be inferred that the demand for re-impressions of Adonis would be frequent ; and this was, indeed, t year following the publication of the editio princeps, conclude that the second impression was printe appears again entered in the Stationers' books o 1594, by Harrison,

Harrison, sen. ; unless this entry! to the edition of 1596, which was printed in sı Field, for John Harrison. * Of the subsea published, in 1600, by John Harrison, in i 1602, and, in 1607, the Venus and Ador burgh, 66 which must be considered,” r. indubitable proof, that at a very early admired the genius of Shakspeare.” has the same motto as in the origir Phoenix in the midst of flames, Printed by John Wreittoun, are beneath the Salt Trone. 1607."

It is highly probable, that h copy, and the year 1617, the d vening impression may hay should be noticed, is enters rett, Feb. 16. 1616; and t' 1619, preparatory perhar

ud and In 1630, another re-prir 1640, and in the variou

ivity 66 in the The same favoura! progress of the Ver

and done which our author 1

ing dew, in quarto, in 159

L'r'ur of the sun !
wweld ere begun." + Stanza iv.

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We must not omit also the first clause of the sixteenth stanza, which affords an admirable example of spirited and harmonious rhythm. Tarquin in addressing Lucrece :

6 He stories to her ears her husband's fame,

Won in the fields of fruitful Italy;
And decks with praises Collatine's high name;

Made glorious by his manly chivalry,
With bruised arms and wreaths of victory."

One of the peculiar excellences of the Rape of Lucrece, is its frequent expression of correct sentiment in pointed language and emphatic verse. Tarquin, soliloquising on the crime which he is about to commit, thus gives vent to the agonies of momentary contrition :

“ Fair torch, burn out thy light, and lend it not

To darken her whose light excelleth thine !
And die unhallow'd thoughts, before you blot
With your uncleanness that which is divine !

O shame to knighthood and to shining arms !
O foul dishonour to my houshold's grave !
O impious act, including all foul harms !
A martial man to be soft fancy's slave!

What win I, if I gain the thing I seek ?
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy!
Who buys a minute's mirth, to wail a week?
Or sells eternity, to get a toy?”

The same terseness of diction and concinnity of versification appear in the subsequent lines :

“ Then for thy husband's and thy children's sake,

Tender my suit: bequeath not to their lot
The shame that from them no device can take,
The blemish that will never be forgot.”

It may, likewise, be added, that simplicity and strength in the modulation, together with a forcible plainness of phraseology, characterise a few stanzas, of which one shall be given as an instance:

F 2

) reuk me how to make mine own excuse !
Or, at the least, this refuge let me find;
Though my grows blood be stain’d with this abuse,
Immaculate and spotless is my mind;
That was not forc'd; that never was inclin'd

To accessary yieldings — but, still pure,
Doth in her poison’d closet yet endure.”

To these short examples, which are selected for the purpose of showing, not only the occasional felicity of the poet in the mechanism of his verse, but the uncommon and unapprehended worth of what this mechanism is the vehicle, we shall subjoin three passages of greater length, illustrative of what this early production of our author's Muse can exhibit in the three great departments of the descriptive, the pathetic, and the morally sublime.

Lucrece, in the paroxysms of her grief, is represented as telling her mournful story

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But like a constant and confirmed devil,
He entertain'd a show so seeming just,
And therein so ensconc'd his secret evil,
That jealousy itself could not mistrust —

The well-skill'd workman this mild image drew
For perjur'd Sinon."

This is a picture, of which the colouring, but too often overcharged in every other part of the poem, may be pronounced chaste and


A simple and unaffected flow of thought, expressed in diction of equal purity and plainness, are essential requisites towards the

production of the pathetic, either in poetry or prose; and, unfortunately, in the Rape of Lucrece, these excellences, especially in their combined state, are of very rare occurrence. We are not, however, totally destitute of passages which, by their tenderness and simplicity, appeal to the heart. Thus the complete wretchedness of Lucretia is powerfully and simply painted in the following lines :

“ The little birds that tune their morning's joy,

Make her moans mad with their sweet melody.
For mirth doth search the bottom of annoy;
Sad souls are slain in merry company;
Grief best is pleas'd with grief's society:

True sorrow then is feelingly suffic'd,
When with like semblance it is sympathiz’d.”

She, accordingly, invokes the melancholy nightingale, and invites her, from similarity of fate, to be her companion in distress :

“ And for, poor bird, thou sing'st not in the day,

As shaming any eye should thee behold,
Some dark deep desert, seated from the way,
That knows nor parching heat nor freezing cold,
Will we find out; and there we will unfold

To creatures stern sad tunes, to change their kinds:
Since men prove beasts, let beasts bear gentle minds."

Shakspeare has here,” says Mr. Malone, in a note on the first of these stanzas, “as in all his writings, shown an intimate acquaintance

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with the human heart. Every one that has felt the pressure of grief will readily acknowledge that mirth doth search the bottom of annoy.'

The last specimen which we shall select from this poem, would alone preserve

it from oblivion, were it necessary to protect from such a fate any work which bears the mighty name of Shakspeare. Indeed, whether we consider this extract in relation to its diction, its metre, its sentiment, or the sublimity of its close, it is alike calculated to excite our admiration:

“ Unruly blasts wait on the tender spring;

Unwholesome weeds take root with precious flowers;
The adder hisses where the sweet birds sing;
What virtue breeds, iniquity devours :
We have no good that we can say is ours,

But ill-annexed opportunity
Or kills his life, or else his quality.

O, Gpportunity! thy guilt is great:
'Tis thou that execut'st the traitor's treason;
Thou set'st the wolf where he the lamb may get;
Whoever plots the sin, thou point’st the season;
'Tis thou that spurn’st at right, at law, at reason ;

And in thy shady cell, where none may spy him,
Sits Sin, to seize the souls that wander by him.”

We have already seen, that, in the passages quoted from contemporary writers in favour of Venus and Adonis, the Rape of Lucrece has, with the exception of two instances, been honoured with equal notice and equal approbation. Here, therefore, it will only be necessary to add those notices in which the latter production is the exclusive object of praise.

Of these, the earliest † is to be found in the first edition


* Supplement, vol. i. p. 537. note.

+ Perhaps the opening stanza of the following scarce poem, entitled “ Epicedium. A funerall Song, upon the vertuous life and godly death of the right worshipfull the Lady Helen Branch;

Virtus sola manet, cætera cuncta ruunt. London, printed by Thomas Creed, 1594;" may allude to our author's Rape of Lucrece:

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