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WITH A MEMOIR, AND ESSAY ON HIS GENIUS,
Wм. S. ORR & CO., AMEN CORNER, PATERNOSTER ROW.
F the personal nistory of Shakspere-the greatest genius, beyond doubt or cavil, that ever the world produced-little now can with certainty be shewn. The registers of Stratford; his own Sonnets; a few casual references to him, in the writings or sayings of cotemporary authors; and all the sources from which materials for his life may be safely extracted, are reckoned up. The public of his time had no curiosity on the subject, or the writers of his time had no anxiety to collect or yield information, regarding him; and he himself-beyond, even,
"That last infirmity of noble minds,"
the desire of fame-did not think it worth while to place materials for his own-history on record; or, secure of such immortality as earth can bestow, was content that we should track him into the depths and recesses of his being, by the light of his genius alone. What he did, or thought, or suffered, in his own individual person, is now mere matter for ingenious conjecture. We are sure that his mind was vast, liberal, compassionate, generous;—that he saw human nature on every side, detecting it in its many masks and changes;—that he penetrated into the innermost mysteries of man; that
"From this bank and shoal of time"
his intellect soared upwards, and held commerce with the stars; with our dim "Hereafter;" and with worlds and agencies beyond our own; and knowing all this, our curiosity as to the possessor of faculties so varied and wonderful, and our consequent disappointment on being baffled at every point of inquiry, becomes proportionably great.
It is not the least singular of the causes which have cast obscurity upon the life of Shakspere, that so much public apathy should have existed amongst his cotemporaries.