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thus the charge against Shakespeare for flattery towards her, is annihilated. The dead cannot be flattered; but her memory was, we well know, dearly cherished; and nothing could be a more grateful subject to the audience than a eulogy on her reign. Besides which, we may reasonably suppose it was a grateful subject to the poet himself.

It now remains to clear him from the charge of flattery towards her successor James. When this play was produced in 1613, Shakespeare had, it is conjectured, retired to Stratford, and probably he forwarded it to London for performance. This is certain, Ben Jonson was in London at that time; since he witnessed the conflagration of the Globe Theatre, after one of the performances of this very play, in 1613. To this certainty a supposition, a well-grounded one, by Malone, has been added, that the play was got up under his direction, especially the pageants and processions, for which his knowledge of costume and heraldry, acquired with Inigo Jones in the decorations of the Masques at Court, rendered him the fittest person in the theatre. We are told by Sir Henry Wotton, that the decorations and dresses were splendid; and the king himself, and the prince palatine, were no doubt present at one of the performances, because we know they frequented the Globe Theatre during that year, chiefly, it appears, for the sake of witnessing our great poet's dramas. Looking forward to this visit of majesty, when the new play of Henry the Eighth, or, as its title then was, All is true, was to be performed, we may easily imagine that Ben Jonson, the most barefaced and fulsome court-flatterer among all our

poets, was in no small degree troubled at discovering there was a long eulogy on the memory of Elizabeth, without a word in favour of the reigning monarch, the jealous James. If Shakespeare was absent, it was an omission to be supplied by some one on the spot; and if he was in London, it is more likely that he reasonably and honestly refused to praise a king before his reign was concluded, than that he should so awkwardly have foisted in these lines of unblushing adulation. Unblushing I term it, as James is placed on an equality with his predecessor, here so magnificently extolled; though Ben was capable, in his Masques, of placing his glory above her's.

I am arriving, it will be seen, at the conclusion that this disputed passage in crotchets was written by Ben Jonson, nor am I the first who has expressed the same opinion. There can be no doubt but that the prologue and epilogue to this play were written by him; of this I felt assured, from internal evidence, from the matter, the feeling, and the very intonation of the lines, before I was aware that Dr. Johnson and Dr. Farmer had, on similar grounds, long since arrived at the same conclusion. Judging in the same manner, from the peculiarity of thought, style, and composition, I feel certain that all within the crotchets was written by none but Ben Jonson; and those conversant with his poetry will, by an attentive perusal, trace him in every line. For those who know little of his works, I will place, immediately following the crotcheted flattery, passages from his Entertainments, and Masques, wherein his theme is the royal James ; when a resemblance, almost amounting to identity,

will be perceived. It is a pity I could not find the "phoenix" nothing else is wanting. The passages in italics will be found counterparts, besides the similarity in expression throughout,-I cannot call it feeling.

["Nor shall this peace sleep with her but as when The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix, Her ashes new create another heir,


As great in admiration as herself;

So shall she leave her blessedness to one,

(When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness)
Who, from the sacred ashes of her honour,
Shall star-like rise, as great in fame as she was,
And so stand fix'd: peace, plenty, love, truth, terror,
That were the servants to this chosen infant,
Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him ;
Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine,
His honour and the greatness of his name
Shall be, and make new nations: he shall flourish,
And, like a mountain cedar, reach his branches
To all the plains about him :—our children's children
Shall see this, and bless heaven.

Thou speakest wonders."]

"But all these spurs* to virtue, seeds of praise,

Must yield to this that comes.

Here's one will raise

Your glory more.”

"A splendid sun, shall never set,

But here shine fix'd."

"As bright and fixed as the arctick star."

"Within his proper virtue hath he placed
His guards 'gainst fortune, and there fix'd fast
The wheel of chance."

*The actions of Elizabeth.

"Here are kingdoms mix'd

And nations join'd, a strength of empire fix'd.”
"His name

Strike upon heaven, and there stick his fame."

"His country's wonder,* hope, love, joy, and pride
How well doth he become the royal side
Of this erected and broad-spreading tree,
Under whose shade may Britain ever be!

And from this branch may thousand branches more
Shoot o'er the main, and knit with every shore !"

Having exculpated our poet from the commission of such Ben Jonsonian language, I hope every one will draw his pen through it, and that future editors will not continue the interpolation.

In vain I look for a second passage in his works which can be construed into a like charge. Elegant compliments he has certainly paid to both these sovereigns during their lives; but they are few, honestminded, and gentlemanly, as far removed as truth from flattery, being on points that could not admit of contradiction at the period they were written.

The first of these is paid to Elizabeth, simply on her fair complexion and virgin state, and is the most delicate and poetical compliment that, on any occasion, ever entered the mind of man. I mean that beautiful passage in Midsummer Night's Dream:

"That very time I saw (but thou could'st not) Flying between the cold moon and the earth, Cupid all arm'd: a certain aim he took

* The heir-apparent.

At a fair Vestal, throned by the west,
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts :
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wat'ry moon;
And the imperial vot'ress passed on,

In maiden-meditation, fancy-free."

This is the only tribute of his muse to the virginqueen. His exaltation of the Tudors above the house of York, in some respects contrary to our view of history, is nothing to the purpose. Englishmen, in his day, while looking back on the wars of the red and white roses, must have felt thankful to the Tudors, in spite of the now acknowledged unworthiness of their two Henrys. Then, not only did Shakespeare follow Holinshed, but also the original dramatist of the three parts of Henry the Sixth. In those plays the characters of Richard the Third and Henry the Seventh were ready made to his hands. Dr. Johnson might have spared his note, with its graceless expression of "Shakespeare knew his trade"-on Henry the Sixth's prophetic speech at the sight of the youth Richmond, because, as Stevens has observed, the poet implicitly followed Holinshed in this particular. Besides, the representation of the first Tudor as a young faultless prince was dramatically necessary, in order to contrast him with the "hump-back'd tyrant." Had Henry the Seventh been drawn in his true character, the battle of Bosworth Field would have depressed the audience with unrelieved sorrow, witnessing nothing better than the dethronement of a daring tyrant for the accession of a subtle one. The

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