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Twelfth Night was meant ;' yet he subjoins to the note of Steevens, (who knew that he had been delivering a falsehood,) If the foregoing passage was levelled at Twelfth Night, my speculation falls to the ground.' He has not the integrity to support his own facts, lest he should remove one absurd and wretched calumny from Jonson." I am surprised that one so conversant with the press as Mr. Gifford should so certainly conclude, that what appears first when printed, must have been previously written. The reverse is most frequently the case, and the whole of a work is generally gone through before the composition of the prefatory matter; but in the present instance there is no inconsistency; he tells us that if Mr. Steevens is right, he himself must have been wrong; he does not allow that he was wrong, nor give up his own opinion, but only abstains from giving a gentleman, with whom he was then living on terms of intimacy, a direct and blunt contradiction. My principal object is to defend my late friend's integrity; but I will step out of that course for. a moment, to say a word in favour of his logick.

"Antony Munday is ridiculed here by Ben Jonson; but he might notwithstanding be deservedly eminent; that malignity which endeavoured to tear a wreath from the brow of Shakspeare, would certainly not spare inferior writers.' p. 481. Mr. Malone is no great logician-but let that pass. The passage to which he refers was probably written before Jonson knew Shakspeare; for it occurs in one of his earliest pieces. With respect to the eminence of Antony, it is somewhat scurvily treated by Decker, Chapman, and Middleton; it is not therefore a necessary consequence that the wreath of Shakspeare was endangered by this ridicule.”

Mr. Malone's argument seems to me sufficiently clear. It does not follow that Munday was not eminent, because he was ridiculed by Jonson. He who (not at that time, but any time) was capable of attacking Shakspeare, who was unquestionably eminent, would not have scrupled to treat inferior writers with the same injustice: not a word

is said of this ridicule endangering Shakspeare. Mr. Malone is sometimes accused of self-contradiction, where, I confess, I cannot discover it.

"It is certain' (he is quoting Mr. Malone's words)' that not long after the year 1500, (again referring to the Return from Parnassus!) a coldness arose between Shakspeare and him, which, however he may talk of his almost idolatrous affection, produced, on his part,' (what is become of Shakspeare's ballad against Jonson?') from that time, 1600, to the death of Shakspeare, and for many years afterwards, much clumsy sarcasm, and many malevolent reflections."" p. 481.

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"The critic had already forgotten his unfortunate letter, p. cviii, in which he admits that old Ben's jealousy did not fully display itself till Shakspeare retired from the stage.'

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Is it inconsistent to say that a man regarded another with jealousy for many years, but that his jealousy did not fully display itself till a certain period?

Mr. Gifford is often in the habit of quoting the commentators generally, without marking out any individual, as if they were a corporate body, or partners in a firm, responsible for the acts of each other; and as Mr. Malone's name is more frequently mentioned than any other, he is apparently loaded with more than belongs to his share; while Mr. Tyrwhitt, Sir William Blackstone, and others, escape under an anonymous censure. As for


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"The prologue to Henry VIII. it seems, was written by our author to ridicule Shakspeare;' and the whole weight of the commentators' fury is directed against him, and him alone-Jonson,' says one of them, in all probability maliciously stole this opportunity to throw in his envious and spiteful invective before the representation of his rival's play.' Henry VIII. p. 348. But what influence had Jonson at the Globe, of which Shakspeare or his associates' Heminge, Burbage, and Condell, were, at this time, the sole managers and proprietors? Who em

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ployed Jonson to write this prologue? Shakspeare's associates. Who spoke it? Shakspeare's associates. Who preserved it? Shakspeare's associates. Who, finally, gave it to the world? Shakspeare's associates!the very men whom, as Mr. Malone has just observed, ⚫ the muse of Shakspeare had supported, and whom his last Will shewed that he had not forgotten!' However great may be the obligations of Jonson to Shakspeare, (of which, I believe, the reader has here had a full account,) it will scarcely be denied that these men, who had so long profited by his wonderful talents, who were, at that very moment, profiting by them, were, at least, equally indebted to him. Yet of their ingratitude not a word is said, not a hint is dropped, while the collected fury of Mr. Malone and his followers is levelled against a person who, at the worst, was only a simple agent, and wrought as they directed!

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"I have entered into these details merely to shew what inconsistencies it is necessary for those to swallow who put their faith in Mr. Malone-for, after all, the whole of this tedious story is an absolute fable. The Prologue was not written by Jonson, and the play was not written by Shakspeare. The Piece acted in 1613 was a new play,

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called All Is Truth,' constructed, indeed, one by


of Henry VIII, and, like that, full of shows; but giving probably a different view of some of the leading incidents of that monarch's life. Shakspeare's Henry VIII, as Mr. Malone affirms, was written in 1601; if it had been merely revived, the Prologue would have adverted to the circumstance: but it speaks of the play as one which had not yet appeared; it calls the attention of the audience to a novelty; it supposes, in every line, that they were unacquainted with its plan; and it finally tells them that, if they came to hear a bawdy play, a noise of targets, or to see a fellow in a fool's coat, they would be deceived. Could the audience expect any thing of this kind? or was it necessary to guard them against it, in a favourite

comedy, with which they had all been perfectly familiar for twelve years?"

The commentator, who is first quoted, was Tom Davies; the person who first suggested that the piece performed in 1613 was Shakspeare's Henry VIII., was Mr. Tyrwhitt, and the prologue was ascribed to Jonson, by Dr. Johnson and Dr. Farmer. These distinguished persons can scarcely be termed Mr. Malone's followers. Mr. Gifford has referred to the prologue as furnishing proofs, that it was an entirely new play. I have read it attentively with this view, and discover no such intimations as he has pointed out; but I have attempted to show that no satire was directed against Shakspeare, whoever might have been the author *. Mr. Malone's name is introduced in a note, where words are ascribed to him which he never used, though they are put in an inverted comma—


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'But,' says Mr. Malone, All Is Truth must be Shakspeare's Henry VIII., for the titles of many of his plays were changed in 1613; thus Henry IV. was called Hotspur; Much Ado About Nothing, Benedict and Beatrice,' &c. What is this to the purpose? If other titles were given to those plays in familiar conversation, they were still named after the principal characters or the leading events, and no mistake was likely to arise; but who would have recognized Henry VIII. under the name of All Is Truth? Besides, it is expressly termed a new play. Could Sir Henry Wotton, and those who notice it, be so ignorant of Shakspeare, as to call one of his most popular dramas a new play after it had been familiarised to the stage so many years!"

Mr. Malone has nowhere said, that All Is Truth must be Shakspeare's Henry VIII. for the reason here given. He speaks with less confidence on the subject than Mr. Tyrwhitt; but mentions, indeed, that the titles of some of our author's plays were altered in that year.

* See vol. xix. p. 500.

"Thus, Henry IV, &c.;" yet by no means produces it as the words which have been added would denote as a decided proof. "But who (says Mr. Gifford) would have recognized Henry VIII. under the name of All Is Truth?" If it had two names, not an uncommon circumstance, any one would have done so easily; and we are expressly told in the continuation of Stowe, that Henry VIII. was the name of the play which was performed when the Globe theatre was burnt; the same thing is stated in a MS. letter to Sir Thomas Puckering by Thomas Larkin; and even Sir H. Wotton, who has given it the title of All is True, has described a scene in it exactly corresponding with Shakspeare's drama *. Let us come to another charge:

"Ben, however, did not trust to the praises of others. One of his admirers honestly confesses


Of whom I write this, has prevented me,
And boldly said so much in his own praise,
No other pen need any trophy raise.' p. 13,

"This admirer, whom Mr. Malone, when he next mentions him, calls Ben's old antagonist,' p. 640, is Owen Feltham.—But what shall be said of Mr. Malone? A judicial blindness appears to have fallen upon him the instant that he approached Jonson. Deprive him of this plea, and no terms will be strong enough to describe the excess of his ignorance or his malice. The praise refers to our author's works. It is in the composition of his Sejanus, Catiline, and other poems mentioned by Feltham, that he pronounces Jonson to have said so much in his own praise as to make the applause of his friends superfluous: and the critic expressly contrasts his conduct, in this respect, with that of the trivial poets, whose chatterings live and fall at once."


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Mr. Malone has spoken of Feltham as Jonson's admirer, and also as his old antagonist; because at different

* See Mr. Tyrwhitt's note, vol. xix. p. 306.

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