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prophet, in all-seeing wisdom a protecting spirit of a higher order, he yet lowered himself to mortals as if unconscious of his superiority, and was as open and unassuming as a child."*

That a temper of this description, and combined with such talents, should be the object of sincere and ardent friendship, can excite no surprise. "I loved the man,' says Jonson, with a noble burst of enthusiasm, "and do honour his memory on this side idolatry as much as any. He was, indeed, honest; and of an open and free nature;" and Rowe, repeating the uncontradicted rumour of times past, has told us," that every one, who had a true taste of merit, and could distinguish men, had generally a just value and esteem for him;" adding, "that his exceeding candour and good-nature must certainly have inclined all the gentler part of the world to love him."

No greater proof, indeed, can be given of the felicity of his temper, and the sweetness of his manners, than that all who addressed him, seem to have uniformly connected his name with the epithets worthy, gentle, or beloved; nor was he backward in returning this esteem, many of his sonnets indicating the warmth with which he cherished the remembrance of his friends. Thus the thirtieth opens with the following pensive retrospect:

"When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past,

I sigh

For precious friends hid in death's dateless night;"

and in the thirty-first he tenderly exclaims,―

"How many a holy and obsequious tear

Hath dear religious love stolen from mine eye,
As interest of the dead!"

Another very fascinating feature in the character of Shakspeare, was the almost constant cheerfulness and serenity of his mind: he was "verie good company," says Aubrey," and of a very ready, and pleasant, and smooth witt." In this, as Mr. Godwin has justly observed, he bore a striking resemblance to Chaucer, who was remarkable for the placidity and cheerfulness of his disposition; nor can there, probably, be a surer indication of that peace and sunshine of the soul which surpasses all other gifts, than this habitual tone of mind.

That Shakspeare was entitled to its possession from his moral virtues, we have already seen; and that, in a religious point of view, he had a claim to the enjoyment, the numerous passages in his works, which breathe a spirit of pious gratitude and devotional rapture, will sufficiently declare. In fact, upon the topic of religious, as upon that of ethic wisdom, no profane poet can furnish us with a greater number of just and luminous aphorisms; passages which dwell upon the heart and reach the soul, for they have issued from lips of fire, from conceptions worthy of a superior nature, from feelings solemn and unearthly.

To these observations on the disposition and moral character of Shakspeare, we must add a few remarks on the taste which he seems to have possessed, in an exquisite degree, for all the forms of beauty, whether resulting from nature or 'from art. No person can study his writings, indeed, without perceiving, that, throughout the vast range of being, whatever is lovely and harmonious, whatever is sweet in expression, or graceful in proportion, was constantly present to his mind; that

66 on every part,

In earth, or air, the meadow's purple stores,
The moon's mild radiance, or the virgin's forin,

Lectures on Dramatic Literature, vol. ii. p. 138.

"My gentle Shakspeare" is the language of Jonson, in his Poem to the memory of our bard: and see the Commendatory Poems Prefixed to our author's works.

Letters by Eminent persons. from the Bodleian Library, vol iii. p. 307.

§ Life of Chaucer, vol. iv. p. 175.

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Nor was he a less delighted worshipper of the imitative efforts of art. With what taste and enthusiasm he has spoken of the effects of music, has been already observed; but it remains to notice in what a sublime spirit of piety he refers this concord of sweet sounds, to its source in that transcript of Almighty, "the world's harmonious volume:

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"There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold'st,

But in his motion like an angel sings,

Still quiring to the young-eye'd cherubins:

Such harmony is in immortal souls;

But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay

Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it."

Of the beauties of painting and sculpture he appears to have had a keen and lively discernment. On Julio Romano, the most poetical, perhaps, of painters, he has pronounced, that "had he himself eternity, and could put breath into his work, he' would beguile Nature of her custom; and of his masterly appreciation of the art of sculpture, the following lines from the The Winter's Tale, where Paulina unveils to Leontes the supposed statue of Hermione, afford evidence beyond all praise :

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Still sleep mock'd death: behold; and say, 'tis well."—&c. Act v. sc. 3.

To the memory of a poet who, independent of the matchless talents which he has exhibited in his own peculiar province, had shown such proofs of his attachment to the sister arts, some tribute, from these departments of genius, might naturally be expected, and was certainly due. Nor was it long ere the debt of gratitude was paid; before the year 1623, a monument, containing a bust of the poet, had been erected in Stratford Church, immediately above the grave which inclosed his hallowed relics. The tradition of his native town is, that this bust was copied from a cast after nature. It is placed beneath an arch, and between two Corinthian columns of black marble, and represents the poet in a sitting posture, with a cushion spread before him, holding a pen in his right hand, whilst his left rests upon a scroll of paper. The entablature exhibits the arms of Shakspeare surmounted by a death's head, with an infantine form sitting on each side; that on the right supporting, in the same hand, a spade, and the figure on the left, whose eyes are closed, reposing its right hand on a skull, whilst the other holds an inverted torch.

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On a tablet below the cushion are engraved the two following inscriptions:

"Judicio Pylivm, genio Socratem, arte Maronem,

Terra tegit, popvlvs mæret, Olympys habet."

"Stay passenger, why goest thov by so fast,

Read, if thov canst, whom envious death hath plast
Within this monument, Shakspeare; with whome
Quick natvre dide; whose name doth deck ys tombe
Far more than cost; sieth all yt. he hath writt,
Leaves living art, bvt page to serve his witt.

Akenside's Pleasures of Imagination, book i.

Obiit Ano. Doi. 1616. Ætatis 53. Die 23. Ap."

Wheler's Guide to Stratford, p. 87 "If Shakspeare's and Lord Totness's tombs," says Mr. Wheler, were erected by one and the same artist, circumstances not at all improbable, it would not appear that he (Thomas Stanton, the Sculptor) had any want of skill in preserving a resemblance; for the monumental likeness of Lord Totness strongly resembles the capital paintings of him in Clopton House, and at Gorhambury, in Hertfordshire, as well as the engraving of him prefixed to his Hibernia Pacata,' a posthumous publication in 1633.”

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The arms on this monument, are,-Or, on a bend sable, a tilting spear of the first, point upwards, headed argent.-Crest, A falcon displayed argent, supporting a spear in pale or.-Vide Shakspeare's Works, p. xvi. Paris edition, 2 vol. 8 vo.

A flat stone which covers his grave, presents us with these singular lines, said to have been written by the bard himself, and which were probably suggested, as Mr. Malone has remarked, "by an apprehension that 'his' remains might share the same fate with those of the rest of his countrymen, and be added to the immense pile of human bones deposited in the charnel-house at Stratford:

"Good frend, for Jesvs sake forbeare
To digg the dvst encloased heare;
Blese be ye. man yt. spares thes stones,
And cvrst be he yt. moves my bones."

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"We view the monumental bust of Shakspeare," observes Mr. Britton, "as a family record; as a memorial raised by the affection and esteem of his relatives, to keep alive contemporary admiration, and to excite the glow of enthusiasm in posterity. This invaluable effigy' is attested by tradition, consecrated by time, and preserved in the inviolability of its own simplicity and sacred station. It was evidently executed immediately after the poet's decease; and probably under the superintendance of his son-in-law, Dr. Hall, and his daughter; the latter of whom, according to her epitaph, was witty above her sexe,' and therein like her father. Leonard Digges, in a poem, praising the works and worth of Shakspeare, and published within seven years after his death, speaks of the Stratford monument as a well-known object. Dugdale, in his Antiquities of Warwickshire,' 1656, gives a plate of the monument, but drawn and engraved in a truly tasteless and inaccurate style, and observes in the text, that the poet was famous, and thus entitled to such distinction. Langbaine, in his Account of English Dramatic Poets,' 1691, pronounces the Stratford bust Shakspeare's 'true effigies.' These are decided proofs of its antiquity; and we may safely conclude that it was intended to be a faithful portrait of the poet.—

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"The bust is the size of life; it is formed out of a block of soft stone, and was originally painted over in imitation of nature. The hands and face were of flesh colour, the eyes of a light hazle, and the hair and beard auburn; the doublet or coat was scarlet, and covered with a loose black gown, or tabard, without sleves; the upper part of the cushion was green, the under half crimson, and the tassels gilt." Such appear to have been the original features of this important, but neglected or insulted bust. After remaining in this state above one hundred and twenty years, Mr. John Ward, grandfather to Mrs. Siddons and Mr. Kemble, caused it to be repaired,' and the original colours preserved,† in 1748, from the profits of the representation of Othello. This was a generous, and apparently judicious act, and therefore very unlike the next alteration it was subjected to in 1793. In that year, Mr. Malone caused the bust to be covered over with one or more coats of white paint; and thus at once destroyed its original character, and greatly injured the expression of the face. Having absurdly characterized this expression for 'pertness,' and therefore differing from that placid composure and thoughtful gravity so perceptible in his original portrait, and his best prints,' Mr. M. could have few scruples about injuring or destroying it. In this very act, and in this line of comment, our zealous annotator has passed an irrevocable sentence on his own judgment. If the opinions of some of the best sculptors and painters of the metropolis are entitled to respect and confidence on such a subject, that of Mr. Malone is at once false and absurd. They justly remark, that the face indicates cheerfulness, good humour, suavity, benignity and intelligence. These characteristics are developed by the mouth and its muscles-by the cheeks-eye-brows-forehead-and skull; and hence they rationally infer, that the face is worked from nature." S

"Although the practice of painting statues and busts to imitate nature is repugnant to good taste, and must be stigmatized as vulgar and hostile to every principle of art, yet when an effigy is thus coloured and transmitted to us, as illustrative of a particular age or people, and as a record of fashion and costume, it becomes an interesting relic, and should be preserved with as much care as an Etruscan vase, or an early specimen of Raffael's painting; and the man who deliberately defaces or destroys either, will ever be regarded as a criminal in the high court of criticism and taste. From an absence of this feeling, many truly enrious, and, to us, important subjects have been destroyed. Among which is to be noticed a vast monumeat of antiquity on Marbrough Downs, in Wiltshire; and which, though once the most stupendous work of human labour and skill in Great Britain, is now nearly demolished. Britton.

Wheler's Guide, p. 90.

"Mr Wheler, in his interesting Topographical Vade Mecum, relating to Stratford, has given publicity to the following stanzas, which were written in the Album, at Stratford church, by one of the visitors to Shakspeare's tomb."

"Stranger, to whom this Monument is shown,

Invoke the Poet's curses on Malone;

Whose meddling zeal his barbarous taste displays.
And daubs his tomb-stone, as he marr'd his plays."

$" Britton's Remarks on the Monumental Bust of Shakspeare." These Remarks, which were published On April 23, 1816, "The Anniversary of the Birth and Death of Shakspeare, and the Second Centenary

With these observations, which seem the result of a just and discriminating judgment, we feel happy in coinciding; having had an opportunity, in the summer of 1815, of visiting this celebrated monument, for the purpose of gratifying what we conceive to be a laudable curiosity. When on the spot, we felt convinced, from the circumstances which have been preserved relative to the erection of this bust; from the period of life at which the poet died, and above all from the character, distinctness and expression of the features themselves, that this invaluable relique may be considered as a correct resemblance of our beloved bard.

That he was a handsome well-shaped man," we are expressly informed by Aubrey, and universal tradition has attributed to him cheerfulness and good temper. Now the Stratford effigy tells us all this, together with the character of his age, in language which cannot be mistaken; and it once superadded to the little which has been recorded of his person, what we have no doubt was accurately given by the original painter of his bust, the colour of his eyes and the beautiful auburn of his hair.

But it tells us still more; for the impress of that mighty mind which ranged at will through all the realms of nature and of fancy, and which, though incessantly employed in the personification of passion and of feeling, was ever great without effort, and at peace within itself, is visible in the exquisite harmony and symmetry of the whole head and countenance, which, not only in each separate feature, in the swell and expansion of the forehead, in the commanding sweep of the eye brow, in the undulating outline of the nose, and in the open sweetness of the lips, but in their combined and integral expression, breathe of him, of whom it may be said, in his own emphatic language, that

"We ne'er shall look upon his like again."

Very shortly after the erection of this monument, appeared the first folio edition of our author's plays, in the title-page of which, bearing the date of 1623, is found the earliest print of Shakspeare, an engraving by Martin Droeshout, with the following attestation of its verisimilitude from the pen of Ben Jonson :


"THIS figure that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakspeare cut;
Wherein the graver had a strife
With nature, to out-do the life.

O, could he but have drawn his wit,

As well in brass, as he hath hit

His face, the print would then surpass

All that was ever writ in brass;
But since he cannot, reader, look,
Not on his picture, but his book."

Between the wretched engraving, thus undeservedly eulogised, and the monumental bust at Stratford, there is certainly such a resemblance as to prove, that the assertion of Jonson with regard to its likeness, was not altogether without foundation; but, as Mr. Steevens has well remarked, "Shakspeare's countenance, deformed by Droeshout, resembles the sign of Sir Roger de Coverley, when it had been changed into a Saracen's head; on which occasion The Spectator observes, that the features of the gentle Knight were still apparent through the lineaments of the ferocious Mussulman."

There is, however, a much greater, nay, a very close and remarkable simili

after his Decease," are accompanied by an admirably executed Mezzotinto of Shakspeare from the Monumental Bust; engraved by William Ward, from a Painting by Thomas Phillips, Esq. R. A. after a Cast made from the original bust by George Bullock.

Mr. Britton had previously expressed a similar opinion of the merits and fidelity of this Bust, in some very ingenious and well-written "Remarks on the Life and Writings of Shakspeare," prefixed to an edition of the Poet's Plays, by Whittingham and Arliss.



tude, between the engraving, from the Felton Shakspeare, and the bust at Stratford. What basis Mr. Gilchrist may have had for his observation, that " Mr. Steevens failed in communicating to the public his confidence in the integrity of Mr. Felton's picture," we know not; numental effigy be deemed, as we think it ought to be, a proof of authenticity, but, if the most striking affinity to the mothis picture is entitled to our confidence: for whether we consider the general contour of the head, or the particular conformation of the forehead, eyes, nose, or mouth, the resemblance is complete; the only perceptible deviation being in the construction of the eye-brows, which, instead of forming nearly a perfect arch, as in the sculpture, have an horizontal direction, and are somewhat elevated towards the temples.

We have now reached the termination of a work, of which whatever shall be its reception with the public, even Diffidence itself may say, that it has been prosecuted with incessant labour and unwearied research; with an ardent desire to give it a title to acceptance, and with an anxiety, which has proved injurious to health, that it should be deemed not altogether unworthy of the bard whose name it bears.

It has also been a labour of love, and, though much indisposition has accompanied several of the years devoted to its construction, it is closed with a mingled sensation of gratitude, for what of health and strength has been spared to its author; of regret, in relinquishing, what, with all its concomitant anxieties, has been often productive of rational delight; and of hope, that, in the inevitable hour which is fast approaching, no portion of its pages shall suggest a thought, which can add poignancy to suffering, or bitterness to recollection.

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