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has often no real connection with Shake | mate of Shakespeare's attainments are to speare at all: his favorite plan being to be looked for in various quarters which make an arbitrary change in the text by may be indicated at the outset. We have substituting some word or phrase, on the indirect evidence supplied by the which he can hang a string of classical learned allusions scattered through his quotations. And short of this extreme, dramas and the more direct evidence the subject was often treated by the last furnished by his earliest tragedy, “ Titus century editors in a somewhat unfruitful Andronicus,” and especially by his earliand tedious way. The vague verbal coin- est comedy,“ Love's Labor's Lost.” One cidences and farfetched allusions on the main object of the comedy being to satirstrength of which passages were often ize pedantry, to expose the tasteless dispronounced parallel, the minute but play of learning, the mere parade of scrappy and irrelevant learning of the scholastic technicalities, the writer must notes and annotations, are enough to in- obviously have had some personal knowlspire distaste of the whole subject. And edge of the thing paraded in order that it would not be surprising if ardent read the satire may be relevant and effective. ers in an access of impatience at the So far the evidence here is more vital and critics and zeal for the poet should re- direct than that afforded by incidental alsolve to confine themselves to the text lusions to the mythology and legendary without note or comment of any kind. history of Greece and Rome. ShakeIndeed, this result has already been speare's genius seems first, as Coleridge reached by at least one earnest stúdent of suggests, to have dealt with the familiar Shakespeare. Mr. Harold Littledale, in elements of his own recent experience, his introduction to the Shakespeare So- before going further afield to find in the ciety's edition of " The Two Noble Kins- wider world of home and foreign literature
expresses this feeling as follows: fitting subjects for its more arduous ma“Let us have various readings to any ex- ture and complex efforts. tent, and a carefully prepared text, but In connection with this comes another why must the wretched student of modern important source whence materials for Shakespeare go wading through a vast judgment may be derived — the probable quagmire of critical opinion and confuta- course of instruction in Stratford Gramtion, before he is allowed to catch a mar School during the years when Shakeglimpse of the pure Shakespeare stream, speare was a pupil there. I will deal with as it gleams faintly and far out over the this point first, as its exposition may help tangled mazes of this dismal editorial to connect and illustrate the scattered swamp ?"
However natural this feeling and fragmentary evidence derived from an may be, it would not be easy to act on it examination of his writings. Whatever just now, when, amidst the multiplication differences of opinion may exist as to the of Shakespeare Societies and the revival actual extent of Shakespeare's classical of different schools of Shakespearian crit- knowledge, there can be no doubt that icism most of the old questions are being he had a very fair education ; and it is reconsidered with a thoroughness that almost equally, certain that he must half atones for the almost inevitable have obtained it in the grammar school minuteness and prolixity of such discus- of his native town. About the date sions. The question of Shakespeare's at which, according to the custom of learning may, I think, fairly be reconsid- the time, he would naturally be sent to ered with the rest. For, although this school, his father, Master John Shakeparticular sheaf of the great harvest has speare, was not only a prosperous burbeen, like so many others, pretty fully gess, but the chief magistrate of Stratthrashed out, there are still a few golden ford, and we may be sure that he, as grains remaining which it may be worth well as Shakespeare's gently-descended while to collect and preserve. This is mother, Mary Arden of the Ashbies, the object of the present paper. I pur- would be most anxious that their eldest pose gathering together some indirect son should have the best education to be points of evidence bearing on the subject obtained in the locality. According to that have hitherto been overlooked. The an authority I shall presently quote, cleilquestion of Shakespeare's classical quota- dren were often sent to the petty school, tions is a larger one, and in dealing with or English side of the grammar school, it I hope to throw some further light on about the age of five, and after remainthe sources he employed as well as on his ing there two years entered the granimar method of using them.
school proper, and began the study of The materials for a trustworthy esti- | Latin at seven. If they completed the full course of instruction, they remained | amusing but desperate attempt on the till their fifteenth or sixteenth year, when part of academic critics to appropriate they left, prepared for commercial or pro- Shakespeare, to annex bim as it were to fessional life, or, in special cases, for a the academic interest. The real, though course of university study. We know perhaps hardly conscious, airn was to that, in consequence of the altered state show that Shakespeare, instead of being of his father's circumstances, Shake- as some supposed an illiterate comedian speare was withdrawn from school before and playwright, was a scholarly and he had completed the full term, and it respectable person, who might have been is usually assumed on tolerably, good admitted to dine in the hall of a college, grounds that he left in 1578, when he had and take part in the conversation of its just completed his fourteenth year. The learned members. In short, they claim question is, What did Shakespeare prob- for Shakespeare that he was worthy of ably learn during the six or seven years academic recognition, and they do this on he was a pupil in the grammar school of the narrow and technical grounds which his native town? In other words, What in their day were almost the only ones was the course of instruction in a provin- that would have been generally recog. cial grammar school like that of Stratford-nized as relevant and valid. Upton, who upon-Avon in the second half of the six- was prebendary of Rochester, virtually teenth century ? This question has re- confesses this in the motto prefixed to cently been raised by Mr. Furnivall in his his “Critical Observations: zeal to find out all that can be known
Ne forte pudori about Shakespeare. Mr. Lupton's reply
Sit tibi Musa lyræ solers, et cantor Apollo. to Mr. Furnivall's inquiry as to what Shakespeare probably learned at school But the zeal of these academic apologists contains some valuable notes of the old completely outran all critical discretion. grammar school curriculum, derived from Their method of proof was simply that of charters and foundation deeds, and some assuming that wherever Shakespeare reuseful hints as to the directions in which ferred to the incidents of mythological further information might in all likelihood fable or heroic story, he must have gained be obtained. These hints will probably his knowledge of them, at first hand, from be turned to good account by some of the classical sources. Allusions to the huntmany enthusiastic volunteers who are now ing expedition of Dido and Aeneas, or to happily engaged in exploring the obscure the desertion of the queen by the pious and difficult questions connected with hero, were held to prove Shakespeare's Shakespeare's history and work. familiarity with Virgil. If he speaks of
Meanwhile, as a help towards the fur- “ Jove in a thatched house,” he must have ther elucidation of the subject, I may read the fable of Baucis and Philemon, in put together some notes of my own the “ Metamorphoses ” of Ovid ; while an made before the New Shakespeare So- allusion to “Circe's cup was supposed ciety had started into existence. It is to show his acquaintance with the "Odysperhaps appropriate that the question sey." The refutation of these extreme should be rediscussed in these pages, as positions was comparatively easy, but by far the best things ever said on the Farmer, not satisfied with showing how learning of Shakespeare appeared in baseless they were, went much further. Fraser's Magasine forty years ago. In He virtually maintained that, as Shakethree papers, marked by his well-known speare might have obtained his classical learning and literary power, Dr. Maginn knowledge from English sources, and in pierced the pedantic and inflated " Es- many cases really did so, he must have say." of Farmer into hopeless collapse. been ignorant of the originals and incapaIn his own day. it is true this once cele- ble of making any use of them. brated essay did some good by abating remembered,” says Farmer, perhaps the extravagant claims on behalf of enough of his schoolboy learning to put Shakespeare's scholarship made by Up- the hig, hag, hog into the mouth of Sir ton, Whalley, and others. They tried to Hugh Evans, and might pick up, in the show that Shakespeare was, like Ben writers of the time or the course of his Jonson, a regularly-built scholar, as fa- conversation, a familiar phrase or two of miliar with the Greek dramatists, and as French and Italian, but his studies were well read in the chief monuments of clas- most demonstratively confined to nature sical literature, as though he had gone and his own language.” Dr. Maginn lias through a distinguished university course. abundantly exposed the illogical character Their ingenious labors were indeed an land false conclusions of Farmer's reason
ing on the subject. His position is in- | ters and schollars : only according to our deed as extreme on one side as that of common grammar and ordinary classical the critics he attacked is on the other. authours » sufficiently illustrates the As we shall presently see, the truth prob- main design of the treatise. The “ Ludus ably lies between the rival contentions. Literarius” is an acute and interesting Shakespeare was neither so learned as work, full of illustrations of the actual the early critics assumed, nor so ignorant teaching in the grammar schools of the as the later tried to demonstrate. As time, as well as of fruitful suggestions for an acute writer humorously expresses it: its improvement. Brinsley was not only
Although the alleged imitation of the an accomplished scholar and critic, but á Greek tragedians is mere nonsense, yet born teacher, with genuine enthusiasm there is clear evidence that Shakespeare for the work and having ideas as to more received the ordinary grammar school simple and efficient methods of teaching education of his time, and that he had far in advance of his own day, if not of derived from the pain and suffering of ours. He belonged to a band of educaseveral years, not exactly an acquaintance tional reformers, including, among others, with Greek or Latin, but, like Eton boys, Mulcaster, Drury, Coote, and Farnaby, a firm conviction that there are such lan- who, against the dominant influence of guages.”
usage and tradition, strove to give more This settlement of the question, though directness, vitality, and power to the delightfully brief and pointed, and per- school-teaching of their day. Their zeal, haps not very far from the truth, is never- as represented by Brinsley, was thoroughtheless somewhat too summary for the ly patriotic, if not imperial in its scope purpose in hand. We must try to ascer- and aim. In dedicating his translation tain, if possible, what the ordinary gram- of Ovid to Lord Denny, he says that he mar-school education of Shakespeare's intended it time actually was, so as to answer, in some detail, the question as to what he Ireland and Wales, of the good whereof we
chiefly for the poore ignorant Countries of would be likely to learn during the six or ought to be carefull as well as of our oune : seven years' training in his native town. unto which I have principally bent my thoughts For this purpose, Carlisle's “. Description in all my grammatical translations of our inof the Endowed Grammar Schools of En- ferior classical Schoole-authors. For that as gland and Wales" is no doubt useful, in all such places [English schools before re. though after some examination, I may
ferred to] so especially in those barbarous say, not so useful as might have been ex- countries, the hope of the Church of God is to pected. It supplies, as Mr. Lupton says: by reducing them first into civility through the
come primarily out of the Grammar Schooles, materials for answering the question; but these are hardly the best available, being among them in every quarter ; whereby their
means of schooles of good learning planted for the most part too vague and general savage and wilde conditions may be changed to be of special value. The deeds of into true learning, according to the right judg. founders, the school statutes and ordinan- ment of our poet, which the experience of all ces, while describing, in general terms, ages hath confirmed. the kind of education to be given, rarely descend to particulars as to the actual benefit of Brinsley's labors extended so
Though it may be doubted whether the curriculum of school teaching. They do
far, the very excellent school-books he not enable us to realize with sufficient produced were fully appreciated, and did distinctness the different grades of progress, the forms into which the schools good service in England. These, in com
mon with his more general work on were commonly divided, and the books that a boy would usually read in making knowledge.* How completely Brinsley
teaching, have long since fallen out of his way from the lowest to the highest
. is forgotten, indeed, is shown by the fact I shall endeavor to throw some light on that in such standard works as Watt's these points, by means of two works, “ Bibliotheca” and Allibone's “Critical once widely known, but now forgotten. Dictionary of English Literature” the The older of these is the “ Ludus Lite- father is confounded with the son, a rarius, or Grammar Schoole,” of John learned Presbyterian divine who, after Brinsley, published in the year 1612. having attained distinction in the Church, The expanded title: "Shewing how to
was ejected from it by the Act of Uniproceede from the first entrance into learning, to the highest perfection re
* Mr. Furnivall gives some extracts from Brinsley in quired in the grammar schooles, with his introduction to The Babees Book," published by ease, certainty, and delight both to mas- the Early English Text Society in 1868.
formity in 1662. Both Watt and Allibone From the dates given above it will be say that John Brinsley was born in 1600, seen that Brinsley was a contemporary and published his “ Ludus Literarius" of Shakespeare, and that his most active in 1612. One might have supposed that years as head-master run parallel with the mere juxtaposition of the dates would the most important and productive pehave excited suspicion and led to in riod of Shakespeare's dramatic career. quiry; but in many cases the perpetua. His account, therefore, of the grammartion of a tolerably obvious error seems school teaching of the time is of the much easier than its correction.* As a nature of contemporary evidence. The matter of fact, about the date of his second volume, whose contents bear on alleged birth (1601) Brinsley was ap- the inquiry, is of somewhat later date, pointed master of the grammar school of although, as we shall presently see, it Ashby.de-la-Zouche, where he remained supplies indirectly valuable evidence as teaching with eminent success for sixteen to the state of school-teaching in Shakeyears. Before his appointment, he had speare's day. This work is “A New married a sister of the well-known Dr. Discovery of the old Art of Teaching Joseph Hall, afterwards bishop succes- Schoole: in four small Treatises ; consively of Exeter and Norwich. "Hall was cerning, A Petty School, The Usher's a native of Ashby, his father being local Duty, The Master's Method, and Scho factor for the Earl of Huntingdon, whose lastick Discipline: Shewing how Chilchief seat was in the neighborhood. As dren in their playing years may. GramBrinsley had married before his appoint- matically attain to a firm groundedness ment to the head-mastership, it seems in an exercise of the Latine and Greek probable that he had some previous con- Tongues.” The author, Charles Hoole, nection with the school, possibly while it was a successful and celebrated schoolwas under the management of Hall him- master in the first half of the seventeenth self, who seems to have acted as master century. He was born at Wakefield in for a year or two in the last decade of 1610, and educated in the grammar school the century. However this may be, the of his native town. Like Brinsley, Hoole future bishop took an active interest in was connected with an eminent churchhis brother-in-law's affairs. He writes a man and divine who subsequently rose commendatory preface to his “Ludus to the episcopal bench — Dr. Robert SanLiterarius," in which he says that the derson, the well-known casuist and loginew methods of teaching recommended cian. The bishop's guiding and helping in the work are not “meere speculation, hand was of great service to Hoole at whose promises are commonly as large the outset of life as well as in his subas the performance defective; but such sequent career. We are told that, “by as to the knowledge of my selfe and manie the advice of his kinsman, Dr. Robert abler judges, have been, and are daily an- Sanderson, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln, swered in his experience, and practice he was sent to Lincoln College, Oxford, with more than usual successe." Hall where he became proficient in languages also sent his nephew, young Brinsley, to and philosophy.” The bishop was a na. Cambridge; and at the end of his college tive of Rotherham, educated in the gramcourse took him abroad as private secre- mar school of the town; and it seems tary, when in 1618 he attended the Synod to have been through his influence that of Dort on behalf of the English Church. young Hoole, soon after leaving Oxford, The elder Brinsley appears to have been was appointed head-master of the school. fortunate in gaining the friendship of sev. Here he commenced his reforms, and eral gentlemen of local eminence, includ- drew up his first sketch of the “Iming Sir George Hastings, brother of the proved Scheme of Teaching. The gramEarl of Huntingdon, to whom his transla- mar school of Rotherham is of special tion of Virgil's “ Eclogues” is dedicated, interest from its close resemblance in hisand Lord Denny, to whom in the same tory and general features to the grammar way he dedicated his version of Ovid. school of Stratford - upon-Avon. Both
were pre-Reformation schools, founded * This confusion extends to Wood, if indeed it did not originate with him. In the “Athene O.xonienses" and endowed about the same time by Wood speaks of "that noted grammarian John Brins- churchmen who were natives of the reley, sometime a schoolinaster, and minister in Great said however that it was the son and not the father who ism and zeal for learning looked beyond Yarmouth in Norfolk an. 1636."" It need scarcely be spective towns, and whose local patriot. was minister at Great Yarmouth. The mistake remains the mere ecclesiastical horizon. Both uncorrected in Bliss's critical edition of Wood. Indeed the editor adds to the confusion by attributing some of schools were, however, connected with the son's theological writings to the father.
ecclesiastical foundations, that of Rother
ham with the Collegiate Charge in the cis West, who had been Clerk to his Uncle, town, and that of Stratford with the Guild would declaime against the injury done to that of the Holy Cross. In each case this Schoole, which indeed (as he said) ought still ecclesiastical connection was the cause of to have been kept in the Colledge, and how,
when I was a Schoole-master there, he gave their temporary ruin, the schools having fallen at the Reformation with the religious some rentalls of Lands, and told me where
me a copy of the Foundation, and showed me houses to which they were attached. The
many Deeds and Evidences belonging thereto case of Rotherham was peculiarly hard, as were then concealed, and other remarkable it seems to have been suppressed by sheer passages, which he was loth to have buried in violence, without even the usual pretexts silence. of royal mandate or legal authority of some kind. Its hard fate, and indeed, all distinct confirmed by Camden, who, in his brief
The main points in this account are knowledge of the pre-Reformation school reference to the town, says: have apparently fallen into oblivion. At least Carlisle, the highest authority on the From thence [Sheffield] Don, clad with history of our grammar schools, seems to alders, and other trees, goeth to Rotheram, know nothing of the earlier foundation, which glorieth in Thomas Rotheram sometime and gives the date of its restoration in Archbishop of Yorke, a wise man, bearing the the second half of the sixteenth century
name of the towne, beeing borne therein, and as that of the establishment of the school. and endowed there a Colledge with three
a singular benefactor thereunto, who founded It may be worth while, therefore, to ex- schooles in it to teach children Writing, Gramtract Hoole's pathetic lament over its vio- mar, and Musicke, which the greedy iniquity lent suppression, as the facts ought of these our times hath already swallowed.* certainly to find a place in any new edition of Carlisle's valuable work.
It is perhaps hardly yet too late for those chapter devoted to the establishment and who are locally interested in the school to multiplication of good grammar schools, inquire into the early and persistent misHoole refers to the matter as follows:
appropriation of its property and funds.
The grammar school at Stratford was I might here bewayle the unhappy divertment of Jesus Colledge in Rotherham, in which suppressed in the usual way by royal Town, one Thomas Scot, alias Rotherham, mandate, but after being in abeyance for (a poor boy in Ecclesfield Parish), having had a few years it was restored by Edward his education, and being advanced to the Arch-VI., in the last year of his reign (1553). bishoprick of York, in the time of Edward the That of Rotherham was restored some fourth, did out of love to his country and grat- years later, mainly it would seem through itude to the Towne, erect a Colledge as a local effort. They were restored, of Schoole for a Provost who was to be a Divine, course, as Protestant foundations, and in and to preach at Ecclesfield, Laxton, and their constitution and management folother places where the Colledge demeans lay, lowed the lines laid down for the numerand three Fellows, whereof one was to teach Grammar, another Musick, and the third ous grammar schools. established in the Writing, besides a number of Scholars, for second half of the great Reformation some of whom he also provided Fellowships century. What these lines were, so far in Lincolne Colledge in Oxford. But in the as the course of instruction is concerned, time of Henry the eighth, the Earl of Showes we know perfectly in the case of Rotherbury (who, as I have heard, was the first Lord ham, as Hoole gives in detail the forms that gave his vote for demolishing of Abbies), into which the school was divided, and having obtained Roughford Abbey in Notting the books that were used in each up to hamshire, to the Prior whereof the Lordship the time when he became head-master. of the Town of Rotherham belonged, took ad. And the schools of Rotherham and Stratvantage also to sweep away the reveneues of ford being alike in their general character, Rotherham Colledge (which, according to a
conclude with tolerable certainty rentall that I have seen, amounted to about $2,000 per annum). And after a while, hay. that what was true of the one, in this ing engratiated himself with some Townsmen respect, would also be true of the other. and Gentlemen there about by erecting a Hoole's New Discovery,” it is true, was Cock-pit, he removed the Schoole out of the not published till 1659, but, as the titleColledge into a sorry, house before the gate, page states, it was written twenty-three leaving it destitute of any allowance, till Mr. years earlier, and had been in private use, West (that writ the Presidents) in the time of and become tolerably well known before Queen Elizabeth, and when Mr. Snell was Schoolmaster, obtained a yearly salary of ten pounds per annum, which is since paid out of it will be remembered, in “ Richard 111.," and in the
• Thomas Rotherham, Archbishop of York, appears, the Exchequer by the auditor of accounts. I crisis of their fate attempts to shelter 'the unhappy emember how often and earnestly Mr. Fran. 1 queen and princes from the coming storm.