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Shakspeare, 1597. R. N." The strenuous patronage of Mr. Steevens insured its popularity for a time; but its pretensions gradually lost ground before the sensible reflection, that where the history of a picture was mysterious, coincidences so easily contrived as a resemblance to the first folio, and the name of the poet on the back, could not be received as conclusive evidence in its favour. In 1792, this picture was in the possession of Mr. Felton, of Drayton in Shropshire, and thus became denominated the "Felton Shakspeare." It was afterwards purchased by the Boydells.

About 1725, a mezzotinto print was scraped by Simon, said to be from an original picture of Shakspeare by Zoust or Soest. But as the carliest picture painted by Zoust, in England, was in 1657, the story is falsified by discordant dates.

Another picture, now belonging to Mr. Jennens of Gopsal in Leicestershire, has been advanced as a portrait of Shakspeare; the master, Cornelius Jansen. Its claims have generally been disallowed, in consequence of an assertion of Horace Walpole, that Jansen never saw England till 1618. The assertion is incorrect; and no objection foundel on an anachronism can be raised against the genuineness of this picture.

The picture in the possession of Lord Oxford, turns out to be a portrait, not of Shakspeare, but of James the First! Pope's edition of our author's works was ornamented by an engraving from this head.

In the Somerville family, there is a tradition, that an ancestor of Somerville the poet lived in habits of intimacy with Shakspeare, especially after his retirement; and that, at his request, a portrait of the dramatist was painted. A small miniature, very richly set, has descended with the tradition, and is believed by its present possessor, Sir James Bland Burgess, to be an original picture of Shakspeare. It is not stated at what period of life Shakspeare gratified the wishes of his friend, but the miniature is far too youthful for the representation of a man of forty-five, which Shakspeare must have been when he retired to Stratford. This, however, forms no serious objection against the picture, for it might have been painted when Shakspeare was as youthful as it represents him.

The picture in the collection of the Marquis of Buckingham, at Stowe, usually called the "Chandos portrait," presents a very fair pedigree of possessors up to Betterton the actor; but there, where evidence is most wanted, it begins to fail. It came into Betterton's possession, it is said, after the death of Sir William Davenant, but whether by purchase, or otherwise, does not appear: administration of Davenant's effects was granted to his principal creditor in 1668. The previous history of the picture is still more unsatisfactory. It is not ascertained that Davenant himself attached any importance to it; no credible account exists of the channel through which he obtained it; and the traditions respecting the artist who painted it are vague and contradictory.

The establishing of the claims of either the Chiandos portrait, or the Somerville miniature, would invalidate the claims of the other; for of two pictures so exceedingly unlike, it is impossible to admit the genuineness of both. Of the two portraits, the reader would most readily believe the Somerville a resemblance of Shakspeare, if it were admissible to give any weight to prepossession: the countenance of the Chandos picture is heavy, dull, and inexpressive.

Of the prints which have been so prodigally issued of Shakspeare, some are mere fanciful delineations of the artist; some copies of the various genuine portraits of the bard found one day and forgotten on the next; but for the most part they are to be traced to the sources already pointed out. The origin of the head attached to the first folio is uncertain; but if, as is extremely probable, it was copied from an original picture, it is entitled, notwithstanding its abominable imitation of humanity, to somewhat more consideration than copies of unauthenticated pictures.

It is a tradition at Stratford, that Shakspeare's monumental bust was copied from a cast after nature. In imitation of nature, the hands and face were painted flesh colour, the eyes of a light hazel, and the hair and beard auburn; the doublet or coat was scarlet, and covered with a loose black gown, or tabard, without

sleeves; the upper part of the cushion was green, the under half crimson, and the tassels gilt.

After remaining in this state above one hundred and twenty years, Mr. John Ward, grandfather of the Kembles, caused it to be repaired, and the original colours revived, from the profits of the performance of Othello, in 1748. In 1793, Mr. Malone was inspired with the ambition of connecting his name with Shakspeare's bust. His purpose was ingeniously effected by covering it over with one or more coats of white paint. This injudicious destruction of the original character of the figure, deprived it of more than half its interest; for it is no longer to be seen as Shakspeare's friends and acquaintances were wont to gaze upon it.

No pretensions whatever are made to originality by any other bust or statue of Shakspeare. The head of the statue in Westminster Abbey, executed by Scheemaker, was modelled from Simon's mezzotinto print. The figure carved by Roubiliac, for Garrick, was from the same authority; with the adoption of a hint or two from the Chandos picture. Hence the head so universally recognised in casts, seals, and other ornaments, as that of Shakspeare.

It was seven years subsequent to the death of Shakspeare, before any publication of the whole of his dramatic works was attempted, the policy of the managers, whose principal profits arose from the attraction of manuscript plays, pointing out to them the necessity of keeping the dramas belonging to their theatres unpublished. Fourteen 1) plays of Shakspeare, however, appeared singly, in quarto, previous to the death of their author, and Othello was printed in the year 1622. Of these plays, Love's Labour's Lost, and Much Ado about Nothing, only, did not reach a second edition; the first part of Henry the Fourth, went into a sixth, and Richard the Third, even to a seventh impression.

Though something must be allowed to the desire of the managers to enhance the value of their own edition, their description of all the quartos, as "stolne, and surreptitious copies, maimed and deformed by the fraudes and stealthes of injurious impostors," points out sufficiently clearly the means by which they found their way into the world. They were, in fact, purloined from the theatre, entire, when opportunity afforded time for the completion of a perfect transcript from the prompter's book, or piecemeal, as the parts written out for the different players could be procured. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that there are - many chasms in their matter, and frequent incoherencies in their scenes. With the exception of Othello, they are not divided into either acts or scenes; entries are frequently given to persons who take no part in the business of the stage; other persons whose entrances were not noticed are engaged in action; exits are frequently marked in improper places; very few stage directions are to be met with; and speeches are frequently assigned to wrong characters, and sometimes even the name of the actors who performed the part is inserted in the text, instead of that of the dramatis personae, The text throughout is miserably spelt: uncommon words are deformed almost beyond the possibility of recognition; prose is often printed for verse, and verse as frequently for prose. If amidst a mass of error, of which this is no exaggerated account, any preference is to be given to one edition over another, it is to the earlier copies; for additional errors were the consequence of every renewed passage through the press. It may be a matter of amusement to some readers, perhaps, to witness a specimen of the titles under which such of Shakspeare's plays as appeared in quarto were recommended to the public for purchase. "The Tragedy of Richard the Third. Containing his treacherous Plots against his brother Clarence: the pittieful Murder of his innocent Nephewes: his tyrannical Usurpation; with the whole of his detested Life, and most deserved Death. As it hath been lately acted by the Right Honorable the Lord Chamberlaine his servants. "A most plesaunt and excellent conceited comedie, of Syr John Falstaffe and the Merrie Wives of Windsor. Enter

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1) Richard II., Richard III., Romeo and Juliet, Love's Labour's Lost, Henry IV., part one and two, Henry V., Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, Merry Wives of Windsor, Hamlet, Lear, and Troilus and Cressida.

mixed with sundrie variable and pleasing Humors, of Syr Hugh the Welch Knight, Justice Shallow, and his wise Cousin, M. Slender. With the swaggering vaine of auncient Pistoll and Corporall Nym. By William Shakspeare. As is hath, etc. etc." "M. William Shake-speare his True Chronicle History of the Life and Death of King Lear, and his Three Daughters. With the unfortunate Life of Edgar, Sonne and Heire to the Earle of Glocester, and his sullen and assumed Humour of Tom of Bedlam. As it was plaid before the King's Majesty at White-Hall, uppon S. Stephens Night; in Christmas Hollidaies. By his Majesties Servants playing usually at the Globe on the Banck-side.'

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The art of puffing is improved, but our ancestors were not a jot behind us in intention.

To remedy the defects of the quartos, and to present the world with an entire collection of Shakspeare's dramatic works, was the professed object of "Henric Condell and Johu Heminge," the managers of the Globe theatre, and the friends and fellows of Shakspeare, in publishing their folio in 1623. Such plays as had already appeared were "now offer'd cur'd, and perfect of their fimbes; and all the rest, absolute in their numbers as he conceived them." The pretensions were great, but the performance mean, for the folio exhibits reprints of several of those very quartos which its preface labours to depreciate; reprints encumbered too with the typographical errors which the folio accumulated as it went through the press. The materials, therefore, used by the players in their edition were not of a value superior to those that had belonged to the publishers of the quarto plays. Indeed there is no doubt but that they were essentially the same: the prompter's book, where it contained the entire play, and the parts written out for the actors when the piece existed in no single manuscript. Like the quartos, the folio transposes verses, assigns speeches to wrong characters, inserts the names of actors instead of those of the dramatis personae, confounds and mixes characters together, prints verse for prose and prose for verse.

It must be mentioned in praise of the folio, that most of its plays are divided into acts, and many into both acts and scenes, and the divisions were made by competent authority, if we may argue from the uniformity of principle apparent in much of the volume, but still scenes not unfrequently end without a pause in the action, and stand in an order perfectly unnatural, shuffled backwards or forwards in absurd confusion.

The folio rejected the descriptive titles appended to the quartos, simply calling each play by the name which now distinguishes it; and in obedience to the statute 3 James 1. cap. 21., which prohibits, under severe penalties, the use of the sacred name in any plays or interludes, substituted general terms for the awful name of the Deity, often impiously profaned by invocation on the stage.

A second folio was published in 1632, a volume described by all the editors of Shakspeare, with the exception of Steevens, as utterly worthless. It is a reprint of the former folio, with hundreds of additional errors, the productions of chance, negligence, and ignorance.

A third folio appeared in 1664, exhibiting a still more miserable copy of the first edition, with seven additional plays 1) falsely attributed to Shakspeare. It was the good fortune of this edition to be almost entirely destroyed in the fire of London, in 1666, so that copies of it are now more rare than those of the first folio itself.

A fourth folio, originating in the same source, issued from the press in 1685; it rather fell below than rose above the merit of its predecessors.

Such were the only editions of Shakspeare before the world when, in 1709, Rowe's octavo edition in seven volumes appeared. Rowe was fully aware of the degraded state of the poet's text, and acknowledged "that there was nothing left but to compare the several editions, and give the true reading as well as he could from thence;" yet he perversely neglected the performance of this important duty altogether, and printed his volumes from the latest of the folios, sim

1) Locrine, The London Prodigal, Pericles, The Puritan, Sir John Oldcastle, Thomas Lord Cromwell, and the Yorkshire Tragedy.

ply directing his attention to the correction of the grossest of the printer's errors, and to the division of such plays into acts and scenes as had been hitherto undivided. Notwithstanding the imperfections of this edition, its success was so great that it was reprinted in nine volumes duodecimo in 1714.

Pope was the next editor of Shakspeare. He perfectly understood the defects of the existing editions, and boldly undertook to collate the quartos themselves, professing to adopt no reading unsanctioned by their authority, or that of the early folio, and asserting his "religious abhorrence" of all innovation, or the indulgence of any private sense or conjecture. But he soon found the task he had undertaken "dull," and adopted a much more compendious mode of criticism. He took Rowe's text as the groundwork of his own, and, by a partial collation of the old copies, restored many passages to their integrity, but at the same time indulged himself in the liberty of rejecting whatever he disliked, of altering whatever he did not understand, and of revising Shakspeare with as little fearlessness and as much diligence as he would have sat down to the correction of his own poems. Pope's edition was printed in six volumes quarto, in 1725, and in ten volumes duodecimo, in 1728.

In 1733 Theobald followed Pope, and by a more strict adherence to the old copies, and many judicious notes, fully earned the praise of having superseded him. But the foundation of Theobald's edition was laid in error; the text he undertook to correct was that of Pope, and his collation of the old copies was neither sufficiently extensive nor accurate to make very considerable progress towards its amendment. He, nevertheless, purged it from many arbitrary corruptions, and though he cannot himself be acquitted from the charge of innovation, yet in comparison with Pope, he appears a judicious critic. His first edition was in seven vols. octavo; his second in eight vols. duodecimo, in 1740.

A splendid edition of Shakspeare was printed at Oxford, in 1744, by Sir Thomas Hanmer, but with little advantage to the poet. Hanmer thought all was right that had been done by former editors, and for himself he seems to have despised all common canons of criticism. He disdained reference to either the quartos or folios, and printed the text of Pope, adding whatever he conjectured would contribute to the beauty, harmony, or force of his author.

In 1747 Bishop Warburton published the dramatist in eight octavo volumes. The avowed champion of Pope acted consistently in making that poet's edition the ground-work of his own, and he more than emulated the boldness of his protege in the temerity with which he himself trod the path of criticism. Of all the guides through the difficulties of a corrupted text, antiquated phraseology, and obscure expression, Warburton was the most incompetent. No consideration restrained him from the substitution of his own chimerical conceits in the place of his author's text, and in the copious notes which accompanied it, he perpetually exhibits the most perverse interpretations, and improbable conjectures; he at one time gives the author more profundity of meaning than the sentence admits, and at another discovers absurdities, where the sense is plain to every other reader. His emendations may sometimes, indeed, be thought successful; but they are fortunate guesses, rather than wise conclusions.

Nearly a century and a half had elapsed since the death of Shakspeare, and no critical edition of his works existed which could boast a higher authority for its text, than the fourth folio, partially amended, or capriciously and ignorantly altered. The dramatist now fell into different hands, and a proper basis was laid for a correct text. The first folio, collated with whatever earlier copies the editor could procure, was the foundation of Johnson's edition, in eight volumes, octavo, published in 1765. Much of Johnson's text is far more accurate than that of any of his predecessors, and so correct was his acumen as a verbal critic, that, had his diligence extended over the whole of his work, the philological labours of others would have been spared. But indolence was his bane; his text is in consequence faulty, and his acquaintance with the domestic history of the Elizabethan age was so superficial that he could not perform the harmless drudgery of explaining the local allusions of his author. Johnson's skill was great in disentangling complicated passages, and his paraphrases are remarkable for their

accuracy and beauty. When Shakspeare was the poet of common life, Johnson was his faithful interpreter, for the author of "The Rambler" knew human nature well; but he could not watch his course through the vast regions of the imagination, and his adamantine and rugged mind was impassive to the playful sparkles of Shakspeare's fancy. Johnson's general critical abilities are displayed in his noble Preface; but his unfitness for his office of commentator on Shakspeare is manifest in his observations at the close of each play, than which nothing can be more tame, insipid, and unsatisfactory. It is singular, that his subject no where inspires him, except when he is dilating on the character of Falstaff.

Johnson was assisted by Steevens, in the publication of another edition of Shakspeare in 1773, in ten octavo volumes; the result of their joint labours was a new publication of the same number of volumes in 1778; and a third edition, bearing the names Johnson and Steevens, appeared, under the superintendence of Isaac Reed, in 1785.

There is no necessity for me to notice at any length Capell's edition, in ten crown-octavo volumes, in 1768, for the work is more remarkable for typographical beauty than critical merit, and I pass on at once to the names of Steevens and Malone.

Steevens commenced his career of labour in the cause of Shakspeare in 1766, by superintending the reprint of such of the dramatist's plays as had made their appearance in quarto, and preparing a list, to accompany them, of the various readings of the different quarto editions of each play. Where the dissimilarity between the early and later editions was so great as to create a suspicion that the former was a first draft which the author afterwards expanded, Mr. Steevens printed the first as well as the subsequent copy, conceiving that there were "many persons, who, not contented with the possession of a finished picture of some great master, would be desirous to procure the first sketch that was made for it, that they might have the pleasure of tracing the progress of the artist from the first colouring to the finishing stroke."

Steevens subsequently assisted Johnson, but in 1793 he appeared as an independent editor of Shakspeare, though he affixed to his work the name of his former coadjutor, being unable, as he says with modesty and beauty, "to forego an additional opportunity of recording in a title page that he had once the honour of being united in a task of literature with Dr. Samuel Johnson." This was the last edition of Shakspeare of which Steevens superintended the publication, but his attention to a subject which employed so many years of his life did not relax, and previous to his death, in 1800, he had prepared another edition in twentyone volumes, on which Mr. Isaac Reed bestowed his attention in its passage through the press in 1803.

In the course of his Shakspearean labours, Steevens received many valuable communications from Malone; who, in 1780, added to Steevens' second edition two supplementary volumes, containing Shakspeare's Poems, the seven spurious plays ascribed to him by the third folio, and additional notes on the poet's genuine plays. To Reed's edition of Johnson and Steevens he contributed some notes also, which occasionally controverted Steevens' opinions, and, in 1790, printed an entire and independent edition of Shakspeare in ten octavo volumes.

Malone's industry did not forsake him here, for he employed himself up to the hour of his death in 1812, in the preparation of an improved edition of the poet. The materials he collected were arranged and published by Boswell, as a second edition of Malone's Shakspeare, in twenty-one octavo volumes, in 1821.

Steevens was a wit, a scholar, and a man of taste. He was deeply read in the literature of Shakspeare's age, and explained with skill many of the local allusions of his author. But Steevens was no poet, and he could not, therefore, comment on the deep pathos and lofty imaginings of Shakspeare. His want of poetic feeling diminished even his philological merits. He often rejected readings both of the quartos and the folios for the adoption of others which harmonised, as he thought, a line previously halting in the measure. He loved only the artificial and stately march of epic verse, and 'wood notes wild' whispered no charm

to his ear.

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