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OF SHAKSPEARES PLAYS. 1g5

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them back the plague, could I but catch it for them."

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Cominius, in the pancgyrick which he pronounces on Coriolanus, .says,

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196 'CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

we find (as Mr. Steevens has observed) the same phraseology: "You have lurch'd your friends of the better half of the garland."

I formerly thought this a sneer at Shakfpeare; but have lately Nmet with nearly the same phrase in a parnphlet written by Thomas Nashe, and suppose it to have been a common phrase of that tirne.

This play is ascertained to have been written after the publication of Camden's Rcmaines, in 16o5, by a speech of Menenius in the first ad, in which he endeavours to convince the seditious populace of their unreasonableness by the wellknown apologue of the members of the body rebelling against the, belly. This tale Shakfpeare certainly found in the Life of Coriolanus as transl lated by North, and in general he has followed it as it is there given: but the fame tale is also told. of Adrian the Fourth by Camden, in his Rcmaincs, p. 199, under the head of Wise Specchcs, with more paxticularity; and one or two of the expresfions, as well as the enumeration of the suncftions performed by each of the members of the .body, appear to have been taken from that book. '

"' On a time," says Menenius in Plutarch, " all the members of man's body dyd rebel against the bellie, complaining of it that it only remained in the midelt of the bodic without doing any thing, neither dyd,bear any labour to the rnaintenaunce of the rest : whereas all other partes and members dyd labour paynesully, and was veri careful to satissy the appetites and desiers ofsthe bodie. And so the bellie, all this notwithstanding, laughed at their follie, and sayde, it is true, I firll receyve all meates that norishc mans bodic; but afterwardes

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of the same. Even so (qd. he) 0 you, my masters and citizens of Rome," Scc.

In Camden the tale runs thus: " All the meinbers of the body conspired against the fiornach , as against the swallowing gulfc of all their labours; for whereas the eics beheld, the cares heard, the handes laboured, thcfcctc travelled, the tongucsjzake, and all jmrtes performed thcirfunflicins; onely the stomache lay ydle and consumed all. Hereuppon theyjoyntly agreed al' to forbeare their labours, and to pine away their lazie and publike enemy. iOnc' day passed over , the second followed very tedious , but thethird day was so grievous to them all, that they called a common counsel. The eyes waxed dimme, the feete could not support the body; the armes waxed lazie, the tongue faltered, and could not lay open the matter. Therefore they all with one accord defired the advice of the heart. There Reason layd open before them," Scg.

So, Shakspeare: ' '

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" --T now humble as the ripqfl mulberry,
" Which cannot bear the handling. T'

nln a preceding page I have observed that mulberries were not much known in England before the year 1609. Some flw mulberry-trees however had been brought from France and planted before that period, and Shakspeare, we lind, had seen Ksome of the fruit in a state of maturity before he wrote C0rz'0l(mus.9

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Dr. Warburton thinks that there is in this tragedy a fatirical allufion to the infiitution of the order of Baronets-, which dignity was created by King James I. in the year 1611: i

" z.i.-The hearts of old gave hands,
" But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts."
Othella, Act III. fc. iv.'

L9 I have some doubts concerning the concluding remark on the date of this play. Thetree which is fit for breeding filk-worms, is the white mulberry, of which great numbers were imported into England in the year 16og: but Perhaps we had the other fpecies, which produces the best fruit, before that time. If that was the case, my hypothelis concerning the time when our poet planted the celebrated mul-, her-ry tree, may be controvcrted. Vqlmt quantum valcre spvflit.

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OF' SHAKSPEARES PLAYS. igg

" Amongst their other prerogatives of honour," (says that c0mmentator,) " they [the new-created baronets] had an addition to their paternal arms, of an hand gules in an escutcheon argcnt. And we are not to doubt but that this was the new heraldry alluded to by our author; by which he insinuates, thatsome then created had hands indeed, hutnothearts ; that is , money to payfor the creation , but no virtue to jzurchase the honour."

.Such is the observation of this critick. But by what chymistry can the sense which he has assixed to this passage, be extraited from it? Or is it probable, that Shakspeare , who has more than once condescended to be the encomiast of the unworthy founder of theiorder of Baronets , who had been personally honoured by a letter from his majesty, and substantially benefited by the royal licence granted to him and his fellow-comedians, should have been so impolitick, as to satirize the king , or to depretiate his new-created dignity?

These lines appear to me to afford an obvious meaning, without supposing them to contain such ,a multitude of allufions:

Of old, (says Othell0,) in malrimonial allianees, the heart diflated the union of hands; but our modern

junflions are those ofhands, not of hearts.

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