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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

NOT AN IMPOSTOR.

BY

AN ENGLISH CRITIC.

“The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo."

Love's LABOUR 's Lost.

LONDON: G. ROUTLEDGE & CO. FARRINGDON STREET:

NEW YORK: 18, BEEKMAN STREET,

1857.

[The Author reserves the Right of Translation.]

PRINTED BY

COX AND WYMAN, GREAT QUEEN STREET,

LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.

TO

THE ENGLISH PEOPLE,

AS

The Best Guardians of those Rich Legacies of Thought

BEQUEATHED BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

TO

ALL POSTERITY,

THIS VINDICATION

OF

THE CHARACTER OF THE MAN AND OF THE

FAME OF THE POET

IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED,

BY

THE AUTHOR.

PREFACE.

THE Author has endeavoured to collect within the compass of a small volume the historical documents and the testimonies of the poet's contemporaries, by which the claim of William Shakespeare to the authorship of the six-and-thirty plays, published in the folio edition of 1623, is clearly established. His title is confirmed by such a mass of evidence, that many readers who have not investigated the matter will wonder how it could ever have been called in question. They must not forget that the province of some critics is to scatter doubts broad-cast over the literature of a country; and that weeds always spread more rapidly than wholesome plants and sweet-smelling flowers. To vindicate the character of our mighty Shakespeare, thus wantonly assailed, has indeed been a labour of love; and if this little volume should have the effect of kindling in any

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