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presented. If such visions are to be fixed by the pencil, so as to elevate our delight and add to our reverence of the great original, that result must be attained by such a profound study of the master, as a whole, as may place him in the light of the greatest of suggestive poets, instead of one whose details are to be enfeebled by a literal transcript.

We have little of importance left to notice before we reach the close of the eighteenth century, about which period we ought to rest. Opinions upon our contemporaries, except very general ones, would be as imprudent as misplaced. Perhaps we should notice in a few words the extraordinary forgeries of WILLIAM HENRY IRELAND. We consider them as the result of the all-engrossing character of Shaksperean opinion in the days of the rivalries and controversies of Steevens and Malone, of Ritson and Chalmers:“Take Markham's Armoury, John Taylor's


Or Sir Giles Goosecap, or proverbial Fuller;
With Upton, Fabell, Dodypoll the nice,
Or Gibbe our cat, White Devils, or Old Vice;
Then lead your readers many a precious

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Capering with Banks's Bay Horse in a

The Housewife's Jewel' read with care ex-

Wit from old Books of Cookery extract; Thoughts to stew'd prunes and kissing comfits suit,

Or the potato, vigour-stirring root;

And then, returning from that antique waste,
Be hail'd by Parr the Guide of Public

A clever boy, who had a foolish father whose admiration of Shakspere took the form of longing, with an intensity which Mrs. Pickle could not have equalled, for the smallest scraps of Shakspere's writing, thought he would try his hand at the manufacture of a few such scraps-a receipt; a mortgage-deed; a Protestant Confession of Faith by William Shakspere, to be placed in opposition to another forgery of a Roman Catholic Confession of Faith. This precious

*Pursuits of Literature.'

production thus concludes :-"O cheryshe usse like the sweete Chickenne thatte under the covert offe herre spreadynge Winges Receyves herre lyttle Broode ande hoverynge overre themme keepes themme harmlesse ande in safetye." Learned men came to read the confession of faith, and one affirmed that it was finer than anything in the Church Liturgy. Witty conundrums succeeded; letters to Anne Hathaway; memorandums connected with the theatre; a new edition of 'King Lear,' with the author's last alterations; and, to crown the whole, an original play, Vortigern and Rowena.' The boy was evidently imbued with the taste of his time, and really fancied that he could mend Shakspere. Hear one of his confessions:-"In King Lear the following lines are spoken by Kent after the King's death:

'I have a journey, sir, shortly to go:

My master calls, and I must not say no.' As I did not conceive such a jingling and unmeaning couplet very appropriate to the occasion, I composed the following lines:

"Thanks, sir; but I go to that unknown land That chains each pilgrim fast within its soil; By living men most shunn'd, most dreaded. Still my good master this same journey took: He calls me; I am content, and straight obey:

Then, farewell, world! the busy scene is done:

Kent liv'd most true, Kent dies most like a man.''

The documents were published in the most expensive form. All the critics in the land came to look upon the originals. Some went upon their knees and kissed them. The "black-letter dogs" began to tear each other in pieces about their authenticity. Hard names were given and returned; dunce and blockhead were the gentlest vituperations. The whole controversy turned upon the colour of the ink, the water-mark of the paper, the precise mode of superscription to a letter, the contemporary use of a common word, the date of the first use of promissory notes, the form of a mortgage. Scarcely one of the learned went boldly to the root of the imposture, and showed that Shakspere could

not have written such utter trash. The case | of Chatterton was altogether a different one. There, indeed, was high genius wrongfully employed; but the enthusiastic admiration of the thing produced might well shut the eyes of the most acute to the inconsistencies which surrounded it. Not so with the new treasures which William Henry Ireland discovered from the pen of Shakspere. The people, however, settled the question. The play was brought out at Drury Lane: and the prologue by Sir James Bland Burgess is another instance of the mode in which the poetasters and witlings venerated Shak


"From deep oblivion snatch'd, this play appears:

It claims respect, since Shakspeare's name it bears;

That name, the source of wonder and delight, To a fair hearing has at least a right.

We ask no more. With you the judgment lies:

No forgeries escape your piercing eyes! Unbiass'd, then, pronounce your dread de


Alike from prejudice or favour free.

If, the fierce ordeal pass'd, you chance to find

Rich sterling ore, though rude and unrefin'd, Stamp it your own, assert your poet's fame, And add fresh wreaths to Shakspeare's honour'd name."

The people did pronounce their "dread decree." When Mr. Kemble uttered the line

"And when this solemn mockery is o'er"

"the most discordant howl echoed from the pit that ever assailed the organs of hearing." Shakspere was vindicated.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century a new school of criticism began to establish itself amongst us. CHARLES LAMB and WILLIAM HAZLITT led the way in approaching Shakspere, if not wholly in the spirit of Esthetics, yet with love, with deep knowledge, with surpassing acuteness, with unshackled minds. But a greater arose. A new era of critical opinion upon Shakspere, as propounded by Englishmen, may be dated from the delivery of the lectures of SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, at the Surrey Institution, in 1814. What that great man did for Shakspere during the remainder of his valuable life can scarcely be appreciated by the public. For his opinions were not given to the world in formal treatises and ponderous volumes. They were fragmentary; they were scattered, as it were, at random; many of them were the oral lessons of that wisdom and knowledge which he poured out to a few admiring disciples. But they have had their effect. For ourselves, personally, we owe a debt of gratitude to that illustrious man that can never be repaid. If in any degree we have been enabled to present Shakspere to the popular mind under new aspects, looking at him from a central point, which should permit us, however imperfectly, to comprehend something of his wondrous SYSTEM, we owe the desire so to understand him ourselves to the germs of thought which are scattered through the works of that philosopher; to whom the homage of future times will abundantly compensate for the partial neglect of his contemporaries. We desire to conclude this outline of the opinions of others upon the works of Shakspere, in connection with the imperfect expression of our own sense of those opinions, with the name of COLERIDGE.


G. Woodfall and Son, Printers, Angel Court, Skinner Street.

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