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a wholly gratuitous assumption, however, though barely possible, that they were heedlessly cast aside into old chests, and suffered to be destroyed by fires, or that they fell into the hands of ignorant persons to be used for waste paper. If he had contemplated a revision of his works for publication during his own life, from the accomplishment of which he was prevented by sudden illness and death, it is scarcely credible that he should not have given some instructions to that end, either to his executors in his will, or to some confidential friend on whom such injunction would not have been lost. Heming and Condell give us no intimation, in their Preface to the Folio of 1623, from what source they had received" the true original copies”: we are left to infer that they had gathered them up from the theatres owned by the company.

4. HIS LEARNING. For the learning of Shakespeare, his knowledge of history and of the manners, customs, and literature of the ancients, his acquaintance with foreign languages, his natural science and metaphysical philosophy, his skill in the medical lore of his time, as also in the laws of England, his familiarity with the manners of the Court and high society, the vast range of his observation in all the realms of nature and art, as well as in all that pertains to the civil state, or to the affairs of private life, or to the characters, passions, and affections of men and women, or to human life and destiny, the subtle profundity of his intellect, and his extraordinary insight into all the relations of things, all this, and much more than can be stated, must wholly depend upon the argument to be drawn from the internal evidence contained in the writings themselves, not only unsupported in any adequate manner, but for the most part absolutely contradicted by the known facts of his personal history It is apparent that this argument can have no weight whatever in favor of William Shakespeare, until the

fact be established that he was really the autoor of these works; and this is the very question we have in hand.

The learning and philosophy of these plays of Shakespeare, especially since the feeble attempt of Dr. Farmer to make them appear to be possible for the supposed author, have been a matter of wonder to editorial critics, and a stumbling-block to all great writers, who have treated of the subject. Even Dr. Johnson was willing to admit he must have had “ Latin enough to grammaticize bis English,” while conceding that Ben Jonson must have known, and “ought to decide the controversy."1 Pope, knowing well enough that there was “ certainly a vast difference between learning and languages, thought it was “plain he had much reading, at least,” but was obliged, at last, to declare that “ he seems to have known the world by intuition, to have looked through human nature at one glance, and to be the only author that gives ground for a very new opinion, that the philosopher and even the man of the world may be born, as well as the poet.” 2 Steevens and Malone, after laborious research, undertook to produce a list of the translations of ancient authors, known to have existed in English in the time of Shakespeare, as the source of all his classical erudition ; but it falls far short of furnishing a satisfactory explanation of the matter, in our day, and in the face of numerous instances to the contrary, scarcely less decisive than this one, that the “ Timon of Athens” turns out to have been founded in great part upon the untranslated Greek of Lucian ; 8 besides that it is now clear enough to the attentive scholar, that this author drew materials, ideas, and even expressions, from the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides, and even from Plato, no less than from the Latin of Ovid, Virgil, Horace, Seneca, and Tacitus, not to mention numerous others of the ancient

1 Johnson's Preface. 2 Pope's Preface.

3 Knight's Stud. of Shaks., 71; Luc. Opera (ed. Dindorf, Lipsiæ, 1858), I. 30-51.

classics, and apparently with the utmost indifference to the question whether they had ever been translated into English or not.

Indeed, his learning took the widest range. Mr. Collier, profoundly impressed by a certain frequency of legal terms and expressions in the plays, is ready, thereupon, to add an entire new passage to the known biography of William Shakespeare, to the effect that, in his youth, he had studied law in the office of an attorney, or, at least, a bailiff, at Stratford; and the learned essay of Lord Chief Justice Campbell," addressed to him upon the subject, comes to this conclusion upon Shakespeare's juridical phrases and forensic allusions: “On the retrospect I am amazed,” says his Lordship, “ not only by their number, but by the accuracy and propriety with which they are uniformly introduced.” And he adds : “ There is nothing so dangerous as for one not of the craft to tamper with our freemasonry.” He thought we might be “justified in believing the fact that he was a clerk in an attorney's office at Stratford without any direct proof of the fact," mainly relying, with Mr. Collier, upon “ the seemingly utter impossibility of Shakespeare having acquired, on any other theory, the wonderful knowledge of law which he undoubtedly displays.” Nevertheless, his Lordship was constrained to warn his friend, that he had not really become an absolute convert” to his side of the question; nor did he fail to remark, that the theory required us implicitly to believe a fact, which, were it true, positive and irrefragable evidence, in Shakespeare's own handwriting” in the records of the courts, or in deeds and wills written or witnessed by him, and preserved in the archives at Stratford-on-Avon, might have been forthcoming to establish it; but, “after diligent search," pone such had been, or could be, discovered.

The argument might justify, but does not require, an examination here into the special learning of this author in

i Shakespeare's Legal Acquirements (N. York, 1859), p. 132.


matters of law, or medicine. This work has already been so far accomplished by distinguished members of these professions as to convince them, if not the critical world, that he had a very wonderful acquaintance with both. Let it suffice to notice a single instance (cited by Lord Camphell) of his familiarity with Plowden, whose preface was dated from the Middle Temple, in 1578, the same year in which William Shakespeare is said to have been taken from school by his father, at the age of fourteen. The discussion of the grave-diggers in the “Hamlet,” as to whether the drowned Ophelia was entitled to Christian burial, “proves,” says his Lordship, “ that Shakespeare (he meant, of course, the author of the play] had read and studied Plowden's Report of the celebrated case of Hales v. Petit.” Sir James Hales, a Judge of the Common Pleas, having been imprisoned for being concerned in the plot to place Lady Jane Grey upon the throne, and afterwards pardoned, was so affected in mind as to commit suicide by drowning himself in a river. The coroner's inquest found a verdict of felo de se, under which his body was to be buried at a cross-road, with a stake thrust through it, and his goods and estates were forfeited to the crown. A knotty question arose upon the suit of his widow for an estate by survivorship in joint-tenancy, whether the forfeiture could be considered as having taken place in the lifetime of Sir James Hales ; for, if it did not, she took the estate by survivorship

Sergeant Southcote argued for the lady, that as long as he was alive he had not killed himself, and the moment that he died, the estate vested in the plaintiff. “The felony of the husband shall not take away her title by survivorship, for in this manner of felony two things are to be considered: First, the cause of the death ; secondly, the death ensuing the cause; and these two make the felony, and without both of them the felony is not consummate. And i Shakes. Leg. Acq., p. 104.

2 Plowden's Rep., 256-9.

the cause of the death is the act done in the party's lifetime, which makes the death to follow. And the act which brought on the death here was the throwing himself voluntarily into the water, for this was the cause of his death. And if a man kills himself by a wound which he gives himself with a knife, or if he hangs himself, as the wound or the hanging, which is the act done in the party's lifetime, is the cause of his death, so is the throwing himself into the water here. Forasmuch as he cannot be attainted of his own death, because he is dead before there is any time to attaint him, the finding of his death by the coroner is by necessity of law equivalent to an attainder in fact coming after his death. He cannot be felo de se till the death is fully consummate, and the death precedes the felony and the forfeiture."

Sergeant Walsh, on the other side, argued that the forfeiture had relation to the act done in the party's lifetime, which was the cause of his death. Upon this the parts of the act are to be considered ; and the act consists of three parts. The first is the imagination, which is a reflection or meditation of the mind, whether or no it is convenient for him to destroy himself, and what way it can be done. The second is the resolution, which is a determination of the mind to destroy himself, and to do it in this or that particular way. The third is the perfection, which is the execution of what the mind has resolved to do. And this perfection consists of two parts, viz., the beginning and the end. The beginning is the doing of the act which causes the death ; and the end is the death, which is only a sequel to the act. And of all the parts the doing of the act is the greatest in the judgment of our law, and it is in effect the whole. The doing of the act is the only point which the law regards; for until the act is done it cannot be an offence to the world, and when the act is done it is punishable. Inasmuch as the person who did the act is dead, his person cannot be punished, and therefore there is no way else to

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