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CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE.

1. Pericles, 2. Comedy of Errors, 3. Love's Labour's Lost, 4. King Henry the Sixth, Part I. 5. King Henry the Sixth, Part II. 6. Midsummer-Night's Dream, 7. Romeo and Juliet, 3. Taming of the Shrew, 9. Two Gentlemen of Verona, 10. King Richard the Third, 11. King Richard the Second, 12. King Henry the Fourth, Part I. 13. King Henry the Fourth, Part II. 14. The Merchant of Venice, 15. Hamlet, 16. King John, 17. All's Well That Ends Well, 18. King Henry the Fifth, 19. Much Ado About Nothing, 20. As You Like It, 21. Merry Wives of Windsor, 22. Troilus and Cressida, 23. King Henry the Eighth, 24. Timon of Athens, 25. Measure for Measure, 26. King Lear, 27. Cymbeline, 28. Macbeth, 29. Julius Cæsar, 30. Antony and Cleopatra

1590. 1591. 1591. 1592 1592. 1593. 1593. 1594. 1595. 1595. 1596. 1596. 1596. 1597. 1597. 1598. 1598. 1599. 1599. 1600. 1601. 1601. 1602. 1602. 1603. 1604. 1605. 1606. 1607. 1608.

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31. Coriolanus,
32. The Winter's Tale,
33. The Tempest,
34. Othello,
35. Twelfth Night,

1609. 1610. 1611. 1612. 1613.

1. PericLES, 1590. That the greater part, if not the whole, of this drama, was the composition of Shakspeare, and that it is to be considered as his earliest dramatic effort, are positions, of which the first has been rendered highly probable by the elaborate disquisitions of Messrs. Steevens and Malone, and may possibly be placed in a still cisarer point of view by a more condensed and lucid arrangement of the testimony already produced, and by a further discussion of the merits and peculiarities of the play itself; while the second will, we trust, receive additional support by inferences legitimately deduced from a comprehensive survey of scattered and hitherto insulated premises.

The evidence required for the establishment of a high degree of probability under the first of these positions necessarily divides itself into two parts; the external and the internal evidence. The former commences with the original edition of Pericles, which was entered on the Stationers' books by Edward Blount, one of the printers of the first folio edition of Shakspeare's plays, on the 20th of May *, 1608, , but did not pass the press until the subsequent year, when it was published, not, as might have been expected, by Blount, but by one Henry Gosson, who placed Shakspeare's name at full length in the title-page.

* “ 20th May, 1608. “ Edw. Blunt] Entered under thands of Sir Geo. Bucke, Kt. and Mr. Warden Seton, a book called: The booke of Pericles Prynce of Tyre.”

" A book by the like authoritie, called Anthony and Cleopatra." Chalmers's Supplemental Apology, pp. 488, 489. By a somewhat singular mistake, the second of May is mentioned by Mr. Malone, as the date of the entry of Pericles; vide Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xxi. p. 147.

As the entry,

It is worthy of remark, also, that this edition was entered at Stan tioners' Hall together with Antony and Cleopatra, and that it, and the three following editions, which were also in quarto, were styled in the title-page, the much admired play of Pericles. however, was by Blount, and the edition by Gosson, it is probable, as Mr. Malone has remarked, that the former had been anticipated by the latter, through the procurance of a play-house copy. It may also be added, that Pericles was performed at Shakspeare's own theatre, The Globe. The next ascription of this play to our author, is found in a poem entitled The Times Displayed in Six Sestyads, by S. Sheppard, 4to. 1646, dedicated to Philip Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, and containing, in the ninth stanza of the sixth Sestiad, a positive assertion of Shakspeare's property in this drama :

66 See him whose tragick sceans Euripides

Doth equal, and with Sophocles we may
Compare great Shakspear ; Aristophanes
Never like him his fancy could display,
Witness the Prince of Tyre, his Pericles." +

This high eulogium on Pericles received a direct contradiction very shortly afterwards from the pen of an obscure poet named Tatham, who bears, however, an equally strong testimony as to Shakspeare being the author of the piece, which he thus presumes to censure:

“ But Shakespeare, the plebeian driller, was

Founder'd in his Pericles, and must not pass.” I

To these testimonies in 1646 and 1652, full and unqualified, and made at no distant period from the death of the bard to whom they relate, we have to add the still more forcible and striking declaration

* Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xxi. p. 148. The four quarto editions of Pericles are dated, 1609, 1619, 1630, and 1635.

+ British Bibliographer, vol. i. p. 533.

# Verses by J. Tatham, prefixed to Richard Brome's Jovial Crew or the Merry Beggars, 4to. 1652.

of Drden, who tells us, in 1677, and in words as strong and as decisive as he could select, that

“ Shakspeare's own muse, his Pericles first bore."

The only drawback on this accumulation of external evidence is the omission of Pericles in the first edition of our author's works; à negative fact which can have little weight when we recollect, that both the memory and judgment of Heminge and Condell, the poet's editors, were so defective, that they had forgotten Troilus and Cressida, until the entire folio and the table of contents had been printed, and admitted Titus Andronicus, and the Historical Play of King Henry the Sixth, probably for no other reasons, than that the former had been, from its unmerited popularity, brought forward by Shakspeare on his own theatre, though, there is sufficient internal evidence to prove, without the addition of a single line; and because the latter, with a similar predilection of the lower orders in its favour, had, on that account, obtained a similar, though not a more laboured attention from our poet, and was therefore deemed by his editors, though very unnecessarily, a requisite introduction to the two plays on the reign of that monarch which Shakspeare had really new-modelled.

It cannot, consequently, be surprising that, as they had forgotten Troilus and Cressida until the folio had been printed, they should have also forgotten Pericles until the same folio had been in circulation, and when it was too late to correct the omission; an error which the second folio has, without doubt or examination, blindly copied,

If the external evidence in support of Shakspeare being the author of the greater part of this play be striking, the internal must be pronounced still more so, and, indeed, absolutely decisive of the question ; for, whether we consider the style and phraseology, or the

* Prologue to the tragedie of Circe, by Charles D'Avenant, 1677.

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