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have had an interest also in Titus Andronicus, in Pericles, The Puritan, and Sir John Oldcofile; and whose name is not prefixed to any one of Shakspeare's undisputed performances, except K. Henry V. and two parts of K. Henry VI. of which plays he printed copies manifestly fpurious and imperfect.
38. ANTONY AND CLFOPATRA, 1608. Antony and Cleopatra was entered on the Stationers' books, May 2, 1608; but was not printed till 1623;
In Ben Jonson's Silent Voman, Act IV. Sc. iv. 1609, this play seems to be alluded to:
“ Morose. Nay, I would sit out a play that were nothing but fights at sea, drum, trumpet and target."
39. CORIOLANUS, 1609.
40. Timon OF ATHENS, 1610. These two plays, which were neither entered in the books of the Stationers' company, nor printed, till 1623, are classed here only on the principle mentioned in a preceding article'. Shakspeare, in the course of about twenty years, produced, if the rejected plays and Titus Andronicus were his, forty-three dramas; if they were spurious, thirty-five. Most of his other plays have been attributed, on plausible grounds at least, to former years. As we have no proof to ascertain when these were written, it seems reasonable to ascribe them to that period, to which we are not led by any particular circumstance to attribute any other of his works; at which, it is supposed, he had not ceased to write; which yet, unless these pieces were then composed, muft, for aught that now appears, have been unemployed. When once he had availed himself of North’s Plutarch, and had thrown any one of the lives into a dramatick form, he probably found it so easy as to induce him to proceed, cill he had exhausted all the subjects which he imagined that book would afford. Hence the four plays of Julius Caesar, Ana tony and Cleopatra, Corinlanus, and Winon, are supposed to have been written in succession.
Cominius, in the panegyrick which he pronounces on Coriolanus, says,
"In the brunt of seventeen battles fince “ He lurch'd all swords of the garland.” In Ben Jonson's Silent Woman, Act V. Sc. last, we meet (as Mr. Steevens has observed) the same uncommon phraseology: “ You have lurch'd your friends of the better half of the garland.”
Whether this was a sneer at Shakspeare, or a new phrase of that day, it adds some degree of probability to the date here assigned to Coriolanus; for The Silent Woman also made its first appearance in 160g.
There is a Mf. comedy now extant, on the subject of Timon, which, from the hand-writing and the style, appears to be of the age of Shakspeare. In this piece a steward is introduced, under the name of Laches, who, like Flavius in that of our author, endeavours to restrain his master's pro. fusion, and faithfully attends him when he is forsaken by all his other followers. - Here too a mock-banquet is given by Timon to his false friends; but, instead of warm water, stones painted like artichokes are served up, which he throws at his guests.-From a line in Shakspeare's play, one might be tempted to think that something of this fort was introduced by him; though, through the omission of a marginal direction in the only ancient copy of this piece, it has not been customary to exhibit it:
“ Second Senator. Lord Timon's mad.
fones.” This comedy, (which is evidently the production of a scholar, many lines of Greek being introduced into it,) appears to have been written after Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, (1599) to which it contains a reference; but I have not discovered the precise time when it was compofed. If it were ascertained, it might be fonie guide to us in fixing the date of our author's Timon, which, on the grounds that have been already stated', I suppose to have been posterior to this anonymous play.
Ν Ο Τ Ε, • Aute p. 324.
41. Othello, 1611: Dr. Warburton thinks that there is in this tragedy a satirical allusion to the institution of the order of Baronets, which dignity was created by king James I. in the year 16113.
" The hearts of old gave hands,
Othello, Act III. Sc. iv. “ Amongst their other prerogatives of honour,” (says that commentator) “ they (the new-created baronets) had an addition to their paternal arms, of an hand gules in an escutcheon argent. And we are not to doubt but that this was the new heraldry alluded to by our author; by which he insinuates, that fore then created had hands indeed, but nos hearts; that is, money to pay for the creution, but no virtue to purchase the honour,"
Such is the observation of this critick. But by what chymistry can the sense which he has affixed to this passage, be extracted from it? Or is it probable, that Shakspeare, who has more than once condescended to be the encomiast of the unworthy founder of the order of Baronets, who had been personally honoured by a letter from his majesty, and substantially benefited by the royal licence granted to him and his fellow-comedians, should have been so impolitick, as to satirize the king, or to depretiate his new-created dignity?
These lines appear to me to afford an obvious meaning, without supposing them to contain such a multitude of allusions :
Of old, (says Othello in matrimonial alliances, the heart dica tated the union of hands; but our modern junctions are those of hands, not of hearts.
On every marriage the arms of the wife are united to those of the husband. This circumstance, I believe, it was, that suggested heraldry, in this place, to our author. I know not whether a heart was ever used as an armorial ensign, nor is it, I conceive, necessary to enquire. It was the office of the herald to join, or, to speak technically, to quarter the arms of the new-married pair'. Hence, with his usual li.
No Τ Ε. E" I may quarter, coz,” fays Slender in the Merry Wives of Windfor. “ You may (replies justice Shallow) by marrying." [Y 2]
cence, Shakspeare uses heraldry for junction, or union in general.--Thus, in his Rape of Lucrece, the same term is em. ployed to denote that union of colours which constitutes a beautiful complexion :
- This heraldry in Lucrece' face was feen,
This passage not affording us any assistance, we are next to consider one in the Alchemist, by Ben Jonson, which, if it alluded to an incident in Othello, (as Mr. Steevens seems to think it does) would ascertain this play to have
appeared before 1610, in which year The Alchemist was first - acted:
“ Lovewit. Didst thou hear a cry, fay'st thou?
an hour, and could not speak.”
But I doubt whether Othello was here in Jonson's contemplation. Old Ben generally spoke out; and if he had intended to sneer at the manner of Desdemona's death, I think, he would have taken care that his meaning should not be miss'd, and would have written-" like unto a
woman. tragedy w Hill Oct. 6ited at court , appeared,
This tragedy was not entered on the books of the Stationers' company, till Oct. 6, 162!, nor printed till the following year; but it was acted at court early in the year 16120. 'How long before that time it had appeared, I have not been able to ascertain, either from the play itself, or from any contemporary production. I have, however, perfuaded myself that it was one of Shakspeare's latest performances: a supposition, to which the acknowledged excellence of the piece gives some degree of probability. It is here attributed to the year 1611, because Dr. Warburton's comment on the passage above-cited, may convince others, though, I confess it does not satisfy me.
Emilia and Lodovico, two of the characters in this play, are likewise two of the persons represented in May-day, a comedy by Chapman, first printed in 1611.
42. The Tempest, 1612. Though some account of the Bermuda Islands, which are mentioned in this play, had been published in 1600, (as Dr. Farmer has observed) yet as they were not generally known till Sir George Somers arrived there in 1609, The Tempeft may be fairly attributed to a period subsequent to that year; especially as it exhibits such strong internal marks of having been a late production.
The entry at Stationers' hall does not contribute to ascer. tain the time of its composition; for it appears not on the Stationers' books, nor was it printed, till 1623, when it was published with the rest of our author's plays in folio: in which edition, having, I fuppofe by mere accident, obtained the first place, it has ever fince preserved a station to which it indubitably is not entitled.
As the circumstance from which this piece receives its name, is at an end in the very first scene, and as many other titles, all equally proper, might have occurred to Shakspeare, (such as The Enchanted Ipand - The Barished Duke-Ferdinand and Miranda, &c.) it is possible, that some particular and recent event determined him to call it The Tempeft. It appears from Stowe's Chronicle, p. 913, that in the O&tober, November, and December of the year 1612, a dreadful tempeft happened in England, “ which did exceeding great damage, with extreame shipwrack throughout the ocean." " There perished” (says the historian) above an hundred pips in the space of two hourés.” -Several pamphlets were published on this occasion, decorated with prints of finking vefsels, castles topling on their warders' heads, the devil overturning steeples, &c. In one of them, the author describing the appearance of the waves at Dover, says, “ the whole feas appeared like a fiery world, ali sparkling red.” Another of these narratives recounts the escape of Edmond Pet, a sailor; whose preservation appears to have been no less marvellous than that of Trinculo or Stephano: and so great a terror did this tempest create in the minds of the people, that a form of prayer was ordered on the occasion, which is annexed to one of the publications above mentioned.
There is reason to believe that some of our author's dramas obtained their names from the seasons at which they were produced. It is not very easy to account for the title of Twelfth Night, but by supposing it to have been first exhibited in the Christmas holydays. Neither the title of