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## Shakespeare's Entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition (1911)
Shakespeare, William (1564--1616), English poet, player
and playwright, was baptized in the parish church of Stratford-upon-Avon
in Warwickshire on the 26th of April
1564. The exact date of his birth is not known. Two 18th-century
antiquaries, William Oldys and Joseph
Greene, gave it as April 23, but without quoting
authority for their statements, and the fact that April 23 was
the day of Shakespeare's death in 1616 suggests a possible
source of error. In any case his birthday cannot have been
later than April 23, since the inscription upon his monument
is evidence that on April 23, 1616, he had already begun his
fifty-third year. His father, John Shakespeare, was a burgess
of the recently constituted corporation of Stratford, and had
already filled certain minor municipal offices. From 1561 to
1563 he had been one of the two chamberlains to whom the
finance of the town was entrusted. By occupation he was a
glover, but he also appears to have dealt from time to time in
various kinds of agricultural produce, such as barley, timber
and wool. Aubrey (Lives, 1680) spoke of him as a butcher, and
it is quite possible that he bred and even killed the calves whose
skins he manipulated. He is sometimes described in formal
documents as a yeoman, and it is highly probable that he combined
a certain amount of farming with the practice of his trade.
He was living in Stratford as early as 1552, in which year he was
fined for having a dunghill in Henley Street, but he does not
appear to have been a native of the town, in whose records the
name is not found before his time; and he may reasonably
be identified with the John Shakespeare of Snitterfield, who
administered the goods of his father, Richard Shakespeare,
in 1561. Snitterheld is a village in the immediate neighbourhood
of Stratford, and here Richard Shakespeare had been settled
as a farmer since 1529. It is possible that John Shakespeare
carried on the farm for some time after his father's death, and
that by 1570 he had also acquired a small holding called Ingon
in Hampton Lucy, the next village to Snitterfield. But both
of these seem to have passed subsequently to his brother Henry,
who was buried at Snitterfield in 1596. There was also at
Snitterfield a Thomas Shakespeare and an Anthony Shakespeare,
who afterwards moved to Hampton Corley; and these may have
been of the same family. A John Shakespeare who dwelt at
Clifford Chambers, another village close to Stratford, is clearly
distinct. Strenuous efforts have been made to trace Shakespeare's
genealogy beyond Richard of Snitterfield, but so far
without success. Certain drafts of heraldic exemplifications of
the Shakespeare arms speak, in one case of John Shakespeare's
grandfather, in another of his great-grandfather, as having been
rewarded with lands and tenements in Warwickshire for service
to Henry VII. No such grants, however, have been traced, and
even in the 16th-century statements as to "antiquity and service"
in heraldic preambles were looked upon with suspicion.
The name Shakespeare is extremely widespread, and is spelt
in an astonishing variety of ways. That of John Shakespeare
occurs 166 times in the Council Book of the Stratford corporation,
and appears to take 16 different forms. The verdict, not
altogether unanimous, of competent palaeographers is to the
effect that Shakespeare himself, in the extant examples of his signature, always wrote "Shakspere."
In the printed signatures to the dedications of his poems, on the title-pages of nearly
all the contemporary editions of his plays that bear his name,
and in many formal documents it appears as Shakespeare.
This may be in part due to the martial derivation which the
poet's literary contemporaries were fond of assigning to his
name, and which is acknowledged in the arms that he bore. The
forms in use at Stratford, however, such as Shaxpeare, by far
the commonest, suggest a short pronunciation of the first syllable,
and thus tend to support Dr Henry Bradley's derivation from the
Anglo-Saxon personal name, Seaxberht. It is interesting, and
even amusing, to record that in 1487 Hugh Shakspere of Merton
College, Oxford, changed his name to Sawndare, because his
former name vile reputatum est. The earliest record of a Shakespeare
that has yet been traced is in 1248 at Clapton in Gloucestershire,
about seven miles from Stratford. The name also occurs
during the 13th century in Kent, Essex and Surrey, and during
the 14th in Cumberland, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Essex,
Warwickshire and as far away as Youghal in Ireland. Thereafter
it is found in London and most of the English counties,
particularly those of the midlands; and nowhere more freely
than in Warwickshire. There were Shakespeares in Warwick
and in Coventry, as well as around Stratford; and the clan
appears to have been very numerous in a group of villages
about twelve miles north of Stratford, which includes Baddesley
Clinton, Wroxall, Rowington, Haseley, Hatton, Lapworth,
Packwood, Balsall and Knowle. William was in common use
as a personal name, and Williams from more than one other
family have from time to time been confounded with the
dramatist. Many Shakespeares are upon the register of the
gild of St Anne at Knowle from about 1457 to about 1526.
Amongst these were Isabella Shakespeare, prioress of the
Benedictine convent of Wroxall, and Jane Shakespeare, a nun of the
same convent. Shakespeares are also found as tenants on the
manors belonging to the convent, and at the time of the Dissolution
in 1534 one Richard Shakespeare was its bailiff and collector
of rents. Conjectural attempts have been made on the one hand
to connect the ancestors of this Richard Shakespeare with a
family of the same name who held land by military tenure at
Baddesley Clinton in the 14th and 15th centuries, and on me
other to identify him with the poet's grandfather, Richard
Shakespeare of Snitterfield. But Shakespeares are to be traced
at Wroxall nearly as far back as at Baddesley Clinton, and there
is no reason to suppose that Richard the bailiff, who was certainly
still a tenant of Wroxall in 1556, had also since 1529 been farming
land ten miles off at Snitterfield.
With the breaking of this link, the hope of giving Shakespeare
anything more than a grandfather on the father's side must be
laid aside for the present. On the mother's side he was connected
with a family of some distinction. Part at least of Richard
Shakespeare's land at Snitterfield was held from Robert Arden
of Wilmcote in the adjoining parish of Aston Cantlow, a cadet of
the Ardens of Parkhall, who counted amongst the leading
gentry of Warwickshire. Robert Arden married his second wife,
Agnes Hill, formerly Webbe, in 1548, and had then no less
than eight daughters by his first wife. To the youngest of these,
Mary Arden, he left in 1556 a freehold in Aston Cantlow consisting
of a farm of about fifty or sixty acres in extent, known as Asbies.
At some date later than November 1556, and probably before
the end of 1557, Mary Arden became the wife of John Shakespeare.
In October 1556 John Shakespeare had bought two freehold
houses, one in Greenhill Street, the other in Henley Street.
The latter, known as the wool shop, was the easternmost of
the two tenements now combined in the so-called Shakespeare's
birthplace. The western tenement, the birthplace proper, was
probably already in John Shakespeare's hands, as he seems to
have been living in Henley Street in 1552. It has sometimes
been thought to have been one of two houses which formed a
later purchase in 1575, but there is no evidence that these were
in Henley Street at all.
William Shakespeare was not the first child. A Joan was
baptized in 1558 and a Margaret in 1562. The latter was buried
in 1563 and the former must also have died young, although
her burial is not recorded, as a second Joan was baptized in 156o.
A Gilbert was baptized in 1566, an Anne in 1571, a Richard in
1574 and an Edmund in 1580. Anne died in 1579; Edmund,
who like his brother became an actor, in 1607; Richard in 1613.
Tradition has it that one of Shakespeare's brothers used to visit
London in the 17th century as quite an old man. If so, this can
only have been Gilbert.
During the years that followed his marriage, John Shakespeare
became prominent in Stratford life. In 1565 he was chosen
as an alderman, and in 1568 he held the chief municipal office,
that of high bailiif. This carried with it the dignity of justice
of the peace. John Shakespeare seems to have assumed arms,
and thenceforward was always entered in corporation documents
as "Mr" Shakespeare, whereby he may be distinguished from
another John Shakespeare, a "corviser" or shoemaker, who
dwelt in Stratford about 1584-1592. In 1571 as an ex-bailiff he
began another year of office as chief alderman.
### Youth
One may think, therefore, of Shakespeare in his boyhood as
the son of one of the leading citizens of a not unimportant
provincial market-town, with a vigorous life of its
own, which in spite of the dunghills was probably not
much unlike the life of a similar town to-day, and with constant
reminders of its past in the shape of the stately buildings formerly
belonging to its college and its gild, both of which had been
suppressed at the Reformation. Stratford stands on the Avon,
in the midst of an agricultural country, throughout which in
those days enclosed orchards and meadows alternated with open
fields for tillage, and not far from the wilder and wooded district
known as the Forest of Arden. The middle ages had left it
an heritage in the shape of a free grammar-school, and here it
is natural to suppose that William Shakespeare obtained a sound
enough education[^1] with a working knowledge of Mantuan"[^2]
and Ovid in the original, even though to such a thorough scholar
as Ben Jonson it might seem no more than "small Latin and
less Greek." In 1577, when Shakespeare was about thirteen,
his father's fortunes began to take a turn for the worse. He
became irregular in his contributions to town levies, and had to
give a mortgage on his wife's property of Asbies as security
for a loan from her brother-in-law, Edmund Lambert. Money
was raised to pay this off, partly by the sale of a small interest
in land at Snitterfield which had come to Mary Shakespeare
from her sisters, partly perhaps by that of the Greenhill Street
house and other property in Stratford outside Henley Street,
none of which seems to have ever come into William Shakespeare's
hands. Lambert, however, refused to surrender the
mortgage on the plea of older debts, and an attempt to recover
Asbies by litigation proved ineffectual. John Shakespeare's
difficulties increased. An action for debt was sustained against
him in the local court, but no personal property could be found
on which to distrain. He had long ceased to attend the meetings
of the corporation, and as a consequence he was removed in
1586 from the list of aldermen. In this state of domestic affairs it
is not likely that Shakespeare's school life was unduly prolonged.
The chances are that he was apprenticed to some local trade.
Aubrey says that he killed calves for his father, and "would do
it in a high style, and make a speech."
[^1]: It is worth noting that Walter Roche, who in 1558 became
fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, was master of the school in
1570-1572, so that its standard must have been good.
[^2]: Baptista Mantuanus (1448-1516), whose Latin Eclogues were
translated by Turberville in 1567.
### Marriage
Whatever his circumstances, they did not deter him at the
early age of eighteen from the adventure of marriage. Rowe
recorded the name of Shakespeare's wife as Hathaway,
and Joseph Greene succeeded in tracing her to a family
of that name dwelling in Shottery, one of the hamlets of Stratford.
Her monument gives her first name as Anne, and her age as
sixty-seven in 1623. She must, therefore, have been about eight
years older than Shakespeare. Various small trains of evidence
point to her identification with the daughter Agnes mentioned
in the will of a Richard Hathaway of Shottery, who died in
1581, being then in possession of the farm-house now known
as "Anne Hathaway's Cottage." Agnes was legally distinct
name from Anne, but there can be no doubt that ordinary
custom treated them as identical. The principal record of the
marriage is a bond dated on November 28, 1582, and executed
by Fulk Sandells and John Richardson, two yeomen of Stratford
who also figure in Richard Hathaway's will, as a security to the
bishop for the issue of a licence for the marriage of William
Shakespeare and "Anne Hathwey of Stratford," upon the
consent of her friends, with one asking of the banns. There
is no reason to suppose, as has been suggested, that the procedure
adopted was due to dislike of the marriage on the part of John
Shakespeare, since, the bridegroom being a minor, it would not
have been in accordance with the practice of the bishop's officials
to issue the licence without evidence of the father's consent.
The explanation probably lies in the fact that Anne was already
with child, and in the near neighbourhood of Advent within
which marriages were prohibited, so that the ordinary procedure
by banns would have entailed a delay until after Christmas.
A kindly sentiment has suggested that some form of civil
marriage, or at least contract of espousals, had already taken
place, so that a canonical marriage was really only required in
order to enable Anne to secure the legacy left her by her father
"at the day of her marriage." But such a theory is not rigidly
required by the facts. It is singular that, upon the day before
that on which the bond was executed, an entry was made in
the bishop's register of the issue of a licence for a marriage
between William Shakespeare and "Annam Whateley de Temple
Grafton." Of this it can only be said that the bond, as an
original document, is infinitely the better authority, and that
a scribal error of "Whateley" for "Hathaway" is quite a
possible solution. Temple Grafton may have been the nominal
place of marriage indicated in the licence, which was not always
the actual place of residence of either bride or bridegroom.
There are no contemporary registers for Temple Grafton, and
there is no entry of the marriage in those for Stratford-upon-
Avon. There is a tradition that such a record was seen during
the 19th century in the registers for Luddington, a chapelry
within the parish, which are now destroyed. Shakespeare's
first child, Susanna, was baptized on the 26th of May 1583,
and was followed on the 2nd of February 1585 by twins,
Hamnet and Judith.
### Obscure years, 1584-1592
In or after 1584 Shakespeare's career in Stratford seems to
have come to a tempestuous close. An 18th-century story of a
drinking-bout in a neighbouring village is of no Obscure
importance, except as indicating a local impression
that a distinguished citizen had had a wildish youth.
But there is a tradition which comes from a double
source and which there is no reason to reject in substance, to
the effect that Shakespeare got into trouble through poaching
on the estates of a considerable Warwickshire magnate, Sir
Thomas Lucy, and found it necessary to leave Stratford in order
to escape the results of his misdemeanour. It is added that he
afterwards took his revenge on Lucy by satirizing him as the
Justice Shallow, with the dozen white louses in his old coat,
of The Merry Wives of Windsor. From this event until he
emerges as an actor and rising playwright in 1592 his history is
a blank, and it is impossible to say what experience may not
have helped to fill it. Much might indeed be done in eight years
of crowded Elizabethan life. Conjecture has not been idle, and
has assigned him in turns during this or some other period to
the occupations of a scrivener, an apothecary, a dyer, a printer,
a soldier, and the like. The suggestion that he saw military
service rests largely on a confusion with another William Shakespeare of Rowington. Aubrey had heard that "he had been
in his younger years a schoolmaster in the country." The
mention in Henry IV. of certain obscure yeomen families,
Visor of Woncote and Perkes of Stinchcombe Hill, near Dursley
in Gloucestershire, has been thought to suggest a sojourn in
that district, where indeed Shakespeares were to be found from
¤ an early date. Ultimately, of course, he drifted to London
and the theatre, where, according to the stage tradition, he
found employment in a menial capacity, perhaps even as a
holder of horses at the doors, before he was admitted into a company as an actor and so found his way to his true vocation
as a writer of plays. Malone thought that he might have left
Stratford with one of the travelling companies of players which
from time to time visited the town. Later biographers have
fixed upon Leicester's men, who were at Stratford in 1587,
and have held that Shakespeare remained to the end in the same
company, passing with it on Leicester's death in 1588 under the
patronage of Ferdinando, Lord Strange and afterwards earl of
Derby, and on Derby's death in 1594 under that of the lord
chamberlain, Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon. This theory perhaps
hardly takes sufficient account of the shifting combinations
and recombinations of actors, especially during the disastrous
plague years of 1592 to 1594. The continuity of Strange's
company with Leicester's is very disputable, and while the names
of many members of Strange's company in and about 1593
are on record, Shakespeare's is not amongst them. It is at least
possible, as will be seen later, that he had about this time
relations with the earl of Pembroke's men, or with the earl of
Sussex's men, or with both of these organizations.
### Playwright and poet
What is clear is that by the summer of 1592, when he was
twenty-eight, he had begun to emerge as a playwright, and had
evoked the jealousy of one at least of the group of
scholar poets who in recent years had claimed a
monopoly of the stage. This was Robert Greene,
who, in an invective on behalf of the play-makers
against the play-actors which forms part of his Groats-worth
of Wit, speaks of "an upstart Crow, beautiiied with our feathers,
that with his *Tygers heart wrap! in a Players hide,* supposes he
is as well able to bumbast out a blanke verse as the best of you:
and being an absolute *Johannes fac iotum*, is in his owne conceit
the onely Shake-scene in a countrie." The play upon Shakespeare's
name and the parody of a line from Henry VI. make
the reference unmistakable.[^1] The London theatres were closed,
first through riots and then through plague, from June 1592
to April 1594, with the exception of about a month at each
Christmas during that period; and the companies were dissolved
or driven to the provinces. Even if Shakespeare had been
connected with Strange's men during their London seasons of
1592 and 1593, it does not seem that he travelled with them.
Other activities may have been sufficient to occupy the interval.
The most important of these was probably an attempt to win
a reputation in the world of non-dramatic poetry. *Venus and
Adonis* was published about April 1593, and *Lucrece* about May
1594. The poems were printed by Richard Field, in whom
Shakespeare would have found an old Stratford acquaintance;
and each has a dedication to Henry Wriothesley, earl of South-
ampton, a brilliant and accomplished favourite of the court, still
in his nonage. A possibly super-subtle criticism discerns an
increased warmth in the tone of the later dedication, which is
supposed to argue a marked growth of intimacy. The fact of
this intimacy is vouched for by the story handed down from
Sir William Davenant to Rowe (who published in 1709 the first
regular biography of Shakespeare) that Southampton gave
Shakespeare a thousand pounds "to enable him to go through
with a purchase which he heard he had a mind to." The date of
this generosity is not specified, and there is no known purchase by
Shakespeare which can have cost anything like the sum named.
The mention of Southampton leads naturally to the most
difficult problem which a biographer has to handle, that of the
*Sonnets*. But this will be more conveniently taken up at a
later point, and it is only necessary here to put on record the
probability that the earliest of the sonnets belong to the period
now under discussion. There is a surmise, which is not in itself
other than plausible, and which has certainly been supported with
a good deal of ingenious argument, that Shakespeare's enforced
leisure enabled him to make of 1593 a *Wanderjahr*, and in
particular that the traces of a visit to northern Italy may clearly
be seen in the local colouring of *Lucrece* as compared with *Venus
and Adonis*, and in that of the group of plays which may be dated
in or about 1594 and 1595 as compared with those that preceded.
It must, however, be borne in mind that, while Shakespeare
may perfectly well, at this or at some earlier time, have voyaged
to Italy, and possibly Denmark and even Germany as well,
there is no direct evidence to rely upon, and that inference from
internal evidence is a dangerous guide when a writer of so assimilative
a temperament as that of Shakespeare is concerned.
[^1]: It is most improbable, however, that the apologetic reference in
Chettle's *Kind-hart's Dream* (December 1592) refers to Shakespeare.
### Connexion with the Chamberlain's company of actors ###
From the reopening of the theatres in the summer of 1594
onwards Shakespeare's status is in many ways clearer. He had
certainly become a leading member of the Chamberlain's
company by the following winter, when his
name appears for the first and only time in the treasurer
of the chamber's accounts as one of the recipients of
payment for their performances at court; and there is
every reason to suppose that he continued to act with
and write for the same associates to the close of his career. The
history of the company may be briefly told. At the death of the
lord chamberlain on the 22nd of July 1596, it passed under the
protection of his successor, George, 2nd Lord Hunsdon, and
once more became "the Lord Chamberlain's men" when he
was appointed to that office on the 17th of March 1597. James I.
on his accession took this company under his patronage as grooms
of the chamber, and during the remainder of Shakespeare's
connexion with the stage they were "the King's men." The
records of performances at court show that they were by far the
most favoured of the companies, their nearest rivals being the
company known during the reign of Elizabeth as "the Admiral's,"
and afterwards as "Prince Henry's men." From the summer
of 1594 to March I603 they appear to have played almost
continuously in London, as the only provincial performances by
them which are upon record were during the autumn of 1597,
when the London theatres were for a short time closed owing to
the interference of some of the players in politics. They travelled
again during 1603 when the plague was in London, and during
at any rate portions of the summers or autumns of most years
thereafter. In 1594 they were playing at Newington Butts, and
probably also at the Rose on Bankside, and at the Cross Keys
in the city. It is natural to suppose that in later years they
used the Theatre in Shoreditch, since this was the property of
James Burbage, the father of their principal actor, Richard
Burbage. The Theatre was pulled down in 1598, and, after a
short interval during which the company may have played at the
Curtain, also in Shoreditch, Richard Burbage and his brother
Cuthbert rehoused them in the Globe on Bankside, built in part
out of the materials of the Theatre. Here the profits of the
enterprise were divided between the members of the company
as such and the owners of the building as "housekeepers,"
and shares in the "house" were held in joint tenancy by Shake-
speare and some of his leading "fellows." About 1608 another
playhouse became available for the company in the "private "
or winter house of the Black Friars. This was also the property
of the Burbages, but had previously been leased to a company
of boy players. A somewhat similar arrangement as to profits
was made.
Shakespeare is reported by Aubrey to have been a good actor,
but Adam in *As You Like It*, and the Ghost in *Hamlet* indicate
the type of part which he played. As a dramatist, however,
he was the mainstay of the company for at least some fifteen years,
during which Ben Jonson, Dekker, Beaumont and Fletcher, and
Tourneur also contributed to their repertory. On an average
he must have written for them about two plays a year, although
his rapidity of production seems to have been greatest during
the opening years of the period. There was also no doubt a good
deal of rewriting of his own earlier work, and also perhaps, at
the beginning, of that of others. Occasionally he may have
. entered into collaboration, as, for example, at the end of his
career, with Fletcher.
### Stratford Affairs
In a worldly sense he clearly flourished, and about 1596, if
not earlier, he was able to resume relations as a moneyed
man with Stratford-on-Avon. There is no evidence to show
whether he had visited the town in the interval, or whether
he had brought his wife and family to London. His son Hamnet
died and was buried at Stratford in 1596. During the last ten
years John Shakespeare's affairs had remained unprosperous.
He incurred fresh debt, partly through becoming surety for
his brother Henry; and in 1592 his name was included in a list
of recusants dwelling at or near Stratford-on-Avon, with a note
by the commissioners that in his case the cause was believed to
be the fear of process for debt. There is no reason to doubt
this explanation, or to seek a religious motive in
John Shakespeare's abstinence from church. William
Shakespeare's purse must have made a considerable
difference. The prosecutions for debt ceased, and in 1597 a
fresh action was brought in Chancery for the recovery of Asbies
from the Lamberts. Like the last, it seems to have been
without result. Another step was taken to secure the dignity
of the family by an application in the course of 1596 to the
heralds for the confirmation of a coat of arms said to have been
granted to John Shakespeare while he was bailiff of Stratford.
The bearings were *or* on a bend *sable* a spear *or* steeled *argent*,
the crest a falcon his wings displayed *argent* supporting a spear
*or* steeled *argent*, and the motto *Non sanz droict*. The grant
was duly made, and in 1599 there was a further application for
leave to impale the arms of Arden, in right of Shakespeare's
mother. No use, however, of the Arden arms by the Shakespeares
can be traced. In 1597 Shakespeare made an important
purchase for £60 of the house and gardens of New Place in Chapel
Street. This was one of the largest houses in Stratford, and
its acquisition an obvious triumph for the ex-poacher. Presumably
John Shakespeare ended his days in peace. A visitor to
his shop remembered him as "a merry-cheekt old man" always
ready to crack a jest with his son. He died in 1601, and his wife
in 1608, and the Henley Street houses passed to Shakespeare.
Aubrey records that he paid annual visits to Stratford, and there
is evidence that he kept in touch with the life of the place. The
correspondence of his neighbours, the Quineys, in 1598 contains
an application to him for a loan to Richard Quiney upon a visit
to London, and a discussion of possible investments for him
in the neighbourhood of Stratford. In 1602 he took, at a rent
of 2s. 6d. a year, a copyhold cottage in Chapel Lane, perhaps
for the use of his gardener. In the same year he invested
£320 in the purchase of an estate consisting of 107 acres in the
open fields of Old Stratford, together with a farm-house, garden
and orchard, 20 acres of pasture and common rights; and in
1605 he spent another £440 in the outstanding term of a lease
of certain great tithes in Stratford parish, which brought in an
income of about £60 a year.
### London Associations
Meanwhile London remained his headquarters. Here Malone
thought that he had evidence, now lost, of his residence in South-
Lmdon wark as early as 1596, and as late as 1608. It is
known that payments of subsidy were due from him
for 1597 and 1598 in the parish of St Helen's, Bishopsgate,
and that an arrear was ultimately collected
in the liberty of the Clink. He had no doubt migrated from
Bishopsgate when the Globe upon Bankside was opened by the
Chamberlain's men. There is evidence that in 1604 he "lay,"
temporarily or permanently, in the house of Christopher
Mountjoy, a tire-maker of French extraction, at the corner of
Silver Street and Monkwell Street in Cripplegate. A recently
recovered note by Aubrey, if it really refers to Shakespeare
(which is not quite certain), is of value as throwing light not
only upon his abode, but upon his personality. Aubrey seems to
have derived it from William Beeston the actor, and through
him from John Lacy, an actor of the king's company. It is
as follows: "The more to be admired q[uod] he was not a
company-keeper, lived in Shoreditch, would not be debauched,
& if invited to court, he was in paine." Against this testimony
to the correctness of Shakespeare's morals are to be placed an
anecdote of a green-room amour picked up by a Middle Temple
student in 1602 and a Restoration scandal which made him the
father by the hostess of the Crown Inn at Oxford, where he
baited on his visits to Stratford, of Sir William Davenant, who
was born in February 1606. His credit at court is implied by
Ben Jonson's references to his flights "that so did take Eliza
and our James," and by stories of the courtesies which passed
between him and Elizabeth while he was playing a kingly part in
her presence, of the origin of *The Merry Wives of Windsor* in
her desire to see Falstaff in love, and of an autograph letter
written to honour him by King James. It was noticed with
some surprise by Henry Chettle that his "honied muse" dropped
no "sable tear" to celebrate the death of the queen. Southampton's
patronage may have introduced him to the brilliant
circle that gathered round the earl of Essex, but there is no
reason to suppose that he or his company were held personally
responsible for the performance of Richard II. at the command
of some of the followers of Essex as a prelude to the disastrous
rising of February 1601. The editors of the First Folio speak
also of favours received by the author in his lifetime from
William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, and his brother Philip
Herbert, earl of Montgomery.
### Friends
He appears to have been on cordial terms with his fellows
of the stage. One of them, Augustine Phillips, left him a
small legacy in 1605, and in his own will he paid a
similar compliment to Richard Burbage, and to John
Heminge and Henry Condell, who afterwards edited his plays.
His relations with Ben Jonson, whom he is said by Rowe to have
introduced to the world as a playwright, have been much
canvassed. Jests are preserved which, even if apocryphal,
indicate considerable intimacy between the two. This is not
inconsistent with occasional passages of arms. The anonymous
author of *The Return from Parnassus* (2nd part; 1602), for
example, makes Kempe, the actor, allude to a "purge "which
Shakespeare gave Jonson, in return for his attack on some of
his rivals in *The Poetaster*.[^1] It has been conjectured that this
purge was the description of Ajax and his humours in Troilus
and Cressida. Jonson, on the other hand, who was criticism
incarnate, did not spare Shakespeare either in his prologues or
in his private conversation. He told Drummond of Hawthornden
that "Shakspeer wanted arte." But the verses which he contributed
to the First Folio are generous enough to make all
amends, and in his *Discoveries* (pub. 1641; written c. 1624 and
later), while regretting Shakespeare's excessive facility and the
fact that he often "fell into those things, could not escape
laughter," he declares him to have been "honest and of an
open and free nature," and says that, for his own part, "I lov'd
the man and do honour his memory (on this side idolatry) as
much as any." According to the memoranda-book (1661-1663)
of the Rev. John Ward (who became vicar of Stratford in 1662),
Jonson and Michael Drayton, himself a Warwickshire poet, had
been drinking with Shakespeare when he caught the fever of
which he died; and Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), whose *Worthies*
was published in 1662, gives an imaginative description of the
wit combats, of which many took place between the two
mighty contemporaries.
### Contemporary Reputation
Of Shakespeare's literary reputation during his lifetime there
is ample evidence. He is probably neither the "Willy" of
Spenser's *Tears of the Muses*, nor the "Aetion" of
his *Colin Clout's Came Home Again*. But from the
time of the publication of *Venus and Adonis* and
*Lucrece* honorific allusions to his work both as poet
and dramatist, and often to himself by name, come thick and
fast from writers of every kind and degree. Perhaps the most
interesting of these from the biographical point of view are those
contained in the *Palladis Tamia*, a kind of literary handbook
published by Francis Meres in 1598; for Meres not only extols
him as "the most excellent in both kinds [i.e. comedy and
tragedy] for the stage," and one of "the most passionate among
us to bewaile and bemoane the perplexities of Love," but also
takes the trouble to give a list of twelve plays already written,
which serves as a starting-point for all modern attempts at a
chronological arrangement of his work. It is moreover from
Meres that we first hear of "his sugred Sonnets among his
private friends." Two of these sonnets were printed in 1599
in a volume of miscellaneous verse called The Passionate Pilgrim.
This was ascribed upon the title-page to Shakespeare, but pro- `
bably, so far as most of its contents were concerned, without
justification. The bulk of Shakespeare's sonnets remained
unpublished until 1609.
[^1]: Kempe (speaking to Burbage), "Few of the university pen plays
well. They smell too much of that writer Ovid and that writer (sic)
Metamorphosis, and talk too much of Proserpina and jupiter.
Why here`s our fellow Shakespeare puts them all down; aye, and
Ben Jonson too. O that Ben Jonson is a pestilent fellow. He brought
up Horace giving the Poets a pill, but ourfellow Shakespeare hath
given him a purge that made him beray his credit."
### Last Years
About 1610 Shakespeare seems to have left London, and
entered upon the definite occupation of his house at New
Place, Stratford. Here he lived the life of a retired
gentleman, on friendly if satirical terms with the
richest of his neighbours, the Combes, and interested
in local affairs, such as a bill for the improvement of the highways
in 1611, or a proposed enclosure of the open fields at Welcombe
in 1614, which might affect his income or his comfort. He had
his garden with its mulberry-tree, and his farm in the immediate
neighbourhood. His brothers Gilbert and Richard were still
alive; the latter died in 1613. His sister Joan had married
William Hart, a batter, and in 1616 was dwelling in one of his
houses in Henley Street. Of his daughters, the eldest, Susanna,
had married in 1607 John Hall (d. 1635), a physician of some reputation.
They dwelt in Stratford, and had one child, Elizabeth,
afterwards Lady Barnard (1608-1670). The younger, Judith,
married Thomas Quiney, a vintner, also of Stratford, two months
before her father's death. At Stratford the last few of the plays
may have been written, but it is reasonable to suppose that Shake-
speare's connexion with the King's company ended when the
Globe was burnt down during a performance of Henry VIII. on
the 29th of June 1613. Certainly his retirement did not imply
an absolute break with London life. In 1613 he devised an
impresa, or emblem, to be painted by Richard Burbage, and worn
in the tilt on Accession day by the earl of Rutland, who had
been one of the old circle of Southampton and Essex. In the
same year he purchased for £140 a freehold house in the Black-
friars, near the Wardrobe. This was conveyed to trustees,
apparently in order to bar the right which his widow would
otherwise have had to dower. In 1615 this purchase involved
Shakespeare in a lawsuit for the surrender of the title-deeds.
Richard Davies, a Gloucestershire clergyman of the end of the
17th century, reports that the poet "died a papist," and the
statement deserves more attention than it has received from
biographers. There is indeed little to corroborate it; for an
alleged "spiritual testament" of John Shakespeare is of suspected
origin, and Davies's own words suggest a late conversion rather
than an hereditary faith. On the other hand, there is little to
refute it beyond an entry in the accounts of Stratford corporation
for drink given in 1614 to "a preacher at the Newe Place."
### Will
Shakespeare made his will on the 25th of March 1616, apparently
in some haste, as the executed deed is a draft with many
erasures and interlineations. There were legacies to
his daughter Judith Quiney and his sister Joan Hart,
and remembrances to friends both in Warwickshire and in
London; but the real estate was left to his sister Susanna Hall
under a strict entail which points to a desire on the part of the
testator to found a family. Shakespeare's wife, for whom other
provision must have been made, is only mentioned in an inter-
lineation, by which the "second best bed with the furniture"
was bequeathed to her. Much nonsense has been written about
this, but it seems quite natural. The best bed was an important
chattel, which would go with the house. The estate was after all
not a large one. Aubrey's estimate of its annual value as £200
or £300 a year sounds reasonable enough, and John Ward's statement that Shakespeare spent £1000 a year must surely be an
exaggeration. The sum-total of his known investments amounts
to £960. Mr Sidney Lee calculates that his theatrical income
must have reached £600 a year; but it may be doubted whether
this also is not a considerable overestimate. It must be
remembered that the purchasing value of money in the 17th
century is generally regarded as having been about eight times
its present value. Shakespeare's interest in the "houses "of the
Globe and Blackfriars probably determined on his death.
A month after his will was signed, on the 23rd of April 1616,
Shakespeare died, and as a tithe-owner was buried in the chance
of the parish church. Some doggerel upon the stone that covers
<!-- p.776:1 -->
the grave has been assigned by local tradition to his own pen. A
more elaborate monument, with a bust by the sculptor Gerard
Johnson, was in due course set up on the chancel wall.
### Death
Anne Shakespeare followed her husband on the 6th
of August 1623. The family was never founded. Shake-
speare's grand-daughter, Elizabeth Hall, made two childless
marriages, the first with Thomas Nash of Stratford, the second
with John, afterwards Sir John, Barnard of Abington Manor,
Northants. His daughter Judith Quiney had three sons, all
of whom had died unmarried by 1639. There were, therefore,
no direct descendants of Shakespeare in existence after Lady
Barnard's death in 1670. Those of his sister, Joan Hart, could
however still be traced in 1864. On Lady Barnard's death the
Henley Street houses passed to the Harts, in whose family they
remained until 1806. They were then sold, and in 1846 were
bought for the public. They are now held with Anne Hathaway's
Cottage at Shottery as the Birthplace Trust. Lady Barnard
had disposed of the Blackfriars house. The rest of the property
was sold under the terms of her will, and New Place passed,
first to the Cloptons who rebuilt it, and then to the Rev. Francis
Gastrell, who pulled it down in 1759. The site now forms a public
recreation-ground, and hard by is a memorial building with a
theatre in which performances of Shakespeare's plays are given
annually in April. Both the Memorial and the Birthplace contain
museums, in which books, documents and portraits of
Shakespearian interest, together with relics of greater or less
authenticity, are stored.
No letter or other writing in Shakespeare's hand can be proved
to exist, with the exception of three signatures upon his will,
one upon a deposition (May 11, 1612) in a lawsuit with which
he was remotely concerned, and two upon deeds (March 10 and
11, 1613) in connexion with the purchase of his Blackfriars house.
A copy of Florio's translation of Montaigne (1603) in the British
Museum,a copy of the Aldine edition of Ovid's *Metamorphoses*
(1502) in the Bodleian, and a copy of the 1612 edition of Sir
Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's *Lives of the Noble
Grecians and Romaines* in the Greenock Library, have all been
put forward with some plausibility as bearing his autograph
name or initials, and, in the third case, a marginal note by him.
A passage in the manuscript of the play of *Sir Thomas More* has
been ascribed to him (*vide infra*), and, if the play is his, might
be in his handwriting. Aubrey records that he was "a handsome,
well-shap't man," and the lameness attributed to him
by some writers has its origin only in a too literal interpretation
of certain references to spiritual disabilities in the *Sonnets.*
### Dramas
A collection of *Mr William Shakespeards Comedies, Histories
and Tragedies* was printed at the press of William and Isaac
jaggard, and issued by a group of booksellers in 1623.
This volume is known as the First Folio. It has
dedications to the earls of Pembroke and Montgomery, and to
"the great Variety of Readers," both of which are signed by
two of Shakespeare's "fellows "at the Globe, John Heminge
and Henry Condell, and commendatory verses by Ben Jonson,
Hugh Holland, Leonard Digges and an unidentified I. M.
The Droeshout engraving forms part of the title-page. The
contents include, with the exception of *Pericles*, all of the thirty-seven
plays now ordinarily printed in editions of Shakespeare's
works. Of these eighteen were here published for the first time.
The other eighteen had already appeared in one or more separate
editions, known as the Quartos.
The following list gives the date of the First Quarto of each
such play, and also that of any later Quarto which differs
materially from the First.
<!-- ed: reformatted from the original -->
The Quarto Editions.
* Titus Andronicus (1594).
* 2 Henry VI. (1594).
* 3 Henry VI. (1595).
* Richard II. (1597, 1608).
* Richard III. (1597).
* Romeo and Juliet (1597, 1599).
* Love's Labour's Lost (1598).
* 1 Henry IV. (1598).
* King Lear (1608).
* 2 Henry IV. (1600).
* Henry V. (1600).
* A Midsummer Night's Dream (1600)
* The Merchant of Venice (1600)
* Much Ado About Nothing (1600).
* The Merry Wives of Windsor (1602)
* Hamlet (1603, 1604).
* Troilus and Cressida (1609).
* Othello (1622).
<!-- p.777:0 ed: TODO italicising -->
Entries in the Register of copyrights kept by the Company
of Stationers indicate that editions of *As You Like It* and
*Anthony and Cleopatra were* contemplated but not published in
1600 and 1608 respectively.
The Quartos differ very much in character. Some of them
contain texts which are practically identical with those of
the First Folio; others show variations so material as to suggest
that some revision, either by rewriting or by shortening for stage
purposes, took place. Amongst the latter are 2, 3 Henry VI.,
Richard III., Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor,
Hamlet and King Lear. Many scholars doubt whether the
Quarto versions of 2, 3 Henry VI., which appeared under the titles
of The First Part of the Contention betwixt the two famous Houses
of York and Lancaster and The True Tragedy of Richard Duke
of York, are Shakespeare's work at all. It seems clear that the
Quartos of The Troublesome Reign of John King of England (1591)
and The Taming of A Shrew (1594), although treated for copyright
purposes as identical with the plays of King John and The Taming
of the Shrew, which he founded upon them, are not his. The First
Quartos of Romeo and Juliet, Henry V., The Merry Wives of
Windsor, and Hamlet seem to be mainly based, not upon written
texts of the plays, but upon versions largely made up out of
shorthand notes taken at the theatre by the agents of a piratical
bookseller. A similar desire to exploit the commercial value
of Shakespeare's reputation probably led to the appearance of
his name or initials upon the title-pages of Locrine (1595),
Sir John Oldcastle (1600), Thomas Lord Cromwell (1602), The
London Prodigal (1605), The Puritan (1607), A Yorkshire
Tragedy (1608), and Pericles (1609). It is not likely that, with
the exception of the last three acts of Pericles, he wrote any part
of these plays, some of which were not even produced by his
company. They were not included in the First Folio of 1623, nor
in a reprint of it in 1632, known as the Second Folio; but all
seven were appended to the second issue (1664) of the Third
Folio (1663), and to the Fourth Folio of 1685. Shakespeare is
named as joint author with John Fletcher on the title-page of
The Two Noble Kinsmen (1634), and with William Rowley on that
of The Birth of Merlin (1662); there is no reason for rejecting
the former ascription or for accepting the latter. Late entries
in the Stationers' Register assign to him Cardenio (with Fletcher),
Henry I. and Henry II. (both with Robert Davenport), King
Stephen, Duke Humphrey, and Iphis and Ianthe; but none of
these plays is now extant. Modern conjecture has attempted
to trace his hand in other plays, of which Arden of Feversham
(1592), Edward III. (1596), Mucedorus (1598), and The Merry
Devil of Edmonton (1608) are the most important; it is quite
possible that he may have had a share in Edward III. A play
on Sir Thomas More, which has been handed down in manuscript,
contains a number of passages, interpolated in various
handwritings, to meet requirements of the censor; and there
are those who assign one of these (ii. 4, 1-172) to Shakespeare.
[Dates]
Unfortunately the First Folio does not give the dates at which
the plays contained in it were written or produced; and the
endeavour to supply this deficiency has been one of the
main preoccupations of more than a century of Shakespearian
scholarship, since the pioneer essay of Edmund Malone
in his An Attempt to Ascertain the Order in which the Plays of
Shakespeare were Written (1778). The investigation is not a
mere piece of barren antiquarianism, for on it depends the
possibility of appreciating the work of the world's greatest poet,
not as if it were an articulated whole like a philosophical system,
but in its true aspect as the reflex of a vital and constantly
developing personality. A starting-point is afforded by the
dates of the Quartos and the entries in the Stationers' Register
which refer to them, and by the list of plays already in existence
in 1598 which is inserted by Francis Meres in his Palladis Tamia
of that year, and which, while not necessarily exhaustive of
Shakespeare's pre-1598 writing, includes The Two Gentlemen of
Verona, The Comedy of Errors, Love's Labour's Lost, A Mid-
summer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Richard II.,
Richard III., Henry IV., King John, Titus Andronicus and
Romeo and Juliet, as well as a mysterious Love's Labour's Won,
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p.777:1 ed: TODO italicising
which has been conjecturally identified with several plays,
but most plausibly with The Taming of the Shrew. There is a
mass of supplementary evidence, drawn partly from definite
notices in other writings or in diaries, letters, account books, and
similar records, partly from allusions to contemporary persons
and events in the plays themselves, partly from parallels of
thought and expression between each play and those near to it
in point of time, and partly from considerations of style, includ-
ing the so-called metrical tests, which depend upon an analysis
of Shakespeare's varying feeling for rhythm at different stages
of his career. The total result is certainly not a demonstration,
but in the logical sense an hypothesis which serves to colligate
the facts and is consistent with itself and with the known events
of Shakespeare's external life.
The following table, which is an attempt to arrange the original
dates of production of the plays without regard to possible
revisions, may be taken as fairly representing the common
results of recent scholarship. It is framed on the assumption
that, as indeed John Ward tells us was the case, Shakespeare
ordinarily wrote two plays a year; but it will be understood
that neither the order in which the plays are given nor the
distribution of them over the years lays claim to more than
approximate accuracy.
<!-- ed: TODO reformat? -->
**Chronology of the Plays**
|| 1591 || (1, 2) The Contention of York and Lancaster (2, 3 Henry VI.) || ||
|| 1592 || (3) 1 Henry VI || The theatres were closed for riot and plague from June to the end of December ||
|| 1593 || (4) Richard III, (5) Edward III (part only) (6) The Comedy of Errors || (The theatres were closed for plague during February and March ||
|| 1594 || (7) Titus Andronicus, (8) Taming of the Shrew, (9) Love's Labour's Lost, (10) Romeo and Juliet || The theatres were closed for plague during February and March ||
|| 1595 || (11) A Midsummer Night's Dream, (12) The Two Gentlemen of Verona, (13) King John ||
|| 1596 || (14) Richard II, (15) The Merchant of Venice ||
|| 1597 || (16) 1 Henry IV || The theatres were closed for misdemeanour from the end of July to October ||
|| 1598 || (17) 2 Henry IV, (18) Much Ado About Nothing ||
|| 1599 || (19) Henry V, (20) Julius Caesar ||
|| 1600 || (21) The Merry Wives of Windsor, (22) As You Like It ||
|| 1601 || (23) Hamlet, (24) Twelfth Night ||
|| 1602 || (25) Troilus and Cressida, (26) All's Well that End's Well ||
|| 1603 || - || The theatres were closed on Elizabeth's death in March, and remained closed for the plague throughout the year ||
|| 1604 || (27) Measure for Measure, (28) Othello ||
|| 1605 || (29) Macbeth, (30) King Lear ||
|| 1606 || (31) Antony and Cleopatra, (32) Coriolanus ||
|| 1607 || (33) Timon of Athens (unfinished) ||
|| 1608 || (34) Pericles (part only) ||
|| 1609 || (35) Cymbeline ||
|| 1610 || (36) The Winter's Tale ||
|| 1611 || (37) The Tempest ||
|| 1612 || - ||
|| 1613 || (38) The Two Noble Kinsmen (part only) ||
|| 1614 || (39) Henry VIII (part only) ||
A more detailed account of the individual plays may now
be attempted. The figures here prefixed correspond to those
in the table above.
[Composition]
1, 2. The relation of The Contention of York and Lancaster
to 2, 3 Henry VI. and the extent of Shakespeare's responsibility
for either or both works have long been subjects of
controversy. The extremes of critical opinion are to
be found in a theory which regards Shakespeare as the
sole author of 2, 3 Henry VI. and *The Contention* as a shortened
and piratical version of the original plays, and in a theory which
regards *The Contention* as written in collaboration by Marlowe,
Greene and possibly Peele, and 2, 3 Henry VI. as a revision of
<!-- p.778:0 -->
*The Contention* written, also in collaboration, by Marlowe and
Shakespeare. A comparison of the two texts leaves it hardly
possible to doubt that the differences between them are to be
explained by revision rather than by piracy; but the question
of authorship is more difficult. Greene's parody, in the " Shake-
scene" passage of his *Groats-worth of Wit* (1592), of a line which
occurs both in *The Contention* and in 3 *Henry VI.*, while it clearly
suggests Shakespeare's connexion with the plays, is evidence
neither for nor against the participation of other men, and no
sufficient criterion exists for distinguishing between Shakespeare's
earliest writing and that of possible collaborators on grounds of
style. But there is nothing inconsistent between the reviser's
work in 2, 3 *Henry VI.* and on the one hand *Richard III.* or
on the other the original matter of *The Contention*, which the
reviser follows and elaborates scene by scene. It is difficult to
assign to any one except Shakespeare the humour of the Jack
Cade scenes, the whole substance of which is in *The Contention*
as well as in *Henry VI*. Views which exclude Shakespeare alto-
gether may be left out of account. *Henry VI.* is not in Meres's
list of his plays, but its inclusion in the First Folio is an almost
certain ground for assigning to him some share, if only as reviser,
in the completed work.
3\. A very similar problem is afforded by 1 *Henry VI.*, and here
also it is natural, in the absence of tangible evidence to the
contrary, to hold by Shakespeare's substantial responsibility
for the play as it stands. It is quite possible that it also may be
a revised version, although in this case no earlier version exists;
and if so the Talbot scenes (iv. 2-7) and perhaps also the Temple
Gardens scene (ii. 4), which are distinguished by certain qualities
of style from the rest of the play, may date from the period of
revision. Thomas Nash refers to the representation of Talbot
on the stage in his *Pierce Penilesse, his Supplicalion to the Divell*
(1592), and it is probable that 1 *Henry VI.* is to be identified
with the "Harey the vj." recorded in Henslowe's *Diary* to have
been acted as a new play by Lord Strange's men, probably at
the Rose, on the grd of March 1592. If so, it is a reasonable
conjecture that the two parts of *The Contention* were originally
written at some date before the beginning of Henslowe's record
in the previous February, and were revised so as to fall into a
series with 1 *Henry VI.* in the latter end of 1592.
4\. The series as revised can only be intended to lead directly
up to *Richard III .*, and this relationship, together with its style
as compared with that of the plays belonging to the autumn
of 1594, suggest the short winter season of 1592-1593 as the most
likely time for the production of *Richard III.* There is a difficulty
in that it is not included in Henslowe's list of the plays acted by
Lord Strange's men during that season. But it may quite well
have been produced by the only other company which appeared
at court during the Christmas festivities, Lord Pembroke's.
The mere fact that Shakespeare wrote a play, or more than one
play, for Lord Strange's men during 1592-1594 does not prove
that he never wrote for any other company during the same
period; and indeed there is plenty of room for guess-work as to
the relations between Strange's and Pembroke's men. The latter
are not known to have existed before 1592, and many difhculties
would be solved by the assumption that they originated out of
a division of Strange's, whose numbers, since their amalgamation
with the Admiral's, may have been too much inflated to enable
them to undertake as a whole the summer tour of that year.
If so, Pembroke's probably took over the *Henry VI.* series of
plays, since *The Contention*, or at least the *True Tragedy*, was
published as performed by them, and completed it with *Richard
III.* on their return to London at Christmas. It will be necessary
to return to this theory in connexion with the discussion of
*Titus Andronicus* and *The Taming of the Shrew*. The principal
historical source for *Henry VI.* was Edward Hall's *The Union of
the Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York* (1542), and
for *Richard III.*, as for all Shakespeare's later historical plays,
the second edition (1587) of Raphael Holinshed's *Chronicles of
England, Scotland and Ireland* (1577). An earlier play, *The True
Tragedy of Richard the Third* (1594), seems to have contributed
little if anything to *Richard III*.
<!-- p.778:1 -->
5\. Many scholars think that at any rate the greater part of the
first two acts of *Edward III.*, containing the story of Edward's
wooing of the countess of Salisbury, are by Shakespeare; and,
if so, it is to about the time of *Richard III.* that the style of
his contribution seems to belong. The play was entered in the
Stationers' *Register* on December 1, 1595. The Shakespearian
scenes are based on the 46th Novel in William Paynter's *Palace
of Pleasure* (1566). The line, " Lilies that fester smell far worse
than weeds " (ii. 1. 451), is repeated verbatim in the 94th sonnet.
6\. To the winter season of 1592-1593 may also be assigned
with fair probability Shakespeare's first experimental comedy,
*The Comedy of Errors*, and if his writing at one and the same
time for Pembroke's and for another company is not regarded as
beyond the bounds of conjecture, it becomes tempting to identify
this with "the gelyous comodey" produced, probably by
Strange's men, for Henslowe as a new play on January 5, 1593.
The play contains a reference to the wars of succession in France
which would fit any date from 1589 to 1594. The plot is taken
from the *Menaechmi*, and to a smaller extent from the *Amphitruo*
of Plautus. William Warner's translation of the *Menaechmi*
was entered in the Stationers' *Register* on June 10, 1594. A
performance of *The Comedy of Errors* by "a company of base
and common fellows " (including Shakespeare?) is recorded in
the *Gesta Grayarum* as taking place in Gray's Inn hall on
December 28, 1594.
7\. *Titus Andronicus* is another play in which many scholars
have refused to see the hand of Shakespeare, but the double
testimony of its inclusion in Meres's list and in the First Folio
makes it unreasonable to deny him some part in it. This may,
however, only have been the part of a reviser, working, like the
reviser of *The Contention*, upon the dialogue rather than the
structure of a crude tragedy of the school of Kyd. In fact a
stage tradition is reported by Edward Ravenscroft, a late
17th-century adapter of the play, to the effect that Shakespeare
did no more than give a few "master-touches" to the work of a
"private author." The play was entered in the Stationers'
*Register* on February 6, 1594, and was published in the same
year with a title-page setting out that it had been acted by the
companies of Lords Derby (i.e. Strange, who had succeeded to
his father's title on September 25, 1593), Pembroke and Sussex.
It is natural to take this list as indicating the order in which the
three companies named had to do with it, but it is probable that
only Sussex's had played Shakespeare's version. Henslowe re-
cords the production by this company of *Titus and Andronicus*
as a new play on January 23, 1594, only a few days before
the theatres were closed by plague. For the purposes of Henslowe's
financial arrangements with the company a rewritten
play may have been classed as new. Two years earlier he had
appended the same description to a play of *Tittus and Vespacia*,
produced by Strange's men on April 11, 1592. At first sight the
title suggests a piece founded on the lives of the emperor Titus
and Vespasian, but the identification of the play with an early
version of *Titus Andronicus* is justified by the existence of a rough
German adaptation, which follows the general outlines of Shakespeare's
play, but in which one of the sons of Titus is named
Vespasian instead of Lucius. The ultimate source of the plot is
unknown. It cannot be traced in any of the Byzantine chroniclers.
Strange's men seem to have been still playing *Titus* in January
1593, and it was probably not transferred to Pembroke's until the
companies were driven from London by the plague of that year.
Pembroke's are known from a letter of Henslowe's to have been
ruined by August, and it is to be suspected that Sussex's, who
appeared in London for the first time at the Christmas of 1593,
acquired their stock of plays and transferred these to the Chamber-
lain's men, when the companies were again reconstituted in the
summer of 1594. The revision of *Titus and Vespasian* into
*Titus Andronicus* by Shakespeare may have been accomplished
in the interval between these two transactions. The Chamber-
lain's men were apparently playing *Andronicus* in june. The
stock of Pembroke's men probably included, as well as *Titus
and Vespasian*, both *Henry VI.* and *Richard III.*, which also
thus passed to the Chamberlain's company.
<!-- p.779:0 -->
8\. In the same way was probably also acquired an old play of
*The Taming of A Shrew*. This, which can be traced back as far
as 1589, was published as acted by Pembroke's men in 1594.
In June of that year it was being acted by the Chamberlain's,
but more probably in the revised version by Shakespeare, which
bears the slightly altered title of The Taming of The Shrew.
This is a much more free adaptation of its original than had been
attempted in the case of Henry VI., and the Warwickshire
allusions in the Induction are noteworthy. Some critics have
doubted whether Shakespeare was the sole author of The Shrew,
and others have assigned him a share in A Shrew, but neither
theory has any very substantial foundation. The origins of
the play, which is to be classed as a farce rather than a comedy,
are to be found ultimately in widely distributed folk-tales, and
more immediately in Ariosto's *I Suppositi* (1509) as translated
in George Gascoigne's *The Supposes* (1566). It may have been
Shakespeare's first task for the newly established Chamberlain's
company of 1594 to furbish up the old farce. Thenceforward
there is no reason to think that he ever wrote for any other
company.
9\. Love's Labour's Lost has often been regarded as the first
of Shakespeare's plays, and has sometimes been placed as early
as 1589. There is, however, no proof that Shakespeare was
writing before 1592 or thereabouts. The characters of Love's
Labour's Lost are evidently suggested by Henry of Navarre,
his followers Biron and Longaville, and the Catholic League
leader, the duc de Maine. These personages would have been
familiar at any time from 1585 onwards. The absence of the
play from the lists in Henslowe's Diary does not leave it impossible
that it should have preceded the formation of the Chamberlain's
company, but certainly renders this less likely; and its lyric
character perhaps justifies its being grouped with the series of
plays that began in the autumn of 1594. No entry of the play
is found in the Stationers' Register, and it is quite possible that
the present First Quarto of 1598 was not really the first edition.
The title-page professes to give the play as it was "corrected and
augmented" for the Christmas either of 1597 or of 1598. It
was again revived for that of 1604. No literary source is known
for its incidents.
10\. Romeo and Juliet, which was published in 1597 as played
by Lord Hunsdon's men, was probably produced somewhat
before A Midsummer Night's Dream, as its incidents seem to
have suggested the parody of the Pyramus and Thisbe interlude.
An attempt to date it in 1591 is hardly justified by the Nurse's
references to an earthquake eleven years before and the fact
that there was a real earthquake in London in 1580. The text
seems to have been partly revised before the issue of the Second
Quarto in 1599. There had been an earlier play on the subject,
but the immediate source used by Shakespeare was Arthur
Brooke's narrative poem Romeus and Juliet (1562).
11\. A Midsummer Night's Dream, with its masque-like scenes
of fairydom and the epithalamium at its close, has all the air
of having been written less for the public stage than for some
courtly wedding; and the compliment paid by Oberon to the
"fair vestal throned by the west" makes it probable that it
was a wedding at which Elizabeth was present. Two fairly
plausible occasions have been suggested. The wedding of Mary
countess of Southampton with Sir Thomas Heneage on the
2nd of May 1594 would at the May-day setting of the plot;
but a widowed countess hardly answers to the "little western
flower" of the allegory, and there are allusions to events later
in 1594 and in particular to the rainy weather of June and July,
which indicate a somewhat later date. The wedding of William
Stanley, earl of Derby, brother of the lord Strange for whose
players Shakespeare had written, and Elizabeth Vere, daughter
of the earl of Oxford, which took place at Greenwich on the 26th
of January 1595, perhaps fits the conditions best. It has been
fancied that Shakespeare was present when "certain stars shot
madly from their spheres" in the Kenilworth fireworks of 1575,
but if he had any such entertainment in mind it is more likely
to have been the more recent one given to Elizabeth by the earl
of Hertford at Elvetham in 1591. There appears to be no special
<!-- p.779:1 -->
source for the play beyond Chaucer's Knight's Tale and the
widespread fairy lore of western Europe.
12\. No very definite evidence exists for the date of The Two
Gentlemen of Verona, other than the mention of it in Palladis
Tamia. It is evidently a more rudimentary essay in the genre
of romantic comedy than The Merchant of Venice, with which
it has other affinities in its Italian colouring and its use of the
inter-relations of love and friendship as a theme; and it may
therefore be roughly assigned to the neighbourhood of 1595.
The plot is drawn from various examples of contemporary fiction,
especially from the story of the shepherdess Filismena in Jorge
de Montemayor's *Diana* (1559). A play of *Felix and Philiomena*
had already been given at court in 1585.
13\. King John is another play for which 1595 seems a likely
date, partly on account of its style, and partly from the
improbability of a play on an independent subject drawn from English
history being interpolated in the middle either of the Yorkist
or of the Lancastrian series. It would seem that Shakespeare
had before him an old play of the Queen's men, called *The
Troublesome Reign of King John*. This was published in 1591,
and again, with "W. Sh." on the title-page, in 1611. For copyright
purposes King John appears to have been regarded as a
revision of *The Troublesome Reign*, and in fact the succession of
incidents in the two plays is much the same. Shakespeare's
dialogue, however, owes little or nothing to that of his predecessor.
14\. Richard II. can be dated with some accuracy by a comparison
of the two editions of Samuel Daniel's narrative poem on
*The Civil Wars Between the Two Houses of Lancaster and York*,
both of which bear the date of 1595 and were therefore issued
between March 25, 1595 and March 24, 1596 of the modern
reckoning. The second of these editions, but not the first,
contains some close parallels to the play. From the first two
quartos of Richard II., published in 1597 and 1598, the deposition
scene was omitted, although it was clearly part of the original
structure of the play, and its removal leaves an obvious mutilation
in the text. There is some reason to suppose that this was
due to a popular tendency to draw seditious parallels between
Richard and Elizabeth; and it became one of the charges
against the earl of Essex and his fellow-conspirators in the
abortive emeute of February 1601, that they had procured a
performance of a play on Richard's fate in order to stimulate
their followers. As the actors were the Lord Chamberlain's men,
this play can hardly have been any other than Shakespeare's.
The deposition scene was not printed until after Elizabeth's
death, in the Third Quarto of 1608.
15\. The Merchant of Venice, certainly earlier than July 22,
1598, on which date it was entered in the Stationers' Register,
and possibly inspired by the machinations of the Jew poisoner
Roderigo Lopez, (who was executed in june 1594, shows a considerable
advance in comic and melodramatic power over any
of the earlier plays, and is assigned by a majority of scholars
to about 1596. The various stories of which its plot is compounded
are based upon common themes of folk-tales and Italian *novelle*.
It is possible that Shakespeare may have had before him a
play called The Jew, of which there are traces as early as 1579,
and in which motives illustrating "the greedinesse of worldly
chusers" and the "bloody mindes of usurers" appear to have
been already combined. Something may also be owing to
Marlowe's play of The Jew of Malta.
16, 17. The existence of Richard II. is assumed throughout
in Henry IV., which probably therefore followed it after no long
interval. The first part was published in 1598, the second not
until 1600, but both parts must have been in existence before
the entry of the first part in the Stationers' Register on February
25th 1598, since Falstaff is named in this entry, and a slip in a
speech-prefix of the second part, which was not entered in the
Register until August 23rd 1600, betrays that it was written
when the character still bore the name of Sir John Oldcastle.
Richard James, in his dedication to The Legend of Sir John
Oldcastle about 1625, and Rowe in 1709 both bear witness to the
substitution of the one personage for the other, which Rowe
<!-- p.780:0 -->
ascribes to the intervention of Elizabeth, and James to that
of some descendants of Oldcastle, one of whom was probably
Lord Cobham. There is an allusion to the incident and an
acknowledgment of the wrong done to the famous Lollard
martyr in the epilogue to 2 Henry IV. itself. Probably Shakespeare
found Oldcastle, with very little else that was of service to
him, in an old play called *The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth*,
which had been acted by Tarlton and the Queen's men at least
as far back as 1588, and of which an edition was printed in 1598.
Falstaff himself is a somewhat libellous presentment of the 15th
century leader, Sr John Fastolf, who had already figured in
Henry VI.; but presumably Fastolf has no titled descendants
alive in 1598.
18\. An entry in the Stationers' Register during 1600 shows
that Much Ado About Nothing was in existence, although its
publication was then directed to be "stayed." It may plausibly
be regarded as the earliest play not included in Meres's list. In
1613 it was revived before James I. under the alternative title
of *Benedick and Beatrice*. Dogberry is said by Aubrey to have
been taken from a constable at Grendon in Buckinghamshire.
There is no very definite literary source for the play, although
some of its incidents are to be found in Ariosto's *Orlando Furioso*
and Bandello's *novelle*, and attempts have been made to establish
relationships between it and two early German plays, Jacob
Ayrer's *Die Schone Phaenicia* and the *Vincentius Ladiszlau*
of Duke Henry Julius of Brunswick.
19\. The completion of the Lancastrian series of histories by
Henry V. can be safely placed in or about 1599, since there is
an allusion in one of the choruses to the military operations in
Ireland of the earl of Essex,who crossed on March 27 and returned
on September 28, 1599. The First Quarto, which was first
"stayed" with Much Ado About Nothing and then published
in 1600, is a piratical text, and does not include the choruses
A genuine and perhaps slightly revised version was first published
in the First Folio.
20\. That Julius Caesar also belongs to 1599 is shown, not only
by its links with Henry V. but also by an allusion to it in Johr
Weever's *Mirror of Martyrs*, a work written two years before its
publication in 1601, and by a notice of a performance on
September 21st, 1599 by Thomas Platter of Basel in an account
of a visit to London. This was the first of Shakespeare's Roman
plays, and, like those that followed, was based upon Plutarch's
*Lives* as translated from the French of Jacques Amyot and published
by Sir Thomas North in 1580. It was also Shakespeare's
first tragedy since Romeo and Juliet.
21\. It is reported by John Dennis, in the preface to *The
Comical Gallant* (1702), that The Merry Wives of Windsor was
written at the express desire of Elizabeth, who wished to see
Falstaff in love, and was finished by Shakespeare in the space
of a fortnight. A date at the end of 1599 or the beginning of
1600, shortly after the completion of the historical Falstaff plays
would be the most natural one for this enterprise, and with
such a date the evidence of style agrees. The play was entered
in the Stationers' Register on January 18th, 1602. The First
Quarto of the same year appears to contain an earlier version
of the text than that of the First Folio. Among the passages
omitted in the revision was an allusion to the adventures of the
duke of Wurttemberg and count of Mompelgard, whose attempts
to secure the Garter had brought him into notice. The Windsor
setting makes it possible that The Merry Wives was produced
at a Garter feast, and perhaps with the assistance of the children
of Windsor Chapel in the fairy parts. The plot has its analogies
to various incidents in Italian *novelle* and in English adaptations
of these.
22\. As You Like It was one of the plays "stayed" from publication
in 1600, and cannot therefore be later than that year. Some
trifling bits of evidence suggest that it is not earlier than 1599
The plot is based upon Thomas Lodge's romance of Rosalynde
(1590), and this in part upon the pseudo-Chaucerian Tale of
Gamelyn.
23\. A play of Hamlet was performed, probably by the Chamberlain's
men, for Henslowe at Newington Butts on the 9th of June 1594
<!-- p.780:1 -->
There are other references to it as a revenge-play, and it
seems to have been in existence in some shape as early as 1589.
. It was doubtless on the basis of this that Shakespeare constructed
his tragedy. Some features of the so-called *Ur-Hamlet* may
perhaps be traceable in the German play of *Der bestrafte Brudermord*.
There is an allusion in Hamlet to the rivalry between
the ordinary stages and the private plays given by boy actors,
which points to a date during the vogue of the children of the
Chapel, whose performance began late in 1600, and another to
an inhibition of plays on account of a "late innovation," by
which the Essex rising of February 1601 may be meant. The
play was entered in the Stationers' Register on July 26, 1602.
The First Quarto was printed in 1603 and the Second Quarto
in 1604. These editions contain texts whose differences from
each other and from that of the First Folio are so considerable
as to suggest, even when allowance has been made for the fact
that the First Quarto is probably a piratical venture, that the
play underwent an exceptional amount of rewriting at Shakespeare's
hands. The title-page of the First Quarto indicates
that the earliest version was acted in the universities of Oxford
and Cambridge and elsewhere, as well as in London. The
ultimate source of the plot is to be found in Scandinavian legends
preserved in the *Historia Danica* of Saxo Grammaticus, and
transmitted to Shakespeare or his predecessor through the
*Histoires tragiques* (1570) of Francois de Belleforest (see HAMLET).
24\. Twelfth Night may be fairly placed in 1601-1602, since it
quotes part of a song included in Robert Jones's *First Book
of Songs and Airs* (1600), and is recorded by John Manningham
to have been seen by him at a feast in the Middle Temple hall
on February 2nd, 1602. The principal source of the plot was
Barnabe Riche's "History of Apolonius and Silla" in his *Farewell
well to Military Profession* (1581).
25\. Few of the plays present so many difficulties as Troilus and
Cressida, and it cannot be said that its literary history has as yet
been thoroughly worked out. A play of the name, "as yt is acted
by my Lord Chamberlens men" was entered in the Stationers'
Register on February 7th, 1603, with a note that "sufficient
authority" must be got by the publisher, James Roberts,
before he printed it. This can hardly be any other than Shakespeare's
play; but it must have been "stayed," for the First
Quarto did not appear until 1609, and on the 28th of January
of that year a fresh entry had been made in the Register by
another publisher. The text of the Quarto differs in certain
respects from that of the Folio, but not to a greater extent than
the use of different copies of the original manuscript might explain.
Two alternative title-pages are found in copies of the
Quarto. On one, probably the earliest, is a statement that the
play was printed "as it was acted by the Kings Maiesties seruants
at the Globe"; from the other these words are omitted, and a
preface is appended which hints that the "grand possessors" of
the play had made difficulties about its publication, and describing
it as "never staled with the stage." Attempts have been made,
mainly on grounds of style, to find another hand than Shakespeare's
in the closing scenes and in the prologue, and even to
assign widely different dates to various parts of what is ascribed
to Shakespeare. But the evidence does not really bear out these
theories, and the style of the whole must be regarded as quite
consistent with a date in 1601 or 1602. The more probable year
is 1602, if, as seems not unlikely, the description of Ajax and his
humours in the second scene of the first act is Shakespeare's
"purge" to Johnson in reply to the *Poetaster* (1601), alluded to,
as already mentioned, in the *Return from Parnassus*, a Cambridge
play acted probably at the Christmas of 1602-1603 (rather than,
as is usually asserted, 1601-1602). It is tempting to conjecture
that Troilus and Cressida may have been played, like Hamlet,
by the Chamberlain's men at Cambridge, but may never have
been taken to London, and in this sense "never staled with the
stage." The only difficulty of a date in 1602 is that a parody
of a play on Troilus and Cressida is introduced into *Histriomastix* (c. 1599),
and that in this Troilus "shakes his furious
speare." But Henslowe had produced another play on the
subject, by Dekker and Chettle, in 1599, and probably, therefore,
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no allusion to Shakespeare is really intended. The material
for Troilus and Cressida was taken by Shakespeare from Chaucer's
*Troilus and Criseyde*, Caxton's *Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye*,
and Chapman's Homer.
26\. It is almost wholly on grounds of style that *All's Well that
Ends Well* is placed by most critics in or about 1602, and, as in
the case of Troilus and Cressida, it has been argued, though with
little justification, that parts of the play are of considerably earlier
date, and perhaps represent the Love's Labour's Won referred to by
Meres. The story is derived from Boccaccio's Decameron through
the medium of William Paynter's Palace of Pleasure (1566).
27\. Measure for Measure is believed to have been played at
court on the 26th of December 1604. The evidence for this is to be
found, partly in an extract made for Malone from official records
now lost, and partly in a forged document, which may, however,
rest upon genuine information, placed amongst the account—books
of the Office of the Revels. If this is correct the play was probably
produced when the theatres were reopened after the plague in
1604. The plot is taken from a story already used by George
Whetstone, both in his play of Promos and Cassandra (1578)
and in his prose Heptameron 0f Civil Discourses (1582), and
borrowed by him from Giraldi Cinthio's Hecatommithi (1566).
28\. A performance at court of Othello on November 1, 1604,
is noted in the same records as those quoted with regard to
Measure for Measure, and the play may be reasonably assigned
to the same year. An alleged performance at Harefield in 1602
certainly rests upon a forgery. The play was revived in 1610
and seen by Prince Louis of Wurttemberg at the Globe on April 30
of that year. It was entered in the Stationers' Register on
October 6, 1621, and a First Quarto was published in 1622. The
text of this is less satisfactory than that of the First Folio, and
omits a good many lines found therein and almost certainly
belonging to the play as first written. It also contains some
profane expressions which have been modified in the Folio,
and thereby points to a date for the original production earlier
than the Act to Restrain Abuses of Players passed in the spring
of 1606. The plot, like that of Measure for Measure, comes
from the Hecatommithi (1566) of Giraldi Cinthio.
29\. Macbeth cannot, in view of its obvious allusions to James I.,
be of earlier date than 1603. The style and some trifling allusion:
point to about 1605 or 1606, and a hint for the theme may have
been given by Matthew Gwynne's entertainment of the Tres
Sibyllae, with which James was welcomed to Oxford on August
27, 1605. The play was revived in 1610 and Simon Forman saw
it at the Globe on April 20. The only extant text, that of the
First Folio, bears traces of shortening, and has been interpolated
with additional rhymed dialogues for the witches by a second
hand, probably that of Thomas Middleton. But the extent
of Midd1eton's contribution has been exaggerated; it is probably
confined to act iii. sc. 5, and a few lines in act. iv. sc. 1. A ballad
of Macdobeth was entered in the Stationers' Register on August
27, 1596, but is not known. It is not likely that Shakespeare had
consulted any Scottish history other than that included in
Raphael Holinshed's Chronicle; he may have gathered witchlore
from Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584) or King
James's own Demonologie (1599).
30\. The entry of King Lear in the Stationers' Register on
November 26, 1607, records the performance of the play at court
on December 26, 1606. This suggests 1605 or 1606 as the date
of production, and this is confirmed by the publication in 1605
of the older play, The True Chronicle History of King Leir, which
Shakespeare used as his source. Two Quartos of King Lear
were published in 1608, and contain a text rather longer, but
in other respects less accurate, than that of the First Folio
The material of the play consists of fragments of Celtic myth
which found their way into history through Geoffrey of Monmouth.
It was accessible to Shakespeare in Holinshed and in
Spenser's Faerie Queene, as well as in the old play.
31\. It is not quite clear whether Antony and Cleopatra was
the play of that name entered in the Stationers' Register on May
20, 1608, for no Quarto is extant, and a fresh entry was made
in the Register before the issue of the First Folio. Apart from
<!-- p.781:1 -->
this entry, there is little external evidence to fix the date of the
play, but it is in Shakespeare's later, although not his last
manner, and may very well belong to 1606.
32\. In the case of Corialanus the external evidence available
is even scantier, and all that can be said is that its closest affinities
are to Antony and Cleopatra, which in all probability it directly
followed or preceded in order of composition. Both plays, like
Julius Caesar, are based upon the Lives of Plutarch, as Englished
by Sir Thomas North.
33\. There is no external evidence as to the date of Timon
of Athens, but it may safely be grouped on the strength of its
internal characteristics with the plays just named, and there is
a clear gulf between it and those that follow. It may be placed
provisionally in 1607. The critical problems which it presents
have never been thoroughly worked out. The extraordinary
incoherencies of its action and inequalities of its style have
prevented modern scholars from accepting it as a finished production
of Shakespeare, but there agreement ceases. It is sometimes
regarded as an incomplete draft for an intended play;
sometimes as a Shakespearian fragment worked over by a
second hand either for the stage or for printing in the First Folio;
sometimes, but not very plausibly, as an old play by an inferior
writer which Shakespeare had partly remodelled. It does not
seem to have had any relations to an extant academic play of
Timon which remained in manuscript until 1842. The sources
are to be found, partly in Plutarch's Life of Marcus Antonius,
partly in Lucian's dialogue of Timon Misanthropos, and partly
in William Paynter's Palace of Pleasure (1566).
34\. Similar difficulties, equally unsolved, cling about Pericles.
It was entered in the Stationers' Register on May 20, 1605, and
published in 1609 as "the late and much admired play" acted
by the King's men at the Globe. The title-page bears Shakespeare's
name, but the play was not included in the First Folio,
and was only added to Shakespeare's collected works in the
Third Folio, in company. with others which, although they also
had been printed under his name or initials in quarto form,
are certainly not his. In 1608 was published a prose story,
The Painful Adventures of Pericles Prince of Tyre. This claims
to be the history of the play as it was presented by the King's
players, and is described in a dedication by George Wilkins
2 as "a poore infant of my braine." The production of the play
is therefore to be put in 1608 or a little earlier. It can hardly be
doubted on internal evidence that Shakespeare is the author of
the verse-scenes in the last three acts, with the exception of the
doggerel choruses. It is probable, although it has been doubted,
that he was also the author of the prose—scenes in those acts.
To the first two acts he can at most only have contributed a
touch or two. It seems reasonable to suppose that the non-
Shakespearian part of the play is by Wilkins, by whom other
dramatic work was produced about 1607. The prose story
quotes a line or two from Shakespeare's contribution, and it
follows that this must have been made by 1608. The close
resemblances of the style to that of Shakespeare's latest plays
make it impossible to place it much earlier. But whether Shake-
speare and Wilkins collaborated in the play, or Shakespeare
partially rewrote Wilkins, or Wilkins completed Shakespeare,
must be regarded as yet undetermined. Unless there was an
earlier Shakespearian version now lost, Dryden's statement
e that "Shakespeare's own Muse her Pericles first bore" must
be held to be an error. The story is an ancient one which exists
h in many versions. In all of these except the play, the name of
the hero is Apollonius of Tyre. The play is directly based upon
a version in Gower's Confessio Amantis, and the use of Gower as a
"presenter" is thereby explained. But another version in Laurence
Twine's Patterne of Painefull Adventures (c. 1576), of which
a new edition appeared in 1607, may also have been consulted.
35\. Cymbeline shows a further development than Pericles
in the direction of Shakespeare's final style, and can hardly have
come earlier. A description of it is in a note-book of Simon
Forman, who died in September 1611, and describes in the same
book other plays seen by him in 1610 and 1611. But these were
not necessarily new plays, and Cymbeline may perhaps be assigned
<!-- p.782:0 -->
conjecturally to 1609. The mask-like dream in act v. sc. 4
must be an interpolation by another hand. This play also is
based upon a wide-spread story, probably known to Shakespeare
in Boccaccio's Decameron (day 2, novel 9), and possibly also in
an English book of tales called Westward for Smells. The historical
part is, as usual, from Holinshed.
36\. The Winter's Tale was seen by Forman on May 15, 1611,
and as it clearly belongs to the latest group of plays it may well
enough have been produced in the preceding year. A document
amongst the Revels Accounts, which is forged, but may rest on
some authentic basis, gives November 5, 1611 as the date of a
performance at court. The play is recorded to have been
licensed by Sir George Buck, who began to license plays in 1607.
The plot is from Robert Greene's Pandosto, the Triumph of
Time, or Dorastus and Fawnia (1588).
37\. The wedding-mask in act iv. of The Tempest has suggested
the possibility that it may have been composed to celebrate
the marriage of the princess Elizabeth and Frederick V., the
elector palatine, on February 14, 1613. But Malone appears
to have had evidence, now lost, that the play was performed
at court as early as 1611, and the forged document amongst
the Revels Accounts gives the precise date of November 1, 1611.
Sylvester Jourdan's A Discovery of the Bermudas, containing an
account of the shipwreck of Sir George Somers in 1609, was pub-
lished about October 1610, and this or some other contemporary
narrative of Virginian colonization probably furnished the hint
of the plot.
38\. The tale of Shakespeare's independent dramas is now
complete, but an analysis of the Two Noble Kinsmen leaves no
reason to doubt the accuracy of its ascription on the title-page
of the First Quarto of 1634 to Shakespeare and John Fletcher.
This appears to have been a case of ordinary collaboration.
There is sufficient resemblance between the styles of the two
writers to render the division of the play between them a matter
of some difficulty; but the parts that may probably be assigned
to Shakespeare are acts i. scc. 1-4; ii. 1; iii. 1, 2; v. 1, 3, 4.
Fletcher's morris-dance in act iii. sc. 5 is borrowed from that in
Beaumont's Mask of the Inner Temple and Gray's Inn, given on
February 20, 1613, and the play may perhaps be dated in 1613.
It is based on Chaucer's Knight's Tale.
39\. It may now be accepted as a settled result of scholarship
that Henry VIII. is also the result of collaboration, and that one
of the collaborators was Fletcher. There is no good reason to
doubt that the other was Shakespeare, although attempts have
been made to substitute Philip Massinger. The inclusion, however,
of the play in the First Folio must be regarded as conclusive
against this theory. There is some ground for suspicion that the
collaborators may have had an earlier work of Shakespeare
before them, and this would explain the reversion to the "history"
type of play which Shakespeare had long abandoned. His share
appears to consist of act i. scc. 1, 2; act ii. scc. 3, 4; act iii. sc. 2,
ll. 1-203; act v. sc. 1. The play was probably produced in
1613, and originally bore the alternative title of All is True.
It was being performed in the Globe on June 29, 1613, when the
thatch caught fire and the theatre was burnt. The principal
source was Holinshed, but Hall's Union of Lancaster and York,
Foxe's Acts and Monuments of the Church, and perhaps Samuel
Rowley's play of When You See Me, You Know Me (1605),
appear also to have contributed.
### Poems
Shakespeare's non-dramatic writings are not numerous.
The narrative poem of Venus and Adonis was entered in the
Stationers' Register on April 18, 1593, and thirteen
editions, dating from 1593 to 1636, are known. The
Rape of Lucrece was entered in the Register on May 9, 1594,
and the six extant editions range from 1594 to 1624. Each poem
is prefaced by a dedicatory epistle from the author to Henry
Wriothesley, earl of Southampton. The subjects, taken respectively
from the Metamorphoses and the Fasti of Ovid, were frequent
in Renaissance literature. It was once supposed that Shakespeare
came from Stratford-on-Avon with Venus and Adonis in his
pocket; but it is more likely that both poems owe their origin
to the comparative leisure afforded to playwrights and actors
<!-- 782:1 -->
by the plague—period of 1592-1594. In 1599 the stationer
William Jaggard published a volume of miscellaneous verse
which he called The Passionate Pilgrim, and placed Shakespeare's
name on the title-page. Only two of the pieces included herein
are certainly Shakespeare's, and although others may quite
possibly be his, the authority of the volume is destroyed by the
fact that some of its contents are without doubt the work of
Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, Richard Barnheld and Bartholomew
Griffin. In 1601 Shakespeare contributed The Phoenix and
the Turtle, an elegy on an unknown pair of wedded lovers, to a
volume called Love's Martyr, or Rosalin's Complaint, which was
collected and mainly written by Robert Chester.
### Problems of the Sonnets
The interest of all these poems sinks into insignificance beside
that of one remaining volume. The Sonnets were entered in
the Register on May 20, 1609, by the stationer Thomas
Thorpe, and published by him under the title Shakespeares
Sonnets, never before Imprinted, in the same
year. In addition to a hundred and fifty-four sonnets,
the volume contains the elegiac poem, probably dating from the
Venus and Adonis period, of A Lover's Complaint. In 1640
the Sonnets, together with other poems from The Passionate
Pilgrim and elsewhere, many of them not Shakespeare's, were
republished by John Benson in Poems Written by Wil. Shakespeare,
Gent. Here the sonnets are arranged in an altogether
different order from that of 1609 and are declared by the publisher
to "appeare of the same purity, the Authour himselfe then
living avouched." No Shakespearian controversy has received
so much attention, especially during recent years, as that which
concerns itself with the date, character, and literary history
of the Sonnets. This is intelligible enough, since upon the issues
raised depends the question whether these poems do or do not
give a glimpse into the intimate depths of a personality which
otherwise is at the most only imperfectly revealed through the
plays. On the whole, the balance of authority is now in favour
of regarding them as in a very considerable measure autobiographical.
This view has undergone the fires of much destructive
argument. The authenticity of the order in which the sonnets
were printed in 1609 has been doubted; and their subject—matter
has been variously explained as being of the nature of a philosophical
allegory, of an effort of the dramatic imagination, or
of a heartless exercise in the forms of the Petrarchan convention.
This last theory has been recently and strenuously maintained,
and may be regarded as the only one which now holds the field
in opposition to the autobiographical interpretation. But it
rests upon the false psychological assumption, which is disproved
by the whole history of poetry and in particular of Petrarchan
poetry, that the use of conventions is inconsistent with the
expression of unfeigned emotions; and it is hardly to be set
against the direct conviction which the sonnets carry to the most
finely critical minds of the strength and sincerity of the spiritual
experience out of which they were wrought. This conviction
makes due allowance for the inevitable heightening of emotion
itself in the act of poetic composition; and it certainly does
not carry with it a belief that all the external events which underlie
the emotional development are capable at this distance of time
of inferential reconstruction. But it does accept the sonnets as
an actual record of a part of Shakespeare's life during the years
in which they were written, and as revealing at least the outlines
of a drama which played itself out for once, not in his imagination
but in his actual conduct in the world of men and women.
There is no advantage to be gained by rearranging the order
of the 1609 volume, even if there were any basis other than
that of individual whim on which to do so. Many of the sonnets
are obviously linked to those which follow or precede them;
and altogether a few may conceivably be misplaced, the order
as a whole does not jar against the sense of emotional continuity,
which is the only possible test that can be applied. The last
two sonnets, however, are merely alternative versions of a Greek
epigram, and the rest fall into two series, which are more probably
l parallel than successive. The shorter of these two series (cxxvii.-
clii.) appears to be the record of the poet's relations with a
mistress, a dark woman with raven brows and mourning eyes.
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SHAKE
In the earlier sonnets he undertakes the half—playful defence
of black beauty against the blonde Elizabethan ideal; but the
greater number are in a more serious vein, and are filled with a
deep consciousness of the bitterness of lustful passion and of
the slavery of the soul to the body. The woman is a wanton.
She has broken her bed-vow for Shakespeare, who on his side is
forsworn in loving her; and she is doubly forsworn in proving
faithless to him with other men. His reason condemns her,
but his heart has not the power to throw off her tyranny. Her
particular offence is that she, " a woman coloured ill, " has cast
her snares not only upon him, but upon his friend, " a man right
fair," who is his " better angel," and that thus his loss is double,
in love and friendship. The longer series (i.—cxxvi.) is written
to a man, appears to extend over a considerable period of time,
and covers a wide range of sentiment. The person addressed
is younger than Shakespeare, and of higher rank. He is lovely,
and the son of a lovely mother, and has hair like the auburn
buds of marjoram. The series falls into a number of groups,
which are rarely separated by any sharp lines of demarcation
Perhaps the first group (i.-xvii.) is the most distinct of all. These
sonnets are a prolonged exhortation by Shakespeare to his
friend to marry and beget children. The friend is now on the
top of happy hours, and should make haste, before the rose o:
beauty dies, to secure himself in his descendants against devouring
time. In the next group (xviii.-xxv.) a much more persona
note is struck, and the writer assumes the attitudes, at once
of the poet whose genius is to be devoted to eternizing tha
beauty and the honour of his patron, and of the friend whos¤
absorbing affection is always on the point of assuming a1
emotional colour indistinguishable from that of love. The con
sciousness of advancing years and that of a fortune which bar;
the triumph of public honour alike find their consolation in thi;
affection. A period of absence (xxvi.-xxxii.) follows, in whic]
the thought of friendship comes to remedy the daily labour o
travel and the sorrows of a life that is " in disgrace with fortun·
and men's eyes " and filled with melancholy broodings ove
the past. Then (xxxiii.-xlii.) comes an estrangement. Th
friend has committed a sensual fault, which is at the same tim
a sin against friendship. He has been wooed by a woman lovex
by the poet, who deeply resents the treachery, but in the en<
forgives it, and bids the friend take all his loves, since all ar
included in the love that has been freely given him. It is difficul
to escape the suggestion that this episode of the conflict betwee;
love and friendship is the same as that which inspired some c
the " dark woman " sonnets. Another journey (xliii.-lii.)is agai
filled with thoughts of the friend, and its record is followedb
a group of sonnets (liii.-lv.) in which the friend's beauty and th
immortality which this will find in the poet's verse are especiall
dwelt upon. Once more there is a parting (lvi.-lxi.) and th
poet waits as patiently as may be his friend's return to hin
Again (lxii.—lxv.) he looks to his verse to give the friend in
mortality. He is tired of the world, but his friend redeerr
it (lxvi.-lxviii.). Then rumours of some scandal against h
friend (lxix.—lxx.) reach him, and he falls (lxxi.-lxxiv.) int
gloomy thoughts of coming death. The friend, however, is sti
(lxxv.-lxxvii.) his argument; and he is perturbed (lxxviii
lxxxvi.) by the appearance of a rival poet, who claims to be taugl
by spirits to write " above a mortal pitch," and with “ tl
proud full sail of his great verse" has already won the countenam
of Shakespeare's patron. There is another estrangement (lxxxvii
xc.), and the poet, already crossed with the spite of fortun
is ready not only to acquiesce in the loss of friendship, but 1
find the fault in himself. The friend returns to him, but tl
relation is still clouded by doubts of his fidelity (xci.-xciii
and by public rumours of his wantonness (xciv.—xcvi.). For
third time the poet is absent (xcvii.-xcix.) in summer and sprin
Then comes an apparent interval, after which a love alreac
three years old is renewed (c.·civ.), with even richer prais
(cv.-cviii.). It is now the poet's turn to offer apologies (ci;
cxii.) for offences against friendship and for some brand upon h
name apparently due to the conditions of his profession. I
Ls again absent (cxiii.) and again renews his protestations of tl
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ZSPEARE 7 8 3
imperishability of love (cxiv.—cxvi.) and of his own unworthiness
(cxvii.-cxxi.), for which his only excuse is in the fact that the
friend was once unkind. If the friend has suffered as Shakespeare
suffered, he has " passed a hell of time." The series closes with
a group (cxxii.—cxxv.) in which love is pitted against time;
and an envoi, not in sonnet form, warns the " lovely boy " that
in the end nature must render up her treasure.
Such an analysis can give no adequate idea of the qualities
‘ in these sonnets, whereby the appeal of universal poetry is built
up on a basis of intimate self—revelation. The human document
, is so legible, and at the same time so incomplete, that it is easy
, to understand the strenuous efforts which have been made to
. throw further light upon it by tracing the identities of those
, other personalities, the man and the woman, through his relations
l to whom the poet was brought to so fiery an ordeal of soul, and
, even to the borders of self-abasement. It must be added that
1 the search has, as a rule, been conducted with more ingenuity
, than judgment. It has generally started from the terms of a
. somewhat mysterious dedication prefixed by the publisher
z Thomas Thorpe to the volume of 1609. This runs as follows :——
; " To the onlie begetter of these insuing sonnets Mr W. H. all
2 happinesse and that eternitie promised by our ever-living poet
E wisheth the well-wishing adventurer in setting forth T. T."
g The natural interpretation of this is that the inspirer
l or " begetter " of the sonnets bore the initials W. H.; (Ishii;?
2 and contemporary history has accordingly been ran- we u,~
2 sacked to find a W. H. whose age and circumstances
e might conceivably fit the conditions of the problem which the
1 sonnets present. It is perhaps a want of historical perspective
- which has led to the centring of controversy around two names
s belonging to the highest ranks of the Elizabethan nobility,
s those of Henry Wriothesley, earl of Southampton, and William
1 Herbert, earl of Pembroke. There is some evidence to connect
f Shakespeare with both of these. To Southampton he dedicated
e Venus and Adonis in 1593 and The Rape of Lucrcce in 1594,
r and the story that he received a gift of no less than {1000 from
e the earl is recorded by Rowe. His acquaintance with Pembroke
e can only be inferred from the statement of Heminge and Condell
il in their preface to the First Folio of the plays, that Pembroke
i and his brother Montgomery had " prosequuted both them and
e their Authour living, with so much favour." The personal
.t beauty of the rival claimants and of their mothers, their amours
n and the attempts of their families to persuade them to marry,
1f their relations to poets and actors, and all other points in their
n biographies which do or do not fit in with the indications of the
y sonnets, have been canvassed with great spirit and some erudition,
e but with no very conclusive result. It is in Pembroke's favour
y that his initials were in fact W. H., whereas Southampton's
e can only be turned into W. H. by a process of metathesis; and
1. his champions have certainly been more successful than South-
1- ampton's in producing a dark woman, a certain Mary Fitton,
1s who was a mistress of Pembroke's,. and was in consequence
is dismissed in disgrace from her post of maid of honour to Elizabeth.
;o Unfortunately, the balance of evidence is in favour of her having
Lll been blonde, and not " black." Moreover, a careful investiga-
.- tion of the sonnets, as regards their style and their relation to the
it plays, renders it almost impossible on chronological grounds that
1e Pembroke can have been their subject. He was born on the
ze 9th of April 1 580, and was therefore much younger than South-
i.- ampton, who was born on the 6th of October 1573. The earliest
e, sonnets postulate a marriageable youth, certainly not younger
to than eighteen, an age which Southampton reached in the autumn
1e of 1591 and Pembroke in the spring of 1598. The writing of the
..) sonnets may have extended over several years, but it is impossible
a to doubt that as a whole it is to the years 1593--1598 rather than
g. to the years 1598-1603 that they belong. There is not, indeed,
ly much external evidence available. Francis _Meres in hisPalladis
es Tamia of 1598 mentions Shakespeare's " sugred sonnets among
r.- his private friends," but this allusion might come as well at
us 1 " The sweet witty soul of Ovid lives in melliiiuous and honey-
le tongued Shakespeare, witness his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece,
he his sugred sonnets among his private friends."
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7 84. SHAKE
the beginning as at the end of the series; and the fact that two,
not of the latest, sonnets are in The Passionate Pilgrim of 1599
is equally inconclusive.
The only reference to an external event in the sonnets them-
selves, which might at first sight seem useful, is in the following
lines (cvii.):—-
" The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured,
And the sad augurs mock their own presage;
Incertainties now crown themselves assured,
And peace proclaims olives of endless age."
This has been variously interpreted as referring to the death of
Elizabeth and accession of james in 1603,, to the relief caused by
the death of Philip II. of Spain in 1598, and to the illness of
Elizabeth and threatened Spanish invasion in 1596. Obviously
the " mortal moon " is Elizabeth, but although "eclipse" may
well mean " death," it is not quite so clear that " endure an
eclipse " can mean " die."
Nor do the allusions to the rival poet help much. " The proud
full sail of his great verse " would fit, on critical grounds, with
Spenser, Marlowe, Chapman, and possibly Peele, Daniel or
Drayton; and the " aifable familiar ghost," from whom the
rival is said to obtain assistance by night, might conceivably
be an echo of a passage in one of Chapman's dedications. Daniel
inscribed a poem to Southampton in 16og, but with this exception
none of the poets named are known to have written either for
Southampton or for Pembroke, or for any other W. H. or
H. W., during any year which can possibly be covered by the
sonnets. Two very minor poets, Barnabe Barnes and Gervase
Markham, addressed sonnets to Southampton in 1593 and 1595
respectively, and Thomas Nash composed improper verses for his
delectation.
But even if external guidance fails, the internal evidence for
1593-1598 as approximately the sonnet period in Shakespeare's
life is very strong indeed. It has been worked out in detail
by two German scholars, Hermann Isaac (now Conrad) in the
Shakespeare-Jahrbuch for 1884, and Gregor Sarrazin in William
Shakespeares Lehrjahre (1897) and Aus Shakespeares Meister-
werkstatt (1906). Isaac's work, in particular, has hardly received
enough attention even from recent English scholars, probably
because he makes the mistakes of taking the sonnets in Boden-
stedt's order instead of Shakespeare's, and of beginning his whole
chronology several years too early in order to gratify a fantastic
identification of W. H. with the earl of Essex. This, however,
does not affect the main force of an argument by which the
affinities of the great bulk of the sonnets are shown, on the ground
of stylistic similarities, parallelisms of expression, and parallel-
isms of theme, to be far more close with the poems and with the
range of plays from L0·ve's Lab0ur's Lost to Henry I V. than with
any earlier or later section of Shakespeare's work. This dating
has the further advantage of putting Shakespeare's sonnets in
. the full tide of Elizabethan sonnet-production, which began
with the publication of Sidney's Astrophel and Stella in 1591 and
Daniel's Delia and Constable's Diana in 1592, rather than during
years for which this particular kind of poetry had already ceased
to be modish. It is to the three volumes named that the in-
fluence upon Shakespeare of his predecessors can most clearly
be traced; while he seems in his turn to have served as a model
for Drayton, whose sonnets to Idea were published in a series
of volumes in 1594, 1599, 1602, 1605 and 1619. It does not
of course follow that because the sonnets belong to 1593-1598
W. H. is to be identified with Southampton. On general grounds
he is likely, even if above Shakespeare's own rank, to have been
somewhat nearer that rank than a great earl, some young
gentleman, for example, of such a family as the Sidneys, or as
the Walsinghams of Chislehurst.
It is possible that there is an allusion to Shakespeare's romance
in a poem called " Willobie his Avisa," published in 1594 as from
the pen of one Henry Willoughby, apparently of West Knoyle in
Wiltshire. In this Willoughby is introduced as taking counsel
when in love with " his familiar friend W. S. who not long before
had tryed the curtesy of the like passion, and was now newly
recovered of the like infection." But there is nothing outside
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SPE ARE
the poem to connect Shakespeare with a family of Willoughbys
or with the neighbourhood of West Knoyle. Various other
identifications of W. H. have been suggested, which rarely rest
upon anything except a similarity of initials. There is little
plausibility in a theory broached by Mr Sidney Lee, that W. H.
was not the friend of the sonnets at all, but a certain William
Hall, who was himself a printer, and might, it is conjectured,
have obtained the " copy " of the sonnets for Thorpe. It is, of
course, just possible that the "begetter" of the title~page
might mean, not the “inspirer," but the "procurer for the
press " of the sonnets; but the interpretation is shipwrecked
on the obvious identity of the person to whom Thorpe " wishes "
eternity with the person to whom the poet " promised " that
eternity. The external history of the Samzets must still be
regarded as an unsolved problem; the most that can be said
is that their subject may just possibly be Southampton, and
cannot possibly be Pembroke.
In order to obtain a glimmering of the man that was Shake-
speare, it is necessary to consult all the records and to read
the evidence of his life-work in the plays, alike in the
light of the simple facts of his external career and in T'" “"'“
that of the sudden vision of his passionate and dis- gftjsfe
satisfied soul preserved in the sonnets. By exclusive
attention to any one of these sources of information it is easy
to build up a consistent and wholly false conception of aShake-
speare; of a Shakespeare struggling between his senses and
his conscience in the artistic Bohemianism of the London
taverns; of a sleek, bourgeois Shakespeare to whom his art was
no more than aready way to aposition of respected and influential
competence in his native town; of a great objective artist whose
personal life was passed in detached contemplation of the puppets
of his imagination. Any one of these pictures has the advantage
of being more vivid, and the disadvantage of being less real,
than the somewhat elusive and enigmatic Shakespeare who
glances at us for a perplexing moment, now behind this, now
behind that, of his diverse masks. It is necessary also to lay
aside Shakespeareolatry, the spirit that could wish with Hallam
that Shakespeare had never written the Sonnets, or can refuse
to accept Titus Andronicus on the ground that " the play
declares as plainly as play can speak, ‘ I am not Shakespeare's;
my repulsive subject, my blood and horrors, are not, and never
were his.' " The literary historian has no greater enemy than
the sentimentalist. In Shakespeare we have to do with one who
is neither beyond criticism as a man nor impeccable as an artist.
He was for all time, no doubt; but also very much of an age, ·
the age of the later Renaissance, with its instinct for impetuous
life, and its vigorous rather than discriminating appetite for
literature. When Ben jonson said that Shakespeare lacked
" art," and when Milton wrote of his " native wood—notes wild,"
they judged truly. The Shakespearian drama is magnificent
and incoherent; it belongs to the adolescence of literature,
to a period before the instrument had been sharpened and
polished, and made unerring in its touch upon the sources of
laughter and of tears. Obviously nobody has such power over
our laughter and our tears as Shakespeare. But it is the power
of temperament rather than of art; or rather it is the power of
a capricious and unsystematic artist, with a perfect dramatic
instinct for the exposition of the ideas, the characters, the
situations, which for the moment command his interest, and a
perfect disregard for the laws of dramatic psychology which
require the patient pruning and subordination of all material
that does not make for the main exposition. This want of
finish, this imperfect fusing of the literary ore, is essentially
characteristic of the Renaissance, as compared with ages in
which the creative impulse is weaker and leaves room for a
hner concentration of the means upon the end. There is nearly
always unity of purpose in a Shakespearian play, but it often
requires an intellectual effort to grasp it and does not result
in a unity of effect. The issues are obscured by a careless
generosity which would extend to art the boundless freedom
of life itself. Hence the intrusive and jarring elements which
stand in such curious incongruity with the utmost reaches of
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SHAKE
which the dramatic spirit is capable; the conventional and
melodramatic endings, the inconsistencies of action and even of
character, the emotional confusions of tragicomedy, the com-
plications of plot and subplot, the marring of the give-and-take
of dialogue by superiluities of description and of argument,
the jest and bombast lightly thrown in to suit the taste of the
groundlings, all the flecks that to an instructed modern criticism
are only too apparent upon the Shakespearian sun. It perhaps
follows from this that the most fruitful way of approaching
Shakespeare is by an analysis of his work rather as a process
than as a completed whole. His outstanding positive quality
is a vast comprehensiveness, a capacity for growth and assimila-
tion, which leaves no aspect of life unexplored, and allows of
no finality in the nature of his judgments upon life. It is the
real and sufficient explanation and justification of the pains
taken to determine the chronological order of his plays, that the
secret of his genius lies in its power of development and that
only by the study of its development can he be known. He was
nearly thirty when, so far as we can tell, his career as a dramatist
began; and already there lay behind him those six or seven
unaccounted-for years since his marriage, passed no one knows
where, and filled no one knows with what experience, but assuredly
in that strenuous Elizabethan life with some experience kindling
to his intellect and formative of his character. To the woodcraft
and the familiarity with country sights and sounds which he
brought with him from Stratford, and which mingle so oddly in
his plays with a purely imaginary and euphuistic natural history,
and to the book—learning of a provincial grammar-school boy,
and perhaps, if Aubrey is right, also of a provincial school-
master, he had somehow added, as he continued to add through-
out his life, that curious store of acquaintance with the details
of the most diverse occupations which has so often perplexed
and so often misled his commentators. It was the same faculty
of acquisition that gave him his enormous vocabulary, so far
exceeding in range and variety that of any other English writer.
His first group of plays is largely made up of adaptations and
revisions of existing work, or at the best of essays in the con-
ventions of stage—writing which had already achieved popularity.
In the Yorkist trilogy he takes up the burden of the chronicle
play, in The Comedy of Errors that of the classical school drama
and of the page-humour of Lyly, in Titus Andronicus that of
the crude revenge tragedy of Kyd, and in Richard I II . that of
the Nemesis motive and the exaltation of the Machiavellian
superman which properly belong to Marlowe. But in Richard
III. be begins to come to his own with the subtle study of the
actor's temperament which betrays the working of a profound
interest in the technique of his chosen profession. The style
of the earliest plays is essentially rhetorical; the blank verse
is stiff and little varied in rhythm; and the periods are built
up of parallel and antithetic sentences, and punctuated with
devices of iterations, plays upon words, and other methods ol
securing emphasis, that derive from the bad tradition of a popular
stage, upon which the players are bound to rant and force the
note in order to hold the attention of a dull-witted audience.
During the plague-vacations of 1592 to 1594, Shakespeare tried
his hand at the ornate descriptive poetry of Venus and Adonis
and Lucrece; and the influence of this exercise, and possibly
also of Italian travel, is apparent in the next group of plays,
with their lyric notes, their tendency to warm southern colouring,
their wealth of decorative imagery, and their elaborate and not
rarely frigid conceits. Rhymed couplets make their appearance,
side by side with blank verse, as a medium of dramatic dialogue.
It is a period of experiment, in farce with The Taming of the
Shrew, in satirical comedy with Lo·ve's Labour's Lost, in lyrical
comedy with ArMidsummer Nighfs Dream, in lyrical tragedy
with Romeo and Juliet, in lyrical history with Richard II .,
and finally in romantic tragicomedy with The Two Gentlemen
of Verona and with the masterpiece of this singular genre, The
Merchant of Venice. It is also the period of the sonnets, which
have their echoes both in the phrasing and in the themes of thc
plays; in the black-browed Rosaline of Love's Labour's Lost
and in the issue between friendship and love which is variously
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SPEARE 7 8 5
set in The Two Gentlemen of Verona and in The Merchant
of Venice. But in the latter play the sentiment is already one of
retrospection; the tempest of spirit has given way to the tender
melancholy of renunciation. The sonnets seemto bear witness,
not only to the personal upheaval of passion, but also to some
despondency at the spite of fate and the disgrace of the actor's
calling. This mood too may have cleared away in the sunshine
of growing popularity, of financial success, and of the possibly
long-delayed return to Stratford. Certainly the series of plays
written next after the travels of 1597 are light—hearted plays,
less occupied with profound or vexatious searchings of spirit
than with the delightful externalities of things. The histories
from King John to Henry V. form a continuous study of the
conditions of kingship, carrying on the political speculations
begun in Richard II. and culminating in the brilliant picture
of triumphant efficiency, the Henry of Agincourt; Meanwhile
Shakespeare develops the astonishing faculty of humorous
delineation of which he had given foretastes in ]ack Cade, in
Bottom the weaver, and in ]uliet's nurse; sets the creation of
Falstaii in front of his vivid pictures of contemporary England;
and passes through the half-comedy, half melodrama, of Much
Ado About Nothing to the joyous farce of The Merry Wives of
Windsor, and to his two perfectly sunny comedies the sylvan
comedy of As You Like It and the urban comedy of T wehth
Night.
Then there comes a change of mood, already heralded by
Julius Caesar, which stands beside Henry V. as a reminder that
efficiency has its seamy as well as its brilliant side. The tragedy
of political idealism in Brutus is followed by the tragedy of in-
tellectual idealism in Hamlet; and this in its turn by the three
bitter and cynical pseudo-comedies, All's Well That Ends Well,
in which the creator of Portia, Beatrice, Rosalind and Viola
drags the honour of womanhood in the dust—— Troilus and Cressida,
‘ in which the ideals of heroism and of romance are confounded
in the portraits of a wanton and a poltroon—and Measure for
Measure, in which the searchlight of irony is thrown upon the
» paths of Providence itself. Upon the causes of this new perturba-
tion in the soul of Shakespeare it is perhaps idle to speculate.
~ The evidence of his profound disillusion and discouragement of
. spirit is plain enough; and for some years the tide of his pessi-
` mistic thought advances, swelling through the pathetic tragedy
` of Othello to the cosmic tragedies of Macbeth and King Lear,
. with their Titan-like indictments not of man alone, but of the
Y heavens by whom man was made. Meanwhile Shakespeare's
r style undergoes changes no less notable than those of his subject-
l matter. The ease and lucidity characteristic of the histories
c and comedies of his middle period give way to a more troubled
: beauty, and the phrasing and rhythm often tend to become
, elliptic and obscure, as if the thoughts were hurrying faster than
i speech can give them utterance. The period closes with Antony
F and Cleopatra and Coriolanus, in which the ideals of the love of
‘ woman and the honour of man are once more stripped bare to
: display the skeletons of lust and egoism, and in the latter of which
. signs of exhaustion are already perceptible; and with Timon
l of Athens, in which the dramatist whips himself to an almost
r incoherent expression of a general loathing and detestation of
* humanity. Then the stretched cord suddenly snaps. T imon
, is apparently unfinished, and the next play, Pericles, is in an
, entirely different vein, and is apparently finished but not begun.
; At this point only in the whole course of Shakespeare's develop-
, ment there is a complete breach of continuity. One can only
. conjecture the occurrence of some spiritual crisis, an illness
z perhaps, or some process akin to what in the language of religion
l is called conversion, which left him a new man, with the fever
* of pessimism behind him, and at peace once more with Heaven
, and the world.
i The final group of plays, the Shakespearian part of Pericles,
2 Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, The Tempest, all belong to the class
1 of what may be called idyllic romances. They are happy dreams,
: in which all troubles and sorrows are ultimately resolved into
, fortunate endings, and which stand therefore as so many symbols
i of an optimistic faith in the beneficent dispositions of an ordering
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7 8 6 SHAKE‘
Providence. In harmony with this change of temper the style
has likewise undergone another change, and the tense structure
and marmoreal phrasing of Antony and Cleopatra have given
way to relaxed cadences and easy and unaccentuated rhythms.
It is possible that these plays, Shakespeare's last plays, with the
unimportant exceptions of his contributions to Fletcher's
Henry VI I I . and The Two Noble Kinsmen, were written in
retirement at Stratford. At any rate the call of the country
is sounding through them; and it is with no regret that in the
last pages of The Tempest the weary magician drowns his book,
and buries his staff certain fathoms deep in the earth.
(E. K. C.)
The Shakespeare-Bacon Theory.
In view of the continued promulgation of the sensational theory
that the plays, and presumably the poems also, so long associated
with the name of Shakespeare, were not written by the man whose
biography is sketched above, but by somebody else who used this
pseudonym——and especially that the writer was Lord Chancellor
Francis Bacon, Viscount St Albans (1561-1626)-it appears de-
sirable to deal here briefly with this question. No such idea seems to
have occurred to anybody till the middle of the 19th century (see
Bibliography below), but having once been started it has been elabor-
ated in certain quarters by a variety of appeals, both to internal
evidence as disclosed by the knowledge displayed in Shakespeare's
works and by their vocabulary and style, and to external evidence as
represented by the problems connected with the facts of Shal<espeare's
known life and of the publication of the plays. To what may be
called ingenious inferences from data of this sort have even been
added attempts to show that a secret confession exists which may
be detected in a cipher or c ptogram in the printing of the plays.
It must suffice here to say xtliat the contentions of the Americans,
Mr Donnelly and Mrs Gallup, on this score are not only opposed to
the opinion of authoritative bibliographers, who deny the existence
of any such cipher, but have carried their supporters to lengths which
are obviously absurd and impossible. Lord Penzance, a great
lawyer whose support of the Baconian theory may be found in his
" judicial summing-up," published in 1902, expressly admits that
" the attempts to establish a cipher totally failed; there was not
indeed the semblance of a cipher." Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence, in
his Bacon is Shakespeare (1910), goes still farther in an attempt to
prove the point by cryptographic evidence. According to him the
classical " long word" cited in Lo·ve's Lab0ur's Lost, " honorifica-
bilitudinitatibus," is an anagram for " hi ludi F. Baconis nati tuiti
orbi " (these plays F. Bacon's offspring preserved for the world);
and he juggles very curiously with the numbers of the words and
lines in the page of the First Folio containing this alleged anagram.
He also cites the evidence of (more or less) contemporary illustra-
tions to books, which he explains as cryptographic, in confirmation.
These interpretations are in the highest egree speculative. But
perhaps his argument is exposed in its full depth of incredibility
when he counts up the letters in Ben ]0nson's verses “ To the
Reader," describing the Droeshout portrait in the First Folio, and,
fmding them to be 287 (taking each " w " as two " v's "), concludes
(by adding 287 to 1623, i.e. the date of the First Folio) that Bacon
intended to reveal himself as the author in the year 19 ro! This sort
of argument makes the plain man's head reel. On similar principles
anything might prove anything. What may be considered the more
reasonable way of approaching the question is shown in Mr G.
Greenwood's Shakespeare Problem Restated (1908), in which the
alleged difficulties of the Shakespearian authorship are competently
presented without recourse to any such extravagances.
The plausibility of many of the arguments used by Mr Greenwood
and those whom he follows depends a good deal upon the real
obscurity which, for lack of positive evidence, shrouds the biography
of Shakespeare and our knowledge of the precise facts as to the publi-
cation of the works associated with his name; and it has been assisted
by the dogmatism of some modern biographers, or the differences of
opinion between them, when they attempt to interpret the known
facts of Shakespeare's life so as to account for his authorship. But
it must be remembered that, if Shakespeare (or Shakspere) wrote
Shakespeare's works, it is only possible to reconcile our view of his
biography with our knowledge of the works by giving some interpre-
tation to the known facts or accepting some explanation of what may
have occurred in the obscure arts of his life which will be consistent
with such an identification. That different hypotheses are favoured
by different orthodox critics is therefore no real objection, nor that
some may a pear exceedingly speculative, for the very reason that
positive evidience is irrecoverable and that speculation—consistent
with what is possible——is the only resource. In so far as evidence
is to be twisted and strained at all, it is right, in view of the long
tradition and the prima facie presumptive evidence, to strain it in
any possible direction which can reasonably make the Shakespearian
authorship intelligible. As a matter of fact the evidence is strained
alike by one side and the other; but as between the two it has to be
remembered that the onus lies on the opponent of the Shakespearian
authorship to show, first that there is no possible explanation which
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"I .
>PEARE
would justify the tradition, and secondly that there is positive
evidence which can upset it and which will saddle the authorship of
Shakespeare's works on Bacon or some one else. The contempt
indiscriminately thrown on supporters of the Baconian theory by
orthodox critics is apt to be expressed in terms which are occasionally
unwarranted. But even if we leave out of account the lunatics and
fabricators who have been so prominently connected with it, the
adventurous amateur~—however eminent as a lawyer or however
acute as a critic of everyday affairs-may easily be too ingenious in
his endeavours to solve a literary problem in which judgment largely
depends on a highly trained and subtle sense of literary style and a
s ecial knowledge of the conditions of Elizabethan England and of
the early drama. In such an exposition of what may be called the
" anti-Shaksperian " case as Mr Greenwood's, many points appear
to make for his conclusion which are really not more than doubtful
interpretations of evidence; though these interpretations may
be derived from orthodox Shakespearians—orthodox, that is to say,
so far at all events as their view of Shakespearian authorship is
concerned—there have been a good many such interpreters whose
zeal has outrun their knowledge. The fact remains that the most
competent special students of Shakespeare, however they may
differ as to details, and also the most authoritative special students
of Bacon, are unanimous in upholding the traditional view. The
Baconian theory simply stands as a curious illustration of the
dangers which, even in the hands of fair judges of ordinary evidence,
attend certain methods of literary investigation.
There is one simple reason for this: in order to establish even a
prima facie case against the identification of the man Shakespeare
(however the name be spelt) with the author of Shakespeare's works,
the Baconian must clearly account for the positive contemporary
evidence in its favour, and this cannot well be done; it is highly
significant that it was not attempted or thought of for centuries.
It is comparatively easy to oint to certain difficulties, which are due
to the gaps in our knowledge. As already explained, the orthodox
biographer, armed with the results of accurate scholarship and pro-
longed historical research, attempts to reconstruct the life of the
period so as to offer possible or probable explanations of these diffi-
culties. But he does so backed by the unshaken tradition and the ,
positive contemporary evidence that the Stratford boy and man, the
ondon actor, the author of Venus and Adonis and Lucrece, and the
dramatist (so far at least as criticism u holds the canon of the plays
ascribed to Shakespeare), were one and) the same.
It may be useful here to add to what has been written in the pre-
ceding article some of the positive contemporary allusions to Shake-
speare which establish this presumption. The evidence of Francis
Meres in Palladis Tamia (1598) has already been referred to. It is
incredible that Ben jonson, who knew both Shakespeare and Bacon
intimately, who himself dubbed Shakespeare the " swan of Avon,"
and who survived Bacon for eleven years, could have died without
revealing the alleged secret, at a time when there was no reason for
concealing it. Much has been made of jonson's varying references
to Shakespeare, and of certain inconsistencies in his references to both
Shakespeare and Bacon; but these can be twisted in more than one
direction and their explanation is purely speculative. His positive
allusions to Shakespeare are inexplicable except as the most authori-
tative evidence of his identification of the man and his works.
Richard Barnfield (1598) speaks of Shakespeare as " honey-iiowing,"
and says that his Venus and Lucrece have placed his name " in
Fame's immortal book." john Weever (1599) speaks of " honey-
tongued Shakespeare," admired for " rose—cheeked Adonis," and
" Romeo, Richard, more whose names I know not." john Davies of
Hereford (1610) calls him “ our English Terence, Mr Will Shake-
speare." Thomas Freeman (1614) writes " to Master W. Shake-
speare: "—" Who loves chaste life, there's Lucrece for a teacher [
Who list read lust there's Venus and Adonis | . . . | Besides in
plays thy wit winds like Meander." Other contemporary allusions,
all trceating Shakespeare as a great poet and tragedian, are also on
recor .
Finally, it may be remarked that although many problems in
connexion with Shakespeare's authorship can only be solved by the
answer that he was a " genius," the Baconian view that " genius "
by itself could not confer on Shakespeare, the supposed Stratford
" rustic," the positive knowledge of law, &c., which is revealed in his
works, depends on a theory of his upbringing. and career which
strains the evidence quite as much as anything put forward by
orthodox biographers, if not more. As shown in the preceding article,
it is by no means improbable that the Stratford “ rustic " was quite
well educated, and that his rusticity is a gross exaggeration. We
know very little about his early years, and, in so far as we are ignorant,
it is legitimate to draw inferences in favour of what makes the re-
mainder of his career and achievements intelligible. The Baconian
theory entirely depends on straining every assumption in favour of
Shakespeare's nm having had any opportunity to acquire knowledge
which in any case it would require " genius ". to absorb and utilize;
and this method of argument is directly opposed to the legitimate
procedure in approaching the undoubted difficulties. _Isolated
phrases, such as Ben jonson's dictum as to his small knowledge of
atin and Greek, which may well be purely comparative, the con-
temptuous expression of a university scholar for one who had no
academic training, can easily be made too much of. The extreme
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SHAKE‘
inferences as to his illiteracy, drawn from his handwriting, depend 0n
the most meagre data. The preface to the First Folio says that
" what he thought he uttered with that easiness that we have scarce
received from him a blot in his papers "; whereas Ben Jonson, in his
Discoveries, says, " I remember the players often mentioned it as an
honour to Shakespeare that in his writing, whatsoever he penned,
he never blotted a line. My answer had been, would he had blotted
a thousand!—xx·hich they thought a malevolent speech." Reams
have been written about these two sayings, but we do not know the
real circumstances which prompted either, and the non-existence of
any of the Shakespeare manuscripts leaves us open, unfortunately,
to the wildest conjectures. That there were such manuscripts
(unless Ben jonson and the editors of the First Folio were liars) is
certain; but there is nothing peculiar in their not having survived,
though persons unacquainted with the history of the manuscripts of
printed works of the period sometimes seem to think so.
We know so little of the composition of Shakespeare's works, and
the stages they went through, or the influence o other persons on
him, that, so far as technical knowledge is concerned (especially the
legal knowledge, which has given so much colour to the Baconian
theory), various speculations are possible concerning the means
which a dramatic genius may have had to inform his mind or acquire
his vocabulary. The theatrical and social milieu of those days was
small and close; the influence of culture was immediate and mainly
oral. We have no positive knowledge indeed of any relations between
Shakespeare and Bacon; but, after all, Bacon was a great con-
temporary, personally interested in the drama, and one would expect
the contents of his mind and the same sort of literary expression that
we find in his writings to be reflected in the mirror of the stage; the
same phenomenon would be detected in the drama of to-day were
any critic to take the trouble to inquire. Assuming the genius of
Shakespeare, such a poet and playwright would naturally be full of
just the sort of matter that'would represent the culture of the day
and the interests of his patrons. In the purlieus of the Temple and
in literary circles so closely connected with the lawyers and the court,
it is just the dramatic " genius" who would be familiar with any-
thing that could be turned to account, and whose works, especially
plays, the vocabulary of which was open to embody countless sources,
in the different stages of composition, rehearsal, production and
revision, would show the imagination of a poet wor ing upon ideas
culled from the brains of others. Resemblances between phrases
used by Shakespeare and by Bacon, therefore, carry one no farther
than the fact that they were contemporaries. We cannot even say
which, if either, originated the echo. S0 far as vocabulary is con-
cerned, in every age it is the writer whose ‘record remains and who by
degrees becomes its representative; the truth as to the extent to
which the intellectual milieu contributed to the education of the
writer, or his genius was assisted by association with others, is hard
to recover in after years, and only possible in proportion to our
knowledge of the period and of the individual factors in operation.
‘ ., (H. Cn.)
Tm: Pokrnkrrs or SHAKESPEARE
The mystery that surrounds much in the life and work of
Shakespeare extends also to his portraiture. The fact that the
only two likenesses of the poet that can be regarded as carrying
the authority of his co-workers, his friends, and relations—
yet neither of them a life-portrait—difler in certain essential
points, has opened the door to controversy and encouraged the
advance and acceptance of numerous wholly different types.
The result has been a swarm of portraits which may be classed
as follows: (1) the genuine portraits of persons not Shakespeare
but not unlike the various conceptions of him; (2) memorial
portraits often based on one or other of accepted originals,
whether those originals are worthy of acceptance or not; (3)
portraits of persons known or unknown, which have been
fraudulently " faked " into a resemblance of Shakespeare; and
(4) spurious fabrications especially manufactured for imposition
upon the public, whether with or without mercenary motive. It
is curious that some of the crudest and most easily demonstrable
frauds have been among those which have from time to time been,
and still are, most eagerly accepted and most ardently championed.
There are few subjects which have so imposed upon the credulous,
especially those whose intelligence might be supposed proof against
the chicanery practised upon them. Thus, in the past, a president
of the Royal Academy in England, and many of the leading
artists and Shakespearian students of the time, were found to
support the genuineness, as a contemporary portrait of the poet,
of a picture which, in its faked Shakespeare state, a few months
before was not even in existence. This, atleast, proves the intense
interest taken by the world in the personality of Shakespeare,
and the almost passionate desire to know his features. It is
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'\
>PEARE 7 8 7
desirable, therefore, to describe those portraits which have chief
claim to recollection by reason either of their inherent interest
or of the notoriety which they have at some time enjoyed; it
is to be remarked that such notoriety once achieved never
entirely dies away, if only because the art of the engraver, which
has usually perpetuated them either as large plates, or as illustra-
tions to reputable editions of the works, or to commentaries
or biographies, sustains their undeserved credit as likenesses
more or less authentic.
Exhaustive study of the subject, extended over a series of
years, has brought the present writer to the conclusion—identical
with that entertained by leading Shakespearian authorities-
that two portraits only can be accepted without question as
authentic likenesses: the bust (really a half-length statue)
with its structural wall—monument in the choir of Holy Trinity
Church, Stratford-on-Avon, and the copper-plate engraved by
Martin Droeshout as frontispiece to the First Folio of Shake-
speare's works (and used for three subsequent issues) published
in 162 3 , although first printed in the previous year.
The Stratford bust and monument must have been erected
on the N. wall of the chance] or choir within six years after Shake-
speare's death in 16 16, as it is mentioned in the prefatory memorial
lines by Leonard Digges in the First Folio. The design in its
general aspect was one often adopted by the " tombe-makers " of
the period, though not originated by them, and according to
Dugdale was executed by a Fleming resident in London since
1567, Garratt johnson (Gerard janssen), a denizen, who was
occasionally a collaborator with Nicholas Stone. The bust is
believed to have been commissioned by the poet's son-in—law,
Dr ]ohn Hall, and, like the Droeshout print, must have been
seen by and likely enough had the approval of Mrs Shake-
speare, who did not die until August 162 3. It is thought to have
been modelled from either a life or death mask, and inartistic
as it is has the marks of facial individuality; that is to say, it
is a portrait and not a generalization such as was common
in funereal sculpture. According to the practice of the day,
especially at the hands of Flemish sculptors of memorial figures,
the bust was coloured; this is suihcient to account for the
technical summariness of the modelling and of the forms. Thus
the eyebrows are scarcely more than indicated by the chisel,
and a solid surface represents the teeth of the open mouth;
the brush was evoked to supply effect and detail. To the colour,
as reapplied after the removal of the white paint with which
Malone had the bust covered in 1793, must be attributed a
good deal of the wooden appearance which is now a shock to
many. The bust is of soft stone (not alabaster, as incorrectly
stated by " the accurate Dugdale "), but a careful examination
of the work reveals no sign of the alleged breakage and restora-
tion or reparation to which some writers have attributed the
apparently inordinate length of the upper lip. As a matter of
fact the lip is not long; it is less than seven-eighths of an inch:
the appearance is to a great extent an optical illusion, the result
partly of the smallness of the nose and, especially, of the thinness
of the moustache that shows the fiesh above and below. Some
repair was made to the monument in I649, and again in 1748,
but there is no mention in the church records of any meddling
with the bust itself. Owing, however, to the characteristic
inaccuracy of the print by one of Hollars' assistants in the
illustration of Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire (p. 688),
the first edition of which was published in 16 $6, certain writers
have been misled into the belief that the whole monument
and bust were not merely restored but replaced by those which
we see to-day. As other prints in the volume depart grossly
from the objects represented, and as Dugdale, like Vertue
(whose punctilious accuracy has also beenbaselessly extolled
by Walpole), was at times demonstrably loose in his descrip-
tions and presentments, there is no reason to believe that the
bust and the figures above it are other than those originally
placed in position. Other engravers, following the Dugdale
print, have further stultified the original, but as they (Vertue,
Grignion, Foudrinier, and others) differ among themselves,
little importance need be attached to the circumstance. A
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7 8 8 SHAKE
waming should be uttered against many of the so-called " casts "
of the busts. George Bullock took a cast in 1814 and Signor A.
Michele another about forty years after, but those attributed to
W. R. Kite, W. Scoular, and others, are really copies, departing
from the original in important details as well as in general effect.
It is from these that many persons derive incorrect impressions
of the bust itself.
Mention should here be made of the " Kesselstadt Death
Mask, " now at Darmstadt, as that has been claimed as the true
death-mask of Shakespeare, and by it the authenticity of other
portraits has been gauged. It is not in fact a death-mask at
all, but a cast from one and probably not even a direct cast.
In three places on the back of it is the inscription-——|-AEDB 1616:
and this is the sole actual link with Shakespeare. Among the
many rapturous adherents of the theory was William Page, the
American painter, who made many measurements of the mask
and found that nearly half of them agreed with those of the
Stratford bust; the greater number which do not he conveniently
attributed to error in the sculptor. The cast first came to light
in 1849, having been searched for by Dr. Ludwig Becker, the
owner of a miniature in oil or parchment representing a corpse
crowned with a wreath, lying in bed, while on the background,
next to a burning candle, is the date -—A6 1637. This little
picture was by tradition asserted to be Shakespeare, although
the likeness, the death-date, and the wreath all point unmistak-
ably to the poet-laureate Ben jonson. Dr Becker had purchased
it at the death-sale at Mainz of Count Kesselstadt in 1847,
in which also " a plaster of Paris cast " (with no suggestion of
Shakespeare then attached to it) had appeared. This he found
in a broker's rag-shop, assumed it to be the same, recognized
in it a resemblance to the picture (which most persons cannot
see) and so came to attribute to it the enormous historical value
which it would, were his hypothesis correct, unquestionably
possess. In searching for the link of evidence necessary to be
established, through the Kesselstadt line to England and Shake-
speare, a theory has been elaborated, but nothing has been proved
or carried beyond the point of bare conjecture. The arguments
against the authenticity of the cast are strong and cogent·—
the chief of which is the fact that the skull reproduced is funda-
mentally of a different form and type from that shown in the
Droeshout print—the forehead is receding instead of upright.
Other important divergencies occur. The handsome, refined,
and pleasing aspect of the mask accounts for much of the favour
in which it has been held. It was believed in by Sir Richard
Owen and was long on view in the British Museum, and
was shown in the Stratford Centenary Exhibition in 1864.
The " Droeshout print " derives its importance from its
having been executed at the order of Heminge and Condell to
represent, as a frontispiece to the Plays, and put forth as his
portrait, the man and friend to whose memory they paid the
homage of their risky enterprise. The volume was to be his real
monument, and the work was regarded by them as a memorial
erected in a spirit of love, piety, and veneration. Mrs Shake-
speare must have seen the print; Ben jonson extolled it. His
dedicatory verses, however, must be regarded in the light of
conventional approval as commonly expressed in that age of
the performances of portrait-engravers and habitually inscribed
beneath them. It is obvious, therefore, that in the circumstances
an authentic portrait must necessarily have been the basis of
the engraving; and Sir George Scharf, judging from the contra-
dictory lights and shadows i11 the head, concluded that the
original must have been a limning——more or less an outline
drawing—~which the youthful engraver was required to put into
chiaroscuro, achievingrhis task with but very partial success.
That this is the case is proved by the so-called " unique proof ”
discovered by Halliwell-Phillips, and now in America. Another
copy of it, also an early proof but not in quite the same " state, "
is in the Bodleian Library. No other example is known. In
this plate the head is far more human. The nose is here longer
than in the bust, but the bony structure corresponds. In the
proof, moreover, there is a thin, wiry moustache, much widened
in the print as used; and in several other details there are
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SPEARE
important divergencies. In this engraving by Droeshout the
head is far too large for the body, and the dress—the costume
of well-to-do persons of the time-is absurdly out of perspective:
an additional argument that the unpractised engraver had only
a drawing of a head to work from, for while the head shows
the individuality of portraiture the body is as clearly done
l de chic. The first proof is conclusive evidence against the con-
‘ tention that the " Flower Portrait " at the Shakespeare Memorial
Museum, Stratford—on-Avon—the gift of Mrs Charles Flower
(1895) and boldly entitled the “ Droeshout original "— is the
original painting from which the engraving was made, and is
therefore the actual life-portrait for which Shakespeare sat.
This view was entertained by many connoisseurs of repute until
it was pointed out that had that been the case the first proof,
if it had been engraved from it, would have resembled it in all
particulars, for the engraver would have merely copied the picture
before him. Instead of that, we find that several details in the
proof—the incorrect illumination, the small moustache, the shape
of the eyebrow and of the deformed ear, &c.·—have been corrected
in the painting, in which further improvements are also imported.
The conclusion is therefore irresistible. At the same time the
picture may possibly be the earliest painted portrait in existence
of the poet, for so far as we can judge of it in its present condition
-—(it was to some extent injured by fire at the Alexandra Palace)
——it was probably executed in the earlier half of the 17th century.
The ii1scription—Will¢i Shakespeare, 1609- is suspect on account
of being written in cursive script, the only known example at
the date to which it professes to belong. If it were authentic it
might be taken as showing us Shakespeare's appearance seven
years before his death, and fourteen years before the publica-
tion of the Droeshout print. The former attribution of it to
Cornelis ]anssen's brush has been abandoned——it is the work of
a comparatively unskilful craftsman. The picture's pedigree
cannot definitely be traced far back, but that is of little import-
ance, as plausible pedigrees have often been manufactured to
bolster up the most obvious impostures. The most interesting
of the copies or adaptations of this portrait is perhaps that by
William Blake now in the Manchester Corporation Art Gallery.
One of the cleverest imitations, if such it be, of an old picture
is the " Buttery " or “ Ellis portrait, " acquired by an American
collector in IQ02. This small picture, on panel, is very poor
judged as a work of art, but it has all the appearance of age.
Inthis case the perspective of the dress has been corrected, and
Shakespeare's shield is shown on the background. The head is
that of a middle-aged man; the moustache, contrary to the usual
type, is drooping. It is curious that the" Thurston miniature"done
from the Droeshout print gives the moustache of the " proof. "
Two other portraits of the same character of head and arrange-
ment are the " Ely Palace portrait " and the “ Felton portrait,"
both of which in their time have had, and still have, convinced
believers. The " Ely Palace portrait " was discovered in 1845.
in a broker's shop, and was bought by Thomas Turton, bishop
of Ely, who died in 1864, when it was bought by Henry Graves
and by him was presented to the Birthplace. An unsatisfactory
statement of its history, similar to that of many other portraits,
was put forth; the picture must be judged on its merits. It
bears the inscription "E 3Q —|— 1603,,, and it shows a moustache
and a right eyebrow identical with those in the Droeshout ” proof ."
It was therefore hailed by many competent judges as the original
of the print; by others it was dismissed as a "make-up ”;
at the same time it is very far from being a proved fraud.
Supposing both it and the " Flower portrait " to be genuine,
this picture, which came to light long before the latter, antedates
it by six years. judged by the test of the Droeshout " proof"
it must have preceded and not followed it. The " Felton
portrait, " which made its first appearance in 1792, had the
valiant championship of the astute and cynical Steevens, of
Britton, Drake, and other authorities, as the original of the
Droeshout print, while a. few-—·those who believed in the
i" Chandos portrait "—denounced it as " a rank forgery. "
On the back of the panel was boldly traced in a florid hand
" Gul. Shakespear 1597 R.B." (by others read " R.N."). If
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SI-lAKEf
R.B. is correct, it is contended the initials indicate Richard
Burbage, Shakespeare's fellow—actor. Traces of the writing i
may still be detected. Boaden's copy, made in 1792, repeating
the inscription on the back, has " Guil. Shakspeare 1587 R.N." i
The spelling of Shakespeare's name·—which in succeeding ages ,
has been governed by contemporary fasliion—has a distinct
bearing on the authenticity of the panel. At the first appearance .
of the " Felton portrait " in a London sale—room it was bought by
Samuel Felton of Drayton, Shropshire, for five pounds, along
with a pedigree which carried its refutation along with it.
Nevertheless, it bears evidence of being an honest painting
done from life, and is probably not a make-up in the sense that
most of the others are. It fell into the hands of Richardson
the printseller, who issued fraudulent engravings of it by '1`rotter
and others (by which it is best known), causing the character-
istic lines of the shoulders to be altered, so that it is set upon
a body attired in the Droeshout costume, which does not appear
in the picture; and then, arguing from this falsely—introduced
costume, the publisher maintained that the work was the original
of the Droeshout print and therefore a life-portrait of Shakespeare.
Thus foisted on the public it enjoyed for years a great reputation,
and no one seems to have recognized that with its down—turned
moustache it agrees with the inaccurate print after the Droeshout
engraving which was published as frontispiece to Ayscougl1's
edition of Shakespeare in 1790, i.e. two years before the dis-
covery of the Felton portrait! The " Napier portrait, " as the
excellent copy by ]ohn Boaden is known, has recently been
presented to the Shakespeare Memorial. josiah Boydell also
made a copy of the picture for George Steevens in 1797. Quite
a number of capital miniatures from it are in existence. With
these should be mentioned a picture of a similar type discovered
by Mr M. H. Spielmann in 1905. Finding a wretched copy of
the Chandos portrait executed on a panel about three hundred
years old, he had the century-old paint cleaned off in order to
ascertain the method of the forger. On the disappearance of
the Chandos likeness under the action of the spirit another por-
trait of Shakespeare was found beneath, irretrievably damaged
but obviously painted in the 17th century. At the time of the
" fake " only portraits of the Chandos type were saleable, and
this would account for the wanton destruction of an interesting
work which was probably executed for a publisher—likely
enough for jacob Tonson—but not used. Early as it is in date
it can make no claim to be a life-portrait.
The " ]anssen " or " Somerset portrait " is in many respects
the most interesting painted likeness of Shakespeare, and
undoubtedly the finest of all the paintings in the series. It is
certainly a genuine as well as a very beautiful picture of the
period, and bears the insc1·iption—‘Z$‘g,“l)6-but doubt has been
expressed whether the 6 of 46 has not been tampered with,
and whether it was not originally an 0 and altered to fit Shake-
speare's age. It was made known through Earlom's rare
rnezzotint of it, but the public knowledge of it has been mainly
founded on Cooper's and Turner's beautiful but misleading
mezzotint plates until a photograph of the original was published
for the first time in 1909 (in The Connoisseur) by permission
of the owner, the Lady Guendolen Ramsden, daughter of the
duke of Somerset, the former owner of the picture. The resem-
blance to the main forms of the death-mask is undoubted; but
that is of little consequence as confirmation unless the mask
itself is supported by something beyond vague conjectures.
Charles jennens, the wealthy and eccentric amateur editor of
the poor edition of King Lear issued in 1770, was the first
known owner, but vouchsafed no information of its source and
shrank from the challenge to produce the picture. Of the beauty,
excellence, and originality of this portrait there is no question;
it is more than likely that Janssen was the author of it; but
that it was intended to represent Shakespeare is still to be proved.
A number of good copies of it exist, all but one (which enjoys
a longer pedigree) made in the 18th century: the " Croker
]anssen" now lost, unless it be that of Lord Darnley's; the
" Staunton ]anssen," the " Buckston ]anssen," the “ Marsden
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SPEARE 7 8 g
Janssen, " and the copy in the possession of the duke of Anhalt.
These are all above the average merit of such work.
The portrait which has made the most popular appeal is that
called the " Chandos, " formerly known as the " d'Avenant, "
the " Stowe, " and the " Ellesmere, " according as it passed from
hand to hand; it is now in the National Portrait Gallery.
Tradition, tainted at the`outset, attributes the authorship of
it to Richard Burbage, although it is impossible that the painter
of the head in the Dulwich Gallery could have produced a
work so good in technique; and Burbage is alleged to have given
it to his fellow-actor joseph Taylor, who bequeathed it to Sir
William d'Avenant, Shakespeare's godson. As a matter of fact,
Taylor died intestate. Thenceforward, whether or not it be-
longed to d'Avenant, its history is clear. At the great Stowe
sale of the effects of the duke of Buckingham and Chandos
(who had inherited it) the earl of Ellesmere bought it and then
presented it to the nation. Many serious inquirers have refused
to accept this romantic, swarthy, Italian—looking head here
depicted as a likeness of Shakespeare of the Midlands, if only
because in every important physiognomical particular, and in
face~measurement, it is contradicted by the Stratford bust and
the Droeshout print. It is to be noted, however, that judged
by the earlier copies of it-which agree in the main points—
some of the swarthiness complained of may be due to the restorer.
Oldys, indifferent to tradition, attributed it to Janssen, an un-
allowable ascription. This, except the " Lumley portrait/',
the “ Burdett Coutts portrait," and the admitted fraud, the
“ Dunford portrait," is the only picture of Shakespeare executed
before the end of the 18th century which represents the poet
with earrings—the wearing of which, it should be noted, either
simple gold circles or decorated with jewel-drops, was a fashion
that extended over two centuries, in England mainly, if not
entirely, affected by nobles and exquisites. Contrary to the
general belief, the picture has not been subjected to very extensive
repair. That it was not radically altered by the restorer is proved
by the fine copy painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, and by him
presented to john Dryden. The poet acknowledged the gift
in his celebrated Fourteenth Epistle, written after 1691 and
published in 1694, and containing the passage beginning,
" Shakespeare, thy gift, I place beforemy sight; With awe
I ask his blessing ere I write." D'Avenant had died in 1668,
and so could not, as tradition contends was the case, have been
the donor. In Malone's time the picture was already in the
possession of the earl Fitzwilliam. This at least proves the
esteem in which the Chandos portrait was held so far back as
the end of the I7tl'1 century, only three—quarters of a century
after Shakespeare's death.
From among the innumerable copies and adaptations of the
Chandos portrait a few emerge as having a certain importance
of their own. That which Sir ]oshua Reynolds is traditionally
said to have made for the use of Roubiliac, then engaged in his
statue of Shakespeare for David Garrick (now in the British
Museum), and another alleged to have been done for Bishop
Newton, are now lost. That by Ranelagh Barret was presented
in 1779 to Trinity College Library, Cambridge, by the Shake-
spearian commentator Edward Capel]. Dr Matthew Maty,
principal librarian of the British Museum, presented his copy
to the museum in 1760. There are also the smooth but rather
original copy (with drapery added) belonging to_the earl of Bath
. at Longleat; the Warwick Castle copy; the fair copy
known as the Lord St Leonards portrait; the large copy in
“ coloured crayons, formerly in the Jennens collection and now
I belonging to Lord Howe, by van der Gucht, which seems to
. be by the same hand as that which executed the pastel portrait
of Chaucer in the Bodleian Library; the " Clopton miniature "
; attributed to ]ohn Michael Wright, which formed the basis of
the drawing by Arlaud, by whose name the engravings of this
modified type are usually known; the Shakespeare Hirst picture,
1 based on Houbra.ken's engraving; the full—size chalk drawing
‘ by Ozias Humphry, R.A., at the Birthplace, which Malone
~ guaranteed to be a perfect transcript, but which more resembles
l the late W. P. Frith, R.A., than Shakespeare. Humphry also,
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700 SHA KES
adhering to his modified type, executed three beautiful but
inaccurate miniatures from the picture, one of which is in the
Garrick Club, and the others in private hands.
The " Lumley portrait " is in type a curious blend of the
faces in the Chandos portrait and the Droeshout print, with I
a dash of the " Auriol miniature " (see later). It represents
a heavy·j0wled man with pursed-up Iips, and with something of
the expression but little of the vitality of the Chandos. Although
it is thought to be indicated though not actually mentioned ,
in the Lumley sale catalogues of 1785 and 1807, it was only when
it came into the possession of George Rippon, presumably about
the year 1848, that it was brought to the notice of the world,
and additional attention was secured by the owner's contention
that it was the original of the Chandos. It is claimed that the
picture originally belonged to the portrait collector john, Lord
Lumley, of Lumley castle, Durham, who died in 1609, and
descended to Richard, the 4th earl of Scarborough, and George
Augustus, the 5th earl, at whose respective sales at the dates
mentioned it was put up to auction. On the first occasion it was
bought in, and on the second it was acquired by George Walters.
It is to be observed, however, that it does not appear by name
inthe early inventory, and it is unconvincingly claimed that
it was mistakenly entered as Chaucer, a portrait of whom is
mentioned. When in the possession of George Rippon the picture
was so superbly chromo—lithographed by Vincent Brooks that
copies of it, mounted on old panel or canvas, and varnished,
have often changed hands as original paintings. It is clear that
if the picture was indeed in possession of ]ohn, Lord Lumley,
we have here a contemporary portrait of Shakespeare, and the
fact that it is an amateur performance would in no way in-
validate the claim. It is thinly painted and scarcely looks the
age that is claimed for it; but it is an interesting work, which, in
1875, entered the collection of the late Baroness Burdett-Coutts.
To Frederigo Zuccaro are attributed three of the more important
portraits now to be mentioned; upon him also have been foisted
several of the more impudent fabrications herein named. The
" Bath " or " Archer portrait "~—it having been in the possession
of the Bath Librarian, Archer, when attention was first drawn
to it in 1859*IS worthy of Zuccaro's brush. It is Italian in
feeling, with an inscription (" W. Shakespear") in an Italian
but apparently more modern hand. The type of head, too,
is Italian, and it is curious that in certain respects it bears some
resemblance not only to the Chandos, and to the Droeshout
and janssen portraits, but also to the " death-mask"; yet it
differs in essentials from all. Certain writers have affirmed
that Reynolds in one of his Discourses expressed his faith in
the picture; but the alleged passage cannot be identified.
This eloquent, refined, and well-bred head suggests an Italian
noble, or, if an English poet, a man of the type of Edmund
Spenser; a lady—1ove shoe-string, or “ twist " (often used to
tie on a jewel), threads the ear and a fine lace ruff frames the
head. - The whole picture is beautifully painted by a highly
accomplished artist. If this portrait represents Shakespeare
at about the age of 30, that is to say in 1594, the actor-dramatist
had made astonishing progress in the world, and become well-t0-
do, and had adopted the attire of a dandy. But Zuccaro came
to England in 1574, and as his biographers state " did not stay
long, " and returned to Florence to complete the work at the
Duomo there begun by Vasari. The conclusion appears to be
definite. The picture was acquired for the Baroness Burdett-
Coutts by W. H. Wills.
Stronger objection applies to the " Boston Zuccaro " or " joy
portrait, " now in Boston, U.S.A. A Mr Benjamin ]oy, who
emigrated from London to Boston, owned a picture with a doubt-
ful pedigree—transparently a manufactured tradition. R. S.
Greenough, the American sculptor, used it along with " other
authentic portraits " to produce his bust. In parts it has been
viciously restored, but it is in very fair condition and appears
to be a good picture of the Flemish school. In the vague assertion
that it was found in the Globe Tavern which was frequented by
Shakespeare and his associates, no credence can be placed, if
only because no such tavern is known to have existed.
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SPEARE
The “ Cosway Zuccaro portrait " is now in America; but the
reproduction of it exists in England in the miniature of it by
Cosway's pupil, Charlotte jones, as well as in the rare mezzotint
by Hanna Greene. The picture is alleged to have disappeared
from the possession of Richard Cosway; it was sold in his sale,
however, and passed through the hands of Lionel Booth and
of Augustin Daly. No one would imagine that it is intended
for a portrait of the poet. It is far more like Shelley (some-
what caricatured, especially as to the cat-like eyes and the
Mephistophelian eyebrows) or Torquato Tasso. The attribution
to Zuccaro is absurd, yet Cosway and Sir Charles Eastlake
believed in it. The inscription on the back, " Guglielm:
Shakespear," with its mixture of Italian and English, resembles
in wording and spelling that adopted in the case of several
admitted " fakes." No attempt at discovering the history of
the picture was ever made, but there is no doubt that at the
beginning of the roth century it was widely credited; Wivell
and others attributed it to Lucas Franchois. It is said to be
well painted, but the copies show that it is ill drawn. The
miniature by Charlotte ]ones, a fashionable artist in her day,
is pretty and weak, but well executed g it was painted in 1823,.
Of the "Burdett-Coutts portrait " (the fourth interesting
portrait of Shakespeare in the possession of Mr Burdett-Coutts)
there is no history whatever to record. No name has been
suggested for the artist, but the hands and accessories of dress
strongly resemble those in the portrait of Elizabeth Hardwick,
countess of Shrewsbury, in the National Portrait Gallery. The
ruff, painted with extreme care, reveals a pentimentv. The picture
is admirably executed, but the face is weak and is the least
satisfactory part of it; especially feeble is the ear with the ring.
Shakespeare's shield, crest, with red mantling, which appear
co-temporary with the rest, and the ngures " 37 " beneath it,
appear on the background, in the manner adopted in 17th-
century portraits. From this picture the " Craven portrait "
seems to have been “ faked." A
Equally striking is the " Ashbourne portrait," well known
through G. F. Storm's engraving of it. It is sometimes called the
" Kingston portrait " as the first known owner ·of it was the Rev.
Clement U. Kingston, who issued the engraving in 1847. It
is an important three-quarter length, representing a figure in
black standing beside a table at the corner of which is a skull
whereon the figure rests his right forearm. It is an acceptable
likeness of Shakespeare, in the manner of Paul van Somer,
apparently pure except in the ruff. The inscription " }ETATIS
SVAE. 47. A° 16r1," and the decoration of cross spears on a book
held by the right hand, are also raised from the ground, so that
it would be injudicious to decide that these are not of a later
date yet at the same time ancient additions. It is the only
pictur&if we disregard the inadmissible " Hampton Court
portrait "———in which Shakespeare is shown wearing a sword-
belt and a thumb—ring, and holding a gauntleted glove. The
type is that of a refined, fresh—coloured, fair-haired English
gentleman. There isno record of the picture before Mr Kingston
bought it from a London dealer.
More famous, but less reputable, is the " Stratford " or
" Hunt portrait," amusingly exhibited in an iron safe in the
Birthplace at Stratford, to which it was presented by W. O.
Hunt, town clerk, in 1867. It had been in the Hunt family for
many years and represented a black-bearded man. Simon
Collins, the picture cleaner and restorer who had cleansed the
Stratford bust of Malone's white paint and restored its colours,
declaring that another picture was beneath it, was engaged
to exercise himself upon it. He removed the top figure from
the dilapidated canvas with spirit and found beneath it the
painted version of the Stratford bust. At that time Mr Rabone's
copy, now at Birmingham, was made; it is valuable as evidence.
Then Collins, always a suspect in this matter, proceeded with
the restoration, and by treatment of the hair made the portrait
more than ever like the bust; and the owner, and not a few
others, proclaimed the picture to be the original from which
the bust was made. No judge of painting, however, accepts the
picture as dating further back than the latter half of the 18th
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SHAKE1
century-~when it was probably executed, among a score of others,
about the time of the bicentenary of Shakespeare's birth, an
event which gave rise to much celebration. The ingenious but
entirely unconvincing explanations offered to account for the
state in which the picture was found need not be recounted here.
The “ Duke of Leeds' portrait," now at Hornby castle, has
been for many years in the family, but the circumstances of
its provenance are unknown. It has been thought possible
that this is the lost portrait of which ]ohn Evelyn speaks as
having been in the collection of Lord Chancellor Clarendon,
the companion picture to that of Chaucer; but no evidence
has been adduced to support the conjecture. It represents a
handsome, fair man, with auburn beard, with an expression
recalling the ]anssen portrait; the nose, however, is quite
different. He wears a standing " wired band," as in the Droe-
shout print. It is a workmanlike piece of painting, but there
is nothing in the picture to connect it with Shakespeare. The
same may be said of the “ Welcombe portrait/' which was bought
by Mark Philips of Welcombe and descended to Sir George
Trevelyan. It is a fairly good picture, having some resemblance
to the " Boston Zuccaro " with something of the Chandos.
The figure, a half-length, wears a falling spiked collar edged with
lace, and from the ear a love-lace, the traces of which only are
left. Two other portraits at the Shakespeare Memorial should
be named. The " Venice portrait," which was bought in Paris
and is said to have come from Venice, bears an Italian unde-
cipherable inscription on the back ; it seems to have no obvious
connexion with Shakespeare apart from its exaggeration of the
general aspect of the Chandos portrait; it is a weak thing.
The " Tonson portrait," inscribed on the frame " The ]acob
Tonson Picture, 173 5," asmall oval, with the attributes of comedy
and tragedy, is believed to have been executed for Tonson's
4th edition of Shakespeare, but not used.
The " Soest portrait " (often called Zoust or Zoest), formerly
known as “ the Douglas," the " Lister Kaye " or the " Clarges
portrait," according to the owner of the moment, was for many
years a public favourite, mainly through ]. Simon's excellent
mezzotint. The picture, a short half—length within an oval,
is manifestly meant for Shakespeare, but the head as nearly
resembles the head of Christ at Lille by Charles Delafosse (1636—
I7I6) who also painted pictures in England. Gerard Soest
was not born until 1637, and according to Granger the picture
was painted in Charles II.'s reign. It is a pleasing but weak
head, possibly based on the Chandos. The whereabouts of the
picture is unknown, unless it is that in the possession of the
earl of Craven. A number`of copies exist, two of which are at
the Shakespeare Memorial. Simon's print was the first announce-
ment of the existence of the picture, which at that time belonged
to an obscure painter, F. Wright of Covent Garden.
The " Charlecote portrait," which was exhibited publicly
at Stratford in 1896, represents a burly, bull-necked man, whose
chief resemblance to Shakespeare lies in his baldness and hair,
and in the wired band he wears. The former possession of the
picture by the Rev. john Lucy has lent it a sort of reputation;
but that gentleman bought it as recently as 1853.
Similarly, the " Hampton Court portrait " derives such
authority as it possesses from the dignity of its owner and its
habitat. William IV. bought it as a portrait of Shakespeare,
but without evidence, it is suggested, from the de Lisles. This
gorgoously attired officer in an elaborate tunic of green and
gold, with red bombasted trunks, with fine worked sword and
dagger pendent from the embroidered belt, and with a falling
ruff and laces from his ear, bears some distant resemblance to
the Chandos portrait. Above is inscribed, " Etat. suae. 34."
[t appears to be the likeness of a blue-eyed soldier; but it has
been suggested that the portrait represents Shakespeare in stage
dress-—a frequent explanation for the strange attire of quaintly
alleged portraits of the poet. A copy of this picture was made
by H. Duke about 1860. Similarly unacceptable is the"H.
Danby Seymour portrait" which has disappeared since it was
lent to the National Portrait Exhibition of 1866. This is a fine
three-quarter length in the Miervelt manner. The dignified
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SPEARE 7 o 1
bald—headed man has a light beard, brown hair, and blue eyes,
and wears white lace-edged falling collars and cuffs over a.
doublet gold-embroidered with points; and in the left hand
holds a black hat. The " Lytton portrait," a royal gift made to
Lord Lytton from Windsor Castle, is mainly interesting as having
been copied by Miller in his original profile engraving of Shake-
speare. The “ Rendelsham " and “ Crooks ” portraits also
belong to the category of capital paintings representing some one
other than Shakespeare; and the same may be hazarded of
the " Grafton " or " Winston " portrait, the " Sanders portrait,"
the " Gilliland portrait " (an old man's head impudently
advanced), the striking " Thorne Court portrait," the " Aston
Cantlow portrait," the " Burn portrait/' the " Gwennet portrait,"
the " Wilson portrait " and others of the class. _
Miniatuiepainting has assumed a certain importance in relation
to the subject. The " Welbeck Abbey " or " Harleian miniature,"
is that which Walpole caused to be engraved by Vertue for Pope`s
edition of Shakespeare (1723-1725)» but which Oldys declared, in-
correctly, to be a juvenile portrait of james I. According to Scharf,
it belonged to Robert Harley, 1st earl of Oxford, but it is more likely
that it was bought by his son Edward Harley in the father's lifetime.
It already was in his collection in 1719, but whence it _came is not
known. It has been denounced as a piece of arrant sycophancy that
Pope consented to adopt this very beautiful but entirely unauthenti-
cated portrait, which bears little resemblance to any other accepted
likeness (more, however, to the Chandos than to the rest) simply in
order to please the aristocratic patron of his literary circle. It
measures 2 in. high; Vertue's exquisite engraving, executed in 1721,
enlarged it to 5i, and became the " authority " for numerous copies,
British and foreign. The " Somerville " or “ Hilliard miniature,"
belonging to Lord and Lady Northcote, is claimed to have descended
from Shakespeare's friend, Somerville of Edstone, grandfather of the
poet William Somerville. It was first publicly spoken of in 1818
when it was in the possession of Sirjames Bland Burges. It is
certainly by Hilliard, but although Sir Thomas Lawrence and many
distinguished painters and others agreed that it was an original life-
portrait of the poet, few will be disposed to give adherence to the
theory, in view of its complete departure from other portraits. It
represents a ale man with flaxen hair and beady e es; yet in it
Burges found) " a general resemblance to the best busts (sic) of
Shakespeare," and an attempt was made to prove a relationship
between the Ardens and the Somervilles——an untenable theory.
The miniature has frequently been exhibited and has figured in
important collections on its own merits. The well-known " Auriol
miniature," now in America, is one of the least sympathetic and the
least acceptable of the Shakespeare miniatures, excellent though it is
in technique. It has the forehead and hair)of the Chandos, but it is
utterly devoid of the Shakespeare expression. In the background
appearsl " ./E* 3g,." The costume is that worn by the highest in the
land. It first appeared in its present character in 1826, but it had
been known for a few years before, as being in the collection of
" Dog " jennings, and ultimately it came into the hands of the
collector, Charles Auriol. Its early history is unknown. The other
principal miniatures of interest, but lacking authority, are the
" Waring miniature," the “ Tomkinson miniature " (which, like the
" Hilliard " and the " Auriol," was formerly in the Lumsden Propert
collection), the doubtful " Isaac Oliver miniature " (alleged to have
been in the jaffé collection at Hamburg), the " Mackey " and
" Glen " miniatures, and those presented to the Shakespeare
Memorial b Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower, T. Kite, and Henry
Graves. These are all contemporary or early works. Miniature
copies of recognized portraits are numerous and many of them of high
excellence, but they do not call for special enumeration. That,
however, by Mary Anne Nichols, " an imitative cameo after
Roubiliac," exhibited in the Royal Academy, 1848, claims notice. In
this category are a number of enamels by accomplished artists, the
chief of them Henry Bone, R.A., H. P. Bone, and W. Essex.
Several recorded painted portraits have disappeared, other than
those already mentioned; these include the " Earl of Oxford
portrait " and the " Challis portrait." The “ Countess of Zetland's
portrait," which had its adherents, was destroyed by nre. _
Not a few of the existent representations of Shakespeare, un·
authoritative as they are, were honestly produced as memorial
pictures. There is another class, the earnest attempts made to
reconstitute the face and form of the poet, combining within' them
the bestiand most characteristic features of the earliest portraits.
The most successful, perhaps, is that by Ford Madox Brown. in the
Manchester Corporation Art Gallery. Those by ]._F. Rigaud, R.A.,
and Henry Howard, R.A., take a lower rank. It is to be regretted
that Gainsborough did not execute the portrait for Garrick, for which
he made serious preparations. The " Booker portrait," which gained
wide publicity in Stratford, might be included here; it has _d1gn1ty,
but the pigment forbids us to allow the age claimed for it. The
portraits by P. Kramer and Rumpf are among the best recently
executed in Germany. The remarkable pen-and-ink drawings by
Minanesi and Philip H. Newman deserve to be remembered.
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792 SHAKE
The " faked " portraits have been at times as ardently accepted as
those with some solid claim to consideration. The " Shakespeare
Marriage picture," with its rhyming confirmatory “ tag " intended
as an inscription, was discovered in 1872. It is a genuine Dutch
picture of man and wife weighing out money in the foreground·~a
frequent sul>ject—\vhile through the open door Shakespeare and,
presumably, Ann Hathaway are seen going through the ceremony of
handfasting. The inscription and the Shakespeare head (probably
the whole group)_are fakes. The " Rawson portrait," inscribed with
the poet`s name, is faked; it is really a beautiful little portrait of
Lord Keeper Coventry by janssen. The " Matthias Alexander
portrait " shows a modern head on an old body. The " Belmount
Hall portrait " with its pseudo-Garrick MS. inscription on the back,
is in the present writer's opinion not the genuine thing which it
claims to be. It represents the poet looking up from his literary
work. In the early part of the 19th century two clever " restorers,"
Holder and Zincke, made a fairly lucrative trade of fabricating
spurious portraits of Shakespeare (as well as of Oliver Cromwell and
Nell Gwynn) and the clumsiness of most of them did not impede a
ready sale. The way in which they imposed upon scholars as well as
on the public is marvellous. Many of these impudent impostures
won wide acceptance, sometimes by the help of the fine engravings
which were made of them. Such are the " Stace " andthe " Dunford
portraits "—so named after the unscrupulous dealers who put them
forward and promulgated them. They have both disappeared, but
of the latter a copy is still in existence known as the " Dr Clay
portrait." The former is based upon the portrait of Robert Carr,
earl of Somerset. These are the two " \Vinstanley portraits," the
" Bishop Newton," the " Cygnus Avoni2," the " Norwich " or
" Boardman," the " Bellows " or " Talma " portraits—most of them,
as well as others, traceable to one or other or both of the enterprising
fakers already named. At least a dozen are reinforced, as corrobo-
rative evidence, with verses supposed to issue from the pen of
Ben jonson. These are all to be attributed to one ready pseudo-
Elizabethan writer whose identity is known. VVith these pic-
tures, apparently, should be ranged the composition, now in
America, purporting to represent Shakespeare and Ben jonsor
playing chess.
The " fancy-portraits " are not less numerous. The 18th-eentur
small full—length " \Villett portrait " is at the Shakespeare Memoriai
It is a charmingly touched-in little figure. There are many represen-
tations of the poet in his study in the act of composition—the include
those by Benjamin \Vilson (Stratford Town Hall), john Boacien, johr
Faed, R.A., Sir George Harvey, R.S.A., C. Bestland, B. j. N. Geiger
and the painter of the \Varwick Castle picture, &c.; others have foi
subject Shakespeare reading, either to the Court or to his family
by john `Wood, E. Ender, R. \Nestall, R.A., &c.; or the infancy ant
childhood of Shakespeare, by George Romney (three pictures)
T. Stothard, R.A., john Wood, james Sant, R.A.; Shakespeare
before Sir Thomas Lucy, by Sir G. Harvey, R.S.A., Thomas Brooks
A. Chisholme, &c. These, and kindred subjects such as “ Shake
speare's Courtship," have provided infinite material for the industry
and ingenuity of Shakespeare-loving painters.
The engraved portraits on copper, steel, and wood are so numerous
—amounting to many hundreds—that it is impossible to deal wit}
them here; but one or two must be referred to, as they have genuine
importance and interest. Vertue and VValpole speak of an engraver
portrait by john Payne (fl. 1620, the pupil of Simon Pass and one o
the first English engravers who achieved distinction); but no sucl
print has even been found and its existence is doubted. Walpol·
probably confounded it with that by W. Marshall, a reversed ani
reduced version of the Droeshout, which was published as frontis
piece to the spurious edition of Shakespeare's poems (I64G). It i
good but hard. An admirable engraving, to all but expert eyes un
recognizable as a copy, was made from it in 1815, and another later
\Villiam Faithorne (d. 1691) is credited with the frontispiece t~
Quarles's edition of " The Rape of Lucrece, by William Shakespeare
gent." (1655). It was copied for‘Rodd by R. Sawyer and republishe¤
in 1 819. It represents the tragic scene between Tarquin and Lucrecc
and above is inset an oval medallion, being a rendering of the Droe
shout portrait reversed. The earliest engravings from the Chando
portrait are of interest. The first by L. du Guernier (Arlaud type
and that by M. (father of G.) van der Gucht are introduced into
pleasing composition. The same elaborate design was adopted b
L. van der Gucht. These, like Vertue's earlier prints, look to th
left; subsequent versions are reversed. Perhaps the most celc
brated, partly because it was the most important and technically th
finest, up to that time, is the large engraving (to the right) b
Houbrakeu, a Dutchman, done for Birch's " Heads of Illustriou
Persons of Great Britain " published by T. and P. Knapton (1747
1752). This free rendering of the Chandos portrait is the parent c
the numerous engravings of " the Houbraken type." Since that dat
many plates of a high order, from all the principal portraits, hav
been issued, many of them extremely inaccurate.
Numerous portraits in stained glass have been inserted in th
windows of public institutions. Typical of them are the Germa
Chandos windows by Franz Mayer (Mayer & Co.) at Stationers' Hal
and in St Helens, Bishopsgate (Professor Blaim); and that of th
Droeshout type in the great hall of the City of London school. F or
Madox Brown's design is one of the best ever executed.
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VVe now come to the sculptured memorials. After Gerrard
]ohns0n's bust no statuary portrait was executed until 1740, when
the statue in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, was set up by public
subscription, mainly through the enthusiastic activity of the earl of
Burlington, Dr Richard Mead, and the poet Pope. It was designed
or " invented " by William Kent and modelled and carried out by
Peter Scheemakers; what is, as Walpole said, " preposterous "
about it—n1ainly the pedestal with its incongruous heads—may be
credited to the former, and what is excellent to the latter. It is
good sculpture, and is interesting as being the first sculptured portrait
of the poet based upon the Chandos picture. Lord Pembroke
possesses a replica of it. A free repetition, reversed and with many
changes of detail, is erected in a niche on the exterior wall of the
town-hall of Stratford-on—Avon. A copy of it in lead by Schee-
makers' pupil, Sir Henry Cheere, used to stand in Drury Lane theatre.
Wedgwood copied this work, omitting the absurdities of the pedestal,
1 with much spirit in black basalt. The marble copy, much simplified,
in Leicester Square, is by Fontana, a gift to London by Baron Albert
Grant. Busts were executed by Scheemakers, founded on the same
, portrait. One is still at Stowe in the " Temple of British WOTtlll€S,l,
i and in Lord Cobham's possession is that presented by Pope to Lord
1 Lyttelton. Some very fine engravings of the monument have been
, produced, the most important that in Boydell's Shakespeare (larger
. edition). By L. F. Roubiliac, Cheere's protégé, is the statue which
, in 1758 David Garrick commissioned him to carve and which he be-
· queathed to the British Museum. It is also based upon the Chandos
, portrait. The terra-cotta model for the statue is in the Victoria and
e Albert Museum; and a marble reproduction of it is in private hands.
· To Roubiliac also must be credited the celebrated “ D'Avenant
, Bust " of blackened terra-cotta in the possession of the Garrick Club.
; This line work of art derives its name from having been found
- bricked up in the old Duke's theatre in Portugal Row, Lincoln's Inn
Y Fields, which 180 years before was d'Avenant's, but which after-
· wards passed through various vicissitudes. It was again adapted
- for theatrical purposes by Giffard, for whom this bust, together with
1 one of Ben jonson which was smashed at the moment of discovery,
1 must have been modelled by the sculptor, who at the same time was
engaged on Garrick's commission. The model for the British
v Museum statue is seen in the portrait of Roubiliac by Carpentiers,
. now in the National Portrait Gallery. Another portrait of Shake-
- speare is in Westminster Abbey——a medallion based on the Chandos
z picture, introduced into Webber's rather fantastic monument to
1 David Garrick. An important alto-relievo representation of Shake-
, speare, by ]. Banks, R.A., between the Geniuses of Painting and
r the Drama, is now in the garden of New Place, Stratford-on-Avon.
, It was executed for Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall,
l and was presented to the British Institution which afterwards
, occupied the premises; on the dissolution of that body it was
2 given to Stratford by Mr Holte Bracebridge. It is a fine thing,
, but the likeness adheres to no clearly specified type. It has been
- excellently engraved in line by james Stow, B. Smith, and others,
r and was re roduced on the admirable medal by Ktichler, presented
by Boydellpto every subscriber to his great illustrated edition of
s Shal<espeare's works. It is remarkable that Banks's was the first
1 British hand to model a portrait of the poet.
e In more recent times numerous attempts have been made to re-
l constitute the figure of Shakespeare in sculpture. The most ambitious
f of these is the elaborate memorial group modelled and presented
1 by Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower to Stratford and set up outside
e the Memorial Theatre in 1888. The large seated figureof Shakespeare
1 is mounted on a great circular base around which are arranged the
.- figures of Hamlet, Lady Macbeth, Prince Henry, and Falstaff. In
s 1864 ]. E. Thomas modelled the colossal group of Shakespeare with
.- attendant figures of Comedy and Tragedy that was erected in the
·. grounds of the Crystal Palace, and in the same year Charles Bacon
o produced his colossal Centenary Bust, a reproduction of which forms
e, the frontispiece to john H. Heraud's Shakspere: His Inner Life
:1 (1865). The chief statues, single or in a group, in London still to be
z, mentioned are the following: that by H. H. Armstead, R.A., in
a- marble, on the southern podium of the Albert Memorial; by Hamo
1s Thornycroft, R.A. (1871), on the Poets' Fountain in Park Lane; by
a) Messrs Daymond on the upper storey of the City of London School,
a on the Victoria Embankment; and by F. E. Schenck, a seated figure,
y on the facade of the Hammersmith Public Library. The Droeshout
e portrait is the basis of the head in the bronze memorial by Professor
2- Lanteri set into the wall on the conjectural site of the Globe Theatre
e (1909) and of the excellent bust by Mr C. ]. Allen in the churchyard
y of St Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, in memory of Heminge and
1s Condell (1896). A recumbent statue, with head of the Chandos type,
- was in preparation in 1910 for erection in the south aisle of Southwark
1f Cathedral. Among statues erected in the provinces are those by
e Mr H. Pe ram, A.R.A., in the building of Birmingham University
'e (1908) ant? by M. Guillemin for Messrs Farmer and Brindley for the
Nottingham University buildings.
1e Several statues of importance have been erected in other countries.
n The bronze by M. Paul Fournier in Paris (presented by an English
l, resident) marks the junction of the Boulevard Haussmann and the
1e Avenue de Messine (1888). The seated marble statue by Professor
·d O. Lessing was set up in Weimar by the German Shakespeare Society;
the sculptor has also modelled a couple Of busts of 6. very personal
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I
SHAKE.
and, it may be said, un-English type. A seated statue in stone
roughly hewn with characteristic breadth by the Danish sculptor,
Louis Hasselriis, has for some years been placed in the apartment of
the Castle of Kronborg, in which, according to the Danish tradition,
Shakespeare and his company acted for the king of Denmark.
America possesses some well-known statues. That by j. Q. A. Ward`
is in Central Park, New York (1872). In 1886 William Ordway
Partridge modelled and carved the seated marble figure for Lincoln
Park, Chicago; and later, Frederick MacMonnies produced his
very original statue for the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
This is in some measure based on the Droeshout engraving. William
R. O'Donovan also sculptured a portrait of Shakespeare in 1874.
Great consideration is given by some to the bust made by William
Page of New York in preparation for a picture of the poet he was
about to paint. He founded it with pathetic faith and care and
amazing punctiliousness on the so-called “ Death Mask," which it
little resembles; as he was no sculptor the bust is no more successful
than the picture. The bust by R. S. Greenough, already mentioned
as based in part on the " Boston Zuccaro " portrait, must be included
here, as well as the romantic, dreamy, marble bust by Augusto
Possaglio of Florence (presented to the Garrick Club by Salvini in
1876); the imaginative work by Altini (Duke of Northumberland,
Alnwick Castle); and the busts by F. M. Miller, E. G. Zimmermann,
Albert Toft, j. E. Carew (Mr Muspratt, Liverpool) and P. j. Char-
digny of Paris. The last named was a study made in 1850, for a
proposed statue, 100 ft. high, which the sculptor hoped to be com-
missioned to produce. A multitude of small bronze and silver busts
and statuettes have also been produced. Some attention has been
accorded for several years past to the great pottery bust attributed
to john Dwight's Fulham Pottery (o. 1675). The present writer,
however, has ascertained that it is by Lipscombe, in the latter portion
of the 19th century.
The wood carvings are numerous. The most interesting among
them is the medallion traditionally believed to have been carved by
Hogarth, and inset in the back of the " Shakespeare chair " pre-
sented by the artist to David Garrick (in the possession of Mr W.
Burdett-Coutts). The statuettes alleged to be carved from the wood
of Shakespeares mulberry-tree are numerous; among the most
attractive are the archaic carvings by Salsbee (1761). One statu-
ette of a primitive order of art was sold in 1909 in London for a
fantastic sum; it was absurdly claimed to be the original of
Scheemakers' statue, but without the slightest attempt at proof
or justification.
The Medals and Coins of Shakes eare offer material for a separate
numismatic study. Those of the Chandos type are by far the most
numerous. The best of them are as follows: jean Dassier (Swiss;
in the " Series of Famous Men," c. 1730); j. j. Barre (French; in
the " Series numismatica universalis," 1818); Westwood (Garrick
jubilee, 1769); j. G. Hancock—the young short-lived genius who
engraved the die when only seven years old; j. Kirk (for the Hon.
Order of Shakespeareians, 1777); W. Barnett (for the Stratford
Commemoration, 18:6); j. Moore (to celebrate the Birthplace,
1864)§ and L. C. Wyon (the gift of Mr C. Fox-Russell to Harrow
School, 1870). The latest, and one of the most skilful, is the plaquette
(no reverse) in the series of " Beruhmter Manner " by Wilhelm Mayer
and Franz Wilhelm of Stuttgart, the leading medal—partnership of
Germany (1908). After the " Droeshout " engraving: Westwood
(1821); T. A. Vaughton (1908-1909). After the "Stratford bust":
W. F. Taylor (celebrating the Birthplace, 1842); and T. j. Minton;
T. VV. Ingram (for Shakespearean Club, Stratford, 1824); j. Moore,
Birmingham; and, head only, Antoine Desboeufs (French, exhibited
in the Salon, 1822——obverse only); B. Wyon (for the City of London
School, Beaufoy Shakespearean prize, 1851); j. S. and A. B. Wyon
(for the M‘Gill University, Montreal, 1864); john Bell and L. C.
\Vyon (for the Tercentenary Anniversary, 1864); Allen and Moore
(with incorrect birthdate, " I574," 1864). From the " janssen "
type: joseph Moore (a medal imitating a Cast medal, 1908). There
is an Italian medal, cast, of recent date; with the exception of this
all the medals are struck.
The 18th—century tradesmen's Tokens, which passed current as
money when the copper coinage was inadequate for the public
needs, constitute another branch for collectors. About thirty-
four of these, including variations, bear the head of Shakespeare.
\Vith one exception (a farthing, 1815, issued much later than the
bulk of the tokens) all represented half-pence. They comprise the
" local " and " not local." There are the " \Narwickshire " series,
the " London and Middlesex," and the "Stratford Promissory"
series. Many are stamped round the edge with the names of
the special places in {which they are payable. In addition to
these may be mentioned the 24 "imitation regal " tokens which
bear Shakespeare's name, around (except in one or two cases)
the efhgy of the king. They belong to the last quarter of the
18th century.
Many of the more important kilns have produced portraits of
Shakespeare in porcelain and pottery, in statuettes, busts, in
" cameos " and in painted pieces. VVe have them in Chelsea; old
Derby; Chelsea·Derby; old Staffordshire (salt-glaze), frequently
reproducing, as often as not with fantastic archaism, Scheemakers}
statue; and on fiat surfaces by transfer of printed designs——both
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18th- and 19th-century productions; also French-Dresden and Wedg-
wood. In the last-named ware is the line bust, half—l1fe size, 1n black
basalt, as well as several " cameos" in various s1zes,1n blue and
white jasper, or yellow ground, and 1n black basalt. The busts were
also produced in different sizes. Worcester produced the well—known
“ Benjamin Webster " service, with the portrait,_ Chandos type,
en camaicu, as well as the mug IH " jet enamel," which was the hfth
of the set of thirteen. Several of the portraits have also been pro-
duced commercially in biscuit china. »*·]
Gems with intaglio portraits of Shakespeare have been copiously
produced since the middle of the 19th century, nearly all of them
based upon earlier works by men who were masters of their still-
living craft. The principal of these latter are as follows: Edward
Burch, A.R.A., exhibited in 1765; Nathaniel Marchant, R.A., ex-
hibited 1773 (Garrick turning to a bust of Shakespeare); Thomas
Pownall (c. 1750); William Barnett; J. Wicksted the Elder (Shake-
speare and Garrick); W. B. Wray (a beautiful drawing for this is 1n
the Print Room of the British Museum) ; and Yeo. In the same class
may be reckoned the Cameos, variously sardonyx, chalcedony, and
shell, some excellent examples of which have been executed, and the
lvories, both in the round and in relief. The VVaxes form a class by
themselves; in the latter portion of the 18th century a few small
busts and reliefs were put forth, very good of their kind. These have
been imitated within recent years and attempts made to pass them
off as originals, but only the _novice is deceived by them. Similarly
the old Shakespeare brass p1pe-stoppers have _latterly been widely
reproduced, and the familiar little _brass bust 1S w1dely reproduced
from the bronze original. So voracious is the public appetite for por-
traits of the poet that the old embroideries 1H hair and more recently
' in woven silk found a ready market; reliefs 1n silver, bronze, iron,
and lead are eagerly snapped up_, and postage stamps with Shake-
speare's head have been issued with success. The acquisitiveness of
the collector paralyses his powers of select1on._ The vast number of
other objects for daily use bearing the portra1t of Shakespeare call
for no notice here. A (M. H. S.)