Drayton's “ Matilda, the faire and chaste Daughter of Lord Robert Fitzwater,” published in 1594, a few months, or probably weeks, after the appearance of the Rape of Lucrece. In this impression, and solely in this impression, the Heroine thus eulogises the composition of our bard:

“ Lucrece, of whom proud Rome hath boasted long,
Lately reviv'd to live another

And here arriv'd to tell of Tarquin's wrong,
Her chaste denial, and the tyrants rage,
Acting her passions on our stately stage,
She is remember'd, all forgetting me,
Yet I as fair and chaste as ere was she." *

The year following Drayton's Matilda, a work was printed in quarto, under the title of Polimanteia, in the margin of which Shakspeare's Lucrece is thus cursorily mentioned. “ All praise-worthy Lucretia, Sweet Shakspeare.” +

• You that to shew your wits, have taken toyle

In regist'ring the deeds of noble men;
And sought for matter in a forraine soyle,
As worthie subjects of

hie subjects of your silver pen,
Whom you have rais'd from darke oblivion's den.
You that have writ of chaste Lucretia,
Whose death was witnesse of her spotlesse life:
Or pen’d the praise of sad Cornelia,
Whose blamelesse name hath made her fame so rife,
As noble Pompey's most renoumed wife:

Hither unto your home direct your eies,
Whereas, unthought on, much more matter lies.”

Vide Brydges's Restituta, vol. iii. p. 297—299. * Malone's Supplement, vol. i. p. 575.

† “ Polimanteia, or The meanes lawfull and unlawfull, to judge of the fall of a Common-wealth, against the frivolous and foolish conjectures of this age. Whereunto is added, A letter from England to her three daughters, Cambridge, Oxford, Innes of Court, and to all the rest of her inhabitants, &c. &c. Printed by John Legate, Printer to the Universitie of Cambridge, 1595.

“ This work,” remarks Mr. Haslewood, “ is divided into three parts; the first, Polimanteia, is on the subtleties and unlawfulness of Divination, the second, an address from England to her three Daughters; and the third, England to her Inhabitants, concluding with the speeches of Religion and Loyalty to her children. Some researches have been

The next separate notice of this poem occurs in some verses prefixed to the second edition of “ Willobie his Avisa,” which appeared in 1596. They are subscribed Contraria Contrariis Vigilantius Dormitanus, and open

with the allusion to Shakspeare's Lucrece:

“ In lavine land though Livie boast,
There hath becne seene a constant dame;

Though Rome lament that she have lost
The garland of her rarest fame,

Yet now ye see that here is found
As great a faith in English ground.

Though Collatine have dearly bought
To high renowne a lasting life,
And found, that most in vaine have sought
To have a faire and constant wife,

Yet Tarquine pluckt his glistring grape,
And Shake-speare paintes poor Lucrece rape.”

To these contemporary notices, with the view of showing what was thought of the Rape of Lucrece half a century after its production, we shall subjoin the opinion of S. Sheppard, who, in “ The Times Displayed in Six Sestyuds,” printed in 1646, 4to., comparing Shakspeare with Euripides, Sophocles, and Aristophanes, adds

“ His sweet and bis to be admired lay

He wrote of lustful Tarquin's rape, shews he
Did understand the depth of poesie." +

The editions of the Rape of Lucrece were as numerous as those of the Venus and Adonis. “ In thirteen years after their first appear

made by a friend to ascertain the author's name, but without success. He was evidently a man of learning, and well acquainted with the works of contemporary writers, both foreign and domestic. The second part of his work is too interesting, from the names enumerated in the margin, not to be given entire. The mention of Shakspeare is two years earlier than Meres's Palladis Tamia, a circumstance that has escaped the research of all the Commentators; although a copy of the Polimanteia was possessed by Dr. Farmer, and the work is repeatedly mentioned by Oldys, in his manuscript notes on Langbaine.” British Bibliographer, vol. i. p. 274. * British Bibliographer, No. XIV. p. 247,

+ Ibid. No. V. p. 533.

[ocr errors]

ance," remarks Mr. Malone, “ six impressions of each of them were printed, while in the same period, his Romeo and Juliet, one of his most popular plays, passed only twice through the

press. Of the early re-impressions, those which are extant, are in small octavo, of the date 1596, 1598, 1600, 1607, 1616, 1624, 1632, &c. In the title of that which was published in 1616, occur the words newly revised and corrected. “ When this copy first came to my hands,” says Mr. Malone, “ it occurred to me, that our author had perhaps an intention of revising and publishing all his works, (which his fellow-comedians, in their preface to his plays, seem to hint he would have done, if he had lived,) and that he began with this early production of his muse, but was prevented by death from completing his scheme; for he died in the same year in which this corrected copy of Lucrece (as it is called) was printed. But on an attentive examination of this edition, I have not the least doubt that the piece was revised by some other hand. It is so far from being correct, that it is certainly the most inaccurate and corrupt of all the ancient copies.” +

To the Rape of Lucrece succeeds, in the order of publication, the PASSIONATE PILGRIM. This imperfect collection of our author's minor pieces was printed by W. Jaggard in 1599, in small octavo, and with the poet's name.

• Malone's Supplement, vol. i. p. 575.

+ Supplement, vol. i. p. 471. -- An edition of the Rape of Lucrece, with a supplement by John Quarles, was published about 1676; for at the end of a copy of Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, in my possession, printed in 1676, and the eighth edition, is a catalogue of books sold by Peter Parker, the proprietor of the above impression, among which occurs the following article :

“ The Rape of Lucrece committed by Tarquin the sixth, and remarkable judgements that befell him for it, by that incomparable Master of our English Poetry William Shakespeare Gentleman. Whereunto is annexed the Banishment of Tarquin or the reward of Lust, by John Quarles, 8vo.”

It is remarkable, that, at the commencement of the eighteenth century, our author's Venus and Adonis, and The Rape of Lucrece, were re-published as State Poems, though it would puzzle the most acute critic to discover, in either of them, the smallest allusion to the politics of their age. The work in which they are thus enrolled, and which betrays also the most complete ignorance of the era of their production, is entitled “STATE POEMS. - Poems on affairs of State from 1620 to 1707." London, 1709-7. 8vo. 4 vols.


riority of

66 the

W, in which year appeared his Canzonets. ********vol. i. pp. 710.715.

The next separate notice of this poem occurs in fixed to the second edition of - Willobie his Avis:

sonnets; in 1596. They are subscribed Contraria Contri

nts had, mitanus, and open with the allusion to Shaksp :

Orted in

halmers, " In lavine land though Livie boast, There hath beene seene a constant

stion of Though Rome lament that she h.

fourth, The garland of her rarest fame,

Yet see that here is
As great a faith in Englii

Though Collatine have

riginally To high renowne a las

Tides to And found, that most

ve been To have a faire and Yet Tarquine :

of writing a And Shake

wore the scheme of To these contemporary

: subsequent page, that the

ended for a dirge to be sung thought of the Rape of . shall subjoin the opin. played in Six Sesty:

zrly composition in the Passionate with Euripides, S

drawn from our author's allusion, us celebrated lutenist, and from a wiad commencing “ It was a lording's

poems, were set to music, which

manuscripts, was the composition of The c!!

low Dowland had obtained celebrity in the li

1597, when Bachelor of Music in both

cirst book of Songs or Airs, in four parts, Inv, who, there is reason to believe, was de

ver been in vogue, and continued to publish Livets printed his Wit's Treasury in 1598, it is

A close of the following passage, already quoted to vit. p. 105. Act iv. sc. 3.-- We have found reason, as will be Niis play to the year 1591.



for a different purpose, and which has been thought to refer exclusively to the “ Sonnets” afterwards published in 1609, particularly alluded also to the sonnets of the Passionate Pilgrim, which had been privately circulated and set to music by Dowland and Morley. “ As the soul of Euphorbus,” says he, is was thought to live in Pythagoras, so the sweet witty soul of Ovid lives in mellifluous and honey-tongued Shakspeare. Witness his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, his sugred Sonnets among his private friends, &c.”

It is remarkable that the year following this notice by Meres, appeared Jaggard's first edition of the Passionate Pilgrim. May we not conclude, therefore, that this encomium on the manuscript sonnets of Shakspeare, induced Jaggard to collect all the lyric poetry of our author which he could obtain through his own research and that of his friends, and to publish it surreptitiously with a title of his own manufacture? That it was not sent into the world under the direction, or even with the knowledge of Shakspeare, must be evident from the circumstance of Marlowe's madrigal, Come live with me, fc. being inserted in the collection; nor is it likely, setting this error aside, that Shakspeare, in his thirty-third year, at a time when he had written several plays including some dramatic.songs, and undoubtedly had produced a large portion of the sonnets which were given to the world in 1609, would have published a Collection so scanty and unconnected as the Passionate Pilgrim, which, independent of Marlowe's poem,

contains but twenty pieces. Indeed we are warranted in attributing not only the edition of 1599 solely to the officiousness of Jaggard, but likewise two subsequent impressions, of which the last furnishes us with some further curious proofs of this printer's skill in book-making, and also with an interesting anecdote relative to our bard.

The precise period when the second edition issued from the press was unknown to Mr. Malone *, and is not yet ascertained; but the

*.« I know not,” says this gentleman, "when the second edition was printed.” Reed's Shakspeare, 1803, vol. ii. p. 153.

G 2

« VorigeDoorgaan »