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occurs in the Stratford register, recording the burial of a child named “Thomas Greene, alias Shakspeare,” in 1589-90. The inference of which this circumstance is susceptible must be obvious.

The inducement of Shakspeare to resort to the theatre, and his first employment after his arrival in London, are matters no less clouded with obscurity, than the previous incidents of his life. Pope, on the authority of Rowe, who has however omilted the anecdote in his published memoir, says that he became acquainted with the players in consequence of waiting at the theatre door to take charge of the horses of those gentlemen who had no servants: but this story is discredited by Steevens and by Malone; the latter of whom suggests an opinion, that Shakspeare was introduced to theatrical connexion by his townsman and relation, Thomas Green, who was one of the best actors of his day. The office which he first held in the theatre, according to a stage tradition, was that of " call-boy, or prompter's attendant,” but this statement is almost as questionable as the legendary tale of Pope. Atall events, his continuance in that capacity was of very short duration. Talents like his could not remain long unnoticed or unemployed; but we are inclined to think that he was earlier distinguished as a player than as a dramatic writer. He must have made himself conversant with the machinery of the stage, its language, &c. before he composed even the simplest and feast difficult of his plays.

We now come to that era in the life of Shakspeare, when he began to write his iinmortal dramas, and to develope those powers which have rendered him the delight and wonder of successive ages. At the time of his becoming in some degree a public character, we naturally expected to find many anecdotes recorded of his literary history: but by a strange fatality, the same destitution of authentic incidents marks every stage of his life. Even the date at which his first play appeared is unknown; and the greatest uncertainty prevails with respect to the chronological order in which the whole series was exhibited, or published. As this subject was justly considered by Malone to be both curious and interesting, he has appropriated to its examination a long and laborious essay. Chalmers, in his “Supplemental Apology," however, endeavours to controvert Malone's dates, and assigns them to other eras; as specified in the second column below. Malone says, the “ First Part of King Henry VI.published in 1589, and commonly attributed to Shakspeare, was not written by him, though it might receive some corrections from his pen at a subsequent period, in order to fit it for representation. The Second Part of King Henry VI.” this writer contends, ought therefore to be considered as Shakspeare's first dramatic piece; and he thinks that it might be composed about the year 1591, but certainly not earlier than 1590. The other plays of our great dramatist, are placed in the following order of time by him and Chalmers :

Third Part of King Henry VI. .... 1591 1595 A Midsummer Night's Dream ....'. 1592 1598 Comedy of Errors ............. 1593 1591 Taming of the Shrew ........... 1594 1598 Love's Labour's Lost ........... 1594 1592 Two Gentlemen of Verona ..

....... 1595 1595 Romeo and Juliet ...

... 1595 1592 Hamlet .......

1596 1597 King John .......

. 1596 1598 King Richard ij.

. 1597 1596 King Richard III....

1597 1595 First Part of Henry IV. ......... 1597 1596 Second Part of Henry IV....... · 1598 1597 Merchant of Venice ..

. . 1598 1597 All's Well that Ends Well .....

1599 King Henry V................ 1599 1597 Mach Ado About No

1600 1599 As You Like It ...

1600 1599 Merry Wives of Windsor .... . 1601 1596 King Henry VIII. ..

1601 1613 Troilus and Cressida ..... .. 1602 1600 Measure for Measure ..........

1603 1604 The Winter's Tale :

1604 1601 ear.....

.. 1605 1605

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King Lear •

Cymbeline .................. 1605 1606
Macbeth .......... ....

.... 1606 1606 Julius Cæsar ............

..., 1607 1607 Antony and Cleopatra .......... 1608 1608 Timon of Athens ...

1609 1601 Coriolanus ........

. 1610 1609 Othello .........

.. 1611 1614 The Tempest .............

.. 1612 1613 Twelfth Night ............... 1614 1608

Shakspeare, besides his plays, wrote several poetical pieces, viz. “Venus and Adonis,” printed in 1593; 16 The Rape of Lucrece," printed in 1594; “The Passionate Pilgrim,” printed'in 1599; “A Lover's Complaints,” not dated; and a collection of sonnets, printed in 1609. The first and second of these productions our author dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, who is stated, on the authority of Sir William D'Avenant, to have given him a thousand pounds. If this anecdote be really true, it evinces a spirit of liberality and welldirected munificence, which entitles his lordship to the highest rank among the patrons of genius. It shows also that Shakspeare's merits were appreciated by some eminent characters, even in his life-time; a truth which is confirmed by the rapid sale of his poems, and by the attentions which he received from Queen Elizabeth, and her successor King James. The former, says Rowe, had several of his plays acted before her, and without doubt gave him many gracious marks of her favour.” According to the same writer, it was at her desire he composed the Merry Wives of Windsor. King James also was present at the representations of many of his pieces, and is stated by Lintot to have written to him ran amicable letter” with his own hand, and as Dr. Farmer conjectures, in return for the compliment paid him in Macbeth. This letter, though now lost, is said to have remained long in the possession of Sir William D'Avenant.

Shakspeare, as already hinted, was an actor as well as a writer of plays, and seems to have taken a share in the representation of many of his own productions. As late as the year 1603, only thirteen years before his death,

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