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thefe tales has no better foundation than the vanity of our degener Neoptolemus, (fee Vol. III. p. 344.)* and the latter originates from modern conjecture. The prefent age will probably allow the vintner's ivy to Sir William, but with equal juflice will withhold from him the poet's bays. To his pretenfions of descent from Shakspeare, one might almoft be induced to apply a ludicrous paffage uttered by Fielding's Phaeton in the Suds:
by all the parish boys I'm flamm'd: "You the sun's fon, you rafcal! you be d-—d.”
About the time when this picture found its way into Mr. Keck's hands,† the verification of portraits
Nor does the fame piece of ancient fcandal derive much weight from Aubrey's adoption of it. The reader who is acquainted with the writings of this abfurd goffip, will scarcely pay more attention to him on the present occafion, than when he gravely affures us that "Anno 1670, not far from Cirencester was an apparition; being demanded whether a good spirit or a bad? returned no answer, but disappeared with a curious perfume and most melodious twang. Mr. W. Lilly believes it was a fairy." See Aubrey's Mifcellanies, edit. 1784, p. 114.-Aubrey. in short, was a dupe to every wag who chose to practife on his credulity; and would most certainly have believed the person who should have told him that Shakspeare himself was a natural fon of Queen Elizabeth.
Mr. T. Warton has pleasantly observed (see p. 73. n. 3.) that he "can not fuppofe Shakspeare to have been the father of a Doctor of Divinity who never laughed;" and-to wafte no more words on Sir William D'Avenant,-let but our readers furvey his heavy, vulgar, unmeaning face, and, if we mistake not, they will as readily conclude that Shakfpeare never holp to make it." So defpicable, indeed, is his coun tenance as reprefented by Faithorne, that it appears to have funk that celebrated engraver beneath many a common artist in the fame line. See Vol. I. p. 30.
was fo little attended to, that both the Earl of Oxford, and Mr. Pope, admitted a juvenile one of King James I. as that of Shakspeare.* Among the heads of illuftrious perfons engraved by Houbraken, are feveral imaginary ones, befide Ben Jonfon's and Otway's; and old Mr. Langford pofitively afferted that, in the fame collection, the grandfather of Cock the auctioneer had the honour to perfonate the great and amiable Thurloe, fecretary of state to Oliver Cromwell.
From the price of forty guineas paid for the fuppofed portrait of our author to Mrs. Barry, the real value of it fhould not be inferred. The poffeffion of fomewhat more animated than canvas, might have been included, though not specified, in a, bargain with an actress of acknowledged gallantry.
Yet allowing this to be a mere fanciful infinuation, a rich man does not eafily miss what he is ambitious to find. At least he may be perfuaded he has found it, a circumflance which, as far as it
Much refpe&t is due to the authority of portraits that defcend in families from heir to heir; but little reliance can be placed on them when they are produced for fale (as in the present instance) by alien hands, almost a century after the death of the person supposed to be reprefented; and then, (as Edmund says in King Lear) come pat, like the catastrophe of the old comedy." Shakspeare was buried in 1616; and in 1708 the first notice of this piâure occurs. Where there is fuch a chafm in evidence, the validity of it may be not unfairly queftioned, and especially by those who remember a species of fraudulence recorded in Mr. Foote's Tafte: Clap Lord Dupe's arms on that half-length of Erafmus; I have fold it him as his great grandfather's third brother, for fifty guineas."
affects his own content, will anfwer, for a while, the fame purpose. Thus the late Mr. Jennens of Gopfal in Leicestershire, for many years congratulated himself as owner of another genuine portrait of Shakspeare, and by Cornelius Janfen; nor was disposed to forgive the writer who obferved that, being dated in 1610. it could not have been the work of an artist who never faw England till 1618. above a year after our author's death.
So ready, however, are interested people in affifting credulous ones to impofe on themselves, that we will venture to predict, if fome opulent dupe to the flimfy artifice of Chatterton, fhould advertise a confiderable fum'of money for a portrait of the Pfeudo-Rowley, fuch a defideratum would foon emerge from the tutelary crypts of St. Mary Redcliff at Bristol, or a hitherto unheard of repository in the tomb of Syr Thybbot Gorges at Wraxal.* It would also come attefted as a ftrong liken efs of our archæo
* A kindred trick had a&ually been paffed off by Chatterton on the late Mr. Barrett of Bristol, in whole back parlour was a pretended head of Canynge, most contemptibly scratched with a pen on a small fquare piece of yellow parchment, and framed and glazed as an authentick icon by the " curyous poyntil" of Rowley. But this fame drawing very foon ceased to be stationary, was alternately exhibited and concealed, as the wavering faith of its poffeffor fhifted about, and was prudently withheld at laft from the publick eye. Why it was not inferted in the late Hiftory of Bristol, as well as Rowley's plan and elevation of its ancient caflle, (which all the rules of all the ages of archite&ure pronounce to be fpurious) let the Rowleian advocates inform us. We are happy at least to have recollected a fingle impofition that was too
logical bard, on the faith of a parchment exhibiting the hand and feal of the dygne Mafler Wyllyam Canynge, fetting forth that Mayfter Thomas Rowlie was fo entyrely and paffynge wele belovyd of himself, or our poetick knight, that one or the other caufyd hys femblaunce to be ryght conynglye depeyneten on a merveilloufe fayre table of wood, and enfevelyd wyth hym, that deth mote theym not clene departyn and putte afunder. — A fimilar impofition, however, would in vain be attempted on the editors of Shakspeare, who, with all the zeal of Rowleians, are happily exempt from their credulity.
A former plate of our author, which was copied from Martin Droefhout's in the title-page to the folio 1623. is worn out; nor does fo "abominable an imitation of humanity" deferve to be reftored. The smaller head, prefixed to the Poems in 1640.* is merely a reduced and reverfed copy by Marshall from its predeceffor, with a few flight changes in attitude and drefs. We boaft therefore of no exterior ornaments, except those of better print
grofs for even these gentlemen to swallow.-Mr. Barrett, however, in the yeer 1776 affured Mr. Tyrwhitt and Mr. Steevens, that he received the aforefaid fcrawl of Canynge from Chatterton, who defcribed it as having been found in the prolifick cheft fecured by fix, or fix-andtwenty keys, no matter which.
See Vol. I. p. 33.
They who wish for decorations adapted to this edition of Shak. fpeare, will find them in Silvefter Harding's Portraits and Views, &c. &c. (appropriated to the whole fuite of our author's Hiftorical Dramas, &c.) published in thirty numbers.
and paper than have hitherto been allotted to any octavo edition of Shakspeare.
Juftice nevertheless requires us to fubjoin, that had an undoubted picture of our author been attainable, the Bookfellers would moft readily have paid for the best engraving from it that could have been produced by the most skilful of our modern artifls; but it is idle to be at the charge of perpetuating illu fions: and who fhall offer to point out, among the numerous prints of Shakspeare, any one that is more like him than the reft?
The play of Pericles has been added to this collection, by the advice of Dr. Farmer. To make room for it Titus Andronicus might have been omitted; but our proprietors are of opinion that fome ancient prejudices in its favour may fill exift, and for that reafon only it is preferved.
We have not reprinted the Sonnets, &c. of, Shakspeare, because the ftrongeft act of Parliament that could be framed, would fail to compel readers into their fervice; notwithflanding these mifcellaneous Poems have derived every poffible advantage from the literature and judgement of their only intelligent editor, Mr. Malone, whofe implements of criticism, like the ivory rake and golden fpade in Prudentius, are on this occafion difgraced by the objects of their culture. Had Shakspeare produced no other works than thefe, his name would have reached us with as little celebrity as time has