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This tragedy is a work of such intellectual magnitude, that every comment, which has been written upon it, is too well known to be quoted, either for amusement or instruction; and as the celebrity of a work naturally excites contemplation on its author; this, one of the most popular amongst Shakspeare's plays, leads to a few remarks on the great poet himself.
Though Shakspeare was the son of an alderman, and lived in the little dull town of Stratford upon Avon, it appears, he was never one of its inanimate residents. He was married at the
of seventeen; was the father of a family in his minority; and before he arrived at twenty-two, was compelled to fly his native place, for a trespass on his neighbour's property, and a libel against the man whom he had wronged. The first offence, however, did not amount in criminality much beyond the robbing of an orchard; and his libel came in the shape of a merry ballad,
But, with all just lenity for the nature of those misdeeds, Shakspeare was idle, in his youth, to a de
gree of depravity, by associating with a party of deer stealers, and then lampooning the owner of the park where he had committed his depredations.
It often happens, that a young man or young woman becomes dissipated, or profligate, because the persons about them are torpid and gloomy. The worthy alderman, Shakspeare's father, and all the worthy people of the town of Stratford, were, no doubt, tiresome company to a youthful genius like the illustrious bard; and, immured with them, and their stupidity, something more alluring appeared to his awakened fancy, in the adventurous course of vice, than in the drowsy virtue of a sober citizen. But, escaping from home, and led by chance, or design, behind the scenes of a London theatre, he found, amongst the cheerful players, that mirth, enterprize, and probity, could all combine; and he wanted neither taste nor principles, to recall his beguiled heart from unwarrantable pursuits, and was, from that time forward, a just observer of every moral duty.
Though Shakspeare's reception by the players at the theatre, was merely as a stage attendant, or, at best, as an inferior actor; certain it is that to no one spot could he have applied,--to no one society of men (not excepting the learned societies) where genius, like his, would have been so admired, so cherished, so improved *
* The great Locke, and other extraordinary men, are proofs of that general observation_“that the progress of science has frequently met with the greatest obstacles from bodies instituted
for its prom
After many years of honourable industry, during which time applause never inveigled him into vanity, nor the satire of envy into malignity, he returned contented to pass the remainder of his days in that town, which it may be supposed, he once quitted in disgust: but he had now seen the world, and he brought back with him choice society in his remembrances and reflections; and thus became independent of the inhabitants of the place for his hours of amusement.
Old age did not force Shakspeare from his busy life, for he was no more than fifty-two when he died ; and that event did not occur till some time after his retirement.
But though in the possession of health and strength when he went to his retreat, having seen the world, his birthplace became dear to him; which, for want of that sight, he had, perhaps, still despised.
Various reasons are assigned, and good ones, why little more is known of this revered poet than the foregoing anecdotes: many other things are reported of him, but scarcely any that do not admit of controversy: even the order, in which he has written his plays, is a subject of dispute :—but, happily, the most material point concerning him, has never admitted of an argument—the high merit of his compositions.
} Mr. Creswell.
CLAUDIUS, KING OF
Mr. Kemble. Mr. Elliston. POLONIUS
Mr. Munden. Mr. Dowton. LAERTES
Mr. Brunton. Mr. Bartley HORATIO
Mr. Holland. ROSENCRANTZ Mr. Klanert. Mr. Cooke. GUILDENSTERN Mr. Claremont. Mr. Fisher. OSRICK
Mr. Palmer. MARCELLUS
Mr. Dormer. BERNARDO
Mr. Male. FRANCISCO
Mr. Field. Mr. Evans. FRIAR
Mr. Webb. FIRST ACTOR Mr. Davenport. Mr. Maddocks. SECOND ACTOR Mr. Wilde, Mr. Sparks. First GRAVEDIGGER Mr. Emery. Mr. Wewitzer. SECOND GRAVEDIGGER Mr. Simmons. Mr. Purser. FIRST SAILOR
Mr. Atkins. Mr. Chatterley. SECOND SAILOR Mr. Trueman.
Mr. Raymond. I FATHER
THE GHOST ORHAM-} Mr. Hargrave.
of DENMARKEN | Mrs. St. Leger. Mrs. Powell. OPHELIA
Mrs. H. Johnston. Mrs. Mountain. ACTRESS
Mrs. Humphries. Miss Tidswell.
LADIES, GENTLEMEN, GUARDS, &c.