We were induced to have this beautiful design made by that accomplished artist, Schussele, from reading the following extract from a lecture, delivered some time since, by James T. Fields, Esq., of Boston. We think the likeness a good one, and it has been so pronounced.
To peruse the plays of the great poet on the very spots where the scenes are laid is one of the most satisfactory incidents in a traveller’s journey abroad. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ read in the open air of Verona, on a quiet summer evening; ‘Julius Caesar’ amid the ruins of Roman temples; ‘The Merchant of Venice’ while leaning over the bridge of the Rialto; and ‘Othello’ while floating in a gondola in and out of the watery streets of the Fairy City; and those noble historical plays in England, Scotland, and France, on the very spots where events had time and place– this is to enjoy to the top of your bent the magic of the poet’s mind.
One of our own great statesmen, than whom no one living knows better than he knew every hidden or discovered beauty of Shakspeare, while in other lands, is said to have gone about with a searching glance for every spot hallowed by the poet’s genius which came in his path of travel.
One who had the high privilege to be with him in his rambles about England– himself one of the most honored of the living writers of Europe– spoke thus:
“In my own hearing, of our great patriot, now lying in his new-made grave by the side of the sounding sea. ‘I have seen,’ said he, ‘all the prominent members of that splendid galaxy which shone so proudly eminent during the trial of Warren Hastings– Burke, Fox, Sheridan these eyes have beheld in all their majesty of genius. But I have seen another and a kindred spirit, during my old age, whose presence filled and satisfied my imagination more than all or any of these whose forms I have just recalled– a man who, had he been born in England, would have founded a peerage, and taken his seat highest, next the throne. A few years age, I saw Daniel Webster standing at the grave of Shakspeare, and heard him solemnly recite, as we stood in Stratford Church, Hamlet’s soliloquy on immortality! The most splendid specimen of power and dignity then walking this planet I saw beside the tomb of that most majestic monarch of mind. As your great countryman reverently uncovered that noble forehead, and gazed with a look fraught with the deepest meaning on the hallowed shrine before us, I thought that never before, since the Bard of Avon died, had his grave been looked on by a more commanding spirit. That, indeed, was no common grouping around the Stratford monument– Webster at the tomb of Shakspeare!”
Collection: Godey’s Lady’s Book
Publication: Godey’s Lady’s Book
Date: August , 1862
Title: Godey’s Arm-Chair
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania