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used several times in the English Bible (see, besides the passage in St. Luke, and the other texts referred to above, Josh. xiii. 1, xxiii. 1, and I Kings i. 1); still less that our poet might have chosen it in the above passage because the Queen spoken of was also an Elizabeth, wife of King Edward IV.
HERE are three ways by which we may
estimate the extent of Shakspeare's
knowledge and use of Holy Scripture. The first is the obvious references to the facts and characters of the Bible which his plays contain ; the second, the tone and colouring which pervade his moral and religious principles and sentiments; and the third, the poetical thoughts or imagery which he appears to have borrowed more or less directly from the Scriptures. I shall begin with the first, that is, the historical references, as affording the clearest and most direct proofs of our poet's study of the Bible, which it is my purpose to establish ; because, if we are satisfied that the point in question is demonstrated by these, we shall be more ready to admit the same conclusion when we come to deal with the two other branches of the evidence, which, from their own nature, must necessarily be of a less definite and exact, and consequently less convincing character.
But before proceeding with the task thus preE