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the sage advice given by Polonius to his son Laertes :

" These few precepts in thy memory

Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
The friends thou hist, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel ;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel ; but, being in,
Bear it, that the opposer may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice ;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy,-rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man;
And they in France, of the best rank and station,
Are most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all,—to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

One portion of that counsel we almost know that Shakspere practically realised. We gather this from the absence of his name in Philip Henslowe's Diary, -a note-book which very properly the Shakspere Society thought it right to print, containing entries concerning plays, dramatists, loans given to poor playwrights, the proceeds from performances, and the pay given to theatrical authors, extending from 1591 to 1609. Ben Jonson and Rowley, Heywood and Chettle, Field, Daborne and Massinger, Marlowe, Dekkar, Maunday, Haughton, Lodge, Greene, Nash, and others, were all pensioners on the diarist. But Shakspere's Friends.

99 Shakspere, whether or not he may have lent money professionally, seems never to have borrowed any, or to have availed himself of the opportunity and convenience of procuring money in advance. The other prudential maxims uttered by Polonius, I have no doubt he carefully observed himself with equal fidelity. He was careful as to his associates and his friends, with all of whom he was sufficiently familiar but never “vulgar;”—a virtuous reticence which is indicated clearly enough in Ratsey's sketch, but which maliciously distorted is made there to look like a vice. He was, indeed, as choice in his friends as Polonius wished his son Laertes to be. Among these was a nobleman, who has been rendered more famous by his patronage of letters than by his exploits in battle, though in war he was illustrious, and won a knighthood by his gallantry. To Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton and Baron of Tichfield, Shakspere dedicated “the first heir" of his invention, Venus and Adonis, and afterwards his Lucrece. It has been said that the Earl set Shakspere up in life with a gift of two thousand pounds. If so, we probably owe to this high-spirited nobleman the works of our unrivalled dramatist.

The Earl of Southampton was born 6th Oct. 1573, and in his twelfth year was entered a student in St. John's, Cambridge, where, four years after, he took his degree in arts. Three years subsequently the University of Oxford admitted him by incorporation to the same degree. A student at Lincoln's Inn, he was only in his twentieth year when Shakspere dedicated to him his first work. He was a bold, perhaps rash man; for he connived at the escape of Sir Charles and Sir Henry Danvers, accused of manslaughter, though in so doing he was in danger


William Earl of Pembroke, and Philip Earl of Montgomery, were also friends of the great poet; and to them accordingly Heminge and Condell dedicated the first folio edition of his works. The mother of the Earl of Pembroke and sister of Sir Philip Sidney took part, in 1590, in the authorship of a play entitled Anthony; and in 1603 Shakspere's company, with Heminge as their official manager, performed at Wilton, near Salisbury, the seat of the Pembrokes, before the court of James, who then, it is supposed, witnessed for the first time a theatrical performance in England.*

Shakspere was no doubt of a prepossessing person, and attended to those punctilios of dress and address which recommend the aspiring to those of a superior

of the royal displeasure. In 1597 he volunteered under Essex in the expedition against Spain ; commanded a squadron, and was knighted for his valour. In 1598 he was general of the horse to Essex in Ireland, but was dismissed the service, because without the Queen's consent he married Essex's cousin. On the fall of Essex he was imprisoned during the life of Elizabeth. He then was released, and appointed governor of the Isle of Wight; but being accused of an intrigue with the royal consort, James caused him to be arrested. Being innocent, he was discharged; but retired to Spa, disgusted with his sovereign. He took part in the siege of Reis ; and in 1619 was chosen a privy councillor. However, he dared the displeasure of the courtly, by taking the liberal side in politics. He died 10th Nov. 1624, of a fever caught at Bergen-op-Zoom, while commanding a small force against the Spaniards.

• The family were patrons of the drama. Among the proofs is the fact that Ben Jonson inscribed a volume of epigrams to William, and that the first folio of Beaumont and Fletcher's plays was dedicated to Philip. Massinger dedicated a play to Philip, and wrote a poem on the death of his son. The Earls jointly kept a company of players of their own; and Sir Henry Herbert, one of their house, was licenser of plays.

His Person and Manners.


station. Describing him from his portrait, a modern limner in words paints him as august of aspect, with a high forehead, a brown beard, a mild countenance, a sweet mouth, a deep look. His contemporaries describe his appearance as noble; and we have Aubrey's authority for saying that "he was a handsome well-made man; very good company, and of a very ready and pleasant smooth wit.” To his manners Robert Greene, who had once mistaken him, and written concerning him what afterwards he repented of, bears a pleasing testimony. “Myself,” he says, "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 wit.”

Shakspere has given us an example of the two lives, which even a courtier may lead, in the person of Polonius. Before their majesties of Denmark, and even with prince Hamlet, Polonius appears to be “a tedious old fool;” but in his domestic relations, with Laertes and Ophelia, he shines as a father and friendly adviser, gifted with a prudential wisdom which both duly valued. Accordingly, they reverence and love his memory; the daughter grieves for him to insanity, and the son avenges him so wildly as not even to consult his honour. His precipitancy contrasts with Hamlet's hesitation and caution. Laertes thinks as much too little as Hamlet does too much. This unreflecting conduct goes far to justify Hamlet's deliberation. Such are the subtleties which

are peculiar to Shakspere, and which so greatly enhance the interest of his works. And in this opposition of Laertes to Hamlet, Shakspere again manifests a duality, and contrives one of those double actions which occur so frequently and remarkably in his dramas. Both Hamlet and Laertes are avengers, each of a father's slaughter. Even this idea Shakspere would not trust to a single expression. But to his method in this particular we shall hereafter pay further attention, and as fully as we can explain its philosophy and


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