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It is a thing indeed, if practised professionally, of low repute;

but if it be made a part of discipline, it is of excellent use: I mean stage-playing.



If we are not yet come to question his unity, as we do that of 'the blind man of Scio's rocky isle,' an improvement in critical acuteness doubtless reserved for a distant posterity, we as little feel the power of identifying the young man who came up from Stratford, was afterwards an indifferent player in a London Theatre, and retired to his native place in middle life, with the author of Macbeth and Lear, as we can give a distinct historic personality to Homer. No letter of his writing, no record of his conversation, no character of him drawn with any fulness by a contemporary, has been produced. If there was a Shakespeare of earth, as I suspect, there was also one of heaven; and it is of him that we desire to know something.


"Dramatic Poesy is as History made visible."

BACON, Dignity of Learning.

"It is a kind of history."

Taming of the Shrew.

"Think you see

The very persons of our noble story

As they were living."

King Henry 8th.

"In this theatre of man's life it is reserved

Only for God and Angels to be lookers on."

BACON, Dignity of Learning.

"A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,

And monarchs to behold the swelling scene."

King Henry 5th.

"The Prince beholding

This noble action from the walls of Gaunt,

As in a theatre."

BACON, State Paper.

"And stand securely on their battlements,

As in a theatre."

King John.

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