Axidava

Held In Bondage

“A young man married is a man that’s marred.” That’s a golden rule, Arthur; take it to heart.

Anne Hathaway, I have not a doubt, suggested it; experience is the sole asbestos, only unluckily one seldom gets it before one’s hands are burnt irrevocably. Shakespeare took to wife the ignorant, rosy-cheeked Warwickshire peasant girl at eighteen! Poor fellow! I picture him, with all his untried powers, struggling like new-born Hercules for strength and utterance, and the great germ of poetry within him, tingeing all the common realities of life with its rose hue; genius giving him power to see with god-like vision the “fairies nestling in the cowslip chalices,” and the golden gleam of Cleopatra’s sails; to feel the “spiced Indian air” by night, and the wild working of kings’ ambitious lust; to know by intuition, alike the voices of nature unheard by common ears, and the fierce schemes and passions of a world from which social position shut him out! I picture him in his hot, imaginative youth, finding his first love in the yeoman’s daughter at Shottery, strolling with her by the Avon, making her an “odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds,” and dressing her up in the fond array of a boy’s poetic imaginings! Then—when he had married her, he, with the passionate ideals of Juliets and Violas, Ophelias and Hermiones in his brain and heart, must have awakened to find that the voices so sweet to him were dumb to her. The “cinque spotted cowslip bells” brought only thoughts of wine to her. When he was watching “certain stars shoot madly from their spheres,” she most likely was grumbling at him for mooning there after curfew bell. When he was learning Nature’s lore in “the fresh cup of the crimson rose,” she was dinning in his ear that Hammet and Judith wanted worsted socks. When he was listening in fancy to the “sea-maid’s song,” and weaving thoughts to which a world still stands reverentially to listen, she was buzzing behind him, and bidding him go card the wool, and weeping that, in her girlhood, she had not chosen some rich glover or ale-taster, instead of idle, useless, wayward Willie Shakespeare. Poor fellow! He did not write, I would swear, without fellow-feeling, and yearning over souls similarly shipwrecked, that wise saw, “A young man married is a man that’s marred.”

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