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We have taken the liberty of including in these volumes, the 'Essay on English Poetry,' referred to by Mr. Procter as a piece he thinks had better be omitted,' as that article, on its appearance in the Edinburgh Review, was very generally perused, and highly commended by the public.
MEMOIR AND ESSAY ON THE GENIUS
§ 1. Of the personal history of Shakspere - the greatest genius, beyond doubt or cavil, that ever the world produced — little now can with certainty be shown. The registers of Stratford ; his own Sonnets; a few casual references to him, in the writings or sayings of cotemporary authors; and all the sources from which materials for his life may be safely extracted, are reckoned up.
The public of his time had no curiosity on the subject, or the writers of his time had no anxiety to collect or yield information, regarding him; and he himself — beyond, even,
· That last infirmity of noble minds,' the desire of fame. - did not think it worth while to place materials for his own history on record ; or, secure of such immortality as earth can bestow, was content that we should track him into the depths and recesses of his being, by the light of his genius alone. What he did, or thought, or suffered, in his own indi