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contrary, the Irish laureat, Mr. Victor, remarks, (and were it true, it would be certainly decifive) that the plot is borrowed from a novel of Cervantes, not published till the year after Shakspeare's death. But unluckily the fame novel appears in a part of Don Quixote, which was printed in Spanish, 1605, and in English by Shelton, 1612.-The fame reafoning however, which exculpated our author from The Yorkshire Tragedy, may be applied on the prefent occafion.

But you want my opinion:-and from every mark of ftyle and manner, I make no doubt of afcribing it to Shirley. Mr. Langbaine informs us, that he left fome plays in MS.-These were written about the time of the Restoration, when the accent in queftion was more generally altered.

Perhaps the mistake arose from an abbreviation of the name. Mr. Dodsley knew not that the tragedy of Andromana was Shirley's, from the very fame caufe. Thus a whole ftream of biographers tell us, that Marfton's plays were printed at London, 1633," by the care of William Shakespeare, the famous comedian."-Here again I fuppofe, in fome transcript, the real publisher's name, William Sheares, was abbreviated. No one hath protracted the life of Shakspeare beyond 1616, except Mr. Hume; who is pleased to add a year to it, in contradiction to all manner of evidence.

Shirley is fpoken of with contempt in Mac Flecknoe; but his imagination is fometimes fine to an extraordinary degree. I recollect a paffage in the fourth book of the Paradife Loft, which hath been fufpected of imitation, as a prettiness below the genius of Milton: I mean, where Uriel glides backward and forward to heaven on a fun-beam. Dr. Newton informs us, that this might poffibly be hinted by a picture of Annibal Caracci in the King

of France's cabinet: but I am apt to believe that Milton had been ftruck with a portrait in Shirley. Fernando, in the comedy of The Brothers, 1652, defcribes Jacinta at vefpers:

" Her eye did feem to labour with a tear,
"Which fuddenly took birth, but overweigh'd
"With its own fwelling, drop'd upon her bofome;
"Which by reflexion of her light, appear'd
"As nature meant her forrow for an ornament:
"After, her looks grew chearfull, and I faw
"A fmile fhoot gracefull upward from her eyes,
"As if they had gain'd a victory o'er grief,
"And with it many beams twisted themselves,
Upon whofe golden threads the angels walk
"To and again from heaven.§.

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You must not think me infected with the fpirit of Lauder, if I give you another of Milton's imi


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-The fwan with arched neck

"Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows
"Her ftate with oary feet." Book VII. v. 438, &c.

"The ancient poets, fays Mr. Richardfon, have not hit upon this beauty; fo lavish have they been. in their defcriptions of the fwan. Homer calls the fwan long-necked, denigosipov; but how much more pittorefque, if he had arched this length of neck?”

For this beauty however, Milton was beholden to Donne; whofe name, I believe, at prefent is better known than his writings:

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Middleton, in an obfcure play called A Game at Chefe, hath fome very pleafing lines on a fimilar occafion:


Upon thofe lips, the fweete frefh buds of youth,

"The holy dewe of prayer lies like pearle,
Dropt from the opening eye-lids of the morne
Upon the bafhfull rofe.-

Compare all whiteneffe, but himselfe to none, "Glided along, and as he glided watch'd,

"And with his arched neck this poore fish catch'd.—” Progreffe of the Soul, st. 24.

Thofe highly finished landscapes, the Seafons, are indeed copied from nature, but Thomson sometimes recollected the hand of his master:

The ftately failing fwan

"Gives out his fnowy plumage to the gale;
"And arching proud his neck with oary feet,
"Bears forward fierce, and guards his offer ifle,
"Protective of his young.-

But to return, as we fay on other occafions.Perhaps the advocates for Shakspeare's knowledge of the Latin language may be more fuccefsful. Mr. Gildon takes the van. "It is plain, that he was acquainted with the fables of antiquity very well: that fome of the arrows of Cupid are pointed with lead, and others with gold, he found in Ovid; and what he speaks of Dido, in Virgil: nor do I know any tranflation of these poets fo ancient as Shakspeare's time." The paffages on which these fagacious remarks are made, occur in The Midfummer Night's Dream; and exhibit, we fee, a clear proof of acquaintance with the Latin clafficks. But we are not anfwerable for Mr. Gildon's ignorance; he might have been told of Caxton and Douglas, of Surrey and Stanyhurst, of Phaer and Twyne, of Fleming and Golding, of Turberville and Churchyard! but thefe fables were eafily known without the help of either the originals or the tranflations. The fate of Dido had been fung very early by Gower, Chaucer, and Lydgate; Marlowe had even already introduced her to the stage: and Cupid's arrows appear with their characteristick differences in Surrey, in Sidney, VOL. II.


in Spenfer, and every fonnetteer of the time. Nay, their very names were exhibited long before in The Romaunt of the Rofe: a work, you may venture to look into, notwithstanding Mafter Prynne hath fo pofitively affured us, on the word of John Gerfon, that the author is moft certainly damned, if he did not care for a ferious repentance."

Mr. Whalley argues in the fame manner, and with the fame fuccefs. He thinks a paffage in The Tempest,


High queen of state,

"Great Juno comes; I know her by her gait."

a remarkable inftance of Shakfpeare's knowledge of ancient poetick ftory; and that the hint was furnished by the divûm incedo regina of Virgil.'

You know, honeft John Taylor, the Water-poet, declares that he never learned his Accidence, and that Latin and French were to him Heathen-Greek; yet by the help of Mr. Whalley's argument, I will prove him a learned man, in fpite of every thing,

Had our zealous puritan been acquainted with the real crime of De Mehun, he would not have joined in the clamour against him. Poor Jehan, it feems, had raifed the expectations of a monaftery in France, by the legacy of a great cheft, and the weighty contents of it; but it proved to be filled with nothing better than vetches. The friars enraged at the ridicule and difappointment, would not fuffer him to have chriftian burial. See the Hon. Mr. Barrington's very learned and curious Obfervations on the Statutes, 4to. 1766, p. 24. From the Annales d'Aquitaine. Par. 1537.

Our author had his full fhare in diftreffling the fpirit of this reftless man. "Some Play-books are grown from Quarto into Folio; which yet bear fo good a price and fale, that I cannot but with griefe relate it.-Shackspeer's Plaies are printed in the best Crowne-paper, far better than most Bibles!"

7 Others would give up this paffage for the vera inceffu patuit dea; but I am not able to fee any improvement in the matter: even fuppofing the poet had been fpeaking of Juno, and no previous tranflation were extant.

he may say to the contrary: for thus he makes a gallant addrefs his lady:

"Most inestimable magazine of beauty-in whom the port and majesty of Juno, the wifdom of Jove's braine-bred girle, and the feature of Cytherea, have their domeftical habitation."


In The Merchant of Venice we have an oath " By two-headed Janus ;" and here, fays Dr. Warburton, Shakspeare fhews his knowledge in the antique: and fo again does the Water-poet, who defcribes Fortune,

"Like a Janus with a double face."

But Shakspeare hath fomewhere a Latin motto, quoth Dr. Sewell; and fo hath John Taylor, and a whole poem upon it into the bargain.

You perceive, my dear Sir, how vague and indeterminate fuch arguments must be: for in fact this fweet fwan of Thames, as Mr. Pope calls him, hath more fcraps of Latin, and allufions to antiquity than are any where to be met with in the writings of

8 This paffage recalls to my memory a very extraordinary fact. A few years ago, at a great court on the continent, a countryman of ours of high rank and character, [Sir C. H. W.] exhibited with many other candidates his complimental epigram on the birth-day, and carried the prize in triumph:

"O Regina orbis prima & pulcherrima: ridens
"Es Venus, incedens Juno, Minerva loquens."

Literally ftolen from Angerianus,

"Tres quondam nudas vidit Priameius heros
"Luce deas; video tres quoque luce deas.

"Hoc majus; tres uno in corpore: Cælia ridens

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Eft Venus, incedens Juno, Minerva loquens." Delitiæ Ital. Poet. by Gruter, under the anagrammatic name of Ranutius Gherus, 1608, V. I. p. 189.

Perhaps the latter part of the epigram was met with in a whimfical book, which had its day of fame, Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, fol. 1652, 6th edit. p. 520.

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