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She must, the saints must have her :-yet a virgin,
A most unspotted lily shall she pass,
And all the world shall mourn her.

MEMORANDA CONCLUDING THE CHRONICLE PLAYS. The prophecy with which the poet finishes his series of plays from English history, brings us into the times in which himself was born and chiefly lived. The play is plausibly conjectured to have been written ten years after the death of Elizabeth, in the reign of James ; and there is a prophecy complimentary to him, awkwardly foisted into that which celebrates Elizabeth. This interpolation, by very strong internal evidence, has been attributed to B. Jonson. If Shak. speare wrote the play, as conjectured, in 1613, it was only three years before his own death. He was then, probably, in retirement at Stratford; and he is supposed to have consigned this play to Jonson's care, as manager or actor at the theatre where it was brought out.

It only remains to observe, that, between the period which the foregoing prophecy alludes to, and the death of Henry, there inter. vened two other reigns of Tudors, also children of Henry VIII., namely that of Edward, his son by his third wife Jane Seymour, which reign extended from 1547 to 1553, and that of Mary his daughter by Catherine of Arragon; which reign extended to 1557. Elizabeth's reign completed the century and extended three years beyond it.



Shakspeare has constructed three plays from the materials of Roman history, — CORIOLANUS, Julius CÆSAR, and ANTONY and CLEOPATRA. The era of the first is the third century from the building of the city, nearly five hundred years before the Christian era : the era of the other two is the beginning of the eighth century of the city, and the events comprised in them belong to fourteen consecutive years, that is to say, from 708 to 722; the last mentioned date being thirty years before the Christian era. The authority which guided Shakspeare in these plays was Plutarch, of whose " Lives" a popular translation from the French had been published by Sir Thomas North ; the French having been translated from the Latin, and the Latin from the original Greek.




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Little reliance must be placed on the individual facts, or on the dates of early Roman history; but the general features of the times

are plainly set forth by historians, and cannot but be faithfully reflected by such a poet as Shakspeare. We must not indeed expect from him any nice distinctions of national character, or any more than an ordinary attention to the known usages of the Roman people; but since men under similar circumstances will always exhibit similar passions, and Shakspeare was familiar, among his own countrymen, with distinctions not unlike those which prevailed among the Romans, and with jealousies and animosities growing out of such distinctions, we may fairly credit the truth of his Roman pictures, as representations of the natural workings of the human heart, in communities where the lower orders are seeking to extend their privileges, and the higher to maintain their supremacy. Besides these general causes of dissension, the scarcity of corn, to which the city was often liable from the devastations of war and the neglect of agriculture, often gave occasion for particular discontent; as the patricians at such times were supposed to keep back the supplies sent from Sicily and other places for relief.

We are to imagine a street in ancient Rome, and a crowd of citizens tumultuously hurrying onward: one of them stops and calls to the rest : [First Citizen.] Before we proceed any farther, hear me

speak. [Several Voices.] Speak, speak, speak! [First Citizen.] You are resolved rather to die than famish ? [Several voices.] Resolved, resolved, resolved ! [First Citizen.] First, you know, Caius Marcius is chief

enemy to the people. Let us kill him, and we 'll have

corn at our own price. [Several voices.] Let it be done, let it be done: away!


Another citizen from the multitude also addressing the rest, is answered by the first speaker : [Second Citizen.] One word, good citizens :-would you

proceed especially against Caius Marcius ? [First Citizen.] Against him first: he is a very dog to the

commonalty. [Second Citizen.] Consider what services he has done for

his country. [First Citizen.] Very well ;--and could be content to give

him good report for it, but that he pays himself with

being proud. [Second Citizen.] Nay, but speak not maliciously. [First Citizen.] I say unto you, what he hath done famously

he did to please his mother, and to be proud; which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.

[Second Citizen.] What he cannot help in his nature, you

account a vice in him: you must in no way say he is

covetous. [First Citizen.] If I must not, I need not be barren of ac

cusations : he hath faults with surplus, to tire in repetition. Hark! what shouts are those ?—the other side of the city is risen ;-why stay we prating here? To

the capitol ! [Second Citizen.] Soft! stay a little : here comes worthy

Menenius Agrippa, one that always loved the people. [Menenius.] What work 's in hand, my countrymen ? Where

[go ye? [First Citizen. Our business is not unknown to the senate :

they have had inkling, this fortnight, what we intend

to do; which now we'll show them in deeds. [Menenius.] Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest Will you undo yourselves ?

[neighbours, [First Citizen.] We cannot, sir, we are undone already. [Menenius.] I tell you, friends, most charitable care

Have the patricians of you. For your wants,
Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well
Strike with your staves at heaven, as lift them 'gainst

The helms o' the state: they care for you like fathers. [First Citizen.] Care for us!-true indeed, they ne'er cared

for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their storehouses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury to support usurers ; repeal daily any wholesome acto established against the rich, and provide more piercing statutes daily to chain up and restrain the poor! If the wars eat us not up, they will; and that's all the love they

bear us.

The distant uproar settles into quiet ; and the multitude whom we imagine present, are probably pondering on the cause, when Caius Marcius enters : he addresses Menenius :

[Marcius.] What's the matter,

That, in these several places of the city,
They cry against the noble senate, who
Under the gods keep them in awe, that else [ing?
Would needs feed o' one another? What's their seek.

[Menenius.] For corn at their own rates; whereof, they The city is well stor’d.

[say, [Marcius.] Hang 'em! they say,

They'll sit by the fire, and presume to know
What's done 'i the Capitol.
They say there's grain enough?
Would the nobility lay aside their pity,
And let me use my sword, I'd make a heap
With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high

As I could pitch my lance. [Menenius.] Nay, these I think,

Although abundantly they lack discretion,
Are passing cowardly. But, I beseech you,


the other troop?
[Marcius.] They are dissolv'd: hang 'em !

They said they were a-hungry; sigh'd forth proverbs ;
That “hunger broke stone walls;" that “ dogs must

[eat;" That meat was made for mouths,” that “the gods

[sent not
Corn for the rich men only:" with these shreds
They vented their complaining ; which being answer'd,
And a petition granted them, a strange one,
They threw their caps up

As they would hang them on the horns o' the moon. [Menenius.] What is granted them ? (Marcius.] Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms

Of their own choice :-'Sdeath,
The rabble should have first unroofd the city
Ere so prevail'd with me.-Get home, get home,

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