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prefs, or perhaps both: yet this may be discover'd in them, that the alterations made afterwards by the author are nothing near fo confiderable as thofe in fome other plays; the incidents, the characters, every principal outline in fhort being the fame in both draughts; fo that what we shall have occafion to fay of the fecond, may, in fome degree, and without much violence, be apply'd alfo to the first and this we prefume to say of it;-that, low as it must be fet in comparifon with his other plays, it has beauties in it, and grandeurs, of which no other author was capable but Shakspeare only: that extreamly-affecting fcene of the death of young Rutland, that of his father which comes next it, and of Clifford the murtherer of them both; Beaufort's dreadful exit, the exit of King Henry, and a scene of wondrous fimplicity and wondrous tendernefs united, in which that Henry is made a speaker while his laft decifive battle is fighting, are as so many stamps upon these plays; by which his property is mark'd, and himself declar'd the owner of them, beyond controversy as we think and though we have felected these paffages only, and recommended them to obfervation, it had been eafy to name abundance of others which bear his mark as ftrongly: and one circumftance there is that runs through all the three plays, by which he is as furely to be known as by any other that can be thought of; and that is, the prefervation of character: all the perfonages in them are diftin&ly and truly delineated, and the character given them fuftain'd uniformly throughout; the enormous Richard's particularly, which in the third of these plays is feen rifing towards
it's zenith: and who fees not the future monfter, and acknowledges at the fame time the pen that drew it, in these two lines only, spoken over a king who lies ftab'd before him,
What, will the afpiring blood of Lancaster
"Sink in the ground? I thought, it would have mounted." let him never pretend difcernment hereafter in any cafe of this nature.
It is hard to perfuade one's felf, that the objecters to the play which comes next are indeed ferious in their opinion; for if he is not vifible in Love's Labour's Loft, we know` not in which of his comedies he can be faid to be fo: the ease and fprightlinefs of the dialogue in very many parts of it; its quick turns of wit, and the humour it abounds in; and (chiefly) in thofe truly comick characters, the pedant and his companion, the page, the conftable, Coftard, and Armado,-seem more than fufficient to prove Shakspeare the author of it and for the blemishes of this play, we must feek the true caufe in it's antiquity; which we may venture to carry higher than 1598, the date of it's first impreffion: rime, when this play appear'd, was thought a beauty of the drama, and heard with fingular pleafure by an audience who but a few years before had been accuftom'd to all rime; and the measure we call dogrel, and are so much offended with, had no fuch effect upon the ears of that time but whether blemishes or no, however this matter be which we have brought to exculpate him, neither of thefe articles can with any face of juftice be alledg'd against Love's Labour's Loft, feeing they are both to be met with in feveral other
plays, the genuineness of which has not been queftion'd by any one. And one thing more fhall be obferv'd in the behalf of this play;-that the author himself was fo little difpleas'd at least with fome parts of it, that he has brought them a fecond time upon the ftage; for who may not perceive that his famous Benedick and Beatrice are but little more than the counter-parts of Biron and Rofaline? All which circumftances confider'd, and that especially of the writer's childhood (as it may be term'd) when this comedy was produc'd, we may confidently pronounce it his true offspring, and replace it amónft it's brethren.
That the Taming of the Shrew fhould ever have been put into this clafs of plays, and be adjudg'd a fpurious one, may juftly be reckon'd wonderful, when we confider it's merit, and the reception it has generally met with in the world: it's fuccefs at first, and the efteem it was then held in, induc'd Fletcher to enter the lifts with it in another play, in which Petruchio is humbl'd and Catharine triumphant; and we have it in his works, under the title of "The Woman's Prize, or, the Tamer tam'd:" but, by an unhappy miftake of buffoonery for humour and obfcenity for wit, which was not uncommon with that author, his production came lamely off, and was foon confign'd to the oblivion in which it is now bury'd; whereas this of his antagonist flourishes ftill, and has maintain'd it's place upon the ftage (in fome fhape or other) from it's very firft appearance down to the prefent hour: and this fuccefs it has merited, by true wit and true humour; a fable of very artful conftruction, much business, and highly interefting; and by
natural and well-fuftain'd characters, which no pen but Shakfpeare's was capable of drawing: what defects it has, are chiefly in the diction; the fame (indeed) with thofe of the play that was lastmention'd, and to be accounted for the fame way: for we are ftrongly inclin'd to believe it a neighbour in time to Love's Labour's Loft, though we want the proofs of it which we have luckily for that. $
But the plays which we have already spoke of are but flightly attack'd, and by few writers, in comparifon of this which we are now come to of "Titus Andronicus:" commentators, editors, every one (in fhort) who has had to do with Shakspeare, unite all in condemning it as a very bundle of horrors, totally unfit for the ftage, and unlike the poet's manner, and even the ftyle of his other pieces; all which allegations are extreamly true, and we readily admit of them, but can not admit the conclufion-that, therefore, it is not his; and fhall now proceed to give the reafons of our diffent, but (first) the play's age must be enquir'd into. In the Induction to Jonfon's Bartholomew Fair, which was written in the year 1614, the audience is thus accofted:-"Hee that will fweare, Jero
8 The authenticity of this play ftands further confirm'd by the teftimony of Sir Afton Cockayn; a writer who came near to Shakfpeare's time, and does exprefsly afcribe it to him in an epigram addrefs'd to Mr. Clement Fisher of Wincot; but it is (perhaps,) fuperfluous, and of but little weight neither, as it will be faid-that Sir Afton proceeds only upon the evidence of it's being in print in his name: we do therefore lay no great ftrefs upon it, nor fhall infert the epigram'; it will be found in The School of Shakspeare, which is the proper place for things of that fort.
nimo or Andronicus are the beft playes, yet, fhall paffe unexcepted at, heere, as a man whofe judgement fhews it is conftant, and hath flood flill, thefe five and twentie, or thirtie yeeres. Though it be an ignorance, it is a virtuous and flay'd ignorance; and next to truth, a confirm'd errour does well; fuch a one the author knows where to finde him." We have here the great Ben himself, joining this play with Jeronimo, or, the Spanish Tragedy, and bearing exprefs teftimony to the credit they were both in with the publick at the time they were written; but this by the by; to afcertain that time, was the chief reafon for inferting the quotation, and there we fee it fix'd to twenty five or thirty years prior, to this Induction: now it is not neceffary, to fuppofe that Jonfon fpeaks in this place with exact precifion; but allowing that he does, the first of these periods carries us back to 1589, a date not very repugnant to what is afterwards advanc'd: Langbaine, in his Account of the English dramatick Poets," under the article SHAKSPEARE, does exprefsly tell us, that "Andronicus was firft printed in 1594, quarto, and acted by the Earls of Derby, Pembroke, and Effex, their fervants;" and though the edition is not now to be met with, and he who mentions it be no exact writer, nor greatly to be rely'd on in many of his articles, yet in this which we have quoted he is fo very particular that one can hardly withhold affent to it; efpecially, as this account of its printing coincides well enough with Jonfon's æra of writing this play; to which therefore we fubfcribe, and go on upon that ground. The books of that time afford firange examples of the