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TIMON OF ATHENS.
players of Lord Hunsdon; and lience Malone argued that it' It is remarkable that in no edition of " Romeo and Juliet,". inust have been first performed and printed between July, printed anterior to the publication of the folio of 1623, do we 159.6, and April, 1597. The company to which Shakespeare find Shakespeare's name upon the title-page. Yet Meres, in was attached called themselves the servants of the Lord his Palladis Tamia, had distinctly assigned it to him in 1598; Chamberlain." Henry Lord Hunsdon died Lord Chamber- and although the name of the author might be purposely left lain on 22nd July, 1596, and his son George succeeded to the out in the imperfect copy of 1597, there would seem to be no title, but not to the office, which, in August, was conferred reason, especially after the announcernent by Meres, for not upon Lord Cobham. Lord Cobham filled it until his death inserting it in the “corrected, augmented, and amended” in March subsequent to his appointment, very soon after edition of 1599. But it is wanting even in the impression of which event George Lord Hunsdon was made Lord Cham- 1609, although Shakespeare's popularity must then have been berlain. It seems that the theatrical servants of Henry Lord at its height. “King Lear," in 1608, had been somowliat Hunsdon, Lord Chamberlain, did not, on his decease, trans- ostentatiously called “ M. William Shake-speare, his, &c. Life fer their services to his successor in office, Lord Cobham, but and Death of King Lear ;' and his Sonnets, in 1609, were to his successor in title, George Lord Hansdon, and called recommended to purchasers, as "Shake-speare's Sonnets," themselves the servants of that nobleman in the interval be- in unusually large characters on the title-page. tween the death of his father on 22nd July, 1596, and 17thi April, 1597, when he himself became Lord Chamberlain. Malone concludes that in this interval, while those players who had been the servants of the Lord Chamberlain called themselves the servants of Lord Hunsdon, "Romeo and "The Life of Tymon of Athens " first appeared in the folio Juliet" was first performed and printed, and that, in conse- of 1623, where it occupies, in the division of "Tragedies," quence, the title-page of the first edition states, that it had twenty-one pages, numbered from p. 80 to. p. 98 inclusive : the L. of Hunsdon his servants."
but pp. 81 and 82, by an error, are repeated. Page 98 is The answer that may be made to this argument is, that followed by a leaf, headed, “ The Actors' Names," and the though the tragedy was printed in 1597, as it had been acted list of characters fills the whole page: the back of it is left by Lord Hunsdon's servants, it does not follow that it might blank. The drama bears the same title in the later folios. not have been played some years before by the same actors, | SHAKESPEARE is supposed not to have written - Timon of when calling theinselves the Lord Chamberlain's servants. Athens " until late in his theatrical career, and Malone has This is true; and it is not to be disputed that there is an allu- fixed upon 1610 as the probable date when it came from his sion in one of the speeches of the Nurse (Act i. sc. 3) to an
pen. We know of no extrinsic evidence to confirm or contraearthquake which, she states, had occurred eleven years dict this opinion. The tragedy was printed in 1623, in the before :
folio edited by Heminge and Condell; and having been
inserted in the Registers of the Stationers' Company as a play Z"But as I said,
6 not formerly entered to other men,' we may infer that it On Lammas eve at night shall she be fourteen; That shall she, marry ; I remember it well.
had not previously come from the press. The versification is 'Tis since the earthquake now eleven years;
remarkably loose and irregular, but it is made to appear more And she was wean'd."
so by the manner in which it was originally printed. The
object, especially near the close, seems to have been to make It has been supposed that this passage refers to the earth- the drama occupy as much space as could be conveniently quake of 1580, and, consequently, that the play was written filled : consequently, many of the lines are arbitrarily divided in 1591. However, those who read the whole speech of the into two: the drama extends to p. 98 in the folio, in the diviNurse cannot fail to remark such discrepancies in it as to sion of “Tragedies ;" what would have been p. 99, if it had render it impossible to arrive at any definite conclusion, even been figured, contains a list of the characters, and what would if we suppose that Shakespeare intended a reference to a par- have been p. 100 is entirely blank: the next leaf, being the ticular earthquake in England. First, the Nurse tells us, that first page of " Julius Cæsar," is numbered 109. It is possible Juliet was in a course of being weaned; then, that she could that another printer began with “ Julius Cæsar," and that a stand alone; and, thirdly, that she could run alone. It would miscalculation was made as to the space which would be occuhave been rather extraordinary if she could not, for even pied by 6 Coriolanus," "Titus Andronicus," "Romeo and according to the Nurse's own calculation the child was very Juliet," and " Timon of Athens." The interval between nearly three years old. No fair inference can, therefore, be what would have been p. 100 of the folio of 1623, and p. 109, drawn from the expression, “'T is since the earthquake now which immediately follows it, may at all events be in this way eleven years," and we coincide with Malone that the tragedy explained. was probably written towards the close of 15961.
There is an apparent want of finish about some portions of Another trifling circumstance may lead to the belief that “ Timon of Athens," while others are elaborately wrought. « Romeo and Juliet” was not written, at all events, until after In his Lectures in 1815, Coleridge dwelt upon this discordance 1594. In Act ii. (not Act iii., as Malone states) there is an of style at considerable length, but we find no trace of it in allusion, in the words of Mercutio-"a gentleman of the very the published fragments of his Lectures in 1818. Coleridge first house--of the first and second cause,"_to a work on said, in 1815, that he saw the same vigorous hand at work duelling, called " Vincentio Saviolo his Practise." That book throughout, and gave no countenance to the notion, that any was first printed in 1594, and again in 1595, and the issue of parts of a previously existing play had been retained in the second impression might call Shakespeare's attention to * Timon of Athens,' as it had come down to us. It was it just before he began %Romeo and Julieč." We have Shakespeare's throughout; and, as originally written, he already seen “ Vincentio Saviolo his Practise” more particu- apprehended that it was one of the author's most complete larly referred to in “ As You Like It." We place little performances : the players, however, he felt convinced, had reliance upon the allusion in Roneo and Juliet,” because I done the poet much injustice, and he especially instanced (as 66 the first and second cause” are also mentioned in “Love's indeed he did in 1818) the cluinsy, “ clap-trap" blow at the Labour's Lost," though the passage may, like some others, Puritans in Act iii. sc. 3, as an interpolation by the actor of have been an insertion just prior to Christmas, 1598.
the part of Timon's servant. Coleridge accounted for the Malone hastily conciuded from a reference in Marston's ruggedness and inequality of the versification upon the same Satires, that Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet " was acted at principle, and he was persuaded that only a corrupt and imthe Curtain Theatre, in Shoreditch; but we can be by no perfect copy had come to the hands of the player-editors of means sure that Marston, by the terms “Curtain plaudities," the folio of 1623. Why the manuscript of " Timon of Athens" did not mean applauses at any theatre, for all had is curtains," should have been more mutilated, than that from which other and we have no trace that any other of our great dramatist'
our great dramatist's dramas were printed for the first time in the sanie volume, plays was acted at the Curtain. The subject must have been was a question into which he did not enter. His admiration à favourite with the public, and it is more than probable that of some parts of the tragedy was unbounded; but he mainrival companies had contemporaneous plays upon the same tained that it was, on the whole, a painful and disagreeable story. (See the Memoirs of Edward Alleyı, p. 19.) To some production, because it gave only a disadvantageous picture of piece formed upon the same incidents, and represented at the human nature, very inconsistent with what, he firmly beCurtain Theatre, Marston may have referred.
lieved, was our great poet's real view of the characters of his
1 The Registers of the Stationers' Company throw little light upon and "The Taming of a Shrew") was entered to "Mr. Linge," with the question when “Romeo and Juliet” was first written. On 5 consent of Mr. Burby." On 19 Nov. 1607, John Smythick entered Aug. 1596, Edward White entered “A newe ballad of Romeo and “Hamlet," "The Taming of a Shrew," "Romeo and Juliet," and Juliett," which may possibly have been the tragedy, printed (without “Love's Labour's Lost," as having derived his property in them from a bookseller's name) in 1597, though called only a ballad. On 22 Jan. Linge. 1606-7, “Romeo and Juliet" (together with “Love's Labour 's Lost"]
fellow creatures. He said that the whole piece was a bitter dramatic satire,-a species of writing in which Shakespeare
JULIUS, CÆSAR. had shown, as in all other kinds, that he could reach the very
Tp The Tragedie of Julius Cæsar” was first printed in the highest point of excellence. Coleridge could not lielp sus-1
folio of 1623, where it occupies twenty-two pages ; viz. fronı
folie pecting that the subject might have been taken up under some temporary feeling of vexation and disappointinent.
p. 109 to p. 130 inclusive, in the division of 26 Tragedies." How far this notion is well founded can of course be matter
The Acts, but not the Scenes, are distinguished, and it of mere speculation ; but a whole play could hardly be com-|
1 appeared in the same manner in the three later folios. posed under a transient fit of irritation, and to us it seems No early quarto edition of " Julius Cæsar" is known), and more likely, that in this instance, as in others, Shakespeare there is reason to believe that it never appeared in that form. adopted the story because he thought he could make it The manuscript originally used for the folio of 1623 must acceptable as a dramatic representation. We agree with have been extremely perfect, and free from corruptions, for Farmer in thinking that there probably existed some earlier there is, perhaps, no drama in the volume more accurately popular play of which Timon was the hero. The novels in printed. Paynter's Palace of Pleasure" were the common property | Malone and others have arrived at the conclusion that of the poets of the day; and 56 the strange and beastly nature "Julius Cæsar ” could not have been written before 1607. of Timon of Athenis ir is inserted in the first volume of that We think there is good ground for believing that it was acted collection, which came out before 1567. Paynter professes to before 1603. have derived his brief materials from the life of Marc Antony,
We found this opinion upon some circumstances connected in Plutarch : hut Sir Thomas North's translation having made with the publication of Drayton's " Barons' Wars," and the its appearance in 1579, all the circumstances may have been resemblance between a stanza there found, and a passage in familiar to most readers. True it is, that Shakespeare does “ Julius Cæsar,” both of which it will be necessary to quote. not appear to have followed these authorities at all closely, | In Act v. sc. 5, Antony gives the following character of and there may have been some version of Lucian then current Brutus: with which we are now unacquainted. To these sources
"His life was gentle; and the elements dramatists preceding Shakespeare may have resorted ; and
So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up we find Timon so often mentioned by writers of the period,
And say to all the world, This was a man." that his habits and disposition, perhaps, had also been made In Drayton's 66 Barons' Wars," book iii. edit. 8vo., 1603, we known through the medium of the stage. Shakespeare him- |
| meet with the subsequent stanza. The author is speaking of self introduces Timon into “Love's Labour's Lost," which, Mortimer. in its original shape, must certainly have been one of our great dramatist's early plays. In Edward Guilpi
Edward Guilpin's |
6 Such one he was, of him we boldly say, collection of Epigrams and Satires, published, under the title
In whose rich soul all sovereign powers did suit, of “ Skialetheia," in 1598, we meet with the following line,
In whom in peace th' elements all lay
So mixd, as none could sovereignty impute; (Epigr. 52,) which seems to refer to some scene in which
As all did govern, yet all did obey : Timon had been represented :
His lively temper was so absolute, “ Like hate-man Timon in his cell he sits :"
That 't seem'd, when heaven his model first began, And in the anonymous play of“ Jack Drum's Entertainment,” |
In him it shew'd perfection in a man." printed in 1601, one of the characters uses these expressions :- Italic type is hardly necessary to establish that one poet “But if all the brewers' jades in the town can drag me from the in town can drar me from the must have availed him
only of the t
thie love of myself, they shall do more than e'er the seven wise men of very words of the other. The question is, was Shakespeare Greece could. 'Come, come; now I'll be as sociable as Timon of indebted to Drayton, or Drayton to Shakespeare? We shall Athens."
not enter into general probabilities, founded upon the original We know also that there existed about that date a play and exhaustless stores of the mind of our great dramatist, but upon the subject of Timon of Athens. The original manu- advert to a few dates, which, we think, warrant the concluscript of it is in the library of the Rev. Alexander Dyce, who sion that Drayton, having heard “ Julius Cæsar" at the has recently superintended an impression of it for the Shake-theatre, or seen it in manuscript before 1603, applied to his speare Society. He gives it as his opinion, that it was own purpose, perhaps unconsciously, what, in fact, belonged sintended for the amusernent of an academic audience," and to another poet. although the epilogue may be considered rather of a contrary Drayton's "Barons' Wars" first appeared in 1596, quarto, complexion, the learned editor is probably right: it is, how- under the title of “ Mortimeriados." Malone had a copy ever, nearly certain that it was acted ; and although it will not without date, and he and Steevens imagined that the poem bear a moment's comparison with Shakespeare's "Timon of had originall
non of had originally been printed in 1598. In the ai
le quarto of Athens," similar incidents and persons are contained in both. and in the undated edition, it is not divided into books, and Thus, Timon is in the commencement rich, bountiful, and is in seven-line stanzas: and what is there said of Mortimer devoured by flatterers : he becomes poor, and is at once bears no likeness whatever to Shakespeare's expressions in deserted by all but his faithful steward but before he aban- " Julius Cæsar." Drayton afterwards changed the title from dons Athens in disgust, he invites his parasites to a last "Mortimeriados " to " The Barons' Wars," and re-modelled banquet, where he gives them stones painted to resemble the whole historical poem, altering the stanza from the artichokes, which he flings at them as he drives them out of English ballad form to the Italian ottava rima. This course his hall. Shakespeare represents Timon as regaling his guests he took before 1603, when it came out in octavo, with the with warm water; but it is very remarkable, that at the end stanza first quoted, which contains of his mock-banquet scene, after the hero has quitted the the lines from “ Julius Cæsar." We apprehend that he did stage, leaving certain lords behind him, upon whom he had so because he had heard or seen Shakespeare's tragedy before thrown the warm water, the following dialogue occurs : 1603; and we think that strong presumptive proof that he “1 Lord. Let's make no stay.
was the borrower, and not Shakespeare, is derived from the 2 Lord. Lord Timon's mad
fact, that in the subsequent impressions of 6 The Barons' 3 Lord. I feel 't upon my bones.
Wars," in 1605, 1608, 1610, and 1613, the stanza remained 4 Lord. One day he gives us diamonds, next day stones." precisely as in the edition of 1603 ; but that in 1619, after Shakespeare's Timon had cast no 5 stones” at his guests, and Shakespeare's death and before “ Julius Cæsar" was printed, the above extract reads exactly as if it bad formed part of Drayton made even a nearer approach to the words of his some play in which stones (as in the “ Timon "edited by the original, thus :Rev. A. Dyce) had been employed instead of warm water.
66 He was a man, then boldly dare to say, Unless stones had been thrown, there could, as Steevens
In whose rich soul the virtues well did suit; observes, be no propriety in the mention of them by the fourth
In whom so mix'd the elements did lay, Lord; and though Shakespeare may not have seen the aca
That none to one could sovereignty impute; demic play to which we have alluded, a fragnient may by
As all did govern, so did all obey : accident have found its way into his 66 Timon of Athens,'s
He of a temper was so absolute, which belonged to some other drama, where the banquet
As that it seem'd, when Nature him began, scene was differently conducted. It is just possible that our
She meant to show all that might be in man." great dramatist, at some subsequent date, altered his original We have been thus particular, because the point is obvidraught, and by oversight left in the rhyming couplet with ously of importance, as regards the date when “6 Julius Cæsar" which the third Act concludes. We need not advert to other was brought upon the stage. Malone seems to have thought resemblances between the academic play and “Timon of that " The Barons' Wars" continued under its original name Athens," because, by the liberality of the possessor of the man- and in its first shape until the edition of 1608, and concluded uscript, it may be now said to have become public property. Ithat the resemblance to Shakespeare was first to be traced in to some circumstance then attracting public attention. We
that impression. He had not consulted the copies of 1603, or in the days of Edward the Confessor. And Duncan bad them both 1605 (which were not in his possession), for if he had looked kindly welcome, and made Macbeth forth with Prince of Northumberat them he must have seen that Drayton had copied 6 Julius land ; and sent him home to his own Castle, and appointed Macbeth Cæsaras early as 1603. and consequently. Vlegg Shaker to provide for him, for he would sup with him the next day at night,
and did so. speare imitated Drayton, that that tragedy must then have
"And Macbeth contrived to kill Duncan, and through the persuabeen in existence. That Drayton had not remodelled his sion of his wife did that night murder the king in his own Castle, 6 Mortiineriados " as late as 1
ier from the circum being his guest. And there were many prodigies seen that night and stance, that he reprinted his poems in that year without " The the day before. And when Macbeth had murdered the King, the Barons' Wars" in any form or under any title.
blood on his hands could not be washed off by any means, nor from Another slight circumstance might be adduced to show that
his wife's hands, which handled the bloody daggers in hiding them, " Julius Cæsar" was even an older tragedy than “Hamlet." | YOGY
' by which means they became both much amazed and affronted.
"The murder being known. Duncan's two sons fled, the one to In the latter (Act iii. sc. 2) it is said that Julius Cæsar was England, the (other to] Wales, to save themselves : they, being fled, “killed in the Capitol :" in Shakespeare's drama such is the were supposed guilty of the murder of their father, which was representation, although contrary to the truth of history. nothing so. This seems to have been the popular rotion, and we find it " Then was Macbeth crowned King, and then he for fear of Banquo, confirmed in Sir Edward Dyer's 26 Prayse of Nothing," 1585,
his old companion, that he should beget kings but be no king himself, quarto, a tract unknown to every bibliographer, where these
he contrived the death of Banquo, and caused him to be inurdered on
the way that he rode. The night, being at supper with his noblewords occur: “ Thy stately Capitol (proud Rome) had not men, whom he had bid to a feast, (to the which also Banquo should beheld the bloody fall of pacified Cæsar, if nothing had accom- have come.) he began to speak of noble Banquo, and to wish that he panied him." Rob
rraduate of h
were there. And as he thus did, standing up to drink a carouse to makes the same statement, and Shakespeare may have fol- him, the ghost of Banquo came, and sat down in his chair behind lowed some older play, where the assassination scene was laid him. And he, turning about to sit down again, saw the ghost of in the Capitol: Chaucer had so spoken of it in his “Monk's
Banquo, which fronted him, so that he fell in a great passion of fear
and fury, uttering many words about his murder, by which, when Tale." It is not, however, likely that Dr. Eedes, who wrote
they heard that Banquo was murdered, they suspected Macbeth. a Latin academical play on the story, acted at Oxford in 1582, vi Then Macduff fled to England to the King's son, and so they should have conimitted the error.
raised an army and came to Scotland, and at Dunston Anyse overShakespeare appears to have derived yearly all his materials threw Macbeth. In the mean time, while Macduff was in England, from Plutarch, as translated by Sir Thomas North, and first published in 15791. At the same time, it is not unlikely that
Macduff slew Macbeth.
" Observe, also, how Macbeth's Queen did rise in the night in her there was a preceding play, and our reason for thinking so sleep, and walk, and talked and confessed all, and the Doctor noted is assigned in a note in Act iii. sci. It is a new fact, ascer- her words.” tained from an entry in Henslowe's Diary dated 22nd May, 1602, that Anthony Munday. Michael Drayton. John Webstor | Our principal reason for thinking that " Macbeth” had Thomas Middleton, and other poets, were engaged upon á been originally represented at least four years before 1610, is tragedy entitled 6 Cæsar's Fall.” The probability is, that the striking allusion, in Act iv. sc.1, to the union of the three these drainatists united their exertions, in order without kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, in the hands of delay to bring out a tragedy on the same subject as that of Jaines 1. That monarch ascended the throne in March, Shakespeare, whicli, perhaps, was then performing at the 1602-3, and the words, Globe Theatre with success. “Malone states, that there is no
16 Some I see, proof that any contemporary writer " had presumed to new
That two-fold balls and treble sceptres carry," model a story that had already employed the pen of Shake-would have had little point, if we suppose them to have been speare." He forgot that Ben Jonson was engaged upon a delivered after the king wlio bore the balls and sceptres had 67 Richard Crookback" in 1602; and he omitted, when exam- been more than seven years on the throne, James was proining Henslowe's Diary, to observe, that in the same year claimed king of Great Britain and Ireland on the 24th of four distinguished dramatists, and other poets," were October, 1604, and we may perhaps conclude that Shakespeare employed upon “ Cæsar's Fall."
wrote "Macbeth" in the year 1605, and that it was first acted From Vertue's manuscripts we learn that a play, called at the Globe, when it was opened for the summer season, in 66 Cæsar's Tragedy," was acted at Court in 1613, which might the spring of 1606. be the production of Lord Stirling, Shakespeare's drama, that Malone elaborately supports his opinion, that "Macbeth" written by Munday, Drayton, Webster, Middleton, and others, was produced in 1606, by two allusions in the speech of the or a play printed in 1607, under the title of "The Tragedy of Porter, Act ii. sc. 3, to the cheapness of corn, and to the docCæsar and Pompey, or Cæsar's Revenge." Mr. Peter Cun-| trine of equivocation, which had been supported by Robert ningham, in his « Revels' Accounts," (Introd. p. xxv.) has Garnet, who was executed on the 3d of May, 1606. We are shown that a dramatic piece, with the title of "The Tragedy generally disposed to place little confidence in such passages, of Cæsar," was exhibited at Court on Jan. 31, 1636–7. not only because they are frequently obscure in their applica
tion, but because they may have been introduced at any МАСВЕТН.
subsequent period, either by the author or actor, with the
purpose of exciting the applause of the audience, by reference poo The Tragedie of Macbeth " was first printed in the folio of
'| know that dramatists were in the constant habit of making 1623, where it occupies twenty-one pages ; viz. from p. 131 |
additions and alterations, and that comic performers had the to p. 151 inclusive, in the division of " Tragedies." The
vice of delivering "more than was set dowri for them." The Acts and Scenes are regularly marked there, as well as in
speech of the Porter, in which the two supposed temporary the later folios.]
allusions are contained, is exactly of the kind which the per The only ascertained fact respecting the performance of former of the part might be inclined to enlarge, and so 66 Macbeth," in the lifetime of its author, is that it was repre- strongly was Coleridge convinced that it was an interpolation sented at the Globe Theatre on the 20th of April, 1610. by the player, that he boldly pledged himself to demonstrate Whether it was then a new play, it is impossible to decide; it.” (Lit. Rem. vol. ii. p. 235.) This notion was not new to but we are inclined to think that it was not, and that Malone him in 1818; for three years earlier he had publicly declared was right in his conjecture, that it was first acted about the it in a lecture devoted to " Macbeth," although he adınitted year 1606. The subs lient account of ti
plot is derived that there was something of Shakespeare in "the primrose from Dr. Simon Forman's manuscript Diary, preserved in the way to the everlasting bonfire.” It may be doubted whether Ashmolean Museum, from which it appears, that he saw he would have made this concession, if he had not recollected " Macbeth" played at the Globe on the day we have stated :- the primrose path of dalliance " in “Hamlet."
"In Macbeth, at the Globe. 1610, the 20th of April. Saturday, there Shakespeare, doubtless, derived all the inaterials he required was to be observed, first, how Macbeth and Banquo, two noblemen of from Holinshed, without resorting to Boethius, or to any other Scotland, riding through a wood, there stood before them three women authority. Steevens continued to maintain, that Shakespeare Fairies, or Nymphs, and saluted Macbeth, saying three times unto was indebted, in some degree, to Middleton's 6 Witch" for him, Hail, Macbeth, King of Codor, for thou shalt be a King, but the preternatural portion of " Macbeth ;'' but Malone, who at shalt beget no Kings, &c. Then, said Banquo, What! all to Macbeth, and nothing to me? Yes, said the Nymphs, Hail to thee, Banquo;
2: first entertained the same view of the subject, ultimately thou shalt beget Kings, yet be no King. And so they departed, and
nd I abandoned it, and became convinced that " The Witch" was came to the Court of Scotland, to Duncan, King of Scots, and it was a play written subsequently to tlle production of “ Macbeth."
i Lord Stirling published a tragedy under the title of " Julius of Shakespeare's tragedy about 1603 may have led to the printing of Cæsar," in 1604 : the resemblances are by no means numerous or that by Lord Sterling in 1604, and on this account the date is of conobvious, and probably not more than may be accounted for by the sequence. Malone appears to have known of no edition of Lord fact, that two writers were treating the same subject. The popularity | Stirling's "Julius Cæsar” until 1607.
Those who read the two will, perhaps, wonder how a doubt | This undated edition was probably printed in 1607, as it was could have been entertained. “The Witch," in all proba- entered at Stationers' Hall on Nov. 19, in that year. An bility, was not written until about 1613; and what must impression, by R. Young, in 4to, 1637, has also John Smethsurprise every body is, that a poet of Middleton's rank could wicke at the bottom of the title-page. 80 degrade the awful beings of Shakespeare's invention ; for In the folio of 1623, 6 The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of although, as Lamb observes, “the power of Middleton's Denmarke," occupies thirty-one pages, in the division of witches is in some measure over the mind," (Specimens of " Tragadies ;' viz. from p. 152 to p. 280, inclusive, there Engl. Dram. Poets, p. 174,) they are of a degenerate race, as being a mistake of 100 pages between p. 156 and what it, Shakespeare having created them, no other mind was ought to have been p. 157. sufficiently gifted even to continue their existence. Whether Shakespeare obtained his knowledge regarding
The story upon which, there is reason to believe, Shakespeare these agents, and of the locality he supposes them to have
founded his tragedy of'" Hamlet,” has recently been reprinted, frcquented, from actual observation, is a point we have con- |
from the only known perfect copyi, as part of a work called sidered in the Biography of the poet. The existing evidence
“Shakespeare's Library;" and there is, perhaps, nothing on the question is there collected, and we have shown, that
mint more remarkable than the manner in whichi our great dramaten years before the date hitherto assigned to that circum
tist wrought these barbarous, uncouth, and scanty materials stance, a company called “the Queen's Players " had visited
into the magnificent structure he left behind him. A comEdinburgh. This fact is quite new in the history of the parison or
parison of "The Historie of Hamblet," as it was translated at introduction of English theatrical performances into Scotland. I am
and an early date from the French of Belleforesta, with 6 Tho That the Queen's comedians were north of the Tweed in 1599, Tragedy of Hamlet," is calculated to give lis the most exalted
notion of, and profound reverence for, the genius of Shakeon the invitation of James Vl., we have distinct evidence : 1 we know also that they were in Aberdeen in 1601, when the
speare : his vast superiority to Green and Lodge was obvious freedom of the city was presented to Laurence Fletcher (the
in “ The Winter's Tale," and " As You Like It;' but the first name in the patent of 1603); but to establish that they
novels of “ Pandosto” and “Rosalynde," as narratives, were were in Edinburgh in 1589 gives much more latitude for te
perhaps as far above “ The Historie of Hamblet," as "The speculation on the question, whether Shakespeare, in the
Winter's Tale" and "As You Like It" were above the origiinterval of about fourteen years before James I. ascended the
nals from which their main incidents were derived. Nothing, throne of England, had at any time accoinpanied his fellow
in point of fact, can be much more worthless, in story and actors to Scotland.'
style, than the production to which it is supposed Shakespeare At whatever date we suppose Shakespeare to have written
was indebted for the foundation of his “Hamlet." 66 Macbeth)," we may perhaps infer, from a passage in Kemp's
There is, however, some ground for thinking, that a lost "Nine Days' Wonder." 1600. that there existed a ball
play upon similar incidents preceded the work of Shakethe story, which may have been older than the tragedy: such
speare: how far that lost play might be an improvement upon is the opinion of the Rev. Mr. Dyce, in his notes to the reprint
the old translated “ Historie" we have no means of deciding, of this tract by the Camden Society, p. 34. The point, how
"nor to what extent Shakespeare availed himself of such imever, is doubtful, and it is obvious that Kemp did not mean
provement. A drama, of which Hamlet was the hero, was to be very intelligible : his other allusions to ballad-makers of
certainly in being prior to the year 1587, (in all probability his time are purposely obscure.
too early a date for Shakespeare to have been the writer of it) or Macbeth's uns inserted by the player-editors in the folie for we find it thus alluded to by Thomas Nash, in his preof 1623; and, as in other similar cases, we may presume that
liminary epistle to the “Menaphon" of Robert Greene, it had not come from the press at an earlier date, because in
in published in that year3 :-"Yet English Seneca, read by the books of the Stationers' Company it is registered by
candle-light, yeelds many good sentences, as blood is a beggar, Blount and Jaggard, on the 8th of November, 1623, as one of
and so forth; and if you entreat him fair in a frosty morning, the plays "not formerly entered to other men.". It has been
he will afford you whole Hamlets, I should say handfuls, of handed down in an unusually complete state, for not only are
tragical speeches." The writer is referring to play-poets and the divisions of the acts pointed out, but the subdivisions of
f their productions at that period, and he seems to have gone the scenes carefully and accurately noted.
out of his way, in order to introduce the very name of the performance against which he was directing ridicule. Another piece of evidence, to the same effect, but of a more question
able kind, is to be found in Henslowe's Diary, under the date HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.
of June 9th, 1594, when a “Hamlet” was represented at the
theatre at Newington Butts: that it was then an old play is The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke By ascertained from the absence of the mark, which the old William Shake-speare. As it hath beene diuerse times manager usually prefixed to first performances, and from the acted by his Highnesse seruants in the Cittie of London: fact that his share of the receipts was only nine shillings. At as also in the two Vniuersities of Cambridge and Oxford, that date, however, the company to which Shakespeare beand else-where. At London printed for N. L. and Iohn longed was in joint occupation of the same theatre, and it is Trundell. 1603. 4to. 33 leaves.
certainly possible, though improbable, that the drama repreThe Tragicall Historie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke. By sented on June 9th, 1594, was Shakespeare's “Hamlet." William Shakespeare. Newly imprinted and enlarged to We feel confident, however, that the " Hamlet " which has almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and come down to us in
to impressid perfect Coppie. At London, Printed by I. R. for N. L. and folio of 1623, and in the later impressions in that form, was are to be sold at his shoppe vnder Saint Dunstons Church not written until the winter of 1601, or the spring of 1602. in Fleetstreet. 1604. 4to. 51 leaves.
1 Malone, Steevens, and the other commentators, were acThe title-page of the edition of 1605 does not differ in the most quainted with no edition of the tragedy anterior to the quarto minute particular from that of 1604.
of 1604, which professes to be " enlarged to almost as much The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke. By William again as it was:" they, therefore, reasonably suspected that
Shakespeare. Newly imprinted and enlarged to almost as it had been printed before ; and within the last twenty years much againė as it was, according to the true and perfect a single copy of an edition in 1603 has been discovered. This, Coppy. At London, Printed for Iohn Smethwicke and are in fact, seems to have been the abbreviated and imperfect to be sold at his shoppe in Saint Dunstons Church yeard in edition, consisting of only about half as much as the impres
Fleetstreet. Vnder the Diall. 1611. 4to. 51 leaves. sion of 1604. It belongs to the Duke of Devonshire, and, by The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke. Newly Im- the favour of his Grace, is now before us. From whose press
printed and inlarged, according to the true and perfect it came we have no information, but it professed to be Copy lastly Printed. By William Shakespeare. London,"printed for N. L. and John Trundell." The edition of the Printed by W. S. for Iohn Smethwicke, and are to be sold following year was printed by I. R. for N. L. only; and why at his Shop in Saint Dunstans Church-yard in Fleetstreet: Trundell ceased to have any interest in the publication we Vnder the Diall. 410. 51 leaves.
know not. N. L. was Nicholas Ling; and I. R., the printer
it, but it is preserved entire 2 Belleforest derived his knowledge of the incidents from the History among Capell's books in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, of Denmark, by Saxo Grammaticus, first printed in 1514. and was printed in 1608, by Richard Bradocke, for Thomas Pavier. 3 We give the date of 1587 on the excellent authority of the Rev. Có There can be little doubt that it had originally come from the press A. Dyce, (Greene's Works, vol. i. pp. xxxvii. and ciii.) We have considerably before the commencement of the seventeenth century, never been able to meet with any impression earlier than that of although the multiplicity of readers of productions of the kind, and 1589. Sir Egerton Brydges reprinted the tract from the edition of the carelessness with which such books were regarded after perusal, 1616, (when its name had been changed to “Green's Arcadia") in has led to the destruction, as far as can now be ascertained, of every 1" Archaica,'' vol. i. earlier copy."--Introduction to Part IV. of “Shakespeare's Library."
of the edition of 1604, was, no doubt, James Roberts, who, l The impression of 1604 being intended to supersede that two years before, had made the following entry in the of 1603, which gave a most mangled and imperfect notion of Registers of the Stationers' Company :
the drama in its true state, we may perhaps presume that the " 26 July 1602.
quarto of 1604 was, at least, as authentic a copy of Hamlet” James Roberts) A booke, The Revenge of Hamlett prince as the editions of any of Shakespeare's plays that came from
of Deninarke, as yt was latelie acted by the Lord the press during his lifetiine. It contains various passages, Chamberlayn his servantes."
some of them of great in portance to the conduct and character - The words, " as it was lately acted," are important upon of the hero, not to be found in the folio of 1623; while the the question of date, and the entry farther proves, that the folio includes other passages which are left out in the quarto tragedy had been performed by the company to which Shake-of 1604; although, as before remarked, we have the evidence speare belonged. In the spring of 160376 the Lord Chamber of the quarto of 1603, that they were originally acted. The lain's servants " became the King's players; and on the different quarto impressions were printed from each other ; title-page of the quarto of 1603 it is asserted that it had been and even that of 1637, though it makes some verbal changes, acted by his Highness servants." On the title-page of the contains no distinct indication that the printer had resorted quarto of 1604 we are not informed that the tragedy had been to the folios. acted by any conipany.
1 The three later folios, in this instance as in others, were Thus we see, that in July, 1602, there was an intention to printed from the immediately preceding edition in the same print and publish a play called " The Revenge of Hamlet, form; but we are inclined to think, that if "Hamlet," in the Prince of Denmark ;' and this intention, we may fairly con- folio of 1623, were not composed from some now unknown clude, arose out of the popularity of the piece, as it was then quarto, it was derived from a manuscript obtained by Heinacted by the Lord Chamberlain's servants, who, in May inge and Condell from the theatre. The Acts and Scenes following, obtained the title of the King's players." The are, however, marked only in the first and second Acts, after object of Roberts in making the entry already quoted, was which no divisions of the kind are noticed ; and where Actiii. to secure it to himself, being, no doubt, aware that other commences is merely matter of modern conjecture. Some printers and booksellers would endeavor to anticipate him. large portions of the play appear to have been omitted for It seems probable, that he was unable to obtain such a copy the sake of shortening the performance; and any editor who of - Hamlet” as he would put his name to; but some inferior should content himself with reprinting the folio, without large and nameless printer, who was not so scrupulous, having additions from the quartos, would present but an imperfect surreptitiously secured a manuscript of the play, however notion of the drama as it came from the band of the poet. imperfect, which would answer the purpose, and gratify public The text of "Hamlet" is, in fact, only to be obtained from curiosity, the edition bearing date in 1603 was published. a comparison of the editions in quarto and folio, but the misSuch, we have little doubt, was the origin of the impression prints in the latter are quite as numerous and glaring as in of which only a single copy has reached our day, and of which, the former. In various instances we have been able to correct probably, but a few were sold, as its worthlessness was soon the one by the other, and it is in this respect chiefly that the discovered, and it was quickly entirely superseded by the quarto of 1603 is of intrinsic value. enlarged impression of 1604.
Coleridge, after vindicating himself from the accusation As an accurate reprint was made in 1825 of " The Tragicall that he had derived his ideas of Hamlet from Schlegel, (and Historie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke," 1603, it will be we heard him broach them some years before the Lectures, unnecessary to go in detail into proofs to establish, as we Ueber Dramatische Kunst und Litteratur, were published,) could do without much difficulty, the following points :-- thus, in a few sentences, sums up the character of Hamlet:1. That great part of the play, as it there stands, was taken “ In Hamlet, Shakespeare seems to have wished to exemplify down in short-hand. 2. That where mechanical skill failed the moral necessity of a due balance between our attention the short-hand writer, he either filled up the blanks from to the objects of our senses, and our meditation on the workmemory, or employed an inferior writer to assist him. 3. That ings of our mind, - an equilibrium between the real and although some of the scenes were carelessly transposed, and the imaginary worlds. In Hamlet this balance is disturbed ; others entirely onitted, in the edition of 1603, the drama, as his thoughts and the images of his fancy are far more vivid it was acted while the short-hand writer was employed in than his actual perceptions, and his very perceptions, intaking it down, was, in all its main features, the same as the stantly passing tlirough the medium of his contemplations, more perfect copy of the tragedy printed with the date of acquire, as they pass, a form and a color not naturally their 1604. “It is true, that in the edition of 1603, Polonius is called own. Hence we see a great, an almost enormous, intellectual Corarnbis, and his servant, Montano, and we may not be able activity, and a proportionate aversion to real action conseto determine why these changes were made in the immedi-quent upon it, with all its symptoms and accompanying ately subsequent impression; but we may perhaps conjecture qualities. This character Shakespeare places in circumstances
names in the older play on the same story, under which it is obliged to act on the spur of the moment. or names which Shakespeare at first introduced, and subse- Hamlet is brave, and careless of death; but he vacillates quently thought fit to reject. We know that Ben Jonson froin sensibility, and procrastinates from thought, and loses changed the whole dramatis per'sonce of his “Every Man in the power of action in the energy of resolve." (Lit. Rem. his Humour."
vol. ii. p. 205.) But although we entirely reject the quarto of 1603, as an It has generally been supposed that Joseph Taylor was authentic - Hamlet," it is of high value in enabling us to the original actor of Hamlet-and Wright, in his " Historia settle the text of various important passages. It proves, Histrionica," 1699, certainly speaks of him as having perbesides, that certain portions of the play, as it appears in the formed the part. This, however, must have been after the folio of 1623, which do not form part of the quarto of 1604, death of Richard Burbage, which happened precisely eighty were originally acted, and were not, as has been hitherto years before Wright published his tract. We know, from imagined, subsequent introductions. We have pointed out the manuscript Elegy upon Burbage, sold among Heber's these and other peculiarities so fully in our notes, that we books, that he was the earliest representative of Hamlet; need not dwell upon them here; but we may mention, that and there the circumstance of his being "fat and scant of in Act iii, 6C. 4, the quarto of 1603 explains a curious point breath," in the fencing scene, is noticed in the very words of stage-business, which puzzled all the commentators. "Just of Shakespeare. Taylor did not belong to the company for as the Ghost is departing from the Queen's closet, Hamlet which Shakspeare wrote at the date when “Hamlet” was exclaims,
produced. “Look, how it steals away! My father, in his habit as he lived !" Malone, Steevens, and Monck Mason argue the question whether in this scene, the Ghost, as in former scenes, ought to wear armour, or to be dressed in his own familiar habit;" M. William Shak-speare: His True Chronicle Historie of the and they conclude, either that Shakespeare had “ forgotten life and death of King Lear and his three Daughters. With himself," or had meant " to vary the dress of the Ghost at the vnfortunate life of Edgar, sonne and heire to the Earle this his last appearance." The quarto of 1603, shows exactly of Gloster, and his sullen and assumed humour of Tom of how the poet's intention was carried into effect, for there we Bedlam. As it was played before the Kings Maiestie at meet with the stage-direction, “Enter the Ghost in his night Whitehall vpon S. Stephans night in Christmas Hollidayes. gown;" and such was unquestionably the appearance of the By his Maiesties seruants playing vsually at the Gloabe on performer of the part when the short-hand writer saw the the Bancke-side. London, Printed for Nathaniel Butter,
publication of a fraudulent and are to be sold at his shop in Paul's Church-yard, at the impression. “My father, in the habit as he lived," are the signe of the Pide Bull ueere St. Austin's Gate. *1608. 4to. words he recorded from the mouth of the actor of Hamlet. 1 41 leaves.