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as to the cause of Shakspeare's death. Unfortunately, it does not commence until the year 1617.
NOTE 20. Page 73.
An exception ought perhaps to be made for Sir Walter Scott and for Cervantes; but with regard to all other writers, Dante, suppose, or Ariosto amongst Italians, Camoens amongst those of Portugal, Schiller amongst Germans, however ably they may have been naturalized in foreign languages, as all of those here mentioned (excepting only Ariosto) have in one part of their works been most powerfully naturalized in English, it still remains true, (and the very sale of the books is proof sufficient,) that an alien author never does take root in the general sympathies out of his own country; he takes his station in libraries, he is read by the man of learned leisure, he is known and valued by the refined and the elegant, but he is not (what Shakspeare is for Germany and America) in any proper sense a popular favorite.
NOTE 21. Page 74.
It will occur to many readers, that perhaps Homer may furnish the sole exception to this sweeping assertion. Any but Homer is clearly and ludicrously below the level of the competition; but even Homer, with his tail on,' (as the Scottish Highlanders say of their chieftains when belted by their ceremonial retinues,) musters nothing like the force which already follows Shakspeare; and be it remembered, that Homer sleeps and has long slept as a subject of criticism or commentary, while in Germany as well as England, and now even in France, the gathering of wits to the vast equipage of Shakspeare is advancing in an accelerated ratio. There is, in fact, a great delusion current upon this subject. Innumerable references to Homer, and brief critical remarks on this or that pretension of Homer, this or that scene, this or that passage, lie scattered over literature ancient and modern; but the express works dedicated to the separate service of Homer are, after all, not many. In Greek we have only the large Commentary of Eustathius, and the Scholia of Didymus, &c.; in French little or nothing before the prose translation of the seventeenth century, which Pope esteemed elegant,' and the skirmishings of Madame Dacier, La Motte, &c.; in English, be
sides the various translations and their prefaces, (which, by the way, began as early as 1555,) nothing of much importance until the elaborate preface of Pope to the Iliad, and his elaborate postscript to the Odyssey — nothing certainly before that, and very little indeed since that, except Wood's Essay on the Life and Genius of Homer. On the other hand, of the books written in illustration or investigation of Shakspeare, a very considerablə library might be formed in England, and another in Germany.
NOTE 22. Page 76.
Apartment is here used, as the reader will observe, in its true and continental acceptation, as a division or compartment of a house including many rooms; a suite of chambers, but a suite which is partitioned off, (as in palaces,) not a single chamber; a sense so commonly and so erroneously given to this word in England.
NOTE 23. Page 78.
And hence, by parity of reason, under the opposite circumstances, under the circumstances which, instead of abolishing, most emphatically drew forth the sexual distinctions, viz., in the comic aspects of social intercourse, the reason that we see no women on the Greek stage; the Greek Comedy, unless when it affects the extravagant fun of farce, rejects women.
NOTE 24. Page 81.
It may be thought, however, by some readers, that Eschylus, in his fine phantom of Darius, has approached the English ghost. As a foreign ghost we would wish (and we are sure that our excellent readers would wish) to show every courtesy and attention to this apparition of Darius. It has the advantage of being royal, an advantage which it shares with the ghost of the royal Dane. Yet how different, how removed by a total world, from that or any of Shakspeare's ghosts! Take that of Banquo, for instance. How shadowy, how unreal, yet how real! Darius is a mere state ghost a diplomatic ghost. But Banquo- he exists only for Macbeth; the guests do not see him, yet how solemn, how real, how heart-searching he is.
NOTE 25. Page 82.
Caliban has not yet been thoroughly fathomed. For all Shakspeare's great creations are like works of nature, subjects of inexhaustible study. It was this character of whom Charles I. and some of his ministers expressed such fervent admiration; and, among other circumstances, most justly they admired the new language almost with which he is endowed, for the purpose of expressing his fiendish and yet carnal thoughts of hatred to his master. Caliban is evidently not meant for scorn, but for abomination mixed with fear and partial respect. He is purposely brought into contrast with the drunken Trinculo and Stephano, with an advantageous result. He is much more intellectual than either, uses a more elevated language, not disfigured by vulgarisms, and is not liable to the low passion for plunder as they are. He is mortal, doubtless, as his dam' (for Shakspeare will not call her mother) Sycorax. But he inherits from her such qualities of power as a witch could be supposed to bequeath. He trembles indeed before Prospero; but that is, as we are to understand, through the moral superiority of Prospero in Christian wisdom; for when he finds himself in the presence of dissolute and unprincipled men, he rises at once into the dignity of intellectual power.
ALEXANDER POPE, the most brilliant of all wits who have at any period applied themselves to the poetic treatment of human manners, to the selecting from the play of human character what is picturesque, or the arresting what is fugitive, was born in the city of London on the 21st1 day of May, in the memorable year 1688; about six months, therefore, before the landing of the Prince of Orange, and the opening of the great revolution which gave the final ratification to all previous revolutions of that tempestuous century. By the city' of London the reader is to understand us as speaking with technical accuracy of that district, which lies within the ancient walls and the jurisdiction of the lord mayor. The parents of Pope, there is good reason to think, were of 'gentle blood,' which is the expression of the poet himself when describing them in verse. His mother was so undoubtedly; and her illustrious son, in speaking of her to Lord Harvey, at a time when any exaggeration was open to an easy refutation, and writing in a spirit most likely to provoke it, does not scruple to say, with a tone of dignified haughtiness not unbecoming the situation of a filial champion on behalf of an insulted mother, that by birth and descent she was not below that young lady, (one of the two beautifu. Miss Lepels,) whom his
lordship had selected from all the choir of court beauties as the future mother of his children. Of Pope's extraction and immediate lineage for a space of two generations we know enough. Beyond that we know little. Of this little a part is dubious; and what we are disposed to receive as not dubious, rests chiefly on his own authority. In the prologue to his Satires, having occasion to notice the lampooners of the times, who had represented his father as a mechanic, a hatter, a farmer, nay a bankrupt,' he feels himself called upon to state the truth about his parents; and naturally much more so at a time when the low scurrilities of these obscure libellers had been adopted, accredited, and diffused by persons so distinguished in all points of personal accomplishment and rank as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Lord Harvey: 'hard as thy heart,' was one of the lines in their joint pasquinade, hard as thy heart, and as thy birth obscure.' Accordingly he makes the following formal statement: Mr. Pope's father was of a gentleman's family in Oxfordshire, the head of which was the Earl of Downe. His mother was the daughter of William Turner, Esq., of York. She had three brothers, one of whom was killed; another died in the service of King Charles [meaning Charles I.] ; the eldest, following his fortunes, and becoming a general officer in Spain, left her what estate remained after the sequestrations and forfeitures of her family.' The sequestrations here spoken of were those inflicted by the commissioners for the parliament; and usually they levied a fifth, or even two fifths, according to the apparent delinquency of the parties. But in such cases two great differences arose in the treatment of