ene, fo much tenderness and moving piety in the other, as muft touch any one who is capable either of fear or pity. In his Henry VIII. that prince is drawn with that greatness of mind, and all those good qualities. which are attributed to him in any account of his reign if his faults are not shewn in an equal degree, and the shades in this picture do not bear a just proportion to the lights, it is not that the artist wanted either colours or skill in the difpofition of them: but the truth, i helieve, might be, that he forbore doing it out of regard to Queen Elisabeth ; since it could have been no very great respect to the memory of his miitrels, to have exposed fome certain parts of her father's life upon the ftage. He has dealt much more freely with the minifter of that great King, and certainly nothing was ever more justly written, than the character of i ardinal Wolfey. He has thewn him infolent in his prosperity; and yet, by a wonderful addrets, he makes his fall and ruin the subject of general compassion. The whole man, with his vices and virtues, is fively and exactly deicrihed in the second scene of the fourth act. The distresses likewise of Queen Catharine in this play are very movingly touched; and though the art of the poet has screened King Henry from any gross imputation of injustice, yet one is inclin’d to with the Queen had met with a fortune more worthy of her birth and virtue. Nor are the manners proper to the persons reprelented, less justly observed in those characters taken froin the Roman history. And of this, the fierceness and impatience of Coriolanus, his courage and disdain of the common people, the virtue and philofophical temper of Brutus, and the irregular greatnels of mind in Vi.. na tony, are beautiful proofs for the two last especially, you find them exactly as they are described by Ylutarch, from whom certainly Shakespear copied them He has indeed followed his original pretty close, and taken in several little incidents that might have been ipared in a play. But, as I hinted before, his design seems most commonly rather to describe those great men in the feveral fortunes and accidents of their lives, than to take any single great action, and form his work fiinply upon that. However, there are some of his pieces where the Vol.I. f


fable is founded upon one action only. Such are more
especially, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Othello. The
design in Romeo and Juliet is plainly the punilhment of
their two families, for the unreasonable feuds and ani.
mofities that had been so long kept up between them,
and' occasioned the effusion of so much blood. In the
management of this story, he has shewn something won-
derfully tender and passionate in the love-part, and very
pitiful in the distress. Hamlet is founded on much the
fame tale with the Electra of Sophocles. In each of them
a young prince is engaged to revenge the death of his
father; their mothers are equally guilty, are both con- .
cerned in the murder of their husbands, and are after-
wards married to the murderers. There is in the first
part of the Greek tragedy something very moving in
the grief of Electra: but, as Mr. Dacier has observed,
there is fomething very unnatural and shocking in the
manners he has given that princess and Orestes in the
latter part. Orestes imbrues his hands in the blood of
his own mother; and that barbarous action is per-
formed, though not immediately upon the stage, yet fo
near, that the audience hear Clytemnestra crying out to
Ægysthus for help, and to her son for mercy; while
Electra her daughter, and a princess, (both of them
characters that ought to have appeared with more de-
cency), stands upon the stage, and encourages her bro-
ther in the parricide. What horror does this not raise !
Clytemnestra was a wicked woman, and had deserved
to die; nay, in the truth of the story, she was killed by
her own son: but to represent an action of this kind on
the stage, is certainly an offence against those rules of
manners proper to the persons that onght to be obser-
ved there. On the contrary, let us only look a little on
the conduct of Shakespear. Hamlet is represented with
the same piety towards his father, and resolution to re-
venge his death, as Orestes; he has the same abhor-
rence for his mother's guilt, which, to provoke him the
more, is heightened by incest : but it is with wonder-
ful art, and justness of judgment, that the poet restrains
him from doing violence to his mother. To prevent
any thing of that kind, he makes his father's ghost
forbid that part of his vengeance.


But howsoever thou pursu'st this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy foul contrive
Against thy mother aught ; leave her to heav'n,
And to those thorns that in her bofom lodge,
To prick and fing her.

Vol. 8. p. 106. This is to distinguish rightly between horror and terror, The latter is a proper passion of tragedy; but the former ought always to be carefully avoided. And certainly no dramatic writer ever succeeded better in raising terror in the minds of an audience than Shakespear has done. The whole tragedy of Macbeth, but more especially the scene where the King is murdered, in the second act, as well as this play, is a noble proof of that manly spirit with which he writ; and both shew how powerful he was in giving the strongest motions to our fouls that they are capable of. I cannot leave Hamlet, without taking notice of the advantage with which we have seen this masterpiece of Shakespear distinguish itself upon the stage, by Mr. Betterton's fine performance of that part: A man, who though he had no other good qualities, as he has a great many, must have made his way into the esteem of all men of letters by this only excellency. No man is better acquainted with Shakespear's manner of expression; and indeed he has studied him so ell, and is so much a master of him, that whatever part of his he performs, he does it as if it had been written on purpose for him, and that the author had exactly conceived it as he plays it. I must own a particular obligation to him, for the most confiderable part of the passages relating to this life, which I have here transmitted to the public; his veneration for the memory of Shakespear having engaged him to make a journey into Warwickshire, on purpose to gather up what remains he could of a name for which he had so great a veneration.

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The following instrument was transmitted to the edi.

tors of Shakespear s works by John Anstis, Esq; Gartar King at Arms. It is marked, G. 13. p.

344, There is also a manuscript in the heralds office, marked

W 2. p. 270 ; where notice is taken of this coat, and that the person to whom it was granted, had borne magiftracy at Stratford upon Avon.


all and fingular noble and gentlemen of all

eltates and degrees, bearing arms, to whom there

pre ents thall come : William Dethick, Garter Principal King of arms of England, and William Camden, alias Clarencieulx, King of Arms for the south, eait, and west parts of this realm, send greetings. Know ye. that in all nations and kingdoms the record and remenbrance of the valiant facts and virtuous dispositions of worthy men, have been made known and divulged by certain thields of arms and tokens of chivalry; the grant or textimony whereof appertaineth unto us, hy virtue of our offices from the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, and her Highness's most noble and vi&orious progenitors: Wherefore being solicited, and by credible report informed, that John Shakespere, now of Stratford upon Avon, in the county of Warwick, Gentleinan, whose great grandfather, for his faithful and approved service to the late most prudent prince, King tenry VII of famous memory, was advanced, and rewarded with lands and tenements, given to him, in those parts of Warwickshire, where they have continued by fone defcents in good reputation and credit ; and for that the said John Shakespere having married the daughter, and one of the heirs of Robert Arden of Wellingcote in the said county, and also

produced this his ancient coat of arms, heretofore assigned to him whilst he was her Majesty's officer and bailiff of that town: in consideration of the premisses, and for the encouragement of his posterity, unto whom such blazon of arms and atchievements of inheritance from their faid mother, by the ancient cuftom and laws of arms, may lawfully descend; we the

faid Garter and Clarencieulx have assigned, granted, and confirmed, and by these presents exemplified unto the said John Shakespere, and to his posterity, that shield and coat of arms, viz. In a field of gold upon a bend fables a spear of the first, the point upward, beaded argent; and for his creit or cognisance, A falcon, Or, with his wings displayed, standing on a wreath of his colours, supporting a spear armed headed, or steeled silver, fixed upon an helmet with mantles and taffels; as more plainly may appear depicted in this margent: and we have likewise impaled the same with ancient arms of the said Arden of Wellingcote ; fignifying thereby, that it may and shall be lawful for the said John Shakespere, Gent, to bear and use the same fhield of arms, single or impaled, as aforesaid, during his natural life; and that it shall be lawful for his chil. dren, issue, aud pofterity, lawfully begotten, to bear, use, and quarter, and thew forth the same, with their due differences, in all lawful warlike feats and civil use or exercises, according to the laws of arms, and custom that to gentlemen belongeth, without let or interruption of any person or persons for use or bearing the fame. In witness and testimony whereof, we have subscribed our names, and fastened the seals of our offi. Given at the office of arms, London, the

in the forty-second year of the reign of our Moft Gracious Sovereign Lady, Elisabeth, by the grace of God, Queen of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, c. 1599.


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