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THE

LIFE OF WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE.

BY CHARLES SYMMONS, D. D.

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Wherever any extraordinary display of human inferences of lawless and vagabond conjecture. intellect has been made, there will human cu- of this remarkable ignorance of one of the most riosity, at one period or the other, be busy to richly endowed with intellect of the human ohtain some personal acquaintance with the dis- species, who ran his mortal race in our own tinguished mortal whom Heaven had been pleas-country, and who stands separated from us by ed to endow with a larger portion of its own no very great intervention of time, the causes ethereal energy. If the favoured man walked may not be difficult to be ascertained. William on the high places of the world; if he were con. Shakspeare was an actor and a writer of plays; versant with courts; if he directed the move in neither of which characters, however he might ments of armies or of states, and thus held in his excel in them, could he be lifted high in the hand the fortunes and the lives of multitudes of estimation of his contemporaries. He was hohis fellow-creatures, the interest, which he noured, indeed, with the friendship of nobles, excites, will be immediate and strong; he stands and the patronage of inonarchs ; his theatre was on an eminence where he is the mark of many frequented by the wits of the metropolis ; and he eyes; and dark and unlettered indeed must be associated with the most intellectual of his times. the age in which the incidents of his eventful life But the spirit of the age was against him; and, will not be noted, and the record of them be pre in opposition to it, be could not become the subserved for the instruction or the entertainmentject of any general or comprehensive interest. of umborn generations. But if his course were The nation, in short, knew little and cared less through the vale of life: if he were unmingled about him. During his life, and for some years with the factions and the contests of the great : after his death, inferior dramatists cutran him if the powers of bis mind were devoted to the in the race of popularity; and then the flood of silent pursuits of literature-to the converse of puritan fanaticism swept him and the stage philosophy and the Muse, the possessor of the together into temporary oblivion. On the reethereal treasure may excite little of the attention storation of the monarchy, and the iheatre, the of his contemporaries ; may walk quietly, with school of France perverted our taste, and it was a veil over his glories, to the grave; and, in not till the last century was somewhat advanced other times, when the expansion of his intel- that William Shakspeare arose again, as it were, lectual greatness has filled the eyes of the world, from the tomb, in all his proper majesty of light. it may be too late to inquire for his history as a He, then became the subject of solicitons and man. The bright track of his genius indelibly learned inquiry : but inquiry was then too late ; remains on the trace of his mortal footstep is and all that it could recover, from the ravage of soon obliterated for ever. Homer is now only a time, were only a few human fragments, which name—a solitary name, which aspires us, that, could scarcely be united into a man. To these at some unascertained period in the annals of causes of our personal ignorance of the great mankind, a mighty mind was indulged to a bard of England, must be added his own strange buman being, and gave its wonderful produc- indifference to the celebrity of genius. When lions to the perpetual admiration of men, as they he had produced his admirable works, ignorant spring in succession in the path of time. Of or heedless of their value, he abandoned them Homer himself we actually know notbing; and with perfect indifference to oblivion or to fame. we see only an arm of immense power thrust Jt surpassed his thought that he could grow into forth from a mass of impenetrable dark ness, and the admiration of the world; and, without any holding up the hero of his song to the applagses reference to the curiosity of future ages, in which of never-dying fame. But it may he supposed he could yot conceive himself to possess an inthat the revolution of, perhaps, thirty centuries, terest, he was contented to die in the arms of bas collected the cloud which thus withdraws obscurity, as an unlaurelled burgher of a prothe father of poesy from our sight. Little more vincial town. To this combination of causes than two centuries has elapsed since William are we to attribute the scantiness of our mate. Shakspeare conversed with our tongue, and trod rials for the Life of William Shakspeare. His the self-same soil with ourselves; and if it were works are in myriads of hands: he constitutes not for the records kept by our Church in its the delight of myriads of readers: his renown is registers of births, marriages, and burials, we coextensive with the civilization of man; and, should at this moment be as personally ignorant striding across the ocean from Europe, it occu. of the sweet swan of Avon," as we are of the pies the wide region of transatlantic empire : but old minstrel and rhapsodist of Meles. That he is himself only a shadow which disappoints William Shakspeare was born in Stratford upon our grasp: an undefined form which is rather Avon ; that he married and had three children ; intimated than discovered to the keenest searchthat he wrote a certain number of dramas; that ings of our eye. Of the little however, questionhe died before he had attained to old age, and able or certain, which can be told of him, we was buried in his native town, are positively the must now proceed to make the best use in our only facts, in the personal history of this extra- power, to write what by courtesy may be called ordinary man, of which we are certainly

pos- his life, and we have only to lament that the segsed ; and, if we should be solicitous to fill up resnlt of our labonr must greatly disappoint the this bare and most unsatisfactory outline, we curiosity which has been excited by the grandeur must have recourse to the vagne reports of un- of his reputation. The slight narrative of Rowe, substantial tradition, or to the still more shadowy founded on the information obtained, in the be. ginning of the last century, by the inquiries of ject of controversy. According to the testimony Betterion, the famous actor, will necessarily of Rowe, grounded on the tradition of Stratford, supply us with the greater part of the materials the father of our poet was a dealer in wool, or with which we are to work.

in the provincial vocabulary of his country, a William Shakspeare, or Shakspere, (for the wool-driver; and such he has been deemed by floating orthography of the name is properly all the biographers of his son, till the fact was attached to the one or the other of these varieties, thrown into doubt by the result of the inquisiwas baptized in the church of Stratford upon tiveness of Malone. Finding, in an old and obAvon, as is ascertained by the parish register, scure MS. purporting to record the proceedings on the 26th of April 1564 ; and he is said to have of the bailiff's court in Stratford, our John been born on the 24 of the same month, the Shakspeare designated as a glover, Malone day consecrated to the tutelar saint of England. insults over the ignorance of poor Rowe, and His parents, John and Mary Shakspeare, were assumes no small degree of merit to himself as not of equal ranks in the community ; for the the discoverer of a long sought and a most imformer was only a respectable tradesman, whose portant historic truth. If he had recollected the ancestors cannot be traced into gentility, whilst remark of the clown in the Twelfth Night, the latter belonged to an ancient and opulent that " a sentence is but a cheverel glove to a good house in the county of Warwick, being, the wit. How quickly the wrong side may be turned youngest daughter of Robert Arden of Wilme-outwards !" he would, doubtless, have pressed cote. The family of the Ardens (or Ardernes, the observation into his service, and brought it as it is written in all the old deeds,) was of con- as an irresistible attestation of the veracity of siderable antiquity and importance, some of his old MS. them having served as high sheriff's of their Whatever may have been the trade of John county, and two of them (Sir John Arden and Shakspeare, whether that of wool-merchant or his nephew, the grandfather of Mrs. Shakspeare,) of glover, it seems, with the little fortune of his having enjoyed each a station of honour in the wife, to have placed him in a state of easy compersonal establishment of Henry VII. The petence. In 1569 or 1570, in consequence partly younger of these Ardens was made, by his of his alliance with the Ardens, and partly of sovereign, keeper of the park of Aldercar and his attainment of the prime municipal honours bailiff of the lordship of Codnore. He obtained, of his town, he obtained a concession of arms also, from the crown a valuable grant in the from the herald's office, a grant, which placed lease of the manor of Yoxsal in Staffordshire, him and his family on the file of the gentry of consisting of more than 4,600 acres, at a rent of England ; and, in 1574, he purchased two houses, 421. Mary Arden did not come dowerless to her with gardens and orchards annexed to them, plebeian husband, for she bronght to him a small in Henley Street in Stratford. But before the freehold estate called Asbies, and the sum of 62. year 1578, his prosperity, from causes not now 138. 4d. in money. The freehold consisted of a ascertainable, had certainly declined; for in house and fifty-four acres of land ; and, as far that year, as we find from the records of his as it appears, it was the first piece of landed

pro- borough, he was excused, in condescension to perty which was ever possessed by, the Shak. his poverty, from the moiety of a very moderate speares. C{this marriage the offspring was four assessment of six skillings and eightpence, made sons and four daughters; of whom Joan (or, by the members of the corporation on themaccording to the orthography of that time,Jone, selves; at the same time that he was altogether and Margaret, the eldest of the children, died exempted from bis contribution to the relief of one in infancy and one at a somewhat more ad- the poor. During the remaining years of his vanced age; and Gilbert, whose birth immedi. life, his fortunes appear not to have recovered ately succeeded to that of our Poet, is supposed themselves; for be ceased to attend the meetby some not to have reached his maturity, and sings of the corporation hall, where he had once by others to have attained to considerable lon- presided ; and, in 1586, another person was subgevity. Joan, the eldest of the four remaining stituted as alderman in his place, in consequence children, and named after her deceased sister, of his magisterial inefficiency.' He died in the married William Hart, a hatter in her native September of 1601, when his illustrious son had town; and Edmund, the youngest of the family, already attained to high celebrity; and his wife, adopting the profession of an actor, resided in Mary Shakspeare, surviving him for seven years, 81. Saviour's parish in London ; and was buried deceased in the September of 1608, the barial in SA. Saviour's Church on the last day of De of the former being registered on the eighth and cember 1607, in his twenty-eighth year. Of Anne that of the latter on the ninth of this month, in and Richard, whose births intervened between each of these respective years. those of Joan and Edmund, the parish register On the 30th of June 1564, when our poet had tells the whole history, when it records that the not yet been three months in this breathing former was buried on the 4th of April 1579, in world, his native Stratford was visited by the the eighth year of her age, and the latter on the plague; and, during the six succeeding months, 4th of February 1612-13,' when he had nearly the ravaging disease is calculated to have swept completed his thirty-ninth.

to the grave more than a seventh part of the In consequence of a document, discovered in whole population of the place. But the favoured the year 1770, in the house in which, if tradition infant' reposed in security in his cradle, and is to be trusted, our poet was born, some per- breathed health amid an atmosphere of pestisons have concluded that John Shakspeare was lence. The Genius of England may be supposed a Roman Catholic, though he had risen, by the to have held the arm of the destroyer, and not regular gradation of office, to the chief dignity to have permitted it to fall on the consecrated of the corporation of Stratford, that of high bai- dwelling of his and Nature's darling. The dis. liff; and, during the whole of this period, had ease, indeed, did not overstep his charmed unquestionably conformed to the rites of the threshold; for the name of Shakspeare is not Church of England. The asserted fact seemed to be found in the register of deaths throughout not to be very probable; and the document in that period of accelerated mortality. That he guestion, whích, drawn up in a testamentary survived this desolating calnmity of his towns form and regularly attested, zealously professes men, is all that we know of William Shakspeare the Roman faith of him in whose name it speaks, from the day of his

birth till he was sent, as we having been subjected to a rigid examination are informed by Rowe, to the free-school of by Malone, has been pronounced to be spurious. Stratford ; and was stationed there in the course The trade of John Shakspeare, as well as his of bis education, till, in consequence of the strait. religious faith, has recently been made the sub.

• Act iii. sc. 1

ened circumstances of his father, he was recalled nion, both parties are wrong, both they who to the paternal roof. As we are not told at what contend for our poet's learning, and they who age he was sent to school, we cannot form any place his illiteracy on a level with that of John estimate of the time during which he remained Taylor, the celebrated water-poet, I must rethere. But if he was placed under his master sume my humble and most deficient narrative. when he was six years old, he might have conti- The classical studies of William Shakspeare, nued in a state of instruction for seven or even for whatever progress he may or may not have made eight years; a term sufficiently long for any boy, in them, were now suspended ; and he was renot an absolute blockhead, to acquire something placed in his father's house, when he had almore than the mere elements of the classical lained his thirteenth or fourteenth year, to assist languages. We are too iguorant, however of with his band in the maintenance of the family. dates, in these instances, to speak with any con- Whether he continued in this situation whilst fidence on the subject; and we can only aseert he remained in his single state, has not been that seven or eight of the fourteen years, which told to us, and cannot therefore at this period intervened between the birth of our poet in 1564 be known. But in the absence of information, and the known period of his father's diminished conjecture will be busy ; and will soon cover fortune in 1578, might very properly have been the bare desert with unprofitable vegetation. given to the advantages of the free-school. But Whilst Malone surmises that the young poet now the important question is to be asked passed the interval, till his marriage, or a large What were the attainments of our young Shak-portion of it, in the office of an attorney, Aubrey speare at this seat of youthful instruction ? Did stations him during the same term at the head he return to his father's house in a state of utter of a country school. But the strinises of Malone ignorance of classic literature ? or was he as are not universally happy; and to the assertions far advanced in his school-studies as boys of his of Aubrey I am not disposed to attach more age (which I take to be thirteen or fourteen) credit than was attached to them by Anthony usually are in the common progress of our pub- Wood, who knew the old gossip, and was conie and more reputable schools? That his scho- petent to appreciate his character.

It is inore lastic attainments did not rise to the point of probable that the necessity, which brought young learning, seems to have been the general opinion Shakspeare from his school, retained him with of his contemporaries, and to this opinion i his father's occupation at home, till the acquiam willing to assent. But I cannot persuade sition of a wise made it convenient for him to myself that he was entirely unacquainted with remove to a separate habitation. It is reasonthe classic tongues, or that, as Farmer and his able to conclude that a mind like his, ardent, followers Jabour to convince us, he copld re-excursive, and “ all compact of imagination, ceive the instructions, even for three or four would not be satisfied with entire inactivity; years, of a school of any character, and could but would obtain knowledge where it could, is then depart without any knowledge beyond not from the stores of the ancients, from those at that of the Latin accidence. The most accom- least which were supplied to him by the writers plished scholar nay read with pleasure the of his own comitry. poetic versions of the classic poets, and the less In 1582, before he had completed his eighadvanced proficient may consult his indolence teenth year, he married Anne Hathaway, the by applying to the page of a translation of a danghter, as Rowe informs us, of a substantial prose classic, when accuracy of quotation may yeoman in the neighbourhood of Stratford. We not be required : and on evidences of this nature are unaequainted with the preeise period of is supported the charge which has been brought, their marriage, and with the church in which and which is now generally admitted, against it was solemnized, for in the register of Stratour immortal bard, of more than school-boy ford there is no record of the event; and we are ignoranee. He might, indeed, from necessity, made certain of the year, in which it occurred, apply to North for the interpretation of Plu- only by the baptism of Susanna, the first protarch; but he read Golding's Ovid only, as I duce of the union, on the 26th of May, 1533. As am satisfied, for the entertainment of its Eng. young Shakspeare neither increased his fortune lish poetry. 'Ben Jonson, who must have been by this match, though he probably received intimately conversant with his friend's classic some money with his wife, nor raised himsel acgaisitions, tells us expressly that, “He had by it in the community, we may conclude that small Latin and less Greek.” But, according he was induced to it by inclination, and the to the usual plan of instruction in our schools, impulse of love. But the youthful poet's dream he must have traversed a considerable extent of happiness does not seem to have been realized of the language of Rome, before he conld touch by the result. The bride was eight years older even the confines of that of Greece. He must, than the bridegroom: and whatever charms she in short, have read Ovid's Metamorphoses, and might possess to fascinate the eyes of her boy. a part at least of Virgil, before he could open lover, she probably was deficient in those the grammar of the more ancient, and copious, powers which are requisite to impose a durable and complex dialect. This I conceive to be a fetter on the heart, and to hold " in sweet capfair statement of the case in the question re- tivity" a mind of the very highest order. No specting Shakspeare's learning. Beyond contro-charge is intimated gainst the lady : but she is versy he was not a scholar; but he had not pro-left in Stratford by her husband during his long fixed so little by the hours, which he had passed residence in the metropolis, and on his death, in school, as not to be able to understand the she is found to be only slightly, and, as it were more easy Roman authors without the assistance casually remembered in his will. 'Her second of a translation. If he himself had been asked pregnancy, which was productive of twins, on the subject, he might have parodied his own (Hamnet and Judith, baptized on the 2 of Feb Falstaff, and have answered, "Indeed I am not ruary 1584-5,) terminated her pride as a mother; 2 Scaliger or a Budæus, but yet no blockhead, and we know nothing more respecting her than friend. I believe also that he was not wholly that, surviving her illustrious consort by rather unacquainted with the popular languages of more than seven years, she was buried on the France and Italy. He had abundant leisure to sth of August, 2623, being, as we are told by the acquire them; and the activity and the curiosity inscription on her tomb, of the age of sixty-seven. of his mind were sufficiently strong to urge him Respecting the habits of life, or the occupation to their acquisition. But to discuss this much of our young poet, by which he obtained his agitated question would lead me beyond the subsistence, or even the place of his residence, limits which are prescribed to me; and, con- subsequently to his marriage, not a floating syl. tenting myself with declaring that, in my opi-llable has been wasted to us by tradition for the gratification of our curiosity; and the history in which no fortunate isle could be seen to glitter of this great man is a perfect blank till the oc- amid the gloomy and sullen tide. But he was currence of an event, which drove bim from his blessed with youth and health: his conscience native town, and gave his wonderful intellect was unwounded, for the adventure for which to break dit in its full lustre on the world. From he suffered, was regarded, in the estimation of the frequent allusions in his writings to the ele. his times, as a mere boy's frolick, of not greater gant sport of falconry, it has been suggested guilt than the robbing of an orchard; and his that this, possibly, might be one of his favourite inind, rich beyond example in the gold of heaamusements: and nothing can be more proba- ven, could throw lustre over the black waste ble, from the active season of his life, and his before him, and could people it with a beautiful fixed habitation in the country, than his strong creation of her own. We may imagine him, and eager passion for all the pleasures of the then, departing from his home, not indeed like field. As a sportsman, in his rank of life, he the great Roman captive as he is described by would naturally become a poacher; and then it the poetis highly probable that he would fall into the

Fertur pudicæ conjugis osculum, acquaintance of poachers; and, associating with them in his idler hours, would occasionally be

Parvosque natos, ut capitis minor, one of their fellow marauders on the manors

Ab se removisse, et virilem of their rich neighbours. In one of these li.

Torvus humi posuisse vultum, &c. centious excursions on the grounds of Sir Tho. but touched with some feelings of natural sormas Lucy of Charlecote, in the immediate vici- row, yet with an unfaltering step, and with hope nity of Stratford, for the purpose as it is said of vigorous at his heart. It was impossible that stealing his deer, our young bard was detected; he should despair; and if he indulged in san and, having further irritated the knight by af guine expectation, the event proved him not to fixing a satirical ballad on him to the gates of be a visionary. In the course of a few years, Charlecote, he was compelled to fly before the the exile of Stratford became the associate of enmity of his powerful adversary, and to seek wits, the friend of nobles, the favourite of moan asylum in the capital. Malone, who is prone narchs; and in a period, which still left him to doubt, wishes to question the truth of this not in sight of old age, he returned to his birthwhole narrative, and to ascribe the flight of place in affluence, with honour, and with the young Shakspeare from his native country to plaudits of the judicious and the noble resoundihe embarrassment of his cireumstances, and ing in his ears. the persecution of his creditors. But the story His immediate refuge in the metropolis was of the deer-stealing rests upon the uniform tra- the stage; to which his access, as ii appears, dition of Stratford, and is confirmed by the cha- was easy. Stratford was fond of theatrical reracter of Sir T. Lucy, who is known to have presentations, which it accommodated with its been a rigid preserver of his game; by the en- town or guildhall; and had frequently been mity displayed against his memory by Shak- visited by companies of players when our poet speare in his succeeding, life; and by a part of was of an age, not only to enjoy tbeir performthe offensive ballad itself, preserved by a Mr. ances bat to form an acquaintance with their Jones of Tarbick, a village nenr Stratford, members. Thomas Greene, who was one of who obtained it from those who must have been their distinguished actors, has been considered acquainted with the fact, and who could not be by some writers as a kinsman of our anthor's; biassed by any interest or passion to falsify or and though he, possibly, may have been conmisstate it. Besides the objector, in this in- founded by them with another Thomas Greene, stance, seems not to be aware that it was easier a barrister, who was unquestionably connected to escape from the resentment of an offended with the Shakspeares, he was certainly a fellow proprietor of game than from the avarice of a townsman of onr fugitive bard's; whilst Hecreditor: that whilst the former might be satis- minge and Burbage, two of the leaders of the fied with the removal of the delinquent to a company in question, belonged either to Strat situation where he could no longer infest his ford or to its immediate neighbourhood. With parks or his warrens, the latter would parsae the door of the theatre thus open to him, and his debtor wherever bailiffs conld find and writs under the impulse of his own theatrical bias, could attach him. On every account, therefore, (for however in after life he may have lamented I believe the tradition, recorded by Rowe, that his degradation as a professional actor, it must our poet retired from Stratford before the exas- be concluded that he now felt a strong attachperated power of Sir T. Lucy, and found a refugement to the stage,) it is not wonderful that young in London, not possibly beyond the reach of Shakspeare should solicit this asylum in his disthe arm, but beyond the hostile purposes of his tress ; or that he should be kindly received by provincial antagonist.

men who knew him, and some of whom were The time of this eventful flight of the great connected, if not with his family, at least with bard of England cannot now be accurately de his native town. The company to which he termined: but we may somewhat confidently united himself, was the Earl of Leicester's or place it between the years 1585 and 1588; for in the Queen's; which had obtained the royal the former of these we may conclude him to licence in 1574. The place of its performances, have been present with his family at the baptism when our poet became enrolled among its memof his twins, Hamnet and Judith; and than the bers, was the Globe on the Bankside ; and its latter of them we cannot well assign a later date managers subsequently purchased the theatre for his arrival in London, since we know that of Blackfriars, the oldest theatre in London.) before 1592 he had not only written two long which they had previously rented for some poems, the Venus and Adonis and the Rape of years; and at these two theatres, the first of Lacrece, but had acquired no small degree of which was open in the centre for summer re celebrity as an actor and a dramatic writer. presentations and the last covered for those of

At this agitating crisis of his life, the situation winter, were acted all the dramatic productions of young Shakspeare was certainly, in its ob- of Shakspeare. That he was at first received vious aspect, severe and even terrific. Without into the company in a very subordinate situation friends to protect or assist him, he was driven, may be regarded not merely as probable, but under the frown of exasperated power, from as certain that he ever carried a link to light his profession ; from his native fields; from the the frequenters of the theatre, or ever held their companions of his childhood and his youth; horses, must be rejected as an absurd tale, from his wife and his infant offspring. The fabricated, no doubt, by the lovers of the mar. world was spread before him, like a dark occan, vellous, who were solicitous to obtain a contrast

In the humility of his first to the pride of his fof age ; and this testimony of a contemporary, subsequent fortunes. The mean and servile who was acquainted with him, and was himsell occupation, thus assigned to him, was incom- an actor, in favour of his moral and his profespatible with his circumstances, even in their sional excellence, must be admitted as of conpresent afflicted state and his relations and siderable value. It is evident that he had now connexions, though far from wealthy, were yet written for the stage and before be entered too remote from absolute poverty, to permit upon dramatic composition we are certain that him to act for a moment in such a degrading he had completed, though he had not published, situation. He was certainly, therefore imme. his two long and laboured poems of Venus and diately admitted within the theatre ; but in what Adonis, and the Rape of Lucrere.

We cannot, rank or character cannot now be known. This therefore, date his arrival in the capital later fact, however, soon became of very little con- than 1583, or, perhaps, than 1587; and the four sequence ; for he speedily raised himself into or five years which interposed between his deccasideration among his new fellows by the parture from Stratford and his becoming the exertions of his pen, if not by his proficiency object of Greene's malignant attack, constitutea as an actor. When he began his career as a a busy and an important period of his life dramatic writer ; or to what degree of excel. Within this term he had conciliated the friendlence he attained in his personation of dramatic ship of the young Thomas Wriothesly, the liberal, characters, are questions which have been fre- the high-souled, the romantic Earl of Southamp grendy agitated without any satisfactory result. ton; a friendship wbich adhered to him throughBy two publications, which appeared toward out his life; and he had risen to that celebrity, the end of 1592, we know, or at least we are as a poet and a dramatist, which placed him induced strongly to infer that at that period, with the first wils of the age, and subseqnently either as the corrector of old or as the writer of lifted him to the notice and the favour of Eliza original dramas, be had supplied the stage with beth and James, as they successively sat upon a copiousness of materials. We learn also from the throne of England. the same documents that, in his profession of At the point of time which our narrative has actor, he trod the boards not without the acqui. now reached, we cannot accurately determine sition of applause. The two publications to what dramatic pieces had been composed by which I allude, are Robert Greene's “Groats him : but we are assured that they were of suf worth of Wit bought with a Million of Repen- ficient excellence 10 excite the envy and the tance," and Henry Chettle's “ Kind Hart's conseqnent hostility of those who, before his Dreain.". In the former of these works, which rising, had been the luminaries of the stage. It was published by Chettle subsequently to the would be gratifying to euriosity if the feat were unhappy author's decease, the writer, address- possible, to adjust with any precision the order ing his fellow dramatists, Marlowe, Peele, and in which his

wonderful productions issued from Lodge, says, " Yes ! trust them not" (the ma- his brain. But the atteinpt has more than once nagers of the theatre ;) " for there is an upstart been made, and never yet with entire snccess. erow, beautified with onr feathers, that, with We know only that his connexion with the his tiger's heart wrapt in a player's hide, sup- stage continued for abont twenty years, (though poses he is as well able to bombast out a blank the duration even of this term cannot be settled verse as the best of you; and, being an absolute with precision,) and that, within this period he Johannes Fac-totum, is in his own conceit the composed either partially, as working on the only Shake-scene in a country.” As it could ground of others, or educing them altogether not be doubtful against whom this attack was from his own fertility, thirty-five or (if that directed, we cannot wonder that Shakspeare wretched thing, Pericles, in consecuence of should be hurt by it: or that he should expos. Dryden's testimony in favour of its authenticity. tulate ou the occasion rather warmly with Chet. and of a few tonches of the golden pen being tle as the editor of the offensive matter. In con- discover able in its last scenes, must be added nequence, as it is probable, of this expression to the number) thirty-six dramas; and that of of resentment on the part of Shakspeare, a these it is probable that such as were fondded pamphlet from the pen of Chettle called “Kind on the works of preceding authors were the Hari's Dream" issued from the press before the first essays of his dramatic talent; and such as close of the same year (1592,) which had wit. were more perfectly his own, and are of the nessed the publication of Greene's posthumous first sparkle of excellence, were among the last. work. In this pamphlet, Chettle acknowledges While I should not hesitate, therefore, to station his concern for having edited any thing which Pericles," the three parts of " Henry VI.* had given pain to Shakspeare, of whose character (for I cannot see any reason for throwing the and accomplishments he avows a very favour first of these parts from the protection of our able opinion. Marlowe, as well as Shakspeare, author's name) “Love's Labour Lost," "The appears to have been offended by some passages Comedy of Errors," "The Taming of the in this production of poor Greene's: and to both Shrew," "King John," and " Richard II.," of these great dramatic poets Chettle refers in among his earliest productions, I should, with the short citation which we shall now make equal confidence, arrange" Macbeth," "Lear,” from his page : “ With neither of them that "Othello," "Twelfth Night," and "The Temtake offence was I acquainted, and with one of pest," with his latest, assigning them to that them” (concluded to be Marlowe, whose moral season of his life, when his niind exulted in the character was unhappily not good) “I care not conscious plenitude of power. Whatever might if I never be. The other" (who must necessa- be the order of succession in which this illus rily be Shakspeare) " whom at that time I did trious family of genius sprang into existence, not so much spare as since I wish I had ; for they soon attracted notice, and speedily comthat, as I have moderated the hate of living an-pelled the homage of respect from those who thors, and might have used my own discretion, were the most eminent for their learning, their (especially in such a case, the author being talents, or their rank. Jonson, Selden, Benudead,) that I did not I am as sorry as if the origi-mont, Fletcher, and Donne, were the associates nal fault had been my fault : because myself and the intimates of our poet: the Earl of have seen his demeanour no less civil than he is Southampton was his especial frient: the Earls excellent in the quality he professes. Besides of Pembroke and of Montgomery were avowedly divers of worship have reported his uprightness his admirers and patrons: Queen Elizabeth disa of dealing, which argues his honesty and his tinguished him with her favour; and her sucs facetious grace in writing, that approves his cessor, James, with his own hand, honoured the art." Shakspeare was now twenty-eight years great dramatist with a letter of thanks for the

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