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show no little skill in the use of it; but here was "an upstart" from the country who was able to rival him in his own line. Moreover, this Shake-scene was a Do-all, a Johannes Fac-totum, who could turn his hand to any thing; and his readiness to undertake what none others could do so well naturally drew upon him the imputation of conceit from those who envied his rising, and whose lustre was growing dim in his light.

It appears that both Shakespeare and Marlowe were offended at the liberties thus taken with them. For, before the end of that same year, Chettle published a tract entitled Kind Heart's Dream, wherein we have the following: "With neither of them that take offence was I acquainted; and with one of them [Marlowe] I care not if I never be: the other I did not so much spare as since I wish I had; because myself have seen his demeanour no less civil than he excellent in the quality he professes: besides, divers of worship have reported his uprightness of dealing, which argues his honesty, and his facetious grace in writing, that approves his art."

On the whole, we can readily pardon the malice of Greene's assault for the sake of this tribute, which it was the means of drawing forth, to Shakespeare's character as a man and his cunning as a poet. The words "excellent in the quality he professes," refer to the Poet's acting; while the term facetious is used, apparently, not in the sense it now bears, but in that of felicitous or happy, as was common at that time. So it seems that Shakespeare already had friends in London, some of them "worshipful," too, who were strongly commending him as a poet, and who were prompt to remonstrate with Chettle against the mean slur cast upon him.

This naturally starts the inquiry, what dramas the Poet had then written, to earn such praise. Greene speaks of

him as "beautified with our feathers." Probably there was at least some plausible colour of truth in this charge. The charge, I have no doubt, refers mainly to The Second and Third Parts of King Henry the Sixth. The two plays on which these were founded were published, respectively, in 1594 and 1595, their titles being, The First Part of the Contention betwixt the two famous Houses of York and Lancaster, and The True Tragedy of Richard, Duke of York. In the form there given, the plays have, as Mr. White has clearly shown, along with much of Shakespeare's work, many unquestionable marks of Greene's hand. All those marks, however, were disciplined out of them, as they have come down to us in Shakespeare's works. There can be no doubt, then, that Greene, and perhaps Marlowe also, had a part in them as they were printed in 1594 and 1595, though no author's name was then given. Now it was much the custom at that time for several playwrights to work together. Of this we have many well-authenticated instances. The most likely conclusion, therefore, is, that these two plays in their original form were the joint workmanship of Shakespeare, Greene, and Marlowe. Perhaps, however, there was a still older form of the plays, written entirely by Marlowe and Greene; which older form Shakespeare, some time before Greene's death, may have taken in hand, and recast, retaining more or less of their matter, and working it in with his own nobler stuff; for this was often done also. Or, again, it may be that, before the time in question, Shakespeare, not satisfied to be joint author with them, had rewritten the plays, and purged them of nearly all matter but what he might justly claim as his own; thus making them as we now have them.

As regards the occasion of Greene's assault, it matters little which of these views we take, as in either case his charge would have some apparent ground of truth. It is

further probable that the same course of remark would apply more or less to The Taming of the Shrew, and also to Titus Andronicus. At all events, I have no doubt that these four plays, together with The First Part of King Henry the Sixth, The Comedy of Errors, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Love's Labours Lost, in its first form, were all written before the time of Greene's death. Perhaps the first shape, also, of Romeo and Juliet should be added to this list.

My reasons for this opinion are too long to be stated here: I can but observe that in these plays, as might be expected from one who was modest and wished to learn, we have much of imitation as distinguished from character, though of imitation surpassing its models. And it seems to me that no fair view can be had of the Poet's mind, no justice done to his art, but by carefully discriminating in his work what grew from imitation, and what from character. For he evidently wrote very much like others of his time, before he learned to write like himself; that is, it was some time before he found, by practice and experience, his own strength; and meanwhile he relied more or less on the strength of custom and example. Nor was it till he had surpassed others in their way, that he hit upon that more excellent way in which none could walk but he.

It has been quite too common to speak of Shakespeare as a miracle of spontaneous genius, who did his best things by force of instinct, not of art; and that, consequently, he was nowise indebted to time and experience for the reach and power which his dramas display. This is an "old fond paradox" which seems to have originated with those who could not conceive how any man could acquire intellectual skill without scholastic advantages; forgetting, apparently, that several things, if not more, may be learned in the school of Nature, provided one have an eye to read her “open se

crets" without "the spectacles of books." This notion has vitiated a good deal of Shakespearian criticism. Rowe had something of it. "Art," says he, "had so little, and Nature so large a share in what Shakespeare did, that, for aught I know, the performances of his youth were the best." I think decidedly otherwise; and have grounds for doing so which Rowe had not, in what has since been done towards ascertaining the chronology of the Poet's plays.

It would seem from Chettle's apology, that Shakespeare was already beginning to attract liberal notice from that circle of brave and accomplished gentlemen which adorned the state of Queen Elizabeth. Among the "divers of worship," first and foremost stood, no doubt, the high-souled, the generous Southampton, then in his twentieth year. Henry Wriothesley, the third Earl of Southampton, was but eight years old when his father died: the Southampton estates were large; during the young Earl's minority his interests were in good hands, and the revenues accumulated; so that on coming of age he had means answerable to his dispositions. Moreover, he was a young man of good parts, of studious habits, of cultivated tastes, and withal of a highly chivalrous and romantic spirit: to all which he added the honour of being the early and munificent patron of Shakespeare. In 1593, the Poet published his Venus and Adonis, with a modest and manly dedication to this nobleman, very different from the usual high-flown style of literary adulation. then in vogue; telling him, "If your Honour seem but pleased, I account myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you with some graver labour." In the dedication, he calls the poem "the first heir of my invention." Whether he dated its birth from the writing or the publishing, does not appear: probably it had been written some time; possibly before he left Stratford. This was followed, the next year, by his Lucrece, dedicated

to the same nobleman in a strain of more open and assured friendship: "The warrant I have of your honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours, what I have to do is yours."

It was probably about this time that the event took place which Rowe heard of through Sir William Davenant, that Southampton at one time gave the Poet a thousand pounds, to enable him to go through with a purchase which he knew him to be desirous of making. Rowe might well scruple, as he did, the story of so large a gift, equal to nearly $30,000 in our time; but the fact of his scruples being overruled shows that he had strong grounds for the statement. The sum may indeed have been exaggerated; but all we know of the Earl assures us that he could not but wish to make a handsome return for the Venus and Adonis; and that whatever of the kind he did was bound to be something rich and rare; while it was but of a piece with his approved nobleness of character, to feel more the honour he was receiving than that he was conferring by such an act of generosity. Might not this be what Shakespeare meant by "the warrant I have of your honourable disposition"? That the Earl was both able and disposed to the amount alleged, need not be scrupled the only doubt has reference to the Poet's occasions. Let us see, then, what these may have been.

In December, 1593, Richard Burbage, who, his father having died or retired, was then the leader of the Blackfriars company, signed a contract for the building of the Globe theatre. The Blackfriars was not accommodation enough for the company's uses, but was entirely covered-in, and furnished suitably for the Winter. The Globe, made larger, and designed for Summer use, was a round wooden building, open to the sky, with the stage protected by an overhanging roof. All things considered, then, it is not

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