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“ line.2 My answer hath been, Would he had bloited
son of Thomas Hart, late of Stratford-upon-Avon aforesaid, all that my other mesfuage or inn situate in Stratford-upon-Avon aforesaid, commonly called the Maidenhead, with the apparteDances, and the next house thereunto adjoining, with the barn belonging to the fame, now or late in the occupation of Michael Johnson or his aligns, with all and fingular the appartenances ; to hold to him the said Thomas Hart the son, and the heirs of his body; and for default of such issue, I give and devise the same to George Hart, brother of the said Thomas Hart, and to the heirs of his body; and for default of such issue to the right heirs of me the said Elizabeth Barnard for ever.
“ Item, I do make, ordain, and appoint my said loving kinsman Edward Bagley fole executor of this my last will and teftament, hereby revoking all former wills; defiring him to see a just performance hereof, according to my true intent and meaning. In witness whereof I the said Elizabeth Barnard bave hereunto set my band and seal, the nine-and-twentieth day of January, Anno Domini, one thousand fix liundred and fixty-nine.
“ ELIZABETH BARNARD. Signed, sealed, published, and declared to be the laji will and tcfiament of the said Elizabeth Barnard, in the presence of
"John Howes, Rector de Abington.
Francis Wickes. “ Prolatum fuit teftamentum suprafcriptum apud ædes
Eronienses htuat. in le Strand, in comitatu Middx. quarto die menfis Martij, 1659, cora in venerabili viro Domino Egidio Sweete, milite et legum doctore, furrogato, &c. juramento Edwardi Bagley, unici erecutor. nominat. cui, &c. de lene, &c. jural."
MALONE. that in writing (whatsoever he penned) he never llosted out a line.] · This is not true. They only say in their preface to his plays, that “ his mind and hand went together, and what he thought, he uttered with that easiness, that we have Scarce received from him a blot in his papers."
On this Mr. Pope observes, that “there never was a more groundless report, or to the contrary of which there are more undeniable evidences. As, the comedy of The Merry Wives of Windsor, which he entirely new writ; The History of Henry the Sixth, which was first published under the title of The Contention of York and Lancaster ; and that of Henry V. extremely improved ; that of Hamlet enlarged to almost as much again as at first, and many others.".
“ a thousand! which they thought a malevolent speech. I had not told pofterity this, but for
Surely this is a very strange kind of argument. In the first place this was not a report, (unless by that word we are to understand relation, but a positive assertion, grounded on the best evidence that the nature of the subject admitted ; namely, ocular proof. The players say, in substance, that Shakspeare had such a happiness of expression, that, as they collect from his papers, be bad seldom occafion to alter the first words be had set down; in consequence of which they found scarce a blot in his writings. And how is this refuted by Mr. Pope? By telling us, that a great many of his plays were enlarged by their author. Allowing this to be true, which is by no means certain, if he had written twenty plays, each consifting of one thousand lines, and afterwards added to each of them a thousand more, would it therefore follow, that he had not writen the first thousand with facility and correctness, or that those must have been necessarily expunged, because new matter was added to them ? Certainly not.—But the truth is, it is by no means clear that our author did enlarge all the plays mentioned by Mr. Pope, if even that would prove the point intended to be established. Mr. Pope was evidently deceived by the quarto copies. From the play of Henry Vi being more perfect in the folio edition than in the quarto, nothing follows but that the quarto impresion of that piece was printed from a mutilated and imperfect copy, stolen from the theatre, or taken down by ear during the representation. What have been called the quarto copies of the Second and Third Parts of King Henry VI. were in fact two old plays written before the time of Shakspeare, and entitled The First Part of the Contention of the two Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, &c. and The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of Yorke, &c. on which he constructed two new plays; just as on the old plays of King John, and The Taming of a Shrew, he formed two other plays with nearly the same titles. See The Disertation in Vol. XIV.
The tragedy of Hamlet in the first edition, (now extant,) that of 1604, is said to be “ enlarged to almost as much again as it was, according to the true and perfect copy. What is to be collected from this, but that there was a former imperfect edition (I believe, in the year 1602) ?. Ithat the one we are now speaking of was enlarged to as much again as it was in the former mutilated impression, and that this is the genuine and perfect copy, the other imperfect and spurious?
" their ignorance, who chofe that circumstance to “ commend their friend by, wherein he most fault“ed: and to justify mine own candour, for I loved “ the man, and do honour his memory, on this side
idolatry, as much as any. He was, indeed, ho“ neft, and of an open and free nature, had an “ excellent fancy, brave notions, and gentle expref“ fions; wherein he flowed with that facility, that “ sometimes it was necessary he should be stopped : " Suffiaminandus erat, as Augustus faid of Haterius. “ His wit was in his own power ; would the rule of so it had been so too. Many times he fell into “ those things which could not escape laughter ; as " when he said in the person of Cæfar, one speak“ing to him,
· Cæsar, thou doft me wrong.'
“ He replied :
• Cæfar did never wrong, but with just cause.'
" and such like, which were ridiculous. But he
The Merry Wives of Windsor, indeed, and Romeo and Juliet, and perhaps Love's Labour's Lost, our author appears to bave altered and amplified ; and to King Richard II. what is called the parliament-scene, seems to have been added ; (though this last is by no means certain ;) but neither will there augnsentations and new-modellings disprove what has been asserted by Shakspeare's fellow-comedians concerning the facility of his writing, and the exquisite felicity of his first expressions.
The hafty sketch of The Merry Wives of Windsor, whichi le is said to have composed in a fortnight, he might have written without a blot; and three or four years afterwards, when he chose to dilate his plan, he might have composed the additional scenes without a blot likewise. In a word, fuppofing even that Nature had not endowed him with that rich veip which he unquestionably pollefled, he who in little more than twenty years produces thirty-four or thirty-five pieces for the stage, has certainly not much time for expunging. MALONE,
“ redeemed his vices with his virtues ; there was
ever more in him to be praised than to be pars doned."
As for the passage which he mentions out of Shakspeare, there is somewhat like it in Julius Cæfar, but without the absurdity ; nor did I ever meet with it in any edition that I have seen as quoted by Mr. Jonton.3
Besides his plays in this edition, there are two or three ascribed to him by Mr. Langbaine,+ which
nor did I ever meet with it in any edition that I have Seen, as quoted by Mr. Jonson.] See Mr. Tyrwhitt's note on Julius Cæfar, AG III. sc. i. Vol. XVI. MALONE.
* Besides his plays in this edition, there are two or three afcribed to him ly Mr. Langbaine,] The Birth of Merlin, 1662, written by W. Rowley; the old play of King John, in two parts, 1591, on which Shakspeare formed his King John; and The Arraignment of Paris, 1584, written by George Peele.
The editor of the folio 1664, fubjoined to the 36 dramas published in 1623, seven plays, four of which had appeared in Shaki. speare's life-time with his name in the title-page, viz. Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1609, Sir John Oldcafile, 1600, The Londoni Prodiyal, 1605, and The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608; the three others which they inserted, Locrine, 1595, Lord Cromwell, 1602, and The Puritan, 1607, having been printed with the initials W. S. in the title-page, the editor chose to interpret those Jetters to mean William Shakspeare, and ascribed them also to our poet. I published an edition of these seven pieces fome years ago, freed in some measure from the gross errors with which they had been exhibited in ancient copies, that the publick might see what they contained ; and do not hesitate to declare my firm persuasion that of Locrine, Lord Cromwell, Sir John Oldcastle, The London Prodigal, and The Puritan, Shakspeare did not write a single line.
How little the booksellers of former times scrupled to affix the names of celebrated writers to the productions of others, even in the life-time of such celebrated authors, may be collected from Heywood's translations from Ovid, which'in 1612, while Shakspeare was yet living, were ascribed to him. See Vol. X. p. 321, n. 1.* With the dead they would certainly
# Mr. Malone's edition of our author's works, 1700.
I have never seen, and know nothing of. He writ likewise Venus and Adonis, and Tarquin and Ercrece, in stanzas, which have been printed in a late collection of poems.5 As to the character given of him by Ben Jonson, there is a good deal true in it: but I believe it may be as well expressed by what Horace says of the first Romans, who wrote tragedy upon the Greek models, (or indeed translated them,) in his epistle to Augustus : ;
naturâ sublimis & acer :
As I have not proposed to myself to enter into a large and complete criticifm upon Shakspeare's works, so I will only take the liberty, with all due submission to the judgment of others, to observe some of those things I have been pleased with in looking him over.
His plays are properly to be diftinguifhed only into comedies and tragedies. Thole which are called histories, and even some of his comedies, are really tragedies, with a run or mixture of come
make ftill more free.“ This book (says Anthony Wood, speaking of a work to which the name of Sir Philip Sydney was prefixed) coming out fo late, it is to be inquired whether Sir Philip Sydney's name is not set to it for sale-fake, being a usual thing in these days to set a great name to a book or books, by sharking booksellers, or spivelling writers, to get bread." Athen. Oxon. Vol. I. p. 208. Malone.
in a late collection of poems.] In the fourth volume of State Poenis, printed in 1707. Mr. Rowe did not go beyond A Late Collection of Poems, and does not seem to have known that Shakspeare also wrote 154 Sonnets; and a poem entitled A Lover's Complaint. MALONE.