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his claim had been more easily allowed to any other the performance.

To whom then shall we ascribe it ?—Somebody hath told us, who should seem to be a Nostrum-monger by his argument, that, let Accents be how they will, it is called an original Play of William Shakespeare in the King's Patent, prefixed to Mr. Theobald's Edition, 1728, and consequently there could be no fraud in the matter. Whilst, on the contrary, the Irish Laureat, Mr. Victor, remarks (and were it true, it would be certainly decisive) that the Plot is borrowed from a Novel of Cervantes, not published 'till the year after Shakespeare's death. But unluckily the same Novel appears in a part of Don Quixote, which was printed in Spanish, 1605, and in English by Shelton, 1612.—The same reasoning, however, which exculpated our Author from the Yorkshire Tragedy, may be applied on the present occasion.

But you want my opinion :-and from every mark of Style and Manner, I make no doubt of ascribing it to Shirley. Mr. Langbaine informs us that he left some Plays in MS.—These were written about the time of the Restoration, when the Accent in question was more generally altered. Perhaps the mistake arose from an abbreviation of the

Mr. Dodsley knew not that the Tragedy of Andromana was Shirley's, from the very same cause. Thus a whole stream of Biographers tell us that Marston's Plays were printed at London, 1633, “by the care of William Shakespeare, the famous Comedian.”—Here again I suppose, in some Transcript, the real Publisher's name, William Sheares, was abbreviated. No one hath protracted the life of Shakespeare beyond 1616, except Mr. Hume; who is pleased to add a year to it, in contradiction to all manner of evidence.

Shirley is spoken of with contempt in Mac Flecknoe ; but his Imagination is sometimes fine to an extraordinary degree. I recollect a passage in the fourth book of the Paradise Lost, which hath been suspected of Imitation, as


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a prettiness below the Genius of Milton : I mean, where
Uriel glides backward and forward to Heaven on a Sun-
beam. Dr. Newton informs us that this might possibly
be hinted by a Picture of Annibal Caracci in the King of
France's Cabinet : but I am apt to believe that Milton had
been struck with a Portrait in Shirley. Fernando, in the
Comedy of the Brothers, 1652, describes Jacinta at Vespers:

Her eye did seem to labour with a tear,
Which suddenly took birth, but overweigh'd
With it's own swelling, drop'd upon her bosome;
Which, by reflexion of her light, appear'd
As nature meant her sorrow for an ornament:
After, her looks grew chearfull, and I saw
A smile shoot gracefull upward from her eyes,
As if they had gain'd a victory o'er grief,
And with it many beams twisted themselves,
Upon whose golden threads the Angels walk

To and again from Heaven.-
You must not think me infected with the spirit of
Lauder, if I give you another of Milton's Imitations :

The Swan with arched neck
Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows

Her state with oary feet.-B. 7. V. 438, &c.
“ The ancient Poets,” says Mr. Richardson, “ have
not hit upon this beauty ; so lavish as they have been in
their descriptions of the Swan. Homer calls the Swan
long-necked, dovlıyodeipov; but how much more pittoresque,
if he had arched this length of neck ?”

For this beauty, however, Milton was beholden to Donne; whose name, I believe, at present is better known than his writings:

Like a Ship in her full trim,
A Swan, so white that you may unto him

Compare all whitenesse, but himselfe to none,
Glided along, and as he glided watch'd,
And with his arched neck this poore fish catch'd.

Progresse of the Soul, St. 24.
Those highly finished Landscapes, the Seasons, are

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indeed copied from Nature: but Thomson sometimes
recollected the hand of his Master :

The stately-sailing Swan
Gives out his snowy plumage to the gale;
And, arching proud his neck, with oary feet
Bears forward fierce, and guards his osier Isle,

Protective of his young.
But to return, as we say on other occasions—Perhaps
the Advocates for Shakespeare's knowledge of the Latin
language may be more successful. Mr. Gildon takes
the Van. “It is plain that He was acquainted with the
Fables of antiquity very well: that some of the Arrows of
Cupid are pointed with Lead, and others with Gold, he
found in Ovid; and what he speaks of Dido, in Virgil :
nor do I know any translation of these Poets so ancient
as Shakespeare's time.” The passages on which these
sagacious remarks are made occur in the Midsummer
Night's Dream ; and exhibit, we see, a clear proof of
acquaintance with the Latin Classicks. But we are not
answerable for Mr. Gildon's ignorance; he might have
been told of Caxton and Douglas, of Surrey and Stany-
hurst, of Phaer and Twyne, of Fleming and Golding, of
Turberville and Churchyard ! but these Fables were easily
known without the help of either the originals or the
translations. The Fate of Dido had been sung very early
by Gower, Chaucer, and Lydgate ; Marloe had even already
introduced her to the Stage : and Cupid's arrows appear
with their characteristick differences in Surrey, in Sidney,
in Spenser, and every Sonnetteer of the time. Nay, their
very names were exhibited long before in the Romaunt of
the Rose : a work you may venture to look into, notwith-
standing Master Prynne hath so positively assured us, on
the word of John Gerson, that the Author is most certainly
damned, if he did not care for a serious repentance.
Mr. Whalley argues in the same manner, and with the

He thinks a passage in the Tempest,

High Queen of State, Great Juno comes ; I know her by her Gait,

same success.

a remarkable instance of Shakespeare's knowledge of ancient Poetick story; and that the hint was furnished by the Divum incedo Regina of Virgil.

You know, honest John Taylor, the Water-poet, declares that he never learned his Accidence, and that Latin and French were to him Heathen-Greek; yet, by the help of Mr. Whalley's argument, I will prove him a learned Man, in spite of every thing he may say to the contrary : for thus he makes a Gallant address his Lady,

“ Most inestimable Magazine of Beauty—in whom the Port and Majesty of Juno, the Wisdom of Jove's brainebred Girle, and the Feature of Cytherea, have their domestical habitation.'

In the Merchant of Venice, we have an oath “By twoheaded Janus”; and here, says Dr. Warburton, Shakespeare shews his knowledge in the Antique : and so again does the Water-poet, who describes Fortune,

Like a Janus with a double-face. But Shakespeare hath somewhere a Latin Motto, quoth Dr. Sewel ; and so hath John Taylor, and a whole Poem upon

it into the bargain. You perceive, my dear Sir, how vague and indeterminate such arguments must be : for in fact this sweet Swan of Thames, as Mr. Pope calls him, hath more scraps of Latin, and allusions to antiquity, than are any where to be met with in the writings of Shakespeare. I am sorry to trouble you with trifles, yet what must be done, when grave men insist upon them?

It should seem to be the opinion of some modern criticks, that the personages of classick land began only to be known in England in the time of Shakespeare ; or rather, that he particularly had the honour of introducing them to the notice of his countrymen.

For instance,~Rumour painted full of tongues gives us a Prologue to one of the parts of Henry the fourth ; and, says Dr. Dodd, Shakespeare had doubtless a view to either Virgil or Ovid in their description of Fame.

But why so? Stephen Hawes, in his Pastime of Pleasure, had long before exhibited her in the same manner,

A goodly Lady envyroned about

With tongues of fyre ;and so had Sir Thomas More in one of his Pageants,

Fame I am called, mervayle you nothing

Though with tonges I am com passed all rounde ; not to mention her elaborate Portrait by Chaucer, in the Boke of Fame ; and by John Higgins, one of the Assistants in the Mirour for Magistrates, in his Legend of King Albanacte.

A very liberal Writer on the Beauties of Poetry, who hath been more conversant in the ancient Literature of other Countries than his own, “cannot but wonder that a Poet, whose classical Images are composed of the finest parts, and breath the very spirit of ancient Mythology, should

pass for being illiterate :

See, what a grace was seated on his brow!
Hyperion's curls: the front of Jove himself:
An eye like Mars to threaten and command :
A station like the herald Mercury,

New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill. Hamlet." Illiterate is an ambiguous term : the question is, whether Poetick History could be only known by an Adept in Languages. It is no reflection on this ingenious Gentleman, when I say that I use on this occasion the words of a better Critick, who yet was not willing to carry the illiteracy of our Poet too far :—“They who are in such astonishment at the learning of Shakespeare, forget that the Pagan Imagery was familiar to all the Poets of his time; and that abundance of this sort of learning was to be picked up from almost every English book that he could take into his hands.” For not to insist upon Stephen Bateman's Golden booke of the leaden Goddes, 1577, and several other laborious compilations on the subject,

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