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PREFACE, p. ix. To the saying there quoted of the good Archbishop of York in a former age,* it may be worth while to add here the following testimonies of distinguished ministers of the Gospel in recent times.
'Next to the Bible, I have derived more benefit from the study of Shakspeare than any other human author; for he so thoroughly knew the human heart.' Dr. Hugh McNeile, late Dean of Ripon. The late Dean of Chichester, Dr. Hook, whose idolatry of Shakspeare in his youth is so graphically described by his biographer, Mr. Stephens, would probably have said the same.
The late Dean of St. Paul's, Dr. Milman, a poet himself, classes Shakspeare among the great Christian poets: poets not merely writing on religious subjects, but instinct with the religious life of Christianity.' Latin Christianity, vol. i. p. 7 sq. The judgment of Keble, distinguished also as a poet even more than as a divine, may be found fully quoted below in my Tercentenary Sermon. McNeile, Milman, Hook, and Keble are four names which represent every school of theological opinion in the Church of England, and to these may be added the testimony of Archbishop Trench, another Poet
* See Speaker Onslow's note in Burnet's History of His Own Time, vol. iii. p. 107.
as well as a Theologian, who speaks of Shakspeare as 'the mightiest and completest artist of all times.' Lectures on Plutarch.
'Shakspeare I have always considered the greatest uninspired genius that ever lived; and I remember how glad I was, when reading the Biography of Chalmers, to find that he was of the same mind.' Memoir of Dr. Guthrie, vol. ii. p. 310. The reader will find the passage thus referred to in Dr. Hanna's Memoir of Chalmers, vol. ii. p. 728, ed. 1854: I look upon Shakspeare as an intellectual miracle. . . . I dare say he was the greatest man that ever lived-greater perhaps than Sir Isaac Newton.' In like manner, in the Memoir of Dr. Norman McLeod, we read that his favourite authors were Shakspeare and Wordsworth.' This was during his College life; but we are further assured by Principal Shairp that Shakspeare then was, and always continued to be, an unfailing resource.' Ibid., p. 90.
Vol. i. p. 29.
GENERAL INTRODUCTION, p. 2. In order to guard against misconception, it may be well to add to the remark made at the foot of that page, that I do not forget the peculiar circumstances of a dramatic author. All that he writes, he writes, it may be urged, subject to the necessities of his characters and plot. It is true, he does so. But still the choice of the characters and the conduct of the plot are in his own power; and in these there is room enough to discern more or less fully the real character of the author himself. And though I might plead that my inquiry is concerned with the character and animus of the writings of Shakspeare rather than of their author, I decline so to do, because I am convinced that, with every allowance for the dramatic form of his compositions, he could not have written. as he has done unless his own heart and mind had been in
substantial harmony with the lessons of virtue, and pietyand, I will add, of true religion-which they conspire to teach. And in this opinion I am fully supported by no less an authority than that of the author of the Christian Year. See his Prælectiones Academica, as quoted below, p. 390.
Moreover, in order to show that there is nothing paradoxical or extravagant in supposing that Shakspeare, marvellous and original genius as he was, may have derived great benefit in every way from his knowledge and study of the Bible-and all the more because he could have had but little access to works of secular literature-it is sufficient to produce the words of Mr. Froude in his recently published volume on Bunyan: The Bible, thoroughly known, is a literature of itself-the rarest and richest in all departments of thought or imagination that exists.' P. 84.
On the Classical learning acquired by Shakspeare as a schoolboy at Stratford-a subject touched upon in p. 1, and again at pp. 225, 243, and 349-see the very able and interesting articles now appearing in Frazer's Magazine from the pen of Professor Baynes.
PART I. CHAP. I. p. 9, line 10. According to Mr. Furnivall's chronological order, adopted by Professor E. Dowden, the two earliest plays are placed in 1588 and 1589; and only (parts of) Henry VIII. after 1611.
IBID., p. 12. On the usage of the phrase 'the death.' It occurs in Bp. Fisher's Funeral Sermon on K. Henry VII., pp. 138 and 151. Also in Milton, P. L., Bk. xii. 494, and Clarendon, Hist., vol. i. p. 192. Comp. 'the life itself,' in the Prayer Book (but not in the Bible) version, Ps. lxiii. 4. Also the prayer,' Ibid., Ps. lxv. 2, and in Shakspeare, Ant. and Cleop., Act v. Sc. 2, 'Go put it to the haste.'
IBID., p. 13. The word 'riches' occurs as a singular
noun in Rev. xviii. 17. In one hour so great riches is come to nought.' So in Othello, Act ii. Sc. 1. "The riches of the ship is come on shore.' Fr. richesse, this usage plural use also occurs, Bible and Shakspeare. Homilies, p. 236.
And the word being derived from
Thanks is always used in the singular in Shakspeare, e.g., Coriolanus, Act v. Sc. 1, that thanks;' Ant. and Cleop., Act. ii. Sc. 6, a liberal thanks;' but not so in the Bible. So too is 'pains'-'for this pains,' Ant. and Cleop., Act iv. Sc. 6. 'Odds' is used in Shakspeare for both numbers, eg., 'these odds,' Meas. for Meas., Act iii. Sc. I, and that odds,' King Rich. II., Act iii. Sc. 4.
IBID., p. 15. On the old form of the genitive singular, see the late Archdeacon Hare in Philol. Museum, vol. i. pp. 669, 675. This form of the genitive in is occurs in Gawin Douglas, but it is a Scotticism. The vowel of the genitive in the Anglo-Saxon was e; so was it in Chaucer's time, as appears from the very title of the Knightes Tale. In Cranmer's Bible the genitives Goddes, Christes, occur frequently.' Comp. Abbot's Shakspearian Grammar, $217.
In K. Henry V., Act i., Sc. 2, Shakspeare has combined both the original and corrupted forms :
King Pepin's title, and Hugh Capet's claim,
That the corrupted usage of 'his' and 'her,' as forms of the genitive, arose out of ignorance of the original inflection of the language, there seems to be no room for doubt. Whether or no the apostrophe should be retained for the singular, may perhaps be questioned; but its use for the plural, as in children's bread,' Hare very justly pronounces to be an 'arrant absurdity.' Ibid., p. 677.
PART I., CHAP. II., pp. 30-44.
Once in Bible, twice in
AGONE =older form of ago.
Three days agone I fell sick.—1 Sam. xxx. 13.
Two Gent., Act iii. Sc. 1.
immediately, 'in one' in one moment; SO
Anon they tell Him of her.
To meet anon.
Mark i. 30.
Cor olanus, Act ii. Sc. 3.
Also K. Henr. IV., 2nd Part., Act iv. Sc. 4.
AVOID = retire, escape.
David avoided out of his presence.-1 Sam. xviii. 11.
Satan, avoid! I charge thee, tempt me not.
Com. of Err., Act iv. Sc. 3.
AWAY WITH= endure, put up with.
The new moons and Sabbaths I cannot away with.-Is. i. 13.
She never could away with me.
FOLLY wantonness, unchastity.
2 Henry IV., Act iii. Sc. 2.
Because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore.
She turned to folly, and she was a whore.
Deut. xxii. 21.
Othello, Act v. Sc. 2.
Go To ! Form of exhortation or reproof.
Go to, let us build us a city.-Go to, let Us go down.
Go to now ye that say, &c.
Gen. xi. 3, 4, 7.
James iv. 13; also v. 1.
Frequent in Shakspeare in both senses.
The number of names together.
If my name were liable to fear.
Acts i. 15.
Jul. Cas., Act i. Sc. 2.