William Carew Hazlitt.

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Foreword to the Catalogue of
the Shakespeare Library

William Carew Hazlitt

Author ot

"Shakespear: Himself and his Work."

Foreword to the Catalogue of
the Shakespeare Library

William Carew Hazlitt

Author ot
"Shakespear: Himself and his Work."


'^fy^~^ ^'^^-<^x~^-€-<_

THIS monumental Shakespearean Library is of un-
exampled literary importance. It was formed
many years ago purely from the Student's point
of view, and is the patient work of a lifetime. In so far
as we know, it is the sole Library in existence which has
been brought together entirely on these lines.

No attempt has been made to include early editions of
Shakespeare's works (apart from the First Complete and
First Illustrated Edition of 1709), this having been outside
the design of its founder ; but no expense was spared to
obtain original editions of Elizabethan and Jacobean litera-
ture (both English and Foreign), many of them being of
extreme rarity, which would assist the Student and add to
his knowledge and appreciation of the national Poet.
Roughly speaking, the Library can be divided into seven
sections {see post). With but twenty or thirty exceptions,
all the books in this Library were printed before the year
1700, and mere reprints have been invariably rejected.

The entire Collection comprises no less than 990 books
(1,100 volumes), every book being quite perfect and in
excellent library condition.

There is a complete Catalogue descriptive of every book
in the Library — it forms two thick quarto volumes.

Immense knowledge and research have been employed,
not only in acquiring the books but also in describing them ;
and the reasons for the inclusion of every book are fully
stated in the Catalogue.

The annexed " Foreword " to the Library Catalogue
was written by the late Mr. W. C. Hazlitt.

3 A.%



1. Elizabethan, Jacobean and other extremely rare books

which were consulted by Shakespeare whilst composing
his Plays and Poems.

2. Elizabethan and Jacobean books of the greatest rarity

which throw light on Shakespeare's England.

3. First Editions of famous Old English Plays.

4. Francis Bacon Collection (26 entries).

5. "The Bond Story" and other "Foundation" books used

by Shakespeare.

6. Publications between 1599— 1700 which contain specific

references either to Shakespeare himself or to his
Poems and Plays.

7. Plagiarisms, alterations, and adaptations of Shakespeare's



A MONG the greater English writers of the sixteenth
/"\ and seventeenth centuries Shakespeare stood alone.
He was not a book-collector like Jonson and Harvey,
or even Spenser ; but he relied to a large extent on con-
versation, hearsay, and references to books, which have
enriched his noble writings with innumerable passages,
transformed by his genius into diction and thought un-
attainable by the original narrator, and have, here and there,
done him a disservice by leading him into error. In certain
cases he has copied almost verbatim what he had read or
what someone had mentioned to him. His mind was curi-
ously receptive and eclectic, and his slips or misunderstandings
are fractional in number and in character not very serious.
Some instances indeed, where he was formerly supposed to
have tripped in his geography or history, have been wholly
or partially explained, and those for which he must perhaps
be accounted answerable, are of this no doubt equivocal
utility that they betray their secondhandness, the informant
being possibly the real culprit. For it is doubtful whether
Shakespeare made use of tables or tablets, although he puts
them into the hands of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. A
further point to be considered and weighed is, that the more
imperfect the material with which Shakespeare had to deal,
the more remarkable becomes the result before our eyes ;
and we have to recollect that, had he been a scholar such as


Jonson and Chapman, he might have offended us in a grosser
manner by displaying the faults incidental to scholarship.

It will be found, as we advance in our

Indirect mi •>.•>.• ^ u

,,. . Shakespearean mvesti^ations, to be more

obligations. ^ °

and more palpable that, where we have
spoken of such and such works as having been studied by the
Poet, it is sometimes a truer way of putting the matter to say
that certain books in our own and other literature exhibit
statements and views curiously cognate to statements and
views encountered in Shakespeare. Friends with more of
the virtuoso or scholar in their moral constitution than him-
self pointed out allusions and suggestions which they deemed
witty, or wise, or new, or perhaps he agreed with them,
perhaps not ; and at any rate the loan, if it was contracted,
underwent in all likelihood a partial metamorphosis.

When we have named Tarlton and the
IS persona Burbages in London and a few Stratford

Circle. ^

neighbours we have exhausted the stock of
his intimate friends ; but of acquaintances, literary or other-
wise, the Poet enjoyed the advantage of knowing a very large
number in various ranks of society ; and it has been amply
shown that among them were men capable of imparting to
him particulars of foreign localities, customs, and languages.
The Rev. Joseph Hunter performed yeoman service in this
direction nearly a century ago ; but more recent researches
and criticism have much increased our material for appre-
ciation, even if we discard or discount some of the proposals
brought forward by students of the " Life " and " Works."


The most remarkable feature in these more recent modern dis-
coveries is the proximity to the surface of some of them, and
even some of the most important and most interesting ; and in
this twentieth century we draw nearer to the means of realizing
the truth about Shakespeare, and of forming a correct notion
of his career and of the circumstance to which he and ourselves
alike owed and owe his imperishable Dramatic compositions.

What are recognized as Shakespeareana con-

Shakespeareana . , . t • i i i r

Classified stitute a volummous and varied body of

literary records, of which the actual aggre-
gate has been largely swollen during the last half century.
The strenuous labours of the late Mr. Halliwell-Phillipps,
Mr. Dyce, Mr. Collier, and other gentlemen, have developed
this movement, which long retained insignificant proportions,
into one which reduces the "Works" themselves to a secondary
rank in point of bulk, and makes not only a Library, but an
extensive one. But the range and subject-matter of the
steadily accumulating stores, while their main bearing is
identical in contributing to elucidate Shakespeare, are in
themselves infinitely diversified. For whereas some aim in
submitting to consideration and acceptance entire books of
treatises held to have been employed by the national Poet,
others deal with particular Dramas or particular passages in
a Drama, or even the sense of a word in a passage. Down
to relatively modern days all these auxiliary publications
might have been accommodated in a small compass. At
present no one can be sure, however well he may have kept
his eye on the market, that his is complete — that some


morceaux, of which only a handful of copies were issued or
preserved, have not escaped him. An appreciable majority
of such opuscula fall within the category of violent criticism
and textual controversy ; and the residue consists of the
philosophical and aesthetic writings on the genius and wisdom
of the Poet by such men as Lamb, Coleridge, and the elder
Hazlitt in England, and Schlegel and Tieck in Germany.
Apart from both these courses or lines of inquiry much has
been done, over and above the publication entitled Shake-
speare s Library^ towards throwing light on the books to
which Shakespeare lay under obligation directly or indi-
rectly, and on others which lay under obligations to him.
In regard to the former division we have already intimated
a qualifying decision ; but immediately or otherwise the Poet
owed much to his predecessors and even contemporaries at
home and on the Continent, while that his own countrymen,
coming after him, and too often disparaging him, were heavy
debtors to his initiative there is no sort of doubt.

The present The Annotated Catalogue of the Library
undertaking. ^q^^ before US may be said to comprise
a truly remarkable collection of books and pamphlets —

(i) Those which the Poet read and used ;

(2) Those of which the purport or subject matter orally

reached him ;

(3) Those in which the references to Shakespeare and

resemblances to his Works are the fruit of homage
or plagiarism by succeeding ages.

It is a series arranged by the Editor in alphabetical order,
and it may be most convenient to survey it as it stands. The
formation of such an extensive corpus of literary specialities
bespeaks without further insistence a very considerable expense
and an almost unlimited amount of knowledge, time, and
trouble. The majority of the volumes comprised have a con-
stantly growing tendency to become far less easily attainable.
Editions of the Poet lie outside the scope of the plan of the
Library, which, however, is already wide and representative
enough in its embrace of the literature where Shakespeare
presents himself on the one hand as a borrower and on
the other as a lender, those two roles which he specially
deprecates in one of his Plays.

Functions of the ^^ quite a number of Sermons preached and

Sermon as an published during the reigns of Elizabeth

illustrative agent. ^^^ James I we encounter references and

expressions which bear on Shakespeare's text, and which in

some instances show that the plays were familiar to churchmen.

Thomas Adams, a popular preacher in London during the

Poet's life, but when nearly all his works

^ ,; , D J had been completed, in his Gallants Burden^

Lrallants Burden. f '

I 6 1 2, as was pointed out by the Rev. Joseph
Hunter, has adopted from Richard III the striking expression
" Despair and die," making the volume enter into our
Shakespeareana. The Clergy at that time, no doubt, while
they decried the theatre, the playgoer, and the performer,
either attended such exhibitions themselves or studied the
play-book ; especially when it was of a historical cast. We

9 B

may refer further to other entries in the Catalogue, such as
Babbington, ChilHngworth, etc.

The former popularity of Hisofs Fables
is almost incredible. It was a book trans-
lated into all languages, and was read by all classes and all
ages. Shakespeare may have had access to the copy which
was acquired for the use of the school at Stratford, and in
his Dramas he has not failed to introduce three famous
apologues, even where he connects their ownership with
persons not likely to have possessed them. This was the
habitual disregard of the minutice. None the less, however,
a copy of the book clearly belongs to the present series.

^ . , With the exception of the external view of

The theatrical

exteriors. the " Globe," SO frequently reproduced, we

have no graphic illustration of the aspect of

n ^ our early theatres anterior to that afforded

Koxana, •'

by the frontispiece attached to Alabaster's
Roxana, 1632, which Mr. Halliwell-Phillipps thought suffi-
ciently important to insert in his folio edition of Shakespeare.
Alabaster's publisher enables us to inspect the interior,
whereas of the " Globe " we have only the outside, and it
is remarkable that we are better acquainted with the
arrangements of the Greeks and Romans in this direction
than those of our own ancestors.

Shakespeare ^"^ °^" literature is very deficient in works

and the of the class which Mr. Green so exhaustively

Emblem writers, illustrated ; but the Continent has yielded

from the first half of the sixteenth century a rich succession


of them, and presuming that Shakespeare had the opportunity
of inspecting some of these, he may well have been struck by
their utility as vehicles for his dramatic purposes.

Allot This volume has recently greatly risen in

England's estimation among collectors by reason of the

Parnassus. numerous (70) extracts which it contains

from Shakespeare's Works, and the copy in the present
Library is additionally interesting from the early, if not co-
eval, manuscript notes which a former possessor has inscribed
on the margins. It seems to have been a "trade" book, and
curiously enough the three partners in the enterprise conceal
themselves under initials. In one of the two copies, however,
which formerly belonged to Oldys, and has since passed
through the hands of Warton, Colonel Stanley, and Miss
Richardson Currer, the T.H. of the imprint is expanded
into Th. Hayes, a name associated with two or three of the
rarest Shakespeare quartos.

This romance, of which a French version is

Amadls of Gaul. -^U' CU 1

here berore us, was withm bhakespeare s
reach when he began to write for the Stage. As in other
cases, the Poet may be seriously believed to have employed
the book which happened to come to his hands or his ears ;
but Amadis is certainly a work without which Shakespeare's
Library would not be complete. He was a hero ot fiction
almost as widely diffused as Arthur, and is extravagant in the
majority of these inventions. Our own Poet had no difficulty
in meeting with prototypes or parallels for his own fanciful
disguises of noble folks as shepherds and shepherdesses, for


such devices occur in our own vernacular literature at a very
remote date.

Apuleius. '^° ^ French translation of Apuleius, 1648,

Banks' Horse we are sent for a knowledge of this historical
orouo. animal beyond the record in any English

work. Douce was the first to point out the curious circum-
stance. The book is well deserving of a place among
Shakespeareana and here it is. There are other books in the
Library before us which testify to the extraordinary celebrity
of ''Morocco.''

Ariosto • ^^^ former of these Dramas has been ad-

Suppositi. mitted on account of its resemblance to

Negromante. portions of the Tamwg of the Shrew, and the

latter for The Tempest. But there was an English production

by Skelton on the same subject, of which no copy is now

known, published in 1504. The more

Orlando Furioso. ■ r ^

famous book, the Orlando Furioso, finds a
place by virtue of the description of a tempest, and
Shakespeare may have had the passage under his eyes.

The title originally given to this very cele-
„ , , ' brated volume was the Schoolmaster of Windsor.

bchoolmaster, ^

It was formerly thought that the Poet

intended to personate Ascham under the character of Holo-

fernes. It forms, with Ashmole's Order of the Garter, 1672,

an association with that place, as in the latter volume we have

an account of the investiture of the Duke

of Wurtemberg, immortalized in the Merry

Wives of Windsor, with the Garter. We may have more to


learn about the circumstances which prompted the Dramatist
to lay the scene of his play at Windsor ; there was the
auxiliary incident of Heme the Hunter.

_ . . „ A sequence or group of works by Bacon in

Irancis Bacon. ... o i- -'

original issues forms part of the Library
in deference to the question of the real authorship of the Plays,
and it, of course, includes the Declaration of the Practices and
Treasons^ 1601, which excited on its first appearance a great
sensation. The XVI Propositions^ 1647, is singularly rare.
The same may be said of his father's Arguments Exhibited in
Parliament^ 1641.

This was originally published in 1643.

Baker's C/.r.«;V/., ^j^-^ Chronicle and several other books

are comprised owing to their references to

Shakespeare or the Stage in his day. Apart from other

considerations the impression of 1660 is infinitely the rarest.

Baker is also represented by his Theatrum Triumphans^ 1 670,

not a panegyric on the Restoration period, but a vindication

of Theatres from the attacks of the Puritans.

This, with a large number of other volumes
Barclay's 5/;/> ./ -^ ^^^ Library, forms a group far more
Fools, ISJO. . ■^' ...

important than that comprising publications

of a later date, where phrases or sentiments analogous to those

found in Shakespeare occur, or where we meet with references

to the Poet, although all such reminiscences and homage may

well be thought to have a degree of historical interest, and to

shed on the literature, which enshrines it, a special atmosphere.

Several volumes in the present Library partake of this character.


Beaumont and T'^'^^, the First Illustrated Edition, has long

Fletcher, 171 1, been held to possess considerable value, in

Stage Costumes. ^\^q absence of more contemporary evidence,

as showing the costumes in which the characters were attired

in plays originally presented on the stage in Shakespeare's day.

Blundeville '^^^ work by Blundeville, of Newton-
Horses and Flotman, in Norfolk (T^e Foure Chief est
Horsemanship. Offices belonging to Ho?^semanship)^ was a
popular book when Shakespeare was a boy, and was one into
which he was naturally led to look, if it fell in his way.
That he had an eye for the points of a horse we judge from
passages in his earliest work.

The Scotch history of this writer, of which
one of the old Editions belongs to the
Library, was incorporated in substance with Holinshed,
whence more probably than not Shakespeare obtained what
he wanted for Macbeth, and, in fact, it may have been the
case that, having Holinshed at his elbow for other plays, the
story of the Thane struck him as suitable for the stage. It
is one of his latest efforts. A similar caveat applies to

Bolton's This volume supplies a valuable illustration

Elements of of the estimation in which colours were
Armories. j^^j^ -^^ Shakespeare's day, and of the sig-

nificance of yellow in connexion with the Winter s Tale.
Bolton shows us how the colours worn by men and women
betokened their feelings and conditions. The passage where
this occurs was first quoted by the Rev. Joseph Hunter.


„ . ^ . Shakespeare makes the bird a baker's

Kraithwaite. ^ ^ ^

The Owl, a King's daughter; but Braithwaite, in his Natures
Daughter. Rmbassie, 1621, of which a copy is before

us, changes the story, on what authority is uncertain, but
perhaps with improved dramatic effect.

Burton describes Shakespeare as " our ele-

Burton's Anatomy. ^^^^ ^^^^.. j^-^ ^^^^ ^f ;/-^„^^ ^jjj Adonis,

1602, cost him 2ci. It is one of those which drop certain
words before the error at first was detected and set right.
His Anatomy, which is a Shakespeare allusion book, is
emphatically an original work ; he was a man who thought
for himself, like Shakespeare and Montaigne.

The account of fencing was probably intro-
Capoferro. duced and naturalized in England from

Fencine Terms. , , ^ r 1 A

Italy, and under Capoferro we have accord-
ingly a technical treatise of 1 610 in the language of that
country on the art. Shakespeare is not unlikely to have
gained a local knowledge of it and its terms from some such
person as the Capoferro, of whom an account was printed in
16 1 2, and who was a professional Fencer.

n ■ u.MiT A certain William Bell, in lines to the

Cartwright, W.

Verses upon memory of Cartwright, enumerates the
Shakespeare. leading writers of that and the preceding
time, and accords the /ast place to Shakespeare ; but Jasper
Mayne, in his tribute, seems to regard the Oxford writer as
a combination of Shakespeare and Jonson, an opinion in
which he has not had many followers. Yet Cartwright's
play of the Ordinary keeps up its place in modern esteem.


Under Caryll, in the Epilogue to Sir
„. _^7 ' Salomon^ 1 671, Moliere becomes Bolbi^re,

ciii' Salomon.

and rhymes to cheer, and he is styled the
Shakespeare of this age both as an author and actor. So far,
so good !

Under the heading Catalogues occurs a

a espearean unique and most remarkable sequence of
Catalogues. ^ ^

Auction Sale records from 1658 to 1829 (and

see also infra Bright, Farmer, Reed, Steevens), exhibiting the
impressive changes in the value of the original dramatic works
of Shakespeare, and of the four Folios, between those dates.
A notable rise had, of course, taken place between the seven-
teenth and nineteenth centuries ; but the most signal expan-
sion has occurred within the last five and twenty or thirty years,
where realizations have far exceeded the highest limit put
upon these objects of competition by the most sanguine among
experts. Some of the Poet's greatest writings have never been
submitted for public competition — such as Venus and Adonis,
1593 ; the Passionate Pilgrim, 1599, 161 2 ; Romeo and Juliet,

1597 ; Hamlet, 1603, 1604 , Troublesome Reign of King fohn,
1 59 1 (except in a very poor imperfect copy). No copy of
the second edition of the Passionate Pilgrim has ever been
beheld, nor is it quite clear that the Love's Labour s Lost of

1598 is really the editio princeps.

We perceive that in 1680 the contemporary
aaogueso impressions of the Poems and Plays are the

early Booksellers. ^ ■'

only copies offered, and that no hint is
given of the anterior issues. Venus and Adonis is represented


by the poor ill-printed i2mo of 1675, which has grown
almost as rare as that of 1593, so that it must have been
extensively read or very badly used.

In the Note to Cavendish's Life of
Wolsey^ of which we have in this Library an
Original Manuscript of the Tudor period, there is a reference
to the habit of kissing or saluting, formerly usual between
men as well as women, which is introduced into Henry VIII^
and into the song, " Come unto these yellow sands."

Under the name of Davenant are several

entries, and it is one which will ever be

associated with that of Shakespeare in a unique manner on

account of the close friendship between John Davenant and his

son. Parson Robert, and the Stratford Poet. The site of the

" Crown " near Carfax at Oxford, therefore, remains holy

^. ^ , _ . ground. Just at hand there are works of
Sir John Davies. ,

Sir John Davies — which remind us, as they

perhaps struck Shakespeare, of the old ideas on the immor-
tality of the soul, when the two poets were in opposite lobbies.
Doddridge. In connexion with the personal history

The Lawes Resolution r ^i, r> ^ ^t- • i • ^ j • /

r rrr , 7^ ■ , ^^ ^^^ Po^t this volume prmted m 16^2

of Irornen s Kights. ^ ^

Shakespeare's Pre- ^^^ ^ ^^^7 essential and direct bearing on
contract. Shakespeare's marriage.

No assemblage of Shakespeareana can

Downes' Roscius , , , , . , , .

J r be reckoned complete without this un-

Anghcanus. ^

commonly rare volume, which is a
real piece of literature, and well deserved the honour of

17 c

republication. Happily the Collection boasts an Original
copy which is a prize.

The Draytons, which follow, are entitled to

a place on more than one account. Dray-
ton was a Warwicicshire man, the son of a butcher, and the
author of several historical pieces cognate to those treated by
Shakespeare, and he, with Jonson, was the last of the Poet's
personal friends who saw the Dramatist before his death at
Stratford. In a different wav Drummond, of Hawthornden,
has earned a hearing at our hands, through the visit paid to

him by Jonson in 1618, when the two

Drummond. . ^ ^1 • i_ j ^ ^u -^i, ^t.

writers put their heads together with the
Jonson. ^ ^

result that Shakespeare made a bad third.

The equivocal estimate of the latter unpleasantly contrasts

with that perspicuous and noble one of Dryden in his F^ssay

of Dramatic Poesy^ 1684, which, next to Thorpe's previous

valuation of the Poet in 1609, remains the
Dryden. . 11, -i r ^ •

Wisest and the best tribute or any early writer

to the genius of the great Author. Nor did Dryden restrict

his well-measured praise tc that paper, for he appears to have

had ever in his mind the great debt of the English stage to

Shakespeare, even when he committed to paper the Preface to

his yuvenal 2i'i> late as 1693. Altogether the group of volumes

ranged together under Dryden's name is not surpassed in

importance and attraction by any portion of the Catalogue.

Whatever may be thought of the oblig-a-
Du Bartas. . , , J r^ t. 1 ,

tion of the Poet to Du Bartas, the latter

singularly enough enjoyed a much wider popularity during

a succession of years than Shakespeare, and witnessed at home

and abroad a steadier succession of editions of his poetical

1 3

Online LibraryWilliam Carew HazlittForeword to the catalogue of the Shakespeare library → online text (page 1 of 3)