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have had an intereft alfo in Titus Andronicus, in Pericles, The Puritan, and Sir John Oldcastle; and whofe name is not prefixed to any one of Shakspeare's undifputed performances, except K. Henry V. and two parts of K. Henry VI. of which plays he printed copies manifeftly fpurious and imperfect.
38. ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, 1608.
Antony and Cleopatra was entered on the Stationers' books, May 2, 1608; but was not printed till 1623.
In Ben Jonfon's Silent Woman, Act IV. Sc. iv. 1609, this play feems to be alluded to:
Morofe. Nay, I would fit out a play that were nothing but fights at fea, drum, trumpet and target."
39. CORIOLANUS, 1609.
40. TIMON OF ATHENS, 1610.
These two plays, which were neither entered in the books of the Stationers' company, nor printed, till 1623, are claffed here only on the principle mentioned in a preceding article. Shakspeare, in the courfe of about twenty years, produced, if the rejected plays and Titus Andronicus were his, forty-three dramas; if they were fpurious, thirty-five. Moft of his other plays have been attributed, on plaufible grounds at leaft, to former years. As we have no proof to afcertain when thefe were written, it seems reasonable to ascribe them to that period, to which we are not led by any particular circumflance to attribute any other of his works; at which, it is fuppofed, he had not ceafed to write; which yet, unlefs thefe pieces were then compofed, muft, for aught that now appears, have been unemployed. When once he had availed himself of North's Plutarch, and had thrown any one of the lives into a dramatick form, he probably found it fo eafy as to induce him to proceed, till he had exhaufted all the fubjects which he imagined that book would afford. Hence the four plays of Julius Cæfar, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, and 7mon, are fuppofed to have been written in fucceffion.
Cominius, in the panegyrick which he pronounces on Coriolanus, fays,
"In the brunt of feventeen battles fince "He lurch'd all fwords of the garland."
In Ben Jonfon's Silent Woman, Act V. Sc. laft, we meet (as Mr. Steevens has obferved) the fame uncommon phraseology: "You have lurch'd your friends of the better half of the garland."
Whether this was a fneer at Shakspeare, or a new phrafe of that day, it adds fome degree of probability to the date here affigned to Coriolanus; for The Silent Woman alfo made its first appearance in 1609.
There is a Mf. comedy now extant, on the fubject of Timon, which, from the hand-writing and the ftyle, appears to be of the age of Shakspeare. In this piece a steward is introduced, under the name of Laches, who, like Flavius in that of our author, endeavours to restrain his master's profufion, and faithfully attends him when he is forfaken by all his other followers.Here too a mock-banquet is given by Timon to his falfe friends; but, inftead of warm water, ftones painted like artichokes are ferved up, which he throws at his guefts. From a line in Shakspeare's play, one might be tempted to think that fomething of this fort was introduced by him; though, through the omiffion of a marginal direction in the only ancient copy of this piece, it has not been cuftomary to exhibit it:
"Second Senator. Lord Timon's mad.
4th Sen. One day he gives us diamonds, next day
This comedy, (which is evidently the production of a scholar, many lines of Greek being introduced into it,) appears to have been written after Ben Jonfon's Every Man out of his Humour, (1599) to which it contains a reference; but I have not difcovered the precife time when it was compofed. If it were afcertained, it might be fome guide to us in fixing the date of our author's Timon, which, on the grounds that have been already stated, I fuppofe to have been pofterior to this anonymous play.
. Ante p. 324.
41. OTHELLO, 1611:
Dr. Warburton thinks that there is in this tragedy a fatirical allufion to the inftitution of the order of Baronets, which dignity was created by king James I. in the year 1611:.
"The hearts of old "But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts." Othello, Act III. Sc. iv.
"Amongst their other prerogatives of honour," (fays that commentator) "they [the new-created baronets] had an addition to their paternal arms, of an hand gules in an efcutcheon argent. And we are not to doubt but that this was the new heraldry alluded to by our author; by which he infinuates, that fome then created had hands indeed, but not hearts; that is, money to pay for the creation, but no virtue to purchase the honour."
Such is the obfervation of this critick. But by what chymistry can the sense which he has affixed to this paffage, be extracted from it? Or is it probable, that Shakspeare, who has more than once condefcended to be the encomiaft of the unworthy founder of the order of Baronets, who had been perfonally honoured by a letter from his majesty, and fubftantially benefited by the royal licence granted to him and his fellow-comedians, fhould have been fo impolitick, as to fatirize the king, or to depretiate his new-created dignity?
Thefe lines appear to me to afford an obvious meaning, without fuppofing them to contain fuch a multitude of allufions:
Of old, (fays Othello) in matrimonial alliances, the heart dictated the union of bands; but our modern junctions are those of hands, not of hearts.
On every marriage the arms of the wife are united to thofe of the husband. This circumftance, I believe, it was, that fuggefted heraldry, in this place, to our author. I know not whether a heart was ever ufed as an armorial enfign, nor is it, I conceive, neceffary to enquire. It was the office of the herald to join, or, to fpeak technically, to quarter the arms of the new-married pair. Hence, with his ufual li
"I may quarter, coz," fays Slender in the Merry Wives of Windfor. You may (replies juftice Shallow) by marrying."
cence, Shakspeare ufes heraldry for junelion, or union in general. Thus, in his Rape of Lucrece, the fame term is employed to denote that union of colours which constitutes a beautiful complexion :
"This heraldry in Lucrece' face was feen,
This paffage not affording us any affiftance, we are next to confider one in The Alchemist, by Ben Jonfon, which, if it alluded to an incident in Othello, (as Mr. Steevens feems to think it does) would afcertain this play to have appeared before 1610, in which year The Alchemift was first acted:
"Lovewit. Didft thou hear a cry, fay'ft thou? "Neighb. Yes, Sir, like unto a man that had been strangled an hour, and could not speak."
But I doubt whether Othello was here in Jonfon's contemplation. Old Ben generally spoke out; and if he had intended to fneer at the manner of Defdemona's death, I think, he would have taken care that his meaning should not be miss'd, and would have written-" like unto woman," &c.
This tragedy was not entered on the books of the Stationers' company, till Oct. 6, 1621, nor printed till the following year; but it was acted at court early in the year 1613. How long before that time it had appeared, I have not been able to afcertain, either from the play itself, or from any contemporary production. I have, however, perfuaded myself that it was one of Shakspeare's lateft performances: a fuppofition, to which the acknowledged excellence of the piece gives fome degree of probability. It is here attributed to the year 1611, because Dr. Warburton's comment on the paffage above-cited, may convince others, though, I confefs it does not fatisfy me.
Emilia and Lodovico, two of the characters in this play, are likewife two of the perfons reprefented in May-day, a comedy by Chapman, first printed in 1611.
u Mf. Vertue.
42. THE TEMPEST, 1612.
Though fome account of the Bermuda Iflands, which are mentioned in this play, had been published in 1600, (as Dr. Farmer has obferved) yet as they were not generally known till Sir George Somers arrived there in 1609, The Tempest may be fairly attributed to a period fubfequent to that year; efpecially as it exhibits fuch ftrong internal marks of having been a late production.
The entry at Stationers' hall does not contribute to ascertain the time of its compofition; for it appears not on the Stationers' books, nor was it printed, till 1623, when it was published with the reft of our author's plays in folio: in which edition, having, I fuppofe by mere accident, obtained the first place, it has ever fince preferved a ftation to which it indubitably is not entitled.
As the circumstance from which this piece receives its name, is at an end in the very firft fcene, and as many other titles, all equally proper, might have occurred to Shakspeare, (fuch as The Enchanted Ifland-The Banished Duke-Ferdinand and Miranda, &c.) it is poffible, that fome particular and recent event determined him to call it The Tempest. It appears from Stowe's Chronicle, p. 913, that in the October, November, and December of the year 1612, a dreadful tempeft happened in England, "which did exceeding great damage, with extreame fhipwrack throughout the ocean." There perished" (fays the hiftorian) above an hundred ships in the space of two houres."-Several pamphlets were published on this occafion, decorated with prints of finking veffels, castles topling on their warders' heads, the devil overturning fteeples, &c. In one of them, the author defcribing the appearance of the waves at Dover, fays, "the whole feas appeared like a fiery world, ali sparkling red." Another of thefe narratives recounts the escape of Edmond Pet, a failor; whose preservation appears to have been no lefs marvellous than that of Trinculo or Stephano: and fo great a terror did this tempeft create in the minds of the people, that a form of prayer was ordered on the occafion, which is annexed to one of the publications above mentioned.
There is reafon to believe that fome of our author's dramas obtained their names from the feafons at which they were produced. It is not very eafy to account for the title of Twelfth Night, but by fuppofing it to have been first exhibited in the Christmas holydays. Neither the title of