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In our ancient sepulchral monu The same proprietor in bringing inments we find considerable variety, to cultivation an elevated dorsum but the above mentioned establish stretching westward from the knoll only these points, viz. that they were above-mentioned, has discovered two erected prior to the introduction of or three more graves of the same kind Christianity, and at a period when the with those above described, as also a practice of burning the dead was laid stone coffin of very rude materials, aside. In the superb subterraneous which contained only a few handfuls cemetery described before, from the of black mould. These stone coffins number of teeth and other fragments are frequently found, and I have exof bodies found mixed with pieces of amined above fifty of them; they gecharred wood and ashes, it was evident nerally contained a little black earth, that it had been used for repeated in- such as is found in church-yards. humation, and that the bodies had From this circumstance, I am disbeen burnt ; but in each of the graves posed to reckon them not very anin question only one skeleton was cient, or, at least, very generally used found, and no vestiges of fire were till a comparatively later period; had discernible.
ashes and burnt bones been deposited It would be visionary to attempt to in them, as I found to be the case determine the exact era of these only in two or three instances, these, graves, though we may safely assign being almost indestructible, would them a longevity of five or six cen- still have remained; several of them turies. The Abbey of Arbroath was contained a complete human skeleton, erected towards the end of the 12th which exhibited no indication of fire century, and the church or chapel of having ever been applied to it, but in all Lunan, in the near vicinity of the a- of them the bones were disordered bove graves, was one of its early ap- and misplaced. To account for this pendages. With Christianity the cus- peculiarity, I was led to suppose, tom of burying in churchyards, other- owing to the small size of these cofwise called consecrated ground, and fins, not one of which is fit to contain a of laying the head of the dead bodies full grown human body at full length, to the west, would naturally be intro- that they had been obliged to compress duced.
the dead bodies or bend them double, So late as the time of Cæsar, who and that hence originated the congives us a few particulars of a Gallic fused order of the bones; but a more funeral, the custom of burning the minute inspection has convinced me, dead was still kept up in Gaul, and that no possible compression or distorwe have no reason to conclude that it tion of the boily could possibly 'prowas then abandoned in Britain. It duce the disorder in question. I am would be a matter of no small diffi- rather led to suppose, that they culty, if, indeed, at all practicable, to buried the bodies in the earth, till fix the era when the Celts left off the flesh was decayed, and then placburning their dead. It was, however, ed the bones indiscriminately in the most probably in the interval betwixt said stone coffins, their last and perthe extirpation of Druidism, and the 'manent abode. This I advance, howcomplete introduction of Christianity. ever, merely as a probable conjecture, Druidism received a fatal, though not which solves all the phenomena of the a final blow, from the Romans, se case, and leave the point to be settled veral centuries before Christianity by the more experienced antiquary, completed the triumph.
who may possess better means of inOne thing we are, however, cer- formation. I am, Sir, &c. tain of, both from historic testimony
R. HUDDLESTON. and irresistible facts, that the custom Lunan, 12th Nov. 1818. of burning the dead was among the Celts the more ancient of the two. Burnt human bones have been found in many places of Scotland where no. Roman ever set a foot, so that they
No. I. cannot be Roman, though the Romans also burnt their dead. On the other I shall state in the outset the purhand, the testimony of Cæsar is clear pose I have in view in the series of and explicit.
articles I am now commencing.
ON THE ENGLISH DRAMATIC WRT
TERS WHO PRECEDED SHAKE-
Every body knows that the plays cel by them after the date when he of Shakespeare are different from the had come forward and attracted such plays of any other dramatic writer ; general notice. Both these inquiries and critics, domestic and foreign, have are, I believe, quite new; for alproduced many volumes to shew in though disjected pieces by our elder what respects they are different, yet dramatists have been republished from have left their readers little wiser than time to time, either separately or in before they began to read. I have no collections, what has been done is toambition to be added to the number tally without system, and indepenof such authors, nor shall I address dent of critical comparison, unless myself to those who take their notions we except a very few trifling instances, of the higher qualities of our poet in which some of the commentators from any book that was ever written upon Shakespeare's text have taken - but his own.
occasion to give new proofs of their inThe republication of the works of significance and incompetence. The Ben Jonson, Massinger, and Beau- German literati, who have quite as mont and Fletcher, has shewn, and fervent an admiration of Shakespeare the projected reprint of the produc- as ourselves, and at the same time tions of Shirley will shew, that al- perhaps a more learned and judicious though. Shakespeare's contemporaries admiration, have a saying which is and followers were poets, compared now become almost proverbial among with others, they were scarcely poets, them, -" That as it has pleased Heaven compared with him. Editors, in their to bless Great Britain with the finest zeal to prove that the book upon which dramatic poet that ever lived, it has they are eligaged is the most valuable, also pleased it, in some degree, to bamay make what assertions they please lance the account by afflicting our ise as to its merits; they may ring out land with the most contemptible anpanegyrics on the pathos, the passion, notators upon him.” I am not, how. the poetry of their authors; but í ever, disposed to go the whole length apprehend that they can never make with them, by adding, that Germany their readers think, that either Ben only can boast critics worthy of him. Jonson, Massinger, or Beaumont and Therefore, that the two topics I Fletcher, made more than a distant have referred to are new, at least as a approach to the excellencies of Shake- critical system, will probably not be speare.
disputed, and that the discussion of My business is not, however, with them in the present state of informathe successors of Shakespeare, but tion and feeling regarding our elder with his predecessors, and my object writers is interesting, I need not is not to make a vain attempt to prove waste time in establishing. It is nethat those who went before him were cessary, however, to clear the ground his equals, but to shew how much he of some rubbish, to mark out a few exceeded them; at the same time es- distances, and to settle some prelimitablishing, or at least affording some nary points, before I attempt in build. grounds for establishing for them, as In the first instance, the date must high a reputation as has been acquir- be fixed at which Shakespeare began ed by any of the dramatic writers who to write for the stage ; and in doing subsequently employed themselves for so, I shall neither follow the tedious
I should explain, how- ly laboured chronology of Malone, ever, that among Shakespeare's pre- nor the still more laboured but less decessors I include some who were tedious attempt of Chalmers, to corhis contemporaries, and, in a degree, rect certain errors, into which, he conhis rivals-that is to say, who pro- tended, his precursor had fallen. Those duced pieces for other theatres, while are matters for mere antiquaries, which he was a writer for the Globe, but who, they are, and which I should be sorry considerably before that date, had ac- to be. Reason and internal evidence, quired great celebrity. In investiga- on a question where external evidence ting this subject, I shall therefore must necessarily be so scanty and unkeep two points especially in view, certain, are far more satisfactory than the one, to observe how far Shake- all the petty circumstances they have speare was an imitator of them, and been at the trouble of collecting. On the other, how far they were imitators this account, if I find Shakespeare in of him, in such plays as were produe the dedication to his Venus and Adonis
of 1593, telling Lord Southampton fore the period when Shakespeare that it is “ the first heir of his inven- flourished, who, like him, were tion," I shall not scruple to give him bove the bondage of the ancients,” credit in opposition to the meagre and who, having established what may produce of researches made more than be termed the romantic drama, so 200 years afterwards ; if, too, I dis-well adapted to the state of knowledge cover in some of his plays proofs of and habits of the time, set him an an unformed taste in style, or of an ill- example in rejecting the wing-clipregulated fancy in composition, I shall ping rules of the Greeks and Romans. not take the word of any commentator Thus far, the Shakespeare was who tells me, that, by some ambi- no inventor, and has no claim to that guous phrase of an obscure contem- merit of originality for which some, porary, he can convince me, that such in an ignorant zeal for his fame, have or such a production was written at given him credit. Historical and other an advanced period of the poet's life. dramatic representations, in which the The best, incleed the only, chronology events of ten, twenty, or thirty years, is to be made out of the plays them- were crowded into two hours' space, selves; even that would be worth and where the auditor, in fancy, saw little,--the other nothing, unless to the actors transported, by the will of exemplify the utter inability of those the poet, from England to France, or who knew much less about the spirit to Asia, were well known before the and character of the poet they were earliest date assigned to any of Shakeaffecting to illustrate, than about the speare's plays; and it is an admitted style and object of the meanest pam- fact, (though hitherto without any phleteer of the reign of Elizabeth. very positive or distinct evidence,) Without further argument, then, I that in some instances he only reshall take it for granted, for the pur- touched, without remodelling, what poses of these articles, that Shake- he found carved in its coarser features speare did not complete his first dra. to his hand. matic work, whatever it might be, While upon this point, regarding until after 1593, the date when his which so much has been said, and so Venus and Adonis was given to the little proved, I am desirous of shewworld.
ing how disinclined I am to follow Thomas Warton is almost the only the example of the commentators; I man (or one among a very few writ- will prove a great deal by saying a ers upon old poets and poetry) who very little. An opportunity of doing joins a correct and delicate taste to a so, perhaps, seldom occurs, and I profound knowledge, and as deep a must allow, that the commentators love of his subject; others have learn were not in possession of the informaing, but no taste,
-or love, but no tion which has since come to light ; learning ; yet he seems to speak as if neither the punctilious Capel, the no author had preceded Shakespeare self-conceited' Malone, the industriwho had written a play upon a simi ous Steevens, nor any other note-malar system; he observes, (Hist. Engl. nufacturer bad seen what Mr ChalPoetry, III. 393,) with more senten mers has since produced to view,tiousness than usual, Shakespeare copy of a Historical Play by Christowas above the bondage of the an- pher Marlow, printed in 1595, from cients," as if he were the only man which it is perfectly evident, that who had been above it; as if he were Shakespeare derived the most importthe first who had disdained the ant materials out of which he conshackles of the dramatic unities of structed his Henry VI. Part 3 : some time, place, and action. This, how- of those passages that have been most ever, is a very important mistake. celebrated, have been almost literally Undoubtedly the best, I was going to copied by him. Marlow was an essay the only really good, part of Dr tablishedł writer for the theatre long Johnson's preface to Shakespeare, is before Shakespeare was known there: the justification, upon principle, of indeed, the dreadful catastrophe that this disregard ; the topic is much too terminated the life of the former hapthread-bare to warrant my entering pened before 1593, the date of our upon it, and I only advert to it for great poet's first production. All the purpose of remarking, that there Marlow's pieces, therefore, deserve were many writers for the stage be- especial attention, not merely on ac
count of the early date at which they the next quotation is still more litewere written,-not merely because rally copied : Milton's nephew calls hiin“ a kind
King. Look, Lordings, where the sturof second Shakespeare," nor because
dy rebel sits Michael Drayton pronounees his style Even in the chair of state ; belike he “ all air and fire," but because we see
means, the estimation in which Shak speare Back’d by the power of Warwick, that himself held him, and because, in · Marlow's work before us, entituled, T'aspire unto the crown and reign as king! “The true Tragedie of Richard Duke Earl of Northumberland, he slew thy faof Yorke, and the death of good King
ther, Henry the Sixt,” we have indisputa. And thine, Lord Clifford ; and yon both ble evidence how far Shakespeare On him. his sons, his favourites, and his
have vow'd revenge was sometimes indebted to his pre
friends. cursors or contemporaries. One of his annotators has argued, from a line and Shakespeare's text (Act I. Scene I.) a half in one of the choruses to Hen- only differs by substituting the more ry V., that the whole play of Henry modern address my lords for “ Lord. VI., Part 3, was his own unaided com- ings,” and in placing the verb look af. position : how futile such conclusions ter them instead of before. But it often are, we may perceive by the di- may be said, that these are passages 'rect contradiction I am about to give of comparatively little import; the it. I will now make a few extracts next extract, however, from Marlow's from Marlow's “ True Tragedie,” &c. performance, will prove, that the title and will contrast them with corre- of a kind of second Shakespeare was sponding passages in Shakespeare's not unmerited; perhaps, as far as this Henry VI., Part 3. Marlow opens his tragedy is concerned, Shakespeare play with these words :
ought more fitly to be called “a kind Warwick. I wonder how the king es
of second Marlow." cap'd our hands.
Alarums, and then enter WARWICK York. Whilst we pursued the horse
wounded. men of the north,
Warwick. Ah! who is nigh ? Come to He slyly stole away and left his men ; Whereat the great Lord of Northumber. And tell me who is victor, York or War
me, friend or foe, land,
wick ? Whose warlike ears could never brook re
Why ask I that ?--My mangled body treat,
shews Charg'd our main battle's front; there That I must yield my body to the earth ;
with him Lord Stafford and Lord Clifford, all a
And by my fall the conquest to my foes.
Thus yields the cedar to the axe's edge, breast, Brake in, and were by th' hands of com
Whose arms gave shelter to the princely
eagle ; mon soldiers slain.
Under whose shade the rampant lion slept; Shakespeare begins thus :
Whose top-branch over-peer'd Jove's spread.
ing tree. War. I wonder how the king escap'd The wrinkles of my brows, now fill'd with our hands.
blood, York. While we pursued the horsemen Were liken'd oft to kingly sepulchres ; of the north,
For who liv'd king, but I could dig his He slyly stole away and left his men ; Whereat the great Lord of Northumber. And who durst smile when Warwick bent land,
his brow? Whose warlike ears could never brouk re
Lo! now my glory, smear'd in dust and treat,
blood, Cheer'd up the drooping army, and him- My parks, my walks, my manors that I self,
had, Lord Clifford and Lord Stafford, all a
Even now forsake me, and of all my lands breast
Is nothing left me but my body's length! Charg'd our main battle's front, and breaking in
So it stands in Marlow. Shake Were by the swords of common soldiers speare has made a few alterations and slain.
additions, which I have put between The resemblance, it will be seen, brackets for the sake of greater dishere almost amounts to identity; yet tinctness.
Alaram. Enter EDWARD bringing forth Gloster. What ! will the aspiring blood · WARWICK wounded.
of Lancaster Edward. (So, lie thou there! Die thou, Sink into the ground? I thought it would
have mounted ! and die our fear!] &c. Warwick. Ah! who is nigh, come to
See how my sword weeps for the poor king's
death : me, friend or foe, And tell me who is victor, York or War
Now may such purple tears be always
shed wick. Why ask I that? My mangled body If any spark o^ life remain in thee, (Stabs
For such as seek the downfall of our house ! shews,
him again,) [My blood, my want of strength, my sick heart shews,]
Down, down to hell, and say I sent thee That I must yield my body to the earth,
thither ! * And by my fall, the conquest to my foe.
I, that have neither pity, love, nor fear, Thus yields the cedar to the axe's edge,
Indeed, 'twas true that Henry told me of, Whose arms gave shelter to the princely That I came into the world with my legs
For I have heard my mother say, eagle,
forward, Under whose shade the cramping] lion slept ;
And hid I not reason, think you, to make Whose top-branch overpeer'd Jove's spread. And scek' their ruin who usurp'd our
haste, ing tree, [And kept low shrubs from winter's power- The women wept, and the midwife cried,
rights ? ful wind. These eyes that now are dimind with Oh Jesus bless us, he is born with teeth! death's black veil,
I need not add the corresponding Have been as piercing as the mid-day sun, To search the secret treasons of the world.]
and well-remembered passage in The wrinkles in my brows now filled with Shakespeare, who has done nothing blood,
more than improve Marlow's metre, Were likend oft to kingly sepulchres ;
which had been corrupted by ill printFor who liv'd king but I could dig his ing. If the reader compares the old grave ?
quarto of “the whole contention beAnd who durst smile when Warwick bent tween the two famous houses of York his brow?
and Lancaster,” which was the oriLo! now my glory smear'd in dust and ginal title of Shakespeare's performblood,
ance, reprinted verhutim et literatim My parks, my walks, my manors that I by Steevens, he will find that there
had, Even now forsake me, and of all my lands
even many of the errors in the versiIs nothing left me but my body's length ?
fication are retained, and in other re[Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but spects the resemblance is more exact. earth and dust?
Shakespeare, as far as we have yet And live we how we can, yet die we must!] discovered, was more indebted to Mar
(Act V. Sc. 2.) low than to any other stage-poet ; the
reader will not fail to recollect, that All Shakespeare has here done is in the third part of Henry VI. the an extension of the noble simile which whole character of Richard' L I. is in Marlow had furnished, and the addi- fact developed, -his cruelty, his amtion of a common-place at the end for bition, his self-command, and that the sake of a jingling rhyme. I am towering consciousness of mental sufar from thinking, that he has im- periority that made him almost triproved the fine speech, recollecting umph in his personal deformity. This also, that the dying Warwick would character is derived from Marlow's be rather anxious to express himself “ True Tragedy ;” and it would be by in as few words as possible, than to no means a difficult task to shew, (a waste his breath in needless amplifi- task I shall perform at some future cations. But if readers are astonished to find Shakespeare deprived of the above speech, what will they say to
In Robert Greene's Alphonsus, printthe next specimen, so much in his ed in 1599, but written long before, (as spirit, so full of boldness and vigour? the author was dead in 1592,) is the foi.
lowing very similar passage : -yet not one syllable his ! The Duke
Go pack thee hence unto the Stygian lake, of Gloucester having killed Henry in And it he ask thee who did send thee down, the Tower, thus, in Marlow's tragedy, Alphonsus say, who now must wear thy exclaims,