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in several scenes, one would conceive it was a hard task to deprive him of it. By no means; Dr. Farmer pretty nearly settles that point by quoting Dr. Johnson;

be suspected that some other man wrote the French scenes.” This is an unwarrantable suspicion, unworthy of two learned doctors, and looks like an humble imitation of

“Garth did not write his own. Dispensary !" The evil of controversy is that men are apt to argue unfairly on every thing but what makes for their side of the question. Dr. Farmer gives desperate hits at his opponents wherever he perceives they are vulnerable, pretending to prove, by his success, that they are vulnerable every where. He will look no farther into the text than will serve for his argument. Thus, after expatiating on the mispronunciation of bras into brass, and holding it up as a proof of Shakespeare's ignorance of the language, he is contented that all the good French which follows in the same scene, contrasted with the clever comic English-French of the boy, should fall under the suspicion of having been written by “ some other man;" blind, or perversely shutting his eyes to the fact that the other man," if such a one had been employed, was accountable, not Shakespeare, for the mispronunciation of bras. That “other man ” must have been frequently employed, since there is a great deal of French in the historical plays, and some touches of it elsewhere; besides, he must have had, within himself, some touches of the genius of Shakespeare.

Whatever were his acquirements in the languages, he has been guilty of errors in geography, which plainly prove he might have had a better education with advantage. That of giving a sea-coast to Bohemia, appears at first sight inexcusable. It is true the error exists in the novel of Dorastus and Fawnia, by Robert Greene, from which the Winter's Tale was taken. Robert Greene, who thus set the example of bringing the sea to Bohemia, studied at Cambridge, where he took his bachelor's degree in 1578, signed himself “ Master of Arts in both Universities,” and is supposed to have been one of the Queen's Chaplains. A better education, therefore, as far as geography is concerned, might not have been at either of our Universities. But the best apology that can be offered for Shakespeare is, that geography was, in his time, little known and less taught. It was a science studied by few, even among the gentry. The maps in Queen Elizabeth's reign were scarce, strangely puzzling, and very incorrect. Dr. Farmer, (here he is of use) after noticing the ridicule thrown on authors for their geographical blunders by Cervantes, the contemporary of our poet, mentions this, on the authority of Lord Herbert : “ De Luines, the prime-minister of France, when he was ambassador in Bohemia, demanded whether it was an inland country, or lay upon the sea ?" A prime-minister's ignorance, or the ignorance of a Master of Arts, is certainly but a poor excuse for a poet's; yet it does much as showing the ungeographical character of the age. The Winter's Tale, on other grounds, besides the one stated by Malone, I believe must have been one of the earlier plays; and the Two Gentlemen of Verona, where the other blunder appears, of sending Valentine by ship from Verona to Milan, is, to my mind, the first. It may be that these faults arose from sheer ignorance, without any stain on his education, considering the period. Granting so much, it must be conceded, on the other hand, that he afterwards made himself a master of geography sufficient to prevent similar mistakes; because in no other play can he be convicted of one; and in the Taming of the Shrew he shows a perfect knowledge of the North of Italy, the very place where he committed his mistake in the Two Gentlemen of Verona.


Among the many ingenious attempts to convict Shakespeare of a want of scholarship, it is wonderful we have none to prove that he could not spell his own

Here is a plausible ground for argument. From the feeble and tremulous signatures to his will, contradictory evidence might be deduced; and we have his autograph in only one or two more documents, from which another opinion may be upheld. These together might serve to moot a learned discussion on his ignorance. Having taken the pains of drawing out a list of fourteen methods of spelling his name, every one of which rested on some sort of authority, I was surprised to find that Dr. Drake had discovered seventeen more, all different, among the entries in the books of the Stratford Corporation. With these thirty-one methods, on which ought we to fix? I see no good reason for the modern method; on the contrary, it is bad, inasmuch as Shak cannot be pronouned Shake. What is our best authority ? -surely that of the best informed of his contem

poraries, Meres and others, but more particularly that of his personal friends and co-partners, Heminge and Condell, who edited the first folio. Though not essential, it is yet of some importance to be able to write the name of our country's grandest poet. He himself, like others of his period, might have spelt his name differently at different times.


WHATEVER opinion, in regard to his learning, may be withstood or controverted, no one has pretended to doubt the greatness of his knowledge; by which I mean, the numerous facts and speculations stored within his mind, not only through the medium of books, but by his own observation and experience. The sole point unsettled, is the boundary of his intellectual attainments. Many are induced to extend it to too large a sphere; some in the belief of an incomprehensible and mysterious power attending genius; some in the opinion that a poet's imagination is of itself enabled to rise to its utmost strength, involving all knowledge; and that Shakespeare's imagination was grand and universal, purely because it was unassisted und unfettered by the thoughts of others. Such a belief, or such an opinion, has no reasonable foundation; and, like all false notions, it is injurious; since it teaches the tempting doctrine, that the most favoured by nature have the least necessity for study.


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