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of professional experience, Mr. Malone suspects, much to the delight of Dr. Drake, that Shakspeare was " in the office of some country attorney, who was at the same time a petty conveyancer, and perhaps also the seneschal of some manor-court.' The traditionary anecdote of Aubrey, which is the very best evidence, in the absence of written documents, that we could possibly have or require, is reconciled with this suspicion by the consideration that "traditionary anecdotes, though not perfectly accurate, contain an adumbration of the truth." Now Dr. Farmer invalidates the circumstance of Shakspeare's having been a Latin schoolmaster. This will carry us no further than the fact of Shakspeare's having been a teacher, but not a teacher of Latin. Then come in the legal technicalities of his plays; and the proof is complete, that Shakspeare taught conveyancing. Nothing can be more satisfactory.

We do allow that Dr. Drake's assent to this "singularly happy conjecture" might have derived encouragement and countenance from the effigies of Shakspeare which he has chosen to borrow from the bust on his tomb. The monumental Shakspeare of Stratford might have drawn legal assurances all his life. Against the prodigious length of the upper lip, we protest in the name of Lavater. Could this have been like Shakspeare? The thing, as Sterne would have said, is impossible. We do not comprehend the physiognomical principles of Dr. Drake: and notwithstanding the confidence with which he traces a resemblance to the Felton picture, we think few would be so fortunate as to discover it: or would hesitate in preferring the latter as the probable physiognomy of Shakspeare. The criterion is not infallible certainly: but there is always a presumption in favour of certain correspondences in feature and expression with the qualities of mind; as it rests on the experience of actual observation. Dr. Drake admits the strength of this presumptive evidence, and reasons upon it: we only differ in the application of the principle.

The subject is divided into three periods: embracing Shakspeare's life in the country, in the metropolis, and in retirement: the latter portion, necessarily barren in anecdote, forms merely a suitable close to the work; the two former naturally connect with the characters, customs, pastimes, and superstitions of the country, and the manners of the town: comprising romantic and dramatic literature, philology, and the stage: the whole is interspersed with appropriate criticisms and disquisitions.

Among other classes and conditions of society in Shakspeare's time we have a notice of the country clergy; who seem in some


instances to have reflected no great credit on their order. This will not appear wonderful when Harrison admits that it was the custom of some patrons to "bestow advowsons of benefices upon the bakers, butlers, cooks, good archers, falconers, and housekeepers, instead of other recompense for their long and faithful service." But it is not likely that imputations of this sort, though easily wrested by malice, attached to the whole body: still less that their Popish predecessors exceeded them in simplicity and decency of life: and the same writer has in, another place contrasted them to their advantage with his own brethren.

"The apparell of our clergiemen is comlie, and in truth more decent than ever it was in the Popish Church: for if you peruse well my chronologie, you shall find that they went either in diverse colors like plaiers, or in garments of light hew, as yellow, red, greene, &c. with their shoes piked; their haire crisped, their girdles armed with silver; their shoes, spurres, bridles, buckled with like metall; their apparell for the most part of silke and richlie furred: their cappes laced and buttoned with gold: so that to meet a priest in those daies was to behold a peacocke that spreadeth his taile when he danseth before the henne: which now, I saie, is well reformed. Touching hospitalitie, there was never any greater used in England, sith by reason that marriage is permitted to him that will chuse that kind of life, their meat and drinke is more orderly and frugally drest: their furniture of household more convenient and better looked into: and the poore oftener fed than generally they have beene."


The English schoolmaster of the sixteenth century often combined with his calling the reputation of a conjuror. This was no reflection on his honesty: it was a compliment to his learning, such as it was. Peacham inveighs against this body of men as "the general plague and complaint of the whole land:" and says, that "for one discreet and able teacher shall find twenty ig norant and careless." He accuses them also of oppression and unjustifiable severity and cruelty: "Masters for the most part so behave themselves, that their very name is hateful to the scholar, who trembleth at their coming in, rejoiceth at their absence, and looketh the master in the face as his deadly enemy." It is difficult, however, to know how far we are to trust to general representations of this nature. The following remarks of the same writer seem to indicate a prejudice against the very profession of a schoolmaster, and to partake of the spirit of exaggeration and caricature: "the diseases to which some of them are very subject are humour and folly (that I may say nothing of the grosse ignorance and insufficiency of many), whereby they become ridiculous and contemptible, both in the schoole and abroad. Hence it

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comes to passe, that in many places, especially in Italy, of all professions that of pedanteria is held in basest repute: the schoolemaster almost in every comedy being brought upon the stage to parallel the Zani or Pantaloun." We should not, with Dr. Drake, infer from these evidently malevolent representations, and some idle stories of masters whipping their boys on frosty mornings to keep themselves warm, that "ignorance, despotism, and selfsufficiency, were leading features in the composition of the country schoolmaster."

We may, certainly, trust to the faithful observation of Shakspeare, who, in drawing a good-humoured satirical sketch of a rural pedagogue, has made him by no means a despicable personage : and Dr. Drake has justly observed that "Holofernes, though he speak a leash of languages at once, is not deficient either in ability or discrimination: he ridicules with much good sense and humour the literary fops of his day, the "rackers of orthography;" and his conversation is described by his friend Sir Nathaniel, the curate, as possessing all the requisites to perfection: "Sir, your reasons at dinner have been sharp and sententious: pleasant without scurrility, witty without affection, audacious without impudency, learned without opinion, and strange without heresy."

It is not unusual to confound the strokes of character common to certain conditions of life with particular modifications of manners: the country clown of Shakspeare's time is apparently not very different from the country clown of any other period. The extract is taken from Bishop Earle's Essays and Characters, entitled Microcosmography: and is entertaining as a specimen of pleasant and pithy satire.

"A plain country fellow is one that manures his ground well, and lets himself lie fallow and untilled. He has reason enough to do his business, and not enough to be idle or melancholy. His hand guides the plough, and the plough his thoughts, and his ditch and land-mark is the very mound of his meditations. He expostulates with his oxen very understandingly, and speaks gee and ree better than English. His mind is not much distressed with objects: but if a good fat cow come in his way, he stands dumb and astonished; and though his haste be never so great, will fix here half an hour's contemplation. His habitation is some poor thatched roof, distinguished from his barn by the loopholes that let out smoke; which the rain had long since washed through, but for the double ceiling of bacon on the inside, which has hung there from his grandsire's time, and is yet to make rashers for posterity. His dinner is his other work; for he sweats at it as much as at his labour: he is a terrible fastener on a piece of beef, and you may hope to stave the guard off sooner. His religion is a part of his copyhold, which he takes from his landlord, and refers it wholly to his discretion: yet, if he give him leave, he is a good Christian to his power: that is, comes to

church in his best clothes, and sits there with his neighbours; where he is capable only of two prayers-for rain and fair weather. He apprehends God's blessings only in a good year or a fat pasture; and never praises him but on good ground. His compliment with his neighbour is a good thump on the back, and his salutation commonly some blunt curse. He thinks nothing to be vices but pride and ill husbandry; from which he will gravely dissuade the youth; and has some thrifty hob-nail proverbs to clout his discourse. He is a niggard all the week, except only market-day, where, if his corn sell well, he thinks he may be drunk with a good conscience. He is sensible of no calamity but the burning a stack of corn or the overflowing of a meadow, and thinks Noah's flood the greatest plague that ever was; not because it drowned the world, but spoiled the grass. For death he is never troubled; and if he get in but his harvest before, let it come when it will, he cares

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On the sports and amusements of our ancestors on holidays and festivals, Dr. Drake observes that "while they had little tendency to promote either luxury or dissipation, they contributed very powerfully to preserve some of the best and most striking features of our national manners and character, and were frequently mingled with that cheerful piety which forms the most heartfelt species of devotion; where religion mingling with the social rite offers up the homage of a happy and contented heart."

That Dr. Drake, who has put these merry-makings on record, should talk thus of "cheerful piety" and "heartfelt devotion" is to us something marvellous. We are not desirous to make religion a gloomy service: or to sophisticate the manly old English character by a forced, starch, and unsocial austerity; but we do think, that many of the old festival rites and sports, in which men learn to take an interest by poring over collections of antiquarian lore, are

"More honoured in the breach than in th' observance :" and it seems to us matter of amazement how such worse than puerile buffooneries, such antic and immodest riots, could possibly have been practised by a sensible and moral people. Great part of this vice-enticing pageantry, was, no doubt, the remnant of that religion, which Hume so much eulogizes, as "adapting itself to the senses:" and "thus tending to mollify the fierce and gloomy spirit of devotion," to which, it seems, during a very religious age the rude multitude are subject," by inducing the "affrighted and astonished mind" to relax from "an abstract and spiritual religion," in the contemplation of "pictures, postures, vestments, buildings." Another mode of relaxation was, that succession of revels on particular religious festivals sometimes obtruded on the most solemn offices of religion; producing


among the common people a licensed and hallowed laxity of manners and of morals; and in room of sober, yet cheerful recreations, or decent rejoicings, substituting mummeries and idle pageants, more congenial with the spirit of heathenism than with that of Christianity. As the Papists had the Pagan images and tapers within the consecrated walls, so had they the Pagan orgies and processions without: and if they have become extinct, it is owing to that sound practical Christianity, which the institutions of "an abstract and spiritual" devotion have diffused among the people.

We can neither sympathize with Dr. Drake's distress, that the may-games, with their morris-dancers, and foolish hobby-horses, were broken in upon by "the continued railings and invectives of the fanatics;" nor with the comfort which he derives from King James's "Book of Sports, or lawful Recreations upon Sunday, after evening Prayers:" a book, says our biographer, which, had it not allowed church-ales and dancing on the sabbath, would have been unexceptionable in its tendency: for as honest Burton observes, in allusion to this very declaration of King James, "dancing, singing, masquing, mumming, stage-plaies, however they be heavily censured by some stern Catoes, yet if opportunely and soberly used, may justly be approved."

What effect these may-games had on the popular manners, may be shown from Featherstone's "Dialogue against lewd Dancing:" whom Mr. Douce, in the same antiquarian spirit with Dr. Drake, calls "a declaimer."

"The abuses which are committed in your may-games are infinite. The first whereof is this; that you doe use to attyre in woman's apparell, whom you doe most commonly call may-manions: whereby you infringe that straight commandment which is given in Deut. xxii. 5. that men must not put on woman's apparell for feare of enormities.' Nay, I myself have seene in a may-game, a troupe, the greater part whereof hath been men, and yet have they been attyred so like unto women, that theire faces being hidde, (as they were indeede,) a man could notdiscerne them from women."

Such are the festivities which were "set aside by still greater enthusiasts, during the period of the commonwealth," and which, after a short revival, at the restoration of the "merry monarch," have given place to the insipid custom of a dance round the may-pole.

Whether the extinction of those other ancient rites on popular religious festivals, be matter of lamentation, we have our doubts: and so probably will our readers, after perusing what Mr. Douce calls "the loud ravings of a puritanical writer against the fashionable excesses of our countrymen." Stubbs, in his "Anatomy of

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