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was a man tempted to passionate extremes, but of strenuous will, and whose highest self pronounced in favour of sanity. Therefore he resolved that he would set to rights his material life, and he did so. And again he resolved that he would bring into harmony with the highest facts and laws of the world his spiritual being; and that in his own high fashion he accomplished also. The plays impress us as a long study of selfcontrol, of self-control at one with self-surrender to the highest facts and laws of human life.'

(preface to third edition p. xi.). 'In the later comedies, again, it is quite remarkable how Shakespeare (generally in the portions of these plays which are due to his own invention) repeats, with variations, the incident of a trick or fraud practiced upon one who is a self-lover, and its consequences, grave or gay.' (p. 74). In the historical plays the question which inevitably comes forward again and again is this, "By what means shall a man obtain the noblest practical success in the objective world?" In the great tragedies the problem is a spiritual one. It is still the problem of failure and success. But in these tragedies success means not any practical achievement in the world, but the perfected life of the soul; and failure means the ruin of the life of a soul through passion or weakness, through calamity or crime.'

(p. 224). 'Henry V., the ideal figure of the historical plays, has a real and firm grasp of the actual world; he has his religion, and he has his passion of love; but both are positive, practical, and limited. . . . "To say to thee that I shall die " declares King Henry to Katherine, "is true; but for thy love,by the Lord, no." Yet Shakespeare had discovered that to die for love may be the highest need of a life under certain extreme conditions.'

(p. 123). But the theme of tragedy, as conceived by the poet, is not material prosperity or failure; it is spiritual; fulfilment or failure of a destiny higher than that which is related to the art of getting on in life. To die under certain conditions may be a higher rapture than to live.'


In connection with 'Hamlet' and the change that took place in Shakespeare about 1601, we may further quote from the same work:

(preface to third edition, p. 1). "Hamlet" seems to have its root so deep in Shakespeare's nature, it was so much a subject of special predilection, it is so closely connected with older dramatic work. We acquire the same feeling with reference to "Hamlet" which we have for Goethe's "Faust"-that it has to do with almost the whole of the deeper part of the poet's life up to the date of its creation.'

(p. 126). 'But Shakespeare created it a mystery, and therefore it is for ever suggestive; for ever suggestive, and never wholly explicable.'


(p. 160). One thing, however, we do know that the man who wrote the play of "Hamlet" had obtained a thorough comprehension of Hamlet's malady. And assured, as we are by abundant evidence, that Shakespeare transformed with energetic will his knowledge into fact, we may be confident that when "Hamlet" was written, Shakespeare had gained a further stage in his culture of self-control, and that he had become not only adult as an author, but had entered upon the full maturity of his manhood.'


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(p. 222). 'Through "Hamlet"—perhaps also through events in the poet's personal history, which tested his will as Hamlet's will was tested-Shakespeare had been reached and touched by the shadow of some of the deep mysteries of human existence.'

Shakespeare did not continue to turn out new work up to his death his last completed play was known in 1611, and he lived until 1616. If we suppose that he began to write in 1591, i.e., from one to two years before Green called him an upstart crow,' he had written, on the completion of 'The Tempest' in 1611, at least thirty-six plays in twenty years. When, at the age of forty-eight

'little declined into the vale of years,' and, as his latest works show, never so able, he decided not to break fresh ground-he who had already broken so much, and in all fields-what so likely as that it was with the intention of devoting himself to the revision of the work he had already done? That work had been produced hastily: what so likely as that he should wish to revise it? Some of it was mixed with the work of others: what so natural as that he should wish to make it all his own-as Jonson tells us he himself did with 'Sejanus' between its production on the stage and its publication? The circumstances of his retirement are in keeping with all the other evidence we have examined, and, indeed, give us reason to hope that we may have his plays not only freed from the errors alterations and omissions of actors and reproducers, but from the work of other hands, and even, as already in the case of 'Hamlet,' revised to the extent of recasting.

No scrap of Shakespeare's manuscripts has ever been found; but the time between his death and now is not absolutely blank of evidence from which conclusions respecting such manuscripts may be drawn. On three occasions we have information bearing very closely on the question. On one we get into close personal touch with Dr. Hall, Shakespeare's son-in-law; and on another into as close personal touch with Mrs. Hall, Shakespeare's elder daughter; and both Dr. and Mrs. Hall are on those occasions occupying themselves in considering the disposal of books and manuscripts in their possession at

New Place, Shakespeare's residence for many years up to his death.


Shakespeare made no mention of manuscripts in his will; but any that were in his possession would have passed at his death to Dr. and Mrs. Hall: they were his executors and residuary legatees; and to Mrs. Hall he had bequeathed his residence, New Place, and all that it contained except a few articles which he specified.

Shakespeare had not only occupied New Place for many years up to his death, but some (probably many) of his later plays had been written there. So soon after Shakespeare's death as 1662, the Rev. John Ward, then vicar of Stratford, wrote of him, 'he frequented the plays all his younger time, but in his elder days lived at Stratford, and supplied the stage with two plays every year, and for that had an allowance so large, that he spent at the rate of a thousand pounds a year, as I have heard.'1 His writing, too, would not be confined to the original manuscript of a play: the various actors would have to be supplied with copies more or less complete; and these would quickly get worn out and lost, and have to be replaced. Much of the re-writing he may have had done by some trusted scrivener; but, considering the amount of manuscript that must have passed through his hands, if he had been simply careless of his papers and indifferent as to their fate, in the ordinary course of things there would have been many in the hands of his daughter and son-in-law after his death and burial. But 1 Diary of Rev. John Ward, ed. Severn, 1839, p. 183.

if our interpretation of his Sonnets and Phoenix and Turtle' be true, we should not expect to find manuscripts of his in the hands of Dr. and Mrs. Hall after his burial. All the evidence available on the point is in favour of our theory.

Dr. Hall had married Shakespeare's elder daughter nine years before Shakespeare's death. He lived at Stratford, but was not native there. In his youth he had travelled on the continent. He was Master of Arts, but never received a medical degree. He however, for a provincial practitioner, became very eminent in his profession his services were called for forty miles from Stratford, and it was recorded by the Linacre professor in 1657, such as hated him for his religion often made use of him.' Nothing is known of his character previous to Shakespeare's death, but what is known of him after shows him to have been of strong puritan sympathies. The evidence concerning Shakespeare's manuscripts which is derived from him is contained in his will, which was Imade a few hours before his death in 1635: after bequeathing his study of books' to his son-in-law Nash, he continues: 'As for my manuscriptes, I would have given them to Mr. Boles, if hee had been here; but forasmuch as hee is not heere present, yow may, son Nash, burne them, or doe with them what you please.' Nash, who was one of the witnesses to the will, had married Dr. Hall's only daughter nine years before.


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1 Hall, Select observations on English Bodies, trans. Cooke, See preface. 2 Halliwell-Phillipps, Outlines, ii. 61.

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