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Title: An Introduction to Shakespeare
Author: MacCracken, Henry Noble, 1880-1970, Pierce, F. E., Durham, W. H.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Introduction to Shakespeare" ***

[Frontispiece: TITLE-PAGE OF THE FIRST FOLIO, 1628 The first collected
edition of Shakespeare's Plays (From the copy in the New York Public









New York



_All rights reserved_




Set up and electrotyped.  Published September, 1910.  Reprinted April,
December, 1911; September, 1912; July, 1913; July, 1914; December,
1915; November, 1916; May, 1918; July, 1919; November, 1920; September,
1921; June, 1923; January, 1925.

Norwood Press

J. S. Cushing Co.--Berwick & Smith Co.

Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



The advances made in Shakespearean scholarship within the last
half-dozen years seem to justify the writing of another manual for
school and college use.  The studies of Wallace in the life-records, of
Lounsbury in the history of editions, of Pollard and Greg in early
quartos, of Lee upon the First Folio, of Albright and others upon the
Elizabethan Theater, as well as valuable monographs on individual plays
have all appeared since the last Shakespeare manual was prepared.  This
little volume aims to present what may be necessary for the majority of
classes, as a background upon which may be begun the study and reading
of the plays.  Critical comment on individual plays has been added, in
the hope that it may stimulate interest in other plays than those
assigned for study.

Chapters I, VIII, IX, X, and XIII are the work of Professor MacCracken;
chapters V, VI, VII, XII, and XIV are by Professor Pierce; and chapters
II, III, IV, and XI are by Dr. Durham.  The authors have, however,
united in the criticism and the revision of every chapter.




AN OUTLINE OF SHAKESPEARE'S LIFE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     1


ENGLISH DRAMA BEFORE SHAKESPEARE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    20


THE ELIZABETHAN THEATER  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    35


ELIZABETHAN LONDON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    51


SHAKESPEARE'S NONDRAMATIC WORKS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    60


THE SEQUENCE OF SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS  . . . . . . . . . . . . .    73




THE CHIEF SOURCES OF SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS . . . . . . . . . . .   105



HOW SHAKESPEARE GOT INTO PRINT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   113






THE PLAYS OF THE THIRD PERIOD--TRAGEDY . . . . . . . . . . . .   172


THE PLAYS OF THE FOURTH PERIOD--ROMANCE  . . . . . . . . . . .   196







+Our Knowledge of Shakespeare+.--No one in Shakespeare's day seems to
have been interested in learning about the private lives of the
dramatists.  The profession of play writing had scarcely begun to be
distinguished from that of play acting, and the times were not wholly
gone by when all actors had been classed in public estimation as
vagabonds.  While the London citizens were constant theatergoers, and
immensely proud of their fine plays, they were content to learn of the
writers of plays merely from town gossip, which passed from lip to lip
and found no resting place in memoirs.  There were other lives which
made far more exciting reading.  English sea-men were penetrating every
ocean, and bringing back wonderful tales.  English soldiers were aiding
the Dutch nation towards freedom, and coming back full of stories of
heroic deeds.  At home great political, religious, and scientific
movements engaged the attention of the more serious readers and
thinkers.  It is not strange, therefore, that the writers of plays,
whose {2} most exciting incidents were tavern brawls or imprisonment
for rash satire of the government, found no biographer.  After
Shakespeare's death, moreover, the theater rapidly fell into disrepute,
and many a good story of the playhouse fell under the ban of polite
conversation, and was lost.

Under such conditions we cannot wonder that we know so little of
Shakespeare, and that we must go to town records, cases at law, and
book registers for our knowledge.  Thanks to the diligence of modern
scholars, however, we know much more of Shakespeare than of most of his
fellow-actors and playwrights.  The life of Christopher Marlowe,
Shakespeare's great predecessor, is almost unknown; and of John
Fletcher, Shakespeare's great contemporary and successor, it is not
even known whether he was married, or when he began to write plays.
Yet his father was Bishop of London, and in high favor with Queen
Elizabeth.  We ought rather to wonder at the good fortune which has
preserved for us, however scanty in details or lacking in the authority
of its traditions, a continuous record of the life of William
Shakespeare from birth to death.

+Stratford+.--The notice of baptism on April 26, 1564, of William, son
of John Shakespeare, appears in the church records of Stratford-on-Avon
in Warwickshire.  Stratford was then a market town of about fifteen
hundred souls.  Under Stratford Market Cross the farmers of northern
Warwickshire and of the near-lying portions of Worcestershire,
Gloucestershire, and Oxfordshire carried on a brisk trade with the
thrifty townspeople.  The citizens were accustomed to boast {3} of
their beautiful church by the river, and of the fine Guildhall, where
sometimes plays were given by traveling companies.  Many of their
gable-roofed houses of timber, or timber and plaster, are still to be
found on the pleasant old streets.  The river Avon winds round the town
in a broad reach under the many-arched bridge to the ancient church.
Beyond it the rich pasture land rises up to green wooded hills.  Not
far away is the famous Warwick Castle, and a little beyond it
Kenilworth, where Queen Elizabeth was entertained by the Earl of
Leicester with great festivities in 1575.  Coventry and Rugby are the
nearest towns.

+Birth and Parentage+.--The record of baptism of April 26, 1564, is the
only evidence we possess of the date of Shakespeare's birth.  It is
probable that the child was baptized when only two or three days old.
The poet's tomb states that Shakespeare was in his fifty-second year
when he died, April 23, 1616.  Accepting this as strictly true, we
cannot place the poet's birthday earlier than April 23, 1564.  There is
a tradition, with no authority, that the poet died upon his birthday.

John Shakespeare, the poet's father, sold the products of near-by farms
to his fellow-townsmen.  He is sometimes described as a glover,
sometimes as a butcher; very likely he was both.  A single reference,
half a century later than his day, preserves for us a picture of John
Shakespeare.  The note reads: "He [William Shakespeare] was a glover's
son.  Sir John Mennes saw once his old father in his shop, a
merry-cheekt old man, that said, 'Will was a good honest {4} fellow,
but he durst have crackt a jesst with him att any time.'"[1]

John Shakespeare's father, Richard Shakespeare, was a tenant farmer,
who was in 1550 renting his little farm at Snitterfield, four miles
north of Stratford, from another farmer, Robert Arden of Wilmcote.
John Shakespeare married Mary Arden, the daughter of his father's rich
landlord, probably in 1557.  He had for over five years been a
middleman at Stratford, dealing in the produce of his father's farm and
other farms in the neighborhood.  In April, 1552, we first hear of him
in Stratford records, though only as being fined a shilling for not
keeping his yard clean.  Between 1557 and 1561 he rose to be ale tester
(inspector of bread and malt), burgess (petty constable), affeeror
(adjuster of fines), and finally city chamberlain (treasurer).

Eight children were born to him, the two eldest, both daughters, dying
in infancy.  William Shakespeare was the third child, and eldest of
those who reached maturity.  During his childhood his father was
probably in comfortable circumstances, but not long before the son left
Stratford for London, John Shakespeare was practically a bankrupt, and
had lost by mortgage farms in Snitterfield and Ashbies, near by,
inherited in 1556 by his wife.

+Education+.--William Shakespeare probably went to the Stratford
Grammar School, where he and his {5} brothers as the sons of a town
councilor were entitled to free tuition.  His masters, no doubt, taught
him Lilly's Latin Grammar and the Latin classics,--Virgil, Horace,
Ovid, Cicero, Seneca, and the rest,--and very little else.  If
Shakespeare ever knew French or Italian, he picked it up in London
life, where he picked up most of his amazing stock of information on
all subjects.  Besides Latin, he must have read and memorized a good
deal of the English Bible.

+Marriage+.--In the autumn of 1582 the eighteen-year-old Shakespeare
married a young woman of twenty-six.  On November 28, of that year two
farmers of Shottery, near Stratford, signed what we should call a
guarantee bond, agreeing to pay to the Bishop's Court £40, in case the
marriage proposed between William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway should
turn out to be contrary to the canon--or Church--law, and so invalid.
This guarantee bond, no doubt, was issued to facilitate and hasten the
wedding.  On May 26, 1583, Shakespeare's first child, Susanna, was
baptized.  His only other children, his son Hamnet and a twin daughter
Judith, were baptized February 2, 1584-5[2].  It is probable that soon
after this date Shakespeare went to London and began his career as
actor, and afterwards as writer of plays and owner of theaters.


Anne Hathaway, as we have said, was eight years older than her husband.
She was the daughter of a small farmer at Shottery, a little out of
Stratford, whose house is still an object of pilgrimage for Shakespeare
lovers.  We have really no just ground for inferring, from the poet's
early departure for London, that his  married life was unhappy.  The
Duke in _Twelfth Night_ (IV, iii) advises Viola against women's
marrying men younger than themselves, it is true; but such advice is
conventional.  No one can tell how much the dramatist really felt of
the thoughts which his characters utter.  Who would guess from any
words in _I Henry IV_, for instance, a play containing some of his
richest humor and freest joy in life, that, in the very year of its
composition, Shakespeare was mourning the death of his little son
Hamnet, and that his hopes of founding a family were at an end?
Another piece of evidence, far more important, is the fact that
Shakespeare does not mention his wife at all in  his will, except by an
interlined bequest of his "second-best bedroom set."  But here, again,
it is easy to misread the motives of the man who makes a will.  Such
omissions have been made when no slight was intended, sometimes because
of previous private settlements, sometimes because a wife is always
entitled to her dower rights.  The evidence is thus too slight to be of

Some other motive, then, than unhappiness in married life ought to be
assigned for Shakespeare's departure to London.  No doubt, the fact
that his father was now a discredited bankrupt, against whom suits were
pending, had something to do with his {7} decision to better his family
fortunes in another town.  Traveling companies of players may have told
him of London life.  Possibly some scrape, like that preserved in the
deer-stealing tradition and the resultant persecution, made the young
man, now only twenty-one, restive and eager to be gone.

+The Tradition concerning Deer Stealing+.--Nicholas Howe, in 1709, in
his edition of Shakespeare says: "He had by a misfortune common enough
to young fellows fallen into bad company, and among them, some that
made a frequent practice of deer stealing, engaged him with them more
than once in robbing a park that belonged to Sir Thomas Lucy of
Charlecote near Stratford.  For this he was persecuted by that
gentleman, as he thought, somewhat too severely; and, in order to
revenge that ill-usage, he made a parody upon him; and though this,
probably the first essay of his poetry, be lost, yet it is said to have
been so very bitter that he was obliged to leave his business and
family in Warwickshire and shelter himself in London."  Archdeacon
Davies of Saperton, Gloucestershire, in the late seventeenth century
testifies independently to the same tradition.  Justice Shallow in the
_Merry Wives of Windsor_ is on this latter authority to be identified
with Sir Thomas Lucy.  He is represented in the play as having come
from Gloucester to Windsor.  He "will make a Star Chamber matter of it"
that Sir John Falstaff has "defied my men, killed my deer, and broke
open my lodge."  He bears on his "old coat" (of arms) a "dozen white
luces" (small fishes), and there is a lot of chatter about "quartering"
this coat, which is without point unless a pun is intended.  {8} Now
"three luces Hauriant argent" were the arms of the Charlecote Lucys, it
is certain.  There is some reason then, for connecting Shallow with Sir
Thomas Lucy, and an apparent basis for the deer-stealing tradition,
although the incident in the play may, of course, have suggested the
myth.  Davies goes on to say that Shakespeare was whipped and
imprisoned; for this there is no other evidence.

+Early Life in London+.--The earliest known reference to Shakespeare in
the world of London is contained in a sarcastic allusion from the pen
of Robert Greene, the poet and play writer, who died in 1592.  Greene
was furiously jealous of the rapidly increasing fame of the newcomer.
In a most extravagant style he warns his contemporaries (Marlowe, Nash,
and Peele, probably) to beware of young men that seek fame by thieving
from their masters.  They, too, like himself, will suffer from such
thieves.  "Yes, trust them not; for there is an upstart crow beautified
with our feathers that, with his Tygers heart wrapt in a Players hide,
supposes he is as well able to bumbast out a blank verse as the best of
you; and being an absolute Johannes Factotum, is in his owne conceit
the onely Shakescene in a countrie ... but it is pittie men of such
rare wit should be subject to the pleasures of such rude grooms."  The
reference to "Shakescene" and the "Tygers heart," which is a quotation
from _III Henry VI_,[3] makes it almost certain that Shakespeare and
his play are referred to.  Greene's attack was, however, an instance of
what Shakespeare would {9} have called "spleen," and not to be taken as
a general opinion.  His hint of "Johannes Factotum"
(Jack-of-all-Trades) probably means that Shakespeare was willing to
undertake any sort of dramatic work.  Later on in the same letter (_A
Groatsworth of Witte Bought with a Million of Repentance_)[4] he calls
the "upstart crow" and his like "Buckram gentlemen," and "peasants."

Henry Chettle, a friend of Greene's, either in December, 1592, or early
in 1593,[5] published an address as a preface to his _Kind-Harts
Dreame_, making a public apology to Shakespeare for allowing Greene's
letter to come out with this insulting attack.  He says: "With neither
of them that take offence was I acquainted, and with one of them I care
not if I never be.  The other [generally taken to be Shakespeare] whome
at one time I did not so much spare as since I wish I had, for that, as
I have moderated the heate of living writers, and might have usde my
owne discretion--especially in such a case, the author beeing
dead,--that I did not I am as sory as if the originall fault had beene
my fault, because myself have seene his demeanor no lesse civill, than
he exelent in the qualitie he professes;--besides divers of worship
have reported his uprightness of dealing, which argues his honesty, and
his facetious grace in writing, that aprooves his art...."

There is, then, testimony from two sources that by 1592 Shakespeare was
an excellent actor, a graceful poet, and a writer of plays that aroused
the envy of {10} one of the best dramatists of his day.  Obviously, all
this could not have happened in a few months, and we are therefore
justified in believing that Shakespeare came to London soon after 1585,
very likely in 1586.

+Later Allusions+.--In 1593 the title-page of _Venus and Adonis_ shows
that a great English earl and patron of the arts was willing to be
godfather "to the first heyre" of Shakespeare's "invention," his first
published poem.  In 1594 Shakespeare also dedicated to Southampton his
_Lucrece_, in terms of greater intimacy, though no less respect.  On
December 27, 1595, Edmund Spenser's _Colin Clout's Come Home Againe_
contained a reference which is now generally believed to allude to

  "And there, though last not least, is Aetion;
  A gentler shepheard may nowhere be found;
  Whose Muse, full of high thoughts' invention,
  Doth like himselfe heroically sound."

The next important reference is from _Palladis Tamia_, by Francis Meres

"As the soule of Euphorbus was thought to live in Pythagoras, so the
sweete wittie soule of Ovid lives in mellifluous and hony-tongued
Shakespeare; witness his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, his sugred
Sonnets among his private friends &c.  As Plautus and Seneca are
accounted the best for comedy and Tragedy among the Latines, so
Shakespeare among the English is the most excellent in both kinds for
the stage; for comedy, witnes his Gentlemen of Verona, his Errors, his
Loves Labors Lost, his Love Labours Wonne, his Midsummer Night Dreame,
and his Merchant of Venice; for tragedy his Richard the 2., Richard the
3., Henry the 4., {11} King John, Titus Andronicus, and his Romeo and
Juliet.  As Epius Stolo said that the Muses would speake with Plautus
tongue, if they would speak Latin, so I say that the Muses would speak
with Shakespeare's fine filed phrase, if they would speak English.  And
as Horace saith of his; Exegi monumentu_m_ aere perennius, Regaliq_ue_
situ pyramidum altius.

"Quod non imber edax: Non Aquilo impotius possit diruere: aut
innumerabilis annorum series et fuga temporum: so say I severally of
Sir Philip Sidneys Spencers Daniels Draytons Shakespeares and Warners

This is the earliest claim for the supremacy of Shakespeare in the
English theater, a claim never seriously disputed from that day to
this.  The numerous other contemporary allusions to Shakespeare's fame,
which fill the _Shakespeare Allusion Book_,[6] add nothing to our
purpose; but merely confirm the statement that throughout his life his
readers knew and admitted his worth.  The chorus of praise continued
from people of all classes.  John Weever, the epigrammatist, and
Richard Camden, the antiquarian, praised Shakespeare highly, and
Michael Drayton, the poet, called him "perfection in a man."  Finally,
Ben Jonson, his most famous competitor for public applause, crowned our
poet's fame with his poem, prefixed to the first collected edition of
Shakespeare's famous First Folio of 1623: "To the Memory of my beloved,
the author, Mr. William Shakespeare, and what he hath left us.


"He was not of an age, but for all time!"

+Shakespeare as an Actor+.--The allusion quoted above of Henry Chettle
praises Shakespeare's excellence "in the qualitie he professes."
Stronger evidence is afforded by some of the title-pages of plays
printed during the poet's life.  Thus Ben Jonson's _Every Man in his
Humour_ says on its title-page: "_Every One in his Umor_.  This comedie
was first Acted in the yeere 1598 by the then L. Chamberleyne his
servants.  The principal comedians were Will. Shakespeare, Aug.
Philips, Hen. Condel, Will. Slye, Will. Kempe, Ric. Burbadge, Joh.
Hemings, Tho. Pope, Chr. Beeston, Joh. Dyke, withe the allowance of the
Master of Reuells."

Before this his name had appeared between those of Kemp and Burbage
(named in the above list), the one the chief comedian, the other the
chief tragedian of the time, in comedies which were acted before the
Queen on December 27 and 28, 1594, at Greenwich Palace.  The titles of
these comedies are not given in the Treasurer's Accounts of the
Chamber, from which we take the list of players.

In 1603, Shakespeare shared with Burbage the headline of the list of
actors in Ben Jonson's tragedy _Sejanus_.  That he thoroughly
understood the technique of his art and was interested in it, is
evident from Hamlet's advice to the players.  Throughout his life in
London, Shakespeare was a member of the company usually known as the
Lord Chamberlain's Company.[7]


+Shakespeare and the Mountjoys+.--The most important addition of recent
years to the life records of Shakespeare is that made by an American
scholar, Professor Charles William Wallace.  He has unearthed in the
Public Record Office at London a notable bundle of
documents--twenty-six in all.  They concern a lawsuit in which the
family of Christopher Mountjoy, Shakespeare's landlord in London, was
engaged; and in which the poet himself appeared as a witness.
Mountjoy, it appears, was a prosperous wigmaker and hairdresser, and,
no doubt, had good custom from the London actors.  Shakespeare had
lodgings in Mountjoy's house in the year 1604, and at Madame Mountjoy's
request acted as intermediary in proposing to young Stephen Bellott, a
young French apprentice of Mountjoy's, that if he should marry his
master's daughter Mary, he would receive £50 as dowry and "certain
household stuff" in addition.  The marriage took place, and the quarrel
which led to the lawsuit in 1612 was chiefly about the fulfillment--or
non-fulfillment--of the marriage settlements.  Shakespeare's testimony
on the matter is clear enough in regard to his services as the friend
of both parties; but his memory leaves him when specific information is
required touching the exact terms of the dowry.  Evidently he had no
mind that his old landlord should suffer from the claims of his unruly

Mountjoy's house was situated in an ancient and most respectable
neighborhood in Cripplegate ward, on the corner of Silver Street and
Mugwell, or Muggle Street.  Near by dwelt many of Shakespeare's
fellow-actors and dramatists.  St. Paul's Cathedral, the heart {14} of
London, lay five minutes' walk to the southwest.  The length of
Shakespeare's residence with the worthy Huguenot family is not to be
learned from the recent discoveries; but his testimony to Bellott's
faithful service as apprentice throughout the years of
apprenticeship--1598-1604--makes it strongly probable that during these
years, when the poet was writing his greatest plays, he lodged with
Mountjoy.  In 1612 Mountjoy, according to another witness, had a
lodger--a "sojourner"--in his house; this may mean that Shakespeare was
still in possession of his rooms in the house on Silver Street.  If it
be so, no spot in the world has been the birthplace of a greater number
of masterpieces.

It is interesting to note, in passing, that the various witnesses in
the Mountjoy lawsuit who have occasion to speak of Shakespeare always
refer to him most respectfully.  The poet was evidently high in the
esteem of his neighbors.

+Shakespeare's Income and Business Transactions+.--Shakespeare was a
shrewd and sensible man of business.  He amassed during his career in
London a property nearly, if not quite, as great as any made by his
profession at the time.  In addition to profits from the sale of his
plays to managers (he probably derived no income from their
publication), and his salary as an actor, Shakespeare enjoyed an ample
income from his shares in the Blackfriars and Globe theaters, of which
he became joint owner with the Burbage brothers and other fellow-actors
in 1597 and 1599.  Professor Wallace has discovered a document which
helps, though very slightly, to enable us to judge what his income {15}
from these sources may have been.[8]  In 1615-1616 the widow of one of
the proprietors of the two theaters, whose share, like Shakespeare's,
was one-seventh of the Blackfriars, one-fourteenth of the Globe,
brought suit against her father.  She asked for £600 damages for her
father's wrongful detention of her year's income, amounting to £300
from each theater.

But damages asked in court are always high, and include fees of lawyers
and other items.  The probability is that Shakespeare's yearly income
from these sources was never over £500.  To this, though the figures
cannot be ascertained with any degree of certainty, we might add £100
for salary and £25 for plays yearly.  The total would amount to fully
£600 a year from 1599 on till 1611, about which date Shakespeare
probably retired to Stratford.  If we reckon by what money will buy in
our days, we may say that Shakespeare's yearly income at the height of
success was $25,000, in round numbers.  This is certainly a low
estimate, and does not include extra court performances and the like,
from which he must certainly have profited.

+Shakespeare's Life in London+.--What with the composition of two plays
a year, continual rehearsals, and performances of his own and other
plays, Shakespeare's life must have been a busy one.  Tradition,
however, accords him an easy enjoyment of the pleasures of the time;
and his own sarcastic remarks against Puritans in his plays may
indicate a hatred of puritanical restraint.  He must have joined in
many a merry feast with the other actors and writers of the day, and
with court gallants.  The inventory of property left by him {16} at his
death indicates that while he had accumulated a good estate, he had
also lived generously.

+Stratford Affairs and Shakespeare's Return+.--While William
Shakespeare was thus employed in London in building up name and fortune
for himself, his father was in financial straits.  As early as January,
1586, John Shakespeare had no property on which a creditor could place
a lien.  In September of the same year, he was deprived of his
alderman's gown for lack of attention to town business.  During the
next year he was sued for debt, and had to produce a writ of _habeas
corpus_ to keep himself out of jail.  In 1899 he tried to recover his
wife's mortgaged property of Ashbies from the mortgagee's heir, John
Lambert, but the suit was not tried till eight years later.  Soon after
this the son must have begun to send to Stratford substantial support.
In 1592 John Shakespeare was made an appraiser of the property of Henry
Field, a fellow-townsman.  Henry Field's son Richard published _Venus
and Adonis_ for Shakespeare in 1593, from his shop in St. Paul's
Churchyard.  From this time John Shakespeare seems to have lived in
comfort.  His ambition to secure the grant of a coat of arms was almost
successful at his first application for one in October, 1596; three
years later the grant was made, and his son and he were now "Gentlemen."

In May, 1597, William Shakespeare bought New Place, a handsome house in
the heart of Stratford, and at once became an influential citizen.
From that time to his death he is continually mentioned in the town
records.  His purchases included 107 acres in {17} Old Stratford (May
1, 1602), for £320; the right to farm the Stratford tithes (July 24,
1605), for £440; an estate of the Combe family (April 13, 1610), and
minor properties.  In all his dealings, so far as we can tell, he seems
to have been shrewd and business-like.

Little is known of Shakespeare's children during these years.  Hamnet,
his only son, was buried August 11, 1596.  Susanna, the eldest
daughter, married a physician, Dr. John Hall, of Stratford, June 5,
1607; Judith married Thomas Quiney, son of an old Stratford friend of
Shakespeare's, February 10, 1616, two months before her father's death.
Shakespeare's father had died long before this, in September, 1601.

Shakespeare's retirement from London to his native town is thought to
have taken place about 1611, though there is no real evidence for this
belief, except that his play writing probably ceased about this date.
In 1614 a Puritan preacher stopped at New Place and was entertained
there by the poet's family.  It is certain that Shakespeare visited
London from time to time after 1611.  One such visit is recorded in the
diary of his lawyer, Thomas Greene, of Stratford.  As late as March 24,
1613, there occurs an entry in the accounts of the Earl of Rutland of a
payment to Shakespeare and Richard Burbage of 44 shillings each in gold
for getting up a dramatic entertainment for the Earl of Rutland.

In 1616 Shakespeare's health failed.  On January 25, a copy of his will
was drawn, which was executed March 25.  On April 23, 1616, he died,
and two days later was buried in the chancel of Stratford church.


+Shakespeare's Portraits, Tomb, and Descendants+.--Two portraits, the
"Ely Palace" and the "Flower" portraits, so called from former
possessors, are thought to have better claims to authenticity than
others.  New discoveries are announced, periodically, of Shakespeare's
portrait; but these turn out usually to be forgeries.  The engraving by
Martin Droeshout prefixed to the First and later Folios, though to us
it seems unanimated and unnatural, is still the only likeness vouched
for by contemporaries.  It is thought by many to be a copy of the
"Flower" portrait, which bears the date 1609, and which it certainly
very closely resembles.  If the Stratford bust which was placed in a
niche above Shakespeare's tomb in Stratford church before 1623 was
accurately reproduced in Dugdale's _Warwickshire_, then the present
bust is a later substitution, since it shows differences in detail from
that sketch.  It is coming to be believed that the eighteenth-century
restoration so altered the bust as to make it quite unlike its former

Shakespeare's grave is in the chancel of Stratford church.  A dark,
flat tombstone bears the inscription, which early tradition ascribes to
the poet:--

  "Good frend, for Iesvs sake forbeare
  To digg the dvst enclosed heare:
  Bleste be y^e man y^t spares thes stones,
  And curst be he y^t moves my bones."

The monument to Shakespeare, with the bust on the north wall, is facing
the tomb.

In his will, Shakespeare provided that much the larger portion of his
estate should go to his eldest daughter, Susanna Hall and John Hall,
Gent., her husband, including New Place, Henley Street and Blackfriars
houses, and his tithes in Stratford and near-by villages.  This was in
accordance with custom.  To Judith, his younger daughter, the wife of
Thomas Quiney, he left three hundred pounds, one hundred as a marriage
portion, fifty more on her release of her right in a Stratford
tenement, and the rest to be paid in three years, the principal to be
invested, the interest paid to her, and the principal to be divided at
her death.


Shakespeare left his sister, Joan Hart, £20 and his wearing apparel,
and her house in Stratford rent-free till her death, at a shilling a
year.  His plate he divided between his daughters.  The minor bequests,
which include £10 to the Stratford poor, are chiefly notable for the
bequest of money (26s. 8d.) for rings to "my fellowes, John Hemynges,
Richard Burbage, and Henry Cundell."  These were fellow-actors in the
Lord Chamberlain's Company.

Within half a century Shakespeare's line was extinct.  His wife died
August 6, 1623.  His daughter Susanna left one daughter, Elizabeth, who
married, April 22, 1626, Thomas Nashe, who died April 4, 1647.  On June
5, 1649, she married John Barnard of Abington, Northamptonshire,
afterwards knighted.  She left no children by either marriage.  Her
burial was recorded February 17, 1669-70.  Shakespeare's daughter
Judith had three sons,--Shakespeare, baptized November 23, 1616, buried
May 8, 1617; Richard, baptized February 9, 1617-8, buried February 16,
1638-9; Thomas, baptized January 23, 1619-20, buried January 1638-9.
Judith Shakespeare survived them all, and was buried February 9,
1661-2.  Shakespeare's sister, Joan Hart, left descendants who owned
the Henley Street House up to the time of its purchase, in 1847, by the

The best books on the life of Shakespeare: J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps,
_Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare_, tenth edition, London, 1898 (the
greatest collection of sources and documents); Sidney Lee, _A Life of
William Shakespeare_ (New York, Macmillan, 1909), (the best extended
life, especially valuable for its study of the biographical value of
the sonnets); Professor Wallace's articles referred to in the text.

[1] This reference was discovered among the Plume Mss. (1657-1663) of
Maldon, Essex, by Dr. Andrew Clark, in October, 1904.  Sir John Mennes
was, however, not a contemporary of John Shakespeare, but doubtless
merely passed on the description from some eyewitness.

[2] The dates between January 1 and March 25, previous to 1752, are
always thus written.  In 1752 England and its colonies decided to begin
the year with January 1 instead of March 25, as formerly.  Thus for
periods before that date between January 1 and March 25, we give two
figures to indicate that the people of that time called it one year and
we call it a year later.  Thus, Judith Shakespeare would have said she
was baptized in 1584, while by our reckoning her baptism came in 1585.

[3] "O tiger's heart wrapped in a woman's hide."  This line is also in
the source of Shakespeare's play.  See p. 133.

[4] Printed first in 1596, but written shortly before Greene's death in

[5] Registered Dec., 1592, but printed without date.

[6] These may be seen, as well as all others up to 1700, in the
re-edited _Shakespeare Allusion Book_, ed. J. Munro, London, 1909.

[7] See p. 48.

[8] See the _New York Times_ for October 3, 1909.




The history of the drama includes two periods of supreme achievement,
that of fifth-century Greece and that of Elizabethan England.  Between
these peaks lies a broad valley, the bottom of which is formed by the
centuries from the fifth to the ninth after Christ.  From its
culmination in the tragedies of Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and
in the comedies of Aristophanes, the classic drama declined through the
brilliantly realistic comedies of Menander to the coldly rhetorical
tragedies of the Roman Seneca.  The decay of culture, the barbarian
invasions, and the attacks of the Christian Church caused a yet greater
decadence, a fall so complete that, although the old traditions were
kept alive for some time at the Byzantine court, the drama, as a
literary form, had practically disappeared from western Europe before
the middle of the sixth century.  For this reason the modern drama is
commonly regarded as a new birth, as an independent creation entirely
distinct from the art which had preceded it.  A new birth and an
independent growth there certainly was, but it must not be forgotten
that the love of the dramatic did not disappear with the literary
drama, that the entertainment of mediaeval {21} minstrels were not
without dramatic elements, that dialogues continued to be written if
not acted, and that the classical drama of Rome, eagerly studied by the
enthusiasts of the Renaissance, had no slight influence upon the course
which the modern drama took.  If we make these qualifications, we may
fairly say that the old drama died and that a new drama was born.

+The Beginnings of Modern Drama+.--When we search for the origin of the
modern drama, we find it, strangely enough, in the very institution
which had done so much to suppress it as an invention of the devil; for
it made its first appearance in the services of the Church.  From a
very early period, the worship of the Church had possessed a certain
dramatic character.  The service of the Mass recalled and represented
by symbols, which became more and more definite and elaborate, the
great sacrifice of Christ.  And this tendency manifested itself in
other ways, such as the letting fall, on Good Friday, of the veil which
had concealed the sanctuary since the first Sunday in Lent, thus
recalling the veil of the Jewish temple rent in twain at the death of
Christ.  But all this was rather the soil in which the drama could grow
than the beginning itself.  The latter came in the ninth century, when
an addition was made to the Mass which was slight in itself, but which
was to have momentous consequences.  Among the words fitted to certain
newly introduced melodies were those of which the following is a

  "Whom seek ye, O Christians, in the sepulcher?
  Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, O ye dwellers in Heaven.
  He is not here; he is risen as he foretold.
  Go and carry the tidings that he is risen from the sepulcher."


At first these words were sung responsively by the choir, but before
the end of the tenth century they were put into the mouths of monks or
clergy representing the Maries and the angel.  By this time the
dialogue had been removed to the first services of Easter morning, and
had been connected with the ceremonies of the Easter sepulcher.  In
many churches it was then customary on Good Friday to carry a crucifix
to a representation of a sepulcher which  had previously been prepared
somewhere in the church, whence the crucifix was secretly removed
before Easter morning.  Then, at the first Easter service, the empty
sepulcher was solemnly visited, and this dialogue was sung.[1]  The
participants wore ecclesiastical vestments, and the acting was of the
simplest character, but the amount of dialogue increased as time went
on, and new bits of action were added; so that before the end of the
twelfth century some churches presented what may fairly be called a
short one-act play.  Meanwhile, around the services of Good Friday and
the Christmas season, other dramatic ceremonies and short dialogues had
been growing up, which gave rise to tiny plays dealing with the birth
of Christ, the visits of the shepherds and the Wise Men, and the Old
Testament prophecies of {23} Christ's coming.  Although the elaboration
of individual plays continued, the evolution of the drama as part of
the Church's liturgy was practically complete by the middle of the
thirteenth century.

+The Earlier Miracle Plays+.--The next hundred years brought a number
of important changes: the gradual substitution of English for Latin,
the removal from the church to the churchyard or market-place, and the
welding together of the single plays into great groups or cycles.  The
removal from the church was made possible by the growth of the plays in
length and dramatic interest, which rendered them independent of the
rest of the service; and it was made inevitable by the enormous
popularity of the plays and by the more elaborate staging which the
developed plays required.  The formation of more or less unified cycles
was the result of a natural tendency to supply the missing links
between the plays already in existence, and to write new plays
describing the events which led up to those already treated.  Just as
Wagner in our day after writing his drama on _The Death of Siegfried_
felt himself compelled to write other plays dealing with his hero's
birth and the events which led to this birth, so the unknown authors of
the great English cycles were led to write play after play until they
had covered the significant events of Biblical history from the
creation of the world to the Last Judgment.  This joining together of
isolated plays necessitated taking them away from the particular
festivals with which they had originally been connected and presenting
them all together on a single day, or, in the case of the longer
cycles, on successive days.  After 1264, {24} when the festival of
Corpus Christi was established in honor of the sacrament of Holy
Communion, this day was the favorite time of presentation.  Coming as
it did in early summer on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, it was
well suited for out-of-door performances, besides being a festival
which the Church especially delighted to honor.

+The Great English Cycles+.--Of the great cycles of miracle plays, only
four have come down to us: those given at York and at Chester, that in
the Towneley collection (probably given at or near Wakefield), and the
cycle called the Ludus Coventriae or Hegge plays, of which the place of
presentation is uncertain.  The surviving fragments of lost cycles,
however, taken together with the records of performances, show that
religious plays were given with more or less regularity in at least one
hundred and twenty-five places in England.  The cycle which has been
most completely preserved is that of York, forty-eight plays of which
still exist.  It originally included fifty-seven plays, while the
number of Biblical incidents known to have been treated in plays
belonging to one cycle or another includes twenty-one based on the Old
Testament or on legends, and sixty-eight based on the New Testament.

Even while the religious plays were still a part of the Church
services, they contained humorous elements, such as the realistically
comic figure of the merchant who sold spices and ointment to the Maries
on their way to the tomb of Christ.  In the later plays these
interpolations developed into scenes of roaring farce.  When Herod
learned of the escape of the Wise Men, he would rage violently about
the stage and even among {25} the spectators.  Noah's wife, in the
Chester play of _The Deluge_, refuses point-blank to go into the Ark,
and has to be put in by main force.  The _Second Shepherds' Play_ of
the Towneley cycle contains an episode of sheep stealing which is a
complete and perfect little farce.  Nor were the scenes of pathos less
effective.  The scene in the Brome play of _Abraham and Isaac_ where
the little lad pleads for his life has not lost its pathetic appeal
with the passage of centuries.  While many of the miracle plays seem to
us stiff and perfunctory, the best of them possess literary merit of a
very high order.

As the development of the plays called for an increasing number of
actors, the clergy had to call upon the laity for help, so that the
acting fell more and more into the hands of the latter, until finally
the whole work of presenting the plays was taken over, in most cases,
by the guilds, organizations of the various trades which corresponded
roughly to our modern trades unions.  Each guild had its own play of
which it bore the expense and for which it furnished the actors.  Thus
the shipwrights would present _The Building of the Ark_, the
goldsmiths, _The Adoration of the Wise Men_.  Sometimes the plays would
be presented on a number of tiny stages or scaffolds grouped in a
rectangle or a circle; more often they were acted on floats, called
pageants, which were dragged through the streets and stopped for
performances at several of the larger squares.  These pageants were
usually of two stories, the lower used for a dressing-room, the upper
for a stage.  The localities represented were indicated in various
ways--Heaven, for instance, by a beautiful {26} pavilion; Hell, by the
mouth of a huge dragon.  The costumes of the actors were often
elaborate and costly, and there was some attempt at imitating reality,
such as putting the devils into costumes of yellow and black, which
typified the flames and darkness of Hell.

Fairly complete cycles were in existence as early as 1300; they reached
the height of their perfection and popularity in the later fourteenth
and in the fifteenth centuries; and they began to decline in the
sixteenth century.  After 1550 the performances became more and more
irregular, until, at the accession of King James I, they had
practically ceased.

+The Moralities+.--Of somewhat later origin than the miracle plays, but
existing contemporaneously with them, were the moralities.  In a
twelfth-century miracle play characters had been introduced which were
not the figures of Biblical story, but personified abstractions, such
as Hypocrisy, Heresy, Pity.  By the end of the fourteenth century there
had come into existence plays of which all the characters were of this
type.  These, however, were probably not direct descendants of the
miracles; but rather the application of the newly learned dramatic
methods to another sort of subject matter, the allegory, a literary
type much used by poets and preachers of the time.  Such plays were
called 'moral plays' or 'moralities.'  Unlike the miracle plays, these
remained independent of each other, and showed no tendency to grow
together into cycles.  The most beautiful of them, written at the end
of the fifteenth or the beginning of the sixteenth century, is that
called _The Summoning of Everyman_.  It represents a typical man
compelled to enter upon the long, {27} inevitable journey of death.
Kindred and Wealth abandon him, but long-neglected Good-deeds, revived
by Knowledge, comes to his aid.  At the edge of the grave Everyman is
deserted by Beauty, Strength, and the Five Senses, while Good-deeds
alone goes with him to the end.  Moralities of this type aimed at the
cultivation of virtue in the spectators, just as the miracle plays had
aimed at the strengthening of their faith.  Another type of morality
dealt with controversial questions.  In one of these, _King Johan_,
written about 1538, historical personages are put side by side with the
allegorical abstractions, thus foreshadowing the later historical
plays, such as Shakespeare's _King John_.  Another comparatively late
type of morality sought to teach an ethical lesson by showing the
effect of vice and  virtue upon  the lives of men and women.  _Nice
Wanton_ (c. 1550), for instance, represents the consequence of good and
evil living, not only by the use of such allegorical characters as
Iniquity  and Worldly Shame, but also by means of the human beings,
Barnabas and Ishmael and their sister Dalila.  Thus, although the more
abstract moralities persisted until late in the sixteenth century,
these other types at the same time helped lead the way to the drama
which depicts actual life.

+The Interlude+.--Both miracle play and morality were written with a
definite purpose, the teaching of a lesson, religious, moral, or
political; the interlude, on the other hand, was a short play intended
simply to interest or to amuse.  The original meaning of the word
"interlude" is a matter of controversy.  It may have meant a short play
introduced between other {28} things, such as the courses of a banquet,
or it may have meant simply a dialogue.  Be that as it may, the
interlude seems to have had its origin in the dramatic character of
minstrel entertainments and in the dramatic character of popular games,
such as those, especially beloved of our English ancestors, which
celebrated the memory of Robin Hood and his fellow-outlaws of Sherwood
forest.  The miracle plays set the example of dramatic composition, an
example soon followed in the interlude, which put into dramatic forms
that became more and more elaborate popular stories and episodes, both
serious and comic.  Although there had been comic episodes in miracle
plays and moralities, it was as interludes that the amusing skit and
the tiny farce achieved an independent existence.  The first real
interlude which has come down to us is that called _De Clerico et
Puella_, _Of the Cleric and the Maiden_, which was written not later
than the early fourteenth century.  This is little more than a dialogue
depicting the attempted seduction of a maiden by a wanton cleric.  The
only other surviving fourteenth-century interlude, that of _Dux
Maraud_, is, on the other hand, the dramatization of a tragic tale of
incest and murder.  This is, however, somewhat exceptional, and may
perhaps be regarded as belonging rather to a type of miracle play not
common in England, in which the intervention of some heavenly power
affects the lives of men.  At any rate, it is probable that the
interlude was not often so serious an affair, and it developed rapidly
in a way that gave us, in the sixteenth century, the interludes of John
Heywood (1497-1577), which are really short farces, {29} and no bad
ones at that.  By reason of its character and the small number of
actors which it required, the interlude was usually given by
professional entertainers, who were either kept by persons of high
rank, or traveled from town to town.  We find, therefore, in the acting
of interludes the conditions which gave rise to modern comedy and to
the modern traveling company.

+Classical Influences+.--In the preceding paragraphs we have considered
the early modern drama as an independent growth, but the influence of
the classical drama, particularly the Latin tragedies of Seneca and the
Latin comedies of Plautus and Terence, showed itself in the later
moralities and interludes, and was to appear again and again in the
later course of English drama.  That great revival of interest in
classical learning which gave the Renaissance its name, was a mighty
force in the current of English thought throughout the sixteenth
century.  The old Latin tragedies and comedies were revived and were
produced in the original and in translation at schools and colleges.
It was an easy step from this to the writing of English comedies after
Latin models.  The earliest of such attempts which we know is the
comedy of _Ralph Roister Doister_, written by Nicholas Udall for Eton
boys at some time between 1534 and 1541.  This, commonly called the
first English comedy, is little more than a clever adaptation of
Plautus to English manners and customs; but a comedy written soon
after, _Gammer Gurton's Needle_, is really an Interlude cast in the
Plautean mold.  The first English tragedy, _Gorboduc_, closely
imitative of Seneca, but on {30} a mythical British subject and written
in English blank verse, did not appear until 1562, nearly a quarter of
a century later.  Seneca's tragedies had little action, slight
characterization, and many extremely long speeches, which often
display, however, much brilliant rhetoric.  _Gorboduc_ has all these
qualities except the brilliance.  The history, the third of the types
into which the editors of the First Folio were to divide Shakespeare's
plays, was also affected by Senecan influence.  We have already seen
how the historical figure of King John appeared in a morality, one
which shows little trace of classical tradition; and the history, with
its general formlessness and its mixture of the comic with the serious,
remained a peculiarly English product.  Nevertheless, in the second
half of the sixteenth century, subjects from English history were
treated after the manner of Latin tragedy, and the long, rhetorical
speeches of the later historical plays are more suggestive of Seneca
than are most Elizabethan tragedies.

The classical type of drama, with its strict observance of the three
unities,[2] was not congenial to the {31} English temperament.  Its
fetters were soon thrown off, and, with the notable exception of Ben
Jonson (1573-1637), few Elizabethan playwrights conformed to its rules.
Its influence, however, was not confined to its imitators.  From the
classical drama the Elizabethans gained a sense for form and for the
value of dramatic technique, which did much to make the Elizabethan
drama what it was.

+Three Predecessors of Shakespeare+.--The development of the English
drama from the first attempts at comedy, tragedy, and history was
extremely rapid.  When Shakespeare came to London, he found there
dramatists who were far on the road toward mastery of dramatic form,
and who were putting into that form both great poetry and a profound
knowledge of human nature.  A complete list of these dramatists would
include a number of names which have a permanent place in the history
of English literature, such as those of Thomas Lodge, Thomas Nash,
George Peele, and Robert Greene.  Among these names three deserve
especial prominence, not only because of the great achievements of
these men, but because of their influence on Shakespeare.  These men
were Marlowe, Kyd, and Lyly.

It was Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) who first gave to English blank
verse those qualities which make it an extraordinarily perfect medium
of expression.  Before him, blank verse had no advantages to offer in
compensation for the abandonment of rime.  It was stiff, monotonous,
and cold.  Marlowe began to vary the position of the pauses within the
line, and to do away with the pause at the end of some lines by {32}
placing the breaks in thought elsewhere.  Thus he gave to his verse
ease, flexibility, and movement, and he put into it the warmth and
vividness of his own personality.  Upon such verse as this Shakespeare
could hardly improve.  But this by no means sums up his debt to
Marlowe.  His characterization of Richard III, for instance, was
distinctly affected by that of Marlowe's hero Tamburlaine, a character
to which the poet had given a passionate life and an energy that made
him more than human.  In other ways less easy to define, Shakespeare
must have been stimulated by Marlowe's fire.  The latter's greatest
tragedies, _Tamburlaine_, _Dr. Faustus_, and _Edward II_, contain
poetry so beautiful, feeling so intense, and a promise of future
achievement so remarkable, that his early death may fairly be said to
have deprived English literature of a genius worthy of comparison with
that of Shakespeare himself.

Although Thomas Kyd (1558-1594) was far from the equal of Marlowe, he
was a playwright of real ability and one whose tragedies were unusually
popular.  Influenced greatly by Seneca, he brought to its climax the
'tragedy of blood'--a type of drama in which ungovernable passions of
lust and revenge lead to atrocious crimes and end in gruesome and
appalling murders.  His famous _Spanish Tragedy_ was the forerunner of
many similar plays, of which _Titus Andronicus_ was one.  He probably
wrote the original play of _Hamlet_, which was elevated by Shakespeare
out of its atmosphere of blood and horror into the highest realms of
thought and poetry.

John Lyly (c. 1554-1606) was a master in an {33} entirely different
field, that of highly artificial comedy.  He brought court comedy to a
hitherto unattained perfection of form and style, and in his best work,
_Endymion_, he displayed a lovely delicacy of thought and expression
which has kept his reputation secure.  He is best known, however, for
his prose romance, _Euphues_, which gave its name to the style of which
it was the climax.  Euphuism is a manner of writing marked by elaborate
antithesis and alliteration, and ornamented by fantastic similes drawn
from a mass of legendary lore concerning plants and animals.[3] This
style, which nowadays seems labored and inartistic, was excessively
admired by the Elizabethans.  Shakespeare imitated it to some extent in
_Love's Labour's Lost_, and parodied it in Falstaff's speech to Prince
Hal, _I Henry IV_, II, iv.  Several of Shakespeare's earlier comedies
show Lyly's influence for good and ill--ill, in that it made for
artificiality and strained conceits; good, in that it made for
perfection of dramatic form and refinement of expression.

+The Masque+.--Somewhat apart from the main current of dramatic
evolution is the development of the masque, which became extremely
popular in the reign of James I.  The English masque was an
entertainment, dramatic in character, made up of songs, dialogue, and
dances.  It originated in masked balls given by the nobility or at
court.  To John Lydgate, working about 1430, is probably due the credit
for introducing into such {34} disguisings a literary element, while
the later course of the masque owes much to Italy.  In the developed
masque there were two classes of participants: noble amateurs, who wore
elaborate costumes and danced either among themselves or with the
spectators; and professional entertainers, who spoke and sang.  The
later masques had elaborate scenery and costumes, with just as much
plot as would serve to string together the lyrics and dances.
Sometimes an anti-masque of grotesque figures was introduced to serve
as contrast to the beautiful figures of the masque.  The masques were
produced with the utmost lavishness, the most extravagant one of which
we know costing over £20,000.  Some of them, such as those written by
Ben Jonson, contain charming poetry; but their chief interest to the
student of Shakespeare lies in the fact that their great popularity
caused Shakespeare to introduce short masques into some of his plays,
notably _Henry VIII_, _The Winter's Tale_, and _The Tempest_.  In
similar allegorical dances often given between the acts of Italian
plays, has been sought the origin of the 'dumb-show,' which was
occasionally introduced into English tragedies, and which appears in
the Mouse-Trap given in _Hamlet_.

The most useful general histories of this period are: F. E. Schelling,
_Elizabethan Drama_ (Houghton Mifflin, 1908); E. K. Chambers, _The
Mediaeval Stage_ (Oxford, 1903); and Creizenach, _Geschichte des
neueren Dramas_ (Halle, 1893-1909, and not yet complete).  Some of the
best Miracles, Moralities, and Interludes are easily accessible in
_Everyman with other Interludes_ (Everyman's Library) and J. M. Manly's
_Specimens of the Pre-Shakespearean Drama_ (Ginn & Co., 1897).

[1] An extract from the Concordia Regularis, a tenth-century appendix
to the monastic "rule" of St. Benedict, describes this ceremony.
"While the third respond is chanted, let the remaining three follow
[one of the brethren, vested in an alb, had before this quietly taken
his place at the sepulcher], and let them all, vested in copes, and
bearing in their hands thuribles with incense, and stepping delicately,
as those who seek something, approach the sepulcher.  These things are
done in imitation of the angel sitting in the monument, and the women
with spices coming to anoint the body of Jesus."

[2] The three unities of action, place, and time are usually believed
to have been formulated by Aristotle, who is supposed to have said that
a tragedy should have but a single plot and that the action should be
confined to a single day and a single place.  As a matter of fact,
Aristotle is responsible for only the first of these, and this he
presented as an observation on the actual condition which prevailed in
Greek tragedy rather than as a dramatic principle for all time.  The
other principles, which were later deduced from the general practice of
the Greeks,--a practice arising from the manner in which their plays
were staged,--were, together with the first, elevated by the Romans to
the dignity of fixed dramatic laws.

[3] The following quotation from Euphues (ed. Bond, i, 289) illustrates
this style: "Hee that seeketh ye depth of knowledge is as it were in a
Laborinth, in which the farther he goeth, the farther he is from the
end: or like the bird in the limebush which the more she striveth to
get out, ye faster she sticketh in."  With this cf. _Hamlet_, III, iii,
69; _I Henry IV_, II, iv, 441.




In 1575 London had no theaters; that is, no building especially
designed for the acting of plays.  By 1600 there were at least six,
among which were some so large and beautiful as to arouse the
unqualified admiration of travelers from the continent.  It is the
purpose of this chapter to give in outline the history of this rapid
development of a new type of building; to describe, as accurately as
may be, the general features of these theaters; and to indicate the
influence which these features exerted upon the Shakespearean drama.
But before doing this it is necessary to point out the causes which
made the first Elizabethan theater what it was.

+The Predecessors of the Elizabethan Theater+.[1]--Of these, the most
important was the innyard.  As soon as the acting of plays ceased to be
merely a local affair, as soon as there were companies of actors which
traveled from town to town, it became necessary to find some place for
the public presentation of plays other than the pageants of the guilds
or the temporary scaffolds sometimes erected for miracle plays.  Such a
place was offered by the courtyard of an inn.  The larger inns of {36}
this period were, for the most part, built in the form of a quadrangle
surrounding an open court.  Opening directly off this court were the
stables, the kitchen, and other offices of the inn; above these were
from one to three stories of bedrooms and sitting rooms, entered from
galleries running all round the court.  When such a courtyard was used
for theatrical performances, the actors erected a platform at one end
to serve as a stage; the space back of this, shut off by a curtain,
they used as a dressing-room; and the part of the gallery immediately
over it they employed as a second stage which could represent the walls
of a city or the balcony of a house.  In the courtyard the poorer class
of spectators stood; in the galleries the more wealthy sat at their
ease.  These conditions made the innyards much better places for play
acting than were the city squares, while they were given still another
advantage from the actors' point of view by the fact that the easily
controlled entrance gave an opportunity for charging a regular
admission fee--a fee which varied with the desirability of the various
parts of the house.  Thus the innyards made no bad playhouses, and they
continued to be used as such even after theaters were built.

They had, however, one obvious disadvantage; their long, narrow shape
made a large number of the seats and a large proportion of the spaces
available for standing room distinctly bad places from which to see
what was happening on the stage.  To remedy this defect, the builders
of the theaters took a suggestion from the bull-baiting and
bear-baiting rings.  These rings, of which a considerable number
already existed {37} in the outskirts of London, had been built for
fights between dogs and bulls or bears, sports vastly enjoyed by the
Elizabethans.  The rings, like the innyards, had galleries in which
spectators could sit and an open yard in which they could stand, and
they possessed the added merit of being round.  Very possibly these
rings, like the Cornish rings used for miracle plays, originated in the
stone amphitheaters built by the Romans during their occupation of
Britain, buildings occasionally used, even in the sixteenth century,
for the performance of plays.  It is hardly necessary, nevertheless, to
look farther than the bear ring to find the cause which determined the
shape of the Elizabethan public theater.

+The History of the Public Theaters+.--With such models, then, James
Burbage--the father of Richard Burbage, later the great actor manager
of Shakespeare's company--built the first London theater in 1576.  It
was erected not far outside the northern walls of the city, and was
called simply the Theater.  Not far away, a second theater, the
Curtain, was soon put up, so called not from any curtain on the stage,
but from the name of the estate on which it was built.  The next
theater, the Rose, was situated in another quarter, on the Surrey side
of the Thames, where the bear-baiting rings were.  This was
constructed, probably in 1587, by Philip Henslowe, a prominent
theatrical manager.  Some time after 1594, a second theater, the Swan,
was put up in this same region, commonly called the Bankside.  The
suitability of the Bankside as a location for theaters is still further
attested by the removal thither of the Theater in the winter of
1598-1599.  The owner of the land on which the Theater had originally
been {38} built had merely leased it to Burbage--who had since
died,--and, when the lease expired, he attempted to raise the rent,
probably believing that the Burbage heirs were receiving large profits
from the building.  Being unwilling to pay this increased rent, the
Burbages took down the building, and reërected it on the Bankside, this
time calling it the Globe.  The last to be built of the great public
theaters was the Fortune, which Henslowe erected in 1600.  The
situation of the Fortune outside Cripplegate, although a considerable
distance west of the Curtain, was, roughly, that of the earlier
theaters, the northern suburbs of the city.

This list does not include all the theaters built or altered between
1576 and 1600, nor did such building stop at the latter date,--the
Globe, for instance, was burnt and again rebuilt in 1613,--but the
sketch is complete enough for our purposes.  By the end of 1600 all the
more important public theaters were open, and after that date, so far
as we know, no important changes in construction were made.  The next
real step--which was to do away altogether with this type of
theater--did not come until after the Restoration.

+The Buildings+.--Before describing the buildings themselves, it is
necessary to make one qualification.  It is impossible to speak of the
'Elizabethan theaters' or of the 'Elizabethan stage' as if there were
one type to which all theaters and stages conformed.  The Fortune was
undoubtedly a great improvement over the Theater, the outcome of an
evolution which could be traced through the other theaters if we had
the necessary documents.  If the various theaters did not differ from
each other as some of our modern theaters do, they {39} still did
differ in important points.  For example, while the Globe and the
Curtain were round, other theaters were hexagonal or octagonal, and the
Fortune was square.  Likewise, there were certainly differences in
size.  In spite of these facts, it is, however, still possible to
describe the theaters, in general terms which are sufficiently accurate
for our present purpose.

An Elizabethan theater was a three-story building of wooden or
half-timber construction.  The three stories formed three galleries for
spectators.  The first of these was raised a little above the level of
the ground, while the yard, or 'pit,' in which the lower class of
spectators stood, seems to have been somewhat sunken.  The galleries
were supported by oaken columns, often handsomely carved and
ornamented.  They were roofed and ceiled, but the yard was open to the
weather.  Although we know that the Fortune was eighty feet square
outside, and that the yard within was fifty-five feet square, we are
left in uncertainty about the seating capacity.  From fifteen hundred
to eighteen hundred is, however, the most convincing estimate.  There
were two boxes, or 'gentlemen's rooms,' presumably in the first balcony
on either side of the stage.  Besides these, there were other, cheaper
boxes, and the rest of the balcony space was filled with seats.  The
better seats were most comfortably cushioned, and the whole theater
anything but the bare rude place which people often imagine it.
Coryat, a widely traveled Englishman of the period, writes of the
theaters which he saw in Venice that they were "bare and beggarly in
comparison of our stately playhouses in England; neither can their
actors compare with us for stately apparel, {40} shows, or music."
That this was no mere British prejudice is shown by the similar
statements of foreigners traveling in England.

The most striking difference between Elizabethan and modern theaters
was in the position of the stage, which was not back of a great
proscenium frame, but was built out as a platform into the middle of
the yard.  At the Fortune, the stage was forty-three feet wide,--wider,
that is, than most modern stages.[2]  Jutting out from the level of the
top gallery, and extending perhaps ten feet over the stage, was a
square structure called the 'hut,' which rose above the level of the
outside walls.  Built out from the bottom of this, a roof, or 'shadow,'
extended forward over a large part of the stage.  The front of this
'shadow' was borne, in the better theaters, on two columns.  The shadow
and the hut, taken together, are often referred to as the 'heavens.'

+The Stage+.--When we turn from these general features of the theaters
to the stage, we shall find it convenient to speak of a front and a
rear stage, but this does not imply any permanent line of demarcation
between the two, or that they were not often used together as a single
field of action.  The rear stage is simply that part of the stage which
could be shut off from the spectators by curtains; the other, that part
which lay in front of the curtains.  In other words, the front stage is
that portion of the stage which was built out into the yard, for the
curtains continued the line made around the rest of the house by the
front {41} of the galleries.  In both front and rear stages were traps
out of which ghosts or apparitions could rise and into which such
properties as the caldron in _Macbeth_ could sink.  From the 'heavens,'
actors representing gods or spirits--as Jupiter in _Cymbeline_ or Ariel
in _The Tempest_--could be lowered by means of a mechanical contrivance.


[Illustration: TIMON OF ATHENS, v, 4.  OUTER SCENE.

  _Trumpets sound.  Enter Alcibiades with his
    Powers before Athens._

  _Alc_.  "Sound to this Coward, and lascivious
          Towne.  Our terrible approach."

  _Sounds a parly.  The Senators appeare upon the Wals._

Reproduced from _The Shakespearean Stage_, by V. E. Albright, through
the courtesy of the publishers, the Columbia University Press.]


The arrangement of the rear stage may have differed considerably in the
various theaters, but the typical form may best be described as an
alcove in front of which curtains could be drawn.  This alcove was by
no means so small as the word may seem to imply, but must have been
about half as wide as the front stage and perhaps a quarter as deep.
In its rear wall was a door through which the actors could enter
without being seen when the curtains were drawn, and it seems to have
had side doors as well.  To the right and left of it were doors for
such entrances to the front stage as could not properly be made through
the curtains.  This part of the stage was used for such scenes as the
caves in _Cymbeline_ or _The Tempest_, for the tomb in _Romeo and
Juliet_, and for scenes in which characters concealed themselves behind
the arras, as in _I Henry IV_ or _Hamlet_.  Since the front stage could
not be concealed from the spectators, most heavy properties were placed
on the back stage, so that this part of the stage was generally used
for scenes which required such properties.  For many of these scenes,
however, both parts of the stage were used, the actors spreading out
over the front stage soon after the beginning of the scene.

The space between the top of the back stage and the {42} heavens formed
a balcony, like the balcony already described as part of the stage as
arranged in the inn-yards.  This balcony could also be curtained off
when occasion required.  To the right and left of it, over the doors
leading to the front stage, some of the theaters had window-like
openings, which were probably not in line with the balcony, but, like
the doors below them, projected at an oblique angle.  At one of these
windows Jessica appeared in the second act of _The Merchant of Venice_;
from the balcony Romeo took leave of Juliet.  Thus the Elizabethan
dramatist had three fields of action--a front, rear, and upper
stage--which he could use singly, together, or in various combinations.

+Settings and Costumes+.--In order to understand the way in which this
stage was utilized, the student must dismiss from his mind two
widespread errors.  The Elizabethan stage was by no means a bare,
unfurnished platform, nor did the managers substitute for a setting
placards reading "This is a Forest," or "This is a Bedroom."  The
difference between that age and this is not one between no settings and
good ones; it is even possible to doubt whether Shakespeare's plays
were not put on more effectively then than in most of our modern
theaters.  The difference is one of principle, and even this difference
may easily be exaggerated.  When we say that Elizabethan stagings were
'symbolic,' whereas ours are pictorial, we mean that on the former the
presence of a few selected objects suggested to the mind of the
spectator all the others which go to make up the kind of scene
presented.  When a few trees were placed upon the stage, the audience
supplied in {43} imagination the other objects that belong in a forest;
when a throne was there, they saw with the mind's eye a room of state
in a palace.  But our modern stage also demands the help of the
imagination.  It is very far from presenting a completely realistic
picture.  We see three sides of a room and accept the room as complete,
although none of us live in rooms which lack a side.  We see a great
cathedral painted on a back drop, and are hardly disturbed by the fact
that an actor standing near it is twice as high as one of the doors.
The difference between the two stages really simmers down to this: our
symbols are of painted canvas, the Elizabethans' were of another sort.
It is extremely unlikely that the Elizabethans used painted scenes in
their public theaters.  If they ever did, such 'painted cloths' were of
the simplest sort, and not pictures painted in perspective.  Instead,
they relied for their effects upon solid properties--sometimes quite
elaborate ones--such as trees, tombs, wells, beds, thrones, etc.
These, as has been said, were usually set on the rear stage, although
some of them, such as couches and banquet tables, were occasionally
brought forward during the course of a scene.

There were, however, scenes which were acted without any setting.  The
Elizabethans did not feel it necessary to have every scene definitely
localized.  Consequently, many scenes which are described in our modern
editions of Shakespeare as 'A Street,' 'A Place before the Castle,'
etc., were not definitely assigned to any place, and were usually acted
without settings on the front stage before the closed curtains.  In
order that no time should be lost while properties were {44} being
changed, such scenes were commonly inserted between scenes requiring
properties, so that a certain alternation between set and unset scenes
resulted.  The fourth act of the _Merchant of Venice_, for example,
begins with the court-room scene, which demanded the whole stage, the
properties for the court-room being set on the back stage, with perhaps
some moved toward the front.  The fifth act takes place in Portia's
garden, which also took up the whole stage, with garden properties set
on the rear stage.  Between these two scenes comes the one in the
street, which was acted before the closed curtains and required no
properties.  The arrangement is somewhat like that followed in many
modern melodramas, where a scene not requiring properties is acted in
front of a drop scene while scenery is being set behind.  The raising
of the drop--which corresponds to the opening of the Elizabethan
curtains--not only reveals the setting behind, but also makes the whole
stage, including that part which was in front of the drop, the scene of
the action which follows.[3]


[Illustration: TIMON OF ATHENS, v, 3.  INNER SCENE.

_Enter a Souldier in the Woods, seeking Timon._

"_Sol_.--Timon is dead, who hath out-stretcht his span,
         Some Beast reade this; There do's not live a Man.
         Dead sure, and this his Grave, what's on this Tomb."

Reproduced from _The Shakespearean Stage_, by V. E. Albright, through
the courtesy of the publishers, the Columbia University Press.]


The costumes on Shakespeare's stage were very elaborate, but there was
no desire to make them characteristic of any historical period.
Indeed, the striving after historical accuracy of costume is so much a
modern notion that it was nearly two centuries later when Macbeth and
Julius Caesar began to appear in costumes appropriate to their
respective periods.  On the other hand, there probably was some attempt
to distinguish the dress of different nationalities.  Some notion of
how elaborate the costumes of Elizabethan actors were is given by the
fact that Henslowe's {45} diary[4] has an entry of £4 14s. paid for a
pair of hose, and £20 for a cloak.  In connection with this it must be
remembered that money was worth then about eight times what it is now,
and that a playwright of the time rarely received more than £8 for a
play.  Another indication is given in Henslowe's list of the costumes
belonging to the Lord Admiral's men, which included some eighty-seven
garments, for the most part of silk or satin, ornamented with fringe
and gold lace.

+The Private Theater+.--In the preceding sections the type of theater
described has been referred to as 'public.'  This has been done to
distinguish it from the 'private' theater, a type which, although
similar in so far as the general principles of staging employed are
concerned, differed from the public theater in important particulars.
The private theater is so called because it originated in the
performances given before the invited guests of royalty, the nobility,
or the universities.  Since these performances were given in great
halls, the type of theater which resulted was completely roofed, was
lighted by candles, and had seats in the pit as well as in the
galleries--when there were galleries.  As soon as such theaters were
built, admission was, of course, no longer by invitation, but the
prices were so much higher than those of the public theaters that the
audiences remained much more select.  The first of these theaters was
the Blackfriars, the remodeled hall of the former monastery of the
Blackfriars, done over by Burbage in 1596.  Others {46} were those in
which the 'Children of Paul's' acted, the Cockpit, and the Salisbury
Court.  The Blackfriars was at first under royal patronage, the actors
being the 'Children of the Chapel Royal.'  These choir boys were
carefully trained in acting and dancing as well as singing, and were
subsidized by royalty, so that their performances tended to be much
more spectacular than those of the public theaters.  The performances
at the Blackfriars seem to have retained this characteristic even after
1608, when Shakespeare's company took over the theater.  Probably
because of the patronage and interest of royalty, it was in the private
theaters that painted scenes, already used in court masques, were first
introduced.  Thus these roofed theaters are really the forerunners, so
far as England is concerned, of our modern playhouses.

+Effect of Stage Conditions on the Drama+.--When studied in the light
of Elizabethan stage conditions, many characteristics of the plays
written by Shakespeare and his contemporaries cease to be surprising or
puzzling.  A complete conception of all the effects which these
conditions had upon the drama can only be gained by a careful study of
all the plays.  Here, moreover, we are obliged to pass over many points
of more general character, such as the impossibility of representing
night by darkness when the performances were given by daylight in a
theater open to the sun.  Two or three are, however, especially
important.  For instance, since it was possible to leave many scenes
indefinitely localized, and since there was no necessity of long pauses
for the change of heavy scenery, the dramatists were not limited as
ours are to a {47} comparatively small number of scenes.  This was an
advantage in that it gave great freedom and variety to the action; but
it was also a disadvantage in that it led to a scattering of effect and
to looseness of construction.  So in _Antony and Cleopatra_ there are
forty-two scenes, some of which are only a few lines long, and in
consequence the play loses the intense, unified effect which it might
otherwise have produced.  Again, the absence of a front curtain made it
impossible to end an act or play with a grand climax or an impressive
tableau.  Instead, the scenes gradually die away; the actors leave the
stage one by one, or go off in procession.  Whether this was gain or
loss is a debatable question.  At any rate, this caused the Elizabethan
plays to leave on the spectator an impression totally different from
that left by ours.  Finally, the absence of pictorial scenery forced
the dramatists to use verbal description far more than is customary
to-day.  To this fact we owe some passages of poetry which are among
the most beautiful in all dramatic literature.

+Theatrical Companies+.--During Shakespeare's lifetime there were in
existence more or less continuously some twenty theatrical companies,
at least four or five of which, during the greater part of this period,
played contemporaneously in London.  We have already seen how great
nobles, before the end of the fifteenth century, maintained small
companies of men as players of Interludes.  When not wanted by their
patrons, these men traveled about the country, and their example was
followed by other groups whose legal position was a much less certain
quantity.  As a result, a law was passed in 1572 which required that
{48} all companies of actors should be under the definite protection of
some noble.  As time went on, this relation became one of merely
nominal patronage, but the companies continued to be known by the name
of their patron.  Thus the company to which Shakespeare belonged was
known successively as Lord Strange's, the Earl of Derby's, first and
second Lord Hunsdon's (or, because of the office which the Hunsdons
held, as the Lord Chamberlain's), and as the King's company.  At
various times it appeared at the Theater, the Curtain, the Globe, and
the Blackfriars, its greatest triumphs being associated with the Globe.
By 1608, if not before, it was unquestionably the most successful
company in London.  It had the patronage of King James, and it
controlled and acted in what were respectively the most popular public
and private theaters, the Globe and the Blackfriars.  When not acting
in London, it made tours to other cities.  Its number included several
actors of well-known ability, among them Richard Burbage, the greatest
tragic actor of the time.

The most formidable rivals to this company were the Admiral's men and
the children's companies.  The former company was managed by Richard
Henslowe; had, after 1600, a permanent home in the Fortune theater; and
included among its number Edward Alleyn, next to Burbage the most
famous Elizabethan actor.  The two great children's companies were
those made up of the choir boys of the Chapel Royal and of St. Paul's.
The former had begun to give dramatic performances as early as 1506.
They were well trained, had the advantage of royal patronage, and were
{49} extraordinarily popular, becoming very serious rivals of the men's
companies.  The performances of the Children of the Chapel Royal at the
Blackfriars between 1596 and 1608 were the most fashionable in London.
The children's companies were finally suppressed about 1609.

The members of the men's companies were divided into four classes:
those who had shares in the house and in the company, those who had
shares only in the company, hired actors, and apprentices.  The third
of these classes received a fixed salary, the last were cared for by
the individual actors to whom they were apprenticed.  The profits of
the theaters were derived from entrance money and the additional fees
received for the better seats.  All of the first and half of the second
was divided between the members of the first and second classes of
shareholders.  The members of the first received in addition shares in
the other half of the additional fees.[5]

Because female parts were always taken by men or boys, it is sometimes
assumed that Elizabethan acting must have been crude.  On the contrary,
we have every reason to believe that most parts, particularly the less
important ones, were acted better than they are usually acted to-day.
Some of the actors, such as Burbage and Alleyn, were undoubtedly men of
great genius.  All of them had the advantage of regular and consistent
training--a thing only too often lacking in these days when an actor of
ability is almost immediately made a 'star,' although he frequently
knows pitifully little of the art of acting.  One of the most
interesting testimonies to the ability of Elizabethan actors is Ben
{50} Jonson's tribute to the memory of the boy actor, Salathiel Pavy:--

  "Weep with me, all you that read
              This little story;
  And know, for whom a tear you shed
              Death's self is sorry.
  'Twas a child that so did thrive
              In grace and feature,
  As Heaven and Nature seem'd to strive
              Which owned the creature.
  Years he number'd scarce thirteen
              When Fates turn'd cruel,
  Yet three fill'd zodiacs had he been
              The stage's jewel;
  And did act (what now we moan)
              Old men so duly,
  As sooth the Parcae thought him one,
              He play'd so truly.
  So, by error, to his fate
              They all consented;
  But, viewing him since, alas, too late!
              They have repented;
  And have sought, to give new birth,
              In baths to steep him;
  But, being so much too good for earth,
              Heaven vows to keep him."

Many of the points discussed in this chapter are still the subject of
controversy.  The theories of the stage adopted here are, in general,
those of V. E. Albright, _The Shakespearean Stage_ (Macmillan, 1909).
Among the numerous books and articles on these topics, the most useful
are: G. F. Reynolds, _Some Principles of Elizabethan Staging_ (_Modern
Philology_, Vols. 3 and 4); Brodmeier, _Die Shakespeare Bühne_ (Weimar,
1904); Fleay, _Chronicle History of the London Stage_ (London, 1890);
Henslowe's _Diary_, ed. by W. Greg (London, 1904); and the works of
Creizenach and Schelling referred to in the preceding chapter.

[1] Another predecessor, the great hall of a noble or a university, is
mentioned in the section on the private theaters.

[2] In at least some of the theaters, the stage seems to have narrowed
toward the front.

[3] With this whole paragraph, cf. Albright, pp. 81 ff., and 104-105.

[4] This memorandum book of Philip Henslowe, the great manager, is one
of our chief sources of information about the Elizabethan theater.

[5] For Shakespeare's share, cf. p. 15.




Shortly after Shakespeare came to London, England demonstrated her new
greatness to an astonished world; by the defeat of Spain's greatest
fleet, the "invincible Armada," England showed herself as no longer a
small island nation, but as Mistress of the Sea.  In this victory
culminated the growth which had begun under Henry VII, first of Tudor
sovereigns.  Naval supremacy was, however, but a sign of a much greater
and more far-reaching transformation--a transformation which had
affected science, literature, and religion, and one which filled the
men of Shakespeare's time with such enthusiasm for the past, such
confidence in the present, and such hope for the future, as has hardly
been paralleled in the world's history.

During the century which had elapsed since 1485, Copernicus's discovery
that the sun and not the earth was the center of our universe, had
revolutionized the map of the heavens, as Columbus's discovery of
America had revolutionized the map of the world.  Thus stimulated,
scientific investigation started afresh, working in accordance with the
modern methods formulated by Francis Bacon, while voyage quickly
followed voyage, each new discovery adding fuel to the fire of
enthusiasm.  Wonderful tales of new lands and unimagined wealth spread
from mouth to mouth.  The voyages {52} of Martin Frobisher, Anthony
Hawkins, and Francis Drake opened new worlds, not only to English
imagination, but also to English trade.  It was they and men like them
who gave to England her unexpected naval and commercial supremacy.

The latter was partly a result of the former.  Elizabeth's victories
over foreign enemies strengthened her power at home, and assured that
freedom from internal discord which is essential to commercial
prosperity.  No sovereign distracted by danger from without could have
mastered the factions which had sprung up within.  The great religious
movement known as the Protestant Reformation had not stopped in England
with the separation of the English from the Roman Church under Henry
VIII.  It had brought into existence the Puritan, austere, bigoted,
opposed to beauty of church and ceremonial, yet filled with superb
moral and religious enthusiasm.  It had brought about the persecution
of Catholics and the still more merciless persecution of Protestants
during the Catholic reaction under Queen Mary.  Its successes, which
began again with Elizabeth's reign, gave occasion for continual
intrigues of Catholic emissaries.  It all but plunged the nation into
civil war, a war averted only by the victory over Spain and by the
statesmanship of Elizabeth.  Freed from the fear of war, however,
Puritan and Churchman, each in his own way, could apply his enthusiasm
to the works of peace.

With the return of peace and security, moreover, England first felt the
full effect of the literary Renaissance.  The revival of classical
learning had already transformed the art and literature of the
continent, {53} especially that of Italy.  When, therefore, England
turned again to the classics, it turned also to the Italian culture and
literature to which the Renaissance had given birth, and from these
sources English literature received new beauty of thought and form.

It was, then, in a new England that Shakespeare lived, an England
intensely proud of the past which had made the present possible, an
England rich enough and secure enough to have leisure and interest for
literature, an England so vigorous, so confident, that it could not
fail to bring out all that was latent in its greatest genius.

+The City of London+.--All this enthusiasm and activity reached its
highest point in London.  Even more then than now, London was the
center of influence, the place to which the greatest abilities were
irresistibly attracted, and in which their greatest work was done.  But
the London of Shakespeare's time was vastly different from the London
of to-day.  On all sides, except that washed by the Thames, the
mediaeval walls were still standing and served as the city's actual
boundary.  Outside them were several important suburbs, but where now
houses extend for miles in unbroken ranks, there were then open fields
and pleasant woods.  The total population of the city hardly exceeded a
hundred thousand, while that of the suburbs, including the many guests
of the numerous inns, amounted to perhaps a hundred thousand more.
Hence, although there undoubtedly was crowding in the poorer quarters,
London was a much more open city than it is to-day.  The great houses
all had their gardens, and a few minutes walk in any direction brought
one to open country.


Westminster, now well within the greater London, was then only the most
important suburb.  Here was the Hall in which Parliament met, and, not
far away, Whitehall, the favorite London residence of the Queen.
Attracted by the presence of royalty, many of the great nobles had
built their houses in this quarter, so that the north bank of the
Thames from Westminster to the City was lined with stately buildings.

The Thames was London's pleasantest highway.  It was then a clear,
beautiful river spanned by a single bridge.  If one wished to go from
the City to Westminster, or even eastward or westward within the City
itself, one could go most easily by boat.  The Queen in her royal barge
was often to be seen on the river.  The great merchant companies had
their splendid barges, in which they made stately progresses.  One went
by boat to the bear gardens and theaters on the south bank.  Below the
bridge, the river was crowded with shipping.  At one of the wharves lay
an object of universal interest, the _Golden Hind_, the ship in which
Drake had made his famous voyage round the world.

Within the city, most of the streets were narrow, poorly paved, and
worse lighted.  Those who went about by night had their servants carry
torches, called "links," before them, or hired boys to light them home.
Such sanitation as existed was wretched, so that plagues and other
diseases spread rapidly and carried off an appalling number of victims.
The ignorance and inefficiency of the police is rather portrayed than
satirized in Shakespeare's Dogberry and Verges.  Such evils were common
to all seventeenth-century cities, but these cities had their
compensations in a freedom {55} and picturesqueness which have
disappeared from our modern towns.

+The Citizens+.--In Elizabethan London, as in every city, the men who
represented extremes of wealth and poverty, the courtiers and their
imitators, the beggars and the sharpers, are those of whom we hear
most; but the greater part of the population, that which controlled the
city government, was of the middle class, sober, self-respecting
tradespeople, inclined towards Puritanism, and jealous of their
independence.  Such people naturally distrusted and disliked the actors
and their class, and used against them, as far as they could, the great
authority of the city.  In spite of court favor, the actors were
compelled by city ordinances to build their theaters outside the city
limits or on ground which the city did not control.  Several attempts
were made to suppress play acting altogether, ostensibly because of the
danger that crowded audiences would spread the plague when it became
epidemic.  In spite of this official opposition, however, the sober
citizens formed a goodly part of theater audiences until after the
accession of King James, when the rising tide of Puritanism led to
increased austerity.  At no time were the majority of the citizens
entirely free from a love for worldly pleasures.  They swelled the
crowds at the taverns, and their wives often vied with the great ladies
of court in extravagance of dress.

+St. Paul's+.--The great meeting place of London was, oddly enough, the
nave of St. Paul's Cathedral.  This superb Gothic church, later
destroyed by the Great Fire, was used as a common passageway, as a
place for doing business and for meeting friends.  In {56} the late
morning hours, the men-about-town promenaded there, displaying their
gorgeous clothes and hailing those whom they wished to have known as
their acquaintances.  If a gallant's cash were at low ebb, he loitered
there, hoping for an invitation to dinner.  If he had had a dinner, he
often came back for another stroll in the afternoon.  At one pillar he
would find lawyers standing; at another, serving men seeking
employment; at still another, public secretaries.  Here one could learn
anything from the latest fashion to the latest political scandal.
Meanwhile, divine worship might be going on in the chancel, unobserved
unless some fop wished to make himself conspicuous by joking with the
choir boys.  Thus St. Paul's was a school of life invaluable to the
dramatist.  We know that Ben Jonson learned much there, and we can
hardly doubt that Shakespeare did likewise.

+The Taverns+.--Another center of London life was the tavern.  The man
who would now lunch at his club then dined at an 'ordinary,' a _table
d'hôte_ in some tavern.  Men dined at noon, and then sat on over their
wine, smoking or playing at cards or dice.  In the evening one could
always find there music and good company.  One tradition of Shakespeare
tells of his evenings at the Mermaid tavern.  "Many were the
wit-combates," writes Fuller, "betwixt him [Shakespeare] and Ben
Jonson, which two I behold like a Spanish great gallion, and an English
man of War; Master Jonson (like the former) was built far higher in
Learning; Solid, but Slow in his performances.  Shake-spear, with the
English man-of-War, lesser in bulk, but lighter in sailing, could turn
with all tides, {57} tack about and take advantage of all winds, by the
quickness of his Wit and Invention."  Francis Beaumont, the dramatist,
wrote the following verses to Ben Jonson:--

                "What things have we seen
  Done at the Mermaid, heard words that have been
  So nimble, and so full of subtle flame,
  As if everyone from whence they came
  Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest,
  And had resolved to live a fool the rest
  Of his dull life; then when there hath been thrown
  Wit able enough to justify the town
  For three days past; wit that might warrant be
  For the whole city to talk foolishly
  Till that were cancelled; and when that was gone,
  We left an air behind us, which alone
  Was able to make the two next companies
  (Right witty, though but downright fools) more wise."

+At the Theater+.--Having dined, the Elizabethan gentleman often
visited one of the numerous bookshops, or else went to the theater,
perhaps to the Globe.  In the latter case, since this theater was on
the south bank of the Thames, he was most likely to cross the river by
boat.  A flag, floating from a turret over the theater, announced a
performance there.  The prices paid for admission varied, but the
regular price for entrance to the Globe seems to have been a penny
(about fifteen cents in the money of to-day).  This, however, gave one
only the right to stand in the pit or, perhaps, to sit in the top
gallery.  For a box the price was probably a shilling (equivalent to
two dollars), the poorer seats costing less.  At the aristocratic
Blackfriars, sixpence (one dollar) was the {58} lowest price.  At this
theater, the most fashionable occupied seats on the stage, where they
were at once extremely conspicuous and in the way of the actors; but
this custom probably did not spread to the Globe before 1603.  At the
Blackfriars, too, one could have a seat in the pit, while at the Globe
the pit was filled with a standing, jostling crowd of apprentices and
riffraff.  In the theater every one was talking, laughing, smoking,
buying oranges, nuts, wine, or cheap books from shouting venders, just
as is done in some music halls to-day.  Once the trumpet had sounded
for the third time, indicating the beginning of the performance, a
reasonable degree of quiet was restored, until a pause in the action
let the uproar burst forth anew.  At an Elizabethan theater there were
no pauses for shifting scenes.  Consequently the few introduced were
determined either by convention or by breaks in the action.  At the
Blackfriars and more aristocratic theaters, there was music between the
acts, but at the Globe this was not customary until a comparatively
late date, if ever.

An audience like that at the Globe, made up of all sorts and conditions
of men from the highest nobility to the lowest criminal, was, quite
naturally, not easy to please as a whole.  Yet, after all, the
Elizabethans were less critical in some respects than we are.  Although
many comparatively cheap books were published, reading had not then
become a habit, and a good plot was not the less appreciated because it
was old.  The audiences did, however, demand constant variety, so that
plays had short runs, and most dramatists were forced to pay more
attention to quantity {59} than to quality of production.  The
playwrights had, nevertheless, one great advantage over ours.  Since
the performances were given in the afternoon, and since theaters like
the Globe were open to the weather, these men wrote for audiences which
were fresh and wide-awake, ready to receive the best which the
dramatist had to give.

It was under such conditions as these that Shakespeare worked.  He
wrote for all classes of people, men bound together, nevertheless, by a
common enthusiasm for England's past and a common confidence in
England's future; men who were constantly coming in contact with
persons from all parts of Europe, with sailors and travelers who had
seen the wonders of the New World and the Old; men so stimulated by new
discoveries, by new achievements of every sort, that hardly anything,
even the supernatural, seemed for them impossible.  Outside of ancient
Athens, no dramatist has had a more favorable environment.

The best books on this subject for the general reader: Sir Walter
Besant, _London in the Time of the Tudors_ (London, 1904); H. T.
Stephenson, _Shakespeare's London_ (Henry Holt, 1905); T. F. Ordish,
_Shakespeare's London_ (The Temple Shakespeare Manuals, 1897).




We shall later trace Shakespeare's development as a writer of plays.
We must first, however, turn back to discuss some early productions of
his, which were composed before most of his dramas, and which are
wholly distinct from these in character.

Every young author who mixes with men notices what kinds of work other
writers are producing, and is tempted to try his hand at every kind in
turn.  Later he learns that he is fitted for one particular kind of
work; and, leaving other forms of writing to other men, devotes the
rest of his life to his chosen field.  So it was with Shakespeare.
While a young man, he tried several different forms of poetry in
imitation of contemporary versifiers, and thus produced the poems which
we are to discuss in this chapter.  Later he came to realize that his
special genius was in the field of the drama, and abandoned other types
of poetry to turn his whole energy toward the production of plays.
Although unquestionably inferior to the author's greatest comedies and
tragedies, these early poems are, in their kind, masterpieces of

+Venus and Adonis+.--The first of these poems, a verse narrative of
some 1204 lines, called _Venus and Adonis_, was printed in the spring
of 1593 when the {61} author was about twenty-nine years old.  As far
as we have evidence, it was the first of all Shakespeare's works to
appear in print;[1] but it is possible that some early plays were
composed before it although printed after it.

Other poets of the day had been interested in retelling in their own
way old stories of Greek and Roman literature, and Shakespeare, in
_Venus and Adonis_, was engaged in the same task.  The outline of the
poem is taken (either directly or through an imitation of previous
borrowers) from the Latin poet Ovid,[2] who lived in the time of
Christ.  Venus, the goddess of love, is enamored of a beautiful boy,
called Adonis, and tries in vain by every device to win his affection.
He repulses all her advances, and finally runs away to go hunting, and
is killed by a wild boar.  Venus mourns over his dead body, and causes
a flower (the anemone or wind flower) to spring from his blood.
Shakespeare's handling of the story shows both the virtues and the
defects of a young writer.  It is more diffuse, more wordy, than his
later work, and written for the taste of another time than ours; but,
on the other hand, it is full of vivid, picturesque language of
melodious rhythm, and of charming little touches of country life.

Like most of Shakespeare's verse, it is written in iambic
pentameter.[3]  The poem is divided into stanzas {62} of six lines
each, in which the first and third lines rime, the second and fourth,
and the fifth and sixth.  We represent this arrangement of rimes by
saying that the rime scheme of the stanza is _a, b, a, b, c, c,_ where
the same letter represents the same riming sound at the ends of lines.
As a specimen stanza, the following, often quoted because of the vivid
picture it presents, is given.  It describes a mettlesome horse.

  "Round-hoof'd, short-jointed, fetlocks shag and long,      (_a-)
  Round breast, full eye, small head and nostril wide,       (_b-)
  High crest, short ears, straight legs and passing strong,  (_a_)
  Thin mane, thick tail, broad buttock, tender hide:         (_b_)
    Look, what a horse should have he did not lack,          (_c_)
    Save a proud rider on so proud a back."                  (_c_)

+The Rape of Lucrece+.--A year later, in 1594, when Shakespeare was
thirty, he published another narrative poem, _The Rape of Lucrece_.
The story of Lucrece had also come down from Ovid.[4]  This poem is
about 1800 lines in length.  It tells the old legend, found at the
beginning of all Roman histories, how Sextus Tarquin ravished Lucrece,
the pure and beautiful wife of Collatine, one of the Roman nobles; how
she killed herself rather than survive her shame; and how her husband
and friends swore in revenge to dethrone the whole Tarquin family.
This poem, as compared with _Venus and Adonis_, shows some traces of
increasing maturity.  The author does more serious and concentrated
thinking as he writes.  Whether or not it is a better poem is a
question which every man must settle for himself.  Its best passages
are probably more impressive, its poorest ones more dull.


The form of stanza used here is known as "rime royal," which had become
famous two centuries before as a favorite meter of the first great
English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer.  This stanza contains seven lines
instead of six: the rime-scheme is as follows: _a, b, a, b, b, c, c_.
The following is a specimen stanza from the poem:--

  "Now stole upon the time the dead of night,            (_a_)
  When heavy sleep had closed up mortal eyes.            (_b_)
  No comfortable star did lend his light,                (_a_)
  No noise but owls' and wolves' death-boding cries;     (_b_)
  Now serves the season that they may surprise           (_b_)
    The silly lambs.  Pure thoughts are dead and still,  (_c_)
    While lust and murder wakes to stain and kill."      (_c_)

A significant fact about both of these poems is that they were
dedicated to Henry Wriothesley (pronounced Wrisley or Rot'-es-ly), Earl
of Southampton, who has already been mentioned as a friend and patron
of Shakespeare.  The dedication at the beginning of _Venus and Adonis_
is conventional and almost timid in tone; that prefixed to the Lucrece
seems to indicate a closer and more confident friendship which had
grown up during the intervening year.  Dedications to some prominent
man were frequently prefixed to books by Elizabethan authors, either as
a mark of love and respect to the person addressed, or in hopes that a
little pecuniary help would result from this acceptable form of
flattery.  In Shakespeare's case it may possibly have fulfilled both of
these purposes.

+The Sonnets+.--Besides these two narrative poems Shakespeare wrote
numerous sonnets.  In order to {64} understand his accomplishment in
this form of poetry, some account of the type is necessary.

The sonnet may be briefly defined as a rimed poem in iambic pentameter,
containing fourteen lines, divided into the octave of eight lines and
the sextet of six.

The sonnet originated in southern Europe, and reached its highest stage
of development in the hands of the great Italian poet Petrarch, who
lived some two centuries before Shakespeare.  As written by him it was
characterized by a complicated rime scheme,[5] {65} which gave each one
of these short poems an atmosphere of unusual elegance and polish.

Sonnets were often written in groups on a single theme.  These were
called sonnet sequences.  Each separate poem was like a single facet of
a diamond, illuminating the subject from a new point of view.

In the hands of Petrarch and other great writers of his own and later
times, the sonnet became one of the most popular forms of verse in
Europe.  Such popularity for any particular type of literature never
arises without a reason.  The aim of the sonnet is to embody one single
idea or emotion, one deep thought or wave of strong feeling, to
concentrate the reader's whole mind on this one central idea, and to
clinch it at the end by some epigrammatic phrase which will fasten it
firmly in the reader's memory.  For instance, in Milton's sonnet _On
his Blindness_, the central idea is the glory of patience; and the last
line drives this main idea home in words so pithily adapted that they
have become almost proverbial.

During the sixteenth century, rich young Englishmen were in the habit
of traveling in Italy for education and general culture.  They brought
home with them a great deal that they saw in this brilliant and highly
educated country; and among other things they imported into England the
Italian habit of writing sonnets.  The first men who composed sonnets
in English after the Italian models were two young noblemen, Sir Thomas
Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey, who wrote just before Shakespeare was
born.  Their work called out a crowd of imitators; and in a few years
the writing of sonnets became the fashion.


As a young man, Shakespeare found himself among a crowd of authors,
with whom sonnetteering was a literary craze; and it is not surprising
that he should follow the fashion.  Most of these were probably
composed about 1594, when the poet was thirty years old; but in regard
to this there is some uncertainty.  A few were certainly later.  They
were not printed in a complete volume until 1609;[6] and then they were
issued by a piratical publisher, apparently without the author's

In the Shakespearean sonnet the complicated rime scheme of its Italian
original has become very much simplified, being reduced to the
following form: _a, b, a, b; c, d, c, d_; _e, f, e, f_; _g, g_.  This
is merely three four-line stanzas with alternate rimes, plus a final
couplet.  Such a simplified form had already been used by other English
authors, from whom our poet borrowed it.

Shakespeare's sonnets, apart from some scattered ones in his plays, are
154[7] in number.  They are usually divided into two groups or
sequences.  The first sequence consists of numbers 1-126 (according to
the original edition); and most of them are unquestionably addressed to
a man.  The second sequence contains numbers 127-154, and the majority
of these are clearly written to a woman.  There are a few in both
groups which do not show clearly the sex of the person addressed, and
also a few which are not addressed to any one.


Beyond some vague guesses, we have no idea as to the identity of the
"dark lady" who inspired most of the last twenty-eight sonnets.
Somewhat less uncertainty surrounds the man to whom the poet speaks in
the first sequence.  A not improbable theory is that he was the Earl of
Southampton already mentioned, although this cannot be considered as
proved.[8]  The chief arguments which point to Southampton are: (_a_)
That Shakespeare had already dedicated _Venus and Adonis_ and _Lucrece_
to him; (_b_) that he was regarded at that time as a patron of poets;
(_c_) that the statements about this unnamed friend, his reluctance to
marry, his fair complexion and personal beauty, his mixture of virtues
and faults, fit Southampton better than any other man of that period
whom we have any cause to associate with Shakespeare; and (_d_) that he
was the only patron of Shakespeare's early years known to us, and was
warmly interested in the poet.

The literary value of the different sonnets varies considerably.  When
an author is writing a fashionable {68} form of verse, he is apt to
become more or less imitative and artificial at times, saying things
merely because it is the vogue to say them; and Shakespeare here cannot
be wholly acquitted of this fault.  But at other times he speaks from
heart to heart with a depth of real emotion and wealth of vivid
expression which has given us some of the noblest poetry in the

Another question, more difficult to settle than the literary value of
these poems, is their value as a revelation of Shakespeare's own life.
If we could take in earnest everything which is said in the sonnets, we
should learn a great many facts about the man who wrote them.  But
modern scholarship seems to feel more and more that we cannot take all
their statements literally.  We must remember here again that
Shakespeare says many things because it was the fashion in his day for
sonnetteers to say them.  For example, he gives some eloquent
descriptions of the woes of old age; but we know that contemporary
poets lamented about old age when they had not yet reached years of
discretion; and consequently we are not at all convinced that
Shakespeare was either really old or prematurely aged.  Such
considerations need not interfere with our enjoyment of the poetry, for
the author's imagination may have made a poetical fancy seem real to
him as he wrote; but they certainly do not lessen our doubts in regard
to the value of the sonnets as autobiography.  The majority of the
sonnets, at least, cannot be said to throw any light on Shakespeare's

There are, however, six sonnets, connected with each other in subject,
which, more definitely than any of {69} the others, shadow forth a real
event in the poet's life.  These are numbers XL, XLI, XLII, CXXXIII,
CXXXIV, CXLIV.  They seem to show that a woman whom the poet loved had
forsaken him for the man to whom the sonnets are written; and that the
poet submits to this, owing to his deep friendship for the man.  Two of
these sonnets are given below.


  "Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
    Which like two spirits do suggest me still:
  The better angel is a man right fair,
    The worser spirit a woman colour'd ill.
  To win me soon to hell, my female evil
    Tempteth my better angel from my side,
  And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
    Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
  And whether that my angel be turn'd fiend
    Suspect I may, yet not directly tell:
  But being both from me, both to each friend,
    I guess one angel in another's hell:
  Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,
  Till my bad angel fire my good one out."


  "These pretty wrongs that liberty commits,
    When I am sometime absent from thy heart,
  Thy beauty and thy years full well befits,
    For still temptation follows where thou art.
  Gentle thou art, and therefore to be won,
    Beauteous thou art, therefore to be assailed;
  And when a woman woos, what woman's son
    Will sourly leave her till she have prevailed?
  Ay me! but yet thou mightst my seat forbear,
    And chide thy beauty and thy straying youth,
  Who lead thee in their riot even there


    Where thou art forced to break a twofold truth,
  Hers, by thy beauty tempting her to thee,
  Thine, by thy beauty being false to me."

Again, in Sonnet CX, we find an allusion to the distasteful nature of
the actor's profession which seems to ring sincere.  Thus in a few
cases Shakespeare may be giving us glimpses into his real heart; but in
general the sentiments expressed in his sonnets could be explained as
due to the literary conventions of this time.

+Other Poems+.--The two narrative poems and the sonnets make up most of
Shakespeare's nondramatic poetry.  A word may be added about some other
scattered bits of verse which are connected with his name.  In 1599 an
unscrupulous publisher, named William Jaggard, brought out a book of
miscellaneous poems by various authors, called _The Passionate
Pilgrim_.  Since Shakespeare was a popular writer, his name was sure to
increase the sale of any book; so Jaggard, with an advertising instinct
worthy of a later age, coolly printed the whole thing as the work of
Shakespeare.  As a matter of fact, only a few short pieces were by him;
and were probably stolen from some private manuscript.

In 1601 a poem, _The Phoenix and the Turtle_, was also printed as his
in an appendix to a longer poem by another man.  We cannot trust the
printer when he signs it with Shakespeare's name, and we have no other
evidence about its authorship; but the majority of scholars believe it
to be genuine.  Another poem, _A Lover's Complaint_, which was printed
in the same volume with the sonnets in 1609, is of distinctly less
merit and probably spurious.


Lastly, the short poems incorporated in the plays deserve brief notice.
In a way they are part of the plots in which they are embedded; but
they may also be considered as separate lyrics.  Several sonnets and
verses in stanza form occur in _Romeo and Juliet_ and in the early
comedies.  Three of these were printed as separate poems in _The
Passionate Pilgrim_.  Far more important than the above, however, are
the songs which are scattered through all the plays early and late.
Their merit is of a supreme quality; some of the most famous musical
composers, inspired by his works, have graced them with admirable
music.  One of the most attractive features in his lyrics is their
spontaneous ease of expression.  They seem to lilt into music of their
own accord, as naturally as birds sing.  The best of these are found in
the comedies of the Second Period and in the romantic plays of the
Fourth.  "Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more" in _Much Ado About
Nothing_; "Blow, blow, thou winter wind" in _As You Like it_; "Hark,
hark, the lark at heaven's gate sings" in _Cymbeline_; and "Full fathom
five thy father lies" in _The Tempest_,--these and others like them
show that the author, though primarily a dramatist, could be among the
greatest of song writers when he tried.

The following lines taken from the little-read play, _The Two Gentlemen
of Verona_, may serve to illustrate the perfection of the Shakespearean


  Who is Sylvia? what is she,
    That all our swains commend her?
  Holy, fair, and wise is she;
    The heaven such grace did lend her,
  That she might admired be.


  Is she kind as she is fair?
    For beauty lives with kindness:
  Love doth to her eyes repair
    To help him of his blindness,
  And being helped, inhabits there.

  Then to Sylvia let us sing,
    That Sylvia is excelling;
  She excels each mortal thing
    Upon the dull earth dwelling;
  To her let us garlands bring.

Such are Shakespeare's nondramatic writings.  Two narrative poems with
the faults of youth but with many redeeming virtues; one hundred and
fifty-four sonnets, very unequal in merit but touching at their best
the high-water mark of English verse; a few stray fragments of disputed
authorship and doubtful value; and finally a handful of scattered
songs, short, but almost perfect of their kind,--this is what we have
outside of the plays.  Neither in quantity nor quality can this work
compare with the poetic value of the great dramas; but had it been
written by any other man, we should have thought it wonderful enough.

On the sonnets, the appendix to Mr. Sidney Lee's book, _A Life of
William Shakespeare_, 1909, is particularly valuable.

[1] Shakespeare in his dedication calls it "the first heir of my
invention"; but opinions differ as to what he meant by this.

[2] Ovid's _Metamorphoses_, Book X.

[3] That is, the common, or standard, line has ten syllables with an
accent on every even syllable, as in the following line:--

    1   +2+  3  +4+ 5  +6+ 7   +8+   9  +10+
   The NIGHT of SORrow NOW is TURN'D to DAY.

[4] From his _Fasti_.

[5] The rime scheme of the Italian type divided each sonnet into two
parts, the first one of eight lines, the second of six.  In the first
eight lines the rimes usually went a, b, b, a, a, b, b, a; but
sometimes _a, b, a, b, a, b, a, b_: in both cases using only two rimes
for the eight lines.  In the second or six-line part there were several
different arrangements, of which the following were the most common:
(1) _c, d, e, c, d, e_; (2) _c, d, c, d, c, d_; (3) _c, d, e, d, c, e_.
All of these rime-schemes alike were intended, by their constant
repetition and interlocking of the same rimes, to give the whole poem
an air of exquisite workmanship, like that of a finely modeled vase.
Here is an English sonnet of Milton's, imitating the form of Petrarch's
and illustrating its rime scheme:--

  "When I consider how my light is spent                       (_a_)
          Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,        (_b_)
          And that one talent which is death to hide           (_b_)
  Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent             (_a_)
  To serve therewith my Maker, and present                     (_a_)
          My true account, lest He returning chide,            (_b_)
          Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?             (_b_)
  I fondly ask.  But Patience, to prevent                      (_a_)
  That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need                 (_c_)
          Either man's work or his own gifts.  Who best        (_d_)
        Bear his mild yoke, they serve Him best.  His state    (_e_)
  Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,                   (_c_)
          And post o'er land and ocean without rest;           (_d_)
        They also serve who only stand and wait."              (_e_)

[6] See p. 113.

[7] Including at least three which do not have in all respects the
regular sonnet form.

[8] Southampton's chief rival for this position in the opinion of
scholars has been William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke.  One point in his
favor has been that the initials W. H. (supposed to stand for William
Herbert) are given as those of the person to whom the dedication of the
volume was addressed by its publisher.  Mr. Sidney Lee thinks, however,
that this is a dedication by the printer to the printer's friend, not
by Shakespeare to Shakespeare's friend,--a possible, though not wholly
convincing, explanation.  The First Folio was dedicated to Herbert
after Shakespeare's death, but we have no evidence that the two men
were intimate friends while living.  Meres mentions the sonnets of
Shakespeare in 1598, so part of them at least must have been written
before that year; but Herbert did not have a permanent residence in
London until 1598, and was then only eighteen years old.




The most profitable method of studying any writer is to take up his
works in the order in which they were written.  More and more this
method is being adopted toward all authors, ancient and modern, Virgil
or Milton, Dante or Tennyson.  We are thus enabled to trace the gradual
growth of the poet's mind from one production to another,--his constant
increase in skill, in judgment, in knowledge of mankind.  The great
characteristic of the genius is, not simply that he knows more than
other men at first, but that he has in him such vast possibilities of
growth, of improving with time, and learning by his own mistakes.
Consequently, it is very important to know that a certain play or poem
is faulty because it was its author's first crude attempt; that a
second is better because it was written five years later in the light
of added experience; and that a third is better still because it came
ten years after the second, at the climax of the writer's powers.

Besides showing the author's growth, this method also shows his
relation to the great literary movements of his time.  As fashions in
dress and sports keep shifting, fashions in literature are changing
just as constantly, and the dominant type may alter two or {74} three
times during one man's life.  If an author changes to meet these
demands, it is important to know that one of his plays was merry comedy
because written at a time when merry comedies filled all the
playhouses; and that another is sober tragedy because composed while
most of the theaters were acting and demanding sober tragedy.

Now Shakespeare not only improved a great deal while composing his
plays, but also conformed, to some extent at least, to the different
tastes of his audience at different periods of his life.  Hence, a
knowledge of the order in which his plays were written is very
valuable, and should form the first step in a careful study of his

Unfortunately, when we attempt to arrange Shakespeare's plays in
chronological order, we encounter many practical difficulties in
finding just what this order is.  We know that Tennyson developed a
great deal as a poet between the ages of eighteen and thirty-three; and
we can show this by pointing to four successive volumes of his poems,
published respectively at the ages of eighteen, twenty-one,
twenty-three, and thirty-three, and each rising in merit above the one
before it.  We know definitely in what order these volumes come, for we
find on the title-page of each the date when it was printed.  But
scarcely half of Shakespeare's plays were printed in this way during
his life.  The others, some twenty in all, are found only in one big
folio volume which gives no hint of their proper order or year of
composition, and which bears on its title-page the date of the
printing, 1623, seven years after Shakespeare died.  Many plays, too,
published {75} early, were written some years before publication, so
that the date of printing on the flyleaf of the quarto, even where a
quarto exists, simply shows that the play was written sometime before
that year but does not tell at all _how long_ before.  How, then, are
we to trace Shakespeare's growth from year to year, through his
successive dramas, when the quartos help us so little and when the
majority of these dramas are piled before us in one volume by the
editors of the First Folio, without a word of explanation as to which
plays are early attempts and which mature work?

At first sight the above problem seems almost hopeless.  The researches
of scholars for over a century, however, have gathered together a mass
of evidence which determines pretty accurately the order in which these
different plays were written.

This evidence is of two kinds, external and internal.  By external
evidence we mean that found _outside_ of the play, references to it in
other books of the time, and similar material.  By internal evidence we
mean that found _inside_ of the play itself.

+External Evidence+.--This is of several kinds.  In the first place,
every play which was to be printed had to be entered in the Stationers'
Register, and all these entries are dated.  Hence we know that certain
plays were prepared for publication by the time mentioned.  For
instance, "A Book called Antony and Cleopatra" was entered May 20,
1608; and although apparently the book was not finally printed at that
time, and although our only copy of _Antony and Cleopatra_ is that in
the Folio of 1623, yet we feel reasonably certain from this entry that
this play must have been written either {76} in 1608 or earlier.  In
addition to the record of the Stationers' Register, we have the dates
on the title-pages of such plays as appeared in Quarto.  These
evidences, it must be remembered, determine only the latest possible
date for the play, as many were written long before they were printed,
or even entered.

Again, other men sometimes used in their books expressions borrowed
from Shakespeare or remarks which sound like allusions to something of
his.  Here, if we know the date of the other man's book, we learn that
the play of Shakespeare from which he borrowed must have been in
existence before that date.  Thus, when the poet Barksted prints a poem
in 1607 and borrows a passage in it from _Measure for Measure_, we
conclude that _Measure for Measure_ must have been produced before
1607, or Barksted could not have copied from it.  This form of evidence
has its dangers, since occasionally we cannot tell whether Shakespeare
borrowed from the other man or the other man from him; nevertheless it
is often valuable.

Furthermore, we sometimes find in contemporary books or papers, which
are dated, an account of the acting of some play.  A law student named
John Manningham left a diary in which he records that on February 2,
1602 he saw a play called _Twelfth Night or What You Will_ in the Hall
of the Middle Temple; and his account of the play shows that it was
Shakespeare's.  Dr. Simon Forman, in a similar diary, describes the
performance of three Shakespearean plays, two of the accounts being
dated.  Still more important in this class is the famous allusion,
already quoted, by Francis Meres in his _Palladis Tamia_, a {77} book
published in 1598.  In this he mentions with high praise six comedies
of Shakespeare: _The Two Gentlemen of Verona_, _The Comedy of Errors_,
_Love's Labour's Lost_, _Love's Labour's Won_,[1] _A Midsummer Night's
Dream_, and _The Merchant of Venice_; and six "tragedies": _Richard
II_, _Richard III_, _Henry IV_, _King John_, _Titus Andronicus_, and
_Romeo and Juliet_.[2] Hence, we know that all these plays were written
and acted somewhere before 1598, although three of them did not appear
in print until 1623.

The above list does not exhaust all the forms of external evidence, but
merely shows its general nature.  External evidence, as can be seen, is
not something mysterious and peculiar, but simply an application of
common sense to the problem in hand.

Frequently two pieces of external evidence will accomplish what neither
one could do alone.  Often one fact will show that a play came
somewhere before a certain date, but not show how long before, and
another will prove that the play came after another date, without
telling how long after.  For example, _King Lear_ was written before
1606, for we have a definite statement that it was performed then.  It
was written after 1603, for it borrowed material from a book printed in
that year.  This method of hemming in a play between its earliest and
its latest possible date is common and useful, both with Shakespeare
and with other writers.

+Internal Evidence+.--By the above methods a few plays have been dated
quite accurately, and many others confined between limits only two or
three years {78} apart.  But many plays are still dated very vaguely,
and some are not dated at all.  For further results we must fall back
on internal evidence.  The first, though by no means the most
important, form of this consists of allusions _within the play to
contemporary events_.  If a boy should read in an old diary of his
grandmother's that she had just heard of the fight at Gettysburg, he
would feel certain that the words were written a few days after that
great battle, even if there were no date anywhere in the manuscript.
In the same way, when the Prologue of Shakespeare's _Henry V_ alludes
to the fact that Elizabeth's general (the Earl of Essex) is in Ireland
quelling a rebellion, we know that this was written between April and
September of 1599, the period during which Essex actually was in
Ireland.  Similarly, certain details in _The Tempest_ appear to have
been borrowed from accounts of the wreck of Sir George Somers's ship in
1609.  As Shakespeare could not have borrowed from these accounts
before they existed, he must have written his comedy sometime after

But the main form of internal evidence, what is usually meant by that
term, is the testimony in the character and style of the plays
themselves as to the maturity of the man who wrote them.  Just as the
stump of a tree sawn across shows its age by its successive rings of
growth, so a poem, if carefully {79} examined, shows the rings of
growth in the author's style of thought and expression.

The simplest and most tangible form of this evidence is that which is
found in meter.  If we read in order of composition those plays which
we have already succeeded in dating, we shall find certain habits of
versification steadily growing on the author, as play succeeded play.

In the first place, most of the lines in the early plays are
'end-stopped'; that is, the sense halts at the close of each line with
a resulting pause in reading.  In the later plays the sense frequently
runs over from one line into another, producing what is called a
'run-on' line instead of an 'end-stopped' one.  By comparing the
following passages, the first of which contains nothing but end-stopped
lines and the second several run-on lines, the reader can easily see
the difference.

(_a_) From an early play:--

  "I from my mistress come to you in post:
  If I return, I shall be post indeed,
  For she will score your fault upon my pate.
  Methinks your maw, like mine, should be your clock,
  And strike you home without a messenger."
          --_Comedy of Errors_, I, ii, 63-67.

(_b_) From a late play:--

  "Mark your divorce, young sir,  [end-stopped]
  Whom son I dare not call.  Thou art too base  [run-on]
  To be acknowledg'd.  Thou, a sceptre's heir,  [end-stopped]
  That thus affects a sheep-hook!  Thou old traitor,  [end-stopped]


  I am sorry that by hanging thee I can  [run-on]
  But shorten your life one week.  And thou, fresh piece  [run-on]
  Of excellent witchcraft, who of force must know  [end-stopped]
  The royal fool thou cop'st with...--"
          --_Winter's Tale_, IV, iv, 427-434.

Since Shakespeare keeps constantly increasing his use of run-on lines
in plays for which dates are known, it seems reasonable to assume that
he did this in all his work, that it was a habit which grew on him from
year to year.  Hence, if we sort out his plays in order, putting those
with the fewest run-on lines first and those with the greatest number
last, we shall have good reason for believing that this represents
roughly the order in which they were written.

A second form of metrical evidence is found in the proportion of
'masculine' and 'feminine' endings in the verse.  A line has a
masculine ending when its last syllable is stressed; when it ends, for
example, on words or phrases like _behold'_, _control'_, _no more'_,
_begone'_.  On the other hand, if the last stressed syllable of the
line is followed by an unstressed one, the two together are called a
feminine ending.  Instances of this would be lines ending in such words
or phrases as, _unho'/ly_, _forgive' /me_, _benight'/ed_.  Notice the
difference between them in the following passage:--

  "Our revels now are ended.  These our actors  [feminine]
  As I foretold you, were all spirits, and  [masculine]
  Are melted into air, into thin air;  [masculine]
  And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,  [feminine]
  The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,  [feminine]


  The solemn temples, the great globe itself,  [masculine]
  Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,  [masculine]
  And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,  [feminine]
  Leave not a rack behind."
          --_Tempest_, IV, i, 147-166.

In the main, although with some exceptions, the number of feminine
endings, like the number of run-on lines, increases as the plays become
later in date.

A third form of ending, which practically does not appear at all in the
early plays, and which recurs with increasing frequency in the later
ones, is what is called a 'weak ending.'[4]  This occurs whenever a
run-on line ends in a word which according to the meter needs to be
stressed, and according to the sense ought not to be.  Here there is a
clash between meter and meaning, and the reader compromises by making a
pause before the last syllable instead of emphasizing the syllable
itself.  Below are two examples of weak endings:--

  "It should the good ship so have swallowed, and
  The fraughting souls within her."

              "I will rend an oak
  And peg thee in his knotty entrails _till_
  Thou hast howled away twelve winters."

Lastly, we have the evidence of rime.  Run-on lines, feminine endings,
and weak endings constantly increase as Shakespeare grows older.  Rime,
on the other hand, in general decreases.  The early plays are {82} full
of it; the later ones have very little.  It does not follow that the
chronological order of the individual plays could be exactly determined
by their percentage of riming lines, for subject matter makes a great
difference.  In a staged fairy story, like _A Midsummer Night's Dream_,
the poet would naturally fall into couplets.  But, other things being
equal, a large amount of rime is always a sign of early work.  This is
especially true when the rimes occur, not in pairs, but in quatrains or
sonnet forms, or (as they sometimes do in the first comedies) in scraps
of sing-song doggerel.

Such is the internal evidence from the various changes in
versification.  Its value, as must always be remembered, lies in the
fact that the results of these different tests in the main agree with
each other and with such external evidence as we have.

Then, wholly aside from metrical details, there is a large amount of
internal evidence of other kinds,--evidence which cannot be measured by
the rule of thumb, but which every intelligent reader must notice.  We
feel instinctively that one play mirrors the views and emotions of
youth, another those of middle age.  A man's face does not change more
between twenty-five and forty than his mind changes during the same
interval; and the difference between his thoughts at those periods is
as distinct often as the difference between the rounded lines of youth
and the stern features of middle age.  This is a subject which will be
better understood in the light of the next chapter.

+The Order of the Plays+.--Upon such evidence as has been described, a
list of Shakespeare's plays in their {83} chronological order can now
be presented.  The details of evidence on date may be found in the
account of the plays which appears in Chapters X-XIII.

  Love's Labour's Lost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1590-1591
  The Comedy of Errors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1590-1591
  II and III Henry VI  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1590-1592
  Richard III  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1592-1593
  Two Gentlemen of Verona  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1592
  King John  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1592-1593
  Richard II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1593-1594
  Titus Andronicus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1593-1594
  Midsummer Night's Dream  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1593-1596
  Romeo and Juliet . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1591, revised 1597
  The Merchant of Venice . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1594-1596
  The Taming of the Shrew  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1596-1597
  I Henry IV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1597
  II Henry IV  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1598
  Henry V  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1599
  Merry Wives of Windsor . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1599
  Much Ado about Nothing . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1599
  As You Like It . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1599-1600
  Julius Caesar  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1699-1601
  Twelfth Night  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1601
  Troilus and Cressida . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1602
  All's Well That Ends Well  . . . . . . . . . . . .  1602
  Hamlet . . . . . . . . . . .  1602, 1603-1604 (two versions).
  Measure for Measure  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1603
  Othello  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1604
  King Lear  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1604-1605
  Macbeth  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1605-1606
  Antony and Cleopatra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1607-1608
  Timon of Athens  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1607-1608
  Pericles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1608
  Coriolanus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1609
  Cymbeline  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1610
  The Winter's Tale  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1610-1611


  The Tempest  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1611
  King Henry the Eighth  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1612-1613

Among the many books and articles on the subject of this chapter, the
following may be mentioned: _Shakespeare Manual_ by F. L. Fleay
(Macmillan and Co., London, 1876); _Shakspere_, by E. Dowden (American
Book Co., New York); _Cartae Shakespeariante_ by D. Sambert.

[1] This play is either lost, or preserved under another title.

[2] Quoted in full in Chapter I, p. 10.

[3] This form of evidence is usually weak and unreliable.  Most of the
supposed allusions are much more vague than the two given.  Where there
have been similar events in history, the allusion might be to one which
we had forgotten when we thought it was to a similar one which we knew.

[4] Mr. Ingram makes a distinction between "light" and "weak" endings.
Both are classed together as weak endings above.  The distinction seems
to us too subtle for any but professional students.




As the reader will remember, our main aim in attempting to date
Shakespeare's plays was to trace through them his development as a
dramatist and poet.  Just as the successive chambers of the nautilus
shell show the stages of growth of its dead and vanished tenant, so the
plays of Shakespeare show how

  "Each new temple, nobler than the last,
  Shut him from heaven with a dome more vast."

The great thing which distinguishes the genius from the ordinary man,
we repeat, is his power of constant improvement; and we can trace this
improvement here from achievements less than those of many a modern
writer up to the noblest masterpieces of all time.

Much of the material connected with this development has already been
discussed in another connection under Internal Evidence.  Internal
evidence, however, that one play is later than another, is nothing else
than the marks of intellectual growth in the poet's mind between those
two dates.  We arrange the plays in order according to indications of
intellectual growth, just as one could fit together again the broken
fragments of a nautilus shell, guided by the relative size of the ever
expanding chambers.  So, in {86} discussing Shakespeare's development,
we must bring up much old material, examining it from a different point
of view.

+Meter+.--In the first place, the poet develops wonderfully in the
command of his medium of expression; that is, in his mastery of meter.
What is meant by the fact that as Shakespeare grew older, wiser, more
experienced, he used more run-on lines, more weak endings, more
feminine endings?  Simply this, that by means of these devices he
gained more variety and expressiveness in his verse.  A passage from
his early work (in spite of much that is fine) with every ending alike
masculine and strong, and with every line end-stopped, harps away
tediously in the same swing, like one lonely instrument on one
monotonous note.  His later verse, on the other hand, with masculine
and feminine endings, weak ones and strong, end-stopped and run-on
lines, continually relieving each other, is like the blended music of a
great orchestra, continually varying, now stern, now soft, in harmony
with the thought it expresses.  Below are given two passages, the first
from an early play, the second from a late one.  In print one may look
as well as the other; but if one reads them aloud, he will see in a
moment how much more variety and expressiveness there is in the second,
especially for the purposes of acting.

  "Urge not my father's anger, Eglamour,
  But think upon my grief, a lady's grief,
  And on the justice of my flying hence,
  To keep me from a most unholy match,
  Which heaven and fortune still rewards with plagues.
  I do desire thee, even from a heart.


  As full of sorrows as the sea of sands,
  To bear me company and go with me;
  If not, to hide what I have said to thee,
  That I may venture to depart alone."
            --_Two Gentlemen of Verona_, IV, iii, 27-36.

              "By whose aid,
  Weak masters though ye be, I have bedimm'd
  The noontide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds,
  And 'twixt the green sea and the azur'd vault
  Set roaring war; to the dread rattling thunder
  Have I given fire, and rifted Jove's stout oak
  With his own bolt; the strong-bas'd promontory
  Have I made shake, and by the spurs plucked up
  The pine and cedar; graves at my command
  Have wak'd their sleepers, op'd, and let 'em forth
  By my so potent art.  But this rough magic
  I here abjure, and, when I have requir'd
  Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
  To work mine end upon their senses that
  This airy charm is for, I'll break my staff,
  Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
  And deeper than did ever plummet sound
  I'll drown my book."
            --_Tempest_, V, i, 40-57.

The same reason shows why Shakespeare used less and less rime as his
taste and experience ripened.  Rime is a valuable ornament for songs
and lyric poetry generally; but from poetry which is actually to be
acted on the English stage it takes away the most indispensable of all
qualities, the natural, life-like tone of real speech.  Notice this in
the difference between the two extracts below.  Observe how stilted and
artificial the first one seems; and see how the second combines the
melody and dignity of poetry with the simple naturalness of living


  "This fellow pecks up wit as pigeons pease,
  And utters it again when God doth please.
  He is wit's pedler, and retails his wares
  At wakes and wassails, meetings, markets, fairs;
  And we that sell by gross, the Lord doth know,
  Have not the grace to grace it with such show.
  This gallant pins the wenches on his sleeve;
  Had he been Adam, he had tempted Eve."
            --_Love's Labour's Lost_, V, ii, 315-321

  "I was not much afeard; for once or twice
  I was about to speak and tell him plainly
  The self-same sun that shines upon his court
  Hides not his visage from our cottage, but
  Looks on all alike.  Will't please you, sir, be gone?
  I told you what would come of this.  Beseech you,
  Of your own state take care.  This dream of mine--
  Being now awake, I'll queen it no inch farther,
  But milk my ewes and weep."
            --_Winter's Tale_, IV, iv, 452-400.

I do not mean to imply by the above that Shakespeare's early verse is
poor according to ordinary standards.  It is not; it contains much that
is fine.  But it is far inferior to his later work, and it is inferior
in those very details which time and experience alone can teach.

An important point to remember is that while Shakespeare was growing in
metrical skill, he was not growing alone.  A crowd of other authors
around him were developing in a similar way; and he was learning from
them and they from him.  The use of blank verse in English when
Shakespeare began to write was a comparatively new practice, and, like
all new inventions, for a time it was only imperfectly understood.  Men
{89} had to learn by experiments and by each other's successes and
failures, just as men in recent years have learned to fly.  Shakespeare
surpassed all the others, as the Wright brothers in their first years
surpassed all their fellow-aeronauts; but like the Wright brothers he
was only part of a general movement.  No other man changed as much as
he in one lifetime, but the whole system of dramatic versification was

+Taste+.--But wholly aside from questions of meter, Shakespeare
improved greatly in taste and judgment between the beginning and middle
of his career.  This is shown especially in his humor.  To the young
man humor means nothing but the cause for a temporary laugh; to a more
developed mind it becomes a pleasant sunshine that lingers in the
memory long after reading, and interprets all life in a manner more
cheerful, sympathetic, and sane.  The early comedies give us nothing
but the temporary laugh; and even this is produced chiefly by fantastic
situations or plays on words, clever but far-fetched, puns and conceits
so overworked that their very cleverness jars at times.  On the other
hand, in the great humorous characters of his middle period, like
Falstaff and Beatrice, the poet is opening up to us new vistas of
quiet, lasting amusement and indulgent knowledge of our imperfect but
lovable fellow-men.

The same growth of taste is shown in the dramatist's increasing
tendency to tone down all revolting details and avoid flowery,
overwrought rhetoric.  Nobody knows whether Shakespeare wrote all of
_Titus Andronicus_ entire or simply revised it; but we feel sure that
the older Shakespeare would have been unwilling, even as {90} a
reviser, to squander so much that is beautiful on such an orgy of blood
and violence.  _Romeo and Juliet_ is full of beautiful poetry; but even
here occasional lapses show the undeveloped taste of the young writer.
Notice the flowery and fantastic imagery in the following passage,
where Lady Capulet is praising Paris, her daughter's intended husband:--

  "Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face
  And find delight writ there with beauty's pen;
  Examine every married lineament
  And see how one another lends content,
  And what obscur'd in this fair volume lies
  Find written in the margent of his eyes.
  This precious book of love, this unbound lover,
  To beautify him, only lacks a cover.
  The fish lives in the sea, and 'tis much pride
  For fair without the fair within to hide.
  That book in many's eyes doth share the glory,
  That in gold clasps locks in the golden story."
            --_Romeo and Juliet_, I, iii, 81-92.

If we try to picture to ourselves the post-wedlock edition of Paris
described above, we shall see how a young man's imagination may run
away with his judgment.  There are passages in this play as good,
perhaps, as anything which the author ever wrote; but if we compare
such fantastic imagery with the uniform excellence of the later
masterpieces, we shall see how much Shakespeare unlearned and outgrew.

+Character Study+.--Still more significant is the poet's development in
the conception of character.  In no other way, probably, does an
observant mind change and expand so much as in this.  For the infant
all men fall into two very simple categories:--people whom he likes
{91} and people whom he doesn't.  The boy of ten has increased these
two classes to six or eight.  The young man of twenty finds a few more,
and begins to suspect that men who act alike may not have the same
motives and emotions.  But as the keen-eyed observer nears middle age,
he begins to realize that no two souls are exact duplicates of each
other; and that behind every human eye there lies an undiscovered
country, as mysterious, as fascinating, as that which Alice found
behind the looking-glass,--a country like, and yet unlike, the one we
know, where dreams grow beautiful as tropic plants, and passions crouch
like wild beasts in the jungle.

Great as he was, Shakespeare had to learn this lesson like other men;
but he learned it much better.  In _Love's Labour's Lost_, generally
considered his earliest play, he has not led us into the inner selves
of his men and women at all, has not seemed to realize that they
possess inner selves.  At the conclusion we know precisely as much of
them as we should if we had met them at a formal reception, and no
more.  The princess is pretty and clever on dress parade; but how does
the real princess feel when parade is over and she is alone in her
chamber?  The later Shakespeare might have told us, did tell us, in
regard to more than one other princess; but the young Shakespeare has
nothing to tell.

_Richard III_, which is supposed to have come some three years later,
is a marked advance in characterization, but still far short of the
goal.  Here the dramatist attempts, indeed, to analyze the tyrant's
motives and emotions; but he does not yet understand what {92} he is
trying to explain, and for that reason the being whom he creates is
portentous, but not human.  To understand this, you need only compare
Richard with Macbeth.  In Macbeth we have a host of different
forces--ambition, superstition, poetry, remorse, vacillation,
affection, despair--all struggling together as they might in you or me;
and it is this mingling of feelings with which we all can sympathize
that makes him, in spite of all his crimes, a human being like
ourselves.  But in Richard there is no human complexity.  His is the
fearful simplicity of the lightning, the battering-ram, the earthquake,
forces whose achievements are terrible and whose inner existence a
blank.  Richard hammers his bloody way through life like the legendary
Iron Man with his flail, awe-inspiring as a destructive agency, not as
a human being.

Two or three years later we find Shakespeare in his conception of
Shylock capable of greater things as a student of character.  In this
pathetic, lonely, vindictive figure, exiled forever from the warm
fireside of human friendship by those inherent faults which he can no
more change than the tiger can change his claws, the long tragedy which
accompanies the survival of the fittest finds a voice.  Yet even in
Shylock the dramatist has not reached his highest achievement in
character study.  The old Jew is drawn splendidly to the life, but he
is a comparatively easy character to draw, a man with a few simple and
prominent traits.  Depicting such a man is like drawing a pronounced
Roman profile, less difficult to do, and less satisfactory when done,
than tracing the subdued curves of a more evenly rounded face.  Still
greater will be the triumph {93} when Shakespeare can draw equally true
to life a many-sided man or woman, in whose single heart all our
different experiences find a sympathetic echo.

And this final triumph is not long in coming.  Between his
thirty-fourth and thirty-eighth years, in Falstaff and Hamlet the poet
produced the greatest comic and the greatest tragic character of
dramatic history.  The man who has read _Hamlet_ understandingly has
found in the young prince a lifelong companion.  Has he been unjustly
treated?  Hamlet, too, had suffered and hated.  Has he loved?  So had
Hamlet.  Has he had a bosom friend?  The most sacred and beautiful of
college friendships was that between Hamlet and Horatio.  Has he been
bored by some stupid old adviser?  So had Hamlet by Polonius and
similar "tedious old fools."  Has he been thrilled by some beautiful
landscape?  Hamlet, too, had admired "this goodly frame, the earth" and
the sky, "that majestical roof fretted with golden fire."  Has he had a
parent whom he loved and admired?  So had Hamlet in his father.  Has he
had a friend for whom his love was mixed with shame?  So felt Hamlet
toward his mother.  Has he felt the pride of a great deed bravely
accomplished?  So did Hamlet in dying.  Has he felt the shame and
remorse of a duty unperformed?  So did Hamlet while his father was
still unrevenged.  Has he shuddered at the mystery of death?  So had
Hamlet shuddered at "that undiscovered country."  Or has he been
racked, as all good men are in practical life, by the doubt as to what
is his duty?  So had Hamlet been racked by the same terrible
responsibility.  And thus we might go on indefinitely.  The {94}
experience of a lifetime is packed into this play.  Shakespeare never
surpassed _Hamlet_, though he wrote for nine or ten years after; but
when he had once reached this high level, he maintained it, with only
occasional lapses, to the end.

+Dramatic Technique+.--Lastly, Shakespeare developed greatly in
dramatic technique.  By dramatic technique we mean the method in which
the machinery of the story is handled.  The dramatist, to do his duty
properly, must accomplish at least five things at once.  He must make
his play lifelike and natural; he must keep his hearers well informed
as to what is happening; he must bring in different events after each
other in rapid succession to hold the interest of his audience; he must
make the different characters influence each other so that the whole
becomes one connected story, not several unrelated ones; and he must
make the audience feel that the play is working toward a certain
inevitable end, must bring it to that end, and must then stop.  The
lack of any one of these factors may make a play either dull or
disappointing.  It takes ability to get any one of these alone.  It
takes years of training before even a born genius can work them all in
together.  Of course, these details are much easier to handle in
dramatizing some subjects than others; and we find Shakespeare
succeeding comparatively early in easy subjects and making mistakes
later in harder ones; but, on the whole, in dramatic technique as in
other things, his history is one of increasing power and judgment.

Here, again, as in his metrical development, Shakespeare was merely one
leading figure in a popular {95} movement.  Through a long evolution
the English drama had just come into existence when he began to write.
There were no settled theories about this new art, no results of long
experience such as lie at the service of the modern dramatist.  All men
were experimenting, and Shakespeare among the rest.

His early play of _Love's Labour's Lost_ has already been used to
illustrate lack of characterization.  In technique, also, in spite of
many marks of natural brilliance, it shows the faults of the beginner.
The story in the first three acts does not move on fast enough; there
is a lack of that rapid series of connected events which we mentioned
above and which adds so much to the interest of the later plays, like
_Macbeth_.  Likewise, the characters in the prose underplot (except
Costard) have too little connection with the story of the king and his
friends.  In very badly constructed plays this lack of connection
sometimes goes so far that the main and under plots seem like two
separate serial stories in a magazine, in which the reader alternates
from one to the other, but never thinks of them as one.  This obviously
is bad, for just when the reader is most interested in one, he is
interrupted and has to lay it aside for the other.  No play of
Shakespeare's errs so far as that; but the defect in _Love's Labour's
Lost_ is similar in a very modified form.  Neither is this comedy as
successful as the author's later plays in preparing us for a certain
ending as the inevitable outcome and then placing that ending before
us.  We are led to expect that all four love affairs must be
successful, and shall feel disappointed if the sympathetic dreams which
we have woven around that idea {96} are not satisfied.  Yet the play
ends hurriedly in a way which leaves us all in doubt, and disappointed,
like guests who have been invited to a wedding and find it indefinitely
postponed.  There is a wonderful amount of clever dialogue in this
comedy, but its structure shows how much the author had yet to learn.

_The Two Gentleman of Verona_, probably written a little later, shows
improvement, but by no means perfect mastery.  The first two acts still
drag, although the play moves more rapidly when it is under way.  The
inability to lead up naturally to an inevitable end still persists.
The young author, well as he has managed the middle of the play, does
not wait for events to take their logical course.  He winds up
everything abruptly like a man who has just changed his mind or become
tired of his task, and marries the most lovable girl in the play to a
rascal who is scarcely given time for even a pretense of reformation.

_The Merchant of Venice_, two or three years later, shows a great
advance in technique as in other ways.  Notice how skillfully the
dramatist makes the different characters all influence each other's
lives, so that the interest in one becomes the interest in all.  There
is one story in the relations of Shylock and Antonio, another in the
love affair of Lorenzo and Jessica, and a third in Bassanio's courtship
of Portia.  There is also a fourth, a sequel to Bassanio's courtship,
in the trick which his wife plays on him with regard to the rings after
they are married.  Yet we never feel an unpleasant interruption when we
are stopped in one story and started in one of the others, because the
interest of the first lives on in the second, {97} owing to the
interrelation of the people taking part in both.  We leave Shylock's
story to take up Jessica's, but Jessica is Shylock's child, and our
interest in the fate of his ducats and his daughter, which began in his
story, goes on in hers.  We leave Antonio's story to take up
Bassanio's; but Antonio's story was that of sacrifice for a friend, and
in Bassanio's we see the fruit of that sacrifice in his friend's joy.
Moreover, all four of the above threads of action are knotted together
in one scene where Bassanio chooses the right casket.  Of the swift
succession of exciting scenes of the natural way in which these lead up
to the final end, of the lifelike truthfulness with which each little
event is made to work itself out, there is no need to speak here.

Though Shakespeare was not a third through his literary career when he
wrote _The Merchant of Venice_, he had by this time mastered the
technique of comedy; and we need trace his course in it no farther.
_Much Ado_ and _Twelfth Night_ somewhat later, and _The Tempest_ long
years after, are simply repetitions so far as technique is concerned,
of this early triumph.  Let us turn now from comedy to those plays
which deal with the sterner side of life.  Here the development in
technical skill is similar, but much slower, requiring nearly a
lifetime before it reaches perfection, for the poet is grappling with a
problem so difficult that it taxed all the resources of his great

Before 1599 nearly all Shakespeare's plays which were not comedies were
histories.  By a history or chronicle play we mean a play which
pictures some epoch in the past of the English nation.  In one sense
{98} of the word, most of them are tragedies, since they frequently
result in death and disaster; but they are always separated as a class
from tragedy proper, because they represent some great event in English
national life centering around some king or leader; while tragedy
proper deals with the misfortunes of some one man in any country, and
regards him as an individual rather than as a national figure.  They
differ also in purpose, since the chronicle play was intended to appeal
to Anglo-Saxon patriotism, the tragedy to our sympathy with human
suffering in general.

The first and crudest of Shakespeare's histories written at about the
same time as his first comedy is the triple play of _Henry VI_.[1]  We
should hesitate to judge him by this, since he wrote it only in part;
but it is a woefully rambling production in which we no sooner become
interested in one character than we lose him, and are asked to transfer
our sympathies to another.  _Richard III_ is a great step forward in
this respect; for the excitement and interest focuses uninterruptedly
on the one central figure; and his influence on other men and theirs on
him bind all the events of the drama into one coherent whole.  Also, it
moves straight on to a definite end which we know and wish and are
prepared for beforehand.  We feel, even in the midst of his success,
that such a bloody tyrant cannot be tolerated forever; and like men in
a tiger hunt we thrill beforehand at the dramatic catastrophe which we
know is coming.  _Richard III_, though, a powerful play, is {99} still
crude in many details.  The scenes where Margaret curses her enemies,
though strong as poetry, lack action as drama.  In a wholly different
way, they clog the onward movement of the story almost as much as some
scenes in _Love's Labour's Lost_.  Then again, one of the most
important requirements for good technique is that everything shall be
true to life.  When Anne, for the sake of a little bare-faced flattery,
marries a man whom she loathes, we feel that no real woman would have
done this.  From that moment Anne becomes a mere paper automaton to us,
and we can no longer be interested in her as we would in a living
woman.  The motivation, as it is called, the art of showing adequately
why every person should act as he or she does, is sadly lacking.

Moving onward a few years, we find marked improvement in _I Henry IV_.
It is indeed not technically perfect,--in fact, Shakespeare in the
chronicle play never attained what seems to modern students technical
perfection,--but its minor defects are thrown into shadow by its
splendid virtues.  The three stories of Hotspur, the King, and the
Falstaff group, though partially united by their common connection with
Prince Hal, do not blend together as perfectly as the different plots
in _The Merchant of Venice_, and there is some truth in the idea that
the play has four heroes instead of one.  But in spite of this, its
general impression as a great panorama of English life is remarkably
clear and delightful; and it improves on _Richard III_ in its swift
succession of incident, and vastly surpasses it in the lifelike truth
of its motivation.

In the middle of his career Shakespeare dropped {100} the chronicle
play, and instead began the writing of tragedies proper.  He carried
into this, however, the lessons learned from his experience with
histories, and continued to improve.  _Julius Caesar_ marks the
transition from chronicle play to tragedy.  The lack of close
connection between the third and fourth acts and the absence of one
central hero are characteristic defects of the chronicle play which the
dramatist had not yet outgrown.  _Hamlet_, coming next, has shaken off
all the lingering relics of the older type.  Of its general excellence
there is no need to speak.  Yet even in _Hamlet_ the action at times
halts and becomes disjointed.  _Caesar_ and _Hamlet_ are great plays,
the latter, perhaps, the greatest of all plays; but, transfigured as
they are by genius, they show that in the difficult problem of tragic
technique the author was learning still.  At the age of forty,
approximately, and a year or two after _Hamlet_, Shakespeare produced
_Othello_, the most perfect, although not necessarily the greatest, of
all his great tragedies.  It is less profoundly reflective than
_Hamlet_ and less passionately imaginative than _King Lear_ or
_Macbeth_; but no other of his masterpieces shows such perfect balance
of taste and judgment, or is so free from any jarring note.  Hence,
through the histories and tragedies taken together, we see the same
growth in technical skill which we have already found in his comedies,
save that it took longer here because the poet was working in a more
difficult field.  It would not be true to say that each play up to
_Othello_ is superior to its immediate predecessor in technique, still
less that it is so in absolute merit; but the general upward tendency
is there.


+The Four Periods+.--Such was Shakespeare's development in meter, in
taste, in conception of character, and in dramatic technique.  In line
with this development, it has been customary to divide his literary
career into four periods and his plays into four corresponding groups.
These groups or periods are characterized partly by their different
degrees of maturity, but more by the difference in the character of the
plays during these intervals.

The First Period includes all plays which there is good reason for
dating before 1595.  In this the great dramatist was serving his
literary apprenticeship, learning the difficult art of play writing,
and learning it by experiments and mistakes.  In the course of his
experiments, he tried many different types, tragedies, histories,
comedies, and rewrote old plays either alone or with a more experienced
playwright to help him.  Nearly all of this work is full of promise;
most of it is also full of faults.  Here belong the early comedies
mentioned above--_Love's Labour's Lost_ and _The Two Gentlemen of
Verona_.  Here is the crude but powerful _Richard III_, and _Romeo and
Juliet_, the early faults of which are redeemed by such a wealth of
youthful poetic fire.

The Second Period extends roughly from 1595 to 1600.  The poet has
learned his profession now, is no longer a beginner but a master,
though hardly yet at the summit of his powers.  Here are included three
chronicle plays, the two parts of _King Henry IV_ and _King Henry V_,
and six comedies.  One of the earliest of these comedies was _The
Merchant of Venice_, already mentioned.  Three others, a little
later,--_Much Ado, Twelfth {102} Night_, and _As You Like It_,--are
usually regarded as Shakespeare's crowning achievement in the world of
mirth and humor.  In this group of plays, whether history or comedy,
the author is depicting chiefly the cheerful, energetic side of life.

The Third Period really begins about 1599, for this and the second
overlap; and it continues to about 1608.  In the plays of this group
the poet becomes interested in a wholly new set of themes.  The aspects
of life which he interprets are no longer bright and cheerful, but
stern and sad.  Here come the great tragedies, several of which we have
mentioned above--_Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth,
Antony and Cleopatra_.  Shakespeare is now at the height of his power,
for his greatest masterpieces are included in the above list.  Mixed in
with this wealth of splendid tragedy (though inferior to it in merit),
there are also three comedies.  But even the comedies share in the
somber gloom which absorbed the poet's attention during this period.
The comedies before 1600 had been full of sunshine, brimming with
kindly, good-natured mirth, overflowing with the genial laughter which
makes us love the very men at whom we are laughing.  But the three
comedies of this Third Period are bitter and sarcastic in their wit,
making us despise the people who furnish us fun, and leaving an
unpleasant taste in the mouth after the laugh is over.  Some have
assumed that the dark tinge of this period was due to an unknown sorrow
in the poet's own life, but there seems to be no need of any such
assumption.  We may become interested in reading cheerful books one
year and sad ones the next without being more cheerful or {103} more
sad in one year than in the other; and what is true of the reader might
reasonably be true of the writer.  But whatever the cause which
influenced Shakespeare, the tragedies of this group are the saddest as
well as the greatest of all his plays.

The Fourth and last Period contains plays written after 1608-1609.
There are only five of these, and since _Pericles_ and _Henry VII_ are
in large part by other hands, our interest focuses chiefly on the
remaining three--_The Tempest, Cymbeline_, and _The Winter's Tale_.
All the plays of this period end happily and are wholly free from the
bitterness of the Third Period comedy.  Nevertheless, they have little
of the rollicking, uproarious fun of the earlier comedies.  Their charm
lies rather in a subdued cheerfulness, a quiet, pure, sympathetic
serenity of tone, less strenuous, but even more poetic, than what had
gone before.  In some ways they are hardly equal to the great tragedies
just mentioned, for the poet is growing older now, and the fiery vigor
of _Macbeth_ is fading out of his verse.  But in loftiness of thought
and tenderness of feeling these later romances are equal to anything
that the author ever gave us.

Whether other causes influenced him or not, Shakespeare was doubtless
in these four periods conforming to some extent to the literary
tendencies of the hour.  The writings of his contemporaries also show a
larger percentage of comedies between 1595-1600 than between 1590-1595.
Many other dramatists, too, were writing histories while he was, and
dropped them at about the same time.  Likewise during his Fourth Period
three-quarters of all the plays written by other men were comedies, the
most successful of them in a similar {104} romantic tone.  On the
whole, too, other writers produced a rather larger percentage of
tragedies during 1601-1607 than at any other time while Shakespeare was
writing, although the change was not nearly as marked in them as in
him.  But whether the influence of contemporaries was great or small,
these periods exist; and the individual plays can be better understood
if read in the light of the groups to which they belong.

Perhaps the best book on Shakespeare's development as a dramatist is:
_The Development of Shakespeare as a Dramatist_ by G. P. Baker (The
Macmillan Co., New York, 1907).

[1] These plays are throughout designated as _I_, _II_, and _III_ Henry




+Shakespeare and Plagiarism+.--Among the curious alterations in public
sentiment that have come in the last century or two, none is more
striking than the change of attitude in regard to what is called
"plagiarism."  Plagiarism may be defined as the appropriation for one's
own use of the literary ideas of another.  The laws of patent and of
copyright have led us into thinking that the ideas of a play must not
be borrowed in any degree, but must originate in every detail with the
writer.  This is as if we should say to an inventor, "Yes, you may have
invented a safety trigger for revolvers, but you must not apply it to
revolvers until you have invented a completely new type of revolver
from the original matchlock."

But the playwright of to-day cannot help plagiarizing his technique,
many of his situations, and even his plots from earlier plays;
consequently, he tries to conceal his borrowings, to placate public
opinion by changing the names and the environment of his characters.

The Elizabethan audiences were less exacting.  If a play about King
Lear were written and acted with some success, they thought it
perfectly honest for another dramatist to use this material in building
up a new and better play on the story of King Lear.  They cared {106}
even less when the dramatist went to other dramas for hints on minor
details.  The modern audience, if not the modern world at large, holds
the same view.  So long as the mind of the borrower transforms and
makes his own whatever he borrows, so long will his work be applauded
by his audience, whatever be the existing state of the copyright laws
or of public fastidiousness.

Hence we do not to-day hunt up the sources of Shakespeare's plots and
characters in order to prove plagiarism, but in order to understand
just how great was the power of his genius in transmuting common
elements into his fine gold.

It is customary to say: "Shakespeare did not invent his plots.  He was
not interested in plots."  So far is this from the truth that the
amount of pains and skill spent by him in working over any one of his
best comedies or tragedies would more than suffice for the construction
of a very good modern plot.  It is more true to say of most of his
work, "Shakespeare did not waste his time in inventing stories.[1]  He
took stories where he found them, realized their dramatic
possibilities, and spent infinite pains in weaving them together into a
harmonious whole."

There is one other point to remember.  The sources of Shakespeare's
plays were no better literary material than the sources of most
Elizabethan plays.  Shakespeare's practice in adapting older plays was
{107} the common practice of the time.  We can measure, therefore, the
greatness of Shakespeare's achievement by a comparison with what others
have made out of similar material.

Just as Shakespeare's plays fall into the groups of history, tragedy,
and comedy, so his chief sources are three in number: biography, as
found in the _Chronicle_ of Holinshed and Plutarch's _Lives_; romance,
as found in the novels of the period, which were most of them
translations from Italian _novelle_; and dramatic material from other

+Holinshed+.--Raphael Holinshed (died 1580?) published in 1578 a
history of England, Scotland, and Ireland, usually known as Holinshed's
_Chronicle_.  The two immense folio volumes contain an account of
Britain "from its first inhabiting" up to his own day, largely made up
by combining the works of previous historians.  The _Chronicle_ bears
evidence, however, of enormous and painstaking research which makes it
valuable even now.  Holinshed's style was clear, but not possessed of
any distinctly literary quality.  Much of what Shakespeare used was
indeed but a paraphrase of an earlier chronicler, Edward Hall.
Holinshed was uncritical, too, since he made no attempt to separate the
legendary from the truly historical material.  So far as drama is
concerned, however, this was rather a help than a hindrance, since
legend often crystallizes most truly the spirit of a career in an act
or a saying which never had basis in fact.  The work is notable chiefly
for its patriotic tone, of which there is certainly more than an echo
in Shakespeare's historical plays.  But the effects of {108} steadfast
continuity of national purpose, of a belief in the greatness of
England, and of an insistent appeal to patriotism, which are such
important elements in Shakespeare's histories, are totally wanting in

Not only are all of the histories of Shakespeare based either directly
or through the medium of other plays upon Holinshed, but his two great
tragedies, _Macbeth_ and _King Lear_ (the latter through an earlier
play), and his comedy _Cymbeline_ are also chiefly indebted to it.  The
work was, moreover, the source of many plays by other dramatists.

+Plutarch+.--Plutarch of Chaeronea, a Greek author of the first century
A.D., wrote forty-six "parallel" Lives, of famous Greeks and Romans.
Each famous Greek was contrasted with a famous Roman whose career was
somewhat similar to his own.  The _Lives_ have been ever since among
the most popular of the classics, for they are more than mere
biographies.  They are the interpretation of two worlds, with all their
tragic history, by one who felt the fatal force of a resistless destiny.

A scholarly French translation of Plutarch's _Lives_ was published in
1559 by Jacques Amyot, Bishop of Bellozane.  Twenty years after (1579)
Thomas North, later Sir Thomas, published his magnificent English
version.[2]  The vigor and spirit which he flung into his work can only
be compared to that of William Tyndale in his translation of the New
Testament.  Here was very different material for drama from the {109}
dry bones of history offered by Holinshed.  Shakespeare paid North the
sincerest compliment by borrowing, particularly in _Antony and
Cleopatra_, and _Coriolanus_, not only the general story, but whole
speeches with only those changes necessary for making blank verse out
of prose.  The last speeches of Antony and Cleopatra are indeed nearly
as impressive in North's narrative form as in Shakespeare's play.

In addition to the tragedies already named, _Julius Caesar_ and almost
certainly the suggestion of _Timon of Athens_, though not the play as a
whole, were taken from Plutarch's _Lives_.  Other Elizabethans were not
slow to avail themselves of this unequaled treasure-house of story.

+Italian and Other Fiction+.--Except for Geoffrey Chaucer (1338-1400),
whose _Troilus and Criseyde_ Shakespeare dramatized, and John Gower
(died 1408), whose _Confessio Amantis_ is one of the books out of which
the plot of _Pericles_ may have come, there was little good English
fiction read in the Elizabethan period.  Educated people read, instead,
Italian _novelle_, or short tales, which were usually gathered into
some collection of a hundred or so.  Many of these were translated into
English before Shakespeare's time; and a number of similar collections
had been made by English authors, who had translated good stories
whenever they found them.

One of these was _Gli Heccatommithi_, 1565 (The Hundred Tales), by
Giovanni Giraldi, surnamed Cinthio, which was later translated into
French and was the source of _Measure for Measure_ and _Othello_.
Another collection was that of Matteo Bandello, whose {110} _Tales_,
1554-1573, translated into French by Belleforest, furnished the sources
of _Much Ado About Nothing_, and perhaps _Twelfth Night_.  The greatest
of these collections was the _Decameron_, c. 1353, by Giovanni
Boccaccio, one of whose stories, translated by William Painter in his
_Palace of Pleasure_, 1564, furnished the source of _All's Well That
Ends Well_.  Another story of the _Decameron_ was probably the source
of the romantic part of the plot of _Cymbeline_.  The _Merry Wives of
Windsor_ had a plot like the story in Straparola's _Tredici Piacevole
Notte_ (1550), _Thirteen Pleasant Evenings_; and _The Merchant of
Venice_ borrows its chief plot from Giovanni Florentine's _Il Pecorone_.

Two of Shakespeare's plays are based on English novels written somewhat
after the Italian manner--_As You Like It_ on Thomas Lodge's
novel-poem, _Rosalynde_, and _The Winter's Tale_ from Robert Greene's
_Pandosto_.  The _Two Gentlemen of Verona_ is from a Spanish story in
the Italian style, the _Diana_ of Jorge de Montemayor.  The _Comedy of
Errors_ from Plautus is his only play based on classical sources.

The Italian _novelle_ emphasized situation, but had little natural
dialogue and still less characterization.  The Elizabethan dramatists
used them only for their plots.  Never did works of higher genius
spring from less inspired sources.

+The Plays used by Shakespeare+.--Although Shakespeare made up one of
his plots, the _Comedy of Errors_, from two plays of Plautus (254-184
B.C.), the _Menaechmi_ and _Amphitruo_, the rest of the plays he used
for material were contemporary work.  He borrowed from them plots and
situations, and {111} occasionally even lines.  With the exception,
however, of one of the early histories, the plays he made use of are in
themselves of no value as literature.  Their sole claim to notice is
that they served the need of the great playwright.  None but the
student will ever read them.  In practically every case Shakespeare so
developed the story that the fiction became essentially his own; while
the poetic quality of the verse, the development of character, and the
heightening of dramatic effect, which he built upon it, left no more of
the old play in sight than the statue shows of the bare metal rods upon
which the sculptor molds his clay.

Seven histories go back to the earlier plays on the kings of England.
The Second and Third Parts of _Henry VI_ are taken from two earlier
plays often called the _First and Second Contentions_ (between the two
noble houses of York and Lancaster).  The First and Second parts of
_Henry IV_, and _Henry V_, are all three an expansion of a cruder
production, the _Famous Victories of Henry V_.  _Richard III_ is based
upon the _True Tragedie of Richard, Duke of York; King John upon the
Troublesome Reigne of John, King of England_, the latter undoubtedly
the best of the sources of Shakespeare's Histories.

_King Leir and His Daughters_ is the only extant play which is known to
have formed the basis of a Shakespearean tragedy.  Shakespeare made
additions in this case from other sources, borrowing Gloucester's story
from Sidney's _Arcadia_.  The earlier play of _Hamlet_, which it is
believed Shakespeare used, is not now in existence.

Among the comedies, the _Taming of the Shrew_ is {112} directly based
upon the _Taming of a Shrew_.  _Measure for Measure_ is less direct,
borrowing from George Whetstone's play in two parts, _Promos and
Cassandra_ (written before 1578).

The existence of versions in German and Dutch of plays which present
plots similar in structure to Shakespeare's, but less highly developed,
leads scholars to advance the theory that several lost plays may have
been sources for some of his dramas.  Entries or mentions of plays,
with details like Shakespeare's, dated earlier than his own plays could
have been in existence, are also used to further the same view.  The
_Two Gentlemen of Verona_, the _Merchant of Venice_, _Romeo and
Juliet_, _Hamlet_, and, with less reason, _Timon of Athens_, and
_Twelfth Night_, are thought to have been based more or less on earlier
lost plays.

Finally, a number of plays perhaps suggested details in Shakespeare's
plays.  Of plays so influenced, _Cymbeline_, _The Winter's Tale_, and
_Henry VIII_ are the chief.  But the debt is negligible at best, so far
as the general student is concerned.

To conclude, what Shakespeare borrowed was the raw material of drama.
What he gave to this material was life and art.  No better way of
appreciating the dramatist at his full worth could be pursued than a
patient perusal and comparison of the sources of his plays with
Shakespeare's own work.

The best books on this subject are: H. E. D. Anders, _Shakespeare's
Books_ (Berlin, 1904); _Shakespeare's Library_, ed. J. P. Collier and
W. C. Hazlitt (London, 1875); and the new _Shakespeare Library_ now
being published by Chatto and Windus, of which several volumes are out.

[1] There are two plays at least which have plots probably original
with Shakespeare--_Love's Labour's Lost_ and _The Tempest_.  Both of
these draw largely, however, from contemporary history and adventure,
and the central idea is directly borrowed from actual events.

[2] It is not unlikely that it was the second edition published in 1595
by Richard Field (Shakespeare's printer) that the poet read.




The Elizabethan audiences who filled to overflowing the theaters on the
Bankside possessed a far purer text of Shakespeare than we of this
later day can boast.  In order to understand our own editions of
Shakespeare, it is necessary to understand something, at least, of the
conditions of publishing in Shakespeare's day and of the relations of
the playhouses with the publishers.

The printing of Shakespeare's poems is an easy tale, _Venus and Adonis_
in 1593, and _The Rape of Lucrece_ in 1594, were first printed in
quarto by Richard Field, a native of Stratford, who had come to London.
In each case a dedication accompanying the text was signed by
Shakespeare, so that we may guess that the poet not only consented to
the printing, but took care that the printing should be accurate.
Twelve editions of one, eight of the other, were issued before 1660.
The other volume of poetry, the Sonnets, was printed in 1609 by Thomas
Thorpe, without Shakespeare's consent.  Two of them, numbers 138 and
144, had appeared in the collection known as _The Passionate Pilgrim_,
a pirated volume printed by W. Jaggard in 1599.  No reëdition of the
Sonnets appeared till 1640.

With regard to the plays it is different.  It is first {114} to be said
that in no volume containing a play or plays of Shakespeare in
existence to-day is there any evidence that Shakespeare saw it through
the press.  All we can do is to satisfy ourselves as to how the copy of
Shakespeare's plays may have got into the hands of the publishers, and
as to how far that copy represents what Shakespeare must have written.

The editions of Shakespearean plays may be divided into two
groups,--the separate plays which were printed in quarto[1] volumes
before 1623, and the First Folio of Shakespeare, which was printed in
1623, a collected edition of all his plays save _Pericles_.  Our text
of Shakespeare, whatever one we read, is made up, either from the First
Folio text, or in certain cases from the quarto volumes of certain
plays which preceded the Folio; together with the attempts to restore
to faulty places what Shakespeare must have written--a task which has
engaged a long line of diligent scholars from early in the eighteenth
century up to our own day.

+The Stationers' Company+.--In the early period of English printing,
which began about 1480 and lasted up to 1557, there was very little
supervision over the publishing of books, and as a result the
competition was unscrupulous.  There was a guild of publishers, called
{115} the Stationers' Company, in existence, but its efforts to control
its members were only of a general character.  In 1557, however, Philip
and Mary granted a charter to the Stationers' Company under which no
one not a member of the Stationers' Company could legally possess a
printing press.  Queen Mary was, of course, interested in controlling
the press directly through the Crown.  Throughout the Elizabethan
period the printing of books was directly under the supervision of Her
Majesty's Government, and not under the law courts.  Every book had to
be licensed by the company.  The Wardens of the company acted as
licensers in ordinary cases, and in doubtful cases the Archbishop of
Canterbury, the Bishop of London, or some other dignitary appointed for
the purpose.  When the license was granted, the permission to print was
entered upon the Register of the company, and it is from these records
that much important knowledge about the dates of Shakespeare's plays is

The Stationers' Company was interested only in protecting its members
from prosecution and from competition.  The author was not considered
by them in the legal side of the transaction.  How the printer got his
manuscript to print was his own affair, not theirs.

Many authors were at that time paid by printers for the privilege of
using their manuscript; but it was not considered proper that a
gentleman should be paid for literary work.  Robert Greene, the
playwright and novelist, wrote regularly in the employ of printers.  On
the other hand, Sir Philip Sidney, a contemporary {116} of
Shakespeare's, did not allow any of his writings to be printed during
his lifetime.  Francis Bacon published his essays only in order to
forestall an unauthorized edition, and others of the time took the same
course.  Bacon says in his preface that to prevent their being printed
would have been a troublesome procedure.  It was possible for an author
to prevent the publication by prosecution, but it was scarcely a wise
thing to do, in view of the legal difficulties in the way.
Nevertheless, fear of the law probably acted as some sort of a check on
unscrupulous publishers.

The author of a play was, however, really less interested than the
manager who had bought it.  The manager of a theater seems, from what
evidence we possess, to have believed that the printing of a play
injured the chances of success upon the stage.  The play was sold by
the author directly to the manager, whose property it became.  Copies
of it might be sold to some printer by some of the players in the
company, by the manager himself, or, in rarer cases, by some
unscrupulous copyist taking down the play in shorthand at the
performance.  When a play had got out of date, it would be more apt to
be sold than while it was still on the stage.  In some cases, however,
the printing might have no bad effect upon the attendance at its

During the years before 1623, seventeen of Shakespeare's plays were
published in quarto.  Two of these, _Romeo and Juliet_ and _Hamlet_,
were printed in two very different versions, so that we have nineteen
texts of Shakespeare's plays altogether published before the First
Folio.  A complete table of these {117} plays with the dates in which
the quartos appeared follows:--

  1594.  Titus Andronicus.  Later quartos in 1600 and 1611.
  1597.  Richard II.  Later quartos in 1598, 1608, and 1615.
  1597.  Richard III.  Later quartos in 1598, 1602, 1605, 1612,
         and 1622.
  1597.  Romeo and Juliet.  Later quartos in 1599 (corrected
         edition) and 1609.
  1598.  I Henry IV.  Later quartos in 1599, 1604, 1608, 1613,
         and 1622.
  1598.  Love's Labour's Lost.
  1600.  Merchant of Venice.  Later quarto in 1619.  (Copying
         on the title-page the original date of 1600, however.)
  1600.  Henry V.  Later quartos in 1602 and 1619.  (Dated on
         the title-page, 1608.)
  1600.  Henry IV, Part II.
  1600.  Midsummer Night's Dream.  Later quarto in 1619.
         (Dated, however, 1600.)
  1602.  Merry Wives of Windsor.  Later quarto in 1619.
  1603.  Hamlet.
  1604.  Second edition of Hamlet.  Later quartos in 1605 and 1611.
  1608.  King Lear.  Later quarto in 1619.  (Title-page date, 1608.)
  1608.  Pericles.  Later quartos in 1609, 1611, and 1619.
  1609.  Troilus and Cressida.  A second quarto in 1609.
  1622.  Othello.

These are all the known quartos of Shakespeare's plays printed before
the Folio.  They represent two distinct classes.  The first class
(comprising fourteen texts) of the quartos contains good texts of the
plays and is of great assistance to editors.  The second (comprising
five texts), the first _Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, Merry Wives_, the
first _Hamlet_, and _Pericles_, {118} is composed of thoroughly bad
copies.  Two of this class were not entered on the Stationers' Register
at all, but were pure piracies.  Two others were entered by one firm,
but were printed by another.  The fifth was entered and transferred on
the same day.  Of the fourteen good texts, twelve were regularly
entered on the Stationers' Register, and the other two were evidently
intended to take the place of a bad text.  It is evident, therefore,
that registry upon the books of the Stationers' Company was a safeguard
to an author in getting before the public a good text of his writings.
It also indicates that the good copies were obtained by printers in a
legal manner, and so probably purchased directly from the theaters,
whether from the copy which the prompter had, or from some transcript
of the play.  The notion that all plays were printed in Shakespeare's
time by a process of piracy is thus not borne out by these facts.

The five bad quartos deserve a moment's attention.  The first of these,
_Romeo and Juliet_, printed and published by John Danter in 1597, omits
over seven hundred lines of the play, and the stage directions are
descriptions rather than definite instructions.  The book is printed in
two kinds of type, a fact due probably to its being printed from two
presses at once.  Danter got into trouble later on with other books
from his dishonest ways.  The second poor quarto, _Henry V_, printed in
1600, was less than half as long as the Folio text, and was probably
carelessly copied by an ignorant person at a performance of the play.
The third, the _Merry Wives of Windsor_, was pirated through the
publisher of _Henry V_, John Busby, who assigned his {119} part to
another printer on the same day.  As in the case of _Romeo and Juliet_,
the stage directions are mere descriptions.  No play of Shakespeare's
was more cruelly bungled by an unscrupulous copyist.  The first edition
of _Hamlet_ in 1603 was the work of Valentine Sims.  While the copying
is full of blunders, this quarto is considered important, as indicating
that the play was acted at first in a much shorter and less artistic
version than the one which we now read.  For eight months of 1603-1604
the theaters of London were closed on account of the plague, and
Shakespeare's revision of _Hamlet_ may have been made during this time.
At any rate, the later version appeared about the end of 1604.  The
last of these pirated quartos, _Pericles_, was probably taken down in
shorthand at the theater.  Here, unfortunately, as this play was not
included in the First Folio, and as all later quartos were based on the
First Quarto, we have to-day what is really a corrupt and difficult
text.  Luckily, Shakespeare's share in this play is small.

The title-pages of the quartos of Shakespeare bear convincing
testimony, not only to the genuineness of his plays, but also to his
rise in reputation.  Only six of his plays were printed in quartos not
bearing his name.  Of these, two--_Romeo and Juliet_ and _Henry
V_--began with pirated editions not bearing the author's name.
Three--_Richard II, Richard III, I Henry IV_--were all followed by
quartos with the poet's name upon them.  The sixth play, _Titus
Andronicus_, was one of his earliest works, and its authorship is even
now not absolutely certain.

Since the name of a popular dramatist on the {120} title-page was a
distinct source of revenue to the publisher after 1598, it was to be
expected that anonymous plays should be ascribed in some cases to
William Shakespeare by an unscrupulous or a misinformed printer.  Here
arose the Shakespeare 'apocrypha,' which is discussed in a following

A new problem in the history of Shakespearean quartos has been
presented since 1903 by a study of the quartos of 1619.  Briefly
summarized, the theory which is best defended at the present time is,
that in that year Thomas Pavier and William Jaggard, two printers of
London, decided at first to get up a collected quarto edition of
Shakespeare's plays, but on giving up this idea, they issued nine plays
in a uniform size and on paper bearing identical watermarks, which were
either at that time or later bound up together as a collected set of
Shakespeare's plays in a single volume.[2]  These plays are the _Whole
Contention Between the Two Famous Houses of Lancaster and York_,
"printed for T. P."; _A Yorkshire Tragedie_, "printed for T. P., 1619";
_Pericles_, "printed for T. P. 1619"; _Merry Wives_, "printed for
Arthur Johnson, 1619"; _Sir John Oldcastle_, "printed for T. P., 1600";
_Henry V_, "printed for T. P., 1608"; _Merchant of Venice_, "printed by
J. Roberts, 1600"; _King Lear_, "printed for  Nathaniel Butter, 1608";
_Midsummer Night's Dream_, "printed for Thomas Fisher, 1600."

Of these plays, the _Whole Contention_, the _Yorkshire {121} Tragedie_,
and _Sir John Oldcastle_ are spurious, but had been attributed to
Shakespeare in earlier quartos.  The five plays dated 1600 or 1608 in
each case duplicated a quarto actually printed in the year claimed by
the Pavier reprint; so that this earlier dating was an attempt to
deceive the public into believing they were purchasing the original

Under the date of the 8th of November, 1623, Edward Blount and Isaac
Jaggard entered for their copy in the Stationers' Register "Mr. William
Shakspeers Comedyes, Histories and Tragedyes, soe manie of the said
copyes as are not formerly entred to other men viz^t, Comedyes, The
Tempest.  The two gentlemen of Verona.  Measure for Measure.  The
Comedy of Errors.  As you like it.  All's well that ends well.  Twelfth
Night.  The winter's tale.  Histories The third parte of Henry the
sixth.  Henry the eight.  Tragedies.  Coriolanus.  Timon of Athens.
Julius Caesar.  Mackbeth.  Anthonie and Cleopatra.  Cymbeline."  This
entry preluded the publication of the First Folio.  Associated with
Blount and Jaggard were Jaggard's son Isaac, who had the contract for
the printing of the book, I. Smethwick, and W. A. Aspley.  Smethwick
owned at this time the rights of _Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo and
Juliet_, and _Hamlet_, and also the _Taming of a Shrew_, which latter
right apparently carried with it the right to print Shakespeare's
adaptation of it, the _Taming of the Shrew_.  Aspley owned the rights
to _Much Ado About Nothing_, and to _II Henry IV_.  These four
printers, making arrangements with other printers, such as Law, who
apparently had the rights of _I Henry IV, Richard II_, {122} and
_Richard III_, and others, were thus able to bring out an apparently
complete edition of Shakespeare's plays.  One play, _Troilus and
Cressida_, was evidently secured only at the last moment and printed
very irregularly.[3]  Blount and Jaggard apparently got the manuscripts
of the sixteen plays on the Register from members of Shakespeare's
company, two of whom, John Hemings and Henry Condell, affixed their
names to the Address to the Reader which was prefixed to the volume.
It will be remembered that these men received by Shakespeare's bequest
a gold ring as a token of friendship.  Their intimacy with the
dramatist must have been both strong and lasting.  Their actual share
in the editing of the volume cannot be ascertained.  It may be that all
the claims are true which are made above their names in the Address to
the Reader as to their care and pains in collecting and publishing his
works "so to have publish'd them as where before you were abused with
diverse stolne and surreptitious copies, maimed and deformed, the
stealthes of injurious copyists, we expos'd them; even those are now
offer'd to your view, crude and bereft of their limbes, and of the rest
absolutely in their parts as he conceived them who as he was a happie
imitator of nature was a most gentle expresser of it.  His mind and
hand went together and what he thought he told with that easinesse that
wee have scarse received from him a {123} blot in his papers."  On the
other hand, scholarship has discovered more in the life of Edward
Blount to justify his claim to the chief work of editing this volume.
Whoever they were, the editors' claim to diligent care in their work
was sincere.  Throughout the volume there are proofs that they employed
the best text which they could get, even when others were in print.

It is owing to this volume, in all probability, that we possess twenty
of the best of Shakespeare's plays and the best texts of a number of
the others.  We are therefore glad to hear that the edition was a
success and was considered worth reprinting within nine years.  It is
not improbable that this edition ran to five hundred copies.  Among the
most interesting work of the editors of the volume was the prefixing of
the Droeshout engraved portrait on the title-page, and an attempt to
improve the stage directions, as well as the division of most of the
plays, either in whole or in part, into acts and scenes.

The twenty plays which appeared in print for the first time in the
First Folio were taken in all probability directly from copies in the
possession of Shakespeare's company.  Their texts are, upon the whole,
excellent.  In the case of the sixteen other plays the editors
substituted for eight of the plays already in print in quartos,
independent texts from better manuscripts.  This act must have involved
considerable expense and difficulty, and deserves the highest praise.
Five of the printed quartos were used with additions and corrections.
In the case of _Titus Andronicus_ a whole scene was added.  In three
cases only {124} of the sixteen plays already printed did the editors
follow a quarto text without correcting it from a later theatrical
copy.  This conscientious effort to give posterity the best text of
Shakespeare deserves our gratitude.

The Second Folio, 1632, was a reprint of the First; the Third Folio,
1663, a reprint of the Second; the Fourth Folio, 1685, a reprint of the
Third.  This practice of copying the latest accessible edition has been
adopted by editors down to a very late period.  Between 1629 and 1632
six quartos of Shakespearean plays were printed,--a fact which
indicates that the First Folio edition had been exhausted and that
there was a continued market.  A man named Thomas Cotes acquired
through one Richard Cotes the printing rights of the Jaggards, and
added to them other rights derived from Pavier.  The old publishers,
Smethwick and Aspley, were still living and were associated with him in
publishing the Second Folio.  Robert Allott, June 26, 1629, had bought
up Blount's title to the plays first registered in 1623, and was thus
also concerned in the publication, while Richard Hawkins and Richard
Meighen, who owned the rights of _Othello_ and _Merry Wives_, were
allowed to take shares.  The editors of the Second Folio made only such
alterations in the text of the First Folio as they thought necessary to
make it more "correct."  The vast majority of the changes are
unimportant grammatical corrections, some of them obviously right,
others as obviously wrong.

Five more Shakespearean quartos followed between 1634 and 1639.
Between 1652 and 1655 two other {125} quartos were published.  The
Third Folio, 1664, was published by Philip Chetwind, who had married
the widow of Robert Allott and thus got most of the rights in the
Second Folio.  Chetwind's Folio is famous, not only for the addition of
_Pericles_, which alone it was his first intention to include, but also
for the addition of six spurious plays--_Sir John Oldcastle, The
Yorkshire Tragedie, A London Prodigall, The Tragedie of Locrine,
Thomas, Lord Cromwell_, and _The Puritaine_, or _The Widdow of Watling
Streete_.  Chetwind's reason for thus adding these plays was that they
had passed under Shakespeare's name or initials in their earliest
prints.  The Fourth Folio, 1685, is a mere reprint of the Third.

With the Fourth Folio ends the early history of how Shakespeare got
into print.  From that time to this a long line of famous and obscure
men, at first mostly men of letters, but afterwards, and especially in
our own times, trained specialists in their profession, have devoted
much of their lives to the editing of Shakespeare.  Their ideal has
been, usually, to give readers the text of his poems and plays in their
presumed primitive integrity.  Constant study of his works, and of
other Elizabethan writers, has given them a certain knowledge of the
words and grammatical usages of that day which go far to make
Elizabethan English a foreign tongue to us.  On the other hand, more
knowledge about the conditions of printing in Shakespeare's time has
helped the editors very greatly in their attempts to set right a
passage which was misprinted in the earliest printed text, or a line of
which two early texts give different versions.


An example of the difficulties that still confront editors may be given
from _II Henry IV_, IV, i, 94-96:--

"_Archbishop_.  My brother general, the commonwealth,
                To brother born, an household cruelty.
                I make my quarrel in particular."

Nobody knows what Shakespeare meant to say in this passage, and no
satisfactory guess has ever been made as to what has happened to these

A knowledge of Elizabethan English has cleared up the following passage
perfectly.  According to the First Folio, the only early print, Antony
calls Lepidus, in _Julius Caesar_, IV, i, 36-37:--

  "A barren-spirited fellow; one that feeds
  On objects, arts, and imitations...."

This has been corrected to read in the second line

  "On abjects, orts, and imitations."

Abjects here means outcasts, and orts, scraps, or leavings; but no one
unfamiliar with the language of that time could have solved the puzzle.

A different sort of problem is offered by such plays as _King Lear_, of
which the quartos furnish three hundred lines not in the Folio, while
the Folio has one hundred lines not in the quartos, and is, on the
whole, much more carefully copied.  The modern editor gives all the
lines in both versions, so that we read a _King Lear_ which is probably
longer than Shakespeare's countrymen read or ever saw acted.  The
modern editor selects, however, when Folio and quartos differ, the
reading which seems best.


FOLIO.  "Cordelia.        Was this a face
        To be opposed against the _jarring_ winds?"

QUARTOS.                 "Was this a face
        To be opposed against the _warring_ winds?"

In such a difference as this, the personal taste of the editor is apt
to govern his text.

We cannot here go farther in explaining the problems of the Shakespeare
text.  To those who would know more of them, the _Variorum_ edition of
Dr. H. H. Furness offers a full history.  In the light of the knowledge
which he and other scholars have thrown upon textual criticism, it is
unlikely that there will ever be poor texts of Shakespeare reprinted.
The work of the Shakespeare scholars has not been in vain.

+Later Editions+.--Nicholas Rowe in 1709 produced the first edition in
the modern sense.  He modernized the spelling frankly, repunctuated,
corrected the grammar, made out lists of the dramatis personae,
arranged the verse which was in disorder, and made a number of good
emendations in difficult places.  He added also exits and entrances,
which in earlier prints were only inserted occasionally.  Further, he
completed the division of the plays into acts and scenes.  Perhaps his
most important work was writing a full life of Shakespeare in which
several valuable traditions are preserved.  The poems were not included
in the edition, but were published in 1716 from the edition of 1640.
He followed the Third and Fourth Folios in reprinting the spurious
plays.  The edition was reprinted in 1714, 1725, and 1728.

In 1726 Alexander Pope published his famous edition of Shakespeare.
Pope possessed a splendid lot of the old quartos and the first two
folios, but his edition was wantonly careless.  He did, indeed, use
some sense in excluding the seven spurious plays as well as _Pericles_
from his edition, and he undoubtedly {128} worked hard on the text.  He
subdivided the scenes more minutely than Rowe after the fashion of the
French stage division,--where a new scene begins with every new
character instead of after the stage has been cleared.  Pope's
explanations of the words which appeared difficult in Shakespeare's
text were often laughably far from the truth.  The word 'foison,'
meaning 'plenty,' Pope defined as the 'natural juice of grass.'  The
word 'neif,' meaning 'fist,' Pope thought meant 'woman.'  Pistol is
thus made to say, "Thy woman will I take."  Phrases that appeared to be
vulgar or unpoetical he simply dropped out, or altered without notice.
He rearranged the lines in order to give them the studied smoothness
characteristic of the eighteenth century.  In fact, he tried to make
Shakespeare as near like Pope's poetry as he could.

In 1726 Lewis Theobald published _Shakespeare Restored_, with many
corrections of Pope's errors.  In this little pamphlet most of the
material was devoted to _Hamlet_.  Theobald's corrections were taken by
Pope in very bad part; and the latter tried to destroy Theobald's
reputation by writing satires against him and by injuring him in every
possible way in print.  The first of these publications, _The Dunciad_,
appeared in 1728; and this, the greatest satire in the English
language, was so effective as to have obscured Theobald's real merit
until our own day.  Theobald's edition of Shakespeare followed in 1734,
and was reprinted in 1740.  It is famous for his corrections and
improvements of the text, many of which are followed by all later
editors of Shakespeare.  The most notable of these is Mrs. Quickly's
remark in Falstaff's deathbed scene, "His nose was as sharp as a pen
and a' babbled of green fields."  The previous texts had given "and a
table of green fields."  Pope had said that this nonsense crept in from
the name of the property man who was named Greenfield, and thus there
must have been a stage direction here,--"Bring in a table of

Theobald's edition was followed in 1744 by Thomes Hanmer's edition in
six volumes.  Hanmer was a country gentleman, but not much of a scholar.

Warburton's edition followed in 1747.  In 1765 appeared {129} Samuel
Johnson's long-delayed edition in eight volumes.  Aside from a few
common-sense explanations, the edition is not of much merit.

Tyrwhitt's edition in 1766 was followed by a reprint of twenty of the
early quartos by George Steevens in the same year.  Two years later
came the edition of Edward Capell, the greatest scholarly work since
Theobald's.  In this edition was the first rigorous comparison between
the readings of the folios and the quartos.  His quartos, now in the
British Museum, are of the greatest value to Shakespeare scholars.
With his edition begins the tendency to get back to the earliest form
of the text and not to try to improve Shakespeare to the ideal of what
the editor thinks Shakespeare should have said.

In 1773 Johnson's edition was revised by Steevens, and _Pericles_ was
readmitted.  This was a valuable but crotchety edition.  In 1790 Edmund
Malone published his famous edition in ten volumes.  No Shakespearean
scholar ranks higher than he in reputation.  Numerous editions followed
up to 1865, of which the most important is James Boswell's so-called
Third _Variorum_ in twenty-one volumes.  In 1855-1861 was published J.
O. Halliwell's edition in fifteen volumes, which contains enormous
masses of antiquarian material.

In 1853 appeared the forgeries of J. P. Collier, to which reference is
made elsewhere.

In 1854-1861 appeared the edition in Germany of N. Delius.  The Leopold
Shakespeare, 1876, used Delius's text.

In 1857-1865 appeared the first good American edition of R. G. White.
It contained many original suggestions.  Between 1863 and 1866 appeared
the edition of Clark and Wright, known as the Cambridge edition.  Mr.
W. Aldis Wright, now the dean of living Shakespearean scholars, is
chiefly responsible for this text.  It was reprinted with a few changes
into the Globe edition, and is still the chief popular text.

Prof. W. A. Neilson's single volume in the Cambridge series, 1906, is
the latest scholarly edition in America.  It follows in most cases the
positions taken by Clark and Wright.

Within the last few years there has been an enormous {130} stimulus to
Shakespeare study.  The chief work of modern Shakespearean scholarship
is the still incomplete _Variorum_ edition of Dr. H. H. Furness and his

Other aids to study are reprints of the books used by Shakespeare,
facsimile reprints of the original quartos of the plays, and, perhaps
as useful as any one thing, the facsimile reproduction of the First
Folio.  The few perplexing problems that the scholar still finds in the
text of Shakespeare will probably never be solved.

On the subject of this chapter, consult A. W. Pollard, _Shakespeare
Folios and Quartos_, Methuen, London, 1910; Sidney Lee, Introduction to
the facsimile reproduction of the First Folio by the Oxford University
Press; T. R. Lounsbury, _The Text of Shakespeare_, New York, Scribners,
1906.  For the remarks of critics and editors, the _Variorum_ edition
of Dr. H. H. Furness is invaluable.

[1] A quarto volume, or quarto, is a book which is the size of a fourth
of a sheet of printing paper.  The sheets are folded twice to make four
leaves or eight pages, and the usual size is about 6x9 in.  A folio is
a volume of the size of a half sheet of printing paper.  The paper is
folded once and bound in the middle, the usual size being about 9 x 12
in.  The divisions of the book made by thus folding sheets of paper are
called quires, and may consist of four or eight leaves.

[2] This view of the Pavier-Jaggard collection is held by A. W. Pollard
of the British Museum and W. W. Greg of Trinity College Library,
Cambridge.  The writers of this volume incline to accord it complete

[3] It was evidently designed to fit in between _Romeo and Juliet_ and
_Julius Caesar_; but the owner of the publishing rights holding out
till that part of the book was ready, the editors "ran in" _Timon of
Athens_ to fill up.  When _Troilus and Cressida_ was finally arranged
for, it had to be inserted between the Histories and Tragedies.




1587 (?)-1594

The first period of Shakespeare's work carries him from the youthful
efforts at dramatic construction to such mastery of dramatic technique
and of original portrayal of life as raise him, when aided by his
supreme poetic art, above all other living dramatists.  It was chiefly
a period in which the young poet, full of ambition, curious of his own
talents, and eager for success, was feeling his way among the different
types of drama which he saw reaching success on the London stage.

The longest period of experiment was in the writing of chronicle
histories.  The experience acquired in these six plays, all derived in
some measure from earlier work by others, made Shakespeare a master of
this type.  Next in importance was comedy, chiefly romantic with four
plays of widely different aim and merit.  These two types are brought
to the highest development in the dramatist's second period.  Tragedy
was to wait for a fuller and riper experience.  What the complete
earlier version of _Romeo and Juliet_ was like, we have only a faint
idea; it was obviously, while {132} intensely appealing, the work of a
young and immature poet.  _Titus Andronicus_ led nowhere in development.

Christopher Marlowe remained Shakespeare's master in the drama
throughout the chronicle plays of the period.  John Lyly's court
comedies contained most of the types of character which are to be found
in _Love's Labour's Lost_.  Throughout the period Shakespeare grows in
mastery of plot and of his dramatic verse; but his chief growth is away
from this imitation of others into his own creative portraiture of
character.  The growth from the bluff soldier, Talbot, in _Henry VI_ to
the weak but appealing Richard II is no less marked than is that from
the fantastic Armado in _Love's Labour's Lost_ to the unconsciously
ridiculous Bottom.

Shakespeare's greatest achievements in this period, aside from _Romeo
and Juliet_ in the unknown first draft, are the characters of Richard
II and Richard III, the former a portrait of vanity and vacillation
mingled with more agreeable traits, lovable gentleness and traces at
least of kingliness, the latter a Titanic figure possessed by an
overmastering passion.

It is impossible to draw a satisfactory line of division between the
experimental period of Shakespeare's work and the period of comedy
which follows.  Two plays, _A Midsummer Night's Dream_ and _The
Merchant of Venice_, lie really between the two.  The chief arguments
for an early grouping seem to be that the former is in some measure an
artificial court comedy, and is full of riming speech and end-stopped
lines; the latter derives some help from Marlowe's treatment of _The
Jew of Malta_.  But, on the other hand, the {133} mastery of original
characterization in such groups as the delicate fairies of the _Dream_,
or those who gather at the trial of _The Merchant_, might justify their
position in the second period rather than in the first.  On the whole,
it is perhaps wisest to let metrical differences govern, and so to put
_Midsummer Night's Dream_, at the end of Imitation and Experiment;
while _The Merchant of Venice_ may safely usher in the great period of

The three plays known as _The Three Parts of Henry VI_, together with
_Richard the Third_, constitute the history of the Wars of the Roses,
in which the House of York fought the House of Lancaster through the
best part of the fifteenth century, and lost the fight and the English
crown in 1485, a hundred years before Shakespeare came to London.
Although these plays have but slight appeal to us as readers, they must
have been highly popular among Elizabethan playgoers.

+The First Part of Henry the Sixth+ deals chiefly with the wars of
England and France which center about the figures of Talbot, the
English commander, and Joan of Arc, called Joan la Pucelle (the
maiden).  The former is a hero of battle, who dies fighting for
England.  The latter is painted according to the traditional English
view, which lasted long after Shakespeare's time, as a wicked and
impure woman, in league with devils, who fight for her against the
righteous power of England.  We are glad to think that while the Talbot
scenes are probably Shakespeare's, the portrait of La Pucelle is not
from his hand, as we shall see.  The deaths of these protagonists
prepares the way for the peace which Suffolk concludes, and the
marriage {134} which he arranges between Margaret of Anjou and King

+The Second Part of Henry the Sixth+ concerns the outbreak of strife
between York and Lancaster, but chiefly the overthrow of the uncle of
the king, Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, as Protector of the Realm, and
the destruction of his opponent, the Duke of Suffolk, in his turn.  The
play ends with the first battle of St. Albans (1455), resulting in the
complete triumph of Duke Richard of York, in open rebellion against
King Henry.

+The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth+ tells of the further wars of
York and Lancaster, in the course of which Richard of York is murdered,
and his sons, Edward and Richard, keep up the struggle, while Warwick,
styled the "Kingmaker," transfers his power to Lancaster.  In the end
York is triumphant; and while Henry VI and his son are murdered, and
Warwick slain in battle at Barnet, Edward is crowned as Edward IV, and
Richard becomes the Duke of Gloucester.

+Authorship+.--The Three Parts of _Henry the Sixth_ were first printed
in the First Folio, 1623.  Two earlier plays, _The First Part of the
Contention between the two Noble Houses of York and Lancaster_
(sometimes called _1 Contention_), and _The True Tragedy of Richard,
Duke of York... with the whole Contention between the two Houses of
Lancaster and York_ (2 _Contention_), appeared in quarto in 1594 and
1595 respectively.  These are to be regarded as earlier versions of
_II_ and _III Henry VI_.[1] For the _First Part of Henry VI_ no
dramatic source exists.  The ultimate source is, of course, Holinshed's

The authorship of these plays is not ascribed to any dramatist, until
1623, although, as we have seen,[2] Robert Greene accuses {135}
Shakespeare of authorship in a stolen play, by applying to him a line
from _III Henry VI_ which had appeared earlier in 2 _Contention_.
Internal study of the three plays, however, has reduced the problem to
about this state:--

_The First Part of Henry VI_ is thought to have been written by Greene,
with George Peele and Marlowe to help.  To this Shakespeare was allowed
to add a few scenes on a later revival of the play.  Some critics give
to him the Talbot scenes and the quarrel in the Temple; but Professor
Neilson warns us that the grounds for this and other assignments of
authorship in the play "are in the highest degree precarious."

The two _Contentions_ are thought to have been chiefly the work of
Marlowe, with Greene to help him.  Others are suggested as assistants,
such as Lodge, Peele, and Shakespeare.  In the revival of the two
_Contentions_, Shakespeare's work amounted to a close revision, though
the older material remained in larger part, both in text and plot.  In
this revision, Marlowe is thought to have aided, and Greene's bitter
attack on Shakespeare may have been caused by the fact that Shakespeare
had so supplanted him as collaborator with Marlowe, then the greatest
dramatist of England.  It hardly seems likely that this attack would
have been made if Shakespeare had had any share in the first versions,
_The Contentions_.

+Date+.--_The First Part of Henry VI_ is thought to have been the play
at the Rose Theatre on March 3, 1591-1692, by Lord Strange's company,
since a reference by Nash about this time refers to Talbot as a stage
figure.  The _Second and Third Parts_ have no evidence other than that
of style, but are usually assigned to the period 1590-1592.

+Richard the Third+ is best treated at this point, although in the date
of composition _King John_ may intervene between it and _III Henry VI_.
It is the tale of a tyrant, who, by murdering everybody who stands in
his way, including his two nephews, his brother, and his friend, wins
the crown of England, only to be swept by {136} irresistible popular
wrath into ruin and death on Bosworth Field.  This tyrant is scarcely
human, but rather the impersonation  of  a great  passion of ambition.
In this respect, as well as in lack of humor, lack of development of
character, and in other ways less easy to grasp, Shakespeare is here
distinctly imitative of Marlowe's method in plays like _Tamburlaine_.

+Date+.--_Richard the Third_ was very popular among Elizabethans, for
quartos appeared in 1597, 1598 (then first ascribed to Shakespeare),
1602, 1605, 1612, 1629, 1622, and 1634.  The First Folio version is
quite different in detail from the Quarto, and is thought to have been
a good copy of an acting version.  The date of writing can hardly be
later than 1598.

+Source+.--An anonymous play called _The True Tragedie of Richard III_
had appeared before Shakespeare's; just when is uncertain.  A still
earlier play, a tragedy in Latin called _Richardus Tertius_, also told
the story.  Shakespeare's chief source was, however, Holinshed's
_Chronicles_, which learned the tradition of Richard's wickedness from
a life of that king written in Henry VII's time, and ascribed to Sir
Thomas More.  In the _Chronicles_ was but a bare outline of the
character which the dramatist so powerfully developed.

+King John+, so far as its central theme may be said to exist, portrays
the ineffectual struggles of a crafty and unscrupulous coward to stick
to England's slippery throne.  At first King John is successful.
Bribed with the rich dowry of Blanch, niece of England, as a bride for
his son the Dauphin, King Philip of France ceases his war upon England
in behalf of Prince Arthur, John's nephew and rival.  When the Church
turns against John for his refusal to obey the Pope, and France and
Austria continue the war, John is victorious, and captures Prince
Arthur.  At this point begins his {137} downfall.  His cruel treatment
of the young prince, while not actually ending in the murder he had
planned, drives the boy to attempted escape and to death.  The nobles
rise and welcome the Dauphin, whose invasion of England proves
fruitless, it is true, but the victory is not won by John, and the king
dies ignobly at Swinstead Abbey.

Two characters rise above the rest in this drama of unworthy
schemes,--Constance, the passionately devoted mother of Prince Arthur,
who fights for her son with almost tigress-like ferocity, and
Faulconbridge, the loyal lieutenant of King John, cynical and fond of
bragging, but brave and patriotic, and gifted with a saving grace of
rough humor, much needed in the sordid atmosphere he breathes.  One
single scene contains a note of pathos otherwise foreign to the
play,--that in which John's emissary Hubert begins his cruel task of
blinding poor Prince Arthur, but yields to pity and forbears.

+Date+.--_The Troublesome Raigne_ was published in 1591, and probably
written about that time.  Shakespeare's play did not appear in print
until the First Folio, 1623.  Meres mentions it, however, in 1598, and
internal evidence of meter and style, as well as of dramatic structure,
puts the play between _Richard III_ and _Richard II_, or at any rate
close to them.  The three plays have been arranged in every order by
critics of authority.  Perhaps 1592-1593 is a safe date.

+Source+.--The only source was the two parts of _The Troublesome Raigne
of John, King of England_, a play which appeared anonymously in quarto
in 1591.  Shakespeare compressed the two parts into one, gaining
obvious advantages thereby, but losing also some incidents without
which the later play is unmotivated.  The hatred felt by Faulconbridge
for Austria was due in the earlier version to the legendary belief that
{138} Richard Coeur-de-Lion, his father, met death at Austria's hands.
No reference to this is made by Shakespeare, but the hatred remains as
a motive.  In the opening scene between the Bastard and his mother,
Shakespeare's condensation has injured the story somewhat.  But most of
his changes are improvements.  He cut out the pandering to religious
prejudice which in the earlier play made John a Protestant hero to suit
Elizabethan opinion.  He improved the exits and entrances, divided the
scenes in more effective ways, and built up the element of comic relief
in Faulconbridge's red-blooded humor.

The numerous alterations from historical fact, such as the youth of
Arthur, the widowhood of Constance, the character of Faulconbridge, are
all from the earlier version, as is the suppression of the baron's wars
and Magna Charta.  Shakespeare added practically nothing to the action
in his source.

A still earlier play, _Kynge Johan_ by Bishop John Bale (c. 1650), had
nothing to do with later versions.

+Richard the Second+, unlike _Richard the Third_, is not simply the
story of one man.  While Richard III is on the stage during more than
two-thirds of the latter play, Richard II appears during almost exactly
half of the action.  Richard III dominates his play throughout; Richard
II in only two or three scenes.  Richard's two uncles, John of Gaunt
and the Duke of York, and his two cousins, Hereford (Bolingbroke, later
Henry IV) and Aumerle, claim almost as much of our attention as does
the central figure of the play, the light, vain, and thoughtless king.

And yet with all this improvement in the adjustment of the leading role
to the whole picture, Shakespeare drew a far more real and complete
character in Richard II than any he had yet portrayed in historical
drama.  It is a character seen in many lights.  At first we are
disappointed with Richard's love of the {139} spectacular when he
allows Bolingbroke's challenge to Mowbray to go as far as the actual
sounding of the trumpets in the lists before he casts down his warder
and decrees the banishment of both.  A little later we see with disgust
his greedy thoughtlessness, when he insults the last hour of John of
Gaunt by his importunate visit, and without a word of regret lays hold
of his dead uncle's property to help on his own Irish wars.  Nor does
our respect for him rise at all when in the critical moment, upon the
return of Bolingbroke to England, Richard's weak will vacillates
between action and unmanly lament, and all the while his vanity
delights to paint his misery in full-mouth'd rhetoric.  Vanity is again
the note of his abdication, when he calls for a mirror in which to
behold the face that has borne such sorrow as his, and then in a fit of
almost childish rage dashes the glass upon the ground.  His whole life,
like that one act, has been impulsive and futile.

But now that misfortune and degradation have come upon King Richard,
Shakespeare compels us to turn from disgust to pity, and finally almost
to admiration.  We realize that after all Richard is a king, and that
his wretched state demands compassion.  Moreover, a nobler side of
Richard's character is portrayed.  His deeply touching farewell to his
loving Queen, as he goes to his solitary confinement, though tinged
with almost unmanly meekness of spirit, is yet poignant with true
grief.  And the last scene of all, in which he dies, vainly yet bravely
resisting his murderers, is a gallant end to a life so full of


In strong contrast with this weak and still absorbing figure are the
two high-minded and patriotic uncles of King Richard, and the masterful
though unscrupulous Henry.  The famous prophetic speech of dying John
of Gaunt is committed to memory by every English schoolboy, as the
expression of the highest patriotism in the noblest poetry.  And just
as our attitude towards Richard changes from contempt to pity and even
admiration, so our admiration for Henry, the man of action and, as he
calls himself, "the true-borne Englishman," turns into indignation at
his usurpation of the throne and his connivance, to use no stronger
term, at the murder of his sovereign.  Throughout the play, however,
Shakespeare makes us feel that the national cause demands Henry's

+Date+.--Marlowe's _Edward II_ is usually dated 1593; and Shakespeare's
_Richard II_ is dated the year following, in order to accommodate facts
to theory.  The frequency of rime points to an earlier date, the
absence of prose to a later date.  Our only certain date is 1597, when
a quarto appeared.  Others followed in 1598, 1608, and 1615.

A play "of the deposing of Richard II" was performed by wish of the
Earl of Essex in London streets in 1601, on the eve of his attempted
revolt against the queen.  If this was our play, then Essex failed as
signally in understanding the real theme of the play as he did in
interpreting the attitude of Englishmen toward him.  Both the one and
the other condemned usurpation in the strongest terms.

+Source+.--Holinshed's _Chronicles_ furnished Shakespeare with but the
bare historical outline.  It is usual to suggest that Marlowe's
portrayal of a similarly weak figure with a similarly tragic end
suggested Shakespeare's play; and this may be, though there is nothing
to indicate direct influence.


+Titus Andronicus+ has a plot so revolting to modern readers that many
critics like to follow the seventeenth-century tradition, which tells,
according to a writer who wanted to justify his own tinkering, that
Shakespeare added "some master-touches to one or two of the principal
characters," and nothing more.  But unfortunately not only the
phraseology and the meter, but the more important external evidences
point to Shakespeare, and, however we might wish it, we cannot find
grounds to dismiss the theory that Shakespeare was at least responsible
for the rewriting of an older play.

No play better deserves the type name of 'tragedy of blood.'  The
crimes which disfigure its scenes seem to us unnecessarily wanton.
Briefly, the struggle is between Titus, conqueror of the Goths, and
Tamora, their captive queen, who marries the Roman emperor, and who
would revenge Titus's sacrifice of her son to the shades of his own
slain sons.  From the first five minutes, during which a noble Goth is
hacked to pieces--off stage, mercifully--to the last minute of carnage,
when the entire company go hands all round in murder, fifteen persons
are slain, and other crimes no less horrible perpetrated.  Every one at
some time gets his revenge; and the play is entirely made up of
plotting, killing, gloating, and counterplotting.  The inhumanly brutal
Aaron, the blackamoor lover of Tamora, is arch villain in all this; but
the ungovernable passions of Titus render him scarcely more attractive.

The pity of it is that the young Shakespeare apparently wasted upon
this slaughtering much genuine {142} poetic art, and no little
elaboration of plot.  But he was writing what the public of that day
enjoyed.  Developed by such real artists as Kyd, the tragedy of blood,
like the modern "thriller," had about 1590 an enormous success.  It is
well for us to remember, too, that out of one of these tragedies of
revenge and blood sprang the great tragedy of _Hamlet_.

+Date+.--The most recent authorities put the play as written not long
before the publication of the First Quarto, 1594.  The Stationers'
Register records it on February 6, 1593-4.  Second and Third Quartos
followed in 1600 and 1611.  None of these ascribe the play to
Shakespeare.  It is, however, included in the First Folio.

+Authorship and Source+.--Richard Henslowe, the manager, recorded in
his Diary, April 11, 1591, the performance of a new play _Tittus and
Vespacia_.  In a German version, _Tito Andronico_, printed in a
collection of 1620, Lucius is called Vespasian; and thus we have a
slight ground for belief that the entry of Henslowe refers to an early
play about our Titus.  A Dutch version, _Aran en Titus_, appeared in
1641.  This appears to have been based on another relation of the
story, earlier and cruder than Shakespeare's.  The Shakespearean
version probably came from these two earlier plays, with considerable
additions in plot.

The two latest students of the play, Dr. Fuller and Mr. Robertson,
differ as far as they well can on the question of authorship.  The
former believes Shakespeare wrote every line of the present play; the
latter that he wrote none of it, and that Greene and Peele had their
full share.  Kyd and Marlowe are assigned as authors by others.  One
fact stands clear, that in the face of the evidence of the First Folio
and of Meres, no conclusive internal evidence has disposed of the
theory of Shakespearean authorship.  The play was enormously popular,
if we may judge by contemporary references to it, and a mistake in
attribution by Meres would therefore have been the more {143}
remarkable.  Incredible, too, as it may seem, the earlier versions must
have been more revolting than Shakespeare's; so that there is really a
lift into higher drama.

+Romeo and Juliet+ stands out from the other great tragedies of
Shakespeare, not only in point of time, but in its central theme.  It
deals with the power of nature in awaking youth to full manhood and
womanhood through the sudden coming of pure and supreme love; with the
danger which always attends the precipitate call of this awakening; and
with the sudden storm which overcasts the brilliant day of passion.
The enmity of the rival houses of Montague and Capulet, to which Romeo
and Juliet belong, is but a concrete form of this danger that ever
waits when nature prompts.  Romeo's fancied love for another disappears
like a drop of water on a stone in the sun, when his glance meets
Juliet's at the Capulet's ball.  Love takes equally sudden hold of her.
Worldly and religious caution seek to stem the flood of passion, or at
least to direct it.  The lovers are married at Friar Laurence's cell;
but in the sudden whirl of events that follow the friar's amiable
schemes, one slight error on his part wastes all that glorious passion
and youth have won.  It was not his fault, after all; such is the
eternal tragedy when Youth meets Love, and Nature leads them
unrestrained to peril.

In perfection of dramatic technique parts of this play rank with the
very best of Shakespeare's work.  When to this is added the
extraordinary beauty and fire of the poetry, and the brilliancy of
color and stage picture afforded by the setting in old Verona, it is no
wonder that to-day no mouthing of the words, no {144} tawdriness of
setting, and no wretchedness of acting can hinder the supreme appeal of
this play to audiences all over the world.  The chief characters are
well contrasted by the dramatist.  Romeo, affecting sadness, but in
reality merry by nature, becomes grave when the realization of love
comes upon him.  Juliet, when love comes, rises gladly to meet its full
claim.  She is the one who plans and dares, and Romeo the one who
listens.  Contrasted with Romeo is his friend, Mercutio, gay and
daring, loving and light-hearted; contrasted with Juliet is her old
nurse, devoted, like the family cat, but unscrupulous, vain, and
worldly,--a great comic figure.

+Date+.--There is throughout the play, but chiefly in the rimed
passages in the earlier parts, a great deal of verbal conceit and
playing upon words, which mark immaturity.  The use of sonnets in two
places, and the abundance of rime, point also to early work; but the
dramatic technique and the development of character equal the work of
later periods.

The First Quarto is a garbled copy taken down in the theater.  It was
printed in 1597.  Its title claims that "it hath been often (with great
applause) plaid publiquely, by the right Honourable the L. of Hunsdon
his servants."  The company in which Shakespeare acted was so called
from July, 1596, to April, 1597.  The Second Quarto, "newly corrected,
augmented, and amended," appeared in 1599, and is the basis of all
later texts.  Three others followed--1609, one undated, and 1637.

It is generally held that Shakespeare wrote much, perhaps all, of the
play in the early nineties, and that he revised it for production about
1597.  The play is therefore a stepping-stone between the first and
second periods of his work.

+Source+.--The development of the story has been traced from Luigi da
Porto's history of _Romeo and Giulietta_ (pr. 1530 at Venice) through
Bandello, Boisteau, and Painter's _Palace of {145} Pleasure_, to Arthur
Brooke's poem _Romeus and Juliet_ (1562), and to a lost English play
which Brooke says in his address "To the Reader" he had seen on the
stage, but is now known only through a Dutch play of 1630 based upon it.

The part in which Shakespeare altered the action most notably is the
first scene, one of the most masterly expositions of a dramatic
situation ever written.  The nurse is borrowed from Brooke, the death
of Mercutio from the old play.  The whole is, however, completely
transfused by the welding fire of genius.

+Love's Labour's Lost+.--Obviously imitative of the comedies of John
Lyly, _Love's Labour's Lost_ is a light, pleasant court comedy, with
but a slight thread of plot.  The king of Navarre and three of his
nobles forswear for three years the society of ladies in order to
pursue study.  This plan is interrupted by the Princess of France, who
with three ladies comes on an embassy to Navarre.  The inevitable
happens; the gentlemen fall in love with the ladies, and, after
ineffectual struggles to keep their oaths, give up the pursuit of
learning for that of love.  This runs on merrily enough in courtly
fashion till the announcement of the death of the king of France ends
the embassy, and the lovers are put on a year's probation of constancy.
In the subplot, or minor story, the play is notable for the burlesquing
of two types of character--a pompous pedantic schoolmaster, and a
braggart who always speaks in high-flown metaphor.  These two, happily
contrasted with a country curate, a court page, and a country clown
with his lass, make much good sport.

It is often said, but as we believe without sufficient proof, that the
wit combats of the lords and ladies, {146} and the artificial speech of
the sonneteering courtiers, were also introduced for burlesque.  These
elements appear, however, in other plays than this, with no intention
of burlesque; and it seems probable that Shakespeare greatly enjoyed
this display of his power as a master in the prevailing fashion of
courtly repartee.  In this fashion, as well as in the handling of the
low-comedy figures, and in other ways, Shakespeare followed in the
steps of John Lyly, the author of the novel _Euphues_ and of the seven
court comedies written in the decade before _Love's Labour's Lost_.
Shakespeare's play, however, far surpasses those which it imitated.

+Date+.--The date of _Love's Labour's Lost_ is entirely a matter of
conjecture.  It may well have been the very earliest of Shakespeare's
comedies.  Most scholars agree that the characteristics of style to
which we have referred, together with the great use of rime (see p. 81)
and the immaturity of the play as a whole, must indicate a very early
date, and therefore put the play not later than 1591.

A quarto was published in 1598, "newly corrected and augmented by W.
Shakespere."  The corrections, from certain mistakes of the printer,
appear to be in the speeches of the wittiest of the lords and ladies,
Biron and Rosaline.  The play next appeared in the Folio.

+Source+.--No direct source has been discovered.  In 1586, Catherine
de' Medici, accompanied by her ladies, visited the court of Henry of
Navarre, and attempted to settle the disputes between that prince and
her son, Henry III.  Other hints may also have come from French
history.  The masque of Muscovites may have been based on the joke
played on a Russian ambassador in York Gardens in 1582, when the
ambassador was hoping to get a lady of Elizabeth's court as a wife for
the Czar.  A mocking presentation of this lady was made with much


+The Comedy of Errors+.--Mistaken identity (which the Elizabethans
called "Error") is nearly always amusing, whether on the stage or in
actual life.  _The Comedy of Errors_ is a play in which this situation
is developed to the extreme of improbability; but we lose sight of this
in the roaring fun which results.  Nowadays we should call a play of
this type a farce, since most of the fun comes in this way from
situations which are improbable, and since the play depends on these
for success rather than on characterization or dialogue.

A merchant of Syracuse has had twin sons, and bought twin servants for
them.  His wife with one twin son and his twin slave has been lost by
shipwreck and has come to live in Ephesus.  The other son and slave,
when grown, have started out to find their brothers, and the father,
some years later, starts out to find him.  They come to Ephesus, and an
amusing series of errors at once begins.  The wife takes the wrong twin
for her husband, the master beats the wrong slave, the wrong son
disowns his father, the twin at Ephesus is arrested instead of his
brother, and the twin slave Dromio of Syracuse is claimed as a husband
by a black kitchen girl of Ephesus.  The situation gets more and more
mixed, until at last the real identity of the strangers from Syracuse
is established, and all ends happily.

+Date+.--There is much wordplay of a rather cheap kind, much doggerel,
and much jingling rime in this play.  All these things point to early
work.  A reference (III, ii, 125-127) to France "making war against her
heir" admits the play to the period 1585-1594, when Henry of Navarre
was received as king {148} of France.  The play was probably written
not later than 1591.  The play was first printed in the First Folio.

+Source+.--Shakespeare borrowed most of his plot from the _Menaechmi_
of Plautus.  Shakespeare added to Plautus's story the second twin-slave
and the parents, together with the girl whom the elder twin meets and
loves in Syracuse.  This elaboration of the plot adds much to the
attractiveness of the whole story.  From the _Amphitruo_ of Plautus,
Shakespeare derived the doubling of slaves, and the scene in which the
younger twin and his slave are shut out of their own home.

+The Two Gentlemen of Verona+ is the first of the series of
Shakespeare's romantic comedies.  Our interest in this play turns upon
the purely romantic characters; two friends, one true, the other
recreant; the true friend exiled to an outlaw's life in a forest, the
false in favor at court; two loving girls, one fair and radiant, the
other dark and slighted, and following her lover in boy's dress; two
clowns, Speed and Lance, one a mere word tosser, the other of rare
humor.  The plot is of slighter importance; a discovered elopement, and
a maiden rescued from rude, uncivil hands, are the only incidents of
account.  All ends happily as in romance, and the recreant friend is

_The Two Gentlemen of Verona_ was an experiment along certain
directions which were later to repay the dramatist most richly.  Here
first an exquisite lyric interprets the romantic note in the play; here
first the production of a troth-plight ring confounds the faithless
lover, and here we first meet one of the charming group of loving
ladies in disguise.

But as a whole the play is disappointing.  The plot is too fantastic;
Proteus too much of a cad; Julia, though brave and modest, is yet too
faithful; Valentine {149} too easy a friend.  The illusion of romance
throws a transitory glamour over the scene, but, save in the
development of character, the play seems immature, when compared with
the greater comedies that followed it.

+Date+.--The first mention of the play is by Meres (1598); the first
print that in the First Folio (1623).  The presence of alternate riming
sonnets and doggerel rime on the one hand, and of a number of double
endings on the other, render 1592 a reasonable date.  In its
development of character it marks a great advance over the other two
comedies of this period.

+Source+.--The chief source was a story of a shepherdess, an episode in
the Spanish novel, _Diana Enamorada_, by Jorge de Montemayor (1592).
Shakespeare probably read it in an English translation by B. Yonge,
which had been in Ms. about ten years.  This story gives Julia's part
of the play, but contains no Valentine.  The Silvia of the story,
Celia, falls in love instead with the disguised Felismena, and when
rejected kills herself.  Whether it was Shakespeare who felt the need
of a Valentine to support the tale, or whether this was done in the
lost play of _Felix and Philiomena_, acted in 1584, cannot be told.
The Valentine element may have been borrowed from another play, of
which a German version exists (1620).

+Midsummer Night's Dream+ is Shakespeare's experiment in the fairy
play.  Four lovers, two young Athenians of high birth and their
sweethearts, are almost inextricably tangled by careless Robin
Goodfellow, who has dropped the juice of love-in-idleness upon the eyes
of the wrong lovers.  King Oberon tricks his capricious and resentful
little queen, by the aid of the same juice, into the absurdest
infatuation for a clownish weaver, who has come out with his mates to
rehearse a play to celebrate Theseus's wedding, but has fallen asleep
and {150} wakened to find an ass's head planted upon him.  All comes
right, as it ever must in fairyland; the true lovers are reunited; the
faithful unloved lady gets her faithless lover; Titania repents and is
forgiven; and Theseus's wedding is graced by the "mirthfullest tragedy
that ever was seen."

We have in _Midsummer Night's Dream_ three distinct groups of
characters--the lovers, the city clowns rehearsing for the play, and
the fairies.  These three diverse groups are combined in the most
skillful way by an intricate interweaving of plot and by the final
appearance of all three groups at the wedding festivities of the Duke
of Athens and his Amazon bride Hypolita.  The characterization, light
but delicate throughout, the mastery of the intricate story, the
perfection of the comic parts, and the unsurpassed lyrical power of the
poetry, are all the evidence we need that Shakespeare is now his own
master in the drama, and can pass on to the supreme heights of his art.
He has learned his trade for good and all.

It is not a bad way of placing the last of the comedies in the first
period of Shakespeare's production, to say that it is the counterpart
in comedy of _Romeo and Juliet_.  Like Romeo, Lysander has made love to
Hermia, has sung at her window by moonlight, and has won her heart,
while her father has promised her hand to another.  Like the lovers in
the tragedy, Lysander and Hermia plan flight, and an error in this plan
would have been as fatal as it was in Romeo and Juliet, but for the
kind interposition of the fairies.  Again, the "tedious brief scene" of
Pyramus and Thisbe, performed by the rustics at the close of the play,
is {151} nothing but a delightful parody on the very theme of Romeo and
Juliet, even to the mistaken death, and the suicide of the heroine upon
realization of the truth.  At the end of the parody, as if in mockery
of the Capulets and Montagues, Bottom starts up to tell us that "the
wall is down that parted their fathers."  Finally, the whole fairy
story is the creation of Shakespeare in a Mercutio mood.

In the diversity of its metrical form, _Midsummer Night's Dream_ is
also the counterpart of _Romeo and Juliet_.  The abundance of rimed
couplet, combined wherever there is intensity of feeling with a perfect
form of blank verse, is reminiscent of the earlier play.  Passages of
equally splendid poetic power meet us all through, while at the same
time we feel the very charm of youthful fervor in expression that the
tragedy displayed.

+Date+.--There is nothing certain to guide us in assigning a date to
the play, except the mention of it in Meres's list, in 1598.  The
absence of a uniform structure of verse, the large proportion of rime
(partly due, of course, to the nature of the play), the unequal measure
of characterization, and the number of passages of purely lyric beauty
argue an earlier date than students who notice only the skillful plot
structure are willing to assign.  Perhaps 1593-5 would indicate this
variation in authorities.  Some evidence, of the slightest kind, is
advanced for 1594.  A quarto was printed in 1600, another with the
spurious date 1600, really in 1619.

+Source+.--The plot of the lovers has no known direct source.  The
_Diana Enamorada_ has a love potion with an effect similar to that of
Oberon's.  The wedding of Theseus and the Amazon queen is the opening
theme of Chaucer's _Knight's Tale_, and some minor details may also
have been borrowed from that story.  No doubt, Shakespeare had also
read for details North's {152} account of Theseus in his translation of
Plutarch.  Pyramus and Thisbe came originally from Ovid's
_Metamorphoses_, which had been translated into English before this
time.  Chaucer tells the same story in his _Legend of Good Women_.

The fairies are almost entirely Shakespeare's creation.  Titania was
one of Ovid's names for Diana; Oberon was a common name for the fairy
king, both in the _Faerie Queene_ and elsewhere.  Robin Goodfellow was
a favorite character among the common folks.  But fairies, as we all
know them, are like the Twins in _Through the Looking-glass_, things of
the fancy of one man, and that man Shakespeare.

There is the atmosphere of a wedding about the whole play, and this
fact has led most scholars to think that the play was written for some
particular wedding,--just whose has never been settled.  The flattery
of the virgin Queen (II, i, 157 f.) and other references to purity
might show that Queen Elizabeth was one of the wedding guests.

[1] Schelling, _Elizabethan Drama_ I, 264.

[2] See p. 8.




It is difficult for us of to-day to realize that Shakespeare was ever
less than the greatest dramatist of his time, to think of him as the
pupil and imitator of other dramatists.  He did, indeed, pass through
this stage of his development with extraordinary rapidity, so that its
traces are barely perceptible in the later plays of his First Period.
In the plays of his Second Period even these traces disappear.  If his
portrayal of Shylock shows the influence of Marlowe's Jew of Malta, it
is in no sense derivative, and it is the last appearance in
Shakespeare's work of characterization clearly dependent upon the plays
of his predecessors.  However much Shakespeare's choice of themes may
have been determined by the public taste or by the work of his fellows,
in the creation of character he is henceforth his own master.  Having
acquired this mastery, he uses it to depict life in its most joyous
aspect.  For the time being he dwells little upon men's failures and
sorrows.  He does not ignore life's darker side,--he loved life too
well for that,--but he uses it merely as a background for pictures of
youth and happiness and success.  Although among the comedies of this
period he wrote also three historical plays, they {154} have not the
tragic character of the earlier histories.  They deal with youth and
hope instead of crime, weakness, and failure.  In the two parts of
_Henry IV_ there is quite as much comedy as there is history; in _Henry
V_, even though the comic interest is slighter, the theme is still one
of youth and joy as personified in the figure of the vigorous,
successful young king.  For convenience' sake, however, we may separate
the histories from the comedies.  To do this we shall have to depart
somewhat from chronological order, and, since there are fewer
histories, we shall consider them first.

+Henry IV, Part I+.--To the development of Henry V from the wayward
prince to one of England's most beloved heroes, Shakespeare devoted
three plays, _Henry IV_, _Parts I_ and _II_, and _Henry V_.  The
historical event around which the first of these centers is the
rebellion of the Percies, which culminated in the defeat and death of
Harry Percy, 'Hotspur,' on Shrewsbury field.  In _Richard II_,
Shakespeare had foreshadowed what was to come.  The deposed king had
prophesied that his successor, Henry Bolingbroke, crowned as Henry IV,
would fall out with the great Percy family which had put him on the
throne; that the Percies would never be satisfied with what Henry would
do for them; and that Henry would hate and distrust them on the ground
that those who had made a king could unmake one as well.  And this
prophecy was fulfilled.  Uniting with the Scots under Douglas, with the
Archbishop of York, with Glendower, who was seeking to reëstablish the
independence of Wales, and with Mortimer, the natural successor of
Richard, {155} the Percies raised the standard of revolt.  What might
have happened had all things gone as they were planned, we can never
know; but Northumberland, the head of the family, feigned sickness;
Glendower and Mortimer were kept away; the Archbishop dallied; and
failure was the result.  This situation gave Shakespeare an opportunity
to paint a number of remarkable portraits; but the scheming, crafty
Worcester, the vacillating Northumberland, the mystic Glendower, are
all overshadowed by the figure of Hotspur, wrong-headed, impulsive, yet
so aflame with young life and enthusiasm, so ready to dare all for
honor's sake, that he is almost more attractive than the Prince
himself.  Over against the older leaders of the rebellion stands the
lonely figure of Henry IV, misunderstood and little loved by his sons,
who has centered his whole existence upon getting and keeping the
throne of England.  To this one end he bends every energy of his
shrewd, strong, hard nature.  Such a man could never understand a
personality like that of his older son, nor could the son understand
the father.  Prince Hal, loving life in all its manifestations, joy in
all its forms, could find small satisfaction in the rigid etiquette of
a loveless court so long as it offered him an opportunity for little
more than formal activity.  When the rebellion of the Percies showed
him that he could do the state real service, he seized his opportunity
gladly, gayly, modestly.  On his father's cause he centered the
energies which he had previously scattered.  With this new demand to
meet, he no longer had time for his old companions.  His old life was
thrown off like a coat discarded under stress of work.  {156} Even
before that time came, however, Hal was not one who could enjoy
ordinary low company; but the friends which had distracted him were far
from ordinary.  In Falstaff, the leader of the riotous group,
Shakespeare created one of the greatest comic figures in all
literature.  Never at a loss, Falstaff masters alike sack,
difficulties, and companions.  He is an incarnation of joy for whom
moral laws do not exist.  Because he will not fight when he sees no
chance of victory, he has been called a coward, but no coward ever had
such superb coolness in the face of danger.  Falstaff's conduct in a
fight is explained by his contempt for all conventions which bring no
joy--a standard which reduces honor to a mere word.  So full of joy was
he that he inspired it in his companions.  To be with him was to be

+Date+.--The play was entered in the Stationers' Register, and a quarto
was printed in 1598.  Meres mentions the play without indicating
whether he meant one part or both.  The evidence of meter and style
point to a date much earlier than Meres's entry, so that 1597 is the
year to which Part I is commonly assigned.

+Source+.--For the serious plot of this play, Shakespeare drew upon
Holinshed.  He had no scruples, however, against altering history for
dramatic purposes.  Thus he brings within a much shorter period of time
the battles in Wales and Scotland, makes Hal and Hotspur of
approximately the same age, and unites two people in the character of
Mortimer.  The situations in the scenes which show Hal with Falstaff
and his fellows are largely borrowed from an old play called _The
Famous Victories of Henry V_, but this source furnished only the barest
and crudest outlines, and gave practically no hint of the characters as
Shakespeare conceived them.  The reference in Act I, Sc. ii, to
Falstaff as the 'old lad of the castle' shows that his name was
originally {157} Oldcastle, as in _The Famous Victories_.  Oldcastle
was a historical personage quite unlike Falstaff, and it is supposed
that the change was made to spare the feeling of Oldcastle's

+Henry IV, Part II+.--This part is less a play than a series of loosely
connected scenes.  The final suppression of the rebellion, which had
been continued by the Archbishop of York, the sickness and death of
Henry IV, and the accession of Prince Hal as Henry V, are matters
essentially undramatic and incapable of unified treatment, while the
growing separation of Hal and Falstaff deprived the underplot of that
close connection with the main action which it had in the preceding
play.  Feeling the weakness of the main plot, Shakespeare reduced it to
a subordinate position, making it little more than a series of
historical pictures inserted between the scenes in which Falstaff and
his companions figure.  He enriched this part of the play, on the other
hand, by the introduction of a number of superbly poetical speeches,
the best known of which is that beginning, "O Sleep, O gentle Sleep."
To the comic groups Shakespeare added a number of new figures, among
them the braggart Pistol, whose speech bristles with the high-sounding
terms he has borrowed from the theater, and old Justice Shallow, so
fond of recalling the gay nights and days which are as much figments of
his imagination as is his assumed familiarity with the great John of
Gaunt.  By placing more stress upon the evil and less pleasing sides of
Falstaff's nature, Shakespeare evidently intended to prepare his
readers' minds for the definite break between old Jack and the new
king; but in this wonderful man he had created a character so
fascinating that he could not spoil it; and {158} the king's public
rejection of Falstaff comes as a painful shock which, impresses one as
much with the coldly calculating side of the Bolingbroke nature as it
does with the sad inevitability of the rupture.

+Source and Date+.--The sources for this play are the same as those of
its predecessor.  Although the first and only quarto was not printed
until 1600, there is a reference to this part in Jonson's _Every Man
Out of his Humour_, which was produced in 1599.  It must, therefore,
have been written shortly after Part I, and it is accordingly dated

+Henry V+.--In this, which is really the third play of a trilogy,
Shakespeare adopted a manner of treatment quite unlike that which
characterizes the other two.  _Henry V_ is really a dramatized epic, an
almost lyric rhapsody cast in the form of dialogue.  Falstaff has
disappeared from view, and is recalled only by the affecting story of
his death.  This episode, however, brief as it is, reveals the love
which the old knight evoked from his companions, while the narrative of
his last hours is the more pathetic for being put in the mouth of the
comic figure of Dame Quickly.  Falstaff's place was one which could not
be filled, and the comic scenes become comparatively insignificant,
although the quarrels of Pistol and the Welshman Fluellen have a
distinctive humor.  A figure which replaces the classic chorus connects
the scattered historical scenes by means of superb narrative verse.
Each episode glorifies a new aspect of Henry's character.  We see him
as the valiant soldier; as the leader rising superior to tremendous
odds; as the democratic king who, concealing his rank, talks and jests
with a common soldier; and {159} as the bluff, hearty suitor of a
foreign bride.  In thus seeing him, moreover, we see not only the
individual man; we see him as an ideal Englishman, as the embodiment of
the type which the men of Shakespeare's day--and of ours, too, for that
matter--loved and admired and honored.  In celebrating Henry's
victories, Shakespeare was also celebrating England's more recent
victories over her enemies abroad, so that the play is a great national
paean, the song of heroic, triumphant England.

+Date and Source+.--Like its predecessors, _Henry V_ is founded on
Holinshed, with some additions taken from the Famous Victories.  The
allusion in the chorus which precedes Act V to the Irish expedition of
the Earl of Essex fixes the date of composition between April 14 and
September 28, 1599.  A quarto, almost certainly pirated, was printed in
1600 and reprinted in 1602, 1608, and 1619 (in the latter with the
false date of 1608).  The text of these quartos is, therefore, much
inferior to that of the Folio.

+The Merchant of Venice+.--As usually presented on the modern stage,
_The Merchant of Venice_ appears to be a comedy, which is overshadowed
by one tragic figure, that of the Jew Shylock, the representative of a
down-trodden people, deprived of his money by a tricky lawyer and
deprived of his daughter by a tricky Christian.  Students, on the other
hand, have maintained that to the Elizabethans Shylock was merely a
comic figure, the defeat of whose vile plot to get the life of his
Christian debtor, Antonio, by taking a pound of his flesh in place of
the unpaid gold, was greeted with shouts of delighted laughter.  As a
matter of fact, Shylock, then as now, was a human being, and by virtue
{160} of that fact both ridiculous and pathetic.  In any case, whatever
the dominant note of his character, he is not the dominant figure of
the play.  If he were, the fifth act, which ends the play with
moonlight and music and the laughter of happy lovers, would be
distinctly out of place.  Yet it is in reality the absence of such
defects of taste, the ability to bring everything into its proper
place, to make a harmonious whole out of the most various tones, which
best characterizes the Shakespearean comedy of this period.  Instead of
being a play in which one great character is set in relief against a
number of lesser ones, _The Merchant of Venice_ is a comedy in which
there is an unusually large number of characters of nearly equal
importance and an unusually large number of plots of nearly equal
interest.  There is the plot which has to do with Portia's marriage, in
which the right lover wins this gracious merry lady by choosing the
proper one of three locked caskets.  There is the plot which deals with
the elopement of the Jew's daughter, Jessica.  There is the plot which
relates the story of the bond given by Antonio to the Jew in return for
the loan which enables Antonio's friend, Bassanio, to carry on his suit
for Portia's hand, the bond, which, when forfeited, would have cost
Antonio his life had not Portia, disguised as a lawyer, defeated
Shylock's treacherous design.  There is the plot which tells how
Bassanio and his friend Gratiano give their wedding rings as rewards to
the pretended lawyer and his assistant, really their wives Portia and
Nerissa in disguise,--an act which gives the wives a chance to make
much trouble for their lords.  And all these plots are worked out with
an abundance of {161} interesting detail, and are so perfectly
interwoven that the play has all of the wonderful harmony of a Turkish
rug, as well as its brilliant variety.  No play of Shakespeare's
depends more for its effect on plot, on the sheer interest of the
stories, and no one has, consequently, situations which are more
effective on the stage.  It is, perhaps, an inevitable result that the
individual characters have a somewhat less permanent, less deeply
satisfying charm than do those of the comedies which follow.  None of
these successors, however, presents a larger or more varied group of
delightful men and women.

+Date+.--The later limit of the date is settled by the mention of this
play in Meres's catalogue, and by its entry in the Stationers' Register
of that same year.  Basing their opinion on extremely unsubstantial
internal evidence, some scholars have dated the play as early as 1594,
but the evidence of style and construction make a date before 1596
unlikely.  Two quartos were printed, one in 1600; the other, though
copying the date 1600 upon its title-page, was probably printed in 1619.

+Source+.--The story of the pound of flesh and that of the choice of
caskets are extremely ancient.  The former is combined with that of the
wedding rings in Fiorentino's _Il Pecorone_ (the first novel of the
fourth day), a story which Shakespeare probably knew and may have used.
Alexander Silvayn's _The Orator_, printed in English translation in
1596, has, in connection with a bond episode, speeches made by a Jew
which may be the source of some of Shylock's lines.  The combination of
these plots with those of Jessica and Nerissa is, so far as we can yet
prove, original with Shakespeare; but we cannot be certain how much
_The Merchant of Venice_ resembles a lost play of the Jew mentioned in
Gosson's _School of Abuse_ (1579), "representing the greediness of
worldly chusers, and bloody mindes of Usurers."

+The Taming of the Shrew+.--_The Taming of the Shrew_ is only in part
the work of Shakespeare.  Just how {162} much he had to do with making
over the underplot, we shall probably never know; but, in any case, he
did not write the dialogue of this part of the play, and its
construction is not particularly remarkable.  The winning of a girl by
a suitor disguised as a teacher is a conventional theme of comedy, as
is the disguising of a stranger to take the place of an absent father
in order to confirm a young lover's suit.  The main plot Shakespeare
certainly left as he found it.  It tells how an ungovernable, willful
girl was made into a submissive wife by a husband who assumed for the
purpose a manner even wilder than her own, so wild that not even she
could endure it.  This story is presented in scenes of uproarious farce
in which there is little opportunity for subtle characterization or the
higher sort of comedy.  What Shakespeare did was to give to the hero
and heroine, Petruchio and Katherine, a semblance of reality, and to
add enormously to the life and movement of the scenes in which they
appear.  Some of these scenes are very effective on the stage, but they
are not of a sort to reveal Shakespeare's greatest qualities.  The
induction, the framework in which the play is set, is, however, quite
another matter.  The story of the drunken tinker, Sly, unfortunately
omitted in many modern presentations, is a little masterpiece.  A
nobleman returning from the hunt finds Sly lying in a drunken stupor
before an inn.  The nobleman has Sly taken to his country house, has
him dressed in rich clothing, has him awakened by servants who make him
believe that he is really a lord, and finally has the play performed
before him.  The outline of this induction was in the old play which
Shakespeare revised; but {163} he developed the crude work of his
predecessor into scenes so delightfully realistic, into
characterization so richly humorous, that this induction takes its
place among the great comic episodes of literature.

+Date+.--No certain evidence for the date of this play exists, even the
metrical tests failing us because of the collaboration.  It is commonly
assigned to the years 1596-7, but this is little more than a guess.

+Source+.--As has already been indicated, this play is the revision of
an older play entitled _The Taming of a Shrew_.  The latter was
probably written by a disciple of Marlowe, and was first printed in
quarto in 1594.  The chief change which the revision made in the plot
was that which gave Katherine one sister instead of two and added the
interest of rival suitors for this sister's hand.  Stories concerning
the taming of a shrewish woman are both ancient and common, but no
direct antecedent of the older play has been discovered, although some
incidents seem to have been borrowed from Gascoigue's _Supposes_, a
translation from the Italian of Ariosto.

+Authorship+.--The identity of Shakespeare's collaborator is unknown,
nor is it possible to define exactly the limits of his work.  It is
practically certain, however, that Shakespeare wrote the Induction; II,
i, 169-326; III, ii, with the possible exception of 130-150; IV, i,
iii, and v; V, ii, at least as far as 175.

+The Merry Wives of Windsor+.--_The Merry Wives_ is the only comedy in
which Shakespeare avowedly presents the middle-class people of an
English town.  In other comedies English characters and customs appear
through the thin disguise of Italian names; in the histories there are
comic scenes drawn from English life; but only here does Shakespeare
desert the city and the country for the small town and draw the larger
number of his characters from the great middle class.  {164} A
tradition has come down to us, one which is supported by the nature of
the play, that Queen Elizabeth was so fascinated by the character of
Falstaff as he appeared in _Henry IV_ that she requested Shakespeare to
show Falstaff in love, and that Shakespeare, in obedience to this
command, wrote the play within a fortnight.  Unless this tradition be
true, it is difficult to explain why Shakespeare should have written a
comedy which is, in comparison with his other work of this period, at
once conventional and mediocre.  The subject--the intrigues of Falstaff
with two married women, and the wooing of a commonplace girl by two
foolish suitors and another as commonplace as herself--gave Shakespeare
little opportunity for poetry and none for the portrayal of the types
of character most congenial to his temperament.  The greatest blemish
on the play, however, from the standpoint of a student of Shakespeare,
is that the man called Falstaff is not Falstaff at all, that this
Falstaff bears only an outward resemblance to the Falstaff of the
historical plays.  If we may misquote the poet, Falstaff died a martyr,
and this is not the man.  The real Falstaff would never have stooped to
the weak devices adopted by the man who bears his name, would never
have been three times the dupe of transparent tricks.  The task
demanded of Shakespeare was one impossible of performance.  Falstaff
could not have fallen in love in the way which the queen desired.  Nor
is there much to compensate for this degradation of the greatest comic
figure in literature.  Falstaff's companions share, although to a
lesser degree, in their leader's fall, while the two comic figures
which are original with this play are {165} comparatively unsuccessful
studies in French and Welsh dialect.  Judged by Shakespeare's own
standard, this work is as middle-class as its characters; judged by any
other, it is an amusing comedy of intrigue, realistic in type and
abounding in comic situations which approach the borderland of farce.

+Date+.--This play was entered on the books of the Stationers' Company
January 18, 1602.  It was certainly written after the two parts of
_Henry IV_, and if, as is most probable, the character of Nym is a
revival and not an imperfect first sketch, the play must have succeeded
_Henry V_.  On these grounds the play is best assigned to 1599.  It was
first printed in quarto in 1602, but this version is extremely faulty,
besides being considerably shorter than that of the First Folio.  The
quarto seems to have been printed from a stenographic report of an
acting version of the play, made by an unskillful reporter for a
piratical publisher.

+Source+.--The main plot resembles a story derived from an Italian
source which is found in Tarlton's _News out of Purgatorie_.  For the
underplot and a number of details in the working out of the main plot,
no source is known.

+Much Ado About Nothing+.--In this play, as nowhere else, Shakespeare
has given us the boon of laughter--not the smile, not the uncontrolled
guffaw, but rippling, melodious laughter.  From the beginning to the
end this is the dominant note.  If the great trio of which this was the
first be classified as romantic comedies, we may perhaps say that in
speaking of the others we should lay the stress on the word 'romantic,'
in this, on the word 'comedy.'  As regards the main plot, _Much Ado_
is, to be sure, the most serious of the three.  When the machinations
of the villainous Prince John lead Claudio to believe his intended
bride {166} unfaithful, and to reject this pure-scaled Hero with
violence and contumely at the very steps of the altar, we have a
situation which borders on the tragic.  The mingled doubt, rage, and
despair of Hero's father is, moreover, undoubtedly affecting.
Nevertheless, powerful as these scenes are, they are so girt about with
laughter that they cannot destroy our good spirits.  Even at their
height, the manifestations of human wickedness, credulity, and weakness
seem but the illusions of a moment, soon to be dissipated by the power
of radiant mirth.  It is not without significance that the deep-laid
plot should be defeated through the agency of the immortal Dogberry,
most deliciously foolish of constables.  Nor is it mere chance that
Hero and Claudio are so constantly accompanied by Beatrice and
Benedick, that amazing pair to whom life is one long jest.  In the
merry war which is constantly raging between these two, their shafts
never fail of their mark, but neither is once wounded.  Like magnesium
lights, their minds send forth showers of brilliant sparks which hit,
but do not wound.  But their wit is something more than empty sparkle.
It is the effervescence of abounding life, a life too sound and perfect
to be devoid of feeling.  Their brilliancy does not conceal emptiness,
but adorns abundance.  When such an occasion as Hero's undeserved
rejection called for it, the true affection of Beatrice and the true
manliness of Benedick appeared.  Hence, although both seem duped by the
trick which forms the underplot, the ruse which was to make each think
the other to be the lovelorn one, it is really they who win the day.
Their feelings are not altered by this merry plot; they {167} are
merely given a chance to drop the mask of banter and to express without
confusion the love which had long been theirs.  Thus the play which
began with the silvery laughter of Beatrice ends in general mirth which
is yet more joyous.

+Date+.--Since _Much Ado_ is not mentioned by Meres, it can hardly have
been written before 1598.  Entries in the Stationers' Register for
August 4 and 24, 1600, and the appearance of a quarto edition in this
same year limit the possibilities at the other end.  Since the
title-page of the quarto asserts that this play had been "sundry times
publicly acted," we may assign the date 1599 with considerable

+Source+.--The main plot was derived originally from the twentieth
novel of Bandello, but there is no direct evidence that Shakespeare
used either this or its French translation in Belleforest.  In this
story Benedick and Beatrice do not appear; there is no public rejection
of Hero; there is no discovery of the plot by Dogberry and his fellows;
and the deception of Claudio is differently managed.  Shakespeare's
treatment of this last detail has its source in an episode of the fifth
book of Ariosto's _Orlando Furioso_, a work several times done into
English before Shakespeare's play was written.  There is considerable
reason for assuming the existence of a lost original for _Much Ado_ in
the shape of a play, known only by title, called _Benedicke and
Betteris_; but it is, of course, impossible to say how much Shakespeare
may have owed to this hypothetical predecessor.

+As You Like It+.--Of this most idyllic of all Shakespeare's comedies,
the Forest of Arden is not merely the setting; it is the central force
of the play, the power which brings laughter out of tears and harmony
out of discord.  It reminds us of Sherwood forest, the home of Robin
Hood and his merry men; but it is more than this.  Not only does it
harbor beasts and trees never found on English soil, but its shadowy
{168} glades foster a life so free from care and trouble that it
becomes to us a symbol of Nature's healing, sweetening influence.  Here
an exiled Duke and his faithful followers have found a refuge where,
free from the envy and bickerings of court, they "fleet the time
carelessly, as they did in the Golden Age."  To them comes the youth
Orlando, fleeing from the treachery of a wicked elder brother and from
the malice of the usurping Duke.  To them comes Rosalind, daughter of
the exiled Duke, who has lived at the usurper's court, but has, in her
turn, been exiled, and who brings with her Celia, the usurper's
daughter, and Touchstone, the lovable court fool.  And through these
newcomers the Duke and his friends are brought into contact with a
shepherd and shepherdess as unreal and as charming as those of Dresden
china, and with other country folk who smack more strongly of the soil.
In the forest, Rosalind, who has for safety's sake assumed man's
attire, again meets Orlando, and the love between them, born of their
first meeting at court, becomes stronger and truer amid scenes of
delicate comedy and merry laughter.  Once in Arden, Orlando ceases to
brood morosely over the wrongs done him; Rosalind's wit becomes sweeter
while losing none of its keenness; and Touchstone feels himself no
longer a plaything, but a man.  So we are not surprised when Oliver,
the wicked brother, lost in the forest and rescued from mortal danger
by the lad he has always sought to injure, awakens to his better self;
nor when the usurping Duke, leading an armed expedition against the man
he has deposed, is converted at the forest's edge by an old hermit,
abandons the throne to {169} its rightful occupant, and enters upon the
religious life.  Thus the old Duke comes into his own again, wiser and
better than before; and if, among the many marriages which fill the
last act with the chiming of marriage bells, there are some which seem
little likely to bring lasting happiness, the magic of the woods does
much to dissipate our doubts.  Only Jaques, the melancholy philosopher,
fails to share in the general rejoicing and the glad return.  He has
been too hardened by the pursuit of his own pleasure and is too shut in
by his delightfully cynical philosophy to feel quickly the forest's
touch.  Yet not even his brilliant perversities can sadden the joyous
atmosphere; it is only made the more enjoyable by force of contrast.
Since Jaques wishes no joy for himself, we wish none for him, and with
little regret we leave him as he has lived, a lonely, fascinating

+Date+.--Like _Much Ado_, _As You Like It_ is not mentioned by Meres,
and was entered in the Stationers' Register on August 4, 1600.  Some
critics have placed this play before _Much Ado_, but, although there is
little evidence on either side, the style and tone of the play incline
us to place it after, dating it 1599-1600.

+Source+.--_As You Like It_ is a dramatization of Lodge's pastoral
novel entitled _Rosalynde_, which was founded in its turn on the _Tale
of Gamelyn_, incorrectly ascribed to Chaucer.  Shakespeare condensed
his original to great advantage, leaving out many episodes and so
changing others as to give the subject a new and higher unity.  The
atmosphere of the forest is all of his creation, as are many of the
characters, including Jaques and Touchstone.

+Twelfth Night, or What You Will+.--In _Twelfth Night_ romance and
comedy are less perfectly fused than in {170} the comedy which preceded
it.  Here there are two distinct groups of characters, on the one hand
riotous old Sir Toby and his crew leading the Puritanical steward
Malvolio into the trap baited by his own egotism; on the other, the
dreaming Duke, in love with love rather than with the beautiful Olivia
whom he woos in vain, and ardently loved by Viola, whose gentle nature
is in touching contrast with the doublet and hose which misfortune has
compelled her to assume.  There is, however, no lack of dramatic unity.
In Olivia the two groups meet, for Toby is Olivia's uncle, Malvolio her
steward, the Duke her lover, Viola--later happily supplanted by her
twin brother Sebastian--the one she loves.  Thus the romantic and comic
forces act and react upon each other.  Yet this play, by reason of its
setting, the court of Illyria, was bound to lack the magical atmosphere
of the forest, which inspired kindly humor in the serious and gentle
seriousness in the merry.  If Peste is as witty as Touchstone, he is
less of a man; if Viola is more appealing than Rosalind, she has a less
sparkling humor.  Here the love story is more passionate, the fun more
uproarious.  Toby is not Falstaff; he is overcome by wine and
difficulties as that amazing knight never was; but it is a sad soul
which does not roar with Toby in his revels; shout with laughter over
the duel which he arranges between the shrinking Viola and the foolish,
vain Sir Andrew; and shake in sympathy with his glee over Malvolio's
plight when that unlucky man is beguiled into thinking Olivia loves
him, and into appearing before her cross-gartered and wreathed in the
smiles {171} which accord so ill with his sour visage.  All the more
affecting in contrast to this boisterous merriment is the frail figure
of Viola, who knows so well "what love women to men may owe."  Amid the
perfume of flowers and the sob of violins the Duke learns to love this
seeming boy better than he knows, and easily forgets the romantic
melancholy which was never much more than an agreeable pose.

+Date+.--In the diary of John Manningham for February 2, 1602, is a
record of a performance of _Twelfth Night_ in the Middle Temple.  The
absence of the name from Meres's list again limits the date at the
other end.  The internal evidence, aside from that of style and meter,
is negligible, while the latter confirms the usually accepted date of

+Source+.--The principal source of the plot was probably _Apolonius and
Silla_, a story by Barnabe Riche, apparently an adaptation of
Belleforest's translation of the twenty-eighth novel of Bandello.
There was also an Italian play, _Gl' Ingannati_, acted in Latin
translation at Cambridge in 1590 and 1598, which has a similar plot.  A
German  play on the same subject, apparently closely connected with
Riche, has given rise to the hypothesis that a lost English play
preceded _Twelfth Night_; but this is only conjectural, and there is
some evidence that Shakespeare was familiar with Riche's story.  If
this be the original, Shakespeare improved on it as much as he did on
_Rosalynde_, condensing the beginning,  knitting together the loose
strands at the end, and introducing the whole of the underplot with its
rich variety of characters.  The only hint for this known is a slight
suggestion for Malvolio's madness found in another story of Riche's




The Second and Third periods slightly overlap; for _Julius Caesar_, the
first play of the later group, was probably written before _Twelfth
Night_ and _As You Like It_.  But the change in the character of the
plays in these two periods is sharp and decisive, like the change from
day to night.  Shakespeare has studied the sunlight of human
cheerfulness and found it a most interesting problem; now in the
mysterious starlight and shadow of human suffering he finds a problem
more interesting still.

The three comedies of this period, partly on account of their bitter
and sarcastic tone, are not widely read nor usually very much admired;
but the great tragedies are the poet's finest work and scarcely equaled
in the history of the world.

+Troilus and Cressida+.--Here the story centers around the siege of
ancient Troy by the Greeks.  Its hero, Troilus, is a young son of
Priam, high-spirited and enthusiastic, who is in love with Cressida,
daughter of a Trojan priest.  Pandarus, Cressida's uncle, acts as
go-between for the lovers.  Just as the suit of Troilus is crowned with
success, Cressida, from motives of policy, is forced to join her father
Calchas, who is in the camp of the besieging Greeks.  Here her fickle
and sensuous nature reveals itself rapidly.  She yields to {173} the
love of the Greek commander Diomed and promises to become his mistress.
Troilus learns of this, consigns her to oblivion, and attempts, but
unsuccessfully, to take revenge on Diomed.

While this love story is progressing, meetings are going on between the
Greek and Trojan warriors; a vivid picture is given of conditions in
the Greek camp during the truce, and particularly of the insolent pride
of Achilles.  The story ends with the resumption of hostilities, the
slaying of Hector by Achilles, and the resolution of Troilus to revenge
his brother's death.

It is very difficult to understand what Shakespeare meant by this play.
If it is a tragedy, why do the hero and heroine meet with no special
disaster at the end, and why do we feel so little sympathy for the
misfortunes of any one in the play?  If it is a comedy, why is its
sarcastic mirth made more bitter than tears, and why does it end with
the death of its noblest minor character and with the violation of all
poetic justice?  From beginning to end it is the story of disillusion,
for it sorts all humanity into two great classes, fools who are cheated
and knaves who cheat.  Some people think that Shakespeare wrote it in a
gloomy, pessimistic mood, with the sardonic laughter of a disappointed,
world-wearied man.  Others, on rather doubtful grounds, believe it a
covert satire on some of Shakespeare's fellow dramatists.

+Authorship+.--It is generally agreed that a small part of this play is
by another author.  The Prologue and most of the Fifth Act are usually
considered non-Shakespearean.  They differ from the rest of the play in
many details of vocabulary, meter, and style.


+Date+.--_Troilus and Cressida_ must have been written before 1603, for
in the spring of that year an entry in regard to it was made in the
Stationers' Register.  It must have been written after 1601, for it
alludes (Prologue, ll. 23-25) to the Prologue of Jonson's _Poetaster_,
a play published in that year.  Hence the date of composition would
fall during or slightly before 1602.  The First Quarto was not
published until 1609.

+Sources+.--The main source of this drama was the narrative poem
_Troilus and Criseyde_ by Chaucer.  Contrary to his custom, Shakespeare
has degraded the characters of his original, instead of ennobling them.
The camp scenes are adapted from Caxton's _Recuyell of the Historyes of
Troye_; and the challenge of Hector was taken from some translation of
Homer, probably that by Chapman.  An earlier lost play on this subject
by Dekker and Chettle is mentioned in contemporary reference.  We do
not know whether Shakespeare drew anything from it or not.  Scattered
hints were probably taken from other sources, as the story of Troy was
very popular in the Middle Ages.

+All's Well That Ends Well+.--When a beautiful and noble-minded young
woman falls in love with a contemptible scoundrel, forgives his
rebuffs, compromises her own dignity to win his affection, and finally
persuades him to let her throw herself away on him,--is the result a
romance or a tragedy?  This is a nice question; and by the answer to it
we must determine whether _All's Well That Ends Well_ is a romantic
comedy like _Twelfth Night_ or a satirical comedy bitter as tragedy,
like _Troilus and Cressida_.

Helena, a poor orphan girl, has been brought up by the kindly old
Countess of Rousillon, and cherishes a deep affection for the
Countess's son Bertram, though he neither suspects it nor returns it.
She saves the life of the French king, and he in gratitude allows her
{175} to choose her husband from among the noblest young lords of
France.  Her choice falls on Bertram.  Being too politic to offend the
king, he reluctantly marries her, but forsakes her on their wedding day
to go to the wars.  At parting he tells her that he will never accept
her as a wife until she can show him his ring on her finger and has a
child by him.  By disguising herself as a young woman whom Bertram is
attempting to seduce, Helena subsequently fulfills the terms of his
hard condition.  Later, before the king of France she reminds him of
his promise, shows his ring in her possession, and states that she is
with child by him.  The count, outwitted, and in fear of the king's
wrath, repentantly accepts her as his wife; and at the end Helena is
expected to live happily forever after.

Disagreeable as the plot is when told in outline, it is redeemed in the
actual play by the beautiful character given to the heroine.  But this,
while it vastly tones down the disgusting side of the story, only
increases the bitter pathos which is latent there.  The more lovely and
admirable Helena is, the more she is unfitted for the unworthy part
which she is forced to act and the man with whom she is doomed to end
her days.  A modern thinker could easily read into this "comedy" the
world-old bitterness of pearls before swine.

+Date+.--No quarto of this comedy exists, nor is there any mention of
such a play as _All's Well That Ends Well_ before the publication of
the First Folio in 1623.  A play of Shakespeare's called _Love's
Labour's Won_ is mentioned by Francis Meres in 1598; and many think
that this was the present comedy under another name.  However, the
meter, style, and mood of most of the play seem to indicate a later
date.  The {176} most common theory is that a first version was written
before 1598, and that this was rewritten in the early part of the
author's third period.  This would put the date of the play in its
present form somewhere around 1602.

+Sources+.--The story is taken from Boccaccio's _Decameron_ (ninth
novel of the third day).  It was translated into English by Painter in
his _Palace of Pleasure_, where our author probably read it.
Shakespeare has added the Countess, Parolles, and one or two minor
characters.  The conception of the heroine has been greatly ennobled.
It is a question whether the bitter tone of the play is due to the
dramatist's intention or is the unforeseen result of reducing
Boccaccio's improbable story to a living possibility.

+Measure for Measure+.--When Hamlet told his guilty mother that he
would set her up a glass where she might see the inmost part of her, he
was doing for his mother what Shakespeare in _Measure for Measure_ is
doing for the lust-spotted world.  The play is a trenchant satire on
the evils of society.  Such realistic pictures of the things that are,
but should not be, have always jarred on our aesthetic sense from
Aristophanes to Zola, and _Measure for Measure_ is one of the most
disagreeable of Shakespeare's plays.  But no one can deny its power.

Here, as in _All's Well That Ends Well_, we have one beautiful
character, that of Isabella, like a light shining in corruption.  Here,
too, the wronged Mariana, in order to win back the faithless Angelo, is
forced to resort to the same device to which Helena had to stoop.  But
this play is darker and more savage than its predecessor.  Angelo, as a
governor, sentencing men to death for the very sin which he as a
private man is trying to commit, is contemptible on a huger {177} and
more devilish scale than Bertram.  Lucio, if not more base than
Parolles, is at least more malignant.  And Claudio, attempting to save
his life by his sister's shame, is an incarnation of the healthy animal
joy of life almost wholly divested of the ideals of manhood.  In a way,
the play ends happily; but it is about as cheerful as the red gleam of
sunset which shoots athwart a retreating thunderstorm.

+Date+.--The play was first published in the Folio of 1623.  It is
generally believed, however, that it was written about 1603.  In the
first place, the verse tests and general character of the play seem to
fit that date; secondly, there are two passages, I, i, 68-73 and II,
iv, 27-30, which are usually interpreted as allusions to the attitude
of James I toward the people after he came to the throne in 1603; and,
thirdly, there are many turns of phrase which remind one of _Hamlet_
and which seem to indicate that the two plays were written near
together.  Barksted's _Myrrha_ (1607) contains a passage apparently
borrowed from this comedy, which helps in determining the latest
possible date of composition.

+Sources+.--Shakespeare borrowed his material from a writer named
George Whetstone, who in 1578 printed a play, _Promos and Cassandra_,
containing most of the story of _Measure for Measure_.  In 1582 the
same author published a prose version of the story in his _Heptameron
of Civil Discourses_.  Whetstone in turn borrowed his material, which
came originally from the _Hecatommithi_ of Giraldi Cinthio.
Shakespeare ennobled the underlying thought as far as he could, and
added the character of Mariana.

+Julius Caesar+.--The interest in _Julius Caesar_ does not focus on any
one person as completely as in the other great tragedies.  Like the
chronicle plays which had preceded it, it gives rather a grand panorama
of history than the fate of any particular hero.  This {178} explains
its title.  It is not the story of Julius Caesar the man, but of that
great political upheaval of which Caesar was cause and center.  That
upheaval begins with his attempt at despotism and the crown; it reaches
its climax in his death, which disturbs the political equilibrium of
the whole nation; and at last subsides with the decline and downfall of
Caesar's enemies.  Shakespeare has departed from history in drawing the
character of the great conqueror, making it more weak, vain, and
pompous than that of the real man.  Yet even in the play "the mightiest
Julius" is an impressive figure.  Alive, he

          "doth bestride the narrow world
  Like a Colossus";

and his influence, like an unseen force, shapes the fates of the living
after he himself is dead.

In so far as the tragedy has any individual hero, that hero is Brutus
rather than Caesar himself.  Brutus is a man of noble character, but
deficient in practical judgment and knowledge of men.  With the best of
motives he allows Cassius to hoodwink him and draw him into the
conspiracy against Caesar.  Through the same short-sighted generosity
he allows his enemy Antony to address the crowd after Caesar's death,
with the result that Antony rouses the people against him and drives
him and his fellow conspirators out of Rome.  Then when he and Cassius
gather an army in Asia to fight with Antony, we find him too
impractically scrupulous to raise money by the usual means; and for
that reason short of cash and drawn into a quarrel with his brother
general.  His subsequent {179} death at Philippi is the logical outcome
of his own nature, too good for so evil an age, too short-sighted for
so critical a position.

Most of the old Roman heroes inspire respect rather than love; and
something of their stern impressiveness lingers in the atmosphere of
this Roman play.  Here and there it has very touching scenes, such as
that between Brutus and his page (IV, iii); but in the main it is
great, not through its power to elicit sympathetic tears, but through
its dignity and grandeur.  It is one of the stateliest of tragedies,
lofty in language, majestic in movement, logical and cogent in thought.
We can never mourn for Brutus and Portia as we do for Romeo and Juliet,
or for Lear and Cordelia; but we feel that we have breathed in their
company an air which is keen and bracing, and have caught a glimpse of

  "The grandeur that was Rome."

+Date+.--We have no printed copy of Julius Caesar earlier than that of
the First Folio.  Since it was not mentioned by Meres in 1598 and was
alluded to in 1601 in John Weever's _Mirrour of Martyrs_, it probably
appeared between those two dates.  Weever says in his dedication that
his work "some two years ago was made fit for the print."  This
apparently means that he wrote the allusion to _Julius Caesar_ in 1599
and that consequently the play had been produced by then.  There is a
possible reference to it in Ben Jonson's _Every Man Out of His Humour_,
which came out in 1599.  Metrical tests and the general character of
the play agree with these conclusions.  Hence we can put the date
between 1599-1601, with a preference for the former year.

+Sources+.--Shakespeare drew his material from North's _Plutarch_,
using the lives of Caesar, Brutus, and Antony.  He has {180} enlarged
the parts of Casca and Lepidus, and made Brutus much nobler than in the
original.  This last change was a dramatic necessity in order to give
the play a hero with whom we could sympathize.

+Hamlet+.--On the surface the story of Hamlet is a comparatively simple
one.  The young prince is heart-broken over the recent death of his
father, and his mother's scandalously hasty marriage to Hamlet's uncle,
the usurping sovereign.  In this mood he is brought face to face with
his father's spirit, told that his uncle was his father's murderer, and
given as a sacred duty the task of revenging the crime.  To this object
he sacrifices all other aims in life--pleasure, ambition, and love.
But this savage task is the last one on earth for which his
fine-grained nature was fitted.  He wastes his energy in feverish
efforts which fail to accomplish his purpose, just as many a man wavers
helplessly in trying to do something for which nature never intended
him.  Partly to deceive his enemies, partly to provide a freer
expression for his pent-up emotions than the normal conditions of life
would justify, he acts the role of one who is mentally deranged.
Finally, more by chance than any plan of his own, he achieves his
revenge on the king, but not until he himself is mortally wounded.  His
story is the tragedy of a sensitive, refined, imaginative nature which
is required to perform a brutal task in a brutal world.

But around this story as a framework Shakespeare has woven such a
wealth of poetry and philosophy that the play has been called the
"tragedy of thought."  It is in Hamlet's brain that the great action of
the drama {181} takes place; the other characters are mere accessories
and foils.  Here we are brought face to face with the fear and mystery
of the future life and the deepest problems of this.  It is hardly true
to say that Hamlet himself is a philosopher.  He gives some very wise
advice to the players; but in the main he is grappling problems without
solving them, peering into the dark, but bringing from it no definite
addition to our knowledge.  He represents rather the eternal
questioning of the human heart when face to face with the great
mysteries of existence; and perhaps this accounts largely for the wide
and lasting popularity of the play.  Side by side with this
deep-souled, earnest man, moving in the shadow of the unseen, with his
terrible duties and haunting fears, Shakespeare has placed in
intentional mockery the old dotard Polonius, the incarnation of shallow
worldly wisdom.

No other play of Shakespeare's has called forth such a mass of comment
as this or so many varied interpretations.  Neither has any other
roused a deeper interest in its readers.  The spell which it casts over
old and young alike is due partly to the character of the young prince
himself, partly to the suggestive mystery with which it invests all
problems of life and sorrow.

+Date+.--'A booke called the Revenge of Hamlett' was entered in the
Stationers' Register July, 1602.  Consequently, Shakespeare's
Preliminary version, as represented by the First Quarto, though not
printed until 1603, must have been written in or before the spring
months of 1602; the second version 1603-1604.

+Sources+.--The plot came originally from the _Historia Danica_, a
history of Denmark in Latin, written in the twelfth century {182} by
Saxo Grammaticus, a Danish scholar.  About 1570 the story was retold in
French in Belleforest's _Histoires Tragiques_.  Besides his debt to
Belleforest, it seems almost certain that Shakespeare drew from an
earlier English tragedy of Hamlet by another man.  This earlier play is
lost; but Nash, a contemporary writer, alludes to it as early as 1589,
and Henslowe's Diary records its performance in 1494.  Somewhat before
1590, an early dramatist, Thomas Kyd, had written a play called _The
Spanish Tragedy_, which, though far inferior to Shakespeare's _Hamlet_,
resembled it in many ways.  This likeness has caused scholars to
suspect that Kyd wrote the early Hamlet; and their suspicions are
strengthened by an ambiguous and apparently punning allusion to Æsop's
_Kidde_ in the passage by Nash mentioned above.  A crude and brutal
German play on the subject has been discovered, which is believed by
many to be a translation of Kyd's original tragedy.  If this is true,
it shows how enormously Shakespeare improved on his source.

+Editions+.--A very badly garbled and crude form of this play was
printed in 1603, and is known as the First Quarto.  A much better one,
which contained most of the tragedy as we read it, appeared in 1604,
and is called the Second Quarto.  Several other quartos followed, for
the play was exceedingly popular.  The Folio omits certain passages
found in the Second Quarto, and introduces certain new ones.  Both the
new passages and the omitted ones are included in modern editions; so
that, as has often been said, our modern _Hamlet_ is longer than any
_Hamlet_ which Shakespeare left us.  The First Quarto is generally
regarded as a pirated copy of Shakespeare's scenario, or first rough
draft, of the play.

+Othello+.--This play has often been called the tragedy of jealousy,
but that is a misleading statement.  Othello, as Coleridge pointed out,
is not a constitutionally jealous man, such as Leontes in _The Winter's
Tale_.  His distrust of his wife is the natural suspicion of a man lost
amid new and inexplicable surroundings.  {183} Women are proverbially
suspicious in business, not because nature made them so, but because,
as they are in utter ignorance of standards by which to judge, they
feel their helplessness in the face of deceit.  Othello feels the same
helplessness.  Trained up in wars from his cradle, he could tell a true
soldier from a traitor at a glance, with the calm confidence of a
veteran; but women and their motives are to him an uncharted sea.
Suddenly a beautiful young heiress falls in love with him, and leaves
home and friends to marry him.  He stands on the threshold of a new
realm, happy but bewildered.  Then comes Iago, his trusted subordinate,
--who, as Othello knows, possesses that knowledge of women and of
civilian life which he himself lacks,--and whispers in his ear that his
bride is false to him; that under this fair veneer lurks the eternal
feminine as they had seen it in the common creatures of the camp; that
she has fooled her husband as these women have so often fooled his
soldiers; and that the rough-and-ready justice of the camp should be
her reward.  Had Othello any knowledge or experience in such matters to
fall back on, he might anchor to that, and become definitely either the
trusting husband or the Spartan judge.  But as it is, he is whirled
back and forth in a maelstrom of agonized doubt, until compass,
bearings, and wisdom lost, he ends all in universal shipwreck.

The character of Iago is one of the subtlest studies of intelligent
depravity ever created by man.  Ostensibly his motive is revenge; but
in reality his wickedness seems due rather to a perverted mental
activity, unbalanced by heart or conscience.  As Napoleon enjoyed
manoeuvring armies or Lasker studying chess, so {184} Iago enjoys the
sense of his own mental power in handling his human pawns, in feeling
himself master of the situation.  If he ever had natural affections,
they have been atrophied in the pursuit of this devilish game.

With Desdemona the feminine element, which had been negligible in
_Julius Caesar_ and thrown into the background in _Hamlet_, becomes a
prominent feature, and remains so through the later tragedies.  There
is a pathetic contrast between the beautiful character of Desdemona and
her undeserved fate, just as there is between the real nobility of
Othello and the mad act by which he ruins his own happiness.  For that
reason this is perhaps the most touching of all Shakespeare's tragedies.

+Date+.--The play was certainly published after 1601, for it contains
several allusions to Holland's translation of the Latin author Pliny,
which appeared in that year.  Malone, one of the early editors of
Shakespeare, says that _Othello_ was acted at Hallowmas, 1604.  We not
know on what evidence he based this assertion; but since the metrical
tests all point to the same date, his statement is generally accepted.
The First Quarto did not appear until 1622, six years after Shakespeare
died and one year before the appearance of the First Folio.  This was
the only play published in quarto between Shakespeare's death and 1623.
There are frequent oaths in the Quarto which have been very much
modified in the Folio, and this strengthens our belief that the
manuscript from which the Quarto was printed was written about 1604,
for shortly after that date an act was passed against the use of
profanity in plays.

+Sources+.--The plot was taken from Giraldi Cinthio's _Hecatommithi_
(seventh novel of the third decade).  A French translation of the
Italian was made in 1583-1584, and this Shakespeare may have used.  We
know of no English translation until {185} years after Shakespeare
died.  Many details are changed in the play, and the whole story is
raised to a far nobler plane.  In the original the heroine is beaten to
death with a stocking filled with sand; Othello is tortured, but
refuses to confess, and later is murdered by his wife's revengeful
kinsmen.  This crude, bloody, and long-drawn-out story is in striking
contrast with the masterly ending of the tragedy.

+King Lear+.--As _Romeo and Juliet_ shows the tragedy of youth, so
_Lear_ shows the tragedy of old age.  King Lear has probably been a
good and able man in his day; but now time has impaired his judgment,
and he is made to suffer fearfully for those errors for which nature,
and not he, is to blame.  Duped by the hypocritical smoothness of his
two elder daughters, he gives them all his lands and power; while his
youngest daughter Cordelia, who truly loves him, is turned away because
she is too honest to humor an old man's whim.  The result is what might
have been expected.  Lear has put himself absolutely into the power of
his two older daughters, who are the very incarnation of heartlessness
and ingratitude.  By their inhuman treatment he is driven out into the
night and storm, exposing his white head to a tempest so fierce that
even the wild beasts refuse to face it.  As a result of exposure and
mental suffering, his mind becomes unhinged.  At last his daughter
Cordelia finds him, gives him refuge, and nurses him back to reason and
hope.  But this momentary gleam of light only makes darker by contrast
the end which closely follows, where Cordelia is killed by treachery
and Lear dies broken-hearted.

The fate of Lear finds a parallel in that of {186} Gloucester in the
underplot.  Like his king, this nobleman has proved an unwise father,
favoring the treacherous child and disowning the true.  He also is made
to pay a fearful penalty for his mistakes, ending in his death.  But he
is represented as more justly punished, less excusable through the
weaknesses of age; and for this reason his grief appeals to us as an
intensifying reflection of Lear's misery rather than as a rival for
that in our sympathy.  The character of Edmund shows some likeness to
that of Richard III; and a comparison of the two will show how
Shakespeare has developed in the interval.  Both are stern, able, and
heartless; but Edmund unites to these more complex feelings known only
to the close student of life.  Weakness and passion mingle in his love;
superstition and some faint, abortive motion of conscience unite to
torment him when dying.

There is a strangely lyric element about this great tragedy, an element
of heart-broken emotion hovering on the edge of passionate song.  It is
like a great chorus in which the victims of treachery and ingratitude
blend their denouncing cries.  The tremulous voice of Lear rises
terrible above all the others; and to his helpless curses the plaintive
satire of the fool answers like a mocking echo in halls of former
enjoyment.  Thunder and lightning are the fearful accompaniment of the
song; and like faint antiphonal responses from the underplot come the
voices of the wronged Edgar and the outraged Gloucester.

+Date+.--The date of _King Lear_ lies between 1603 and 1606.  In 1603
appeared a book (Harsnett's _Declaration of Egregious Popish
Impostures_) from which Shakespeare afterward drew {187} the names of
the devils in the pretended ravings of Edgar, together with similar
details.  In 1606, as we know from an entry in the Stationers'
Register, the play was performed at Whitehall at Christmas.  A late
edition of the old _King Leir_ (not Shakespeare's) was entered on the
Register May 8, 1605; and it is very plausible that Shakespeare's
tragedy was then having a successful run and that the old play was
revived to take advantage of an occasion when its story was popular.
Hence the date usually given for the composition of _King Lear_ is
1604-5.  A quarto, with a poor text, and carelessly printed, appeared
in 1608; another, (bearing the assumed date of 1608) in 1619.  The
First Folio text is much the best.  Three hundred lines lacking in it
are made up for by a hundred lines absent from the quartos.

+Sources+.--The story of Lear in some form or another had appeared in
many writers before Shakespeare.  The sources from which he drew
chiefly were probably the early accounts by Geoffrey of Moumouth, a
composite poem called _The Mirrour for Magistrates_, Holinshed's
_Chronicles_, Spenser's _Faerie Queene_, and lastly an old play of
_King Leir_, supposed to be the one acted in 1594.  This old play ended
happily; Shakespeare first introduced the tragic ending.  He also
invented Lear's madness, the banishment and disguise of Kent, and the
characters of Burgundy and the fool.  The underplot he drew from the
story of the blind king of Paphlagonia in _Arcadia_, a long, rambling
novel of adventure by Sir Philip Sidney.

+Macbeth+.--Macbeth, one of the great Scottish nobles of early times,
is led, partly by his own ambition, partly by the instigation of evil
supernatural powers, to murder King Duncan and usurp his place on the
throne of Scotland.  In this bloody task he is aided and encouraged by
his wife, a woman of powerful character, whose conscience is
temporarily smothered by her frantic desire to advance her husband's
career.  We are forced to sympathize with this guilty pair, wicked as
they {188} are, because we are made to feel that they are not naturally
criminals, that they are swept into crime by the misdirection of
energies which, if directed along happier lines, might have been
praiseworthy.  Macbeth, vigorous and imaginative, has a poet's or
conqueror's yearning toward a larger fullness of life, experience, joy.
It is the woeful misdirection of this splendid energy through unlawful
channels which makes him a murderer, not the callous, animal
indifference of the born criminal.  Similarly, his wife is a woman of
great executive ability, reaching out instinctively for a field large
enough in which to make that ability gain its maximum of
accomplishment.  Nature meant her for a queen; and it is the
instinctive effort to find her natural sphere of action,--an effort
common to all humanity--which blinds her conscience at the fatal
moment.  Once entered on their career of evil, they find no chance for
turning back.  Suspicions are aroused, and Macbeth feels himself forced
to guard himself from the effects of the first.  The ghosts of his
victims haunt his guilty conscience; his wife dies heart-broken with
remorse which comes too late; and he himself is killed in battle by his
own rebellious countrymen.

Between the characters of Macbeth and his wife the dramatist has drawn
a subtle but vital distinction.  Macbeth is an unprincipled but
imaginative man, with a strong tincture of reverence and awe.  Hitherto
he has been restrained in the straight path of an upright life by his
respect for conventions.  When once that barrier is broken down, he has
no purely moral check in his own nature to replace it, and rushes like
a flood, with ever growing impetus, from, crime to crime.  His {189}
wife, on the other hand, has a conscience; and conscience, unlike awe
for conventions, can be temporarily suppressed, but not destroyed.  It
reawakes when the first great crime is over, drives the unhappy queen
from her sleepless couch night after night, and hounds her at last to

This is the shortest of all Shakespeare's plays in actual number of
lines; and no other work of his reveals such condensation and
lightning-like rapidity of movement.  It is the tragedy of eager
ambition, which allows a man no respite after the first fatal mistake,
but hurries him on irresistibly through crime after crime to the final
disaster.  Over all, like a dark cloud above a landscape, hovers the
presence of the supernatural beings who are training on the sinful but
unfortunate monarch to his ruin.

+Authorship+.--The speeches of Hecate and the dialogue connected with
them in III, v and IV, i, 39-47 are suspected by many to be the work of
Thomas Middleton, a well-known contemporary playwright.  They are
unquestionably inferior to most of the play.  Messrs. Clark and Wright
have assigned several other passages to Middleton; but these are now
generally regarded as Shakespeare's, and some of them are considered as
by no means below his usual high level.

+Date+.--We find no copy of _Macbeth_ earlier than the First Folio.  It
was certainly written before 1610, however; for Dr. Simon Forman saw it
acted that year and records the fact in his _Booke of Plaies_.  The
allusion to "two-fold balls and treble sceptres" (IV, i, 121) shows
that the play was written after 1603 when James I became king of both
Scotland and England.  So does the allusion to the habit of touching
for the king's evil (IV, iii, 140-159),--a custom which James revived.
The reference to an equivocator in the porter's soliloquy (II, iii) may
allude to Henry Garnet, who was tried in 1606 for complicity in the
{190} famous Gunpowder Plot, and who is said to have upheld the
doctrine of equivocation.  The date of composition is usually placed

+Sources+.--The plot is borrowed from Holinshed's _Historie of
Scotland_.  Most of the material is taken from the part relating to the
reigns of Duncan and Macbeth; but other incidents, such as the drugging
of the grooms, are from the murder of Duncan's ancestor Duffe, which is
described in another part of Holinshed.

+Antony and Cleopatra+.--There is no other passion in mankind which
makes such fools of wise men, such weaklings of brave ones, as that of
sinful love.  For this very reason it is the most tragic of all human
passions; and from this comes the dramatic power of _Antony and
Cleopatra_.  The ruin of a contemptible man is never impressive; but
the ruin of an imposing character like Antony's through the one weak
spot in his powerful nature has all the somber impressiveness of a
burning city or some other great disaster.

Like _Julius Caesar_, this play is founded on Roman history.  It begins
in Egypt with a picture of Antony fascinated by the Egyptian queen.
The urgent needs of the divided Roman world call him away to Italy.
Here, once free of Cleopatra's presence, he becomes his old self, a
reveler, yet diplomatic and self-seeking.  From motives of policy he
marries Octavia, sister of Octavius Caesar, and for a brief space seems
assured of a brilliant future.  But the old spell draws him back.  He
returns to Cleopatra, and Octavius in revenge for Octavia's wrongs
makes war upon him.  Cleopatra proves still Antony's evil genius.  Her
seduction has already drawn him into war; now her cowardice in the
crisis of the battle decides the war {191} against him.  From that
point the fate of both is one headlong rush to inevitable ruin.

In the character of Cleopatra, Shakespeare has made a wonderful study
of the fascination which beauty and charm exert, even when coupled with
moral worthlessness.  We do not love her, we do not pity her when she
dies; but we feel that in spite of her idle love of power and pleasure,
she has given life a richer meaning.  We are fascinated by her as by
some beautiful poison plant, the sight of which causes an aesthetic
thrill, its touch, disease and death.

Powerful as is this play, and in many ways tragic, it by no means stirs
our sympathies as do _Macbeth, King Lear_, and _Othello_.  Sin for
Antony and Cleopatra is not at all the unmixed cup of woe which it
proves for Macbeth and his lady.  Here at the end the lovers pay the
price of lust and folly; but before paying that price, they have had
its adequate equivalent in the voluptuous joy of life.  Moreover, death
loses half its terrors for Antony through the very military vigor of
his character; and for Cleopatra, because of the cunning which renders
it painless.  What impresses us most is not the pathos of their fate,
but rather the sublime folly with which, deliberately and open-eyed,
they barter a world for the intoxicating joy of passion.  Impulsive as
children, powerful as demigods, they made nations their toys, and life
and death a game.  Prudence could not rob them of that heritage of
delight which they considered their natural birthright, nor death, when
it came, undo what they had already enjoyed.  Folly on so superhuman a
scale becomes, in the highest sense of the word, dramatic.


+Date+.--In May, 1608, there was entered in the Stationers' Register 'A
Book called Antony and Cleopatra'; and this was probably the play under
discussion.  The internal evidence agrees with this; hence the date is
usually set at 1607-8.  In spite of the above entry, the book does not
appear to have been printed at that time; and the first copy which has
come down to us is that in the 1623 Folio.

+Sources+.--Shakespeare's one source appears to have been the _Life of
Marcus Antonius_ in North's _Plutarch_; and he followed that very
closely.  The chief changes in the play consist in the omission of
certain events which would have clogged the dramatic action.

+Coriolanus+.--Here follows the tragedy of overweening pride.  The
trouble with Coriolanus is not ambition, as is the case with Macbeth.
He cares little for crowns, office, or any outward honor.
Self-centered, self-sufficient, contemptuous of all mankind outside of
his own immediate circle of friends, he dies at last because he refuses
to recognize those ties of sympathy which should bind all men and all
classes of men together.  He leads his countrymen to battle, and shows
great courage at the siege of Corioli.  On his return he becomes a
candidate for consul.  But to win this office, he must conciliate the
common people whom he holds in contempt; and instead of conciliating
them, he so exasperates them by his overbearing scorn that he is driven
out of Rome.  With the savage vindictiveness characteristic of insulted
pride, he joins the enemies of his country, brings Rome to the edge of
ruin, and spares her at last only at the entreaties of his mother.
Then he returns to Corioli to be killed there by treachery.

Men like Coriolanus are not lovable, either in real life or fiction;
but, despite his faults, he commands {193} our admiration in his
success, and our sympathy in his death.  We must remember that ancient
Rome had never heard our new doctrine of the freedom and equality of
man; that the common people, as drawn by Shakespeare, were objects of
contempt and just cause for exasperation.  Again, we must remember that
if Coriolanus had a high opinion of himself, he also labored hard to
deserve it.  He was full of the French spirit of _noblesse oblige_.
Cruel, arrogant, harsh, he might be; but he was never cowardly,
underhanded, or mean.  He was a man whose ideals were better than his
judgment, and whose prejudiced view of life made his character seem
much worse than it was.  The lives of such men are usually tragic.

+Date+.--The play was not printed until the appearance of the First
Folio, and external evidence as to its date is almost worthless.  On
the strength of internal evidence, meter, style, etc., which mark it
unquestionably as a late play, it is usually assigned to 1609.

+Sources+.--Shakespeare's source was Plutarch's _Life of Coriolanus_
(North's translation).  As in _Julius Caesar_ and _Antony and
Cleopatra_, he followed Plutarch closely.

+Timon of Athens+.--As _Coriolanus_ was the tragedy of a man who is too
self-centered, so _Timon_ is the tragedy of a man who is not
self-centered enough.  His good and bad traits alike, generosity and
extravagance, friendship and vanity, combine to make him live and
breathe in the attitude of other men toward him.  From this comes his
unbounded prodigality by which in a few years he squanders an enormous
fortune in giving pleasure to his friends.  From this lack of
self-poise, too, comes the tremendous reaction later, {194} when he
learns that his imagined world of love and friendship and popular
applause was a mirage of the desert, and finds himself poverty-stricken
and alone, the dupe of sharpers, the laughing-stock of fools.

Yet in spite of his lack of balance, he is full of noble qualities.
Apemantus has the very thing which he lacks, yet Apemantus is
contemptible beside him.  The churlish philosopher is like some dingy
little scow, which rides out the tempest because the small cargo which
it has is all in its hold; Timon is like some splendid, but top-heavy,
battleship, which turns turtle in the storm through lack of ballast.
There is something lionlike and magnificent, despite its unreason, in
the way he accepts the inevitable, and later, after the discovery of
the gold, spurns away both the chance of wealth and the human jackals
whom it attracts.  The same lordly scorn persists after him in the
epitaph which he leaves behind:--

  "Here lie I, Timon; who alive all living men did hate.
  Pass by and curse thy fill, but pass, and stay not here thy gait."

Yet this very epitaph of the dead misanthrope shows the same lack of
self-sufficiency which characterized the living Timon.  He despises the
opinion of men, but he must let them know that he despises it.
Coriolanus would have laughed at them from Elysium and scorned to write
any epitaph.

No other Shakespearean play, with the exception of _Troilus and
Cressida_, shows the human race in a light so contemptible as this.
Aside from Timon and his faithful steward, there is not one person in
the play {195} who seems to have a single redeeming trait.  All of the
others are selfish, and most of them are treacherous and cowardly.

+Authorship+.--It is generally believed that some parts of the play are
not by Shakespeare, although opinion is still somewhat divided as to
what is and is not his.  The scenes and parts of scenes in which
Apemantus and some of the minor characters appear are most strongly

+Date+.--This play was not printed until the publication of the First
Folio, and the only evidence which we have for its date is in the meter
and style and in the fact that some of the speeches show a strong
resemblance to certain ones in _King Lear_.  The date most generally
approved is 1607-8.

+Sources+.--The direct source was probably a short account of Timon in
Plutarch's _Life of Marcus Antonius_.  The same story also appears in
Painter's _Palace of Pleasure_, where Shakespeare may have read it.
Both of these accounts, however, contain but a small part of the
material found in the play.  Certain details missing in them, such as
the discovery of the gold, etc., are found in _Timon or the
Misanthrope_, a dialogue by Lucian, one of the later of the ancient
Greek writers.  As far as we know, Lucian had not been translated into
English at this time; but there were copies of his works in Latin,
French, and Italian.  We cannot say whether Shakespeare had read them
or not.  In 1842 a play on Timon was printed from an old manuscript
which is supposed to have been written about 1000.  This contains a
banquet scene, a faithful steward, and the finding of the gold.  This
has the appearance of an academic play rather than one meant for the
public theaters, so it is probable that Shakespeare never heard of it;
but it is barely possible that he knew it and used it as a source.

The most helpful book yet written on the period is: _Shakespearean
Tragedy_, by A. C. Bradley (London, Macmillan, 1910 (1st ed. 1904)).




No less clear than the interest in tragic themes which attracted the
London audiences for the half-a-dozen years following 1600, is the
shifting of popular approval towards a new form of drama about 1608.
This was the romantic tragi-comedy, a type of drama which puts a theme
of sentimental interest into events and situations that come close to
the tragic.  Shakespeare's plays of this type are often called
romances, since they tell a story of the same type found in romantic
novels of the time.  His plays contain rather less of the tragic, and
more of fanciful and playful humor than do the plays of the other
famous masters in this type, Beaumont and Fletcher; his characters are
rather more lifelike and appealing.

While the tragi-comedies of Beaumont and Fletcher, which were written
from 1609 to 1611, have been shown to have influenced Shakespeare in
his romances, yet in several ways they are very different.  The work of
Beaumont and Fletcher tells of court intrigue and exaggerated passions
of hatred, envy, and lust; Shakespeare's plays tell of out-of-door
adventures, and the restoration and reconciliation of families and
friends parted by misfortune.  Fletcher contrives {197}
well-constructed plots, depending, indeed, rather too much on incident
and situation for effect; Shakespeare chooses for his plots stories
which possess only slight unity of theme, and depends upon character
and atmosphere for his appeal.  Thus the romances of Shakespeare stand
out as a strongly marked part of his work, different in treatment from
the plays of his rivals which perhaps suggested his use of this form.
Here, as everywhere, Shakespeare exhibits complete mastery of the form
in which he works.

In addition to the romances of this period, Shakespeare had some share
in the undramatic and belated chronicle play, _The Life of Henry the
Eighth_, most of which is assigned to John Fletcher.  In looseness of
construction, in the emphasis on character in distress, and in the
introduction of a masque, as well as in other ways, this play resembles
the tragi-comedies of the period rather than any earlier chronicle.
Thus the term "romantic tragi-comedy" may be properly used to describe
all the work of the Fourth Period.

+Pericles, Prince of Tyre+, was probably the earliest, as it is
certainly the weakest, of the dramatic romances.  But the story was one
of the most popular in all fiction, and _Pericles_ was, no doubt, in
its time what its first title-page claimed for it, a 'much-admired
play.'  Its hero is a wandering knight of chivalry, buffeted by storm
and misfortune from one shore to another.  The five acts which tell his
adventures are like five islands, widely separated, and washed by great
surges of good and ill luck.  The significance of his daughter's name,
Marina, is intensified for us when we realize that in this play the sea
is not only her birthplace, but is the {198} symbol throughout of
Fortune and Romance.  From the polluted coast of Antioch, where
Pericles reads the vile King his riddle and escapes, past Tarsus, where
he assists Creon, the governor of a helpless city, to Pentapolis,
where, shipwrecked and a stranger, he wins the tournament and the hand
of the Princess Thaïsa, the waves of chance carry the Prince.  They
overwhelm him in the great storm which robs him of his wife, and gives
him his little Marina; but they bear the unconscious Thaïsa safely to
land, and in after years their wild riders, the pirates, save Marina
from death at the hands of Creon, and bring her to Mitylene.  Here,
upon his storm-bound ship, the mourning Pericles recovers his daughter;
and at Ephesus, near by, the waves give back his wife, through the kind
influence of Diana, their goddess.  We are never far from the sound of
the shore, and the lines of the play we best recall are those that tell
of "humming water" and "the rapture of the sea."

_Pericles_ in its original scheme was a play of adventure rather than a
dramatic romance.  The first two acts, in which Shakespeare could have
had no hand, are disjointed and ineffective.  To help out the stage
action, Shakespeare's collaborator introduced John Gower, the mediaeval
poet, as a "Prologue," to the acts.  He was supplemented, when his
affectedly antique diction failed him, by dumb show, the last straw
clutched at by the desperate playwright.  But at the beginning of Act
III the master's music swells out with no uncertain note, and we are
lifted into the upper regions of true dramatic poetry as Pericles
speaks to the storm at sea:--


  "Thou god of this great vast, rebuke these surges
  Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou that hast
  Upon the winds command, bind them in brass,
  Having call'd them from the deep! ...
          The seaman's whistle
  Is as a whisper in the ears of death,

In the shipwreck which follows, some phrases of which anticipate the
similar scene in _The Tempest_; in the character of Marina, girlish and
fair as Perdita; in the grave physician Cerimon, whose arts are
scarcely less potent than Prospero's; in the grieving Pericles, who,
like remorse-stricken Leontes, recovers first his daughter, then his
wife, we see the first sketches of the most interesting elements in the
dramatic romances which are to follow.  Throughout all this Shakespeare
is manifest; and even in those scenes which depict Marina's misery in
Mytilene and subsequent rescue, there is little more than the revolting
nature of the scenes to bid us reject them as spurious, while Marina's
speeches in them are certainly true to the Shakespearean conception of
her character.

+Authorship and Date+.--The play was entered to Edward Blount in the
Stationers' Register, May 20, 1608.  It was probably written but little
before.  Quartos appeared in 1609, 1611, 1619, 1630, and 1635.  It was
not included among Shakespeare's works until the Third Folio (1664).
The publishers of the First Folio may have left it out on the ground
that it was spurious, or because of some difficulty in securing the
printing rights.  The former of these hypotheses is generally favored,
since, as we have said, a study of the play reveals the apparent work
of another author, particularly in Acts I and II, and the earlier
speech of Gower, the Chorus in the play.  In 1608 a novel was {200}
published, called "The Painful Adventures of Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
Being the true History of the Play of Pericles, as it was lately
presented by the worthy and ancient poet John Gower."  The author was
George Wilkins, a playwright of some ability.  He is generally accepted
as Shakespeare's collaborator.  The claims of William Rowley for a
share in the scenes of low life have little foundation.

Source.--Shakespeare used Gower's _Confessio Amantis_, and the version
in Laurence Twine's _Pattern of Painful Adventures_, 1606.  The tale is
also in the _Gesta Romanorum_.

+Cymbeline+.--"A father cruel, and a step-dame false,
              A foolish suitor to a wedded lady,
              That hath her husband banish'd."

Thus Imogen, the heroine of the play, and the daughter of Cymbeline,
king of Britain, describes her own condition at the beginning of the
story.  The theme of the long and complicated tale that follows is her
fidelity under this affliction.  Neither her father's anger, nor the
stealthy deception of the false stepmother, nor the base lust of her
brutish half-brother Cloten, nor the seductive tongue of the villainous
Italian Iachimo, her husband's friend; nor even the knowledge of her
own husband's sudden suspicion of her, and his instructions to have her
slain, shake in the least degree her true affection.  Such constancy
cannot fail of its reward, and in the end Imogen wins back both father
and husband.

In such a story, where virtue's self is made to shine, other characters
must of necessity suffer.  Posthumus, Imogen's husband, appears weak
and impulsive, foolish in making his wife's constancy a matter for
wagers, and absurdly quick to believe the worst of her.  His weakness
is, however, in part atoned for by his gallant fight in defense of his
native Britain, and by his {201} outburst of genuine shame and remorse
when perception of his unjust treatment of Imogen comes to him.
Cymbeline, the aged king, has all the irascibility of Lear, with none
of his tenderness.  The wicked Queen and her son are purely wicked.
Only the faithful servant, Pisanio, a minor figure, has our sympathy in
this court group.

But in the exiled noble Belarius, and the two sons of Cymbeline whom he
has stolen in infancy and brought up with him in a wild life in the
mountains, single-hearted nobility rules.  When Imogen, disguised as a
page, in her flight from the court to Posthumus comes upon them, there
is the instant sympathy of noble minds, and there is a brief respite
from her misfortunes.  They rid her of the troublesome Cloten, and
their victory over Rome brings to book the intriguing Iachimo and
accomplishes her final recovery of love and honor.  A reading of the
play leaves as the brightest picture upon the memory their joy at
meeting Imogen, and their grief when the potion she drinks robs them of
her.  In them we find expressed that noble simplicity which
romanticists have always associated with true children of nature.

To Imogen, who has a far longer part to play than any other of
Shakespeare's heroines, the poet has also given a completer
characterization, in which every charm of the highest type of woman is
delineated.  The one trait which a too censorious audience might
criticize, that meekness in unbearable affliction which makes Chaucer's
patient Griselda almost incomprehensible to modern readers, is in
Imogen completely redeemed by her resolution in the face of danger, and
by a certain {202} imperiousness which well becomes the daughter of a

+Authorship+.--Some later hand probably made up the vision of Posthumus
(V, iv, 30-90), where a series of irregular stanzas of inferior
poetical merit are inserted to form "an apparition."

+Date+.--Simon Forman, the writer of a diary, who died in 1611,
describes the performance of _Cymbeline_ at which he was present.  The
entry occurs between those telling of _Macbeth_ (April 20, 1610) and
_The Winter's Tale_ (May 15, 1611).  The tests of verse assign it also
to this period.  The first print was that of the First Folio, 1623.

+Source+.--From Holinshed Shakespeare learned the only actual
historical fact in the play, that one Cunobelinus was an ancient king
of Britain.  Cymbeline's two sons are likewise from Holinshed, as is
the rout of an army by a countryman and his two sons; but the two
stories are separate.  The ninth novel of the second day of the
_Decameron_ of Boccaccio tells a story much resembling the part of the
play which concerns Posthumus.  The play called _The Rare Triumphs of
Love and Fortune_ (1589) contains certain characters not unlike Imogen,
Posthumus, Belarius, and Cloten.  Fidelia, Imogen's name in disguise,
is the heroine's name.  But direct borrowing cannot be proved.

+The Winter's Tale+.--Nowhere is Shakespeare more lavish of his powers
of characterization and of poetic treatment of life than in this play.
He found for his plot a popular romance of the time, in which a true
queen, wrongly accused of infidelity with her husband's friend, dies of
grief at the death of her son, while her infant daughter, abandoned to
the seas in a boat, grows up among shepherds to marry the son of the
king of whom her father had been jealous.  Disregarding the essentially
undramatic nature of the story, as well as its improbabilities, he
achieved a signal {203} triumph of his art in the creation of his two
heroines, and in his conception of the pastoral scenes, so fresh,
joyous, and absolutely free from the artificiality of convention.

In the deeply wronged queen he drew the supreme portrait of woman's
fortitude.  Hermione is brave, not by nature, but inspired by high
resolve for her honor and for her children.  Nobly indignant at the
slanders uttered against her, her wifely love forgives the slanderer in
pity for the blindness of unreason which has caused his action.
Shakespeare's dramatic instinct made him alter Hermione's death in the
earlier story to life in secret, with poetic justice in store.
Artificial as the long period of waiting seems, before the final
reconciliation takes place, it is forgotten in the magnificent appeal
of the mother's love when the lost daughter kneels in joy before her.

In Perdita, Shakespeare, with incredible skill, depicted the true
daughter of such a mother.  Although her nature at first seems all
innocence, beauty, youth, and joy, yet when trial comes to her in the
knowledge that she, a shepherdess, has loved a king's son, and that his
father has discovered it, her courage rises with the danger, and her
words echo her mother's resolution:--

  "I think affliction may subdue the cheek,
  But not take in the mind."

In the pastoral scenes, the poet gives us an English sheepshearing,
with its merrymaking, a pair of honest English country fellows in the
old shepherd and his son, the Clown, and the greatest of all beloved
vagabonds {204} in the rogue Autolycus, whose vices, like Falstaff's,
are more lovable than other people's virtues.  Fortune, which will not
suffer him to be honest, makes his thieveries, in her extremity of
whim, to be but benefits for others.

Of the other characters, Prince Florizel, Perdita's lover, is that
rarest of all dramatic heroes, a young prince with real nobility of
soul.  Lord Camillo and Lady Paulina are well-drawn types of loyalty
and devotion.  Leontes alone, the jealous husband, is unreasoning in
the violence of his jealousy.  As the study of a mind overborne by an
obsession, it is a strong yet repulsive picture.

+Date+.--Simon Forman narrates in his diary how he saw the play at the
Globe Theater, May 16, 1611.  It was probably written about this time.
Jonson's _Masque of Oberon_, produced January 1, 1611, contains an
antimasque of satyrs which may bear some relation to the similar dance
in IV, iv, 331 ff.  The First Folio contains the earliest print of the

+Source+.--The romance, to which reference has been made above, as the
source of _The Winter's Tale_, was Robert Greene's _Pandosto: The
Triumph of Time_, sometimes called by its later title, _The History of
Dorastus and Fawnia_.  Fourteen editions followed one another from its
appearance in 1588.  Greene made the jealous Pandosto king in Bohemia,
and Egistus (Polixenes in the play) king of Sicily.  In _The Winter's
Tale_ two kingdoms are interchanged.  Nevertheless the "seacoast of
Bohemia," so often ridiculed as Shakespeare's stage direction, is found
in Greene's story.  Three alterations by Shakespeare are of vital
importance in improving the plot: the slandered queen is kept alive,
instead of dying in grief for her son's death, to be restored again in
the famous but theatrical statue scene; Autolycus is created and is
given, with Camillo, an important share in the restoration of Perdita;
and the complications of {205} Dorastus's (Florizel's) destiny as the
prospective husband of a princess of Denmark, and Pandosto's
(Leontes's) falling in love with his own daughter and his suicide on
learning of her true birth, are wisely omitted.  The characters of
Paulina, the Clown, and some minor persons are Shakespeare's own

According to Professor Neilson, Autolycus and his song in IV iii, 1
ff., may have been partly based on the character of Tom Beggar in
Robert Wilson's _Three Ladies of London_ (1584).

+The Tempest+, probably the last complete drama from Shakespeare's pen,
differs from the other "romances" in possessing a singular unity.  It
comes, indeed closer than any play, save the _Comedy of Errors_, to
fulfilling the demands of unity of action, time, and place.  This may
be due to the fact that the poet is here making up his own plot, not,
as in other cases, dramatizing a novel of extended adventure.

The central theme of _The Tempest_ is, like that of the other romances,
restoration of those exiled and reconciliation of those at enmity; but
the treatment of the story could not be more different.  Where the
chance of fortune has hitherto brought about the happy ending, here
magic and the supernatural in control of man are the means employed.
Those who had plotted or connived at the expulsion of Prospero, Duke of
Milan, and his being set adrift in an open boat, with his infant
daughter and his books for company, are wrecked through his art upon
the island of which he has become the master.  Ariel, the spirit who
serves Prospero, a mysterious, ever changing form, now fire, now a
Nymph, now an invisible musician, now a Harpy, striking guilt into the
conscience (and yet apparently not interested in either vice or virtue,
but {206} longing only for free idleness), guides all to Prospero's
cave, and receives freedom for his toil.  His spirit pervades every
scene, whether we view the king's son Ferdinand loving innocent
Miranda, or the silent king mourning his son's loss, or the guilty
conspirators plotting the king's death, or the drunken steward and
jester plotting with the servant monster Caliban the overthrow of
Prospero.  All of them are led, by the wisdom of Prospero acting
through Ariel, away from their own wrong impulses, and into
reconcilement and peace.  How much of _The Tempest_ Shakespeare meant
as a symbol can never be told; but here, perhaps, as much as anywhere
the temptation to read the philosophy of the poet into the story of the
dramatist comes strongly upon the reader.

There are two speeches of Prospero, in particular, where the reader is
inclined to believe he is listening to Shakespeare's own voice.  In
one, Prospero puts a sudden end to his pageant of the spirits, and
compares life itself to the transitory play.  In the other, Prospero
bids farewell to his magic art.  These are often interpreted as
Shakespeare's own farewell to the stage and to his art,--with what
justification every reader must decide for himself.

In this last play there is, it should be said, not the slightest hint
of a weakening of the poetic or the dramatic faculty.  The falling in
love of Miranda, the wonderful and wondering child of purity and
nature; the tempting of Sebastian by the crafty Antonio; and the
creation of Caliban, half-man, half-devil, with his elemental knowledge
of nature, and his dull cunning, and his stunted faculties,--all these
are the work of {207} a genius still in the full pride of power.
Shakespeare's dramatic work ends suddenly, "like a bright exhalation in
the evening."

+Date+.--Edmund Malone's word, unsupported by other evidence, puts the
play as already in existence in the autumn of 1611.  The play certainly
is later than the wreck of Somers's ship, in 1609.  It was acted during
the marriage festivities of the Princess Elizabeth in 1613, when other
plays were revived.

+Sources+.--Two accounts by Sylvester Jourdan and William Strachey
told, soon after the event, of the casting away upon the Bermuda
Islands of a ship belonging to the Virginia expedition of Somers in
1609.  From these Shakespeare drew for many details.  His island,
however, is clearly not Bermuda, nor, indeed, any known land.  Other
details have been traced from various sources.  Ariel is a name of a
spirit in mediaeval literature of cabalistic secrets.  Montaigne's
_Essays_, translated by Florio (1603), furnished the hint of Gonzalo's
imaginary commonwealth (II, i, 147 ff.).  Setebos has been found as a
devil-god of the Patagonians in Eden's _History of Travaile_ (1577).
The rest of the story, which is nine-tenths of the whole, is probably
Shakespeare's own, though the central theme of an exiled prince, whose
daughter marries his enemy, who has an attendant spirit, and who
through magic compels the captive prince to carry logs, may come from
some old folk tale; since a German play, _Die Schöne Sidea_, by Jakob
Ayrer of Nuremberg (died 1605), possesses all these details.  The
relations, if any, between the two plays are remote.

+The Life of Henry the Eighth+, the last of the historical plays, in
date of composition as in the history it pictures, suffers from the
very fact that it boasts in its second title, _All is True_.  The play
might have been built around any one of the half-dozen persons which in
turn claim our chief interest,--Buckingham, Queen Katherine, Anne
Bullen; the King, Wolsey, or {208} Cranmer; but fidelity to history,
while it did not hinder some slight alteration of incident and time,
required that each of these should in turn be distinguished, if a
complete picture of the times of Henry VIII were to be given.  The
result was a complete abandonment of anything like unity of theme.

It is, of course, a disappointment to one who has just read _I Henry
IV_.  On the other hand, this play may be regarded as a kind of
pageant, as the word is used nowadays in England and America.  It
presents, in the manner of a modern pageant, a series of brilliant
scenes telling of Buckingham's fall, of Wolsey's triumph and ruin, of
Katherine's trial and death, of Anne Bullen's coronation, and of
Cranmer's advancement, joined together by the well-drawn character of
the King, powerful, masterful, selfish, and vindictive, but not without
a suggestion of better qualities.  The gayety of the Masque, in the
first act, where King Henry first meets Anne Bullen, is also in perfect
harmony with the modern pageant, which always employs music and dancing
as aids to the picture.

In Queen Katherine we have a suffering and wronged woman, gifted with
queenly grace and dignity, and with strong sympathies and a keen sense
of justice.  From her first entrance, when she ventures, Esther-like,
into the presence of the king to intercede for an oppressed people,
through all her vain struggle against the King's wayward inclination
and the Cardinal's wiles, up to the very moment when she is stricken
with mortal illness, she holds our sympathy.  If in her great trial
scene she is weaker and more impulsive than Hermione in hers, yet the
circumstances are {209} different; she is not keyed up to so high an
endeavor as that lady, nor in so much danger for herself or her

+Authorship+.--Differences in style and meter, and the fragmentary
quality of the whole play have long confirmed the theory that
Shakespeare in _Henry VIII_ engaged in a very loose sort of
collaboration.  Only the Buckingham scene (I, i,), the scenes of
Katherine's entrance and trial (I, ii, II, iv), a brief scene of Anne
Bullen (II, iii), and the first half of the scene in which Wolsey's
schemes are exposed and Henry alienated from him (III, i, 1-203) are
confidently ascribed to Shakespeare.  The rest of the play fits best
the style and metrical habit of John Fletcher, at this time one of the
most popular dramatists of London.

+Date+.--The Globe Theater was burned on June 29, 1613, when a play
called _Henry VIII or All is True_ was being performed.  So far as
stylistic tests can decide, this was not long after the composition of
the play.  Sir Henry Wotton, the antiquarian, writing from hearsay
knowledge, says that the play being acted at the time of the fire was
"a new play called All is True."  Shakespeare's scenes in this drama
may thus have been his last dramatic work.  A praise of King James in
the last scene was probably written not later than the rest of the
play, and thus insures a date later than 1603.  The earliest print of
the play was the First Folio, 1623.

+Source+.--Holinshed was the chief source.  Halle furnished certain
details.  Foxe's _Book of Martyrs_ tells the Cranmer story.




The mystery which enwraps so much of Shakespeare's life, combined with
the interest which naturally centers around a great genius, is ideally
calculated to stimulate human imagination to fantastic guess-work.  It
is probably for this reason that a number of famous delusions about
Shakespeare have at different times arisen.  Some of these are of
sufficient importance to deserve attention.  Three widely different
types of mistakes can be observed.

+The Shakespeare Apocrypha+.--The most excusable of these delusions was
the belief that Shakespeare wrote a large number of plays which are now
known to be the work of other men.  Some of these plays were printed,
either during the poet's life or after his death, with "William
Shakespeare" or "W. S." on the title-page.  It is now practically
certain that the full name was a printer's forgery, and that the
letters W. S. were either designed to deceive or else the initials of
some contemporary dramatist (such as Wentworth Smith, for example).
Six of these spurious dramas were included in the Third Folio of
Shakespeare's complete works.  Since this came out forty years after
the First Folio, when men who had known Shakespeare personally {211}
were dead, we certainly cannot believe that its editor had better
information than those of the First Folio, who were the poet's personal
friends, and who did not include these plays.  The spurious dramas
printed in the Third Folio were: _The London Prodigal, The History of
the Life and Death of Thomas Lord Cromwell, The History of Sir John
Oldcastle, The Puritan Widow, Yorkshire Tragedy_, and _The Tragedy of

Among the other plays imputed to Shakespeare at various times are:
_Fair Em, The Merry Devil of Edmonton, Arden of Feversham, The Two
Noble Kinsmen, Edward Third_, and _Sir Thomas More_.  Some good
critics, chiefly literary men, not scholars, still believe that
Shakespeare wrote parts of the last three; but it is practically
certain that he had nothing to do with the others, and his part in all
these disputed plays is extremely doubtful.

+Shakespearean Forgeries+.--Men who assigned the above spurious plays
to Shakespeare made an honest error of judgment, but other men have
committed deliberate forgeries in regard to him.  At the end of the
eighteenth century, W. H. Ireland forged papers which he attempted to
impose on the public as recently discovered Mss. of the 'Swan of Avon.'
One of these finds, a play called _Vortigern_, was actually acted by a
prominent company.  But the unShakespearean character of these 'great
discoveries' was soon perceived, and Ireland at length confessed.

Another famous fraud of a wholly different kind was that of J. P.
Collier.  The great services which this man has rendered to the world
of scholarship make {212} all men reluctant to pass too severe censure
on his conduct; but it is only fair that the public should be warned
against deception.  He pretended to have found a folio copy of the
plays corrected and revised on the margin in the handwriting of a
contemporary of Shakespeare.  Some of these revisions were actual
improvements on the carelessly printed text; but it is now known that
they were forgeries.  Similar changes were made by him in other
important documents, and were for some time accepted as genuine.

+The Bacon Controversy+.--During the latter part of the nineteenth
century, the contention was started that Shakespeare was merely an
obscure actor who never wrote a line, and that the Shakespearean plays
were actually written by his great contemporary, Francis Bacon, who was
pleased to let these products of his own genius appear under the name
of another man.  This delusion is usually considered as beginning with
an article by Miss Delia Bacon in _Putnam's Monthly_ (January, 1856),
although the idea had been twice suggested during the eight years

The Baconian arguments fall into four groups.  First, they argue that
there is no proof to establish the identity of Shakespeare, the actor,
with the author of the plays.  This is untrue.  We have more than one
reference by his contemporaries, identifying the actor with the poet,
some so strong that the Baconians themselves can explain them away only
by assuming that the writer is speaking in irony or that he willfully
deceives the public.  By assumptions like that, any one could prove

The second point of the Baconians is that a man of {213} Shakespeare's
limited education could not have written plays replete with so many
kinds of learning.  This argument is weak at both ends.  It assumes as
true that Shakespeare had a limited education and that his plays are
full of knowledge learned from books rather than from life.  The first
of these points rests on vague tradition only, and the second is still
a debatable question.  But even if we admit these two points, what
then?  Shakespeare was twenty-nine years old and had probably lived in
London for five or six years when the first book from his hand appeared
in its present form.  Any man capable of writing _Hamlet_ could educate
himself during several years in the heart of a great city.

Thirdly, a certain lady found in Bacon's writings a large number of
expressions which seemed to her to resemble similar phrases in
Shakespeare.  Except to the mind of an ardent Baconian many of these
show no likeness whatever.  Most of those which do show any likeness
were proverbial or stock expressions which can be found in other

Lastly, various Baconians have repeatedly asserted that they had found
in the First Folio acrostic signatures of Bacon's name; that one could
spell Bacon or Francis Bacon by picking out letters in the text
according to certain rules.  But unfortunately either these acrostics
do not work out, or else the rules are so loose that similar acrostics
can be found anywhere, in modern books or pamphlets, and even on the
gravestones of our ancestors.  Many of the more intelligent Baconians
themselves have no faith in this last form of evidence.


On the other hand, there are certain very weighty objections to Bacon
as author of the plays.  In the first place, it is a miracle that one
man should produce either the works of Bacon or Shakespeare alone; it
is a miracle past all belief that the same man in one lifetime should
have written both.  In the second place, the little verse which Bacon
is known to have written shows clearly how limited he was as a poet, no
matter how great in other directions.  Moreover, his prose, though
splendid in its kind, is wholly unlike the prose of Shakespeare.
Finally, Bacon's contemptuous attitude toward woman and marriage was
diametrically opposed to that found in Shakespeare.  To imagine that
the same man wrote both sets of writings is to assume that he was one
man one day and another the next.

The advocates of this strange theory vary greatly in fairmindedness and
ability, and it is not just to judge them all by the mad extremes of
some; but, nevertheless, their writings, taken as a whole, form one of
the strangest medleys of garbled facts and fallacious reasoning which
has ever imposed on an honest and intelligent but uninformed public.

On the _Shakespeare Apocrypha_, see C. F. Tucker Brooke's edition of
fourteen spurious plays, under this title, Oxford, University Press,
1908.  On the forgeries and other questions, Appendix I of Mr. Lee's
_Life_ is the readiest place of reference.



  Aaron, 141.
  _Abraham and Isaac_, 25.
  _Adoration of the Wise Men_, 25.
  Æschylus, 20
  Æsop, 182.
  Albright, V. E., 44, 50.
  _All is True_, 207, 209.
  Alleyn, E., 48, 49.
  Allott, R., 124.
  _All's Well that Ends Well_, 110, 121, _174-176_.
  _Amphitruo_, 110, 148.
  Amyot, J., 108.
  Anders, H. R. D., 112.
  Angelo, 176.
  Antonio, 160.
  _Antonius, Life of M._, 192, 195.
  Antony, 178.
  _Antony and Cleopatra_, 47, 75, 83, 102, 109, 121, _190-192_, 193.
  Apemantus, 194.
  _Apocrypha, Shakespeare_, 120, 210.
  _Apollonius and Silla_, 171.
  _Arcadia_, 111, 187.
  _Arden of Feversham_, 211.
  _Aren en Titus_, 142.
  Ariel, 206.
  Ariosto, 167.
  Aristophanes, 20.
  Aristotle, 30.
  Arthur, Prince, 137.
  Ashbies, 4, 16.
  Aspley, W. A., 121, 124.
  _As You Like It_, 102, 110, 121, _167-169_, 172.
  Ayrer, J., 207.

  Bacon controversy, 212-214.
  Baker, G. P., 104.
  Bale, J., 138.
  Bandello, 109, 110, 144, 167, 171.
  Bankside, 37.
  Barksted, 76, 177.
  Barnard, Lady, 19.
  Bear-rings as stages, 37.
  Beatrice, 166.
  Beaumont, F., 57, 196.
  Belleforest, 171, 182.
  Bellott, Stephen, 13, 14.
  Benedick, 166.
  _Benedicke and Betteris_, 167.
  Bermuda, 207.
  Bertram, 174, 175.
  Besant, Sir W., 59.
  Blackfriars Theater, 14, 45-46, 49, 57, 58.
  Blount, E., 121-123, 199.
  Boccaccio, G., 110, 176, 202.
  Boisteau, 144.
  Bolingbroke, 138.
  _Book of Martyrs_, 207.
  _Booke of Plaies_, 189.
  Boswell, J., 129.
  Boy-actors, 49.
  Bradley, A. C., 195.
  Brodmeier, 50.
  Brome play, 25.
  Brooke, A., 145.
  Brooke, C. F. T., 214.
  Brutus, 178, 179.
  Buckingham, 207.
  _Building of the Arke_, 25.
  Bullen (Boleyn), Anne, 207.
  Burbage, James, 37.
  Burbage, R., 12, 14, 17, 19, 37, 38, 45, 48, 49.
  Busby, J., 118.
  Butler, N., 120.

  _Caesar, Life of J._, 193; _see also Julius_.
  Caliban, 206.
  Camden, R., 11.
  Capell, E., 129.
  Cassius, 178.
  Caxton, W., 174.
  Chamberlain's Company, _see_ Lord.
  Chambers, E. K., 34.
  Character-study, 90.
  Charlecote, 7.
  Chaucer, G., 67, 109, 151, 152, 174, 201.
  Chester Plays, 24, 25.
  Chettle, H., 9, 12, 174.
  Chetwind, P., 125.
  Children of Paul's, 46.
  Children of the Chapel, 46.
  Children's companies, 48.
  _Chronicle_ of Holinshed, _107-108_, 187.  _See also_ Holinshed.
  Church, Origin of drama in, 20-23
  Cinthio, G., 109, 177, 184.
  Citizens of London, 55.
  City of London, 53.
  Clark, A., 4 n.
  Clark and Wright, 129, 189.
  Classical drama, 29-31.
  Claudio, 165, 177.
  Cloten, 200.
  Cock-pit, 46.
  _Colin Clout_, etc., 10.
  Collier, J. P., 112, 211.
  _Comedy of Errors_, 10, 77, 83, 110, 121, _147-148_.
  Condell, Henry, 12, 19, 122.
  _Confessio Amantis_, 109, 200.
  Constance, 137.
  _Contention, First_, 111, 134, 135.
  _Contention, Second_, 111, 134, 135.  _See Richard, True Tragedy of_.
  _Contention, Whole_, 111, 120, 134.
  Cordelia, 185.
  _Coriolanus_, 109, 121, _192-193_.
  Coryat, T., 39.
  Cotes, R., 124.
  Cotes, T., 124.
  Cranmer, 208.
  Creizenach, 34, 50.
  _Cromwell, Thos., Lord_, 125, 211.
  Curtain Theater, 37.
  Cycles of miracle plays, 24.
  _Cymbeline_, 41, 71, 83, 103, 108, 112, 121, _200-202_.

  Danter, J., 118.
  Dates of plays, 83.
  Davies, Archdeacon, 7.
  _De Clerico et Puella_, 28.
  _Decameron_, 110, 176, 202.
  Deer-stealing, tradition of, 7.
  Dekker, T., 174.
  Delius, N., 129.
  _Deluge, The_, 25.
  Desdemona, 184.
  _Diana Enamorada_, 110, 149, 151.
  Dogberry, 54, 166.
  _Dorastus and Fawnia_, 204.
  Dowden, E., 84.
  Drama before Shakespeare, 20.
  Dramatic technique, 94-100.
  Drayton, M., 11.
  Droeshout, M., 18.
  Dromio, 147.
  _Dux Moraud_, 28.

  Easter drama, 22.
  Eden, 207.
  Editing, Problems of, 126-127.
  Edmund, 186.
  _Edward II_, 32, 140.
  _Edward III_, 211.
  _Edward IV_, 134.
  Ely Palace portrait, 18.
  End-stopped lines, 79-80.
  _Endymion_, 33.
  Essex, Earl of, 78, 159.
  _Euphues_, 33, 140.
  Euripides, 20.
  _Everyman_, 26, 34.
  _Every Man in his Humour_, 12.
  _Every Man out of his Humour_, 158, 179.
  External evidence, 75-77.

  _Faerie Queene_, 152, 187.
  _Fair Em_, 211.
  Falstaff, Sir John, 7, 156-159, 164.
  Faulconbridge, 137.
  _Faustus_, 32.
  _Felix and Philiomena_, 149.
  Female parts, 48.
  Feminine endings, 80.
  Field, Henry, 16.
  Field, Richard, 113.
  Fiorentino, G., 110, 161.
  First Folio, 11, 30, 75, 114, 119, _120-124_, 136, 137, etc.
  Fisher, T., 120.
  Fleay, F. L., 50, 84.
  Fletcher, J., 2, 196, 197, 209.
  Florio, G., 207.
  Flower portrait, 18.
  Fluellen, 158.
  Folios, Second, Third, and Fourth, 124-125.
  Forgeries, Shakespeare, 211.
  Forman, Dr. S., 189, 202, 204.
  Fortune Theater, 38-40.
  Four periods, 101-104.
  Foxe, R., 209.
  Fuller, H. De W., 142.
  Fuller, T., 56.
  Furness, H. H., 127, 130.

  Gamelyn, Tale of, 169.
  _Gammer Gurton's Needle_, 29.
  Garnett, H., 189.
  Gascoigne, G., 163.
  Geoffrey of Monmouth, 187.
  German and Dutch plays like Shakespeare's, 112.
  _Gesta Romanorum_, 200.
  Glendower, 155.
  Globe Theater, 1, 38, 39, 57, 58.
  Gloucester, 186.
  _Gorboduc_, 29.
  Gosson, S., 161.
  Gower, J., 109, 200.
  Greek drama, 30.
  Greene, R., 8, 9, 110, 115, 134, 135, 204.
  Greene, T., 17, 31.
  Grey, W., 50, 120.
  _Groatsworth of Witte_, etc., 9.
  Gunpowder Plot, 190.

  Hal, Prince, 155.
  Hall, Dr. J., 17.
  Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O., 19, 129.
  _Hamlet_, 12, 32, 33, 34, 41, 83, 93-94, 100, 102, 111, 112,
    116, 117, 119, 121, 128, 142, 177, _180-182_.
  Hanmer, T., 128.
  Harsnett, 186.
  Hart, Joan, 19.
  Hathaway, Anne, 5, 6.
  Hawkins, A., 124.
  Hazlitt, W. C., 112.
  _Heccatommithi, Gli_, 109, 179, 184.
  Hector, 173.
  Hegge plays, 24.
  Helena, 174.
  Heminge _or_ Hemings, J., 12, 19, 122.
  Henley Street House, 19.
  _I Henry IV_, 6, 10, 33, 41, 83, 99, 101, 111, 117, 119, 121,
    _154-157_, 164, 165, 208.
  _II Henry IV_, 121, 126, _157-158_.
  _Henry V_, 78, 83, 101, 111, 117, 119, 120, _158-159_, 165.
  _Henry V, Famous Victories of_, 111.
  _I Henry VI_, 111, _133-134_.
  _II Henry VI_, 111, 117, _134-135_.
  _III Henry VI_, 8, 83, 98, 121, _134-135_.
  _Henry VIII_, 34, 84, 103, 112, 121, 197, _207-209_.
  Henslowe, P., 37, 45, 48.
  _Henslowe's Diary_, 50, 182.
  _Heptameron of Civil Discourses_, 177.
  Hermia, 150.
  Hermione, 203.
  Hero, 166.
  Herod, 24.
  Heywood, J., 28.
  _Histoires Tragiques_, 182.
  _Historia Danica_, 181.
  Histories, 97-98.
  Holinshed, 107-108, 134, 136, 140, 156, 159, 180, 190, 202, 209.
  Holland (author), 184.
  Horace, 11.
  Hotspur, 155.
  Hubert, 137.
  Humphrey of Gloucester, 134.
  Hunsdon, Lord, 48, 144.

  Iachimo, 202.
  Iago, 183.
  Iambic pentameter, 61.
  Imogen, 200-202.
  _Ingannati, Gl'_, 171.
  Ingram, 81 n.
  Inn-yards as theaters, 35.
  Interludes, 27-29, 48.
  Internal evidence, 77-82.
  Ireland, W. H., 211.
  Isabella, 176.
  Italian _novelle_, 109-110.
  Italy, Influence of, on masque, 34.

  Jaggard, I., 121, 124.
  Jaggard, W., 70, 113, 120-121, 124.
  James I, 48, 209.
  Jaques, 169.
  Jessica, 160.
  _Jew of Malta_, 132.
  Joan of Arc, 133.
  John of Gaunt, 138, 140.
  _John, Troublesome Reigne of_, 111, 137-138.
  Johnson, A., 120.
  Johnson, S., 129.
  Jonson, Ben, 11, 12, 31, 34, 50, 56, 158, 174, 179, 204.
  Jourdan, S., 207.
  Julia, 149.
  _Julius Caesar_, 44, 83, 100, 102, 109, 121, 122, 126, 172,
    _177-180_, 184, 190, 193.

  Katherine, 162, 208.
  Kemp, W., 12.
  _Kind-Harts Dreame_, 9.
  _King Johan_, 27, 138.
  _King John_, 11, 77, 83, 111, 135, _136-138_.
  _King Lear_, 77, 83, 100, 102, 108, 117, 126, _185-187_, 195.
  _King Leir_, etc., 111, 187.
  _Knight's Tale_, 151.
  Kyd, T., 31, 32, 142, 182.

  Lady Macbeth, 188.
  Lambert, D., 84.
  Lee, S., 19, 72, 214.
  _Legend of Good Women_, 152.
  Leontes, 199, 204.
  Leopold Shakespeare, 129.
  _Locrine_, Tragedy of, 125, 211.
  Lodge, T., 31, 111, 135, 169.
  London, 51-59.
  _London Prodigal, A._, 125, 211.
  Lord Admiral's Men, 45, 48.
  Lord Chamberlain's Company, 12, 48.
  Lounsbury, T. R., 130.
  _Love's Labour's Lost_, 10, 33, 77, 83, 91, 95, 99, 101, 106, 117,
    121, 132, _145-146_.
  _Love's Labour's Wonne_, 10, 77, 175.
  _Lover's Complaint, A_, 70.
  Lucian, 195.
  _Lucrece, Rape of_, 10, _62-63_, 67, 113.
  Lucy, Sir T., 7.
  _Ludus Coventriae, see_ Hegge.
  Luigi da Porto, 144.
  Lydgate, J., 33.
  Lyly, J., 32, 132, 135, 145-146.
  Lysander, 150.

  Macbeth, 41, 44, 83, 92, 100, 102, 103, 108, 121, _187-190_, 191, 202.
  Malone, E., 129, 184, 207.
  Malvolio, 170.
  Manly, J. M., 34.
  Manningham, J., diary, 76, 171.
  Marina, 197, 198.
  Marlowe, C., 2, 31-32, 132, 135, 136, 140, 153, 163.
  Masculine endings, 80.
  Masque, 33.
  _Masque of Oberon_, 204.
  Mass, Drama at, 21.
  _Measure for Measure_, 76, 83, 109, 112, 121, _176-177_.
  Meighen, 124.
  _Menaechmi_, 110.
  Menander, 20.
  Mennes, Sir J., 3.
  _Merchant of Venice_, 10, 42, 44, 77, 83, 96, 97, 101, 110, 112,
    117, 120, 132, 133, _159-161_.
  Mercutio, 144.
  Meres, F., 10, 67 n., 76-77, 137, 142, 149, 151, 156, 161, 167,
    169, 171, 175, 179.
  _Merry Devil of Edmonton_, 211.
  _Merry Wives of Windsor_, 110, 117, 118, 120, 124, _163-165_.
  Meter, 86-87.
  Middle Temple, 171.
  Middleton, T., 189.
  _Midsummer Night's Dream_, 10, 77, 83, 117, 120, 132, 133, _149-151_.
  Milton, J., 64, 65.
  Miracle plays, 23.
  Miranda, 206.
  _Mirrour for Magistrates_, 187.
  _Mirrour of Martyrs_, 179.
  Montaigne, _Essays_ of, 207.
  Montemayor, J. de, 149.
  Moralities, 26-27.
  More, Sir T., 136.  _See under_ Sir.
  Mountjoy, C., 13-14.
  Mountjoy, Mary, 13.
  _Much Ado About Nothing_, 71, 83, 101, 110, 121, _165-167_, 169.
  _Myrrha_, 177.

  Nash, T., 8, 31, 135, 182.
  Nashe, T., 19.
  Neilson, W. A., 129, 135, 205.
  New Place, 16, 17.
  _News out of Purgatorie_, 165.
  _Nice Wanton_, 27.
  North, Sir T., 108, 158, 179, 192, 193.

  Oberon, 149.
  Octavia, 190.
  Oldcastle, Sir John, 120, 125, 211.
  Olivia, 170.
  _Orator, The_, 161.
  Order of the plays, 83.
  Ordish, T. F., 59.
  Orlando, 168.
  _Orlando Furioso_, 167.
  _Othello_, 100, 101, 109, 117, 124, _182-185_, 191.
  Ovid, 61, 152.

  Pageants, 25.
  Painter, W., 110, 148, 176, 195.
  _Palace of Pleasure_, 110, 195.  _See_ Painter.
  _Palladis Tamia_, 10, 77.
  Pandarus, 172.
  Pandosto, 110, 204.
  _Passionate Pilgrim_, 70, 71, 113.
  _Patterne of Painful Adventures_, 200.
  Pavier, T., 120-121, 124.
  Pavy, S., 50.
  _Pecorone, Il_, 110.
  Peele, G., 8, 31, 135.
  Pembroke, Earl of, 67.
  Perdita, 199, 203.
  _Pericles_, 103, 109, 117, 119, 120, 128, 129, _197-200_.
  Petrarch, 64.
  Petruchio, 162.
  _Phoenix and the Turtle, The_, 70.
  Pistol, 158, 159.
  Plautus, 10, 11, 29, 110, 148.
  Pliny, 184.
  Plots, 106.
  Plutarch's _Lives_, _108-109_, 179, 192, 193, 195.
  _Poetaster_, 174.
  Pollard, A. W., 120.
  Polonius, 181.
  Pope, A., 127, 128.
  _Popish Impostures, Declaration of_, 186.
  Portia, 160, 179.
  Posthumus, 200.
  Printing, Conditions of, 114-116.
  Private theaters, 45.
  _Promos and Cassandra_, 112, 177.
  Prospero, 199, 206.
  Proteus, 149.
  Puck (Robin Goodfellow), 149.
  _Puritaine, The_, 125, 211.
  Puritan Widow, _v.s._
  Puritans, 15.
  Pyramus and Thisbe, 150, 152.

  Quartos, 114.
  Quiney, T., 17.

  _Ralph Roister Doister_, 29.
  _Rare Triumphs_, etc., 202.
  Reformation, 52.
  Renaissance, 21, 29.
  Reynolds, G. F., 50.
  _Richard, Duke of York, True Tragedy of_, 134.  Same as _II
    Contention, q.v._
  _Richard II_, 10, 77, 83, 117, 119, 121, 137, _138-140_, 154.
  _Richard III_, 10, 32, 77, 83, 91, 92, 98-99, 101, 111, 117, 119,
    121, 133, _135-136_, 137.
  _Richardus Tertius_, 136.
  _Richard III, True Tragedy of_, 111, 136.
  Riche, B., 171.
  Rime, 81-82, 87-88.
  Roberts, J., 120.
  Robertson, W., 142.
  Robin Hood, 28, 167.
  Rome, 21.
  _Romeo and Giulietta_, 144.
  _Romeo and Juliet_, 11, 41, 42, 71, 77, 83, 90, 101, 112, 116,
    117-119, 121, 122, 131, 132, _143-145_, 150, 185.
  _Romeus and Juliet_, 145.
  Roofs on theaters, 46.
  Rosalind, 166.
  _Rosalynde_, 110, 169, 171.
  Rose Theater, 37, 135.
  Rowe, N., 7, 127.
  Rowley, W., 200.
  Run on lines, 79 ff.
  Rutland, Earl of, 17.

  St. Paul's, 13, 56.
  Salisbury Court, 46.
  Saxo Grammaticus, 182.
  Schelling, F. E., 34, 50, 135.
  _School of Abuse_, 161.
  _Second Shepherd's Play_, 25.
  _Sejanus_, 12.
  Seneca, 10, 20, 29, 30.
  Sequence, _see_ Sonnet.
  Sequence of plays, 83.
  _Shakespeare Allusion Book_, 11 n.
  Shakespeare, Hamnet, 5, 6, 17.
  Shakespeare, John, 3, 4, 6, 16, 17.
  Shakespeare, Judith, 5, 17, 18, 19.
  Shakespeare, Richard, 4.
  Shakespeare, Susanna, 5, 17, 19.
  Shakespeare, William, our knowledge of his life, 1;
    birth, 2; education, 4; marriage, 5; deer-stealing, 7;
    life in London, 8-16; return to Stratford, 16; death, 17;
    portraits, tomb, will, 18; descendants, 19; allusions to,
    8-17; as an actor, 12; residence with Mountjoy, 13;
    income, 15; grant of arms to, 16; compared with Jonson,
    56; and _passim_.
  _Shakespearean Tragedy_, 195.
  Shallow, 7, 158.
  Shottery, 6.
  Shylock, 92-93, 159, 160.
  _Sidea, Die Schöne_, 207.
  Sidney, Sir P., 111, 115, 187.
  Silvayn, A., 161.
  Silver Street, 13.
  Silvia, 149.
  Sims, V., 119.
  Sir Andrew, 170.
  Sly, 162.
  Smethwick, I., 121-124.
  Somers, Sir G., 78.
  Sonnets, 63-70, 113.
  Sophocles, 20.
  Southampton, Earl of, 10, 67-68.
  _Spanish Tragedy_, 32, 182.
  Spenser, E., 10, 187.
  Stage, The, 40-45.
  Stage costumes and settings, 42-44.
  Stage, Effect of, on drama, 46.
  Stationers' Register, 75, 114-115, 118, etc.
  Steevens, G., 129.
  Stephenson, H. T., 59.
  Strachey, W., 207.
  Strange, Lord, 48, 135.
  Straparola, 110.
  Stratford, 2.
  _Supposes_, 163.
  Surrey, Earl of, 65.
  Swan Theater, 37.

  Talbot, 133.
  _Tamburlaine_, 32, 136.
  _Taming of a Shrew_, 112, 121, 163.
  _Taming of the Shrew_, 83, 111, _161-163_.
  Tamora, 141.
  Tarlton, 165.
  Taste, growth of, 89-90.
  Taverns, 56-57.
  _Tempest, The_, 34, 41, 71, 78, 81, 84, 87, 103, 121, 136, _205-207_.
  Terence, 29.
  Thaïsa, 198.
  Thames, 54.
  Theater, The, 37.
  Theaters, 35 ff., 57-59.
  Theobald, L., 128.
  _Thomas More, Sir_, 211.
  Thorpe, T., 113.
  _Three Ladies of London_, 205.
  Timon (by Lucian), 195.
  _Timon of Athens_, 109, 112, 121, 122, _193-195_.
  Titania, 149.
  _Tito Andronico_, 142.
  _Tittus and Vespacia_, 142.
  _Titus Andronicus_, 11, 32, 77, 83, 117, 119, 123, 132, _141-143_.
  Touchstone, 166.
  Towneley plays, 24, 25.
  _Travaile, History of_, 207.
  _Tredici Piacevole Notte_, 110.
  _Troilus and Cressida_, 117, 122, _172-174_, 195.
  _Troilus and Criseyde_, 109, 174.
  _Troye, Recuyell of_, 174.
  _Twelfth Night_, 6, 76, 83, 101, 110, 112, 121, _169-171_, 172, 174.
  Twine, L., 200.
  _Two Gentlemen of Verona_, 10, 71, 77, 83, 96, 101, 110, 112, 121,
  _Two Noble Kinsmen_, 211.
  Tyrwhitt, 129.

  Udall, N., 29.
  Unities, Three dramatic, 30 n.

  Valentine, 149.
  _Venus and Adonis_, 10, 16, _61_, 63, 67, 113.
  Viola, 170.
  _Vortigern_, 211.

  Wagner (_Death of Siegfried_), 23.
  Wakefield, _see_ Towneley.
  Wallace, Prof. C. W., 13, 14, 19.
  Warburton, 128.
  Weak endings, 81.
  Weever, J., 11, 179.
  Westminster, 54.
  Whetstone, G., 112, 177.
  White, R. G., 129.
  Wilkins, G., 200.
  Wilson, R., 205.
  _Winter's Tale, The_, 34, 80, 83, 103, 110, 112, 121, _202-205_.
  Wolsey, 208.
  Worcester, 155.
  Wotton, Sir H., 209.
  Wyatt, Sir T., 65.

  Yonge, B., 149.
  York and Lancaster, 134.
  York plays, 24.
  _Yorkshire Tragedy, A_, 120, 125, 211.

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