SUNDAY, November 10.
Our third Sunday at sea. The past week has been unbroken sunshine, moonlight, and smooth seas. So far not a ship has been seen. I have read carefully eleven of Shakespeare's plays during the spare hours of the voyage, and have enjoyed those most with which I was least familiar, while some passages in even the best known I wonder greatly at not having long ere this committed to memory, to live there with the rest, and come at my call to minister to me. They are such gems. I have them now, and feel as if I have made new friends, whose angel visits will do me good in days and nights to come. Byron affected to disparage the master, but I note two other gems, beside many I knew of before, for which he stands indebted. The idea in his celebrated lines in "Mazeppa" -
"Methought that mist of dawning gray
Would never dapple into day" -
is from Two Gentlemen of Verona, and the "Bright, particular star" from All's Well that Ends Well. But of course I do not intend any reflection upon Byron. Such was, and is, the all-pervading, transcendent nature of Shakespeare's genius; it was, and is, and shall be for ages yet to come, simply impossible for any writer to avoid drawing from that fountain, for every thing has its "environment," and Shakespeare is the environment of all English-speaking men.
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