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however surrounded by vile accidents their mortal frames might be, their souls held fellowship with that which was chaste and holy alone ; the very spirit of purity dwelt within them, and their perfect and divine modesty and dignity of nature, encircle them as with a spell, round which all foul things fall harmless.

“ Le Roi s'amuse” has been followed by several other dramatic compositions, some yet more abhorrent to good taste, as “ La Tour de Nesle."and as “ Lucrèce Borgia ;"-others, again, of less revolting detail and incident, “ Marie Tudor," and the last, “ Angelo, Tyran de Padoue;" but all alike devoid of moral truth and sane feeling. It is with infinite regret that we behold talents, such as those of M. Hugo, exerted to scatter baneful influences as far as his works are known.

Art. IV.- Diary of the Rev. John Ward, A.M., Vicar of Stratford

upon-Avon. Arranged by CHARLES SEVERN, M.D. London: Col.

burn. 1839. Ward was not only Vicar but medical practitioner at Stratford. upon-Avon, nearly two centuries ago, his Diary extending from 1618 to 1679. Like some other common-place, bustling, and cheerful men, he was an indefatigable contributor to a commonplace book; having actually, as we are told, filled seventeen manuscript volumes of memoranda, which are preserved in the Library of the Medical Society of London, and from which Dr. Severn has selected as many entries as fill an octavo extending to 315 pages. We shall copy a few specimens, in order that our readers may have a gauge whereby to test the genius of the reverend apothecary, and to pronounce whether a collection of such a miscellaneous character, as our specimens will prove this to be, is worthy of greater consideration than that of any medley of trifles which a weak but lively provincial functionary may gather, whose avocations take him often from home, and who makes it a rule to record all the jests, anecdotes, and memorable things that have currency in the neighbourhood. Here are the samples:

"I have heard this to be a certain truth, that women that have blew lips are allways scolds. Mr.,Dod heard this att London."

** I have heard of a gentlewoman in Oxford, who hearing that one was accounted a beautie who had a beave, sleepie look with her, when shee weent to the play, sate uppe the night before, that she might look sleepily tvo.”

We ourselves have heard something as good as this and of like sort, viz., the case of a country damsel, whose complexion was none of the clearest, but deeply tawned, who bethought her, in anticipation of a ball, of the use of bread and milk poultices, which she had


discovered bleached the parts where such things were applied. Accordingly she had recourse to this expedient the night before the festival at which she hoped to win a lover ; but behold, wrinkles as well as a temporary removal of the natural hue was the result. We proceed with the trival diarist :

A good match might be made betwixt a blind woman and a deaf man.'

“Some say when man lost free will woman found itt, and hath kept itt ever since.” "King Henry's wives comprised in this tetrastic:

• Three Kates, two Nans, and one dear Jane I wedded,

One Spanish, one Dutch, and four English wives;
From two I was divorced, two I beheaded,

One died in childbed, and one me survives.'" But women and wives do not alone engage the caustic Mr. Ward. There is indeed hardly anything of which he has not some bon.mot to utter, some sage reflection to offer, or some anecdote to record, which he must have deemed it criminal to let be lost.

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“ Lawyers' gowns hurt the commonwealth as much as soldiers' helmets."

“I heard of one neer Oxford who borrowed 501. of his father-in-law, so itt was to be concluded when itt was to bee paid, and they being a little knavish concluded the 30th of next February, hee being an ignorant fellow, assented, the lawyer drew the writings according, but the fellow cannot get his money to this day, hee lives at Marston near Oxford.”

“ I have heard of Parson Philpot, that hee would have a consort of hogges, and whenne hee would have them sing hee kept them hungry, and set their trebles and bases in their several ranks and orders."

“ King Edward the First forbad sea-coal to bee burnt in London, in regard of the great smoke which it made.”

"Wee have utterly lost what was the thing which preserved beer so long, before hops were found out in England.

• Rowland Lacy, when hee heard his father was tapt,” says hee, “ Is my father tapt ? Then he will not last long, for nothing in our house lasts long after itt is tapt !”.

"Some physician's recipes prove decipes."

Our readers will now be ready to ask if these are fair samples of the entire contents of this Diary, and if nothing better could not be found in the whole of the seventeen volumes pondered by the editor? The question leads us to notice the cream of the joke.

The Diary extends from 1648 to 1679. Ward therefore was an inhabitant of Stratford-upon-Avon some thirty years after the death of Shakspeare ; and as Dr. Severn observes, while he “ bent over the beds of the aged and the dying, to impart religious con

solation, or, in his character of medical friend, ministered to the infirmities of sickness and decay, he must frequently have conversed with those to whom Shakspeare was well known, and who had walked awhile with him in the world, as acquaintances, friends, and neighbours."

In these circumstances, surely such a diligent diarist must have something to tell of the “ gifted being whose name has immortalized the obscure village where he dwelt." And such is the truth. Still, the specimens of the Diary already quoted, excite suspicions of John Ward's capacity and taste when brought to be tried upon the Bard of Avon; and those suspicions will be strengthened when we inform the reader, that it is not till the year 1663 that the industrious chronicler of all that was notable, past and present, in the field of his labours and daily intercourse, makes any mention of that miraculous person.

Well then, but, say our readers, perhaps great amends are afterwards made for the omission,-do let us have all that is authentic and new on this subject of engrossing anxiety. We obey :

Shakspear had but two daughters, one whereof Mr. Hall, the physitian, married, and by her had one daughter married, to wit, the Lady Bernard of Abbingdon. I have heard that Mr. Shakspeare was a natural wit, without any art at all; hee frequented the plays all his younger time, but in his elder days lived at Stratford, and supplied the stage with two plays every year, and for itt had an allowance so large, that hee spent att the rate of 10001. a-year, as I have heard. Shakespeare, Drayton, and Ben Johnson, had a merie meeting, and itt seems drank too hard, for Shakspear died of a feavour there contracted. Remember to peruse Shakespeare's plays, and bee much versed in them, that I may not bee ignorant in that matter. Whether Dr. Heylin does well, in reckoning up the dramatick poets which have been famous in England, to omit Shakespeare. A letter to my brother, to see Mrs. Queeny,* to send for Tom Smith for the acknowledgment.”

And this is the whole amount of the precious revelation, tradition, and discovery !-a discovery which has been deemed wonderful and mighty enough to support the weight and redeem the trash, which as we have alreauy said, and shown by samples impartially chosen, fill every other page and record in the Diary.

Take the whole of the communication, and add to it, as equally authentic, if you will, the Editor's conjectural note, and what is there in it so striking as that Mr. Ward, the most inquisitive, gossiping, and vivacious of mankind, had been cramming volumes with every odd and end that he could lay his hands upon for fifteen

* “ Probably Shakspeare's daughter Judith, who lived to be seventyseven years of age.”

years, before he ever thought it worth his while to say a word about Shakspeare ; and that even after all, the resolution to peruse his plays seems merely to be that of one who made himself important in the eyes of himself and others by talking of what he meant to do as well as that which he had already done. And yet Dr. Severn will have it that the diarist “ had formed a far inore accurate opinion of the distinguished eminence of Shakspeare than did the learned and industrious Heylin.” But why then had he nothing to record in proof of that judgment and opinion formed for himself? The answer must be, that since nothing appears in his Diary on the subject between the years 1663 and 1676, he either had never fulfilled his resolution to peruse the plays, or having perused them, discovered nothing in them that deserved even a notice among the omnium-gatherum with which he stuffed his seventeen volumes.

The only thing in the volume that has interested us, is the enthusiasm of the Editor, which he has brought to bear upon the subject of the Bard of Avon ; and were enthusiasm and conjecture substantialities, his observations would throw light upon several points which the diarist has marvellously overlooked. We quote a specimen or two:

“. The effect of time,' says Dr. Severn, “and proximity on human judgment with regard to contemporaries, is aptly illustrated by the scantiness of Mr. Ward's record of that divinely gifted being, whose name has immortalized the obscure village where he dwelt, and whose simple tomb had so recently invested the humble roof of its rude church with a halo of splendour and fame unknown to the proudest mausoleum that earthly wealth, or human pride, ever piled over the ashes of mortal grandeur. With unavailing regret we perceive how numerous, varied, and precious our memorials might have been in these volumes, but for the strange and almost universal sentiment which prevents men from appreciating the talents of those with whom they hold familiar intercourse. His father and mother are with us, and his brethren we know,' is the language of envious mediocrity, ever prone to treat the genius it can neither understand nor value with insulting disregard. Many a priceless gem must also have been scattered, forgotten, and lost, amidst the rude but useful and engrossing avocations of the vicar's rustic flock; and as John Ward bent over the beds of the aged and the dying, to impart religious consolation, or, in his character of medical friend, ministered to the infirmities of sickness and decay, he must frequently bave conversed with those to whom Shakspeare was well known, and who had · walked awhile with him' in the world, as acquaintances, friends, and neighbours. At these professional and consolatory visits it must be supposed that by a man of Mr. Ward's kindness of heart, mental research, and social feeling, many interesting conversations must have been entered into; but regardless of a ' pearl richer than all their tribe, it appears they talked not of Shakspeare, who had proved his love to his native village by returning to it, and again becoming the associate of his former friends, after his splendid career, when he had, with unblemished character, acquired an ample

competency, and won a name that must last as long as the annals of English history. What Mr. Ward does record of him, who wrote. not for an age, but for all time,' little though it be, must be regarded with deep interest by all who have felt the power of the immortal bard."

On this passage we have only to state that its last sentence is by much too strong ; for we deny that the “ little" contains anything that is new which can be relied upon ; while the suppositions and inferences which pervade the whole ofị the paragraph, put the Rev. John Ward exactly upon a level with the rustics of the obscure village and neighbourhood among whom he ministered. What prevented him, if the intelligent and sapient personage represented, his curiosity and opportunities being peculiar,-- from appreciating the dramatist as fully as Queen Elizabeth is supposed by Dr. Severn to have done? We quote the passage in which the Queen's discernment and taste, together with other probable enough suggestions are alleged, as the last specimen of the Editor's warm imaginings concerning Shakspeare :

Shakspeare purchased the lands which he attached to New Place, anno domini 1602, at least twenty years after he had been engaged in performing and writing for the stage in London, during which time he unquestionably had an ample opportunity of making such a provision for the purchase of his house, out of the honourable earnings of his pen, without the necessity of having recourse to the Earl of Southampton's assistance. Patronised by Queen Elizabeth, by whom, doubtless, his genius was thoroughly appreciated (and who is said to have distinguished him hy many fair marks of her favour'), it is far more likely that she very liberally rewarded the efforts of his muse, than that he should owe to the private friendship of one individual the means of making the purchase of New Place, especially as we are now informed by Mr. Ward, that • Shakspere's allowance for two plays a year was so large, that he spent at the rate of 10001. il year.' Out of this ample income, which, according to Malone's calculation, would be more than equivalent to 30001. a year at the present day, it would have been perfectly easy for Shakspere to make such a reservation as would fully suffice to complete any purchase • he had a mind to.'

Now, to conclude and to notice the really only important circumstance connected with the present publication, we have to inform our readers that, for a length of time, certain means have been used to raise extraordinary expectations about the revelations on the most engrossing of all literary subjects, so as to herald the appearance of this volume. Intimations have been circulated insinuating far more than was expressed, all for the sake, as it turns out, of puffing into notice a miscellany of trash, the catering of a weak-minded egotist. The public should indignantly reject and resent the affront offered to Shakspeare's memory, in that he has been made the voucher of a worthless work,- in that his name has been sacrilegi. ously usurped to trumpet forth a profitless and paltry speculation.

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