably embraced twice or thrice the number of words which he found necessary for his purposes; for though there were at that time no dictionaries which exhibit a great stock of words, yet in perusing Hooker, the old translators, and the early voyagers and travellers, we find a verbal wealth, a copiousness of diction, which forms a singular contrast with the philological economy of the great dramatist.
In his theory of dramatic construction, Shakespeare. owes little-in his conception of character, nothing-to earlier or contemporary artists; but in his diction, everything except felicity of selection and combination. The existence of the whole copious English vocabulary was necessary, in order that his marvellous gift of selection might have room for its exercise. Without a Cimabue and a Giotto, a Fra Angelico and a Perugino, there could not have been a Raphael; and all previous English philology and literature were indispensable to the creation of a medium through which such revelations of man as had not yet been made to man might be possible to the genius of a Shakespeare.
John Augustus Stone.
BORN in Concord, Mass., 1801. DROWNED, while suffering mental derangement, in the Schuylkill River, near Philadelphia, Penn., 1834.
THE COUNCIL SCENE IN "METAMORA."
[Metamora. A Tragedy. First performed at the Park Theatre, New York, 1829, for the benefit of Edwin Forrest, whose impersonation of the Indian Chief was most heroic in the following Scene.-Copied from the Prompter's Text, by permission of Mr. James Walter Collier, the present owner of this unpublished Play.]
SCENE.-Council chamber, interior of English fort, formed of hewn logs with loop-holes for musketry. A long oaken table with books.
ERRINGTON, SIR ARTHUR VAUGHAN, CHURCH, elders, officers, guards, villagers, ladies, etc., discovered. Enter MORDAUNT and FITZ ARNOLD.
ERRINGTON. 'Tis news that asks from us most speedy action!
Heaven has in sounds most audible and strange,
In sights, too, that amaze the lookers on,-
SIR ARTHUR. What proof is there your Indian neighbors round
Mean not as fairly towards our settlement
As did King Philip's father, Massasoit?
ERR. [Shows paper.] Sir,
We have here full proof that Philip is our foe.
Sassamon, that faithful servant of our cause,
Has been despatched
By Philip's men, set on to murder him.
One of his tribe confessed the horrid truth
And will, when time shall call, give proof on 't.
I say this chieftain is a man of blood,
And heaven will bless the valiant arm that slays him.
[At this moment METAMORA enters boldly, looking the last speaker full in the face. Some are confounded and all are silent. METAMORA looks around and pauses.]
MET. You sent for me, and I am come. [No one replies.] If ye have nothing to say,
I will go back. [Pause.] Do ye fear to question? Metamora does not fear to
ERR. Philip, [METAMORA starts] 'tis thought that still you love us not,
And, most unmindful of our league of peace,
In secret plot against our common weal.
MET. Do your fears counsel ye? What is it that makes your old men sorrowful and your young warriors grasp their fire-weapons, as if they waited the onset of the
foe? Of what does the white man complain? Brothers, what has Metamora done, that doubt is on all your faces and your spirits are troubled? The just man's heart should be a stranger to fear, and his lips ready to utter the words of truth.
ERR. By those who lie not, Chieftain, we are told
Thou didst give shelter to a banished man
And gave us cause to doubt thy faithfulness.
MET. Why was that man sent away from the home of his joy? Because the Great Spirit did not speak to him as he has done to you? Did ye not come across the Great Water and leave the smoke of your father's dwelling because the iron arm was held out against ye? Why do you that have just plucked the red knife from strive thus to stab your brother?
your own wounded sides,
Didst thou not know the sentence of the court
On him whom thou didst shelter?
MET. If my race's enemy had crept unarmed into my wigwam, and his heart was sore, I would not have driven him from my fire, or forbid him to lie down on my mat. Your great Book, you say, teaches ye to give good gifts to the stranger, and deal kindly with him whose heart is sad. The Wampanoag needs no such counsellor, for the Great Spirit has with his own finger written it on his heart. MORD. Why hast put weapons in thy people's hands,
And given the means to urge great mischief on?
MET. If my people do wrong, I am quick to punish. Do ye not set a snare in their path, that they may fall down, making them mad with the firewater which the Evil Spirit gave ye in the hour of his triumph? The red man sickens in the house of the Palefaces, as the leaping stream of the mountain is made impure by the foul brooks that mingle with it.
SIR A. Chieftain, since these things are so,
Sell us thy lands and seek another home.
MET. Sell you my lands! What more? Have ye not enough? No, white man, never will Metamora forsake the home of his fathers and let the plough of the stranger disturb the bones of his kindred.
CHURCH. These are bold words, Chieftain.
MET. They are true ones.
ERR. They give no token of thy love of peace.
We would deal fairly with thee-nay, be generous.
MET. Then would ye pay back that which fifty snows ago ye received from the hands of my father, Massasoit. Your backs were turned towards the land of your fathers, and the son of the forest took ye as a little child and opened the door of his wigwam. The keen blast of the north howled in the leafless wood, but the Indian covered ye with his broad right hand and put it back. Your little ones smiled when they heard the loud voice of the storm, for our hearths were warm and the Indian was the white man's friend.
ERR. Such words are needless now.
MET. I will speak no more.-I am going.
ERR. Hold yet a moment, Philip. We've to speak
Of faithful Sassamon, who met his death,
On our own ground, by hand of treachery.
MET. So should the treacherous man fall, by the keen knife, in the darkness, and not ascend from the strife of battle up to the bright home where the dead warrior dwells in glory.
ERR. Didst thou contrive his murder?
MET. I will not answer thee.
ERR. We have those can prove thou didst.
MET. I have spoken.
ERR. Bring in the witness. [Exit CHURCH.] We too long have stayed The arm of Peace from execution-come,
We parley with a serpent, and his wiles
MET. Injurious man, do not tread too hard upon that serpent's folds. are not yet torn out, nor has their venom lost its power to kill.
Enter two musketeers with the Indian, ANAHWANDA.
ERR. So, treacherous man; thy deeds of blood are known.
MET. Let me see his eyes. [Goes to him.] Art thou he I snatched from the tomahawk of the Mohegan, when thou hadst sung thy death song? Did Metamora cherish thee in his wigwam, and hast thou put a knife in the white man's hand to slay him? The foul spirit has entered thee, and the pure blood of the Wampanoag has left thy veins. Thy heart is a lie. Thine eye cannot rest on the face of truth, when, like the great light, it shines upon thee in unclouded glory. [ANAHWANDA shrinks from his gaze, tries to speak, but cannot.] Elders, can he speak to ye the words of truth who has been false to his nation, his brothers, and his God?
ERR. He was thy trusted agent, Philip,
And conscience-smote revealed thy wickedness.
ERR. We do, and will reward his honesty.
MET. Wampanoag-I will not call thee so-Red-man, say to these people that they have bought thy tongue, and thou hast sold them a lie. [Pause.]
ERR. He does not answer.
MET. [Gathering himself up with great majesty.] I am Metamora, thy father and thy King.
ERR. Philip o'erawes him. Send the witness back.
Slave of the white man, go follow Sassamon!
[He plunges his knife in the body of ANAHWANDA, who falls dead. All start up in alarm.] ERR. Secure him.
MET. Come! My knife has drunk the blood of the false one, but it is not satisfied. White man, beware! The mighty spirits of the Wampanoag race are hovering o'er your heads. They stretch out their shadowy arms and shriek for vengeance. They shall have it! The warwhoop shall fright ye from your dreams at night. The red hatchet shall gleam in the horrid glare of your burning dwellings. From the east to the west, in the north and in the south, shall the loud cry of vengeance burst till the lands ye have stolen groan under your feet no more. The eternal spirit of the red man wakes from its long sleep. It shakes off the fetters that have weighed it down and rushes forth on wings of fire!
ERR. Seize him!
MET. Thus, white man, do I smite your nation and defy your power! [Dashes his hatchet into the earth and rushes out. Soldiers fire. The whoop of METAMORA and his followers announces the Chief's safety.]
THE DEATH OF METAMORA.
[From the Same.—Close of the Fifth Act and of the Tragedy.]
SCENE.-An Indian retreat. Wood and high rocks.
Alarums. Enter NAHMEOKEE carrying her dead child. She places it behind a rock; then climbs, and stands listening to the subsiding noise of the battle.
AH. He comes not yet, and the sound of the battle is dying away like the last breath of the storm. Can he be slain? Oh, cruel white man, this day will redly stain your name forever. [Footsteps heard.] An, he comes.
MET. Nahmeokee, I am weary with the toil of blood. Where is our little one? Let me take him to my heart and he will quell its mighty tumult.
NAH. He is here.
[She lifts up blanket and shows the corpse of the child.]
MET. Dead! Cold! [Turns away.]
NAH. Nahmeokee could not cover him with her form, for the white men were all around her. The shafts of the fire-weapons flew with a great noise over my head. One smote my babe, and the foe shouted with a great shout, for he thought Nahmeokee and her babe had fallen to rise no more.
MET. His little arms will never clasp thee more. Well, is he not happy? Better he should die by the stranger's arm, than live his slave.
MET. Do not bow down thy head. Thou wilt meet him again in the peaceful land of spirits, and he will look smilingly upon thee, as-I-do-now-Nahmeokee. [Endeavors to smile. Bursts into an agony of grief.]
NAH. Metamora, is our nation dead? Are we alone?
MET. The Palefaces are all around us, and they march in blood. The blaze of our burning wigwams flashes awfully in the shade of their path. We are destroyed, not beaten. We are no more. Yet we are forever.-Nahmeokee!
NAH. What wouldst thou?
MET. Dost thou fear the power of the white man?
MET. He may come hither in his power and slay thee.
NAH. Thou art with me. Thou wilt not let them.
MET. We cannot fly, for the foe is all about us. We cannot fight, for this is the only weapon I have saved from the strife unbroken. [Draws his knife.]
NAH. It was my brother's. It was Canonchet's.
MET. It has tasted the white man's blood and reached the cold heart of the traitor. It has been our truest friend. It is our only treasure. [Solemnly.]
NAH. Thine eye tells me the thought of thy heart.
MET. Come closer, Nahmeokee. I look through the long path of the thin air, and methinks I see our infant borne onward to the land of the happy. Look upward, Nahmeokee! The spirit of thy murdered father beckons thee.
NAH. I will go to him.
MET. Hark! In the distant wood I faintly hear the cautious tread of men. They are upon us. Nah-Nahmeokee, [After a great struggle] the home of the undying is made ready for thee! [He plunges the knife into her bosom and she sinks down without