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would satisfy the audience, they satisfied the writer. It is seldom that authors, though more studious of fame than Shakespeare, rise much above the standard of their own age; to add a little to what is best will always be sufficient for present praise,
and those who find themselves exalted into fame, are willing to . credit their encomiasts, and to spare the labour of contending with themselves."
The dramatic reputation of Shakespeare, although great in his own days, became partially obsolete during the period when French taste prevailed, and French models were studied, under the second Charles; and rising again as it did on its own intrinsic pretension, until his productions established a national taste, the fact is still more honorable to his genius. That much of the admiration entertained for him is national and conventional, may be freely allowed; but giving all due weight to the cold hints of this nature, which pervade criticism of a certain tone, a fair appeal may be made on the ground of positive qualification, and a knowledge of the human heart, which, in its diversity at least, has never been surpassed. To this faculty must be added, that of an imagination powerful, poetical, and so felicitously creative, that presuming the existence of the vivid offspring of his fancy, the adopted feelings and manners seem to belong to them alone.
Voltaire observes that Shakespeare has been the favourite of the English nation for more than a century; and that that which has engrossed national admiration for a hundred years, will by prescription insure it for ever. But though there may be some truth in this remark, the obvious and undeniable fact is, that great native strength of genius can alone establish the prepossession.
There's in him stuff that puts him to these ends:
H. VIII. i. 1.
I have this while with leaden thoughts been press’d;
0. ii. 4.
0. iii. 4.
T. G. v. 4.
ABUSE, AND BAD ENGLISH (See also VITUPERATION).
Have I lived to stand at the taunt of one that makes fritters of English ?
M. W. v. 5. Here will be an old abusing of God's patience and the king's English.
M. W. i. 4, Let them keep their limbs whole, and hack our English.
M. W. iii. 4. ACCUSATION.
To vouch this is no proof,
Of modern seeming do prefer against him. 0. i. 3.
M. N. D. i. 1. Let it be booked with the rest of this day's deeds ; or I swear I will have it in a particular ballad, with mine own picture on the top of it.
H. IV. PT. 11. iv. I ACQUITTAL.
Now doth thy honour stand,
M. W. iv. 4. ACTION, DRAMATIC.
Let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, and the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature : for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first, and now, was, and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure: * * * 0, there be players, that I have seen play,-and heard others praise, and that highly,—not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, Pagan, nor man, have so strutted, and bellowed, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
H. iii. 2. ADOPTION.
'Tis often seen
A. IV. i. 3. ADORATION, A LOVER's.
What you do,
Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet,
W. T. iv. 4.
T. G. iv. 1.
T. A. iv. 2.
And, when the mind is quicken'd, out of doubt,
H. IV. PT. II. i. 1.
M. M. iii i. Obey thy parents; keep thy word justly; swear not; commit not with man's sworn spouse; set not thy sweet heart on proud array.
K. L. iii. 4. Take heed, be wary how you place your words.
H. VI. PT. 1. iii. 2. Let go thy hold, when a great wheel runs down a hill, lest it break thy neck with following it; but the great one that goes up the hill, let him draw thee after. When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again.
K. L. ii. 4.
C. iii. 2.
A. W. i. 1. Keep thy pen from lenders' books, and defy the fou) fiend.
K. L. iii. 4. Let not the creaking of shoes, nor the rustling of silks, betray thy poor heart to women.
K. L. iii. 4.
Fear it, my dear sister;