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as an instrument of Nature; and 'tis not so just to say, that he speaks from her as that she speaks through him. His characters are so much Nature herself, that 'tis a sort of injury to call them by so distant a name as copies of her. The power over our passions was never possessed in a more eminent degree, or displayed in so different instances; yet all along, there is no labour, no pains to raise them, no preparation to guide our guess to the effect, or to be perceived to lead towards it; but the heart swells, and the tears burst out just at the proper places. We are surprised the moment we weep, and yet, upon reflection, find the passion so just, that we should be surprised if we had not wept, and wept at that very moment.* The passions directly opposite to these are no less at his command. Nor does he only excel in the passions : in the coolness of reflection and reasoning he is full as admirable. His sentiments are not only in general the most pertinent and judicious upon every subject; but by a talent very peculiar, something between penetration and felicity, he hits
Of Bacon, Jonson says in his Discoreries—"His language (when he could spare or pass by a jest) was nobly censorious. He commanded when he spoke, and had his judges, angry and pleased, at his derotion. So man had their affections more in his power.
upon that particular point on which the bent of each argument turns, or the force of each motive depends. This is perfectly amazing from a man of no education or experience in those great and public scenes of life which are usually the subject of his thoughts. So that he seems to have known the world by intuition, to have looked through human nature at one glance, and to be the only author that gives ground for a very new opinion --that the philosopher and even the man of the world may be born, as well as the poet.'
With regard to his learning, Pope says:-"There is certainly a vast difference between learning and languages. How far he was ignorant of the latter I cannot determine ; but 'tis plain he had much reading, at least, if they will not call it learning. Nor is it any great matter, if a man has knowledge, whether he has it from one language or another. Nothing is more evident than that he had a taste of natural history, mechanics, ancient and modern history, poetical learning, and mythology. We find him very knowing in the customs, rites, and manners of antiquity. In Coriolanus and Julius Cæsar, not only the spirit but manners of the Romans are exactly drawn; and still a nicer distinction is shown between the manners of the Romans in the
time of the former and of the latter. The manners cz other nations in general, the Egyptians, Venetians French, cc., are drawn with equal propriety. Whatever object of nature or branch of science he cather speaks of or describes, it is always with epent, if nos extensive kresledge: his deSeries are still erset, sil kis metaphors appropraz, ani rpartar erava from the true nature
nberent cities of each sesjes. When he u o als or pullas we ar coastantly care & vndertaljetness cision, as well 35 xi or acaso. No oe is more & HINT &e persial sir, or is more freezent La terrasse :. Wailer
ancients of his own country, from the use he has made of Chaucer in Troilus and Cressida, and in the Two Noble Kinsmen, if that play be his, as there goes a tradition it was."
We will now give a short extract from Coleridge:
“O, when I think of the inexhaustible mine of virgin wealth in our Shakespeare; that I have been almost daily reading him since I was ten years old ; that the thirty intervening years have been unintermittingly and not fruitlessly employed in the study of the Greek, Latin, English, Italian, Spanish, and German belle lettrists—the last fifteen years, in addition, still more intensely, in the analysis of the laws of life and reason, as they exist in man; and that upon every step I have made forward-in taste, in acquisition of facts from history or my own observation-in knowledge of the different laws of being and their apparent exceptions from accidental collision of disturbing forcesthat, at every new accession of information, after every successful exercise of meditation, and every fresh presentation of experience, I have unfailingly discovered a proportionate increase of wisdom and intuition in Shakespeare."
We propose now to consider the history-the brief and admitted history of the man, to whom the genius of Pope and the intellect of Coleridge offer this homage.
There is reason to suppose that Shakespeare was born in the year 1564. His father was a humble tradesman at Stratford-upon-Avon, who at one time had so much improved his position as to attain to the office of bailiff of the borough. He afterwards, however, became rery much reduced in circumstances. Any education that William Shakespeare received, he most probably obtained at the free school at Stratford : that it was very supericial, is now generally admitted. At about the age of eighteen, he contracted or was inveigled into a marriage with a woman eight years older than himself; and about the year 1380, when he was twenty-two years old, he left his wife and cay at Stratford, and came to Loudon; and very shortly afterwards is setirely engaged in ize anszecent of a theatre, and continued to be se mai abeat the year 10ll, when, haring made 3 cccsiderable fortune, Le retired to Stratford
Cedron, to enjoy the fruits of his actire inmy szi öed there in 1616.
Facis Bieca wis bern in 1301. His father Fisse suces Srliecias o many years Lord