Page images
[blocks in formation]
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]


that have of William appointing terest as to 1 details of red with his bitious and his aids and Lion, and his Historically,

on of the mueral mind,of civilization. a point of his to the flaw in le story of his ties of Paradise To the gossip, of can attach to a Whence, then, ing may be due will occasionally he supervention of ion of the old drama, ; but I know not to a nobler cause

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

HE scantiness of the notices that have come down to us of the life of William Shakespeare is perhaps as disappointing to a rational and grateful interest as to trivial curiosity. The personal details of a great man, whether apart from or compared with his works, are often inquired after by the ambitious and emulative, who would study the sources of his aids and obstructions, the process of his self-education, and his bearing, as either defeated or successful. Historically, the same details furnish many an elucidation of the mutual reactions of the individual and the general mind,of the development of art and the epochs of civilization. The mental theorist also views them from a point of his own, and thinks he is guided, it may be, to the flaw in the so-called philosophy of Bacon by the story of his moral lapse, or finds the great originalities of Paradise Lost embodied in the life of Milton. To the gossip, of course, every detail is welcome that he can attach to a name that always will attract a listener. Whence, then, the scantiness complained of? Something may be due to accidents of times and persons that will occasionally countervail all general tendencies; to the supervention of the civil war; the puritanical suppression of the old drama, and its altered character on revival; but I know not whether more is not to be ascribed to a nobler cause

« PreviousContinue »