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The wingéd quiristers with divers notes
Sent from their quaint recording pretty throats
On every branch that compasseth our bower,
Without command contenting us each hour:
For arras-hangings and rich tapestry

We have sweet nature's best embroidery:
For thy steel glass, wherein thou wont'st to look
Thy crystal eyes gaze in a crystal brook :

At Court a flower or two did deck thy head,

Now with whole garlands it is circléd;

For what we want in wealth, we have in flowers,

And what we lose in hall, we find in bowers.


The play was first performed in February 1599, shortly, as is probable Historicat before As You Like It, for which it may have afforded hints.

Another set of plays not to be entirely overlooked are the historical, all anonymous. One, Locrine, was attributed to Shakespeare in his lifetime, not, assuredly, on the ground of its merits. Another, Leir, served as the groundwork for one of the greatest of his plays. Of the chronicle dramas from English history, Edward III. is by far the most important, and the underplot of Edward and the Countess of Salisbury has been thought to betray the hand of Shakespeare. Shakespeare is but little indebted to the early plays on Henry V. and Richard III., but he has observed the dramatic economy of The Troublesome Reign of King John very exactly, although the diction is almost entirely his own. Although the language of the old play is in general but poor, it has passages suggesting that a superior writer may have had a hand in it. Such is the delineation of Fauconbridge's hesitation between the solid advantage of being acknowledged the son of one's reputed father and the lustre of illegitimate royal birth:

Methinks I hear a hollow echo sound,

That Philip is the son unto a king.

The whistling leaves upon the trembling trees
Whistle in concert I am Richard's son;

The bubbling murmur of the water's fall

Records Philippus Regis Filius.

Birds in their flight make music with their wings,

Filling the air with glory of my birth:

Birds, bubbles, leaves, and mountains' echoes all
Ring in my ear that I am Richard's son.

Fond man! ah, whither art thus carriéd ?

How are thy thoughts enwrapt in honour's heaven,
Forgetful what thou art, and whence thou camest?
Thy father's land cannot maintain these thoughts:
These thoughts are far unfitting Fauconbridge ;
And well they may, for why? this mounting mind
Doth soar too high to stoop to Fauconbridge.

It remains to mention a play differing in subject and style from any of the rest. This is The Misfortunes of Arthur, chiefly by Thomas Hughes of Gray's

1 In all the editions this soliloquy is continued by six more lines, attributed to Fauconbridge. It seems to us clear that the first two are spoken by John, urging Fauconbridge to make up his mind and announce his decision without further ado; and the remainder by Lady Fauconbridge, dissuading him from yielding up his estate.


Inn, and performed by members of the Inn before Queen Elizabeth in February 1588. It is remarkable, as shown by Mr. Cunliffe, for the great indebtedness of the author to Seneca, and possesses considerable literary merit, but none of the requisites of popularity. The contrast between the world-weary Arthur, sated with battle and victory, and almost ready to resign his crown to his usurping kinsman, and the fierce eager ambition of Mordred, is original and impressive.



WHEN the Greeks spoke of Homer, they did not always name him. They Shakespeare said the poet, certain that no vestige of doubt could exist as to the application as world-poet of the description. Englishmen might thus speak of Shakespeare with no less security from misapprehension. In a literature eminent beyond most for the multitude of its great poets, many of whom may have excelled Shakespeare in this or that branch of art, not one could be selected as a possible rival to Shakespeare, and for this plain reason, that their excellence is particular, and his is universal. There is nothing within the compass' of poetry in which he has not either achieved supremacy or shown that supremacy lay within his power; there is no situation of human fortune or emotion of the human bosom for which he has not the right word; if he cannot be described as of imagination all compact, it is only because his observation is still more extraordinary. His art is as consummate as his genius, and save when he wrote or planned in haste, impeccable. Infallibility may equally be predicated of the other two supreme poets of the world, Homer and Dante, but the restriction of their spheres forbids any claim to Shakespeare's distinguishing characteristic of universality. The knowledge, and by consequence the sympathy, of their periods was narrow in comparison with his; he was in contact with a thousand things of which they had no cognisance; while, since Shakespeare's day, human interests and activities have so greatly multiplied that, unless civilisation should retrograde, the occurrence of another universal poet may well be deemed impossible.

This overawing vastness of Shakespeare renders it almost impossible to obtain a point of view from which he can be contemplated as a whole. The critic will do best to gradually wind into his subject by a recital of the ordinary, and in Shakespeare's case the obscure, circumstances of ancestry and parentage.


That the apparent etymology of the surname Shakespeare is also the Shakespeare's correct one is proved by the existence of an Italian representative, Crolla- family hislanza, which cannot possibly be a corruption of anything, but must have been bestowed upon the original bearer from some connection between him and the wielding of the spear. A similar cause would originate in England the name Shakespeare, which is of considerable antiquity in the south midland counties. Unfortunately, the earliest record of its occurrence discovered so

far is one establishing that the bearer, William " Saxspere" of Clopton in Gloucestershire, a hamlet about seven miles south of Stratford-on-Avon, was hanged in 1248. Another early Shakespeare is recorded as a felon, and another as a perturber of the King's peace. It may have been some association of this description that in 1487 induced an Oxford scholar and incipient Don, not gifted with the faculty of prevision, to change his name of Shakespeare into Saunders, "because it was thought low (vile)." Others were less sensitive; the name is found from Penrith in the north to Brixton in the south; and the industry of Mrs. Stopes has unearthed an amazing number of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Shakespeares, principally in War

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wickshire. There, in 1557, John Shakespeare, formerly of Snitterfield, and probably son of Richard Shakespeare, yeoman of that village, but himself of Stratford-on-Avon, married at Aston Cantlowe, Mary, daughter of Robert Arden, a farmer, but sprung from a good Warwickshire family. To them in 1564, and as tradition declares, on April 23, the day dedicated to England's patron saint, was born WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. The entry of baptism is on April 26.

At the time of Shakespeare's birth his father was a prosperous tradesman, who had filled various municipal offices, including that of chamberlain to the borough. In 1565 he was alderman, in 1568 bailiff, and, in the light of things to come, it is most interesting to learn that in that capacity he was the first townsman of Stratford to accord an official welcome to players, the

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