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INTO THE

PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION

of

SHAKSPERE,

BY W. J. BIRCH, M.A.,
new Inn Hall, oxon.

AUthor of THE * REAL AND THE IDEAL,’ Etc., Etc.

Doubts-have been entertained as to Shakspere's religious belief,
because few or no notices of it occur in his works. This ought to be
attributed to a tender and delicate reserve about holy things, rather
than to inattention or neglect.–CHARLEs KNIGHT.

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INQUIRIES into the Life of Shakspere, which have ended in the omission and restoration of a letter in his name, may be pleaded as an excuse for an inquiry into the religious character of the man from the monuments he has left behind him. For the judgment of sentiment no fairer dictum has been laid down than that of Shaftesbury—‘That is alone to be called a man's opinion, which is, of any other, the most habitual to him, and occurs upon most occasions.” Of the possibility of drawing any inference as to the opinions of a person from his writings, we may add the authority of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton – “In the mind of man there is always a resemblance to his works. His heroes may not be like himself, but they are like certain qualities which belong to him. The sentiments he utters are his at the moment; if you find them predominate in all his works, they predominate in his mind; if they are

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