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remains to be considered. His enumerating this among Shakspeare's plays, may be accounted for in the same way in which we may account for its being printed by his fellow comedians in the first folio edition of his works. Meres was, in 1598, when his book first appeared, intimately .connected with Drayton, and probably acquainted with some of the dramatic poets of the time; from some or other of whom, he might have heard that Shakspeare interested himself about this tragedy, or had written a few lines for the author. The internal evidence furnished by the piece itself, and proving it not to have been the production of Shakspeare, greatly outweighs any single testimony on the other side. Meres might have been misinformed, or inconsiderately have given credit to the rumor of the day. In short, the high antiquity of the piece, its entry on the Stationers' books, and being afterwards printed, without the name of Shakspeare; its being performed by the servants of lord Pembroke, &c.; the stately march of the versification, the whole color of the composition, its resemblance to several of our most ancient dramas, the dissimilitude of the style from our author's undoubted plays, and the tradition mentioned by Ravenscroft, when some of his contemporaries had not long been dead (for Lowin and Taylor, two of his fellow comedians, were alive a few years before the Restoration, and sir Wm. Davenant did not die till April, 1668);—all these circumstances combined, prove, with irresistible force, that the play of Titus Andronicus has been erroneously ascribed to Shakspeare.”—MALONE.
“Mr. Malone, in the preceding note, has expressed his opinion that Shakspeare may have written a few lines in this play, or given some assistance to the author in revising it. Upon no other ground than this, has it any claim to a place among our Poet's dramas. Those passages in which he supposed the hand of Shakspeare may be traced, he marked with inverted commas. This system of seizing upon every line possessed of merit, as belonging of right to our great Dramatist, is scarcely doing justice to his contemporaries, and resembles one of the arguments which Theobald has used in his preface to The Double Falsehood :—My partiality for Shakspeare makes me wish that every thing which is good or pleasing in our tongue had been owing to his pen.' Many of the writers of that day were men of high poetical talent: and many individual speeches are found in plays, which, as plays, are of no value, which would not have been in any way unworthy of Shakspeare himself; of whom Dr. Johnson has observed, that his real power is not shown in the splendor of particular passages, but by the progress of the fable and the tenor of his dialogue; and that he that tries to recommend him by select quotations, will succeed like the pedant in Hierocles, who, when he offered his house to sale, carried a brick in his pocket as a specimen.' Dr. Farmer has ascribed Titus Andronicus to Kyd, and placed it on a level with Locrine; but it appears to be much more in the style of Marlowe. His fondness for accumulating horrors upon other occasions, will account for the sanguinary character of this play; and it would not, I think, be difficult to show, by extracts from his other performances, that there is not a line in it which he was not fully capable of writing."-Boswell.
“ The author, whoever he was, might have borrowed the story, &c. from an old ballad which is entered in the books of the Stationers' Company immediately after the play to John Danter, Feb. 6, 1593; and again entered to Tho. Pavyer, April 19, 1602. The reader will find it in Dr. Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, vol. i. Painter, in his Palace of Pleasure, tom. ii., speaks of the story of Titus as well known, and particularly mentions the cruelty of Tamora ; and there is an allusion to it in A Knack to Know a Knave, 1594.
“I have given the reader a specimen (in the notes) of the changes made in this play by Ravenscroft; and may add, that, when the empress stabs her child, he has supplied the Moor with the following lines :
She has outdone me, ev'n in mine own art;
“ st rarely happens that a dramatic piece is altered with the same spirit that it was written; but Titus Andronicus has undoubtedly fallen into the hands of one whose feelings and imagination were congenial with those of the author.
“ It was evidently the work of one who was acquainted with Greek and Roman literature. It is likewise deficient in such internal marks as distinguish the tragedies of Shakspeare from those of other writers—I mean that it presents no struggles to introduce the vein of humor so constantly interwoven with the business of his serious dramas. It can neither boast of his striking excellences, nor of his acknowledged defects; for it offers not a single interesting situation, a natural character, or a string of quibbles, from first to last. That Shakspeare should have written without commanding our attention, moving our passions, or sporting with words, appears to me as improbable as that he should have studiously avoided dissyllable and trisyllable terminations in this play and in no other.
“ Let it be likewise remembered that this piece was not published with the name of Shakspeare till after his death. The quartos (of 1600] and 1611 are anonymous.
“ Could the use of particular terms, employed in no other of his pieces, be admitted as an argument that he was not its author, more than one of these might be found ; among which is palliament for robe, a Latinism, which I have not met with elsewhere in any English writer, whether ancient or modern; though it must have originated from the mint of a scholar. I may add, that Titus Andronicus will be found, on examination, to contain a greater number of classical allusions, &c., than are scattered over all the rest of the performances on which the seal of Shakspeare is indubitably fixed. Not to write any more about and about this suspected thing, let me observe, that the glitter of a few passages in it has, perhaps, misled the judgment of those who ought to have known that both sentiment and description are more easily produced than the interesting fabric of a tragedy. Without these advantages many plays have succeeded; and many have failed, in which they have been dealt about with lavish profusion. It does not follow that he who can carve a frieze with minuteness, elegance, and ease, has a conception equal to the extent, propriety, and grandeur of a temple.
“ Whatever were the motives of Heming and Condell for admitting this tragedy among those of Shakspeare, all it has gained by their favor is, to be delivered down to posterity with repeated remarks of contempta Thersites babbling among heroes, and introduced only to be derided.” -STEEVENS.
Saturninus, Son to the late Emperor of Rome, and afterwards
declared Emperor himself.
Sons to Titus Andronicus.
TAMORA, Queen of the Goths.
Kinsmen of Titus, Senators, Tribunes, Officers, Soldiers, and
SCENE I. Rome. Before the Capitol.
The tomb of the Andronici appearing ; the Tribunes
and Senators aloft, as in the senate. Enter, below, SATURNINUS and his Followers, on one side ; and BASSIANUS and his Followers on the other ; with drum and colors.
Saturninus. Noble patricians, patrons of my right, Defend the justice of my cause with arms; And, countrymen, my loving followers, Plead my successive title with your swords. I am his first-born son, that was the last That ware the imperial diadem of Rome; Then let my father's honors live in me, Nor wrong
mine age’ with this indignity. Bas. Romans,-friends, followers, favorers of my
1 i. e. my title to the succession. “The empire being elective, and not successive, the emperors in being made profit of their own times.”—Raleigh.
2 Saturninus means his seniority in point of age. In a subsequent passage, Tamora speaks of him as a very young man.
But let desert in pure election shine;
Enter Marcus ANDRONICUS aloft, with the crown.
Mar. Princes that strive by factions, and by friends,
trained up in arms.
withdraw you, and abate your strength; Dismiss your followers, and, as suitors should, Plead
your deserts in peace and humbleness. Sat. How fair the tribune speaks to calm my
thoughts! Bas. Marcus Andronicus, so I do affy In thy uprightness and integrity, And so I love and honor thee and thine, Thy nobler brother Titus, and his sons,