William Shakespeare, an English dramatist, born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, in April, 1564, died there, April 23, 1616. The exact date of his birth is not known; but as there is a tradition that he died on its anniversary, and as the parish record of Stratford shows that he was baptized April 26, 1564, and it was common at that period to baptize children on the third day after their birth, the 23d of that month has, with much probability, been assumed as the day of his birth. His father was John Shakespeare, probably the son of Richard Shakespeare, a well-to-do farmer of Snitterfield, 3 m. from Stratford. Traces have been discovered of the family's existence in various parts of that country as early as the 14th century. John Shakespeare was a substantial yeoman, who is called, in parish record and tradition, successively a glover, a yeoman, a gentleman and freeholder, a butcher, and a wool stapler or wholesale dealer in wool. He seems to have been a man of intelligence and character; for he passed through the offices of ale-taster, burgess, constable, affee-ror, chamberlain, alderman, and high bailiff, to that of chief alderman and ex officio justice of the peace. Like many others of even higher rank than his at that time, he could not write his own name.
He married Mary Arden, the youngest daughter of Robert Arden of Wil-mecote, a hamlet partly in the parish of Stratford. The Ardens were of the acknowledged gentry of Warwickshire; their family was ancient, and of some note in the county. Robert Arden was a considerable landed proprietor, although his daughter Mary inherited from him only an estate of about 54 acres, called Ashbies, at Wilmecote, and a small interest in some other land and tenements near by, with £6 13s. 4d. in money, which was equal to about £40 at this time. The marriage took place in the latter part of 1557. William Shakespeare was the third child and the first son of a family of eight. He had three brothers, none of whom attained any distinction. In his infancy and early youth his father's circumstances were easy. He owned two houses, each having a garden and one a croft attached to it; he rented a small farm, and bought at least two more houses with gardens and orchards. The house in Henley street, Stratford, in which it may safely be assumed that he lived from his marriage, if not five years before it, until his death, was a pretty and commodious dwelling. It was divided into two, and allowed to go to ruin in the latter half of the 17th century.
There was an endowed grammar school at Stratford, among the pupils at which we may safely assume, having the support of tradition, was the son of the high bailiff and chief alderman of the town. What amount of learning Shakespeare acquired before he entered active life has been much disputed. Certain critics, the most prominent of whom are Charles Gildon and John Upton, have asserted for him a very considerable scholarship; others, at the head of whom is Dr. Richard Farmer, with much ingenuity and some reason, argue that he was ignorant of any language but that of which he was the greatest master. But his friend Ben Jonson, himself a very thorough and laborious, if not a very profound or variously learned scholar, said that Shakespeare had "small Latin and less Greek;" from which statement we may reasonably infer that he knew enough of the former language to master such passages of it as he encountered in the course of discursive reading (and in his day these were many), though not enough to read Latin authors for pleasure, and that he had the benefit of some instruction in the latter tongue. His notably frequent use of Latin derivatives in their radical sense favors this view. Of Italian and French he seems to have acquired some knowledge in his youth or early manhood.
Shortly previous to 1578 John Shakespeare's affairs became much embarrassed. In that year he mortgaged his property; his assessments by the corporation were reduced to one third of those paid by other aldermen; he was next excused from paying anything for the relief of the poor; and finally an execution against him was returned "No effects," and another Stratford burgess was elected in his place, because he had long neglected to attend the "halls" or corporation meetings. He also, because he feared process for debt, which could then be executed on Sunday, remained away from church, and thus incurred suspicion of nonconformity. He however contrived to retain possession of his house in Henley street. Thus straitened in his means of livelihood, John Shakespeare would naturally seek to make his eldest son contribute something to the support of the family; and tradition tells us that he labored first with his father as a wool stapler and a butcher, and afterward as a schoolmaster and an attorney's clerk. The story that he was a butcher rests only on the relation of an old parish clerk, born too late to have any personal knowledge of the matter.
That Shakespeare had more than a layman's knowledge of law, his plays afford evidence, the weight of which cannot be dissipated by the plea of the universality of his genius. Upon the authority of a tradition recorded by the Rev. Richard Davies, who died in 1708, Shakespeare was "much given to all unlucki-nesse in stealing venison and rabbits." In his rovings he had fallen in with Anne Hathaway, the daughter of Richard Hathaway, a yeoman of Shottery, a village near Stratford. This young woman, who was eight years older than Shakespeare, bore a daughter in May, 1583, of which he assumed the paternity by marrying the mother at some time after Nov. 28, 1582, at which date the bishop of Worcester granted a license for the marriage of "William Shag-spere one thone partie, and Anne Hathwey of Stratford in the dioces of Worcester, maiden," upon "once asking of the bannes," the bridegroom being at that time 18 and the bride 26 years old. Thus did Shakespeare find himself, the son of a ruined man, without a settled occupation, and lacking three years of his majority, a prospective father and the husband of a woman old enough to be his father's wife.
We should not lightly pass over circumstances which he remembered long and sadly, as we learn from his sonnets, and by a passage in one of his plays ("Twelfth Night," act ii. sc. 4), written 18 years after, in the height of his reputation and his prosperity. How and where he lived with his wife, whether in Stratford or Shottery, we do not know. Nor has it been discovered how long he lived with her; but Hamnet and Judith, twin children of William and Anne Shakespeare, were baptized at Stratford, Feb. 20, 1584-'5; after which we hear of no other offspring of this ill-starred union. - We know nothing positively of Shakespeare from his birth until his marriage, and from that date nothing but the birth of his three children until we find him an actor in London about the year 1589. Play-going was a favorite diversion in the days of Elizabeth, and in fact may be regarded as a means of popular amusement and instruction, which then supplied the place of the popular lecture, the light literature, and the newspaper of our day. The best players performed of course at London; but strolling bands went through the rural districts, and even the metropolitan companies sometimes travelled into the provinces.
During Shakespeare's boyhood plays had often been performed at Stratford; and there is some reason to believe that several of his seniors among the youth of Stratford had gone upon the London stage. Besides his urgent need, his consciousness of dramatic ability, and his certainty of finding acquaintances in the London theatres, another motive has been furnished him by tradition. It is said that his poaching propensities led him to steal a deer from Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, near Stratford, and that, being harshly treated by the knight, he revenged himself by a lampooning ballad which he stuck upon the gates of the park he had violated. The ballad, as it has come down to us, is coarse, though clever; it irritated Sir Thomas so much that he redoubled his persecution of Shakespeare, and being the most important man in that vicinity, he drove the poor lad out of Stratford. This story, first told by Rowe, on the information of Betterton the actor, in "Some Account of the Life of William Shakespeare," prefixed to his edition of the poet's works, is sustained by independent tradition.
It has been attacked with vigor and ingenuity by those who would fain have the world believe that the boy Shakespeare neither stole deer nor wrote coarse lampoons; but its credibility has never been materially impaired, and it is certainly supported by the sharp cut at Sir Thomas Lucy in the opening of the first scene of "The Merry Wives of Windsor." Shakespeare probably arrived in London in 1585 or 1586; the earlier date best according with all the facts and circumstances to be considered. One tradition says that he was received into the company at first in a very mean rank; and another that his earliest position was that of "a servitor," which is probable. Young players were then apprenticed; he would have been expected to begin as an apprentice; and apprentices were then called servants. Tradition also says that he began his London life by holding horses at the playhouse doors, a story which has neither probability nor concurrent testimony to support it. Be this as it may, his rise to eminence was rapid; though not as an actor, for he seems never to have risen above the position known on the French stage as "general utility." We are tolerably well informed by contemporary writers as to the performances of the eminent actors of that time, but of Shakespeare's we read nothing.
There is a tradition that he played the Ghost in his own "Hamlet;" and it is recorded by Oldys that one of his younger brothers, who lived to a great age, when questioned in his last days about William, said that he could remember nothing of his performances but seeing him "act a part in one of his own comedies, wherein, being to personate a decrepit old man, he wore a long beard, and appeared so weak and drooping, and unable to walk, that he was forced to be supported and carried by another person to a table, at which he was seated among some company, and one of them sung a song." If this story may be believed, we know that Shakespeare played Adam in "As You Like It." There is a tradition also that he played kingly parts, for which his fine person and graceful bearing fitted him. "We learn from Ben Jonson's own edition of his comedies (folio, 1616) that Shakespeare played a principal part in "Every Man in his Humour" when it was first performed in 1598, and also in "Sejanus" when it was brought out in 1603; but what characters he sustained in these plays we do not know. Shakespeare's pen seems to have been soon employed, but not at first in purely original composition. In his time there was an inordinate craving for new plays.
Public taste was rapidly improving; and plays the subjects of which were popular were rewritten again and again to meet the demands of an advancing standard of criticism. Young lawyers and poets produced plays rapidly. Each theatrical company not only "kept a poet," but had three or four in its pay; and there was hardly a theatre which could not boast of as many of its actors who could write as well as act. There was a never-ceasing writing of new plays and furbishing up of old ones. Two, three, and even half a dozen playwrights were employed upon one drama, when haste was necessary for the theatre, or when the junto needed money, which was almost always. It was upon this field of labor that Shakespeare entered; not seeking from it fame, but fortune; not consecrating himself to literature, but working for the wherewithal to return to the Stratford which he had left almost a fugitive to live there like a gentleman, under the very noses of the Lucys. It has been generally believed that Shakespeare on his arrival in London joined at once the company which played at the Blackfriars theatre, known as the lord chamberlain's servants, and that he wrote for no other.
But although there is no doubt that he soon became engaged with that company, and although it is quite possible that he never played in any other, there seems to be reason for believing that he began his career as a dramatist by writing in company with Robert Greene and Christopher Marlowe, who were already playwrights of established reputation, and who wrote chiefly for a company known as the earl of Pembroke's servants. In conjunction with them he appears to have written a part of the "Taming of a Shrew," of "The First Part of the Contention betwixt the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster," and of "The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York," which he afterward rewrote alone, and brought out as his own, as "The Taming of the Shrew" and the second and third parts of "King Henry VI." He soon obtained that degree of eminence which insures the enmity of surprised, eclipsed, and envious contemporaries. The first public notice of him that has yet been discovered is the bitter sneer of an unworthy, dying, disappointed rival.
Robert Greene, writing from the fitting deathbed of a grovelling debauchee, warns three of his literary companions to shun intercourse with actors, whom he styles "puppits that speake from our mouths, those anticks garnished in our colours." He goes on to say: "Yes, trust them not: for there is an upstart crow beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygres heart wrapped in a players hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you; and beeing an absolute Johannes Fac-totum, is, in his own conceyt, the only Shake-scene in a countrey." The allusion here to Shakespeare is unmistakable; the words "Tygres heart," etc, are slightly altered from a line which is found both in the "Third Part of King Henry VI." and in "The True Tragedy;" and the former play is plainly indicated as one of those in which the upstart crow is beautified with the feathers of Greene and of the friends whom he address-es, Marlowe, Lodge, and Peele. The letter in which this exhortation occurs was published in 1592, shortly after the writer's death, under the direction of his friend Henry Chettle. It gave offence to Marlowe and Shakespeare, as we know from a pamphlet published by Chettle three months after, in which he says: "With neither of them that take offence was I acquainted, and with one of them [Marlowe] I care not if I never be; the other [Shakespeare] ... I am as sorry as if the original fault had beene my fault, because myselfe have seene his demeanor nor lesse civill than he exclent in the qualitie he professes; besides divers of worship have reported his uprightnes of dealing which argues his honesty, and his facetious grace in writting that approves his art." Thus we find Shakespeare at the age of 28, only between six and seven years after his departure from Stratford, in possession of the regard of his equals, the respect of his superiors, the admiration of the public, and the consequent jealous hate of his inferiors.
From this time to the end of his career in London our knowledge of his life is confined almost exclusively to the production of his plays and poems; and the date at which these were written has in most cases to be inferred or conjectured. Before this time, in addition to his share in the old plays already named, and perhaps some others which are lost, including an older form of "The First Part of King Henry VI.," he had quite surely written "Titus Andronicus," "Love's Labor's Lost," "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," "The Comedy of Errors," and perhaps a part of an early and unpublished form of "Romeo and Juliet," and a part of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." In 1593 appeared his first published poem, "Venus and Adonis," in which the glow of youthful ardor is chilled, but not extinguished, by the cold and elaborate style in which, in imitation of the poets most in vogue at that time, he, going thus the way of all young authors, studiously wrote. This poem is filled with evidences of an intimate knowledge and genuine love of nature, and, apart from the attractiveness of its subject, it is not surprising that five editions of it were called for within nine years. It was dedicated to the earl of Southampton, who loved literature and the drama, and encouraged men of letters and even players.
It is said that the poet received from him £1,000 as a free gift. As this sum at that time was equal to about $30,000 in America to-day, the amount has probably been much exaggerated, possibly by the addition of a cipher. Rowe, who first told this story, says that Southampton gave the money that Shakespeare "might go through with a purchase which he heard he had a mind to;" and it has been reasonably conjectured that this purchase was an interest in the company to which Shakespeare attached himself soon after his arrival in London, and in which he became a principal owner. Mr. John Payne Collier produced in 1835, as one of several of a similar nature which he had discovered among the manuscripts of the earl of Ellesmere at Bridgewater house, a certificate dated "Nov'r 18, 1589," in which Shakespeare's name appears as the 12th in a list of 16 "sharers in the Blacke Fryers play-house." This document has been pronounced spurious by some of the most eminent and respectable palaeographists and English scholars in England. If it is genuine, and Shakespeare was indebted to his noble patron for any share in the company, the dedication was an acknowledgment of the gift, and not the contrary. In any case we may be sure that the poem was written some years before it was printed.
In the dedication Shakespeare calls it "the first heir of his invention," and promises his patron to take advantage of all idle hours until he has honored him with some graver labor. In 1594 Shakespeare published "Lucrece," which he also dedicated to Southampton, saying: "The love I dedicate to your lordship is without end. . . . What I have done is yours; what I have to do is yours; being in part all I have devoted yours." Between 1592 and 1596 he probably wrote, and in this order, "Richard III.," "All's Well that Ends Well" (which seems to have been first called "Love's Labor's Won"), "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in its latest form, "King Richard II.," and "The Merchant of Venice." With the two last named plays begin the indications of that mental development of their author which has been called "the middle period" of his genius. "King John," the rewritten "Romeo and Juliet," "The First and Second Parts of King Henry IV.," "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "As You Like It," "Much Ado about Nothing," "King Henry V.," "Twelfth Night," and "Hamlet" (founded probably upon an older play) seem to have succeeded each other rapidly from 1596 to 1600 inclusive. "The Second Part of King Henry IV." is perhaps the most complete existing presentation of his many-sided genius.
It is surpassed in some one respect by several of the comedies and tragedies; but in no other single play does the supremacy of his powers as poet, dramatist, philosopher, wit, and humorist so manifestly appear. In this history the character of Falstaff attains its highest development. The great tragedies were the fruit of the first decade of the 17th century. As several of them were not printed until the publication of their author's collected works after his death, the order of their production is not easily determinable. They, with two comedies, were probably produced in the following order: "Troilus and Cressida," "The Taming of the Shrew," "Measure for Measure," "Othello," "King Lear," "Macbeth," "Julius Cae-sar," "Antony and Cleopatra," "Coriolanus;" but the last named tragedy was not improbably written after 1610. "King Lear," the grandest exhibition of its author's genius, may be safely attributed to the year 1605, when Shakespeare was 40 years old. Between 1610 and 1613 "Cymbeline," "Timon of Athens," "The Winter's Tale," "The Tempest," and "King Henry VIII." were produced; and about the latter year Shakespeare ceased to write.
It is remarkable that among his very latest productions were two plays, in one of which, "The Tempest," he preserves the unities of time and place with classic tenacity, while in the other, "The Winter's Tale," he sets them at naught with a recklessness which has no parallel even in his pages. "Pericles," published in his lifetime as his, shows marks of his latest style, which increase in frequency toward its close; it is doubtless the work of another hand which he undertook to embellish. Of "The Two Noble Kinsmen," published in 1634 as by Fletcher and Shakespeare, there can be hardly a question that he was in part the author; but it was probably an old play to which he made additions, and to which again Fletcher, after Shakespeare's death, put a modifying hand. In addition to the works which have been enumerated, he wrote "A Lover's Complaint," a very charming amatory elegy, which bears the marks of his style in the earlier part of his "middle period;" some minor pieces, which were embodied in a miscellany called "The Passionate Pilgrim;" and his sonnets. These sonnets, though deformed with occasional conceits, far surpass all other poems of their kind in our own language, or perhaps in any other.
To whom they were written, and in whose person, is among the most difficult of unsolved literary problems. They were published in 1609 with a dedication by the publisher to a "Mr. W. H.," whom he styles their "onlie begetter;" and who this begetter was no man has yet been able satisfactorily to show. Most of them are addressed in terms of the warmest endearment to a beautiful young man; many of them reproach, in the words of a man who is wroth with one he loves, a beautiful and faithless woman; a few belong to the class called "occasional." It has been ingeniously argued by Mr. Boaden that the gentleman so unceremoniously addressed by a bookseller as Mr. W. H. was William Herbert, earl of Pembroke; but Chalmers had almost as much reason for his notion that he was Queen Elizabeth in doublet and hose. Conjecture upon this subject has been various and futile; and it has been reasonably supposed, in the words of the Rev. Alexander Dyce, one of the most accomplished, learned, and candid of Shakespeare's commentators, that "most of them were composed in an assumed character, on different subjects and at different times, for the amusement, if not at the suggestion, of the author's intimate associates." This opinion as to their origin is sustained by the first quotation from Francis Meres given below.
But the sonnets themselves forbid us to accept this theory as satisfactory. - Meagre as this record is, compared with the eminence of its subject, we have nearly approached the limits of our knowledge of Shakespeare's life. A century ago George Steevens wrote: "All that is known with any degree of certainty concerning Shakespeare is, that he was born at Stratford-upon-Avon, married and had children there; went to London, where he commenced actor, and wrote poems and plays; returned to Stratford, made his will, died, and was buried." The assiduous researches of 100 years have discovered little more than this. The antiquaries have found his name in a few public documents and private letters, telling of the purchase of lands and tithes, the leasing of houses, and the borrowing of money. The notion for a long time prevailed, and to a certain extent still prevails, that Shakespeare was unappreciated and neglected in his lifetime, and owes his fame to the discovery of his genius by his posthumous critics. The fact is quite otherwise. We have seen what his reputation was both as an author and a man in 1592. His "Venus and Adonis," published in the next year, had run through five editions by 1602. Both it and "Lucrece" are highly extolled by contemporary writers.
Spenser alludes to him in "Colin Clout," written in 1594, as one Whose muse, full of high thought's invention, Doth like himselfe heroically sound.
Francis Meres, in his "Palladis Tamia" (1598), said that "the sweete wittie soul of Ovid lives in mellifluous and honey-tongued Shakespeare; witness his 'Venus and Adonis,' his 'Lucrece,' his sugred sonnets among his private friends." "As Plautus and Seneca are accounted the best for comedy and tragedy among the La-tines, so Shakespeare among the English is the most excellent in both kinds for the stage." And this was before his greatest works were written. Meres adds: "As Epius Stolo said that the Muses would speake with Plautus' tongue, if they would speake Latin, so I say that the Muses would speake with Shakespeare's fine filed phrase if they would speake English." We know, too, that his plays were as attractive to the public as they were satisfactory to those critics who were not his rivals. Leonard Digges, born in 1588, tells us, in verses not published till 1640, that when the audience saw Shakespeare's plays they were ravished and went away in wonder; and that, although Ben Jonson was admired, yet when his best plays would hardly bring enough money to pay for a sea-coal fire, Shakespeare's would fill "cock-pit, galleries, boxes," and scarce leave standing room.
Wealth was the sure result of such success; and so we find that as early as 1597 he had bought a fine mansion in his native town, built originally by Sir Hugh Clopton in the reign of Henry VII., and known as "the great house," and afterward as New Place. It was the largest and best house in Stratford, and as such, when in the possession of Shakespeare's granddaughter, Mrs. Nash, afterward Lady Barnard, was occupied by Queen Henrietta Maria in 1643, during the civil war. In 1597, also, Shakespeare opened a negotiation for the purchase of a part of the lease of the tithes of Stratford, which however was not perfected for some years, when he invested a sum equal to about $13,000 in this public security. He otherwise increased in substance, and, like his own "Justice Shallow," had "land and beeves." In 1596 John Shakespeare obtained from the heralds' college a "confirmation" of an alleged previous grant of arms, in which confirmation it is said that the grantee's "parents and late antecessors" "were for their valiant and faithful services advanced and rewarded of the most prudent prince Henry the Seventh." But no record of such advancement, or of the original grant of arms, has been discovered; and as these allegations were true of William Shakespeare's "antecessors" on the mother's side, it has been reasonably conjectured that the "confirmation" of arms was applied for by John Shakespeare at his son's instance, and procured by his influence.
Tradition tells us that Shakespeare's memory clung to Stratford in the midst of his metropolitan triumphs and successes, and that he visited his family once a year. His townsmen respected and looked up to him, and in some cases leaned confidently upon his good offices in the way of influence and the advancement of money. We know nothing of his intercourse with actors and men of letters in London, save that he won gruff Ben Jonson to say in his "Discoveries:" "I loved the man, and do honor his memory on this side idolatry as much as any." And indeed, according to the tradition furnished by Betterton to Rowe, Jonson was indebted to Shakespeare for the reception and performance of his first play at the Blackfriars theatre. It had been tossed aside as the production of an unknown writer, when Shakespeare read, admired, and recommended it. Fuller says in his "Worthies" that the two friends had many "wit combats" together, in which he compares Jonson to "a Spanish great galleon," "solid but slow in his performances," and Shakespeare to an "English man-of-war, lesser in bulk but lighter in sailing." It has been supposed that these encounters took place at the Mermaid tavern, where a club met which Sir Walter Raleigh had founded, and of which Jonson, Beaumont, Fletcher, Selden, Donne, and others of their sort were members.
There is no evidence whatever to show that Shakespeare ever met with this club; but it is extremely improbable that he was not a member of it. There is a tradition that King James was so much his admirer that he wrote him "an amicable letter" in autograph. It is not very improbable that James should have done so; and there is evidence of some weight to show that the letter was in the possession of Sir William Davenant, although at the beginning of the last century it had been lost. - Shakespeare is supposed to have abandoned the stage about 1604, and to have returned to Stratford to live at some time between 1610 and 1613. No record or noteworthy tradition of any event of importance or interest in this part of his Stratford life has reached us. Rowe says that he spent it "in ease, retirement, and the conversation of his friends," who were "the gentlemen of the neighborhood." We have no account of the manner of his death except the following entry in the diary of the Rev. John Ward, who was appointed vicar of Stratford in 1662, nearly 50 years after the event to which it relates: "Shakespeare, Drayton, and Ben Jonson had a merie meeting, and it seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a feavour there contracted." It is not impossible that this piece of gossiping tradition is true.
Shakespeare was buried on the second day after his death, on the north side of the chancel of Stratford church. Over his grave there is a flat stone with this inscription, said to have been written by himself:
Good frend for Iesus sake forbeare To digg the dust encloased heare: Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones, And curst be he yt moves my bones.
By whomsoever these lines were written, they have happily been effectual in keeping at Stratford what might otherwise have been carried to Westminster. Against the north wall of the chancel is a monument which was erected before 1623, and in which the poet's bust appears under an arch; his right hand holds a pen, and he appears to be in the act of writing upon a sheet of paper placed on a cushion before him. This bust, which is of life-size, was originally colored after nature. The eyes were of light hazel, the hair and beard auburn. The same Rev. Mr. Davies who records his "unluckinesse in stealing venison and rabbits," also writes that he died a papist; but, considering the extreme puritanical notions then prevalent, a very moderate degree of high churchmanship would be likely to be stigmatized among the people as papistry, especially in an actor. His works are imbued with a high and heartfelt appreciation of the vital truths of Christianity, without leaning toward any form of religious observance or of church government, or any theological tenet or dogma. His character seems to have been one of singular completeness, and of perfect balance.
An actor at a time when actors were held in the lowest possible esteem, he won respect and consideration from those who held the highest rank and station; a poet, he was yet not only thrifty but provident. Surpassing all his rivals among his social equals, he was, after the recoil of the first surprise, loved by all of them. "Sweet" and "gentle" are the endearing epithets which they delighted to apply to him. His integrity was early noticed, as has already been remarked; and Jonson, in his "Discoveries," says he was "indeed honest, and of an open and free nature." In person he appears to have been no less agreeable than in mind. Aubrey heard that he was "a handsome, well shapt man." With this report the bust at Stratford, and the portrait engraved by Droes-hout for the first collected edition of his works, agree. They are the only existing authentic portraits of him; and hard and poorly drawn as the latter is, there is a conformity between the two which sustains the authenticity of both. Both show a somewhat unusual length of upper lip; otherwise the features are remarkably well shaped and proportioned, and the head is large and symmetrical.
Many other portraits, some on canvas, two in bust form, and even lately one in the shape of a plaster mask, have been brought forward as representations of Shakespeare; but, whatever their pretensions, all of them fail just where the pedigree of the so-called Chandos portrait fails, in a direct connection with the poet. - Such brief criticism as could be here passed upon his works would be superfluous, almost impertinent. By the voice of the whole civilized world his name is "the first in all literature;" in imagination, in fancy, in knowledge of man, in wisdom, in wit, in humor, in pathos, in strength, in versar -tility, in felicity of language, in the music of his verse, and in that mysterious power which fuses all these separate powers into one, and makes them a single means to a single end, he stands unapproached, and seemingly unapproachable. According to the custom of his time, his dramas were founded upon others, the subjects of which were favorites with the public, or upon popular tales, or passages in history. But in the interweaving of two stories into one plot (as in "The Merchant of Venice"), and in the elaboration of a bald and barren subject, he exhibited a constructive faculty not inferior to his other gifts.
He did not hesitate to avail himself of the very language of the chronicler or novelist to whom he went for incidents; but in passing through his mind it was transformed from perishable prose into imperishable poetry. His chief excellence is in the unity and consistent action of his characters. He gave each one an individual soul; they speak their own thoughts and feelings, not his. In this respect his power seems almost supernatural. - Unlike Dante, unlike Milton, unlike Goethe, unlike the great poets and tragedians of Greece and Rome, Shakespeare left no trace upon the political or even the social life of his era. Among his contemporaries and countrymen were Raleigh, Sidney, Spenser, Bacon, Coke, Camden, Cecil, Hooker, Drake, and Inigo Jones; and yet there is no evidence, even traditionary, that he had any acquaintance with either of these men, or with any others of less note among the statesmen, scholars, soldiers, or artists of his day. In making his will Shakespeare left his wife (who survived him seven years), by an interlined bequest, only his "second best bed with the furniture." This looks like a slight; but his wife was amply provided for by her dower right, and the knowledge of this might very probably cause him to pass over her at first unnamed.
Yet in a will containing so many small bequests, the interlineation of a wife's name cannot but be regarded as evidence of some lack of consideration. His family became extinct in the third generation. His son Hamnet died in 1596 at the age of 11 years. His elder daughter married a physician, Dr. John Hall, to whom she bore one daughter, who married Thomas Nash, and after his death Sir John Barnard, and died childless (1670).
His second daughter, Judith, married Thomas Quiney, and had three children, who all died without issue. Upon the death of Lady Barnard, New Place was sold. It passed again into the hands of a Sir Hugh Clopton, and finally became the property of the Rev. Francis Gastrell, who in 1759, having quarrelled with the town magistrates about assessments, razed the building to the ground, after having in 1756 cut down the mulberry tree planted by Shakespeare, because he was annoyed by the pilgrims who came to visit it. The house in Henley street has at last been purchased by an association which has had it restored as far as possible, and placed it in the hands of proper keepers. - Of Shakespeare's 37 plays, 17 were printed separately in quartos, in almost every instance, it would appear, without his cooperation, and in many instances from copies surreptitiously obtained. The text of most of these quarto copies is very corrupt and imperfect. In 1623 two of his fellow actors, John Heminge and Henry Condell, superintended the publication of the first collected edition of his "Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies," from which however "Pericles" was omitted. This volume, known as the first folio, contains the only authentic text of Shakespeare's plays.
But its authority is grievously impaired by the careless manner in which it was printed, and by the fact that in some cases it was put in type from the surreptitious and imperfect quartos which it was intended to supersede, and the errors of which it not infrequently perpetuates; but it corrects vastly more errors than it makes and repeats, and it supplies serious deficiencies, although it leaves some to be supplied. Plainly, too, most of the quarto copies from which it was printed had been used as stage copies by Shakespeare's company, and thus received many corrections which were at least quasi authoritative. Of the text of 20 of the plays it is the only source. In 1632 a second edition of the collected plays appeared. It corrected the text of its predecessor in a few passages, corrupted it in many, and modernized it in some. It is of no authority. A third edition appeared in 1664 (some copies are dated 1663), which is chiefly noticeable from its containing "Pericles" (as to which see above), and six spurious plays attributed to Shakespeare by booksellers in his lifetime, but rejected by his friends and fellow actors: "The London Prodigal," "Thomas Lord Cromwell," "Sir John Oldcastle," "The Puritan Widow," "A Yorkshire Tragedy," and "Locrine." A fourth folio was published in 1685. Original copies of the folio of 1623 are eagerly sought at very high prices by Shakespearian students and collectors.
They are rare, and the condition and recent history of each one is known and recorded. The last three sales (down to 1875) of fine copies were for £525, £585, and £716 respectively. But even these were not absolutely perfect according to bibliographic standard. Should a copy be found in that condition, it would probably fetch not less than £1,000. The folio of 1623 was reprinted with a tolerable approach to accuracy in London in 1808; a very beautiful reprint, in which no errors have been detected, was put forth by Lionel Booth (London, 1862-'4); and a photo-zincographic facsimile, made under the care of Mr. Howard Staunton, appeared in 1865. The quartos have also been reissued in facsimile at various dates under the care of Mr. J. O. Halliwell; and the two remarkable quartos of "Hamlet" (1603 and 1604), in the possession of the duke of Devonshire, were reprinted together on parallel pages, as "The Devonshire Hamlets" (London, 1860), edited by Mr. Samuel Timmins. Justin Winsor, superintendent of the Boston public library, has published "Bibliography of the original Quartos and Folios of Shakespeare, with particular reference to Copies in America, with 62 He-liotype Facsimiles" (Boston, 1875). - The text of Shakespeare's works, excepting his poems, was left in so corrupt a state by the early printers, that, the author's manuscripts having perished, it needed much editorial care to bring it even into a tolerably sound condition.
This subject has engaged the attention of critics and scholars for more than a century and a half, and has produced a literature in which much learning, ingenuity, and philological and even philosophical speculation are mingled with ignorance, stupidity, frivolity, and bad temper. When to the works of the editors and textual critics are added those of the philosophical and the exegetical, and the illustrators, we have a library in itself. The best index to Shakespearian literature yet published is that of Franz Thimm (12mo, London, 1865; 2d ed., 1872), which has superseded that of P. H. Sillig (8vo, Leipsic, 1854); but the former is often incorrect, and is imperfect even up to its date; while that published by J. O. Halliwell (London, 1841) is very incomplete. A nearly perfect and generally correct catalogue of Shakespeariana is to be found in Bohn's edition of Lowndes's "Bibliographer's Manual" (London, 1864); but it is badly arranged, and deformed by many important errors in names, dates, and titles.
A complete and accurate critical catalogue of Shakespeariana is still a desideratum. - The editions of Shakespeare's works which, for their text or comments, are worthy of notice are: Nicholas Rowe's (7 vols. 8vo, London, 1709), the first in which the text was submitted to collation and revision; Alexander Pope's (6 vols. 4to, 1725), probably the worst ever published; Lewis Theobald's (7 vols. 8vo, 1733), in which a great advance was made in the rectification of the text; Sir Thomas Hanmer's (6 vols. 4to, Oxford, 1744); Bishop Warburton's (8 vols. 8vo, London, 1747); Dr. Johnson's (8 vols. 8vo, 1765), the value of which is in inverse proportion to the reputation of its editor; Edward Capell's (10 vols. 8vo, 1767), most laboriously and carefully edited, but with little judgment or taste; Johnson's edition with additional notes by George Steevens (11 vols. 8vo, 1773); the same with additional notes by Isaac Reed (15 vols. 8vo, 1793); Edmund Malone's edition, a most important one (11 vols. 8vo, 1790); Isaac Reed's, an enlargement of that of 1793., with the notes and readings of various commentators, commonly called the first variorum (21 vols., 1813); Malone's second edition, completed and superintended after his death by James Boswell, jr. (21 vols., 1821), "the" variorum; Samuel Weller Singer's (10 vols. fcp. 8vo, Chiswick, 1826), an edition marked by all the traits of the critical school of the last century, but very popular from its beauty of typography and its judicious selections from the notes of previous editors.
Much had thus far been done to correct and illustrate the text of Shakespeare; but it had suffered almost as much from the presumption, the perverse-ness, and the narrow precision of his editors and commentators, as it had profited by their laborious investigation of the literature and. the manners of his time. The critical spirit of the last century was narrow and oppressed with deference to classical models. The authoritative position of the first folio was little regarded, and its readings were set aside without cause as well as with cause, at the caprice of the editor. But the minds of men had come more and more under the influence of Shakespeare's genius. It was found that he was not to be judged by the standards of the schools, but that he was a law unto himself. During the first quarter of the present century there was a growing dissatisfaction with the results of the editorial labor of the last upon the works of Shakespeare. The result was a new school of commentators and new editions of the plays. First in point of time, and most nearly absolute in deference to the first folio, was the pictorial edition of Mr. Charles Knight (8 vols. 8vo, London, 1839-'41; revised ed., 1867). This was the extreme recoil of the pendulum.
It was immediately followed by the edition of Mr. John Payne Collier (8 vols. 8vo, 1841-'4). Mr. Collier worked in the spirit of an antiquary rather than a critic, and made much of readings derived from the rarest and most inaccessible quarters. He opposed conjectural emendation with a bigotry which rivalled Mr. Knight's Quixotic championship of the first folio, and often set reason at naught in favor of "the oldest authority." A judicious eclectic use was made of the labors of Mr. Knight and Mr. Collier by Gulian C. Verplanck, who prepared an edition (3 vols. 8vo, New York, 1847), to which he contributed a large amount of original matter distinguished for soundness of judgment and elegance of taste. An edition published under the direction of the Rev. H. N. Hudson (11 vols. 12mo, Boston, 1850-'57) is noticeable chiefly for the true appreciation, subtle thought, and manly vigorous style of the essays introductory to each play. In 1853 Mr. J. O. Halliwell began the publication of a stupendous edition, in 20 vols, folio, which was intended to present all of interest that has been discovered or written for the illustration of Shakespeare down to the present day. This great undertaking was several years in attaining a completion which fell somewhat short of the editor's expectations.
Mr. Halliwell has not done much for the correction of the text; and the' same is true of Mr. Howard Staunton's pictorial edition, in which much of Mr. Knight's matter has been used. One of the most judicious editions ever published is that of the Rev. Alexander Dyce (6 vols. 8vo, London, 1850-58), of which a second edition (9 vols. 8vo, 1864-'7) and a third (1875) have appeared, the last being posthumous, and each showing many and noticeable changes from the text of its predecessor. The edition of Mrs. Mary Cowden Clarke (2 vols. 8vo, New York, 1860) gives the text very carefully and judiciously. In his revisions Mr. Dyce availed himself largely of the next edition of the poet's works, prepared from a new recension and collation of the text, that of Mr. R. Grant White (12 vols. crown 8vo, Boston, 1857-'62), which seeks to present the reader with all that is necessary to a critical study of the poet, and which is distinguished by its numerous and successful restorations of corrupted passages. The last complete edition of importance is that of Cambridge, edited by W. G. Clark and W. Aldis Wright (9 vols. 8vo, London and Cambridge, 1863-6), which gives all the readings of all the folios and all the quartos, and of all the editors, and the suggestions and conjectures of all the commentators whose labors are generally deemed worthy of consideration.
In 1871 Mr. Horace Howard Furness began the publication of a great variorum edition, intended to include everything essential or even important as to its subject. The plays which have appeared, "Romeo and Juliet" and "Macbeth," have been received with marked approval by Shakespearian scholars. - Of the books written upon Shakespeare's life, text, and genius, forming a mass of which a very imperfect record of the mere titles fills 89 octavo pages in Sillig's book, mentioned above, only a few of the most noteworthy can be indicated here. "A short View of Tragedy; its original Excellency, and Corruption, with some Reflections on Shakespeare and other Practitioners for the Stage," by Thomas Rymer (8vo, London, 1693), is noticeable only as being the first book on this subject. But Dryden in his "Essay of Dramatic Poesy" (1668), and in the prefaces to "The Tempest" (1670) and "Troi-lus and Cressida" (1679), and the defence of the epilogue to "The Conquest of Granada" (1672), and Langbaine in his "Account of the English Dramatic Poets" (1691), had previously criticised Shakespeare's plays, the former very elaborately.
Of subsequent critical works these are worthy of particular remark: "Shakespeare Restored, or Specimens of Blunders committed and unamended in Pope's Edition of this Poet," by Lewis Theobald (4to, London, 1726); "Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Macbeth, with Remarks on Sir T[homas] H[anmer's] Edition of Shakespeare; to which is affixed Proposals for a new Edition of Shakespeare with a Specimen," by Samuel Johnson (12mo, London, 1745); "Critical Observations on Shakespeare," by John Upton (8vo, London, 1746 and 1748); "The Canons of Criticism," by Thomas Edwards (London, 1748, and, with additions, 1765); "A Revisal of Shakespeare's Text," by Benjamin Heath (8vo, London, 1765); "Twenty of the Plays of Shakespeare, being the whole number printed in Quarto during his Lifetime, or before the Restoration; collated where there were different copies, and published from the originals," by George Steevens (4 vols. 8vo, London, 1766); "An Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare," by Richard Farmer, D. D. (8vo, London, 1767, and, greatly enlarged, Cambridge, 1767); " Notes and Various Readings of Shakespeare," by Edward Capell (4to, London, 1775, and, with important additions and "The School of Shakespeare," 3 vols. 4to, 1783); "Six Old Plays on which Shakespeare founded 'Measure for Measure,' 'Comedy of Errors,' 'Taming the Shrew,' 'King John,' 'King Henry IV.,' 'King Henry V.,' and 'King Lear'" (2 vols. 12mo, London, 1779); "Comments on the Last Edition of Shakespeare's Plays," by John Monck Mason (8vo, Dublin, 1785); "A Dissertation on the Three Parts of Henry VI.," by Edmond Ma-lone (London, 1792);' " A Specimen of a Commentary on Shakespeare, containing: 1st, Notes on 'As You Like It;' 2dly, An Attempt to explain and illustrate various Passages on a new Principle of Criticism derived from Mr. Locke's Doctrine of the Association of Ideas," by Walter Whiter (8vo, London, 1794); "An Apology for the Believers in the Shakespeare Papers which were exhibited in Norfolk Street, London," by George Chalmers (8vo, London, 1797), and "A Supplemental Apology for the Believers in the Shakespeare Papers" (1799; these volumes, with "An Appendix" published in 1800, in spite of the speciality of their titles, are filled with general comment and the results of careful investigation); "Illustrations of Shakespeare and of Ancient Manners," etc., by Francis Douce (2 vols. 8vo, London, 1807); "Characters of Shakespeare's Plays," by William Hazlitt (London, 1817); Vorlesungen über dramatische Kunst und Literatur, by August Wilhelm von Schlegel (3 vols. 8vo, Heidelberg, 1817; translated by J. Black, London, 1818); "Shakespeare and his Times," by Nathan Drake, M. D. (2 vols. 4to, London, 1817); "A Glossary, or a Collection of Words, Phrases, Names, and Allusions to Customs, Proverbs, etc, which have been thought to require Illustration in the Works of English Authors, particularly Shakespeare and his Contemporaries," by Archdeacon Nares (4to, London, 1822; and edited by J. O. Halliwell and Thomas Wright, 2 vols. 8vo, 1859), a learned and accurate work; Shakespeare's Vorschule, edited, and accompanied with prefaces, by Ludwig Tieck (2 vols. 8vo, Leipsic, 1823 and 1829); "New Facts regarding the life of Shakespeare," by J. P. Collier (8vo, London, 1835); "New Particulars regarding the Works of Shakespeare," by the same (8vo, London, 1836); "On the Sonnets of Shakespeare, identifying the Persons to whom they are addressed, and elucidating several points in the Poet's History," by James Boaden (8vo, London, 1837); Ueber Shakespeare's dramatische Kunst und sein Ver-hä ltniss zu Galderon und Goethe, by H. Ulrici (8vo, Halle, 1839; translated, 8vo, London, 1846); "Shakespeare's Library, a Collection of the Stories, Novels, and Tales used by Shakespeare as the Foundation of his Plays," edited by J. P. Collier (8vo, London, 1840-'41; new and enlarged ed., by W. Carew Hazlitt, 1875); "Remarks on Mr. J. P. Collier's and Mr. Charles Knight's Editions of Shakespeare," by the Rev. Alexander Dyce (8vo, London, 1844); G. G. Gervinus, Shakspeare (4 vols., Leipsic, 1849-'50); Shakspeare et son temps, etude lit-teraire, by Guizot (8vo, Paris, 1852); "The English of Shakespeare," by George L. Craik (12mo, London, 1857); "A Critical Examination of the Text of Shakespeare," by William Sidney Walker (3 vols. 16mo, London, 1860). Mrs. Mary Cowden Clarke's "Complete Concordance" or verbal index to the dramatic works of Shakespeare, the product of almost incredible labor and patience, appeared in 1846, and is an invaluable aid to the critical study of the poet.
The multitudinous publications of the Shakespeare society of London contain, among much that is either trivial or mere antiquarian rubbish, many volumes of valuable and well edited reprints of scarce old plays, of dramatic history, and of critical suggestions for the improvement of the text of Shakespeare. The "New Shakespeare Society" was established at London in 1874, under the directorship and chiefly by the exertions of the distinguished English scholar Frederick J. Furnivall. Its purposes and its publications thus far are more critical than those of the elder and extinct society. - Eminent among the philosophical critics of Shakespeare is Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who by his lectures and by his essays (see his "Friend" and his "Literary Remains") did more perhaps than any other one writer to bring about a profound and thoughtful appreciation of the poet's works. Mrs. Jameson's "Characteristics of Women, Moral, Poetical, and Historical" (2 vols. 8vo, London, 1832), as a minute and sympathetic analysis of Shakespeare's principal female characters, must ever rank high in this department of literature.
The Rev. H. N. Hudson's "Lectures on Shakespeare" (2 vols. 12mo, New York, 1848) are remarkable for the same qualities, which appear in a higher degree in the essays in his edition of the works above noticed. Those essays he has embodied with other kindred matter in "Shakespeare, his Life, Art, and Characters" (2 vols. 12mo, Boston, 1872). Mr. R. Grant White, in "Shakespeare's Scholar" (8vo, New York, 1854), published historical and critical studies of the poet's text, characters, and commentators, and an examination of Mr. Collier's folio of 1632, the conclusions of which were sustained by discoveries made in England five years afterward. The same writer, in his "Essay on the Authorship of the three Parts of King Henry the Sixth" (8vo, Cambridge, 1859, privately printed), has, by the general consent of Shakespearian scholars, settled that interesting and long mooted question "so far as criticism can do it." This essay was afterward embodied in its author's edition of the poet's works. - In 1852 Mr. J. P. Collier, who had previously brought forward many documents of ancient date in relation to Shakespeare, announced that he had become the possessor of a copy of the second folio edition of Shakespeare's plays (1632), which from the first page to the last contained "notes and emendations in a hand not much later than the time when it went to press." He published a history of his acquaintance with this volume, and detailed accounts, accompanied with comment, of its most plausible marginal changes in the text: "Notes and Emendations to the Text of Shakespeare's Plays, from early Manuscript Corrections in a copy of the Folio, 1632, in the Possession of J. Payne Collier, F. S. A." The sensation caused by this publication was widespread and profound.
The majority of readers hailed it almost as a revelation from the tomb of Shakespeare himself; and it seemed for the moment as if all previous editions of his works had become waste paper. A small minority doubted and wondered, and a few stoutly protested. The critics on the one hand supported it enthusiastically, and on the other attacked it vigorously. It was found that the greater part of its corrections had been anticipated by the conjectural emendations of editors and verbal critics; and of the comparatively small remainder, there were very few which commanded the general assent of English scholars and students of Shakespeare. It was shown first in a paper in "Putnam's Magazine" (New York) for October, 1853, by R. Grant White, that the corrections, upon their own evidence, were made at so late a date as to have no authority from their antiquity. The folio having been placed for a time in the British museum, certain officers of that institution, including the eminent palaeographer Sir Francis Madden, superintendent of the manuscript department, pronounced its marginal corrections spurious imitations of ancient handwriting, and announced that they had discovered partially erased guides in pencil, in modern handwriting, for the antique-seeming words in ink, and that in many instances the modern pencil writing appeared under that in ink, which professed to be more than 200 years old.
Upon this announcement, in July, 1859, in the London "Times," a fierce discussion arose, which continued for more than two years. It had for its subject not only the notorious folio, but all the manuscripts which Mr. Collier had brought to the notice of the public as containing contemporary notices of Shakespeare or his works, nearly all of which were pronounced forgeries by the same high authorities which condemned the folio. So extensive and so important a literary fraud had never before been detected. Toward the end of the last century a scapegrace named William Ireland professed to have discovered miscellaneous papers and legal instruments under the hand and seal of William Shakespeare, which were outrageous forgeries; but they were palpably spurious, and were quickly exposed, although they deceived many men of erudition for a time. The result of the examination and discussion in Mr. Collier's case has been to leave him with a damaged reputation both for judgment and veracity, his folio without a semblance of authority, and his manuscripts under the gravest suspicion, at the very least; although his accusers have not succeeded in making out all their case.
Most of the corrections in this folio seem to have been made about 1675; but there is evidence which goes strongly to show that Mr. Collier is responsible for some of them. See "An Inquiry into the Genuineness of the Manuscript Corrections in Mr. J. Payne Collier's Annotated Shakespeare Folio, 1632, and of certain Shakespearian Documents likewise published by Mr. Collier," by N. E. S. A. Hamilton (4to, London, 1860); Mr. Collier's "Reply" to this volume (London, 1860); "A Complete View of the Shakespeare Controversy," etc, by C. Mansfield Ingleby, LL. D., with numerous facsimiles (8vo, London, 1861); and a thorough examination of the whole subject in "The Shakespeare Mystery," an article by R. Grant White in the "Atlantic Monthly" (Boston) for September, 1861. - Books upon themes directly or indirectly connected with Shakespeare multiply so fast that a complete list of them must be sought in the professed catalogues of Shakespeariana; but among the more recent the following deserve special mention: "A Letter on Shakespeare's Authorship of the 'Two Noble Kinsmen,'" by W. Spalding (8vo, Edinburgh, 1833); "Shakespeare's Puck and his Folk Lore," by William Bell (3 vols. 16mo, London, 1852-64); "Remarks on the Differences of Shakespeare's Versification in Different Periods of his Life," by C. Bathurst (8vo, London, 1857); "A New Exegesis of Shakespeare and Interpretation of his Plays on the Principle of Races," (8vo, Edinburgh, 1859); "On the Received Text of Shakespeare's Dramatic Writings," by Samuel Bailey (2 vols. 8vo, London, 1862-'6); "Shakespeare no Deer Stealer," by C. Holte Bracebridge (8vo, London, 1862); "A Key to Shakespeare's Sonnets," by C. Barnstoff, translated from the German by T. J. Graham (8vo, London, 1862); "Skakespeare's Home at New Place," by J. C. M. Bellew (8vo, London, 1863); "Shakespeare Commentaries," by G. G. Ger-vinus, translated from the German by F. E. Bunnett (2 vols. 8vo, London, 1863; 2d ed., with a valuable introduction on the study of Shakespeare by F. J. Furnivall, 1 vol., 1875); "An Historical Account of New Place," by J. O. Halliwell (privately printed, fol., London, 1864); Shakespeare jest books (under various titles), edited by W. Carew Hazlitt (3 vols. 16mo, London, 1864); "On Shakespeare's Knowledge and Use of the Bible," by Charles Wordsworth (8vo, London, 1864); "Shakespeare's Editors and Commentators," by W. R. Arrowsmith (8vo, London, 1865); "Shakespeare in Germany," by Albert Cohn (4to, London, 1865); "Notices of the Drama, . . . chiefly in the 16th and 17th Centuries," by William Kelly (8vo, London, 1865); "Memoirs of the Life of William Shakespeare, with an Essay toward the Expression of his Genius," etc, by R. Grant White (8vo, Boston, 1865); "Shakespeare's Delineations of Insanity," etc., by A. O. Kellogg (16mo, London, 1866); "Shakespeare's Sonnets never before Interpreted," by Gerald Massey (8vo, London, 1866; enlarged ed. of only 100 copies, with the title "The Secret Drama of Shakespeare's Sonnets Unfolded," 1872); "On Early English Pronunciation, with especial reference to Shakespeare and Chaucer," by Alexander J. Ellis (3 vols. 8vo, London, 1867 et seq.); "The Authorship of Shakespeare," by Nathaniel Holmes (12mo, New York, 1867); "The Mad Folk of Shakespeare," by John Charles Bucknill (12mo, London, 1867); "The Shakespeare Expositor, an Aid to the perfect Understanding of Shakespeare's Plays," by Thomas Keightly (16mo, London, 1867); "An Introduction to the Philosophy of Shakespeare's Sonnets," by Richard Simpson (16mo, London, 1868); "A Shakespearian Grammar," by E. A. Abbott (16mo, London, 1869; 2d ed., 1871); "Genealogica Shakespeariana," by George Russel French (8vo, London and Cambridge, 1869); "On the Authorship of Works attributed to Shakespeare," by C. Mansfield Ingleby (8vo, London, 1869); "Notes and Conjectural Emendations," etc., by P. A. Daniel (8vo, London, 1870); "The Sonnets of Shakespeare Solved," by Henry Brown (8vo, London, 1870); "Index to the Pages of William Sidney Walker," by Mrs. Horace Howard Furness (50 copies privately printed, 16mo, Philadelphia, 1870); "The Method of Shakespeare as an Artist," by Henry J. Ruggles (16mo, New York, 1870); "Shakespeare and Topography," by William Blades (8vo, London, 1872); "New Readings in Shakespeare," by Robert Cartwright (8vo, London, 1873); "Caliban, the Missing Link," by Daniel Wilson (8vo, London, 1873); "Body and Mind, an Inquiry into their Connection and mutual Influence, specially in reference to Mental Disorders," by Henry Maudsley, including a profound essay on Hamlet (12mo, London, 1873); "Essays on Shakespeare," by Karl Elze, translated from the German by L. D. Schmitz (870, London, 1874); "Jottings on the Text of Hamlet, first Folio versus Cambridge Edition," by Hiram Corson, (8vo, Ithaca, 1874); "A Concordance to Shakespeare's Poems," by Mrs. H. H. Furness (8vo, Philadelphia, 1874); "Shakespeare's Centu-rie of Prayse," by C. M. Ingleby (8vo, London, 1874); "An Essay on the Authorship of . . . Henry VI.," by George L. Rives, a Cambridge university (England) prize essay, but founded on, and chiefly an abridgment of, Mr. Grant White's essay on the same subject (8vo, Cambridge, 1874); "Shakespeare Lexicon, a Complete Dictionary of all the English Words and Phrases," etc., by Alexander Schmidt (2 vols. 8vo, Berlin, 1874-'5); and "Shakespeare, a Critical Study of his Mind and Art," by Edward Dowden (8vo, London, 1875). The Germans have taken a lively interest in this discussion; and indeed Shakespeare for 75 years has been almost as assiduously studied in Germany as in Great Britain and America. But there is no sufficient ground for the assertion that the Germans taught the English race to understand him.
The best German thought of the day upon this subject is gathered in the Jahrbuch der Deutschen Shakespeare-Gesell-schaft, edited by F. Bodenstedt and F. Leo (Berlin, 1865 et seq.). Shakespeare's works have been translated into all the languages of the civilized world, but best into German. The version of Schlegel and Tieck, which has been often reprinted, is probably the most perfect transfusion of thought from one form into another that ever was accomplished. A German version has recently been produced jointly by Bodenstedt, Freiligrath, Paul Heyse, Herwegh, and others (38 vols., Leipsic, 1868-'72). No adequate French translation has yet appeared. Three of importance have been made: the first by Le Tourneur (1776-'82), in which the poet's thought is often ludicrously perverted; the next by Francisque Michel (1839-'40); and the third by François Victor Hugo (1859-'65). Of these, the second is the most faithful and scholarly. - Shakespeare's name is found in the manuscripts of his period spelled with all varieties of letters and arrangement of letters which express its sound or a semblance of it; but he himself, and his friend Ben Jonson, when they printed the name, spelled it Shakespeare. In this form, too, it is found in almost every book of their time in which it appeared.
Therefore, although he sometimes wrote it Shakspere, there seems to be no good reason for deviating from the orthography to which he gave a sort of formal recognition. The spelling Shakspeare was long prevalent.