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wrong, and Henry was fomewhere fecreted on the continent: he reads therefore, and all the editors after him,

"Long kept in Bretagne at his mother's coft."

But give me leave to tranfcribe a few more lines from Holinfhed, and you will find at once, that Shakspeare had been there before me:" Ye fee further, how a companie of traitors, theeves, outlaws and runnagates be aiders and partakers of his feat and enterprise.-And to begin with the erle of Richmond captaine of this rebellion, he is a Welsh milkfop-brought up by my moother's meanes and mine, like a captive in a close cage in the court of Francis duke of Britaine." P. 756.

Holinfhed copies this verbatim from his brother chronicler Hall, edit. 1548, fol. 54; but his printer hath given us by accident the word moother instead of brother; as it is in the original, and ought to be in Shakspeare."

I hope, my good friend, you have by this time acquitted our great poet of all piratical depredations on the ancients, and are ready to receive my conclufion. He remembered perhaps enough of his School-boy learning to put the Hig, bag, bog, into the

6 I cannot take my leave of Holinfhed without clearing up a difficulty, which hath puzzled his biographers. Nichelfon and other writers have juppofed him a clergyman. Tanner goes further, and tells us, that he was educated at Cambridge, and actually took the degree of M. A. in 1544. Yet it appears by his will, printed by Hearne, that at the end of life he was only a feward, or a fervant in fome capacity or other, to Thomas Burdett, Efq. of Bromcote, in Warwickshire.-Thefe things Dr. Campbell could not reconcile. The truth is, we have no claim to the education of the Chronicler: the M. A. in 1544, was not Raphael, but one Otti-well Holing bed, who was afterward named by the founder one of the firft Fellows of Trinity College.

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mouth of Sir Hugh Evans; and might pick up in the writers of the time, or the course of his conversation, a familiar phrase or two of French or Italian: but his fludies were most demonstratively confined to nature and his own language.

In the course of this difquifition, you have often fmiled at "all fuch reading, as was never read;" and poffibly I may have indulged it too far: but it is the reading neceffary for a comment on Shakfpeare. Those who apply folely to the ancients for this purpose, may with equal wifdom ftudy the TALMUD for an expofition of TRISTRAM SHANDY. Nothing but an intimate acquaintance with the writers of the time, who are frequently of no other value, can point out his allufions, and ascertain his phrafeology. The reformers of his text are for ever equally pofitive, and equally wrong.


cant of the age, a provincial expreffion, an obfcure proverb, an obfolete cuftom, a hint at a perfon or a fact no longer remembered, hath continually defeated the best of our gueffers: You must not fuppofe me to speak at random, when I affure you, that from fome forgotten book or other, I can demonftrate this to you in many hundred places; and I almost with, that I had not been perfuaded into a different employment.

Afcham in the Epiftle prefixed to his Toxophilus, 1571, obferves of them, that "Manye Englifhe writers, ufinge ftraunge wordes, as Lattine, Frenche, and Italian, do make all thinges darke and harde. Ones," fays he, "I communed with a man which reafoned the Englishe tongue to be enriched and encreased thereby, fayinge: Who will not prayfe that feast, where a man shall drincke at a dinner both wyne, ale, and beere? Truly (quoth I) they be al good, euery one taken by himfelfe alone, but if you put Malmefye, and facke, redde wyne and white, ale and beere, and al in one pot, you fhall make a drinke neither eafye to be knowen, nor yet holfome for the bodye."


Though I have as much of the natale folum & about me, as any man whatsoever; yet, I own, the primrofe path is ftill more pleafing than the Foffe or the Watling-Street:


Age cannot wither it, nor custom stale "Its infinite variety.

And when I am fairly rid of the duft of topographical antiquity, which hath continued much longer about me than I expected; you may very probably be troubled again with the ever fruitful fubject of SHAKSPEARE and his COMMENTATORS.

8 This alludes to an intended publication of the Antiquities of the Town of Leicester. The work was juft begun at the prefs, when the writer was called to the principal tuition of a large college, and was obliged to decline the undertaking. The plates, however, and fome of the materials have been long ago put into the hands of a gentleman, who is every way qualified to make a proper ufe of them.






THE HE reverend and ingenious Mr. Farmer, in his curious and entertaining Efay Essay on the Learning of Shakspeare, having done me the honour to animadvert on fome paffages in the preface to this tranflation, I cannot difmifs this edition without declaring how far I coincide with that gentleman; although what I then threw out carelessly on the fubject of this pamphlet was merely incidental, nor did I mean to enter the lifts as a champion to defend either fide of the question.

It is most true, as Mr. Farmer takes for granted, that I had never met with the old comedy called The Suppofes, nor has it ever yet fallen into my hands; yet I am willing to grant, on Mr. Farmer's authority, that Shakspeare borrowed part of the plot of The Taming of the Shrew, from that old tranflation of Ariolto's play by George Gascoign, and had no obligations to Plautus. I will accede alfo to the truth of Dr. Johnfon's and Mr. Farmer's obfervation, that the line from Terence, exactly as it ftands in Shakspeare, is extant in Lilly and Udall's Floures for Latin Speaking. Still, however, Shakfpeare's total ignorance of the learned languages remains to be proved; for it must be granted, that fuch books are put into the hands of those who are

learning those languages, in which clafs we must neceffarily rank Shakspeare, or he could not even have quoted Terence from Udall or Lilly; nor is it likely, that fo rapid a genius fhould not have made fome further progress. "Our author," fays Dr. Johnson, as quoted by Mr. Farmer, " had this line from Lilly; which I mention, that it may not be brought as an argument of his learning." It is, however, an argument that he read Lilly; and a few pages further it seems pretty certain, that the author of The Taming of the Shrew had at least read Ovid; from whofe Epiftle we find these lines:

"Hac ibat Simois; hic eft Sigeïa tellus;

"Hic fteterat Priami regia celfa fenis.”

And what does Dr. Johnson fay on this occafion? Nothing. And what does Mr. Farmer fay on this occafion? Nothing.

In Love's Labour's Loft, which, bad as it is, is afcribed by Dr. Johnfon himself to Shakspeare, there occurs the word thrafonical; another argument which seems to fhew that he was not unacquainted with the comedies of Terence; not to mention, that the character of the schoolmafter in the fame play could not poffibly be written by a man who had travelled no further in Latin than hic, hæc, boc.

In Henry the Sixth we meet with a quotation from Virgil:

"Tantæne animis cœleftibus iræ ?"

But this, it seems, proves nothing, any more than the lines from Terence and Ovid, in the Taming of the Shrew; for Mr. Farmer looks on Shakspeare's property in the comedy to be extremely difputable; and he has no doubt but Henry the Sixth had the

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