William Michael Rossetti William Shakespeare.

The complete works of Shakespeare: With a critical biography online

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Deut. xxiv. 21. *
" Shake the superflux to them.
And show the heavens more just."

King Lear,


Prov. xvi. 9, S3i ^^^' ^^» y^' •**• ^i*

" We are in God's hand." King Henry V,

" There's a divinity that shapes our ends.

Rough-hew them how we will." Hamlet,


Job xxviil. 28.
," And, to add greater honors to his age
Than man could give him, he died fearing God."
King Henry VIIL

St. Matt, xviii. 32t 35 ^ xxv. 41 ^ 4b ; St. Luke vi,3b,
" The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven.
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed :
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
'TIS mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The thronM monarch better than his crown :
His sceptre shows tlie force of temporal power.
The attribute to awe, and majesty.
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above his sceptred sway;
It is enthronM in the hearts of kings ;
It is an attribute of God Himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this.
That in Uie course of justice none of us
Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy ;
And that same prayer doth teach \is all to render
The deeds of mercy." Merchant of Venice,

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" How would you be,
If He who is the top of judgment should
But judge you as you are? O, think on that ;
And mercy then will breathe within your lips,
Like man new made." Measure Jor Measure,

Rom, xii. 21.
** We must do good against evil."

AlVs Well that Ends Well.



St, James Hi, 2; Prov. xx, g,

" We all are men,

In our own natures frail, and capable

Of our flebh." King Henry VIII.

** Who lives, that's not
DepravM, or depraves ? " Timon of Athens,

Acts X, 34 ; yob XXX iv, ig,
" Once or twice
I was about to speak, and tell him plainly,
The selfsame sun that shines upon his court
Hides not his visage from the cottage, but
Looks on all aUke." Winter's Tale.

Rom, xill, 7.
" The due of honor in no point omit."


St. Luke xvll. 10; Job xl. 4; Isa, Ixtv, 6.
"More will Ido:
Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
Since that my penitence comes after all.
Imploring pardon." King^ Henry V.

** Let me be Ignorant, and In nothing good.
But gracioudy to know I am no better."

Measure Jor Measure,


Prov, vi, 6, 8,
" We'll set thee to school to an ant."

King Lear,


St. John Ix. 4t xtt,3s; Eccles, ix. to;

St, James iv, /j, 14,

"When the day serves, before black-comer'd

Find what thou want'st by free and ofrer*d light."
TUmon of Athens.
" To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace, from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time ;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death." Macbeth,

" What we would do.
We should do when we would; for this would

And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents ;
And then this should is like a spendthrift sigh.
That hurts by easing." Hamlet,

" The flighty purpose never Is o'ertook

Unless the deed go with it." Macbeth,

Psalm I, ibt 17,
" Hast thou that holy feeling in thy soul.
To counsel me to make my peace with God?
And art thou yet to thy own soul so blind.
That thou wilt war with God ? "

King Richard IIL

" It is a good divine that follows his own in*

structions ; I can easier teach twenty what were

good to be done, than be one of the twenty to

follow mine own teaching."

Merchant of Venice,

Prov. xii. 4t XXX I. It*
" You arc my true and honorable wife.
As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart." Julius Casar,

Job xxxiv. 22; Jer. xxiii, 24; Heb. Iv. is;
Numb, xxxll, 23,
" In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offence's gilded hand may shove by Justice ;
And oft 'tis seen, the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law. But 'tis not so above :
There Is no shufiSing; there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compelled.
Even in the teeth and forehead of our faults.
To give in evidence." Hamlet,

" Foul deeds will rise.
Though all tlie earth o'erwhelm them, to men's
eyes." Hamlet,

" Now If these men have defeated the law, and
outrim native punishment, though they can out-
strip men, they have no wings to fly from God."
King Henry V,


Eccles, X, I,
" The dram of base
Doth all the noble substance often dont (do out).
To his own scandal." Hamlet,


Psalm xxxvii, 32 ; Luke vi. 7 ; Prov. t. i8t xl. j,
" Oh, what a world Is this, when what is comely
Envenoms him that bears it ! "

As You Like It.
"Time's glory Is—
To mock the subtle, in themselves beguiled."

1 Cor. XV. 2b.
** And, death once dead, there's no more dying
there." Poems.


Job vii. 6, vitt. g ; Psalm cxliv, 4,

" Life 's but a walking shadow." Macbeth,

" The stretching of a span
Buckles in hU sum of age." Am You Ltht It,

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Dtut, XV. 7, 8 : St. Matt. v. 42.

" What is yours to bestow, Is not yours to reserve."

Twelfth Night.


St, Jamts. \\. a, 3, 4 ,* Eccles. ix. lb.

'* Through tattered clothes small vices do appear;

Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with

And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks :
Arm it with rags, a pigmy straw doth pierce it."

King Lear.
" Faults that are rich are fair."

Timou of Athens.
•• O, tliat estates, degrees, and offices,
W^erc not derived corruptly I and that clear honor
Were purchased by the merit of the wearer I
How many then should cover, that stand bare I
How many be commanded that command 1
How much low peasantry would then be gleaned
From the true seed of honor ! and how much

Picked from the chaff and ruin of the times,
To be new varnished ! " Merchant of Venice.


Psalm xlvt. s ; Jer. xvii. $ ; Isa. IL 22.
*' O, momentary grace of mortal man.
Which we more hunt for than the grace of God?
Who builds his hope in air of your fair looks,
Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast :
Ready with every nod to tumble down
Into the fatal bowels of the deep."

King Richard III.


St. Matt. xlx. 6.
" God forbid that I should wish them severed.
Whom God hath joined together! "

King Henry VI.
" God, the best maker of all marriages.
Combine your hearts In one." King Henry V.


Mlcah vU. 18 ; Psalm clii. 8.
" But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings :
It is an attribute to God Himself."

Merchant of Venice.

/ Tim. vl. g, 10 ; St. Matt. xiii. 22.
" Avarice
Grows -with more pernicious root


Gal. t'. /7.

" The flesh being proud, desire doth fight with

For there it revels ; and when that decays,
The guilty rebel for remission prays." Poems.

Prov. xxll. I.
" Good name in man and woman
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash ; 'tis something,

nothing ;
*Twas mine, *tis his, and has been slave to

thousands ;
But he that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him.
And makes me poor indeed." Othello,

St. Matt. V. Q.
" God's benison go with you; and with those
That would make good of 1>ad, and friends of
foes." Macbeth.

Psalm Ixxiii. 2b ; Job xiii. rj.
*• Now God be praised I that to believing souls
Gives light In darkness, comfort in despair."

King Henry VI.


2 Cor. xiii. IS.
" Go to your bosom :
Knock there." Measure for Measure,

/ Cor. xiii. /,
** Whose nature is so far from doing harms.
That he suspects." King Lear,


St. Matt. vi. 2b; x.2q ; Job xxxviil. 41.
" There is a special providence In the fall of a
sparrow." Hamlet*

'• He that doth the ravens feed.
Yea, providently caters for the sparrow.
Be comfort to my age ! " ^4^ You Liht It,

Psalm xxvh'1.3; Iv. 21 ; Ixii. 4.

t G.^^^ •.U^.

»>la t«nua X-r, «t«0«r tt>>ilrfS. T feflT.

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2 Cor. xi, 14 ; Gen. tti. /.

** Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of
light." Love's Labor's Lost.

" The devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape." Hamlet.

*' When devils will their blackest sins put on,
They do suggest at first with heavenly shows."
TimoH of Athens,

** Oftentimes, to win us to our harm,

The instruments of darkness tell us truths;

Win us with honest trifles, to betray us

In deepest consequence." Macbeth,

Prov. xvt. 33.
" Brave conquerors ! for so you are
That war against your own affections.
And the huge army of the world's desires."

Lov^s Labor* s Lost,

Few would expect to find in the pages of Shakespeare so rich an echo of
Bible thoughts, so just an appreciation of Bible morality. And yet the mate-
rials for further illustration are by no means exhausted. Doubtless, most
readers will recall many other passages equally striking.

But for the Bible, Shakespeare had been a Samson bereft of the power
which constitutes the most important featiu-e of his literary greatness. " Far
more of the purely moral element goes to the build of what we call genius,
than the majority of people are prepared to admit. Even in our greatest
authors it will be found that their true fame rests altogether on the pure
metal, and never, as some would almost hint upon the earthly ore with which
it is alloyed, however enhanced such impurity may be by the brilliancy of the
talent which accompanies it." And this pure metal — this enlightened recog-
nition of the moral law — can only be attained through acquaintance with
God's Word.

In the memorable language of Lord Bacon, — language well worthy of phil-
osophic consideration in this age of skepticism, — " It must be confessed that
great part of the moral law is of that perfection whereunto the light of nature
cannot aspire. Though men have, even from the light and law of nature,
some notions of virtue, vice, justice, wrong, good and evil, the light of nature
is to be understood in two senses : first, as it springs from sense, induction,
reason, argument, according to the laws of heaven and earth ; secondly, as it
is imprinted and shines upon the spirit of man by an inward instinct, accord-
ing to the law of conscience, which is a kind of spark and relic of his former
and primitive purity : in which latter sense, chiefly, the soul participates of
some light to behold and discern the perfection of the moral law ; which light,
however, is not altogether clear, but of such sort as rather to check the vice,
than fully to inform the duty. So, then, the doctrine of religion, as well moral
as mystical, depends upon Divine Revelation."

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Vicesimo quinto dU Martii^ Anno Regni Domini nostri yacobi^ nunc Regis

Anglia^ eU.y decimo quarto^ et Scotia quadragesimo nono. Anno

Domini A,D. 1616.

In the name of God, Amen. I, William Shakespeare, of Stratfbrd-upon-
Avon in the county of Warwick, Gent, in perfect health and memory, (God be
praised,) do make and ordain this my last will and testament, in manner and
form following ; — that is to say :

Firsty I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping, and
assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, to be
made partaker of life everlasting ; and my body to the earth, whereof it is made.

lUmy I give and bequeath unto my daughter Judith one hundred and fifty
pounds of lawful English money, to be paid unto her in manner and form
following : that is to say, one hundred pounds in discharge of her marriage
portion, within one year after my decease, with consideration after the rate of
two shillings in the pound for so long time as the same shall be unpaid to her
after my decease ; and the fifty pounds residue thereof^ upon her surrendering
of, or giving of such sufficient security as the overseers of this my will shall
like o^ to surrender or grant all her estate and right that shall descend or
come unto her after my decease, or that she now hath ofj in, or to, one copy-
hold tenement, with the appurtenances, lying and being in Stratford-upon-
Avon aforesaid, in the said county of Warwick, being parcel or holden of the
manor of Rowington, unto my daughter Susannah Hall, and her heirs for ever.

lUm, I give and bequeath unto my said daughter Judith one hundred and
fifty pounds more, if she, or any issue of her body, be living at the end of three
years next ensuing the day of the date of this my wiU, during which time my
executors to pay her. consideration firom my decease according to the rate
aforesaid : and, if she die within the said term, without issue of her body, then
my will is, and I do give and bequeath one hundred pounds thereof to my
niece, Elizabeth Hall ; and the fifty pounds to be set forth by my executors
during the life of my sister, Joan Hart, and the use and profit thereof coming,
shall be paid to my said sister Joan, and after her decease the said fifty pounds
shall remain amongst the children of my said sister, equally to be divided
amongst them ; but if my said daughter Judith be living at the end of the said
three years, or any issue of her body, then my will is, and so I devise and be-
queath the said hundred and fifty pounds to be set out by my executors and
overseers for the best benefit of her and her issue, and the stock not to be
paid unto her so long as she shall be married and covert baron ; but my will

* The spelling ig modernised.


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is, that she shall have the consideration yearly paid unto her during her life ;
and after her decease the said stock and consideration to be paid to her
children, if she have any, and if not, to her executors or assigns, she living the
said term after my decease ; provided that if such husband as she shall at the
end of the said three years be married unto, or at any [time] after, do
sufficiently assure unto her, and the issue of her body, lands answerable to the
portion by this my will given unto her, and to be adjudged so by my executors
and overseers, then my will is, that the said hundred and fifty pounds shall be
paid to such husband as shall make such assurance, to his own use.

Item^ I give and bequeath unto my said sister Joan twenty pounds, and all
my wearing apparel, to be paid and delivered within one year after my decease ;
and I do will and devise unto her the house, with the appurtenances, in
Stratford, wherein she dwelleth, for her natural life, under the yearly rent of
twelve pence.

Item^ I give and bequeath unto her three sons, William Hart, Hart,

and Michael Hart, five pounds a-piece, to be paid within one year after my

Item^ I give and bequeath unto the said Elizabeth Hall, all my plate that I
now have (except my broad silver and gilt bowl), at the date of this my wilL

Item, I give and bequeath unto the poor of Stratford, aforesaid, ten pounds ;
to Mr. Thomas Combe, my sword ; to Thomas Russell, Esq., five pounds ;
and to Francis Collins, of the borough of Warwick, in the county of Warwick,
Gent., thirteen pounds six shillings and eightpence, to be paid within one year
after my decease.

Itenty I give and bequeath to Hamlet [Hamnet'\ Sadler twenty-six shillings
eightpence, to buy him a ring; to William Reynolds, Gent, twenty-six
shillings eightpence, to buy him a ring; to my godson William Walker,
twenty shillings in gold ; to Anthony Nash, Gent., twenty-six shillings eight-
pence ; and to Mr. John Nash, twenty-six shillings eightpence ; and to my
fellows, John Hemynge, Richard Burbage, and Henry Cundell, twenty-six
shillings eightpence a-piece, to buy them rings.

Itemy I give, will, bequeath, and devise unto my daughter Susanna Hall, for
the better enabling her to perform this my will, and towards the performance
thereof all that capital messuage or tenement, with the appurtenances, in
Stratford aforesaid, called the New Place, wherein I now dwell, and ^two
messuages or tenements with the appurtenances, situate, lying, and being in
Henley Street, within the borough of Stratford aforesaid ; and all my barns,
stables, orchards, gardens, lands, tenements, and hereditaments whatsoever,
situate, lying, and being, or to be had, received, perceived, or taken within the
towns, hamlets, villages, fields, and grounds of Stratford-upon-Avon, Old
Stratford, Bishopton, and Welcome, or in any of them, in the said county of
Warwick ; and also all that messuage or tenement, with the appurtenances,

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Interior of Church at Stratford-on-Avon.

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wherein one John Robinson dwelleth, situate, lying and being in the Black-
friars in London, near the Wardrobe ; and all other my lands, tenements, and
hereditaments whatsoever; to have and to hold all and singular the said
premises, with their appurtenances, unto the said Susanna Hall, for and dur-
ing the term of her natural life ; and, after her decease, to the first son of her
body lawfully issuing ; and to the heirs males of the body of the said first son
lawfully issuing ; and for default of such issue, to the second son of her body
lawfiilly issuing, and to the heirs males of the body of the said second son
lawfully issuing ; and for default of such heirs, to the third son of the body of
the said Susanna lawfully issuing ; and to the heirs males of the body of the
said third son lawfully issuing ; and for default of such issue, the same so to be
and remain to the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh sons of her body, lawfully
issuing one after another, and to the heirs males of the bodies of the said-
fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh sons lawfully issuing, in such manner as it is
before limited to be, and remain to the first, second, and third sons of her
body, and to their heirs males ; and for default of such issue, the said premises
to be and remain to my said niece Hall, and the heirs males of her body law-
fully issuing : and for default of such issue, to my daughter Judith, and the
heirs males of her body lawfully issuing ; and for default of such issue, to the
right heirs of me the said William Shakespeare for ever.
Jtem^ I give unto my wife my second-best bed, with the furniture.
Iteniy I give and bequeath to my said daughter Judith, my broad silver-gilt
bowl. All the rest of my goods, chattels, leases, plates, jewels, and household
stuff whatsoever, after my debts and legacies paid, and my funeral expenses
discharged, I give, devise, and bequeath to my son-in-law, John Hall, Gent.,
and my daughter Susanna, his wife, whom I ordain and make executors of
this my last will and testament And I do entreat and appoint the said
Thomas Russell, Esq., and Francis Collins, Gent., to be overseers hereof.
And do revoke all former wills, and publish this to be my last will and testa-
ment In witness whereof, I have hereunto put my hand, the day and year
first above written. By me,

Witntss to the publishing hereof,

Fra. Collyns,

Julius Shaw,

John Robinson,

Hamnet Sadler,

Robert Whattcott.

Probatum fiiit testamentum Suprascriptum apud London, Coram Magistro
William Byrde, Legum Doctore, &c., vicesimo secundo die mensis Junii,
Anno Domini 1616 ; juramento Johannis Hall, unius ex cui, &c., de bene,
&€., jurat, reservata potestate, &c. Susannae Hall, alt ex., &c., eam oun
venerit, &c., petitur, &c.

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PROM 1623 TO 1881.

Earliest Editions,

First Edition y folio, — **Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, and
Tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies. London.
Printed by Isaac laggard and Edward Blount, 1623.*' Contains thirty-six
plays, Pericles being omitted. Of seventeen of these there had been no
previous editions, and no trustworthy edition of Merry Wives of Windsor^
Henry V. and 2 and j Henry VI, The dedication to ** William Earle of Pem-
broke" and "Philip Earle of Montgomery" is signed "lohn Heminge and
Henry Condell." An exact fac-simile of this edition has been produced by the
photo-zincographic process at Her Majesty's Ordnance Survey Office.

Second Edition^ folio, — "Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories,
and Tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies. The
second Impression. London. Printed by Thomas Coles, for Robert Allot,
and are to be sold at his shop at the signe of the Blacke Beare in Pauls Church-
yard, 1632."

Third Edition^ folio, — **Mr. William Shakespear's Comedies, Histories,
and Tragedies. Published according to the True Original Copies. The third
Impression. And unto this Impression is added seven Playes, never before
printed in folio, viz. : Pericles Prince of Tyre. The London Prodigall. The
History of Thomas Ld. Cromwell. Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham. The
Puritan Widow. A Yorkshire Tragedy. The Tragedy of Locrine. London.
Printed for P. C, 1664." This appears to be a second issue of an edition printed
for Philip Chetwinde in 1663, without the seven spurious plays.

Fourth Edition^ folio, — "Mr. William Shakespear*s Comedies, Histories,
and Tragedies. Published according to the True Original Copies. Unto which
is added seven Plays, never before printed in folio, viz. : ut ante. The Fourth
Edition. London. Printed for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, R. Chiswell,
and R. Bentley, at the Anchor in the New Exchange, the Crane in St. PauPs
Church Yard, and in Russel-Street, Covent Garden, 1685.**

Modem Editions,
1709-10.— By Nicholas Rowe, the dramatist; 7 vols. 8vo. Published by

1725. — By Alexander Pope, the poet; 6 vols. 4to. Published by Tonson.
1733. —By Lewis Theobald (Pope's " piddling Tibbald **) ; an excellent edition,

with many valuable emendations ; 7 vols. 8vo. Tonson.
1744-46.— By Sir Thomas Hanmer; contains several judicious corrections of
the text; 6 vols. 4to. Oxford.


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X747. — By Bishop Warburton; very untrustworthy, and overloaded with a

most fantastic display of inappropriate learning; 8 vols. 8vo.

1753. — By Dr. Hugh Blair, author of Sermons, On Rhetoric, &c. ; 8 vols. i2mo.

Published at Edinburgh.
1765. — By Dr. Samuel Johnson ; with a celebrated Critical Preface ; 8 vols. 8vo.

London : Tonson.
1767-68. — By Edward Capell ; a good edition; 10 vols, crown 8vo. I. and R.


1773. — By Dr. Samuel Johnson and George Steevens ; 10 vols. 8vo. London.
1785. — The 1733 edition reprinted, and revised by Isaac Reed; 10 vols. 8vo.

1793. — Another edition of the above; 15 vols. 8vo.

1774. — By Bell; the stage edition; reprinted in 20 volumes, 1786.
1784. — By Samuel Ayscough ; i vol. royal 8vo. London : Stockdale.
1786-90. — By John Nichols; 7 vols. i2mo. London.

1786-94. — By Rev. Joseph Rann ; 6 vols. 8vo. Oxford.

1790. — By Edmund Malone; 10 vols, in 11, crown 8vo. London.

i8oa. — BoydelPs edition, illustrated with 100 engravings after Westall, Ham-
ilton, Smirke, Stothard, and other artists ; 9 vols, atlas folio.

1805. — By Alexander Chalmers, M. A. ; 9 vols. 8vo. London.

x8o6. — By Manley Wood, M. A. ; 14 vols. i2mo. London.

1807-18. — The Family Shakespeare, by Thomas Bowdler, F. R. S. ; an expur-
gated edition ; 10 vols, royal iSmo. London : Longman.

1825. — By Rev. William Harness, M. A. ; 8 vols. London : Dove.

i8a6. — By Samuel Weller Singer, F. S. A. ; "with a Life by Charles Symmons,
D. D. ; 10 vols, royal i8mo. London : W. Pickering.

1838. — By Thomas Campbell, the poet; royal 8vo. London : Moxon.

1838-43. — By Charles Knight ; known as the Pictorial Edition ; 8 vols, impe-
rial 8vo. London : C. Knight.

X839-43. — By Barry Cornwall (Bryan Waller Procter), the poet; 3 vols, impe-

Online LibraryWilliam Michael Rossetti William ShakespeareThe complete works of Shakespeare: With a critical biography → online text (page 13 of 224)