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THESE 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 infor the first time on the boards of finite variety." The name of ShakeDrury-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 emaThe 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, whoand 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 interrogatist, 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.