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his own;" the latter, above regarding the attack in his private capacity, declares with great patriotick vehemence,
that '" he who allows Shakfpeare had learning, andia familiar acquaintance with the ancients, ought to be looked upon as a detraftor from the glory of Great Britain." Dennis was expellgd 'his college for attempting to stab a man in the dark :
Pope would have been glad df this anecclote.
LEARNING OF SI-IAKSPEARE.' :67
' ce Hath hard words ready' to (how why, . is And tell what rule he did it by."
How would the old bard have been astonished to have found, that he had very skilfully given the trocltaic dimcter brachycatalerflic, COMMONLY called the ilhyjzhallic measure to the Witches in Macbcth! and that now and then a halting verse afforded a most beautiful instance of the pes proceleusmaticus !
" But, continues Mr. Upton,-it was a learned age ; Roger Ascham assures 11s, that Queen Elizabeth read more Greek every day, than some dignzljaries of the church did Latin in a whole week." This appears very probable; and a pleasant proof it is of the general learning of the times, and of Shakspeare in particular. I wonder, he did not corroborate it with an extrafit from her injuncftions to her clergy, that " such as were but mean readers should peruse over before, once or twice, the chapters and homilies, to the intent they might read to the better understanding ofthe people."
Dr. Grey declares, that Shakspeare's knowledge; in the Greek and Latin tongues cannot reasonaizly be called in question. Dr. Dodd supposes it proved, that he was not such a novice in learning and antiquity as some people would pretend. And to close the whole, for I suspecft you to be tired of quotation, Mr. Whalley, the ingenious editor of Jonson, hath written a piece expressly on this side the question : perhaps from a very excusable partiality, he was willing to draw Shakspeare from the field of nature to claslick ground, where alone; he knew, his author could possibly cope with him.
These criticks, and many others theircoadjutors,