TUESE couplets, with which all read- insatiable glorifiers ? None that we
ers of English poetry are familiar, fall know of. And yet we may venture
impressively on the ear in the stately to assert that all doubts are not even
versification of Samuel Johnson ; and yet cleared up, and that the mine is
we can readily imagine the effect they far from being exhausted. Age
must have produced when delivered cannot wither nor custom stale its in-
for the first time on the boards of finite variety.” The name of Shake-
Drury-lane Theatre, in 1747, accom- speare stands foremost in England's
panied by the fire of David Garrick's household vocabulary; and where
eye, and the energy of his expression. there is a hope of even a gleam of
But the sublime and the ridiculous additional light being thrown upon
sometimes tread closely on each other. the incidents of his life and the ema-
The image in the last line, however nations of his mind, a long vista of
grand in poetic elocution, becomes darkness may be braved in the
almost ludicrous when pictorially attempt.
embodied ; as may be seen in a vig- After all, who and what was William
nette engraving which embellishes Shakespeare? Start not, bewildered
the title-page of a mawkish and almost reader; and suspend your first natural
forgotten edition of the great drama- impulse to denounce the interroga-
tist, superintended by the Reverend tory as a monstrous platitude. It
Mr. Ayscough, in 1784.
is not so readily answered as apBut why inflict more last words on pears on the surface, and there are Shakespeare, and what can possibly sound reasons for putting it broadly be said or thought on the subject, and plainly, as also for others that beyond a weary repetition of what follow as corollaries. What was our has been uttered and written already Shakespeare's original calling or emin every imaginable form in which ployment ? To what vocation was language or ideas can convey them- he bred ? Where did he live for selves? Have any discoveries come several years after he first left Stratto light since yesterday? Have ver- ford ? To what countries did he acious documents been grubbed up travel, what was the extent of his from mouldering archives? Or are scholastic learning, and what the imthere more elaborate forgeries forth- mediate cause of his somewhat sudden coming to stimulate and astound and early death | The latter event,
VOL. LXI.-NO. CCCLXI.