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difficulty in our mind is, how the lines are to be explained (we feel assured that he had not composed any of his greatby reference to any other dramatist of the time, even sup est works before 1591, he may have done much, besides posing, as we have supposed and believe, that our great what has come down to us, amply to warrant Spenser in poet was at this period only rising into notice as a writer for applauding him beyond all his theatrical contemporaries. the stage. We will first quote the lines, literatim as they His earliest printed plays, “ Romeo and Juliet," "Richard stand in the edition of 1591, and afterwards say something II.,” and “Richard III.,"bear date in 1597; but it is indisof the claims of others to the distinction they confer. putable that he had at that time written considerably more,
and part of what he had so written is contained in the folio “And he the man, whom Nature selfe had made of 1623, never having made its appearance in any earlier To mock her selfe, and Truth to imitate,
form. When Ben Jonson published the large volume of With kindly counter under Mimick shade,
his “ Works” in 1616', he excluded several comedies in Our pleasant Willy, ah ! is dead of late : With whom all joy and jolly meriment
which he had been aided by other poets', and re-wrote part Is also deaded, and in dolour drent.
of “Sejanus,” because, as is supposed, Shakespeare, (who
performed in it, and whom Jonson terms a “happy genius,") " In stead thereof scoffing Scurrilitie,
had assisted him in the composition of the tragedy as it And scornfull Follie with contenipt is crept, Rolling in rymes of shameless ribaudrie,
was originally acted. The player-editors of the folio of Without regard or due Decorum kept:
Shakespeare's “Comedies, Tragedies, and Histories," in Each idle wit at will presumes to inake,
1623, may have thought it right to pursue the same course, And doth the Learned's taske upon him take.
excepting in the case of the three parts of “ Henry VI. :" “ But that same gentle Spirit, from whose
the poet, or poets, who had contributed to these histories
pen Large streames of hönnie and sweete Nectar flowe, (perhaps Marlowe and Greene) had been then dead thirty Scorning the boldnes of such base-borne men,
years; but with respect to other pieces, persons still living, Which dare their follies forth so rashlie throwe, whether authors or booksellers, might have joint claims Doth rather choose to sit in idle Cell,
upon them, and hence their exclusion®. We only put this Than so himselfe to mockerie to sell."
as a possible circumstance; but we are persuaded that The most striking of these lines, with reference to our much, in the way of revivals, alterations, or joint produc
Shakespeare, early in his theatrical life, must have written present inquiry, is,
tions with other poets, which has been forever lost. We “Our pleasant Willy, ah ! is dead of late;"
here, as before, conclude that none of his greatest original and hence, if it stood alone, we might infer that Willy, who- dramatic productions had come from his pen ; but if in 1591 ever he might be, was actually dead; but the latter part and “ Love's Labour's Lost," they are so infinitely superior
he only brought “ The Two Gentlemen of Verona of the third stanza we have quoted shows us in what sense the word “dead” is to be understood: Willy was “ dead” to the best works of his predecessors, that the justice of the as far as regarded the admirable dramatic talents he had tribute paid by Spenser to his genius would at once be ad already displayed, which had enabled him, even before mitted. At all events, if before 1591 he had not accom 1591, to outstrip all living rivalry, and to afford the most plished, by any means, all that he was capable of, he had certain indications of the still greater things Spenser say he given the clearest indications of high genius, abundantly would accomplish: he was “ dead,” because he
sufficient to justify the anticipation of Spenser, that he was 66 Doth rather choose to sit in idle Cell, Than so himselfe to mockerie to sell."
"whom Nature's selfe had made
To mock her selfe, and Truth to imitate :"? It is to be borne in mind that these stanzas, and six others, are put into the mouth of Thalia, whose lamenta- a passage which in itself admirably comprises, and comtion on the degeneracy of the stage, especially in comedy, presses nearly all the excellences of which dramatic poetry follows those of Calliope and Melpomene. Rowe, under is susceptible--the mockery of nature, and the imitation of the impression that the whole passage referred to Shake- truth. speare, introduced it into his “ Life,” in his first edition of Another point not hitherto noticed, because not hitherto 1709, but silently withdrew it in his second edition of 1714: known, is, that there is some little ground for thinking, that his reason, perhaps, was that he did not see how, before Spenser, if not a Warwickshire man, was at one time resi1591, Shakespeare could have shown that he merited the dent in Warwickshire, and later in life he may have become character given of him and his productions
acquainted with Shakespeare. His birth had been conjec
turally placed in 15534, and on the authority of some lines “ And he the man, whom Nature selfe had made
in his “ Prothalamion ” it has been supposed that he was To inock her selfe, and Truth to imitate.”
born in London: East Smithfield, near the Tower, has also Spenser knew what the object of his eulogy was capable been fixed upon as the part of the town where he first of doing, as well, perhaps, as what he had done; and we drew breath; but the parish registers in that neighbourhave established that more than a year before the publica- hood have been searched in vain for a record of the event. tion of these lines, Shakespeare had risen to be a distin- An Edmund Spenser unquestionably dwelt at Kingsbury, guished member of the Lord Chamberlain's company, and in Warwickshire, in 1569, which was the year when the à sharer in the undertaking at the Blackfriars. Although author of “ The Faerie Queene" went to Cambridge, and
ser's “Tears of the Muses” was published in 1590, but the volume elsewhere. We believe that he was concerned in "The Yorkshire in which it first appeared bears date in 1591. It was printed with Tragedy,” and that he may have contributed some parts of Arden some other pieces under the title of " Complaints. Containing sun- of Feversham;" but in spite of the ingenious letter, published at drie small Poems of the Worlds Vanitie. Whereof the next Page Edinburgh in 1833, we do not think that he aided Fletcher in writmaketh mention. By Ed. Sp. London. Imprinted for William ing." The Two Noble Kinsmen, and there is not a single passage Ponsonbie, &c. 1591." It will be evident from what follows in our in "The Birth of Merlin” which is worthy of his most careless motext, that a year is of considerable importance to the question. ments. Of "The first part of Sir John Oldcastle" we have else
i Perhaps it was printed off before his “Bartholemew Fair” was where spoken; and several other supposititious dramas in the folio acted in 1614 ; or perhaps, the comedy being a new one, Ben Jonson of 1664, which certainly would have done little credit to Shakedid not think' he had a right to publish it to the detriment of the speare, have also been ascertained to be the work of other dramatists. company (the servants of the Princess Elizabeth) by whom it had 4 This date has always appeared to us too late, recollecting that been purchased, and produced.
Spenser wrote some blank-verse sonnets, prefixed to Vandernoodt's 2 Such as “ The Widow," written soon after 1613, in which he was “Theatre for Worldlings," printed in 1569. If he were born in assisted by Fetcher and Middleton ; - The Case is Altered," printed 1553, in 1569 he was only in his sixteenth year, and the sonnets to in 1609, in which his coadjutors are not known;, and “Eastward which we refer do not read like the productions of a very young man. Ho!" published in 1607, in which he was joined by Chapman and 5 Chalmers was a very dilligent inquirer into such matters, and he Marston : this last play exposed the authors to great danger of pun- could discover no entry of the kind. See his “Supplemental Apolishment.
ogy," p. 22. Subsequent investigations, instituted with reference 3 We are not to be understood as according in the ascription to to this question, have led to the same result. Oldys is responsible Shakespeare of various plays imputed to him in the folio of 1664, and for the statement.
was admitted a sizer at Pembroke College. The fact that the extreme to which he has gone in his “Tears of the Edmund Spenser (a rather unusual combination of names?) Muses.” If Malone had wished to point out a dramatist of was an inhabitant of Kingsbury in 1569 is established by that day to whom the words of Spenser could by no possithe muster-bɔok of Warwickshire, preserved in the state- bility fitly apply, he could not have made a better choice paper office, to which we have before had occasion to refer, than when he fixed upon Lyly. However, he labours the but it does not give the ages of the parties. This Edmund contrary position with great pertinacity and considerable Spenser may possibly have been the father of the poet, ingenuity, and it is extraordinary how a man of much read(whose Christian name is no where recorded) and if it were ing, and of sound judgment upon many points of literary the one or the other, it seems to afford a link of connexion, discussion, could impose upon himself and be led so far however slight, between Spenser and Shakespeare, of which from the truth, by the desire to establish a novelty. At all we have had no previous knowledge. Spenser was at least events, he might have contented himself with an endeavour eleven years
older than Shakespeare, but their early resi- to prove the negative as regards Shakespeare, without going dence in the same part of the kingdom may have given the strange length of attempting to make out the affirmarise to an intimacy afterwards? : Spenser must have appre- tive as regards Lyly. ciated and admired the genius of Shakespeare, and the au- We do not for an instant admit the right of any of Shakethor of “The Tears of the Muses," at the age of thirty- speare's predecessors or contemporaries to the tribute of seven, may have paid a merited tribute to his young friend Spenser ; but Malone might have made out a case for any of twenty-six.
of them with more plausibility than for Lyly. Greene was The Edmund Spenser of Kingsbury may have been en-, a writer of fertile fancy, but choked and smothered by the tirely a different person, of a distinct family, and perhaps overlaying of scholastic learning : Kyd was a man of strong we are disposed to lay too much stress upon a mere coinci- natural parts, and a composer of vigorous lines: Lodge was a dence of names; but we may be forgiven for clinging to poet of genius, though not in the department of the drama: the conjecture that he may have been the author of "The Peele had an elegant mind, and was a smooth and agreeaFaerie Queene," and that the greatest romantic poet of this ble versifier; while Marlowe was gifted with a soaring and country was upon terms of friendship and cordiality with a daring spirit, though unchecked by a well-regulated taste: the greatest dramatist of the world. This circumstance, but all had more nature in their dramas than Lyly, who with which we were unacquainted when we wrote the In- generally chose classical or mythological subjects, and dealt troduction to “A Midsummer-Night's Dream,” may appear with those subjects with a wearisome monotony of style, to give new point, and a more certain application, to the with thoughts quaint, conceited, and violent, and with an well-remembered lines of that drama (Act v. sc. i.) in which utter absence of force and distinctness in his characterizaShakespeare has been supposed to refer to the death of tion. Spensers, and which may have been a subsequent insertion, It is not necessary to enter farther into this part of the for the sake of repaying by one poet a debt of gratitude to question, because, we think, it is now established that Spenthe other.
ser's lines might apply to Shakespeare as regards the date Without taking into consideration what may have been of their publication, and indisputably applied with most lost, if we are asked what we think it likely that Shake- felicitous exactness to the works he has left behind him. speare had written in and before 1591, we should answer, With regard to the lines which state, that Willy that he had altered and added to three parts of “ Henry
" Doth rather choose to sit in idle Cell, VI.,” that he had written, or aided in writing, “ Titus An
Than so hiinselfe to mockerie to sell," dronicus,” that he had revived and amended " The Comedy of Errors,” and that he had composed “ The Two Gentle- we have already shown that in 1589 there must have been men of Verona,” and “ Love's Labour's Lost.”. Thus, look- some compulsory cessation of theatrical performances, ing only at his extant works, we see that the eulogy of which affected not only offending, but unoffending compaSpenser was well warranted by the plays Shakespeare, at nies : hence the certificate, or more properly remonstrance, that early date, had produced.
of the sixteen sharers in the Blackfriars. The choir-boys If the evidence upon this point were even more scanty, of St. Paul's were silenced for bringing “matters of state we should be convinced that by “our pleasant Willy," Spen- and religion” on their stage, when they introduced Martin ser meant William Shakespeare, by the fact that such a Mar-prelate into one of their dramas: and the players of character as he gives could belong to no other dramatist of the Lord Admiral and Lord Strange were prohibited from the time. Greene can have no pretensions to it, nor Lodge, acting, as far as we can learn, on a similar ground. The inpor Kyd, nor Peele; Marlowe had never touched comedy; terdiction of performances by the children of Paul's was but if these have no title to the praise that they had mocked persevered in for about ten years; and although the public nature and imitated truth, the claim put in by Malone for companies (after the completion of some inquiries by comLyly is little short of absurd. Lyly, was, beyond dispute, missioners specially appointed) were allowed again to folthe most artificial and affected writer of his day: his low their vocation, there can bé no doubt that there was a dramas have nothing like nature or truth in them; and if it temporary suspension of all theatrical exhibitions in Loncould be established that Spenser and Lyly were on the don. This suspension commenced a short time before most intimate footing, even the exaggerate admiration of Spenser wrote his “ Tears of the Muses," in which he the fondest friendship could hardly have carried Spenser to notices the silence of Shakespeare.
1 And belonging to no other family at that time, as far as our re- epigram, attributed to Spenser, may have been occasioned by the searches have extended. It has been too hastily concluded that the obstruction by the Lord Treasurer of some additional proof of the Spenser whom Turberville addressed from Russia, in some epistles Queen's admiration for the author of “The Faerie Queene." Fuller printed at the end of his " Tragical Tales,” 1587, was not the poet. first published the anecdote in his." Worthies,” 1662; but sixty years Taking Wood's representation, that these letters were written as earlier, and within a very short time after the death of Spenser, the early as 1569, it is still very possible that the author of "The Faerie story was current, for we find the lines in Manninghain's Diary, Queene" was the person to whom they were sent: he was a very | (Harl. MS. 5353) under the date of May 4, 1602: they are thus introyoung man, it is true, but perhaps not quite so young as has been duced : imagined
" When her Majesty had given order that Spenser should have a 2 Nobody has been able even to speculate where Spenser was at reward for his poems, but Spenser could have nothing, he presented school ;--possibly at Kingsbury. Drayton was also a Warwickshire her with these verses :
“It pleased your Grace upon a time 3 Differences of opinion, founded upon discordances of contempo
To grant me reason for my rhyme; raneous, or nearly contemporaneous, representations, have prevailed
But from that time until this season. respecting the extreme poverty of Spenser at the time of his death.
I heard of neither rhyme nor reason." There is no doubt that he had a pension of 501. a year (at least 2501. of our present money) from the royal bounty, which probably he The wording differs slightly from Fuller's copy. We add the folreceived to the last. "At the same time we think there is much plau- lowing epigram upon the death of Spenser, also on the authority of sibility in the story that Lord Burghley stood in the way of some Manningham :special pecuniary gift from Elizabeth. The Rev. H. J. Todd disbe
" In Spenserum. lieves it, and in his "Life of Spenser" calls it"a calumny," on the
Famous alive, and dead, here is the odds foundation of the pension, without considering, perhaps, that the
Then god of poets, now poet of the gods."
We have no means of ascertaining how long the order, gone there without having left behind him any distinct inhibiting theatrical performances generally, was persevered record of the fact. At the date to which we are now adin; bụt the plague broke out in London in 1692, and in the verting he might certainly have had a convenient opportuautumn of the year, when the number of deaths was great-nity for doing so, in consequence of the temporary prohibiest, “ the Queen's players"," in their progress round the tion of dramatic performances in London. country, whither they wandered when thus prevented from acting in the metropolis, performed at Chesterton, near Cambridge, to the great annoyance of the heads of the university
CHAPTER VIII. It was at this juncture, probably, if indeed he ever were in that country, that Shakespeare visited Italy. Mr. C. Death of Robert Greene in 1592, and publication of his Armitage Brown, in his very clever, and in many respects " Groatsworth of Wit,” by H. Chettle.“ Greene's address original work, “ Shakespeare's Autobiographical Poems,"
to Marlowe, Lodge, and Peele, and his envious mention of has maintained the affirmative with great confidence, and has
Shakespeare. Shakespeare's offence at Chettle, and the brought into one view all the interval evidence afforded by
apology of the latter in his “ Kind-heart's Dream." The
character of Shakespeare there given. Second allusion by the productions of our great dramatist. External evidence
Spenser to Shakespeare in “ Colin Clout's come home there is none, since not even a tradition of such a journey
again,”' 1594. The gentle Shakespeare." Change in the has descended to us. We own that the internal evidence, character of his composition between 1591 and 1594: his in our estimation, is by no means as strong as it appeared
« Richard II." and "Richard III." to Mr. Brown, who has evinced great ingenuity and ability in the conduct of his case, and has made as much as possi- DURING the prevalence of the infectious malady of 1592, ble of his proofs. He dwells, among other things, upon the although not in consequence of it
, died one of the most nofact, that there were no contemporaneous translations of the torious and distinguished of the literary men of the time,tales on which “ The Merchant of Venice” and “ Othello” Robert Greene. He expired on the 3d of September, 1592, are founded; but Shakespeare may have understood as and left behind him a work purporting to have been writmuch Italian as answered his purpose without having gone ten during his last illness : it was published a few months to Venice. For the same reason we lay no stress upon the afterwards by Henry Chettle, a fellow dramatist, under the recently-discovered fact, (not known when Mr. Brown title of “A Groatsworth of Wit, bought with a Million of wrote) that Shakespeare constructed his “ Twelfth Night” Repentance,” bearing the date of 1592, and preceded by an with the aid of one or two Italian comedies ; they may address from Greene “ To those Gentlemen, his quondam have found their way into England, and he may have read acquaintance, who spend their wits in making Plays.” Here them in the original language. That Shakespeare was ca- we meet with the second notice of Shakespeare, not indeed pable of translating Italian sufficiently for his own pur- by name, but with such a near approach to it, that nobody poses, we are morally certain ; but we think that if he had can entertain a moment's doubt that he was intended. It travelled to Venice, Verona, or Florence, we should have is necessary to quote the whole passage, and to observe, had more distinct and positive testimony of the fact in his before we do so, that Greene is addressing himself particuworks than can be adduced from them.
larly to Marlowe, Lodge, and Peele, and urging them to Other authors of the time have left such evidence behind break off all connexion with players' :-“ Base minded men them as cannot be disputed. Lyly tells us so distinctly in all three of you, if by my misery ye be not warned; more than one of his pieces, and Rich informs us thať he unto none of you, like me, sought those burs to cleave; became acquainted with the novels he translated on the those puppets, I mean, that speak from our mouths, those other side of the Alps : Daniel goes the length of letting anticks garnished in our colours. Is it not strange that I, us know where certain of his sonnets were composed to whom they all have been beholding ; is it not like that Lodge wrote some of his tracts abroad: Nash gives us the you, to whom they have all been beholding, shall (were ye places where he met particular persons; and his friend in that case that I am now) be both of them at once forGreene admits his obligations to Italy and Spain, whither saken? Yes, trust them not; for there is an upstart crow, he had travelled early in life in pursuit ofʻletters. In truth, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger's heart at that period and afterwards, there seems to have been a wrapp'd in a player's hide, supposes he is as well able prevailing rage for foreign travel, and it extended itself to to bombast our blank-verse, as the best of you: and, being mere actors, as well as to poets ; for we know that William an absolute Johannes Fac-totum, is, in his own conceit, Kempe was in Rome in 16012, during the interval between the only Shake-scene in a country. O! that I might enthe time when, for some unexplained reason, he quitted the treat your rare wits to be employed in more profitable company of the Lord Chamberlain's players, and joined courses, and let these apes imitate your past excellence, that of the Lord Admirall. Although we do not believe and never more acquaint them with your admired inventhat Shakespeare ever was in Italy, we admit that we are tions.” without evidence to prove a negative; and he may have The chief and obvious purpose of this address is to in
1. They consisted of the company under the leadership of Lawrence register of St. Saviour's, Southwark, Chalmers found an entry, dated Dutton, one of the two associations acting at this period under the Nov. 2, 1603, of the burial of "William Kempe, a man. Queen's name. Both were unconnected with the Lord Chambers were doubtless many men of the common names of William Kempe; lain's servants.
and the William Kempe, who had acted Dogberry, Peter, &c., was 2 See Mr. Halliwell's “ Ludus Coventriæ" (printed for the Shake- certainly alive in 1605, and had by that date rejoined the Lord Chamspeare Society), p. 410. Rowley, in his “Search for Money," speaks berlain's servantes, then called "the King's players. The followof this expedition by Kempe, who, it seems, had wagered a certain ing unnoticed memoranda relating to him are extracted from Henssum of money that he would go to Rome and back in a given num- lowe's Diary : her of days. In the introduction to the reprint of that rare tract by “Lent unto Wm Kempe, the 10 of Marche, 1602, in redy mony, the Percy Society, it is shown that Kempe also danced a morris in twentye shillinges for his necesary uses, the some of xxs. France. These circumstances were unknown to the Rev. A. Dyce, “Lent unto Wm Kempe, the 22 of Auguste, 1602, to buye buckwhen he superintended a republication of Kempe's “Nine Days' ram to make a payer of gyentes hosse, the some of vs. Wonder," 1600, for the Camden Society.
Pd unto the tyerman for mackynge of Wm Kempe's sewt, and 3 It is a new fact that Kempe at any time quitted the company the boyes, the 4 Septembr 1602, some of viijs. 80." playing at the Blackfriars and Globe theatres : it is however indis- 4.We have some doubts of the authenticity of the “Groatsworth putable, and we have it on the authority of Henslowe's Diary, where of Wit,' as a work by Greene. Chettle was a needy dramatist, and payments are recorded to Kempe, and where entries are also made for possibly wrote it in order to avail himself of the high popularity of the expenses
of dresses supplied to him in 1602. These memoranda Greene, then just dead. Falling into some discredit, in consequenco Malone overlooked, when the MS., belonging to Dulwich College, of the publication of it, Chettle re-asserted that it was by Greene, was in his hands; but they may be very important with reference but he admitted that the manuscript from which it was printed was to the dates of some of Shakespeare's plays, and the particular actors in his own hand-writing : this circumstance he explained by stating engaged in them: they also account for the non-appearance of that Greene's copy was so illegible that he was obliged to transcribo Kempe's name in the royal license granted in May, 1603, to the com- it: "it was ill-written," says Chettle, “as Greene's hand was none pany to which he had belonged. Mr. Dyce attributes the omission of the best;" and therefore he re-wrote it. of Kempe's name in that instrument to his death, because, in the
duce Marlowe, Lodge, and Peele to cease to write for the made no apology, while to Shakespeare he offered all the etage ; and, in the course of his exhortation, Greene bitterly amends in his power, inveighs against “an upstart crow," who had availed him- His apology to Shakespeare is contained in a tract called zelf of the dramatic labours of others, who imagined him- “ Kind-heart's Dream,” which was published without date, self able to write as good blank-verse as any of his con- but as Greene expired on 3d September, 1592, and Chettle temporaries, who was a Johannes Fac-totum, and who, in tells us in "Kind-hearts Dream,” that Greene died “about his own opinion, was “ the only SHAKE-SCENE in a country.” three months” before, it is certain that “Kind-heart's All this is clearly levelled at Shakespeare, under the pur- Dream.” came out prior to the end of 1592, as we now calposely-perverted name of Shake-scene, and the words, culate the year, and about three months before it expired,
Tiger's heart wrapp'd in a player's hide," are a parody according to the reckoning of that period. The whole pasupon a line in a historical play, (most likely by Greene) sage relating to Marlowe and Shakespeare is highly inter"O, tiger's heart wrapp'd in a woman's hide," from which esting, and we therefore extract it entire.Shakespeare had taken his “ Henry VI.” part ü.' From hence it is evident that Shakespeare, near the end
“ About three months since died M. Robert Greene, leavof 1592, had established such a reputation, and was so im- his Groatsworth of Wit, in which a letter, written to divers
ing many papers in sundry booksellers’ hands : among others portant a rival of the dramatists, who, until he came for- play-makers, is offensively by one or two of them taken; and ward, had kept undisputed possession of the stage, as to ex. because on the dead they cannot be avenged, they wilfully cite the envy and enmity of Greene, even during his last and forge in their conceits a living author, and after tossing it to fatal illness. It also, we think, establishes another point not and fro, no remedy but it must light on me. How I nave, all hitherto adverted to, viz. that our great poet possessed such the time of my conversing in printing, hindered the bitter invariety of talent, that, for the purposes of the company of veighing against scholars, it hath been very well known : and which he was a member, he could do anything that he how in that I dealt, I can sufficiently prove. With neither might be called upon to perform : he was the Johannes Fac-of them (Marlowe] I care not if I never be: the other, (Shake
of them, that take offence, was I acquainted; and with oue totum of the association : he was an actor, and he was a speare] whom at that time I did not so much spare, as since I writer of original plays, an adapter and improver of those wish I had, for that, as I have moderated the heat of living already in existence, (some of them by Greene, Marlowe, writers, and might have used my own discretion (especially Lodge, or Peele) and no doubt he contributed prologues or in such a case, the author being dead) that I did not I am as epilogues, and inserted scenes, speeches or passages on any sorry as if the original fault had been my fault; because myHaving his ready assistance, the self have seen his demeanour no less civil
, than he excellent Lord Chamberlain's servants required few other contribu- in the quality he professes : besides, divers of worship have tions from rival dramatists? : Shakespeare was the Johan- reported his uprightness of dealing, which argues his honesty, nes Fac-totum who could turn his hand to any thing con- the first, [Marlowe] whose learning I reverence, and at the
and his facetious grace in writing, that approves his art. For nected with his profession, and who, in all probability, had perusing of Greene's book struck out what then in conscience thrown men like Greene, Lodge, and Peele, and even Mar- I thought he in some displeasure writ, or had it been true, lowe himself, into the shade. In our view, therefore, the yet to publish it was intolerable, him I would wish to use me quotation we have made from the “ Groatsworth of Wit" | no worse than I deserve." proves more than has been usually collected from it.
It was natural and proper that Shakespeare should take The accusation of Greene against Marlowe had reference offence at this gross and public attack: that he did there is to the freedom of his religious opinions, of which it is not no doubt, for we are told so by Chettle himself, the avowed necessary here to say more: the attack upon Shakespeare editor of the “Groatsworth of Wit" he does not indeed we have already inserted and observed upon. In Chettle's mention Shakespeare, but he designates him so intelligibly apology to the latter, one of the most noticeable points is that there is no room for dispute. Marlowe, also, and not the tribute he pays to our great dramatist's abilities as an without reason, complained of the manner in which Greene actor, “his demeanour no less civil, than he excellent in had spoken of him in the same work, but to him Chettle the quality he professes." the word " quality” was applied,
at that date, peculiarly and technically to acting, and the 1 See this point more fully illustrated in the Introduction to quality” Shakespeare “ professed” was that of an actor. " Henry VI.” part iii. 2 At this date Peele had relinquished his connection with the com- and admitted, while “his uprightness of dealing” is attested,
“ His facetious grace in writing8 ” is separately adverted to, paný occupying the Blackfriars theatre, to which as will be remembered, he was attached in 1589. How far the rising genius of Shake- not only by Chettle's own experience, but by the evidence of speare, and his increased utility and importance, had contributed to
“ divers of worship.” Thus the amends made to Shakethe withdrawal of Peele, and to his junction with the rival association acting under the name of the Lord Admiral
, it is impossible to speare for the envious assault of Greene shows most decidetermine. We have previously adverted to this point.
sively the high opinion entertained of him, towards the 3 There were not separate impressions of “ Kind-heart's Dream” close of 1592, as an actor, an author, and a mano. in 1592, but the only three copies known vary in some minute par- We have already inserted Spenser's warm, but not less ticulars : thus, with reference to these words, one impression at Oxford reads,
“his fatious.grace in writing," and the other, correctly, as judicious and well-merited, eulogium of Shakespeare in we have given it. “Kind-heart's Dream” has been re-printed,'by, 1591, when in his “Tears of the Muses” he addresses him the Percy Society, from the third copy in the King's Library at the as Willy, and designates him British Museum.
4 More than ten years afterwards, Chettle paid another tribute to Shakespeare, under the name of Melicert, in his “England's Mourn
" that same gentle spirit, from whose pen ing Garment:" the author is reproaching the leading poets of the
Large streames of honnie and sweete nectar flowe." day, Daniel, Warner, Chapman, Jonson, Drayton, Sackville, Dekker, &c., for not writing in honour of Queen Elizabeth, who was just If we were to trust printed dates, it would seem that in dead : he thus addresses Shakespeare :
the same year the author of "The Faerie Queene” gave “ Nor doth the silver-tongued Melicert
another proof of his admiration of our great dramatist: Drop from his honied Muse one sable tear,
we allude to a passage in “ Colin Clout's come home again," To mourn her death that graced his desert,
which was published with a dedication dated 27th DecemAnd to his lays open'd her royal ear. Shepherd, remember our Elizabeth,
ber, 1591 ; but Malone proved, beyond all cavil, that for And sing' her Rape, done by that Tarquin death." 1591 we ought to read 1594, the printer having made an exThis passage is important, with reference to the Royal encourage-traordinary blunder. In that poem (after the author has ment given to Shakespeare, in consequence of the approbation of his spoken of many living and dead poets, some by their names, plays at Court: Elizabeth had “graced his desert," and "open'd her as Alabaster and Daniel, and others by fictitious and fanciroyal ear” to “ his lays." Chettle did not long survive the publicam ful appellations”) he inserts these lines :tion of “ England's Mourning Garment" in 1603 : he was dead in 1607, as he is spoken of in Dekker's “ Knight's Conjuring,” of that year, (there is an impression also without date, and possibly a few 5 Malone, with a good deal of research and patience, goes over all months earlier) as a very corpulent ghost in the Elysian Fields. He the pseudo-names in “Colin Clout's come home again," applying had been originally a printer, then became a bookseller, and, finally, each to poets of the time; but how uncertain and unsatisfactory any a pamphleteer and dramatist. He was, in various degrees, concerned attempt of the kind must necessarily be may be illustrated in a in about forty plays.
single instance. Malone refers the following lines to Arthur Golding: is there perhaps rather referring to his style of con
"And there, though last not least, is Ætion;
The dramas written by Shakespeare up to 1594. New downMalone takes unnecessary pains to establish that this pas- ments relating to his father, under the authority of Sir sagę applies to Shakespeare, although he pertinaciously Thomas Lucy, Sir Fulk Greville, &c. Recusants in Stratdenied that “our pleasant Willy” of “The Tears of the
ford-upon-Avon. John Shakespeare employed to value Muses " was intended for him. We have no doubt on either
the goods of H. Field. Publication of " Venus and Adopoint; and it is singular, that it should never have struck
during the plague in 1593. Dedication of it, and of
“Lucrece,' 1594, to the Earl of Southampton. Bounty of Malone that the same epithet is given in both cases to the
the Earl to Shakespeare, and coincidence between the date person addressed, and that epithet one which, at a subse
of the gift and the building of the Globe theatre on the quent date, almost constantly accompanied the name of Bankside. Probability of the story that Lord SouthampShakespeare. In “The Tears of the Muses” he is called a ton presented Shakespeare with 1000%.
gentle spirit," and in “ Colin Clout's come home again " we are told that,
HAVING arrived at the year 1594, we may take this oppor" A gentler shepherd may no where be found."
tunity of stating which of Shakespeare's extant works, in
our opinion, had by that date been produced. We have alIn the same feeling Ben Jonson calls him“ my gentle Shake- ready mentioned the three parts of “ Henry VI.,” « Titus speare,” in the noble copy of verses prefixed to the folio of Andronicus," « The Comedy of Errors," « The Two Gentle1623, so that ere long the term became peculiarly applied men of Verona,” and “ Love's Labour's Lost," as in being in to our great and amiable dramatist?. This coincidence of 1591; and in the interval between 1591 and 1594, we aj expression is another circumstance to establish that Spenser prehend, he had added to them “ Richard II.” and “Richard certainly had Shakespeare in his mind when he wrote his III.” Of these, the four last were entirely the work of s Tears of the Muses" in 1591, and his “ Colin Clout's come our great dramatist : in the others he more or less availed home again” in 1594. In the latter instance the whole de himself of previous dramas, or possibly, of the assistance scription is nearly as appropriate as in the earlier, with the of contemporaries. addition of a line, which has a clear and obvious reference We must now return to Stratford-upon-Avon, in order to to the patronymic of our poet: his Muse, says Spenser, advert to a very different subject. "Doth, like himself, heroically sound."
A document has been recently discovered in the State These words alone may be taken to show, that between the religious tenets
, or worldly circumstances, of Shake
Paper Office, which is highly interesting with respect to 1591 and 1594 Shakespeare had somewhat changed the speare's father in 15922. Sir Thomas Lucy, Sir Fulk Grecharacter of his compositions : Spenser having applauded ville, Sir Henry Goodere, Sir John Harrington, and four him, in his “ Tears of the Muses," for unrivalled talents in others, having been appointed commissioners to make in comedy, (a department of the drama to which Shakespeare quiries « touching all such persons ” as were “jesuits, semihad, perhaps, at that date especially, though not exclusively, nary priests, fugitives
, or recusantes,” in the county of War devoted himself) in his “ Colin Clout" spoke of the “ high wick, sent to the Privy Council what they call their “second thought's invention," which then filled Shakespeare's muse, certificate," on the 25th Sept. 15923. 'It is divided into and made her sound as “heroically" as his name. Of his different heads, according to the respective hundreds, pagenius, in a loftier strain of poetry than belonged to comedy, rishes, &c., and each page is signed by them. One of our great dramatist, by the year 1594, must have given these divisions applies to Stratford-upon-Avon, and the resome remarkable and undeniable proofs. In 1591 he had turn of names there is thus introduced : perhaps written his “Love's Labour 's Lost” and “Two Gentlemen of Verona;" but in 1594 he had, no doubt, pro- “ The names of all sutch Recusantes às have bene heartoduced one or more of his great historical plays, his “Rich- fore presented for not cominge monethlie to the ard II.” and “ Richard III.,” both of which, as before re
church, according to her Majesties lawes, and yet are
thought to forbeare the church for debt, and for feare marked, together with “Romeo and Juliet," came from the
of processe, or for some other worse faultes, or for age, press in 1597, though the last in a very mangled, imperfect,
sicknes, or impotencie of bodie." and unauthentic state. One circumstance may be mentioned, as leading to the belief that “Richard IIŤ.” was brought The names which are appended to this introduction are the out in 1594, viz. that in that year an impression of “ The following :True Tragedy of Richard the Third,” (an older play than
"Mr. John Wheeler,
William Bainton, that of Shakespeare) was published, that it might be John Wheeler, his son,
Richard Harrington, bought under the notion that it was the new drama by the
Mr. John Shackspere,
William Flullen, most popular poet of the day, then in a course of repre- Mr. Nicholas Barneshurste, George Bardolphet sentation. It is most probable that “ Richard II.” had been Thomas James, alias Gyles, composed before “Richard III.," and to either or both of them the lines,
and opposite to them, separated by a bracket, we read these
words :6 Whose Muse, full of high thought's invention, Doth, like himself, heroically sound,'
" It is sayd, that these last nine coome not to churche for
feare of processe of debte." will abundantly apply. The difference in the character of Spenser's tributes to Shakespeare in 1591 and 1594 was oc
Here we find the name of “ Mr. John Shakespeare” either casioned by the difference in the character of his produc- as a recusant, or as “forbearing the Church," on account of tions.
the fear of process for debt, or on account of “age, sickness,
or impotency of body," mentioned in the introduction to "And there is old Palemon, free from spite,
the document. The question is, to which cause we are to Whose careful pipe may make the hearers rue; Yet he himself may rued be more right,
attribute his absence; and with regard to process for debt, Who sung so long, until quite hoarse he grew." The passage, in truth, applies to Thomas Churchyard, as he himself 1 In a passage we have already extracted from Ben Jonson's " Disinforms us in his “Pleasant Discourse of Court and Wars, ” 1596 : he coveries," he mentions Shakespeare's "gentle expressions ;" but he
position. complains of neglect, and tells us that the Court is
2 We have to express our best thanks to Mr. Lemon for directing our “The platform where all poets thrive,
attention to this manuscript, and for supplying us with an analysis Save one whose voice is hoarse, they say ; The stage, where time away we drive,
3 The first certificate has not been found in the State Paper Office, As children in a pageant play.”
after the most diligent search. In the same way we might show that Malone was mistaken as to 4 Hence we see that Shakespeare took two names in his "Henry other poets he supposes alluded to by Spenser ; but it would lead us V.” from persons who bore them in his native town. Awdrey was too far out of our way. No body has disputed, that by Ætion, the also a female appellation known in Stratford, as appears elsewhere in author of “ Colin Clout" meant Shakespeare.
the same document.
of its contents.