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BY CHARLES SYMMONS, D. D.
inferences of lawless and vagabond conjecture. Of this remarkable ignorance of one of the most richly endowed with intellect of the human species, who ran his mortal race in our own
Wherever any extraordinary display of human Intellect has been made, there will human cu riosity, at one period or the other, be busy to obtain some personal acquaintance with the dis tinguished inortal 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 monarchs; 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, he could not become the subserved for the instruction or the entertainment ject of any general or comprehensive interest. of unborn 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 outran him If the powers of his 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 theatre, the of his contemporaries; may walk quietly, with school of France perverted our inste, 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 solicitous and man. The bright track of his genius.indelibly learned inquiry: but inquiry was then too late; remains; but the trace of his mortal footstep island 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 assures us, that, could scarcely be united into a man. To thess 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 human being, and gave its wonderful produc-indifference to the celebrity of genins When tions to the perpetual admiration of men, as they he had produced his admirable works, ignoram spring in succession in the path of time. Of or heedless of their value, he abandoned them Homer himself we actually know nothing; and with perfect indifference to oblivion or to fame. we see only an arin of immense power thrust It surpassed his thought that he conld grow into forth from a mass of impenetrable darkness, and the admiration of the world; and, without any holding up the hero of his song to the applauses reference to the curiosity of future ages, in which of never-dying fame. But it may he supposed he could not conceive himself to possess an in that the revolution of, perhaps, thirty centuries, terest, he was contented to die in the arms of has collected the cloud which thus withdraws obscurity, as an unlaurelled burgher of a prothe father of poery from our sight. Little more vincial town. To this combination of canses than two centuries has elapsed since William are we to attribute the scantiness of our mateBhakspeare 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 ocen 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 keeneet 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 sessed; and, if we should be solicitous to fill up result of our labour must greatly disappoint the this bare and most unsatisfactory outline, we curiosity which has been excited by the grandeur must have recourse to the vague 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 Betterton, the famous actor, will necessarily of Rowe, grounded on the tradition of Stratford, Bupply 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 wool-driver: and such he has been deemed by all the biographers of his son, till the act was thrown into doubt by the result of the inquisi tiveness of Malone. Finding, in an old and ob scure MS. purporting to record the proceedings of the bailiff's court in Stratford, our John
Whatever may have been the trade of John
William Shakspeare, or Shakspere, (for the floating orthography of the name is properly attached to the one or the other of these varieties, was baptized in the church of Stratford upon Avon, as is ascertained by the parish register, on the 26th of April 1564; and he is said to have been born on the 23d 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 im former 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 Danse 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 sheriffs of their 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 ensy compersonal establishment of Henry VII. The petence. In 1569 or 1570, in consequence partly younger of these Anlens was made, by his of his alliance with the Ardens, and parily 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, plebeinn husband, for she brought to him a small in Henley Street in Stratford. But before the freehold estate called Asbies, and the sum of 61 year 1578, his prosperity, from causes not now 13s. 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- borongh, he was excused, in condescension to perty which was ever pussessed by the Shak-h's poverty, from the moiety of a very moderate speares. Cfthis marriage the offspring was four assessment of six shings and eightpence, made sons and four daughters; of whom Joan (or, by the members of the corporation on them. according to the orthography of that time,Jone,) selves; at the same tine that he was altogether and Margaret, the eldest of the children, died exempted from his contribution to the relief of one in infancy and one at a somewhat more ad- the poor. During the remaining years of his VRMCed age; and Gilbert, whose birth inmedi- life, his fortunes appear not to have recovered ately succeeded to that of our Poet, is supposed themselves; for he ceased to attend the meetby some not to have reached his maturity, and ings 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 halter in her native September of 1601, when his illustrious son had tow; and Edmund, the youngest of the family, already attained to high celebrity; and his wife, adosting the profession of an actor, resided in Mary Shakspeare, surviving him for seven years, St. Baviour's parish in London; and was buried deceased in the September of 1608, the burial in E. 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 tells the whole history, when it records that the foriner was buried on the 4th of April 1579, in the eighth year of her age, and the latter on the 4th of February 1612-13, when he had nearly completed his thirty-ninth.
On the 30th of June 1564, when our poet had not yet been three months in this breathing world, his native Stratford was visited by the plague; and, during the six succeeding months, the ravaging disease is calculated to have swept 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 question, which, drawn up in a testamentary survived this desolating calamity of his townsform 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 wa 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 his education, till, in consegnence of the strait religious faith, has recently been made the subAct fi 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 lie was sent to school, we cannot form any place his illiteracy on a level with that of John estinate 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 terin 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 atmore than the mere elements of the classical tained his thirteenth or fourteenth year, to assist languages. We are too ignorant, however of with his hand in the maintenance of the family. dates, in these iustances, to speak with any con- Whether he continued in this situation whilst fidence on the subject; and we can only assert 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 1573, 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 tersal, till his marriage, or a large What were the attainments of our young Shak- portion of, 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 surmises of Malone ignorance of classio 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 com lic and more reputable schools? That his scho-petent to appreciate his character. It is more 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 his father's occupation at home, till the acqui am willing to assent. But I cannot persuade sition of a wife 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, artient, followers labour to convince us, he could 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, if then depart without any knowledge beyond not froin 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-may read with pleasure the of his own country. poetic versions of the classic poets; and the less In 1532, before he had completed his eighadvanced proficient may consult his indolence teenth year, he inarried Anne Hathaway, the by applying to the page of a translation of a daughter, as Rowe informs us, of a substantial prose classic, when accuracy of quotation inay yeoman in the neighbourhood of Stratford. We not be required: and on evidences of this nature are unacquainted with the precise 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 ignorance. He night. 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 Susauna, the first protarch; but he rend 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 acquisitions, tells us expressly that," He had by it in the community, we may conclude that small Latin and les 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 boyapart 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 1 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 fited 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 20 of FebFalstaff, and have answered, "Indeed I am not ruary 1594-5,) terminated her pride as a mother; a 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 illustrions 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 o Sth of Angust, 1623, being, as we are told by the acquire them; and the activity and the curiosisy 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 his residence, limits which are prescribed to me; and, con- subsequently to his marriage, not a floating syl enting myself with declaring that, in my opi-lable has been wafted 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 him 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 out 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 spurt of falconry, it has been suggested guilt than the robbing of an orchard; and his that this, possibly, might be one of his favourite mind, rich beyond example in the gold of hea amusenrents: and nothing can be more proba-ven, could throw Instre over the black waste ole, 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 acquaintance of poachers; and, associating with them in his idler hours, would occasionally be one of their fellow marauders on the manors of their rich neighbours. In one of these licentious excursions on the grounds of Sir Tho but touched with some feelings of natural sor mas 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 afguine 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 mo an 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 resoundthe embarrassment of his circumstances, 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 it appears, dition of Stratford, and is confirmed by the cha-was easy. Stratford was fond of theatrical re racter 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 their performa the offensive ballad itself, preserved by a Mr. ances but to form an acquaintance with their Jones of Tarbick, a village near Stratford, menibers. 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 author's; biassed by any interest or passion to falsify or and though he, possibly, may have been con misstate 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 our 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 pursne the door of the theatre thus open to him, and his debtor wherever bailiffs could find and writs under the impulse of his own theatrical bias, could attach hin. On every account, therefore, (for however in after life he may have lumented 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 concinded that he now felt a strong attach perated 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 dis the arm, but beyond the hostile purposes of his trees; 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 1583; for in the Queen's which had obtained the royal the former of these we may concludé 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 mem of 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 Lucrece, but had acquired no small degree of which was open in the centre for summer recelebrity 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 ocean,vellous, who were solicitous to obtain a contrac
Fertur pudicæ conjugis osculum,
In the humility of his first o the pride of his fof age; and this testimony of a contemporary, subarquent tortunes The niean and servile who was acquainted with him, and was himself ocenation, this assigned to hin, was incom.au netor, 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 he entered too reinote 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 unine is two long and laboured poems of Venus and diately admitted within the theatre; but in what Adonis, and the Rape of Lucrece. We cannot, rank or character cannot now he 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 deconsideration 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, constituted as an actor. When he began his career as a a busy and an important period of his life drumatic 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 En I of Southamp quently agitated without any satisfactory result. ton; friendship which adhered to him through By two publications, which appeared toward ont 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 wits of the age, and subsequently either as the corrector of old or as the writer of lifted him to the notice and the favour of Elizaoriginal dramas, he 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, le 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 aufworth of Wit bought with a Million of Repen- ficient excellence to excite the envy and the tance," and Henry Chettle's "Kind Hart's consequent hostility of those who, before his Dream." 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 curiosity 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 thein 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 success. crow, beautified with our 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 about 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 Fuc-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 on the occasion rather warmly with Chet- and of a few touches of the golden pen being tle as the editor of the offensive matter. In con-discover the in its last scenes, inust be added sequence, as it is probable, of this expression to the number) thirty-six dramas; and that of of resentiment on the part of Shakspeare, a these it is probable that such as were founded pamphlet from the pen of Chettle called Kind on the works of preceding authors were the Hari's Dreain" 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 pusthumous first sparkle of excellence, were among the last work. In this pamphlet, Chetile acknowledges While I should not hesitate, therefore, te 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 eqnal confirlence, 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 uind exulted in the character was unhappily not good)"I care not conscious plenitude of power. Whatever night 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 com that, 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 anthor being talents, or their rank. Jonson, Selden, Bean dead.) 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: becanse myself and the intimates of our poet: the Earl of have seen his demeanour no less civil than he is Southampton was his especial friend: 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 dis of dealing, which argues his honesty; and his tinguished him with her favour; and her snofacetious 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