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Play, are very movingly touch’d; and tho' the art of the Poet has screen’d King Henry from any gross imputation of injustice, yet one is inclin'd to wish, the Queen had met with a fortune more worthy of her birth and virtue. Nor are the Manners, proper to the persons represented, less justly observ’d, in those characters taken from the Roman History; and of this, the fierceness and impatience of Coriolanus, his courage and disdain of the common people, the virtue and philosophical temper of Brutus, and the irregular greatness of mind in N. Antony, are beautiful proofs

. For the two laft especially, you find 'em exactly as they are describ'd by Plutarch, from whom certainly Shakespear copy'a 'em. He has indeed follow'd bis original pretty close, and taken in several little incidents that might have been spar’d in a Play. But, as I hinted before, his design seems most commonly rather to describe those great men in the several fortunes and accidents of their lives, than to take any fingle great action, and form his work simply upon that. However, there are some of his pieces, 'where the Fable is founded upon one action only. Such are more especially, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Othello. The design in Romeo and Juliet, is plainly the punishment of their two families, for the unreasonable feuds and animofities that had been so long kept up between 'em, and cccafion'd the effufion of so much blood. In the management of this story, he has shewn something wonderfully tender and passionate in the love-part, and very pitiful in the distress. Hamlet is founded on much the same Tale with the Electra of Sophocles. In each of 'em a young Prince is engaged to revenge the death of his father, their mothers are equally guilty, are both concern’d in the murder of their husbands, and are afterwards married to the murderers. There is in the first part of the Greek Tragedy, fomething very moving in the grief of Electra; but as Mr. D'Ácier has observ'd, there is something very unnatural and shocking in the Manners he has given that Princess and Oreftes in the latter part. Orestes embrues his hands in the blood of his own mother; and that barbarous action is perform'd, tho' not immediately upon the stage, yet so near, that the audience hear Clytemnestra crying out to Ægfthus for help, and to her fon for mercy: While Electra her daughter, and a Princess (both of them characters that ought to have appear'd with more decency) stands upon the stage and encourages her brother in the Parricide. What horror does this not raise! Clytemnestra was a wicked woman, and had deserv'd to die; nay, in the truth of the story, she was kill’d by her own son ; but to represent an action of this kind on the stage, is certainly an of fence against those rules of manners proper to the persons, that ought to be observ'd there. On the contrary, let us only lock a little on the conduct of Shakespear. Hamlet is represented with the



fame piety towards his father, and resolution to revenge his death, as
Orejtes; he has the same abhorrence for his mother's guilt, which,
to provoke him the more, is heighten'd by incest: But’’tis with
wonderful art and justness of judgment, that the Poet restrains him
from doing violence to his mother. To prevent any thing of that
kind, he makes his father's Ghost forbid that part of his vengeance.

But howsoever thou pursu'f this Act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy foul contrive
Against thy mother ought; leave her to heav'n,
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,

To prick and sting her.
This is to distinguish rightly between Horror and Terror. The
latter is a proper passion of Tragedy, but the former ought always
to be carefully avoided. And certainly no dramatick Writer ever
succeeded better in raising Terror in the minds of an audience than
Shakespear has done. The whole Tragedy of Macbeth, but more
especially the scene where the King is murder'd, in the second act,
as well as this Play, is a noble proof of that manly spirit with
which he writ; and both shew how powerful he was, in giving
the strongest motions to our souls that they are capable of. I can-
not leave Hamlet, without taking notice of the advantage with
which we have seen this Master-piece of Shakespear distinguish it
self upon the stage, by Mr. Betterton's fine performance of that
part. A man, who tho' he had no other good qualities, as he has
a great many, must have made his way into the esteem of all men
of letters, by this only excellency. No man is better acquainted
with Shakespear's manner of expression, and indeed he has study'd
him so well, and is so much a master of him, that whatever part
of his he performs, he does it as if it had been written on purpose
for him, and that the Author had exa&ly conceiv'd it as he plays
it. I must own a particular obligation to him, for the most con-
siderable part of the passages relating to this life, which I have here
transmitted to the publick; his veneration for the memory of Shake-
Spear having engaged him to make a journey into Warwickshire,
on purpose to gather up what remains he could, of a name for
which he had to great a veneration.


Tbe following Instrument was transmitted to us by

John Anstis, Esq; Garter King at Arms: It is mark'd, G. 13. p. 349.

(There is also a Manuscript in the Herald's Office, marked

W. 2. p. 276; where notice is taken of this Coat, and that the person to whom it was granted, bad born Magistracy at Stratford upon Avon.]


all and singular Noble and Gentlemen of all Estates and

Degrees, bearing Arms, to whom these Presents shall come: William Dethick, Garter Principal King of Arms of England, and William Camden, alias Clarencieulx, King of Arms for the South, East, and West Parts of this Realm, send Greetings. Know ye, that in all Nations and Kingdoms the Record and Remembrance of the valiant Facts and virtuous Difpofitions of worthy Men have been made known and divulged by certain Shields of Arms and Tokens of Chivalrie; the Grant or Testimony whereof apperteineth unto us, by virtue of our offices from the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, and her Highness's most noble and victorious Progenitors: Wherefore being follicited, and by credible Report informed, that John Shakespere, now of Stratford upon Avon in the County of Warwick, Gentleman, whose Great Grandfather for his faithful and approved Service to the late most prudent Prince, King Henry VII. of famous Memory, was advanced and rewarded with Lands and Tenements, given to him in those Parts of Warwickshire, where they have continued by some Descents in good Reputation and Credit; And for that the said yohn Shakespere having married the Daughter and one of the Heirs of Robert Arden of Wellingcote in the laid County, and also produced this his ancient Coat of Arms, heretofore asigned to him whilft he was her Majesty's Officer and Bailiff of that Town. In confi-. deration of the Premises, and for the Encouragement of his Posterity, unto whom such Blazon of Arms and Atchievements of Inheritance from their faid Mother, by the ancient Custom and Laws of Arms, may lawfully descend; We the said Garter and Clar encieulx have assigned, granted, and confirmed, and by these Presents exemplified unto the said John Shakespere, and to his Pofterity, that Shield and Coat of Arms, viz. "In a Field of Gold upon a Bend Sables a Spear of the first, the Point upward, headed Argent; and for his Creft or Cognisance, A Falcon, Or, with his

displayed, ftanding on a Wreathe of his Colours, supporting a Spear armed beaded, or steeled Silver, fixed upon an Helmet with Mantles and Taffels, as more plainly may appear depicted



in this Margent; And we have likewise impaled the same with the ancient Arms of the said Arden of Wellingcote; signifying thereby, that it may and shall be lawful for the faid John Shakefpere, Gent. to bear and use the same Shield of Arms, fingle or impaled, as aforesaid, during his natural Life; and that it shall be lawful for his Children, issue, and Posterity, lawfully begotten, to bear, use, and quarter, and shew forth the same, with their due Differences, in all lawful warlike Feats and civil Use or Exercises, according to the Laws of Arms, and Custom that to Gentlemen belongeth, without Let or Interruption of any Person or Persons, for use or bearing the same. In Witness and Testimony whereof we have subscribed our Names, and fastned the Seals of our Offices. Given at the Office of Arms, London, the Day of in the Forty second Year of the Reign of our most Gracious Sovereign Lady Elizabeth, by the Grace of God, Queen of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, & c. 1599.


MEMORY of my beloved the AUTHOR,


And what he hath left us.

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O draw no envy (Shakespear) on thy Name,

Am I thus-ample to thy Book, and Fame: 1
While I confess thy writings to be such,
As neither Man, nor Mule can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all mens suffrage. But these wayes
Were not the paths 1 meant unto thy praise:
For seeliest Ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but ecchoes right;
Or blind Affection, which doth ne're advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance;
Or crafty Malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruine, where it seem'd to raise.
These are, as some infamous Baud, or Whore,
Should praise a Matron. What could hurt her more?
But thou art proof against them, and indeed
Above th’ill fortune of them, or the need.

I therefore

I therefore will begin, Soul of the Age!
The applause! delight! the wonder of our Stage!
My Shakespear rise; I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lye
A little further, to make thee a room :
Thou art a Monument without a Tomb,
And art alive ftill, while thy Book doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee fo, my brain excuses;
I mean with great, but disproportiond Muses:
For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I pould commit thee surely with thy Peers,
Ånd tell how far thou didst our Lily out-shine,
Or sporting Kid, or Marlow's mighty Line.
And though thou hadft small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
For names; but call forth thund'ring Æschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Pacuvius, Accius, bim of Cordova dead,
To live again, to hear thy Buskin tread,

nd shake a Stage: Or, when thy Socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all, that infolent Greece, or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or fince did from their ases come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to now,
To whom all Scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time!
And all the Muses, still were in their prime,
When like Apollo he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm!
Nature her self was proud of his designes,
And joy’d"to wear the dressing of his Lines!
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, fince, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please;
But antiquated, and deserted lye,
As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet muft I not give Nature áll: Thy Art,
My gentle Shakespear, must enjoy a part.
For though the Poet's matter Nature be,
His Art doth give the Fashion. And, that he
Who casts to write a living line, muft sweat,
(Such as thine are) and Ärike the second heat
Upon the Muses Anvile; turn the same,
(And himself with it) ihat he thinks to frame;

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