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completeness in what it may contain in reference to the history and constitution of the language generally, or of particular classes of words and constructions. Among the fragments, or specimens, however, -for they can be nothing more, - which occur in it of this kind of speculation, are a few which will be found, perhaps, to carry out the examination of a principle, or the survey

of
a group

of connectcal facts, farther than had before been done; such as those in the notes on Merely (45), on Its (54), on Shrew and Shrewd (186), on Statue (246), on the prefix Be (389), etc.

G. L. C

[The English language, which has produced and nourished with its milk the greatest of modern poets, the only one who can be compared to the classical poets of antiquity, (who does not see that I am speaking of Shakespeare?) may of good right be called a universal language.

Grimm.

English ... has always needed, and still needs, more powerful securities and bulwarks against incessant revolution than other languages of less heterogeneous composition. The three great literary monuments, the English Bible, Shakespeare, and Milton, fixed the syntax of the sacred and the secular dialects in the forms which they had already taken, and perpetuated so much of the vocabulary as entered into their composition.

Their great poets have been more powerful than any other secular influence in first making, and then keeping, the Englishman and the American what they are, what for hundreds of years they have been, what, God willing, for thousands they shall be, the pioneer race in the march of man towards the highest summits of worthy human achieve. lment.

Marsh.

We must be free or die. who speak the tongue
That Shakespeare spoke, the faith and morals hold
That Milton lield!

Wordsworth.]

( xvi)

THE

English OF SHAKESPEARE,

ETC.

PROLEGOMENA.

I. SHAKESPEARE'S PERSONAL HISTORY.

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ILLIAM SHAKESPEARE was born at

Stratford-upon-Avon, in the county of Warwick, in April, 1564. His baptism is recorded in the parish register as having taken place on Wednesday the 26th, and the inscription on his tomb makes him to have been in his fifty-third year when he died, on the 23d of April, 1616; his birthday, therefore, cannot have been later than the 23d. It was more probably some days earlier. It is commonly assumed, nevertheless, to have been the 23d, which, besides being also the day of his death, is the day dedicated to St. George the Martyr, the patron saint of England.

His father was John Shakespeare; his mother, Mary Arderne, or Arden. The Ardens were among the oldest of the county gentry; many of the Shakespeares also, who were numerous in Warwickshire, were of good condition. The name in provincial speech was probably sounded Shackspeare or Shacksper; but even in the poet's own day its more

refined or literary pronunciation seems to have been the same that now prevails. It was certainly recognized as a combination of the two words Shake and Spear. His own spelling of it, however, in a few instances in which that, our only known fragment of his handwriting, has come down to us, is Shakspere.

John Shakespeare appears to have followed the business of a glover, including, no doubt, the making of gloves as well as the selling of them. He seems to have fallen latterly into decayed circumstances; but in his better days it is evident that he ranked with the first class of the burg ses of his town. He was for many years an alderman, and twice filled the office of High Bailiff, or chief magistrate. He was also, though perhaps never very wealthy, but rather always a struggling man, possessed of some houses in Stratford, as well as of a small freehold estate acquired by his marriage ; and his connection with the Arden family would itself bring him consideration. His marriage probably took place in 1557. He lived till 1602, and his wife till 1608. Of eight children, four sons and four daughters, William was the third, but the eldest son.

Shakespeare's father, like the generality of persons of his station in life of that day, appears to have been unable to write his name; all his signature in the books of the corporation is his cross, or mark; but there can be no doubt that the son had a grammar-school education. He was in all probability sent to the free-school of his native town. After he left school it has been thought that he may have spent some time in an attorney's office. But in 1582, when he was only eighteen, he married; his wife, Anne Hathaway, of Shottery, in the neighborhood

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