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they were both in with the publick at the time. they were written; but this is by the by; to ascertain that time, was the chief reason for inserting the quotation, and there we see it fix'd to twentyfive or thirty years prior to this Induction: now it is not neceffary, to fuppofe that Jonfon fpeaks in this place with exact precifion; but allowing that he does, the first of these periods carries us back to 1589, a date not very repugnant to what is afterwards advanc'd: Langbaine, in his Account of the English dramatick Poets, under the article-SHAKSPEARE, does exprefsly tell us,-that "Andronicus was first printed in 1594, quarto, and acted by the Earls of Derby, Pembroke, and Effex, their fervants;" and though the edition is not now to be met with, and he who mentions it be no exact writer, nor greatly to be rely'd on in many of his articles, yet in this which we have quoted he is so very particular that one can hardly withhold affent to it; efpecially, as this account of it's printing coincides well enough with Jonfon's æra of writing this play; to which therefore we fubfcribe, and go on upon that ground. The books of that time afford ftrange examples of the barbarism of the publick tafte both upon the ftage and elsewhere: a conceited one of John Lilly's fet the whole nation a madding; and, for a while, every pretender to politenefs" parl'd Euphuifm," as it was phras'd, and no writings would go down with them but fuch as were pen'd in that fantastical manner: the setter-up of this fashion try'd it also in comedy; but seems to have miscarry'd in that, and for this plain reafon: the people who govern theatres are, the middle and lower orders of the world; and thefe expected laughter in comedies, which this ftuff of Lilly's was incapable of exci

ting but fome other writers, who rofe exactly at that time, fucceeded better in certain tragical performances, though as outrageous to the full in their way, and as remote from nature, as thefe comick ones of Lilly; for falling in with that innate love of blood which has been often objected to British audiences, and choofing fables of horror which they made horrider ftill by their manner of handling them, they produc'd a fet of monfters that are not to be parallel'd in all the annals of play-writing; yet they were receiv'd with applaufe, and were the favourites of the publick for almoft ten years together ending at 1595: many plays of this ftamp, it is probable, have perifh'd; but thofe that are come down to us, are as follows;-" The Wars of Cyrus; Tamburlaine the Great, in two parts; The Spanish Tragedy, likewife in two parts; Soliman and Perfeda; and Selimus, a tragedy;"3 which whoever

3 No evidence has occur'd to prove exactly the time these plays were written, except that paffage of Jonfon's which relates to Jeronimo; but the editions we have read them in, are as follows: Tamburlaine in 1593; Selimus, and The Wars of Cyrus, in 1594; and Soliman and Perfeda, in 1599; the other without a date, but as early as the earliest: they are alfo without a name of author; nor has any book been met with to inftruct us in that particular, except only for Jeronimo; which we are told by Heywood, in his Apology for Actors, was written by Thomas Kyd; author, or tranflator rather, (for it is taken from the French of Robert Garnier,) of another play, intitl'd-Cornelia, printed likewife in 1594. Which of these extravagant plays had the honour to lead the way, we can't tell, but Jeronimo feems to have the best pretenfions to it; as Selimus has above all his other brethren, to bearing away the palm for blood and murther: this curious piece has thefe lines for a conclufion :

If this firft part Gentles, do like you well,

"The fecond part, fhall greater murthers tell."

but whether the audience had enough of it, or how it has happen'd we can't tell, but no fuch fecond part is to be found. All thefe plays were the conftant butt of the poets who came imme

has means of coming at, and can have patience to examine, will fee evident tokens of a fashion then prevailing, which occafion'd all these plays to be caft in the fame mold. Now, Shakspeare, whatever motives he might have in fome other parts of it, at this period of his life wrote certainly for profit; and feeing it was to be had in this way, (and this way only, perhaps,) he fell in with the current, and gave his forry auditors a piece to their tooth in this contefted play of Titus Andronicus ; which as it came out at the fame time with the plays above-mention'd, is most exactly like them in almost every particular; their very numbers, confifting all of ten fyllables with hardly any redundant, are copy'd by this Proteus, who could put on any shape that either ferv'd his interest or fuited his inclination: and this, we hope, is a fair and unforc'd way of accounting for " Andronicus;' and may convince the most prejudic'd—that Shakfpeare might be the writer of it; as he might also of Locrine which is afcrib'd to him, a ninth tragedy, in form and time agreeing perfectly with the others. But to conclude this article,-However he may be cenfur'd as rafh or ill-judging, the editor ventures to declare-that he himself wanted not the conviction of the foregoing argument to be fatisfy'd who the play belongs to; for though a work of imitation, and conforming itself to models truly execrable throughout, yet the genius of its author breaks forth in fome places, and, to the editor's eye, Shakspeare ftands confefs'd: the third act in particular may be read with admiration even


diately after them, and of Shakspeare amongft the reft; and by their ridicule the town at last was made fenfible of their ill judg ment, and the theatre was purg'd of these monsters.

by the most delicate; who, if they are not without feelings, may chance to find themselves touch'd by it with fuch paffions as tragedy fhould excite, that is-terror, and pity. The reader will please to obferve-that all thefe contefted plays are in the folio, which is dedicated to the poet's patrons and friends, the earls of Pembroke and Montgomery, by editors who are feemingly honeft men, and profefs themfelves dependant upon those noblemen; to whom therefore they would hardly have had the confidence to prefent forgeries, and pieces fuppofititious; in which too they were liable to be detected by those identical noble perfons themselves, as well as by a very great part of their other readers and auditors: which argument, though of no little strength in itfelf, we omitted to bring before, as having better (as we thought) and more forcible to offer; but it had behov'd thofe gentlemen who have queftion'd the plays to have got rid of it in the first instance, as it lies full in their way in the very entrance upon this difpute.

We fhall close this part of the Introduction with fome observations, that were referv'd for this place, upon that paragraph of the player editors' preface which is quoted at p. 330; and then taking this further liberty with the reader,-to call back his attention to fome particulars that concern the prefent edition, difmifs him to be entertain'd (as we hope) by a fort of appendix, confifting of those notes that have been mention'd, in which the true and undoubted originals of almost all the poet's fables are clearly pointed out. But firft of the preface. Befides the authenticity of all the several pieces that make up this collection, and their care in publishing them, both folemnly affirm'd in the paragraph refer'd to, we there find thefe honeft

editors acknowledging in terms equally folemn the author's right in his copies, and lamenting that he had not exercis'd that right by a publication of them during his life-time; and from the manner in which they exprefs themselves, we are ftrongly inclin❜d to think that he had really form'd fuch a defign, but towards his laft days, and too late to put it in execution: a collection of Jonfon's was at that instant in the prefs, and upon the point of coming forth; which might probably inspire such a thought into him and his companions, and produce conferences between them-about a fimilar publication from him, and the pieces that fhould compofe it, which the poet might make a lift of. It is true, this is only a fuppofition; but a fuppofition arifing naturally, as we think, from the incident that has been mention'd, and the expreffions of his fellow players and editors: and, if fuffer'd to pass for truth, here is a good and found reason for the exclufion of all those other plays that have been attributed to him upon fome grounds or other; he himself has profcrib'd them; and we cannot forbear hoping, that they will in no future time rife up against him, and be thrust into his works: a difavowal of weak and idle pieces, the productions of green years, wantonnefs, or inattention, is a right that all authors are vested with; and fhould be exerted by all, if their reputation is dear to them; had Jonfon us'd it, his character had flood higher than it does. But, after all, they who have pay'd attention to this truth are not always fecure; the indifcreet zeal of an admirer, or avarice of a publisher, has frequently added things that dishonour them; and where realities have been wanting, forgeries fupply the place; thus has Homer his Hymns, and the poor Mantuan his Ciris VOL. I.


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