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attributed to Shakespeare. We have never said or insinuated that we hoped or expected to prove any such a thing. All we say is, that for 150 years an arduous investigation has been carried on in a clean contrary direction. Is it worth while to pursue it for 150 days, for 150 hours, in this? We repeat what we wrote in an early page: “We do but hope to adduce such evidence as may induce some active inquiry in this direction.”
And what is the use ?
“ The inquiry of truth, which is the love-making or wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it; the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it-IS THE HUMAN NATURE.”
But what is the practical use?
Let Schlegel answer: “ The admiration of Shakespeare remained unproductive for dramatic poetry. Because he has been so much the object of astonishment, as an unapproachable genius, who owed everything to nature and nothing to art. His success, it is thought, is without example, and can never be repeated; nay, it is even forbidden to enter into the same region. Had he been considered more from an artistic point of view, it
SOVEREIGN GOOD OF
would have led to an endeavour to understand the principles which he followed in his practice, and an attempt to master them. A meteor appears, disappears, and leaves no trace behind; the course of a heaverly body ought however to be delineated by the astronomer, for the sake of investigating more accurately the laws of general mechanics.”
“Whatever is done,” says Bacon, “by virtue and industry, seems to be done by a kind of habit and art, and therefore open to be imitated and followed; whereas felicity is inimitable."
Hence men have been deterred from attempting, by “virtue and industry,” to compete with that felicity” which they believe to be “inimitable.” This we note to be an evil.
If, however, it should be proved that these plays were written by Bacon, it would be inferred that this branch of literature does not so much require skill and practice in that part of poetry which, as Bacon says, “respects words, and is but as a character of stile,” as extensive and varied knowledge, feeling, reflection, and experience, which form the poetic mind.
And when we consider how ready and powerful a medium of communicating and diffusing knowledge the stage is, or might be, if it should appear that the statesman, the philosopher, and the man of the world, are the best qualified contributors to it; how many rich thoughts and wise reflections —which perhaps, after encumbering portfolios for a time, have been consigned to the waste-paper basket, may in future be worked up into a playand thus embalmed for the use and delight of future ages.
Go, little Book-our name is of no note-our recommendation will be of no use to you ;-do good service to us and our publisher, and we will reward you with a red coat with gold facings, and a portrait of the author. By that time our Government, which loves to reward literary labour, will have made us "Baron Bacon,"—and we will issue
— a new edition, with a coronet in the corner of each leaf-for the American market-where lords are lauded.
Go, little Book ;-weak natures must have recourse to cunning: success salves every sin; we would not have you savour of a lie, much less be detected in one.
You must not say that you came out from the Egyptian Hall; but you may insinuate that you were written by