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MEMORIALS OF SHAKSPEARE. .

PART I.

PREFATORY ESSAY.

A

MEMORIALS

OF

SHAKSPEARE.

PREFATORY ESSAY,

Explanatory of the Plan of the Work, and containing an In

quiry into the Merits of Shakspeare's Principal Editors, Commentators, and Critics.

No author has, perhaps, given rise to more extensive commentary, criticism, and persevering literary research than Shakspeare ;' and none

• The very orthography and orthoepy of his name have become a subject of doubt, and have given rise to no slight controversy; though I am persuaded not only from the third signature to his will, which is indisputably written William Shakspeare, but from the following very curious document which has been communicated to me by Captain James Saunders, of Stratford-upon-Avon, who has with indefatigable industry collected a large mass of very valuable materials relative to the poet and his family, that the intermediate e was very seldom written, and yet more rarely pronounced.

“ Notices of the Shakspeare's taken from the Entries of the Common Council of the Corporation of Stratford, from their book A.

certainly has better claims, from the excellency and utility of his writings, to every illustration

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“ The name of John Shakspeare occurs in this book 168 times under seventeen different modes of spelling, viz: Modes. 1. Shackesper

4 times. 2. Shackespere

4 3. Shacksper

2 4. Shackspor

1 5. Shackspere

3 6. Shakespere

13 7. Shakspayr

1 8. Shaksper

1 9. Shakspere

5 10. Shakspeyr

15 11. Shakysper

3 12. Shakyspere

10 13. Shaxpeare

65 14. Shaxper

8 15. Shaxpere

23 16. Shaxspere

9 17. Shaxspeare

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168 “One leading point of controversy," observes Captain Saunders, “ seems to be materially put to rest by the preceding summary; viz. the pronunciation of the name at that time. The first syllable was, evidently, given short, without the lengthening and softness of the intermediate e; for only three such modes, embracing twenty-one instances, are to be found here. It must be allowed, a middle y occurs in two varieties of thirteen instances, which may be of doubtful authority; but the great body of testimony is in favour of the short power of the first syllable. There is much reason to presume that the 10th variety was the spelling and pronunciation of John Shakspeare himself; for they were his own accounts, or those of

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