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because he was too lordly, was disliked." Shakspeare has superadded graces and attractions of his own, without diminishing the essential points.

Plutarch makes his hero barangue at great length against the people's claims; we quote a part of his argument in order to shew the dramatist's dextrous adaptation of his materials: "But Martius, standing upon his feet, did sharply take up those who went about to please the people therein, and called them people-pleasers and traitors to the Bobility. Moreover, he said, they nourished against themselves the naughtie seede and cockle of insolence and sedition, which had bene sowed and scattered abroad amongst the people, which they should have cut off, if they had bene wise, in their growth; and not (to their own destruction) have suffered the people to establish a magistrate for themselves of so great power and authority, as that man had, to whom they had granted it. ... * Therefore, said he, they gave counsell, and persuaded that the corne should be given eat to the common people gratis, as they used to do in the cities of Greece, where the people had more absolute power, did but only nourish their disobedience, which would break out in the end, to the utter raine and overthrow of the whole state. **** Therefore, it were great folly for us, me thinkes, to do it; yea, shall I say more? we should, if we were wise, take from them their tribuneship, which most manifestly is the embasing of the consulship, and the cause of the division of their city." All this is put into the mouth of the dramatic Coriolanus; but he utters it, not in a concerted speech, but in disjointed sentences, under the influence of highly excited feelings. Plutarch tells us, that Coriolanus "shewed many wounds and cuts upon his body, which he had received in seventeen years' service at the wars.' But Shakspeare's hero disdainfully refuses to afford the commonalty that gratification. Notwithstanding this deviation from his authority, and which is in perfect consistency with the disposition of the hero, the poet often follows it with great exactness. We select a few instances:

“He refused the tenth part of the spoil wonne at Corioli, as rather a mercenarie reward, than an honourable recompense; he would have none of it, but was contented to have his equal part with the other souldiers." PLUTARCH.

"I thank you, general, But cannot make my heart consent to take A bribe to pay my sword: I do refuse it; And stand upon my common part with those That have beheld the doing."-SHAKSPEARE.

The imitation of the following passage, by the dramatist, is too obvious to call for a quotation :"Onely, this grace (said he), I crave and beseech you to grant to me: Among the Volces there is an old friend and hoast of mine, an honest wealthy man, and now a prisoner, who living before in great wealth in his owne country, liveth now a poore prisoner in the hands of his enemies: and yet, notwithstanding all this his misery and misfortune, it would do me great pleasure if I could save him from this one danger, to keepe him from being sold as a slave." It is curious to trace what follows to the authority of a grave historian.

"I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end, though soft-conscienc'd men can be content to say, it was for his country,-he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud." -SHAKSPEARE.

"The onely thing that made him to love honour, was the joy he saw his mother did take of him. For he thought nothing made him so happy and honourable, as that his mother might heare everybody praise and commend him, that she might al waies see him return with a crowne upon his head,

and that she might still embrace him with teares running downe her cheekes for joy."-PLUTARCH.

The conduct of Coriolanus, on receiving his sentence of banishment, as described by the historian, is a fine picture of suppressed passion. Shakspeare has given him vehemence, and in the lines beginning" You common cry of curs!" makes him pour out his fiery soul in a torrent of maledictions, admirable for stage effect, but not so impressive as the silent disdain of Plutarch's hero.

The fine scene, wherein he yields to the petition of his mother, is an exact transcript from the history:"Now was Martius set then in his chaire of state, with all the honours of a generall, and when he had spied the women coming afar off, he marvelled what the matter meant: but afterwards, knowing his wife, which came foremost, he determined at the first to persist in his obstinate and inflexible rancour; but overcome in the end with natural affection, and being altogether altered to see them, his heart would not serve him to tarrie their coming to his chair, but coming down in hast, he went to meet them, and first he kissed his mother, and embraced her a pretty while, then his wife and little children. And nature so wrought with him, that the tears fell from his eyes, and he could not keepe himself from making much of them, but yielded to the affection of his blood, as if he had been violently carried with the fury of a most swift running streame. After he had thus lovingly received them, and perceiving that his mother, Volumnia, would begin to speake to him, he called the chiefest of the counsel of the Volces to heare what she would say." Volumnia's appeal concluded,-"herself, his wife, and children, fell down upon their knees before him. Martius seeing that, could refraine no longer, but went straight and lift her up, crying out, Oh, mother! what have you done to me? And holding her hard by the right hand, Oh, mother, said he, you have won a happy victory for your country, but mortall and unhappy for your son, for I see myself vanquished by you alone. These words being spoken openly, he spake a little apart with his mother and wife, and then let them return again to Rome, for so they did request him; and so remaining in camp that night, the next morning he dislodged, and marched homeward into the Volces' country againe." Volumnia's address, and the mention of the delight she took in her son's martial renown, is all that Shakspeare derived from Plutarch, towards his noble portrait of the lion-hearted Roman matron. The retiring sweetness of Virgilia contrasts beautifully with the almost masculine boldness of Volumnia. The jests of Menenius have been censured as inconsistent with the dignity of a senator; but Shakspeare, besides the authority of human nature, is justified in his outline of this character by history. "The senate being afeard of their (the people's,) departure, did send unto them certaine of the pleasantest old men, and the most acceptable to the people among them. Of those, Menenius Agrippa was he, who was sent for chiefe man of the message from the senate."

The fable of the belly and the members is related by the Menenius of Plutarch; but the dramatist has also made use of the same apologue as told by Camden in his Remains. Aufidius

the history, is but a secondary character; nor is he more important in the play: in both cases, bis envy of his rival's glory is made to account for the murder of Coriolanus. Plutarch's narrative runs thus: "Now when Martius was returned againe into the city of Antium from his voyage, Tullus, that hated and could no longer abide him, for the feare he had of his authority, sought divers meanes to take him away, thinking if he let slipt that present time, he should never recover the like and fit occasion againe.'



"For these causes, Tullus thought he might no longer delay his pretence and enterprise, neither to tarry for the mutining and rising of the common people against him; wherefore, those that were of the conspiracy began to cry out that he was not to be heard, and that they would not suffer a traitor to usurpe tyrannical power over the Volces, who would not yield up his state and authority. And in saying these words, they all fell upon him, and killed him in the market-place."

against him; he answered, that these fat longhaired men made him not afraid, but the lean and whitely-faced fellows, meaning by that Brutus and Cassius." Shakspeare omits to couple Brutas with Cassius in his version. The agitation of Brutus previous to the assassination, is described in the history and preserved in Shakspeare; his fortitude too, and self-possession, are drawn in very striking colours, and infinitely transcend his prototype in Plutarch. In fact, the Brutus of the poet is a perfect character; for while he submits to the decrees of fate with the firmness of a philosopher, we are furnished with abundant proof that he is not deficient in kindliness and humanity.

Plutarch's Cassius is every way unamiable: " He was marvellous cholericke, and cruell; it was certainly thought that he made warre and put himselfe into sundrie dangers, more to have absolute power and authoritie than to defend the libertie of his countrie. He hated Cæsar privately, more than he did the tyrannie openly: so whereas Brutus hated the tyrannie, Cassius hated the tyrant." It was necessary to make the companion of Brutus, in some respects at least, his equal; hence, the poet has suppressed the cruelty and vindictiveness of Cassius, while he has given the greatest possible effect to the fire and energy of mind which he really possessed.


SHAKSPEARE was not the rst who dramatised the death of Cæsar. According to Gosson, a play, entitled "The History of Cæsar and Pompey," existed in 1579, and in 1582, a Latin play, by Dr. Richard Eedes, on the subject of Cæsar's murder, was acted in the university of Oxford. At the very period when Shakspeare's tragedy appeared, 1607, Alexander, earl of Sterline, published his Julius Cæsar; and about the same time, Chapman's Cæsar and Pompey was made public. To none of these sources was our author indebted; but almost every scene of his play shews his obligations to sir Thomas North, whose translation of Plutarch was highly popular in that age. We shall extract a few passages, and leave them to the reader's judgment. Cassius was a cholericke man, and hating Cæsar privately, he incensed Brutus against him. *The friends and countrimen of Brutus, both by divers procurements and sundrie rumours of the citie, and by many bils also, did openly call and procure him to do that he did. Now when Cassius felt his friends, and did stir them up against Cæsar, they all agreed, and promised to take part with him, so Brutus were the chiefe of their conspiracie. They told him, that so high an enterprise and attempt as that did not so much require men of manhood and courage to draw their swords, as it stood them upon to have a man of such estimation as Brutus, to make every man boldly thinke, that by his onely presence the fact were holy and just. If he tooke not this course, then that they should go to it with fainter hearts; and when they had done it, they should be more fearfull, because every man would thinke that Brutus would not have refused to have made one with them, if the cause had been good and honest. Therefore Cassius, considering this matter with himselfe, did first of all speake to Brutus." Compare this with what Shakspeare says of Brutus, and the agreement is obvious.

Brutus's humane interference to save Antony, and the permission granted to him of directing Cæsar's funeral, which Cassius opposed as impolitic, are historical facts. "When this was done, they came to talke of Cæsar's will__and testament, and of his funerals and tombe. Then Antonius thinking good his testament should be read openly, and also that his bodie should be honourably buried, and not in hugger-mugger, lest the people might thereby take occasion to be worse offended if they did otherwise, Cassius stoutly spake against it; but Brutus went with the motion, and agreed unto it, wherein it seemeth be committed a second fault. For the first fault he did, was when he would not consent to his fellow-conspirators that Antonius should be slaine; and therefore he was justly accused, that thereby he had saved and strengthened a strong and grievous enemie of their conspiracie. The second fault was, when he agreed that Cæsar's funerals should be as Antonius would have them, the which indeed marred all."

The quarrel of Brutus and Cassius, which Shakspeare has wrought into a most beautiful and eminently interesting dialogue, appears thus in the simple translation of sir Thomas North :— "Now, as it commonly happeneth in great affaires


Shakspeare doubtless intended to make Brutus his hero; he has therefore exalted his character and suppressed his defects. Public duty is assign-between two persons, both of them having many ed, both by the poet and historian as his motive for friends, and so many captaines under them, there joining in the conspiracy; but particulars are add- ranne tales and complaints betwixt them. Thereed, which give an amiableness to his character, fore, before they fell in hand with any other matter, which we should vainly look for in Plutarch. The they went into a little chamber together, and bade obligations of Brutus to Cæsar are but slightly every man avoid, and did shut the dores to them. noticed; it would have defeated the dramatist's Then they began to poure out their complaints one purpose of raising him in our esteem. "The great to the other, and grew hot and loud, earnestly achonours and favour Cæsar shewed unto Brutus, cusing one another, and at length fell both a kept him backe, that of himself alone he did not con- weeping." spire nor consent to depose him of his kingdome. For Cæsar did not only save his life after the battle of Pharsalia when Pompey fled, and did, at his request also, save many moe of his friends besides; but, furthermore, he put a marvellous confidence in him." The next quotation is certainly the original of a celebrated passage, too well known to be given here." Cæsar, on the other side, did not trust Marcus Brutus overmuch, nor was without tales brought unto him; howbeit, he feared his great mind, authoritie, and friends. Yet on the other side, also, he trusted his good-nature and faire conditions; for intelligence being brought one day, that Antonius and Dolabella did conspire

The fine eulogium uttered by Brutus over the corse of Cassius, though inconsistent with his account of the man, is nevertheless to be found in Plutarch, whose language is almost literally copied in the play." So when he was come thither, after he had lamented the death of Cassius, calling him the last of the Romans, being impossible that Rome should ever breed againe so noble and valiant a man as he, he caused his body to be buried. Though Plutarch may have supplied the outline of Marc Antony, the filling up was entirely the work of our poet. What Shakspeare says of Cicero': cowardice, stands thus in Plutarch: They were afraid that, he being a coward by nature, and age

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also having increased his feare, he would quite
turne and alter all their purpose, and quench the
beat of their enterprise." The appearance of the
"evil spirit" at Phillipi is historical. What is
said of Portia's constancy in the tragedy, is thus
related by sir Thomas North: "She tooke a little
razour, such as barber's occupie to pare men's
nailes, and causing her maydes and women to go
out of her chamber, gave herself a great gash with-
all in her thigh, that was straight all of a goare of

if opportunity were given. Bernabo proposed a
wager, which was accepted. Bernabo remained
at Paris, and Ambrogiulo journied to Genoa,
where he essayed the virtue of Zinevra, but with-
out effect. But resolved to win his wager, he
bribed a woman, who was in the confidence of Zin-
evra, to induce the lady to take charge of a large
chest. In this chest, Ambrogiulo concealed him- ́
self; and it was placed in Zinevra's chamber.
When she retired to rest, the villain left his hiding-
place, and carefully observed the pictures and fur-
niture in the room; advancing to the bed, he sought
for some mark about the lady's person, and at last
espied a mole upon her left breast. Then secreting
a ring, a purse, and other trifles, he returned to
the chest, whence he was not freed till the third
day. Ambrogiulo, on his arrival at Paris, sum-
moned all who were present when the wager was
made; and in proof of his success, produced the
trinkets and described the apartment. Bernabo
admitted the jewels to be his wife's, and that
the chamber was truly described; but added, he
might have obtained the trinkets and his account
of the room, from a servant. "Then," said Ambro-
giulo, "I will silence you at once;-Zinevra has a
mole on her left breast." Bernabo was confounded,
he paid the gold, and shortly afterwards returned to
Italy. When he came near his home, he sent a
messenger for Zinevra, giving orders that she
should be murdered on the road. The servant
stopped in a lonely spot, and declared his master's
instructions; but when the lady protested her in-
nocence, he spared her life, and went to his mas-
ter with part of her dress, saying that he had killed
her, and left her body to the beasts of prey. Dis-
guised as a man, Zinevra entered into the service
of a Catalonian gentleman, who took her to Alex-
andria. Here she attracted the Sultan's notice,
and under the name of Sicurano, became captain of
the guard. For the security of strangers at the
fair of Acre, the Sultan sent, annually, a body of
soldiers. Sicurano went on this duty; wher,
being in the shop of a Venetian, she saw a purse
and girdle which she knew to be her own. She asked
to whom they belonged, and if they were to be sold.
Ambrogiulo, who was at the fair with merchandize,
now came forward and said, that those trinkets
were his; and, smiling, begged Sicurano would ac-
cept them. Sicurano asked why he smiled, when
Ambrogiulo related that the purse and girdle were
given him by a married lady of Genoa, whose love
he had enjoyed; and that he smiled at her hus-
band's folly, who had wagered a large sum that his
wife's virtue was incorruptible. Bernabo's jea-
lousy and revenge were thus explained; and the
villain who had ruined her stood before Zinevra.
She feigned pleasure at the tale, cultivated Am-
brogiulo's acquaintance, and took him with her to
Alexandria. She then caused Bernabo, now in
great distress, to be privily brought to the same
place; and as soon as opportunity served, she
prevailed on the Sultan to force Ambrogiulo to
make a public acknowledgment of his guilt. Ber-
nabo confessed that he had caused his wife to be
murdered on the supposition of her infidelity.
"that the
"You see," said Sicurano to the Sultan,
lady had little reason to be proud, either of her
gallant or her husband; if, my lord, you will pu-
nish the deceiver and pardon the deceived, the
injured lady shall appear before you.-The Sultan
consented; Sicurano fell at his feet, and throwing
off her assumed manliness, declared that she was
Zinevra; the display of the mole on her breast ba-
nished every doubt. Ambrogiulo was put to death;
his wealth was given to Zinevra; Bernabo was
pardoned, and enriched with jewels and money by
the Sultan, and the happy pair returned to Genoa.
Shakspeare has made admirable use of this story.
His Imogen is exquisitely imagined, and the merit

THIS play is also derived from sir Thomas North's
translation of Plutarch, and the poet has preserved
all the traits of Antony's indolence and dissipation;
but the more repulsive features are suppressed, and
an excuse found for all his defects in the fascina-
tions of Cleopatra. Perhaps the portrait of Cleo-
patra is not so happy; it does not come up to the
model which the poet had before him. "Now,
her beauty (says Plutarch), was not so passing, as
unmatchable of other women, nor yet such as upon
present view did enamour men with her; but so
sweet was her company and conversation, that a
man could not possibly but be taken. And besides
ber beauty, the good grace she had to talke and
discourse, her courteous nature that tempered her
words and deeds, was a spur that pricked to the
quick. Furthermore, besides all these, her voice
and words were marvellous pleasant: for her toug
was an instrument of musick to divers sports and
pastimes, the which she easily turned into any lan-
For she (were
guage that pleased her. ***
it in sport or in matters of earnest,) still devised
sundrie new delights to have Antonius at com-
mandment, never leaving him night nor day, nor
once letting him go out of her sight. For she
would play at dice with him, drink with him, and
hant commonly with him; and also be with him
when he went to any exercise or activitie of body.
****** She subtilly seemed to languish for
the love of Antonius, pining her body for lacke of
meat. Furthermore, she every way so framed
ber countenance, that when Antonius came to see
her, she cast her eyes upon him like a woman ra-
vished for joy. Straight again when he went from
her, she fell a weeping and blubbering, looking
ruefully on the matter, and still found the means
that Antonius should often find her weeping; and
then when he came suddenly upon her, she made
as though she dried her eyes, and turned her face
away, as if she were unwilling that he should see
her weepe." But if Shakspeare has not made his
Cleopatra the fascinating being, which all history
agrees in making her, he has communicated some-
what of grandeur and heroism to her character at
the conclusion of his play, which makes ample


SHAKSPEARE derived the incidents of this play from three sources:-A meagre account in Holinshed, of a Kymbeline who flourished in the time of Augustus Cæsar; from a book published in 1603, entitled Westward for Smelts; and from a novel in the Decameron, an imperfect translation of which was printed in 1518. We subjoin an abstract of Boccacio's story:-At an accidental meeting of some Italian merchants, the conversation turned on their wives. They all, with one exception, concurred in saying, that as they availed themselves of opportunities of intrigue when they were absent from their wives, they had no doubt that they did the same. Bernabo Lomellin, of Genoa, however, declared that he had a lovely wife, who was so chaste that he would trust her fidelity if he was away for ten years. Ambrogiulo, of Piacenza, ridiculed this ‍idea, and coneluded, by offering to seduce this modern Lucretia,

of producing the character may be wholly attributed to the poet, since the Zinevra of the novelist is without any distinctive qualities. Posthamus is a spirited delineation of a noble mind. Even Hachimo, however detestable his baseness, is no common-place villain.


THIS disgusting drama, though included among our author's plays in the first edition of his works, bears no mark of being his production; and it is strange, and certainly not creditable to the various learned and talented editors of Shakspeare, that this vile farrago of extravagance and bombast should be suffered to retain its place with the glorious efforts of the most exalted genius our country has produced.


SHAKSPEARE most likely revised this wild drama, and in the progress of the work, made a few additions from his own stores; more than this can scarcely be allowed, for as a whole, it is decidedly unworthy of his great name. Dryden, in one of his prologues, says


Shakspeare's own Muse his Pericles first bore, The Prince of Tyre was elder than the Moor;" and Dr. Drake, in his inquiry concerning our author's works, treats Pericles as a genuine work, and in his chronology of Shakspeare's plays, states that he thinks it was the earliest of the writer's performances. If, however, we decide by the internal evidence, which, perhaps, is the least deceptive on such a subject, our opinion of Pericles will hardly be so favourable, though we may fairly conclude that a few passages were from the hand of Shakspeare.

The story of this drama seems once to have been extremely popular, and is no doubt very ancient; but the romance of Apollonius Tyrius, in which most of the incidents of the play are to be found, is the oldest original which at present exists. The author of that strange work is unknown; but it seems likely that it was composed in the Greek language, from which it was translated by a monk of the sixth century; aud from him it has passed into most of the European tongues. It was translated from the French in 1510, by Robert Copland, and in 1576, W. Howe published "The Patterne of Painful Adventures that befell unto Prince Appolonius. By T.Twine." And to these, or similar works, the dramatist was probably indebted.


The subjoined extract, which our poet has thrown drama was his authority in his representation of into heart-stirring action, will shew that the ancient Goneril's ingratitude.

"Cease, good my lords, and sue not to reverse
Our censure, which is now irrevocable;
Then do not so dishonour me, my lords,
As to make shipwreck of my kingly word."


“The king hath dispossest himself of all, Those to advance, which scarce will give him thanks:


His youngest daughter he hath turn'd away,
And no man knows what is become of her.
He sojourns now in Cornwall with the eldest,
Who flatter'd him, until she did obtain
That at his hands, which now she doth possess:
And now she sees he hath no more to give,
It grieves her heart to see her father live.
Oh, whom should man trust in this wicked:
When children thus against their parents rage?
But he, the mirror of mild patience,
Puts up all wrongs and never gives reply:
Yet shames she not in most opprobrious sort,
To call him fool and dotard to his face,
And sets her parasites of purpose oft,
In scoffing wise to offer him disgrace.
Oh iron age! O times! O monstrous vilde,
When parents are contemned of the child!
His pension she hath half restrain'd from him,
And will, ere long, the other half, I fear;
For she thinks nothing is bestow'd in vain,
But that which doth her father's life maintain."
the elder dramatist.
The ontline of Lear's character was taken from

"I am as kind as is the pelican,

That kills itself to save her young ones' lives:
And yet as jealous as the princely eagle,
That kills her young ones if they do but dazzle
Upon the radiant splendour of the sun.'


OLD PLAY. But all that is sublime and terrible in Shakspeare's Lear is original; his fearful astonishment, when in doubt of his own identity; his maledictions, when he pours out the anguish of a wounded spirit, with the awful impressiveness of despair; his dignified demeanour even in the ravings of insanity. All this our poet derived from no fount of inspiration but his own soul. The idea of his madness, however, is taken from the ballad :

"And calling to remembrance then
His youngest daughter's words,
That said the duty of a child

Was all that love affords :
But doubting to repair to her,
Whom he had banish'd so,
Grew frantic mad; for in his mind
He bore the wounds of woe:

Which made him rend his milk-white locks


We find the history of Lear and his daughters, in various national collections of romance; but an old drama, entitled "The true Chronicle History of King Leir and his Three Daughters, Gonorill, Ragan, and Cordella," must be considered as the chief source from which our author derived materials for his matchless work. There is an ancient ballad on the subject from which a few hints were taken; and the Arcadia of sir Philip Sydney was also of use. Holinshed's account of Lear's divid-years, ing his kingdom, runs thus :-" When Leir, therefore, was come to great years, and began to wax unwieldy through age, he thought to understand the affection of his daughters towards him, and prefer her whom he best loved, to the succession over the kingdom." We find the king's inflexibility as to the doom pronounced on Cordelia, in the old play.

And tresses from his head:
And all with blood bestain his cheeks,
With age and honour spread."


ANCIENT BALLAD. The old play concludes with the peaceful re-establishment of Leir in his kingdom; and Holinshed adds, He ruled after this, by the space of two and then died, forty years after he first began to reign. His body was buried at Leicester, in a vault under the channel of the river Sore, beneath the town." The ballad, however, terminates tragically.

"But when he heard Cordelia's death,
Who died indeed for love

Of her dear father, in whose cause
She did this battle move;

He swooning fell upon her breast,
From whence he never parted:
But on her bosom left his life,

That was so truly hearted."

And this, no doubt, suggested the catastrophe

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of Shakspeare's drama; but to him, without a
rival, we must ascribe the heart-rending pathos,
the intense agony of paternal affection, and the
overwhelming eloquence of woe which distinguish
the last scene of Lear. Cordelia has but a small
space allowed her in the play before us; but in the
little that is allotted her, she has acquired both in-
terest and beauty far above what belongs to the
werdy heroine of the old dramatist. For part of
this character, the poet was indebted to Camden:
"The youngest, but the wisest, told her father,
flatly, without flattery, that albeit she did love,
bonour, and reverence him, and so would whilst
she lived, as much as nature and daughterly duty,
at the uttermost, could expect; yet she did think
that one day it would come to pass that she should
affect another more fervently; meaning her hus-
band, when she were married, who being made
one flesh with her, as God by commandment had
told, and nature had taught her, she was to cleave
fast to, forsaking father and mother, kiffe and
kinne." Cordelia is affectingly represented as
Lear's favourite child, "his best, his dearest;"
and Holinshed says, "Leir had three daughters
whom he greatly loved, but specially Cordelia, the
youngest, far above the two elder."

Perillas, in the old play, seems to have been
the original of Kent; but the latter is infinitely su-
perior to his prototype. A courtier belonging to
the French king, called Mumford, seems to have
supplied the idea of making the faithful old noble-
man a humorist. In sir Philip Sydney's Arcadia
is to be found, The Pitifull State and Storie of
the Paphlagonian unkinde King, and his kind
Sonne: first related by the Sonne, then by the
Blind Father. We give an abstract of it to illus-
trate the episode of Gloster and his sons:-The
king of Paphlagonia had two sons, one born in
wedlock, the other illegitimate. The bastard
treacherously supplanted his brother in their pa-
rents' affection, and prevailed on the old man to
give orders that his heir should be assassinated in
the adjacent forest. The king's servants spared
their young master's life, who escaped in disguise.
Soon afterwards, the bastard rebelled against his
father, dethroned him, caused his eyes to be put
out, and left him to wander through his kingdom,
destitute and helpless. The good prince, regard-
less of his own safety, hastened to assist his fa-
ther, and took upon him to be his guide in his af-
fiction. Knowing that the bastard desired the
death of the true heir, and that his virtuous son
was in peril on his account, the king begged the
gentle Leonatus to lead him to the summit of a
lofty rock, whence he might throw himself, and
at once terminate his own sorrows and his pro-
tector's danger. The young man had scarcely si-
lenced these solicitations, when the usurper and
his soldiers appeared, and would have slain them
both, had not unexpected succours arrived.
war followed, which ended with the usurper's fall,
and the advancement of Leonatus to the throne.
These, as far as it can be now known, are the
principal authorities from which the poet took his
materials for one of the finest tragedies in any lan-


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Shakspeare took his materials, we give its title at length:-The Tragicall Hystory of Romeus and Juliet; containing a rare Example of true Constancie: with the subtill Counsels and Practises of an old Fryer, and their ill Event. William Painter also made a translation from the French, in his Palace of Pleasure, 1567. It was in prose, and was called Rhomeo and Julietta. A play on the same subject, according to Brooke's preface, had been acted before the publication of his poem. The narrative of that strange production runs thus:--The noblest families at Verona were those of Capulet and Montague; they were rivals; blood was often shed in their quarrels, and even the mediation of their prince was vainly exerted to suppress their dangerous feuds. Romeo, Montague's son, was highly accomplished; and Juliet, Capulet's daughter, was unequalled among the beauties of Verona. Romeo was in love with a lady, whose disdain at length determined him to devote himself to another. Meeting Juliet at a masquerade, they became mutually enamoured; love taught them cunning, and a clandestine marriage seemed to complete their felicity. But happiness is shortlived. In a fray between the Montagues and Capulets, Tybalt, Juliet's cousin, was slain by Romeo; and Romeo, as a punishment, was banished. The relatives of Juliet attribute her grief to Tybalt's death; and, in the hope of alleviating it, determine to marry her to the County Paris. Juliet implores for delay, but her inexorable father fixes the day for her espousals. Juliet hastens to the friar who married her to Romeo, and receives a drug which gradually suspended the powers of life, and she is found on her couch, to all appearance, a corpse. When the morning appointed for her nuptials came, she was carried to the tomb of her ancestors, as was the custom of the country, on an open bier. Friar Lawrence had sent a messenger to Romeo with the sad news,-arranging his return to Verona, before the time when Juliet should awake. Seeking for a companion in his journey, the friar's man entered a house infected with the plague, from whence he was not allowed to depart, so that the account of Juliet's death reached Mantua previous to the arrival of the friar's letter. In a state of distraction, Romeo hastened to Verona. He broke open the tomb of the Capulets at midnight, embraced his corse-like mistress, swallowed poison, and died. Meantime, Lawrence repaired to the vault in order to release Juliet from her perilous situation. Romeo lay dead before him, and the unhappy lady awoke to a knowledge of her hopeless misery. Scorning consolation, she embraced her lifeless husband, plunged his poniard in her bosom, and expired. How closely Shakspeare's drama agrees with this story, is evident.

A part, at least, of the farewell interview between the lovers in the tragedy, was certainly sugAgested by the poem :


The story of this play was originated by the Neapolitan Massuccio, about 1470. It was copied by Luigi da Porto, of Vicenza, under the title of La Gailietta, in 1535. Bandello wrote on the same theme, and the tale took the air of truth when placed in the History of Venice, by Girolamo de la Carte. The lovers next figured in a French romance by Pierre Boisteau; and in 1562, they became the subject of an English poem, in four thousand prosing lines, by Mr. Arthur Brooke. As this work was the principal source from which

"The fresh Aurora with her pale and silver glade,
Did clear the skies, and from the earth had chased
ougly shade.
When thou ne lookest wide, ne closely dost thou
When Phoebus from our hamysphere in westerne
wave doth sinke.

What cooller than the heavens do shew unto thine

The same, (or like) saw Romeus in farthest esterne

As yet he sawe no day, ne could he call it night,
With equal force decreasing darke, fought with
increasing light."
How exquisitely beautiful are the lines to which
this passage gave birth:


look, love, what envious streaks Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east

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