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Frederick Schlegel praises Shakspeare for the absence of this cosmopolitism. “The feeling by which he seems to have been most connected with ordinary men is that of nationality. He has represented the heroic and glorious period of English history, during the conquests in France, in a series of dramatic pieces, which possess all the simplicity and liveliness of the ancient chronicles, but approach, in their ruling spirit of patriotism and glory, to the most dignified and effective productions of the epic muse.”* That Shakspeare had a deeply-rooted love of his country, many passages of affectionate admiration of England sufficiently show. And some of these are to be found in that truly “glorious period of English history” which is represented in the play of Henry W. Yet this passage is a specimen of the carelessness of historical critics. The sequel to Henry V. is a play of little merit, and probably not Shakspeare's, and certainly records little of glory Or Success. But, whatever opinion may be formed upon any of these topics, I cannot think that, after all that has been said of Shakspeare as a teacher of history, as
well as a poet, the inquiry upon which I now purpose
* Lectures on the History of Literature, ii. 147.
to enter will be altogether uninteresting, namely, what were Shakspeare's authorities for his history, and how far has he departed from them? And whether the plays may be given to our youth, as “ properly historical ?” The inquiry has not been anticipated by any of the commentators. Steevens and Malone have each a few historical notes; but the range of their historical criticism is extremely small, and the former is sometimes careless. In the present work I have included the plays which Shakspeare founded upon the Scottish and the Roman histories; and have added some general
It may be convenient to mention the editions which have been used, of some of the books to
which reference is made.
Lingard's History of England, 5th edit. 12mo.
Hall, 4to, 1809.
Holinshed, 4to. 1807.
Hardyng, 4to. 1812.
Polydore Vergil, 1556.
Page 68, line 20, for a read on.
Page 5, note #, dele James. 11, after line 19, insert The killing of Rutland by Clifford is from Holinshed. 14, line 14, for creation read creature. 37, line 13, for 1671 read 1471. 113, line 12, dele Although. line 21, before His insert For. 137, line 2 of note, for dudid insert du dit. 184, note *, for Boece read Boece, 200, note S, line 2, after be read the. 290, line 6-7, for Coleride read Coleridge.