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Thus, condemned by the serious and puritanical, and Edw. These looks of thine can harbour nought but stained with follies, while his genius was rapidly
dcath: maturing and developing its magnificent resources, I see my tragedy written in thy brows. Marlow fell a victim to an obscure and disgraceful Yet stay a while, forbcar thy bloody hand, brawl. The last words of Greene's address to him | And let me see the stroke before it comes, a year or two before are somewhat ominous :-Re- That eren then when I shall lose my life, fuse not (with me) till this last point of extremity; My mind may be more steadfast on my God. for little knowest thou how in the end thou shalt be Light. What means your highness to mistrust me visited.' The warning was
Edre. What mean'st thou to dissemble with me thus? Like the sad presaging raven, that tolls
Light. These hands were never stain'd with innocent The sick man's passport in her hollow beak,
blood, And in the shadow of the silent night
Nor shall they now be tainted with a king's. Doth shake contagion from her sable wings. Edw. Forgive my thought, for having such a thought.
Jew of Malla. | One jewel have I left, receive thou this.
Still fear I, and I know not what's the cause, Marlow's fatal conflict is supposed to have taken
But every joint shakes as I give it thee, place at Deptford, as he was buried there on the Iston if
J Oh, if thou harbour'st murder in thy heart, of June 1593. The finest compliment paid to the Let the gift change thy mind, and save thy soul. genius of this unfortunate poet was by his contem
know that I am a king: Oh, at that name porary and fellow-dramatist, Michael Drayton:
I feel a hell of grief. Where is my crown! Next Marlow, bathed in the Thespian springs,
Gone, gone; and do I still remain alive? Had in him those brave translunary things
Light. You're overwatch'd my lord ; lie down and rest. That the first poets had : his raptures were
Edw. But that grief keeps mewaking, I should sleep; All air and fire, which made his verses clear;
For not these ten days have these eyelids closed. For that fine madness still he did retain,
Now as I speak they fall, and yet with fear Which rightly should possess a poct's brain.
Open again. O wherefore sitt'st thou here!
Lighi. If you mistrust me, I'll be gone, my lord. We subjoin part of the death-scene of Edward II. in ! Edu. No, no ; for if thou mean'st to murder me, his historical drama, a scene which Charles Lamb Thou wilt return again; and therefore stay. says, “moves pity and terror beyond any scene, a1
Light. He slecps. cient or modern,' It may challenge comparison
Edw. ( let me not die; yet stay, 0 stay a while. with Shakspeare's death of Richard II.; but Marlow
Light, Blow now, my lord ! could not interest us in his hero as the great dra
Elv. Something still buzzeth in mine ears,
And tells me if I sleep I never wake; matist does in the gentle Richard :
This fear is that which makes me tremble thus.
And therefore tell me, wherefore art thou come ! [Scene from Marlow's Edward II.]
Light. To rid thee of thy life; Matrevis, come.
Edw. I am too weak and feeble to resist : Scene, Berkley Castle. The King is left alone with LightBORN,
Assist me, sweet God, and receive my soul. a murderer, Edw. Who's there? what light is that? wherefore The taste of the public for the romantic drama, in com'st thou ?
preference to the classical, seems now to have been Light. To comfort you, and bring you joyful news, confirmed. An attempt was made towards the close
Eure, Small comfort finds poor Edward in thy looks. of Elizabeth's reign, to revive the forms of the Villain, I know thou com’st to murder me.
classic stage, by DANIEL the poet, who wrote two Light. To murder you, my most gracious lord ! plays, Cleopatra and Philotas, which are smoothly Far is it from my heart to do you harm.
versified, but indramatic in their chai acter. LADY The queen sent me to see how you were us'd,
PEMBROKE co-operated in a tragedy called Antony, For she relents at this your misery :
written in 1590; and SAMUEL BRANDON produced. And what eyes can refrain from shedding tears, in 1598, a tame and feeble Roman play, Virtuous To see a king in this most piteous state.
ANTHONY MUNDAY-HENRY CHETTLE.
In the throng of dramatic authors, the names of Wherein the filth of all the castle falls.
ANTHONY MUNDAY and HENRY CHETTLE frequently Light. O villains !
occur. Munday was an author as early as 1579, Edr. And there, in mire and nuddle hare I stood and he was concerned in fourteen plars. Francis This ten days' space; and lest that I should sleep,
Meres, in 1598, calls him the best plotter' among One plays continually upon a drum.
the writers for the stage. One of his dramas, Sir They give me bread and water, being a king;
John Ollcastle, was written in conjunction with So that, for want of sleep and sustenance,
Michael Drayton and others, and was printed in My mind's distemper’d, and my body's numb'd,
1600, with the name of Shakspeare on the titleAnd whether I have limbs or no, I know not.
page! The Death of Robert, Eurl of Huntington, () would my blood drop out from every rein,
printed in 1601, was a popular play by Munday, As doth this water from my tattered robes !
assisted by Chettle. The pranks of Robin Hood and Tell Isabel the queen, I look'd not thus,
Maid Marian in merry Sherwood are thus gaily set When for her sake I ran at tilt in France,
forth:And there unbors'd the Duke of Clcremont. Liyhi. ( speak no more, my lord ! this breaks my Wind once more, jolly huntsmen, all your horns, heart.
Whose shrill sound, with the echoing woods' assist, Lie on this bed, and rest yourself a while.
| Shall ring a sad knell for the fearful decr,
Defore our feather'd shafts, death's winged darts, 1 Nis keepers. | Bring sudden summons for their fatal ends. *
Gire me thy hand : now God's curse on me light, the style is different. In the earliest acknowledged If I forsake not grief in grief's despite.
works of the Warwickshire bard, there is a play of Much, make a cry, and yeomen stand ye round: wit, and of what Hallam calls • analogical imagery,' I charge ye, never more let woeful sound
which is not seen in Arden of Feversham,' though it Be heard among ye; but whatever fall,
exhibits a strong picture of the passions, and indiLaugh grief to scorn, and so make sorrow small. * cates freedom of versification and dramatic art. We Marian, thou seest, though courtly pleasures want, subjoin one touching scene between Alice and her Yet country sport in Sherwood is not scant.
paramour-a scene of mutual recrimination, guilt, For the soul-ravishing delicious sound
and tenderness :-
[Scene from Arden of Feversham.]
ALICE ARDEN.-Mosbie. For arras hangings, and rich tapestry,
Mos. IIow now, Alice? What! sad and passionate ! We have swect nature's best embroidery.
Make me partaker of thy pensiveness ; For thy steel glass, wherein thou wont'st to look, Fire divided burns with lesser force. Thy crystal eyes gaze on the crystal brook.
Al. But I will dam that fire in my breast, At court, a flower or two did deck thy head,
Till by the force thereof my part consume. Now, with whole garlands it is circled ;
Ah, Mosbie! For what in wealth we want, we have in flowers,
Mos. Such deep pathaires, like to a cannon's burst, And what we lose in halls, we find in bowers.
Discharged against a ruinated wall,
Breaks my relenting heart in thousand pieces. Chettle was engaged in no less than thirty-eight | Ungentle Alice, thy sorrow is my sore ; plays between the years 1597 and 1603, four of Thou knowest it well, and 'tis tny policy
h have been printed. Mr Collier thinks he had | To forge distressful looks, to wound a breast written for the stage before 1592, when he published Where lies a heart which dies when thou art sad. Greene's posthumous work,'A Groat's Worth of Wit.'|
It is not love that loves to anger love. Among his plays, the names of which have descended Al. It is not love that loves to murder love. to us, is one on the subject of Cardinal Wolsey,
Mos. Ilow mean you that ? which probably was the original of Shakspeare's Al. Thou know’sť how dearly Arden loved me. Henry VIII. The best drama of this prolific author
Mos. And then which we now possess, is a comedy called Patient Al. And then-conceal the rest, for 'tis too bad, Grissell, taken from Boccaccio. The humble charms Lest that my words be carried to the wind, of the heroine are thus finely described :
And published in the world to both our shames,
I pray thee, Mosbie, let our spring-time wither ; See where my Grissell and her father is,
Our harvest else will yield but loathsome weeds. Methinks her beauty, shining through those weeds, Forget, I pray thee, what has past betwixt us : Seems like a bright star in the sullen night.
For now I blush and tremble at the thoughts. How lovely poverty dwells on her back!
Mos. What ! are you changed ? Did but the proud world note her as I do,
Al. Ay, to my foriner happy life again ; She would cast off rich robes, forswear rich state,
From title of an odious strumpet's name To clothe her in such poor habiliments.
To honest Arden's wife, not Arden's honest wife
Ha, Mosbie! 'tis thou hast rifled me of that, The names of Haughton, Antony Brewer, Porter,
And made me slanderous to all my kin. Smith, Hathaway (probably some relation of Shak
Even in my forehead is thy name engraven, speare's wife), Wilson, &c., also occur as dramatic
A mean artificer, that low-born name ! writers. From the diary of Henslowe, it appears
S1 I was bewitcht; woe-worth the hapless hour that, between 1591 and 1597, upwards of a hundred
And all the causes that enchanted me. different plays were performed by four of the ten
Mos. Nay, if thou ban, let me breathe curses forth; or eleven theatrical companies which then existed.
| And if you stand so nicely at your fame, Henslowe was originally a pawnbroker, who ad- |
Let me repent the credit I have lost. vanced money and dresses to the players, and he
I have neglected matters of import, ultimately possessed a large share of the wardrobe
That would have 'stated me above thy state ; and properties of the playhouses with which he was
For slow'd advantages, and spurned at time; concerned. The name of Shakspeare does not once
Ay, fortune's right hand Mosbie hath forsook, occur in his diary.
To take a wanton giglot by the left. Several good åramas of this golden age have de. l I left the inarriage of an honest maid, scended to us, the authors of which are unknown. | Whose dowry would have weigh'd down all thy wealth: A few of these possess merit enough to have been Whose beauty and demeanour far exceeded thee. considered first sketches of Shakspeare, but this This certain good I lost for changing bad, opinion has been gradually abandoned by all but | And wrapt my credit in thy coinpany. one or two German critics. Most of them have been I was bewitcht ; that is no theme of thine ; published in Dodsley's Collection of Old Plays. The | And thou unhallow'd hast enchanted me. best are, the • Merry Devil of Edmonton,' the · Lon- But I will break thy spells and exorcisms, don Prodigal.' the · Yorkshire Tragedy,' Lord Crom- | And put another sight upon these eyes, well,' the Birth of Merlin,' the Collier of Croydon,'| That showed my heart a raven for a dove. • Mucedorus,' • Locrine,'' Arden of Feversham,' the Thou art not fair ; I view'd thee not till now : ‘Misfortunes of Arthur,' 'Edward III.'&c. The most | Thou art not kind ; till now I knew thee not : correct and regular of these anonymous dramas is And now the rain hath beaten off thy gilt, • Arden of Feversham,' a domestic tragedy, founded | Thy worthless copper shows thee counterfeit. on a murder which took place in 1551. Alice, the It grieves me not to see how foul thou art, wife of Arden, proves unfaithful, and joins with her But mads me that ever I thought thee fair. paramour Mosbie, and some assassins, in murdering Go, get thee gone, a copesmate for thy hinds; her husband. Tieck has translated this play into | I am too good to be thy favourite. German, as a genuine production of Shakspeare, but Al. Ay, now I see, and too soon find it true,
Which often hath been told me by my friends, But vex'd his money cannot make them last.
A fearful melancholy, ungodly sorrow!
We have seen that Greene, Peele, and Marlow,
prepared, in some degree, the way for Shakspeare. Nothing shall hide me from thy stormy look ; If thou cry war, there is no peace for me.
They had given a more settled and scholastic form I will do penance for offending thee ;
to the draina, and assigned it a permanent place in
the national literature. And burn this prayer book, which I here use,
They adorned the stage
Mos. O fie, no ; I'm a base artificer ;
Al. Sweet Mosbie is as gentle as a king,
Mos. Ah, how you women can insinuate,
Arden of Feversham' was first printed in 1592.
(Copy of the Bust at Stratford.] kind, but apparently more hastily written, was per with more variety of character and action, with formed in 1604, and four years afterwards printed deep passion, and true poetry. The latter, indeed, with Shakspeare's name. Both Dyce and Collier,
was tinged with incoherence and extravagance, but able dramatic antiquaries and students, are inclined the sterling ore of genius was, in Marlow at least, to the opinion, that this drama contains passages abundant. Above all, they had familiarised the which only Shakspeare could have written. But in
public ear to the use of blank verse. The last imlines like the following—though smooth and natu- 1 provement was the greatest; for even the genius of ral, and quoted as the most Shakspearian in the play Shakspeare would have been cramped and confined, - we miss the music of the great dramatist's thoughts if it had been condemned to move only in the fetters and numbers. It is, however, a forcible picture of a of rhyme. The quick interchange of dialogue, and luckless, reckless gambler :
the various nice shades and alternations of character What will become of us ! All will away!
and feeling, could not have been evolved in dramatic My husband never ceases in expense,
action, except in that admirable form of verse which Both to consume his credit and his house ;
unites rhythmical harmony with the utmost freedom, And 'tis set down by heaven's just decree,
grace, and flexibility. When Shakspeare, therefore, That Riot's child must necds be Beggary.
appeared conspicuously on the horizon, the scene may Are these the virtues that his youth did promise !
be said to have been prepared for his reception. The Dice and voluptuous meetings, midnight revels,
Genius of the Drama had accumulated materials for Taking his bed with surfeits, ill beseeming
the use of the great poet, who was to extend her The ancient honour of his house and name?
empire over limits not yet recognised, and invest it And this not all, but that which kills me most, with a splendour which the world had never seen When he recounts his losses and false fortunes, before. The weakness of his state, so inuch dejected,
The few incidents in Shakspeare's life are surNot as a man repentant, but half mad.
rounded with doubt and fable. The fond idolatry His fortunes cannot answer his expense.
with which he is now regarded, was only turned to He sits and sullenly locks up his arms,
his personal history at a late period, when little could Forgetting heaven, looks downward, which makes him be gathered even by the most enthusiastic collector. Appear so dreadful, that he frights my heart :
Our best facts are derived from legal documents Waiks heavily, as if his soul were earth;
WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE was born at Stratford-onNot peniterit for those his sins are past,
Avon, in the county of Warwick, in April 1564. There
is a pleasant and poetical tradition, that he was born and Adonis, and the Lucrece. The amount of his on the 23d of the month, the anniversary of St | education at the grammar-school has been made a
question of eager scrutiny and controversy. Ben Jonson says, he had little Latin, and less Greek.' This is not denying that he had some. Many Latinised idioms and expressions are to be found in his plays. The choice of two classical subjects for his early poetry, and the numerous felicitous allusions in his dramas to the mythology of the ancients, show that he was imbued with the spirit and taste of classical literature, and was a happy student, if not a critical scholar. His mind was too comprehensive to degenerate into pedantry; but when, at the age of four or five and twenty, he took the field of original dramatic composition, in company with the university-bred authors and wits of his times, he soon distanced them all, in correctness as well as facility, in the intellectual richness of his thoughts and diction, and in the wide range of his acquired knowledge. It may be safely assumed, therefore, that at Stratford he was a hard, though perhaps an irregular, student. The precocious maturity of Shakspeare's passions hurried him into a premature marriage. On the 28th of November 1582, he obtained a license at Worcester, legalising his union with Anne Hathaway, with once asking of the banns. Two of his neighbours became security in the sum of £40, that the poet would fulfil his matrimonial engagement, he being a minor, and unable, legally, to contract for himself. Anne Hathaway was seven years older than her husband. She was the daughter of a 'substantial yeoman' of the village of Shottery,
about a mile from Stratford. The hurry and anxiety Birthplace of Shakspeare.
with respect to the marriage-license, is explained
by the register of baptisms in the poet's native town; George, the tutelar saint of England ; but all we his daughter Susanna was christened on the 26th know with certainty is, that he was baptised on the May 1583. six months after the marriage. In a year 26th. His father, John Shakspeare, was a wool- and a half, two other children, twins, were born to comber or glover, who had elevated his social posi Shakspeare, who had no family afterwards. We tion by marriage with a rustic heiress, Mary Arden, may readily suppose that the small town of Strat. possessed of an estate worth about £70 per annum ford did not offer scope for the ambition of the poet, of our present money. The poet's father rose to now arrived at early manhood, and feeling the ties be high bailiff and chief alderman of Stratford ; of a husband and a father. He removed to London but in 1578, he is found mortgaging his wife's in- in 1586 or 1587. It has been said that his deparheritance, and, from entries in the town-books, is ture was hastened by the effects of a lampoon he supposed to have fallen into comparative poverty. had written on a neighbouring squire, Sir Thomas William was the eldest of six surviving children, Lucy of Charlecote, in revenge for Sir Thomas and after some education at the grammar-school, prosecuting him for deer-stealing. The story is he is said to have been brought home to assist at inconsistent in its details. Part of it must be unhis father's business. There is a blank in his his- | true; it was never recorded against him in his lifetory for some years; but doubtless he was engaged, time; and the whole may have been built upon the whatever might be his circumstances or employ opening scene in the Merry Wives of Windsor (not ment, in treasuring up materials for his future written till after Sir Thomas Lucy's death), in which poetry. The study of man and of nature, facts in there is some wanton wit on the armorial bearings natural history, the country, the fields, and the of the Lucy family. The tale, however, is now woods, would be gleaned by familiar intercourse associated so intimately with the name of Shaksand observation among his fellow-townsmen, and peare, that, considering the obscurity which rests and in rambling over the beautiful valley of the Avon. probably will ever rest on his history, there seems It has been conjectured that he was some time in little likelihood of its ever ceasing to have a place a lawyer's office, as his works abound in technical in the public mind.* Shakspeare soon rose to dislegal phrases and illustrations. This has always seemed to us highly probable. The London players * Mr Washington Irving, in bis. Sketch-Book,' thus adverts were also then in the habit of visiting Stratford : to Charlecote, and the deer-stealing affuir :Thomas Green, an actor, was a native of the town; I had a desire to see the old family seat of the Lucys at and Burbage, the greatest performer of his day (the Charlecote, and to ramble through the park where Shakspeare, future Richard, Hamlet, and Othello), was originally in company with some of the roysters of Stratford, committed from Warwickshire. Who can doubt, then, that his youthful offence of deer-stealing. In this hair-brained ex.
ploit, we are told that he was taken prisoner, and carried to the high bailiff's son, from the years of twelve to
tbe keeper's lodge, where he remained all night in doleful captwenty, was a frequent and welcome visitant behind
tivity. When brought into the presence of Sir Thomas Lucy, the scenes ? —that he there imbibed the tastes and
his treatment must have been galling and humiliating; for it feelings which coloured all his future life—and that
so wronght upon his spirit, as to produce a rough pasquinade, be there felt the first stirrings of his immortal .dra
which was affixed to the park gate at Charlecote. matic genius? We are persuaded that he had begun This flagitious attack upon the dignity of the knight so in. to wri before he left Stratford, and had most
censed him, that he applied to a lawyer at Warwick to put the probably sketched, if not completed, his Venus 1 severity of the laws in furce against the rhyming deer stalker.
tinction in the theatre. He was a shareholder of been produced. With the nobles, the wits, and the Blackfriars Company, within two or three years poets of his day, he was in familiar intercourse. The after his arrival; of the fifteen shareholders of the gentle Shakspeare,' as he was usually styled, was theatre in Norember 1589, Shakspeare's name is throned in all hearts. But notwithstanding his
brilliant success in the metropolis, the poet early looked forward to a permanent retirement to the country. He visited Stratford once a-year; and when wealth flowed in upon him, he purchased property in his native town and its vicinity. He bought New Place the principal house in Stratford : in 1602, he gave £320 for 107 acres of land adjoining to his purchase; and in 1605, he paid £440 for the lease of the tithes of Stratford. The latest entry of his name among the king's players is in 1604, but he was living in London in 1609. The year 1612 has been assigned as the date of his final retirement to the country. In the fulness of his fanie, with a handsome competency, and before age had cbilled the enjoyment of life, the poet returned to his native town to spend the remainder of his days among the quiet scenes and the friends of his youth. His parents were both dead, but their declining years had been gladdened by the prosperity of their illustrious son. Four years were spent by Shakspeare in this dignified retirement, and the history of literature scarcely presents another such picture of calm felicity and satisfied ambition. He died on the 230 of April 1616, having just completed his fifty-second year. His widow survived him seven years. His
two daughters were both married (his only son Charlecote House.
Hamnet had died in 1596), and one of them had the eleventh on the list. In 1596, his name is the
three sons; but all these died without issue, and fifth in a list of only eight proprietors; and in 1603,
there now remains no lineal representative of the
great poet. he was second in the new patent granted by King 8
Shakspeare, it is believed, like his contemporary James. It appears from recent discoveries made
dramatists, began his career as an author by altering by Mr Collier, that the wardrobe and stage proper
the works of others, and adapting them for the stage. ties afterwards belonged to Shakspeare, and with the shares which he possessed, were estimated at
The extract from Greene's 'Groat's Worth of Wit,' £1400, equal to between £6000 and £7000 of our
which we have given in the life of that unhappy present money. He was also a proprietor of the
author, shows that he had been engaged in this suborGlobe Theatre; and at the lowest computation, his
dinate literary labour before 1592. Three years pre
vious to this, Nash diad published an address to the income must bave been about £300 a-year, or £1500 at the present day. As an actor. Shakspeare is said students of the two universities, in which there is a by a contemporary (supposed to be Lord Southamp
* remarkable passage : It is,' he says, 'a common ton) to have been of good account in the com
I practice now-:2-days, among a sort of shifting com
panions, that run through every art, and thrive by pany ;' but the cause of his unexampled success was! his immortal dramas, the delight and wonder of his
none, to leave the trade of Noverint, whereto they
were born, and busy themselves with the endeavours age
of art, that could scarce Latinise their neck verse if That so did take Eliza and our James, they should have need; yet English Seneca, read by as Ben Jonson has recorded, and as is confirmed by candle-light, yields many good sentences, as blood is various authorities. Up to 1611, the whole of a beugur, and so forth; and if you intreat him far in Shakspeare's plays (thirty-seven in number, accord- a frosty morning, he will afford you whole Hamlets, ing to the first folio edition) are supposed to have I should say handfuls, of tragical speeches.' The
term Norerint was applied to lawyers' clerks, so Shakspeare did not wait to brave the united puissance of a called from the first word of a Latin deed of those knight of the shire and a country attorney. * *
times, equivalent to the modern commencement of I now found myself among noble avenues of onks and elms,
:| Know all men, &c. We have no doubt that Nash whose vast size bespoke the growth of centuries. * * It was from wandering in early life among this rich scenery, and
allude to Shakspeare in this satirical glance, for about the romantic solitudes of the adjoining park of Fulbroke. Shakspeare was even then, as has been discovered, which then formed a part of the Lucy estate, that some of a shareholder in the theatre; and it appears from the Shakspeare's commentators have supposed he derived his noble title-page to the first edition of Hamlet,'in 1604, that, forest meditations of Jaques and the enchanting woodland like “Romeo and Juliet,' and the Merry Wives of pictures in “ As You Like It." * * [The house) is a large ! Windsor,' it had been enlarged to almost twice its building of brick, with stone quoins, and is in the Gothic style original size. It seems scarcely probable that the of Queen Elizabeth's day, having been built in the first year of great dramatist should not have commenced writing her reign. The exterior remains very nearly in its original before he was twenty-seven. state, and may be considered a fair specimen of the residence drafts. as we have seen. he subsequently enlarged
Some of his first of a wealthy country gentleman of those days. * * The front of the house is completely in the old style—with stone
and completed; others may have sunk into oblivion, sbasted casements, a great bow window of heavy stone-work,
as being judged unworthy of resuscitation or imand a portal with armorial bearings over it, carved in stone.
provement in his riper years. Pericles is supposed * * The Avon, which winds through the park, makes a
to be one of his earliest adaptations. Dryden, inbend just at the foot of a gently sloping bank, which sweeps deed, expressly states it to be the first birth of his round the rear of the house. Large herds of deer were reposing | muse; but two if not three styles are distinctly upou its borders.'
traceable in this play, and the two first acts look