Зображення сторінки

Of golden wire, each line of silk : there run
Italian works, whose thread the sisters spun ;
And there did sing, or seem to sing, the choice
Birds of a foreign note and various voice :
Here hangs a mossy rock; their plays a fair
But chiding fountain, purled: not the air,
Nor clouds, nor thunder, but were living drawn;
Not out of common tiffany or lawn,
But fine materials, which the muses know,
And only know the countries where they grow.

Now, when they could no longer him enjoy,
In mortal garments pent, — death may destroy,
They say, his body ; but his verse shall live,
And more than nature takes our hands shall give :
In a less volume, but more strongly bound,
Shakespeare shall breathe and speak; with laurel

crown'd, Which never fades ; fed with ambrosian meat ; In a well-lined vesture, rich and neat:So with this robe they clothe him, bid him wear it; For time shall never stain, nor envy tear it. The friendly admirer of bis endowments,

I. M. S.

for, has not been as7 What name these initials may stanureat little poem, certained. So that the authorship of this g human being to perhaps the noblest tribute ever paid by one er, a good auanother,- is still involved in mystery. Mr. Colli.rses him, thority, says, and Mr. Verplanck, a better, endore know of " I. M. S. may possibly be John Milton, Student. WeWe feel no other poet of the time capable of writing the lines. enough, morally certain that they are by Milton." And, surema

marks. Milton is the only man of that time who has left any siunilar Ver this And the initials may well enough be supposed to extend oy such and the preceding piece. It may indeed be urged that is mo were the case the latter would naturally have appeared at this. his Poems in 1645. But perhaps it is a sufficient answer touch that in 1632 Milton was not too much a Puritan to write ,

pui lines; whereas in 1645 he was too far committed that way to ! them forth as his.


[ocr errors]


Prefixed to the folio of 1623. A CATALOGUE of the several Comedies, Histories,

and Tragedies contained in this Volume.

The Tempest.
The Two Gentiemen of Verona.
The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Measure for Measure.
The Comedy of Errors.
Much Ado about Nothing.
Love's Labour's Lost.
A Midsummer-Night's Dream.
The Merchant of Venice.
As You Like It.
The Taming of The Shrew.
All's Well That Euds Well.
Twelfth Night, or What You Will.
The Winter's Tale.

The Life and Death of King John
The Life and Death of Richard the Second.
The First Part of King Henry the Fourth.
The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth.
The Life of King Henry the Fifth.

T'he First Part of King Henry the Sixth.
The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth
The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth.
The Life and Death of Richard the Third.
The Life of King Henry the Eightlı.


Troilus anu Cressida.
The Tragedy of Corio, an is.
Titus Andronicus.
Romeo and Juliet.
Timon of Athens.
The Life and Death of Julius Cæsur.
The Tragedy of Macbeth.
The Tragedy of Hamlet.
King Lear.
Othello the Moor of Venice.
Anthony and Cleopatra.
Cymbeline King of Britain.

• Nct set do we in tk: Catalogue, though included in the edition.



'THE TEMPEST was first printed in the folio of 1623, in which edition it stands the first of the series. As this play was undoubt. edly written in the later years of the Poet's life, the reason of its standing first is not apparent. Nor is it much more apparent why the arrangement of that edition should be broken up, until more is known of the order in which Shakespeare's plays were written.

The play was originally printed with great accuracy for the time: the true reading is seldom doubtful; for which causc com. inentators have not often found it easy to mar the text under the notion of improving it.

It has been ascertained clearly enough that The Tempest was written somewhere between 1603 and 1612. That it was written after the former date, is rendered almost certain in that the leading features of Gonzalo's commonwealth were plainly taken from Florio's translation of Montaigne, which was printed that year. The passage of Montaigne is given in a note, from which the reader may see that the resemblance is too close to have been accidevtal. If any see fit to maintain, as some have done, that Sbakespeare might have seen the passage in question before it was printed, we will not argue with them; our concern being with faets, not witb possibilities.

The Tempest was performed at Court, “ by the King's Players." Nov. 1, 1611. This fact was but lately discovered; and for the discovery we are indebted to * Extracts from the Accounts of the Revels at Court," edited by Mr. Cunningham for the Shakespeare Society ; where the following memorandum occurs : « Ilollowmas night was presented at Whitehall before the King's Majesty a play called The Tempest." Uutil this discovery the earliest knowu personinance of ibe play was in “ the begiuning of the year 1613," when, as Malone proved from Verlue's MSS., it was acted by “the King's company before Prince Charles, the Princess Elizabeth, and the Prince Palatine." So that the play must needs have been written before 1612.

As to any ncarer fixing of the date we have nothing to go upon but probabilities. Some of these, however, are pretty strong. From the “Extraciz" already quoted it appears that eleven other plays, Winter's Tale being one of them, were acted at Court within a year after the last of Oct. 1611, the oldest of which, so far as hath been ascertained, had not been written more than three years. From which it seeins probable that The Tempes! was uot then an old play; and perhaps it was selected by the Masler of the Revels for its novelty and its popularity on the public stage.

Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair was first acted in 1614, and written perhaps the year hefore; the Induction of which has an apparent, though not necessarily ill-valured glance at both The Tempest and Winter's Tale: “If there be never a Serrant-monster i' the Fair, who can help it, he says; nor a nest of Antiques ? He is loth to make Nature afraid in his Plays, like those that beget Tales, Tempests, and such like Drolleries." We agree with Mr. Collier that some of the words in Italic, wbich we give just as ihey stand in the original, are " so applicable to The Ten:pest, that they can hardly refer to any thing else." Which seems to warrant the inference that Bartholomew Fair was wrillen while The Tempest and Winter's Tale were yet in the morn and bluca of popular favour.

It can hardly be questioned that Shakespeare drew some of his materials for The Tempest from the sources thus indicated by Malone : “ Sir George Somers, Sir Thomas Gales, and Captain Newport, with nine ships and five hundred people, sailed from England in May, 1609, on board the Sea Venture, which was called the Admiral's Ship; and on the 25th of July she was parted from the rest by a terrible tempest, which lasted forty. eight hours, and scattered the whole fleet, wherein some of them lost their masts, and others were much distressed. Seven of the vessels, however, reached Virginia ; and, after landing about three hundred and fifty persons, again set sail for England. During a great part of the year 1610 the fate of Somers and Gates was not known in England; but the latter, having been sent home by Lord Delaware, arrived in August or September." In 1610 “one Jourdan, who probably returned from Virginia in the same ship with Sir Thomas Gates, published a pamphlet, entitled "A Discovery of the Bermudas, otherwise called The Isle of Devils.'” In this book, after relating the circumstances of their shipwreck, the author says : “But our delivery was not more strange in falling so opportunely and happily upon land, than our feeding and provision was, beyond our hopes and all men's ex. pectatious, most admirable. For the Islands of the Bermudas

« НазадПродовжити »