Imágenes de páginas

dundancy, &c. obferved by this critick, Mr. Steevens thinks (a remark, which, having omitted to introduce in its proper place, he defires me to infert here)" was rather the effect of chance, than of defign in the author; and might have arifen either from the negligence of Shakspeare, who in this play has borrowed whole scenes and fpeeches from Holinfhed, whofe words he was probably in too much hafte to compress into verfification ftrictly regular and harmonious; or from the interpolations of Ben Jonfon, whofe hand Dr. Farmer thinks he occafionally perceives in the dialogue."

Whether Mr. Roderick's pofition be well founded, is hardly worth a conteft; but the peculiarities which he has animadverted on, (if such there be) add probability to the conjecture that this piece underwent fome alterations, after it had paffed out of the hands of Shakspeare.

Our author had produced fo many plays in the preceding years, that it is not likely that K. Henry VIII. was written before 1601. It might perhaps with equal propriety be afcribed to 1602, and it is not eafy to determine in which of thofe years it was compofed; but it is extremely probable that it was written in one of them. K. Henry VIll. was not printed till 1623.

"A book or poem, called the Life and Death of Thomas Woolfey Cardinall," which was entered on the books of the Stationers' company, in the year 1599, perhaps fuggested this fubject to Shakspeare.

28. The Life and Death of Lord Cromwell, 1602.

Entered at Stationers' hall, Auguft 11, 1602. Printed in 1613, with the letters W. S. only, in the title page.


Troilus and Creffida was entered at Stationers' hall Feb 7. 1602-3, by J. Roberts, the printer of Hamlet, the Merchant of Venice, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was therefore, probably, written in 1602. It was printed in 1609, with a preface by the editor, who fpeaks of it as if it had not been then acted. But it is entered in 1602-3," as acted by my Lord Chamberlen's men." The players at the Globe theatre, to which Shakspeare belonged, were called the Lord Chamberlain's fervants, till the year 1603. In that


year they obtained a licence for their exhibitions from king James; and from that time they bore the more honourable appellation of his majefty's fervants. There can, therefore, be little doubt, that the Troilus and Creffida which is here entered, as acted at Shakspeare's theatre, was his play, and was, if not reprefented, intended to have been reprefented


Perhaps the two difcordant accounts, relative to this piece, may be thus reconciled. It might have been performed in 1602 at court, by the lord chamberlain's fervants, (as many plays at that time were) and yet not have been exhibited on the publick ftage till fome years afterwards. The editor in 1609 only fays, it had never been ftaled with the fage, never clapperclaw'd with the palms of the vulgar."

As a further proof of the early appearance of Troilus and Creffida, it may be obferved, that an incident in it seems to be burlesqued in a comedy entitled Hiftriomaflix, which, though not printed till 1610, must have been written before the death of queen Elizabeth, who, in the last act of the piece, is fhadowed under the character of Aftræa, and is fpoken of as then living.

In our author's play, when Troilus and Creffida part, he gives her his sleeve, and she, in return, presents, him with her glove.

To this circumftance these lines in Hiftriomaflix seem to refer. They are spoken by Troilus and Creffida, who are introduced in an interlude:

Troi. "Come Creffida, my creffet light,
Thy face doth fhine both day and night.
Behold, behold, thy garter blue
Thy knight his valiant elbow weares,
That, when he shakes his furious speare,
The foe in fhivering fearful fort
May lay him down in death to fnort.
Greff. O knight, with valour in thy face,

Here take my fkreene, weare it for grace;
Within thy helmet put the fame,
Therewith to make thy enemies lame."


No other play with this title has come down to us. We have therefore a right to conclude that the play entered in the books of the Stationers' company, was Shakspeare's.



Dryden fuppofed Troilus and Creffida to have been one of Shakspeare's earliest performances'; but has not mentioned on what principles he founded his judgment. Pope, on the other hand, thought it one of his laft; grounding his opinion not only on the preface by the editor in 1609, but on "the great number of obfervations both moral and political with which this piece is crowded, more than any other of our author's." For my own part, were it not for the entry in the Stationers' books, I fhould have been led, both by the colour of the writing and by the abovementioned preface, to clafs it (though not one of our author's happieft effufions) in 1608, rather than in that year in which it is here placed.


This play was not registered at Stationers' hall, nor printed, till 1623. But from two paffages in it, which feem intended as a courtly apology for the ftately and ungracious demeanour of K. James I. on his entry into England, it appears probable that it was written foon after his acceffion to the throne:

"I'll privily away. I love the people,
But do not like to stage me to their eyes.
Though it do well, I do not relish well
Their loud applaufe, and aves vehement;
Nor do I think the man of fafe difcretion
That does affect it."

Meaf. for Meaf. Act I. fc. i.

Again, Act II. fc. iv.

" So

The general, fubject to a well-wifh'd king,
Quit their own part, and in obfequious fondness
Croud to his prefence, where their untaught love
Muft needs appear offence"."


"The tragedy which I have undertaken to correct, was in all probability, one of his first endeavours on the fiage. Shakespeare (as I hinted) in the apprenticeship of his writing modelled it [the ftory of Lollius] into that play which is now called by the name of Troilus and Creffida."-Dryden's pref, to Troilus and Crefida.

See Mr. Tyrwhitt's note.

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King James was fo much offended by the untaught, and, we may add, undeserved, gratulations of his fubjects, on his entry into England, that he iffued a proclamation, forbidding the people to refort to him." Afterwards," fays the hiftorian of his reign, "in his publick appearances, efpecially in his fports, the acceffes of the people made him fo impatient, that he often difperfed them with frowns, that we may not fay with curfes w"

That Measure for Meafure was written before 1607, may be fairly concluded from the following paffage in a poem publifhed in that year, which we have good ground to believe was copied from a fimilar thought in this play, as the author, at the end of his piece, profeffes a perfonal regard for Shakspeare, and highly praises his Venus and Adonis:

"So play the foolish throngs with one that fwoons;
Come all to help him, and so stop the air
By which he fhould revive."

Meaf. for Meaf. Act II. Sc. iv.
"And like as when fome fudden extafie
Seizeth the nature of a ficklie man;

When he's difcern'd to fwoune, ftraite by and by
Folke to his helpe confufedly have ran,

And seeking with their art to fetch him backe,
So many throng that he the ayre doth lacke."
Myrrha the Mother of Adonis, or Lufte's Prodigies, by William
Barkfied, a poem, 1607.

31. CYMBELINE, 1604.

Cymbeline was not entered on the Stationers' books, nor printed, till 1623. It ftands the laft in the earliest folio edition; but nothing can be collected from thence, for the folio editors manifeftly paid no attention to chronological arrangement. Not containing any intrinfick evidence by which its date might be afcertained, it is attributed to this year, chiefly because there is no proof that any other play was written by Shakspeare in 1604. And as in the courfe of fomewhat more than twenty years, he produced, according to fome, forty-three, in the opinion of others, thirty-five


"Wilfon's Hift. of K. James, ad ann. 1603.


dramas, we may prefume that he was not idle during any

of that time.

one year

This play was perhaps alluded to, in an old comedy call ed The Return from Parnaffus:

"Frame as well we might, with easy ftrain,
"With far more praife, and with as little pain,
"Stories of love, where 'fore the wond'ring bench
"The lifping gallant might enjoy his wench;
"Or make fome fire acknowledge his loft fon Y,
"Found, when the weary act is almost done."

If the author of this piece had Cymbeline in contempla-. tion, it must have been more ancient than it is here fuppofed; for from several paffages in the Return from Parnaffus, that comedy appears to have been written before the death of queen Elizabeth, which happened on the 24th of March 1603.

Mr. Steevens has obferved, that there is a paffage in B. and Fletcher's Philafter, which bears a ftrong resemblance to a fpeech of Jachimo in Cymbeline:

"I hear the tread of people: I am hurt;
"The Gods take part against me: could this boar
"Have held me thus, elfe ?"

Philafter, Act IV. Sc. i.

"I have bely'd a lady

"The princess of this country; and the air of't
Revengingly enfeebles me; or could this carle,
"A very drudge of nature, have fubdu'd me,
"In my profeffion?"

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Cymbeline, A& V. Sc. ii. Philafter is fuppofed to have appeared on the stage about 1609; being mentioned by John Davies of Hereford, in his Epigrams, which have no date, but were printed, according to Oldys, in or about that year 2.

One edition of the tract called Weftward for Smelts, from which part of the fable of Cymbeline is borrowed, was published in 1603.


In the last act of Cymbeline two fons are found. But the au thor might have written fon on account of the rhyme.

2 Additions to Langbaine's Account of the Dramatick Poets, Mf.



32. The

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