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drawn out into the length of three plays; and even the account of his death, given by his old landlady Mrs. Quickly, in the first act of Henry V. though it be extremely natural, is yet as diverting as any part of his life. If there be any fault in the draught he has made of this lewd old fellow, it is, that though hc has made him a thief, lying, cowardly, vain-glorious, and, in short, every way vicious, yet he has given him so much wit as to make him almost too agreeable: and I don't know whether some people have not, in remembrance of the diversion he had formerly afforded them, been sorry to see his friend Hal use him so scurvily, when he comes to the crown in the end of the second part of Henry the fourth. Amongst other extravagancies, in the Merry Wives of Windsor, he has made him a deer-stealer, that he might at the same time remember his Warwickshire prosecutor, under the name of justice Shallow; he has given him very near the same coat of arms which Dugdale, in his antiquities of that county, describes for a family there, and makes the Welsh parson descant very pleasantly upon them. That whole play is admirable; the humours are various, and well opposed; the main design, which is to cure Ford of his unreasonable jealousy, is extremely well conducted. In Twelfth-Night there is something singularly ridiculous and pleasant in the fantastical steward Malvolio. The parasite and the vain-glorious in Parolles, in All's Well that Ends well, is as good as any thing of that kind in Plautus, or Terence. Petruchio, in The Taming of the Shrew, is an uncommon piece of humour. The conversation of Benedick and Beatrice, in Much Ado about Nothing, and of Rosalind in As you like it, have much wit and {prightliness all along. His clowns, without which character there was hardly any play writ in that time, are all very entertaining: and, I believe, Therfites in Troilus and Cressida, and Apemantus in Timon, will be allowed to be masterpieces of ill-nature, and satyrical snarling. To these I might add, that incomparable character of Shylock the Jew, in the Merchant of Venice; but though we have seen that play received and acted as a comedy, and the part of the Jew performed by an excellent comedian,

yet,

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yet, I cannot but think, it was designed tragically by the author. There appears in it such a deadly spirit of revenge, such a savage fierceness and fellness, and such a bloody designation of cruelty and mischief, as cannot agree either with the style or characters of comedy. The play itself, take it altogether, seems to me to be one of the most finished of any of Shakespear's

. The tale, indeed, in that part relating to the caskets, and the extravagant and unusual kind of bond given by Antonio, is too much removed from the rules of probability : but, taking the fact for granted, we must allow it to be very beautifully written. There is something in the friendship of Antonio to Bassanio very great, generous, and tender. The whole fourth act (supposing, as I said, the fact to be probable) is extremely fine. But there are two passages that deferve a particular notice. The first is, what Portia says in praise of mercy, and the other on the power of musick. The melancholy of Jaques, in As you like it, is as singular and odd as it is diverting. And if, what Horace says,

Dificile est proprie communia dicere, 'twill be a hard task for any one to go beyond him in the description of the several degrees and ages of man's life, though the thought be old, and common enough.

All the world is a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts:
His ačts being seven ages. First, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then, the whining schoolboy with his Satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then, the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then, a soldier,

Full

Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Ev’n in the cannon's mouth. And then, the justice
In fair round belly, with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise faws and modern insances,

And so he plays his part. The sixth age Mifts
Into the lean and sipper'd pantaloon,
With spe£tacles on nose, and pouch on side ;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk manks; and his big manly voice,
Turning again tow’rd childis) treble, pipes
And whisiles in his found. Last scene of all,
That ends this frange eventful history,
Is second childishness, and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, fans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.

Vol. 2. p. 200.

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His images are, indeed, every where so lively, that the thing he would represent stands full before you, and you poffefs every part of it. I will venture to point out one more, which is, I think, as strong and as uncommon as any thing I ever saw ; 'tis an image of patience. Speaking of a maid in love, he says:

She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' thbud,
Feed on her damask cheek : pe pin’d in thought,
And sat like Patience on a monument,

Smiling at Grief.
What an image is here given! and what a task would it have
been for the greatest masters of Greece and Rome to have expressed
the passions designed by this sketch of statuary! The style of his
comedy is, in general, natural to the characters, and easy in

itself;

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itself; and the wit most commonly sprightly and pleasing, except in those places where he runs into doggerel rhymes, as in The Comedy of Errors, and some other plays. As for his jingling sometimes, and playing upon words, it was the common vice of the age he lived in: and if we find it in the pulpit, made use of as an ornament to the sermons of some of the graveft divines of those times; perhaps, it may not be thought too light for the stage.

Bur certainly the greatness of this author's genius does no where so much appear, as where he gives his imagination an entire loose, and raises his fancy to a flight above mankind, and the limits of the visible world. Such are his attempts in The Tempel, Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, and Hamlet. Of these, The Tempeft, however it comes to be placed the first by the publishers of his works, can never have been the first written by him: it seems to me as perfect in its kind, as almost any thing we have of his. One may observe, that the unities are kept here, with an exactness uncommon to the liberties of his writing: though that was what, I suppose, he valued himself least upon, since his excellencies were all of another kind. I am very sensible that he does, in this play, depart too much froni that likeness to truth which ought to be observed in these fort of writings; yet he does it so very finely, that one is easily drawn in to have more faith for his fake, than reason does well allow of. His magick has something in it very solemn and very poetical : and that extravagant character of Caliban is mighty well sustained, shows a wonderful invention in the author, who could strike out such a particular wild image, and is certainly one of the finest and most uncommon grotesques that was ever seen. The observation, which I have been informed three very great men concurred in making upon this part, was extremely just: that Shakespear had not only found out a new chara&ter in his Caliban, but had also devised and adapted a new manner of language for that character.

à Lord Falkland, Lord C. J. Vaughan, and Mr. Selden.

It is the same magick that raises the fairies in Midsummer Night's Dream, the witches in Macbeth, and the ghost in Hamlet, with thoughts and language so proper to the parts they sustain, and so peculiar to the talent of this writer. But of the two last of these plays I shall have occasion to take notice, among the tragedies of Mr. Shakespear. If one undertook to examine the greatest part of these by those rules which are established by Aristotle, and taken from the model of the Grecian stage, it would be no very hard task to find a great many faults : but as Shakespear lived under a kind of mere light of nature, and had never been made acquainted with the regularity of those written precepts, so it would be hard to judge him by a law he knew nothing of. We are to consider him as a man that lived in a state of almost universal license and ignorance: there was no established judge, but every one took the liberty to write according to the dictates of his own fancy. When one considers, that there is not one play before him of a reputation good enough to entitle it to an appearance on the present stage, it cannot but be a matter of great wonder that he should advance dramatick poetry so far as he did. The fable is what is generally placed the first, among those that are reckoned the constituent parts of a tragick or heroick poem ; not, perhaps, as it is the most difficult or beautiful, but as it is the first properly to be thought of in the contrivance and course of the whole; and with the fable ought to be considered, the fit disposition, order and conduct of its several parts. As it is not in this province of the Drama that the strength and mastery of Shakespear lay, so I shall not undertake the tedious and ill-natur’d trouble to point out the several faults he was guilty of in it. His tales were seldom invented, but rather taken either from true history, or novels and romances: and he commonly made use of them in that order, with those incidents, and that extent of time in which he found them in the authors from whence he borrowed them. Almost all his historical plays comprehend a great length of time, and very different and distinct places: and in his Antony and Cleopatra, the scene travels over

the

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