William Shakespeare.

The dramatic works of William Shakespeare : with remarks on his life and writings online

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THE



DBAMATIC WOKKS



WILLIAM SHAKSPEAEE








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LONDON, GKOROK RQUTLEDGE & SONS, BROADWAY; LUDGATE HILL.



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L O R I !

ATK



THE



DEAMATIC WORKS



WILLIAM SHAKSPEAEE.



'.VITH



REMARKS ON HIS LIFE AND WRITINGS,



BY



THOMAS CAMPBELL.



A NEW EDITION,



LONDON:
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS,

THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE ;
NEW YORK: 416, BROOME STREET.



LONDON '.
BRADBURY, EVANS, AND CO., PRINTERS, WH1TEFRIARS.



VVN. vA



SAMUEL ROGERS, ESQ.,
lEBftfon



THE DRAMATIC WORKS

os"

WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE,

18 MOST GRATEFULLY INSCRIBED,



THE PUBLISHER.

MAY, 1838.



978587



CONTENTS.



PAGE

THE LIFE .......... .... ix



THE PLAYERS' PREFACE ...........

ANCIENT COMMENDATORY VERSES ........

THE TEMPEST . " ......... . .... 1

TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA ..... . . . . . 20

MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR .......... 39

TWELFTH NIGHT; OR, WHAT YOU WILL ........ 63

, MEASURE FOR MEASURE .......... .85

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING . .......... 109

MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM ........ . .131

LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST ............ 150

MERCHANT OF VENICE ............ 174

AS YOU LIKE IT ..... ...... . . 196

ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL ......... 219

TAMING OF THE SHREW ............ 244

\ WINTER'S. TALE ....... , . . . . . .267

COMEDY OF ERRORS ........ ..... 294

MACBETH ............... 310

KING JOHN ....... ........ 331

KING RICHARD II .............. 354

FIRST PART OF KING HENRY IV .......... 379

SECOND PART OF KING HENRY IV. ........ 405

KING HENRY V ....... .433



CONTEXTS.



PAGE

FIRST PART OF KING HENRY VI. . . 461

SECOND PART OF KING HENRY VI 486

THIRD PART OF KING HENRY VI. . . . ' 514

KING RICHARD III. 542

KING HENRY VIII 575

TROILUS AND CRESSIDA 603

TIMON OF ATHENS 633

CORIOLANUS 655

JULIUS CAESAR 687

ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA .'.-*. . . . 709

CYMBELINE 740

TITUS ANDRONICUS 771

PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE . 793

KING LEAR 815

ROMEO AND JULIET ... 845

HAMLET, PEINCE OF DENMARK 872

OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE 905

GLOSSARY 935

INDEX , 947



REMARKS

ON

flife antr

OP

WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE

BY THOMAS CAMPBELL.,



CHAPTER I.

IT is justly regretted by the present age that so little information has come down
to us respecting the personal history of Shakspeare. The Genius of Biography
neglected him in his own days, she gave records of men comparatively uninteresting,
and said nothing about the paragon of nature, she embalmed the dwarfs of our
literature, but left its Colossus to be buried in oblivion.

Perhaps our baulked curiosity can fix upon no individual more strangely
responsible for this misfortune than Shakspeare himself. He retired from the
business of life, to enjoy its leisure and domestic happiness, probably at the
age of forty-eight, with his public honours all thick and fresh upon him. The
Poet, who saw so deeply into the minds of others, could not have looked into
himself without prognosticating his own favour with futurity. Even if the praises
of his contemporaries had been less emphatic than they were, he could no more
have been unconscious of his own greatness than of his own existence. How can
we imagine him blind to the destined love of posterity, or account for his omitting
to tell us what manner of man the Poet personally was, whose works were to
charm unborn ages to sweeten our sympathies to beguile our solitude to enlarge
our hearts, and to laugh away our spleen. Yet Shakspeare has told us nothing of
himself individually in any plain and direct manner ; and, after closing his dramatic
career, he took no pains to leave his dramas in a corrected state for publication, so that
they have reached us with more uncertainties of text than even those of the Greek
tragedians. Such seeming unconcern, either about his own fame, or about the interest

6



REMARKS ON THE LIFE AND WRITINGS



which the world was to take in him, is almost as much a matter of wonder as his
genius itself*.

It would be tedious to enumerate the individuals, including antiquaries, writers
of lives, and professed lovers of literature, who were either his contemporaries, or so
nearly so, as to have had access to abundant information respecting him ; but who
have either slightly noticed him, or not at all. Coeval tradition has no doubt given a
general and most pleasing outline of his personal character. Drummond of Haw-
thornden contrasts his gentleness with the rough assumingness of Ben Jonson ; and
Ben, himself, says of him, "I loved the man and do honour his memory, on this
side idolatry, as much as any ; he was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free
nature." For this noble testimony one is sorry that Drummond was a less generous
witness of Jensen's convivial manners and confidential conversation.

All who addressed William Shakspeare seem to have uniformly connected his name
with the epithets worthy, gentle^ and beloved. " He was verie good company," says
Aubrey, " and of a verie ready and smooth wit." The same John Aubrey says, that
he was a handsome and well made man ; a tradition at all events acceptable to our
belief, 1 although Aubrey did not write till about sixty years after the great Poet's
death. It is unfortunate, however, that we have not complete assurance as to his
personal appearanco. The bast over his monument at Stratford must have been
placed there ' '(according to Malone) earlier than 1623, seven years after Shak.
speare's death, as it is mentioned in the verses of Leonard Digges, written at that
period. It gives us the idea of a tolerably good-looking, though not of a handsome
man ; but it is an indifferent piece of sculpture, and may have done him no justice.
The Chandos portrait of him affords a much finer conception of his physiognomy,
and Malone and Boswell, I think, have shown the great probability of this portrait
being authentic; but still it differs widely from the Stratford bust. These are the two
most probable of Shak speare's extant likenesses.

In fact, all the traditions respecting Shakspeare are but scraps to our curiosity.
Sir William Dugdale, a native of Coventry, about twenty miles from Stratford-
upon-Avon, who published the " Antiquities of Warwickshire," only thirty years
after the Poet's death, and who might have seen a score of persons once familiar with
him, did not trouble himself to make a single inquiry on the subject. Fuller was
equally careless. That Anthony Wood should have collected few anecdotes about the
great Bard, may be partly accounted for by the circumstance that his main object,
in the " Athenae Oxonienses," was to give an account of men bred at Oxford. It

* It is worth noticing, however, that the accident of fire has combined with the sloth of his
contemporaries to destroy, in all probability, several memorials respecting Shakspeare. In the year
1613, his own theatre, the Globe, was burnt down, and in that conflagration, it can scarcely be
doubted, that many of his manuscripts were consumed. Soon after there was a great fire in the
town of Stratford, on which occasion, it is probable, that some of his letters to his native townspeople
were lost. Ben Jonson must have also possessed some letters of Shakspeare ; but Ben's house and
library were partially destroyed by fire towards the end of his lifetime. To crown all, the great fire of
London, in 1666, may well be supposed to have deprived us of documents respecting the Poet that
would have otherwise existed.



OF WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE.



is true that he has introduced names that were never enrolled at Oxford ; but, as his
aim was to glorify a great university, it was, perhaps, his policy to say but little
about the greatest of men who had never been at a university at all.

Thomas Heywood, Shakspeare's contemporary and fellow comedian, contem-
plated writing a History of Poets, which would have included the Bard of Avon,
but, unfortunately, the work, if ever written, v;as never published. Browne, the
pastoral poet, also intended a similar work, but his design also was left unfulfilled.
Hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. The very booksellers who republished
our Poet's plays in 1664 and 1685, employed no person to write his life.

Almost a century after Shakspeare's death, the poet Rowe wrote his account of
him. That it is meagre must be owned ; but that it is so very incorrect as Malone,
and his Editor, Bos well, assert, may be doubted. The remainder of the 18th century
produced a succession of writers on the subject of Shakspeare, among whom we are
chiefly indebted to Dr. Farmer for his Essay on the Learning, or rather, on the No
Learning of Shakspeare, and to the indefatigable and truth -loving, though sometimes
mistaken, Malone. In our own times Mr. J. P. Collier has made some interesting
discoveries respecting the personal history of Shakspeare, as regards his connexion
with the theatre. The Rev. Alexander Dyce is also an estimable living writer on
the Shakspearian and pristine literature of England.

From fear of prolixity, I shall not enter into all the disputations that have been
maintained about the true spelling of the poet's name, which has been variously
written, Shaxpeare, Shackspeare, Shakspeare, and Shakspere. I adhere, in compliance
with modern fashion, to writing it Shakspeare, though Sir Frederick Madden, in a
small tract lately published, makes out a strong case that the poet's autograph was
always Shakspere. Sir Frederick's letter to the Society of Antiquaries on this subject
was drawn forth by the discovery of a copy of Montaigne's Essays, translated by
Florio, which can be traced back to have been in the possession of our poet, who
has written on a blank leaf Wm. Shakspere. This copy, for the sake of its auto-
graph, has been lately sold for 100 guineas. In the whole world of authors there is
not one whom we should wish to see Shakspeare reading sooner than Montaigne; and
he has shown his regard for the naif old Frenchman by copying him in a passage of
the Tempest, (Act ii. Sc. 1.) in the discourse of Gonzalo, Antonio, and Sebastian.
The speech of Gonzalo is a palpable imitation of a passage in Book I. p. 102, of
Montaigne's work. Florio, who translated Montaigne into English, was probably
known to Shakspeare, and there is a tradition that he was the prototype of Holofernes,
the schoolmaster in " Love's Labour 's Lost."

Rowe gave out that the poet was sprung of a good family by the father's side,
of which, however, there is no proof; in fact, nothing has been discovered respecting
Shakspeare's grandfather. Malone expresses his belief that the poet's father, John
Shakspeare, was not a native of Stratford ; if so, it is not probable that his grand-
father was born in the same place, and, accordingly, his birth has no record in the
parish register of Stratford. This certainly proves that Rowe made a mistake when
lie referred to the above register, but it proves nothing more ; it furnishes nothing like



xii REMARKS ON THE LIFE AND WRITINGS

evidence that the poet's grandsire could not have possessed any landed property. " If
he had had lands," says Malone, " we should have known how they came to him, and
to whom they were transmitted." But, is it not notorious, that there have been
innumerable transmissions of landed property of which all records have been lost ?
It is true that the rolls of Henry the Seventh's Chapel contain no record of the alleged
grant of lands from that monarch to the Poet's paternal ancestor, they certainly seem
to refer to a grant received by his mother's father ; but, it does not follow necessarily
thence, that the Poet's paternal family could by no possibility have ever possessed
any landed property. Malone sought in vain all over Warwickshire for documents to
this effect ; but did he know in what part of Warwickshire they were exactly to be
sought for 110 ! he acknowledges that he knows nothing about Shakspeare's paternal
grandfather, neither where he was born, nor where he lived, nor where he died, nor
by what means he subsisted ; but of this he assures us, that he could not have bee?i
a gentleman, the Poet's father, having been the first of his family who, among the
citizens of Stratford, received the title of "Mayster" in consequence of his magistracy.
But Shakspeare's paternal family, to all appearance, were not Stratfordians, and
their names, if they had been landed gentry, would not have appeared in the civil
records of Stratford. The question about such a Poet's gentility of birth is of
unspeakable unimportance ; but I cannot help comparing Mr. Malone's logic on the
subject, to that of the hackney-coachmen who, when you refuse them an exorbitant
fare, pronounce an opinion before your face that you can le no gentleman.

Shakspeare's father, John Shakspeare, was a glover in Stratford ; that this
was his main trade has been completely ascertained by Mr. Malone. He seems,
however, to have been a speculative tradesman ; he farmed meadow-land, and may
possibly have traded in wool and cattle as has been alleged ; but the tradition of his
having been a butcher is entitled to no credit, for, if he sold gloves, it is not very
likely that he had, either another shop, or the same shop with shambles before it.
Mr. Malone tells us that in those days the glover's trade was more lucrative than at
present, because gloves were then perfumed, trimmed with gold, and worn by gallants
as well as by bishops and judges. Few minds, I suppose, will require this perfuming
apology for Shakspeare's father's vocation.

Mr. Malone thinks that John Shakspeare settled in Stratford not long after the
year 1550; in 1565 he was elected alderman, and, in 1568, he was made chief
magistrate. His glove-selling business is no proof of meanness in his descent ; for has
no man been a glover in Great Britain whose father possessed landed property ? In
the last century, a peer of Scotland, who regularly voted in the convention of Scottish
lords, and whose progenitors had been rich and powerful, sold both gloves and
leathern small-clothes in the High Street of Edinburgh. If John Shakspeare's trade
be not direct evidence of mean descent, still less is his marriage ; glover as he was, he
espoused Mary Arden, the daughter of a gentleman whose family had received grants
of land from Henry the Seventh, and she brought him the estate of Asbies, a small
one to be sure, but containing fifty acres of arable and six of pasture land, besides
the right of commonage. Such a match, in an age when the landed gentry were still



OF WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE.



more shy than they are at present to intermarry with shopkeepers, speaks volumes
for the respectability of Shakspeare's father as a tradesman.

Mr. Malone decides positively that the fee simple of this landed property, brought
to John Shakspeare by his wife, was worth only one hundred pounds, because the
average rent of land was, at that time., only three shillings the acre per annum. Even
at this estimate, Mary Arden's portion was a larger one than was usually given to the
daughter of a landed gentleman. But we find that the said John Shakspeare also
farmed the meadow of Ington, containing sixteen acres, at the rate of eleven shillings
per acre. Now what proof has Mr. Malone adduced that the acres of Asbies were not
as valuable as those of Ington ? and if they were so, the former estate must have been
worth between three and four hundred pounds. The Poet's father, in his best pros-
perity, may be easily supposed to have had one hundred and fifty pounds or more
additional property ; and thus, in the year 1568, when he was high bailiff of Stratford,
and when he obtained a grant of arms from the Clarencieux (Cooke) of the Heralds'*
College, he might have said truly, as he did say, that he was worth five hundred
pounds, and might, with no great stretch of truth, have alluded to that property having
come to him mainly from his ancestors. But John Shakspeare, I may be told, had
no right to call his wife's ancestors his own ; not strictly, to be sure, but in those days
names of relationship were freely assumed from connexion by marriage. Even in our
own times the goodly custom is not quite dropt, and my niece-in-law addresses me as
her dear uncle, though she is only my nephew's wife.

At all events, whether John Shakspeare put a perfumed and easy glove upon his
conscience in speaking at that time of his circumstances, the divine Poet cannot be
suspected of any collusion with the misrepresentation of his father's wealth, for he was
then a little cherub only four years old, toddling about, and thinking more of sugar-plums
than of the Heralds' College. It is too true that John Shakspeare, a flourishing man
in J568, fell into difficulties, not a great many years afterwards. In 1578 he was
excused from paying the weekly assessment levied on aldermen for the relief of the
poor ; in 1579 his name is found among the defaulters in the payment of taxes, and,
in the former of those years, it is proved that he had, for some time, owed to Roger
Sadler, a baker of Stratford, a debt of five pounds, for which he had been obliged to
bring a friend as security. In the same year, 1578, he had also been forced to
mortgage the small estate of Asbies for forty pounds to Mr. Edmond Lambert, apparently
to pay for the purchase of two houses in Stratford, for which that sum precisely was
disbursed. These forty pounds were certainly not half the value of the estate of
Asbies, even according to Mr. Malone's computation ; but, can we be sure, that the
value of the land was not still more disproportioned to the loan for which it was
mortgaged ? In such transactions, and especially in times when money is hard to bo
raised, the sanguine borrower will be glad to have his loan on any terms, and the lender
will take great care that the pawn deposited, if it should be forfeited, shall usuriously
repay him. But, it appears, that John Shakspeare owed other moneys to Edmond
Lambert, besides the forty pounds above mentioned. The extent of those other debts
is not known, but from their existence it is clear that Lambort trusted Shakspeare



xiv REMARKS ON THE LIFE AND WRITINGS

senior beyond the extent of the mortgage ; and that he trusted him on the faith of his
landed property appears from this circumstance, namely, that when John Shakspeare
waited on Lambert and offered forty pounds to relieve the mortgage on Asbies, his
creditor said " No ! you shall not have back your land till you pay me all the rest
that you owe me."

A chancery lawsuit ensued, in the course of which, Shakspeare's father styles
himself a poor man. But that is a very general expression. Many a man com-
paratively poor lives in credit and respect ; and as the Poet's father died soon after-
wards, leaving tenements to his son, his poverty could not have been that of
destitution. He seems, as I have observed, to have been an enterprising trader, and
his speculations drew him into difficulties. The writer of Shakspeare's life, in
Lardner's Cyclopaedia, says, that the Poet's father in his old age must have been
almost a pauper ; but men who are almost paupers seldom leave houses and orchards
to their heirs, and we know that two houses in Stratford, each having an orchard,
were inherited by "William Shakspeare from his father. If the latter was ever
insolvent, he could not have died so. As to his difficulties, were they not such as
we often see men involved in, who, though they have in the main real substance, are
unable, from the perplexed state of their affairs, to settle the debt of the day that is passing
over their heads ? If he was in difficulties, however, in 1597, it may be asked why he
had applied in 1596 to the College of Arms for a renovated grant of arms ? My answer
is, that John Shakspeare, wishing to blend his arms with those of his wife, (a very
natural wish,) applied for a new patent on the strength of the old one granted in 1568 ;
and might very well say to himself, " They granted me a coat of arms when I was in the
palmiest state of my prosperity, I am now asking only for a change in that coat, and why
should they refuse it, because I have fallen into the sere and yellow leaf?" Such a
refusal, on account of the change in his circumstances, would have been little less cruel
than a revocation of the former grant. There is every reason to suppose that Shakspeare
might be concerned in this second application for a renewed coat of arms, from a wish
to record his mother's pedigree. But the imputation adduced by the writer of his life,
in Lardner's Cyclopaedia, who taxes him with conniving at his father's misrepresenta-
tion of his circumstances, and by his powerful friends having influenced the Heralds'
College to confirm the new grant in 1599, is unsupported by the slightest evidence.

The two tenements in Henley Street, Stratford, already alluded to, were purchased
by John Shakspeare in 1574, when our Poet was only ten years old. Whether his
father, antecedent to his purchase of these houses, had lived in either of them as a
tenant, is uncertain ; and consequently, the money levied on visitors for the sight of
the particular house in which the Poet was born, is a mere tax on their credulity *.

* In this house a book is kept in which visitors, if they choose, write their names. A pompous
Frenchman, for the time being ambassador at London, made a journey to Stratford, and went to see
the alleged birth-house of the mighty Poet. He wrote in the book, that this day, in the year of our
Lord 17 t the place of Shakspeare's nativity had been visited by the two Messrs. De * * *, father
and son, anil signed Monsr. Le Pere

Monsr. Le Fils.
A. wag wrote below et Monsr. Le Saint Esprit.



OF WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE. xv

Our great Poet, the eldest son and the third child of his parents, was born at
Stratford in the month of April, 1564 *, probably on the 23rd of the month, says Mr.
Malone, because he was baptized on the 25th. It seems to be far from a self-evident
truth that a child must have been born exactly two days before its christening ; but,
if Mr. Malone be right, the nativity of Shakspeare occurred on the day consecrated to
England's patron saint, George of Cappadocia. It distresses our enthusiasm, however,
to find that this great saint was a still greater sinner. St. George was born at
Epiphania, a town of Cilicia, in a fuller's shop, and his character through life retained
a trace of his earthy origin. By the arts of a parasite he obtained patrons, who got
him a lucrative commission to supply the Roman army with bacon ; but George
defrauded the soldiers of their bacon, and, in order to save his own, was obliged to fly
from the pursuit of justice. Afterwards he professed Arianism, and mounted, by
force and bloodshed, the archiepiscopal throne of Athanasius, which he stained with
cruelty and avarice. At last, in the capital of Egypt, public vengeance rose up
against him, and he was committed to prison, (A.D. 361,) but the populace saved him
the tedium of a trial ; they put him to death, and threw his body into the sea. It
belongs to those who study church history to explain how this swindler and cut-throat
has been transformed into the renowned St. George of England, the patron of arms, of
chivalry, and of the garter.

Our Poet, Mr. Malone thinks, derived his Christian name either from William
Smyth, a mercer, and one of the aldermen of Stratford, or from William Smih, a
haberdasher in the same town, one of whom probably was his godfather. When he
was but nine weeks old the plague visited Stratford, and carried off more than a
seventh part of the population, but the door-posts of our sacred infant, like those of
the Israelites in Egypt, were sprinkled so as to be passed by by the destroying angel,
and he was spared. How momentous are the results of apparently trivial circum-
stances ! When Mahomet was flying from his enemies he took refuge in a cave,
which his pursuers would have entered if they had not seen a spider's web at the
entrance ; not knowing that it was freshly woven, they passed by the cave, and thus
a spider's web changed the history of the world. In like manner, a breath of wind
wafting contagion to Shakspeare^s cradle, would have altered the destinies of our
literature.

No anecdotes of his earliest years have been preserved. All the education he ever
received was probably at the free school of Stratford ; but at what age he was placed



* Dr. Drake and others have burthened John Shakspeare, the glover, with a larger family than he



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