A Life of William Shakespeare - with portraits and facsimiles
by Sidney Lee
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Thorpe in Shakespeare's sonnets left the salutation to stand alone, and omitted the supplement of a dedicatory epistle; but this, too, was not unusual. There exists an abundance of contemporary examples of the dedicatory salutation without the sequel of the dedicatory epistle. Edmund Spenser's dedication of the 'Faerie Queene' to Elizabeth consists solely of the salutation in the form of an assurance that the writer 'consecrates these his labours to live with the eternitie of her fame.' Michael Drayton both in his 'Idea, The Shepheard's Garland' (1593), and in his 'Poemes Lyrick and Pastorall' (1609), confined his address to his patron to a single sentence of salutation. {398} Richard Brathwaite in 1611 exclusively saluted the patron of his 'Golden Fleece' with 'the continuance of God's temporall blessings in this life, with the crowne of immortalitie in the world to come;' while in like manner he greeted the patron of his 'Sonnets and Madrigals' in the same year with 'the prosperitie of times successe in this life, with the reward of eternitie in the world to come.' It is 'happiness' and 'eternity,' or an equivalent paraphrase, that had the widest vogue among the good wishes with which the dedicator in the early years of the seventeenth century besought his patron's favour on the first page of his book. But Thorpe was too self-assertive to be a slavish imitator. His addiction to bombast and his elementary appreciation of literature recommended to him the practice of incorporating in his dedicatory salutation some high-sounding embellishments of the accepted formula suggested by his author's writing. {399a} In his dedication of the 'Sonnets' to 'Mr. W. H.' he grafted on the common formula a reference to the immortality which Shakespeare, after the habit of contemporary sonnetteers, promised the hero of his sonnets in the pages that succeeded. With characteristic magniloquence, Thorpe added the decorative and supererogatory phrase, 'promised by our ever-living poet,' to the conventional dedicatory wish for his patron's 'all happiness' and 'eternitie.' {399b}

Five dedications by Thorpe.

Thorpe, as far as is known, penned only one dedication before that to Shakespeare's 'Sonnets.' His dedicatory experience was previously limited to the inscription of Marlowe's 'Lucan' in 1600 to Blount, his friend in the trade. Three dedications by Thorpe survive of a date subsequent to the issue of the 'Sonnets.' One of these is addressed to John Florio, and the other two to the Earl of Pembroke. {400a} But these three dedications all prefaced volumes of translations by one John Healey, whose manuscripts had become Thorpe's prey after the author had emigrated to Virginia, where he died shortly after landing. Thorpe chose, he tells us, Florio and the Earl of Pembroke as patrons of Healey's unprinted manuscripts because they had been patrons of Healey before his expatriation and death. There is evidence to prove that in choosing a patron for the 'Sonnets,' and penning a dedication for the second time, he pursued the exact procedure that he had followed—deliberately and for reasons that he fully stated—in his first and only preceding dedicatory venture. He chose his patron from the circle of his trade associates, and it must have been because his patron was a personal friend that he addressed him by his initials, 'W. H.'

'W. H.' signs dedication of Southwell's poems in 1606.

Shakespeare's 'Sonnets' is not the only volume of the period in the introductory pages of which the initials 'W. H.' play a prominent part. In 1606 one who concealed himself under the same letters performed for 'A Foure-fould Meditation' (a collection of pious poems which the Jesuit Robert Southwell left in manuscript at his death) the identical service that Thorpe performed for Marlowe's 'Lucan' in 1600, and for Shakespeare's 'Sonnets' in 1609. In 1606 Southwell's manuscript fell into the hands of this 'W. H.,' and he published it through the agency of the printer, George Eld, and of an insignificant bookseller, Francis Burton. {400b} 'W. H.,' in his capacity of owner, supplied the dedication with his own pen under his initials. Of the Jesuit's newly recovered poems 'W. H.' wrote, 'Long have they lien hidden in obscuritie, and haply had never scene the light, had not a meere accident conveyed them to my hands. But, having seriously perused them, loath I was that any who are religiously affected, should be deprived of so great a comfort, as the due consideration thereof may bring unto them.' 'W. H.' chose as patron of his venture one Mathew Saunders, Esq., and to the dedicatory epistle prefixed a conventional salutation wishing Saunders long life and prosperity. The greeting was printed in large and bold type thus:—

To the Right Worfhipfull and Vertuous Gentleman, Mathew Saunders, Efquire W.H. wifheth, with long life, a profperous achieuement of his good defires.

There follows in small type, regularly printed across the page, a dedicatory letter—the frequent sequel of the dedicatory salutation—in which the writer, 'W.H.,' commends the religious temper of 'these meditations' and deprecates the coldness and sterility of his own 'conceits.' The dedicator signs himself at the bottom of the page 'Your Worships unfained affectionate, W.H.' {401}

The two books—Southwell's 'Foure-fould Meditation' of 1606, and Shakespeare's 'Sonnets' of 1609—have more in common than the appearance on the preliminary pages of the initials 'W. H.' in a prominent place, and of the common form of dedicatory salutation. Both volumes, it was announced on the title-pages, came from the same press—the press of George Eld. Eld for many years co-operated with Thorpe in business. In 1605 he printed for Thorpe Ben Jonson's 'Sejanus,' and in each of the years 1607, 1608, 1609, and 1610 at least one of his ventures was publicly declared to be a specimen of Eld's typography. Many of Thorpe's books came forth without any mention of the printer; but Eld's name figures more frequently upon them than that of any other printer. Between 1605 and 1609 it is likely that Eld printed all Thorpe's 'copy' as matter of course and that he was in constant relations with him.

'W. H.' and Mr. William Hall.

There is little doubt that the 'W. H.' of the Southwell volume was Mr. William Hall, who, when he procured that manuscript for publication, was an humble auxiliary in the publishing army. Hall flits rapidly across the stage of literary history. He served an apprenticeship to the printer and stationer John Allde from 1577 to 1584, and was admitted to the freedom of the Stationers' Company in the latter year. For the long period of twenty-two years after his release from his indentures he was connected with the trade in a dependent capacity, doubtless as assistant to a master-stationer. When in 1606 the manuscript of Southwell's poems was conveyed to his hands and he adopted the recognised role of procurer of their publication, he had not set up in business for himself. It was only later in the same year (1606) that he obtained the license of the Stationers' Company to inaugurate a press in his own name, and two years passed before he began business. In 1608 he obtained for publication a theological manuscript which appeared next year with his name on the title-page for the first time. This volume constituted the earliest credential of his independence. It entitled him to the prefix 'Mr.' in all social relations. Between 1609 and 1614 he printed some twenty volumes, most of them sermons and almost all devotional in tone. The most important of his secular undertaking was Guillim's far-famed 'Display of Heraldrie,' a folio issued in 1610. In 1612 Hall printed an account of the conviction and execution of a noted pickpocket, John Selman, who had been arrested while professionally engaged in the Royal Chapel at Whitehall. On the title-page Hall gave his own name by his initials only. The book was described in bold type as 'printed by W. H.' and as on sale at the shop of Thomas Archer in St. Paul's Churchyard. Hall was a careful printer with a healthy dread of misprints, but his business dwindled after 1613, and, soon disposing of it to one John Beale, he disappeared into private life.

'W. H.' are no uncommon initials, and there is more interest attaching to the discovery of 'Mr. W. H.'s' position in life and his function in relation to the scheme of the publication of the 'Sonnets' than in establishing his full name. But there is every probability that William Hall, the 'W. H.' of the Southwell dedication, was one and the same person with the 'Mr. W. H.' of Thorpe's dedication of the 'Sonnets.' No other inhabitant of London was habitually known to mask himself under those letters. William Hall was the only man bearing those initials who there is reason to suppose was on familiar terms with Thorpe. {403a} Both were engaged at much the same period in London in the same occupation of procuring manuscripts for publication; both inscribed their literary treasure-trove in the common formula to patrons for whom they claimed no high rank or distinction, and both engaged the same printer to print their most valuable prize.

'The onlie begetter' means 'only procurer'.

No condition of the problem of the identity of Thorpe's friend 'Mr. W. H' seems ignored by the adoption of the interpretation that he was the future master-printer William Hall. The objection that 'Mr. W. H.' could not have been Thorpe's friend in trade, because while wishing him all happiness and eternity Thorpe dubs him 'the onlie begetter of these insuing sonnets,' is not formidable. Thorpe rarely used words with much exactness. {403b} It is obvious that he did not employ 'begetter' in the ordinary sense. 'Begetter,' when literally interpreted as applied to a literary work, means father, author, producer, and it cannot be seriously urged that Thorpe intended to describe 'Mr. W. H.' as the author of the 'Sonnets.' 'Begetter' has been used in the figurative sense of inspirer, and it is often assumed that by 'onlie begetter' Thorpe meant 'sole inspirer,' and that by the use of those words he intended to hint at the close relations subsisting between 'W. H.' and Shakespeare in the dramatist's early life; but that interpretation presents numberless difficulties. It was contrary to Thorpe's aims in business to invest a dedication with any cryptic significance, and thus mystify his customers. Moreover, his career and the circumstances under which he became the publisher of the sonnets confute the assumption that he was in such relations with Shakespeare or with Shakespeare's associates as would give him any knowledge of Shakespeare's early career that was not public property. All that Thorpe—the struggling pirate-publisher, 'the well-wishing adventurer in setting forth' wares mysteriously come by—knew or probably cared to know of Shakespeare was that he was the most popular and honoured of the literary producers of the day. When Thorpe had the luck to acquire surreptitiously an unprinted manuscript by 'our ever-living poet,' it was not in the great man's circle of friends or patrons, to which hitherto he had had no access, that he was likely to seek his own patron. Elementary considerations of prudence impelled him to publish his treasure-trove with all expedition, and not disclose his design prematurely to one who might possibly take steps to hinder its fulfilment. But that Thorpe had no 'inspirer' of the 'Sonnets' in his mind when he addressed himself to 'Mr. W. H.' is finally proved by the circumstance that the only identifiable male 'inspirer' of the poems was the Earl of Southampton, to whom the initials 'W. H.' do not apply.

Of the figurative meanings set in Elizabethan English on the word 'begetter,' that of 'inspirer' is by no means the only one or the most common. 'Beget' was not infrequently employed in the attenuated sense of 'get,' 'procure,' or 'obtain,' a sense which is easily deducible from the original one of 'bring into being.' Hamlet, when addressing the players, bids them 'in the very whirlwind of passion acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.' 'I have some cousins german at Court,' wrote Dekker in 1602, in his 'Satiro-Mastix,' '[that] shall beget you the reversion of the Master of the King's Revels.' 'Mr. W. H.,' whom Thorpe described as 'the onlie begetter of these insuing sonnets,' was in all probability the acquirer or procurer of the manuscript, who, figuratively speaking, brought the book into being either by first placing the manuscript in Thorpe's hands or by pointing out the means by which a copy might be acquired. To assign such significance to the word 'begetter' was entirely in Thorpe's vein. {405} Thorpe described his role in the piratical enterprise of the 'Sonnets' as that of 'the well-wishing adventurer in setting forth,' i.e. the hopeful speculator in the scheme. 'Mr. W. H.' doubtless played the almost equally important part—one as well known then as now in commercial operations—of the 'vendor' of the property to be exploited.


Origin of the notion that 'Mr. W. H.' stands for 'Mr. William Herbert.'

For fully sixty years it has been very generally assumed that Shakespeare addressed the bulk of his sonnets to the young Earl of Pembroke. This theory owes its origin to a speciously lucky guess which was first disclosed to the public in 1832, and won for a time almost universal acceptance. {406} Thorpe's form of address was held to justify the mistaken inference that, whoever 'Mr. W. H.' may have been, he and no other was the hero of the alleged story of the poems; and the cornerstone of the Pembroke theory was the assumption that the letters 'Mr. W. H.' in the dedication did duty for the words 'Mr. William Herbert,' by which name the (third) Earl of Pembroke was represented as having been known in youth. The originators of the theory claimed to discover in the Earl of Pembroke the only young man of rank and wealth to whom the initials 'W. H' applied at the needful dates. In thus interpreting the initials, the Pembroke theorists made a blunder that proves on examination to be fatal to their whole contention.

The Earl of Pembroke known only as Lord Herbert in youth.

The nobleman under consideration succeeded to the earldom of Pembroke on his father's death on January 19, 1601 (N. S.), when he was twenty years and nine months old, and from that date it is unquestioned that he was always known by his lawful title. But it has been overlooked that the designation 'Mr. William Herbert,' for which the initials 'Mr. W. H.' have been long held to stand, could never in the mind of Thomas Thorpe or any other contemporary have denominated the Earl at any moment of his career. When he came into the world on April 9, 1580, his father had been (the second) Earl of Pembroke for ten years, and he, as the eldest son, was from the hour of his birth known in all relations of life—even in the baptismal entry in the parish register—by the title of Lord Herbert, and by no other. During the lifetime of his father and his own minority several references were made to him in the extant correspondence of friends of varying degrees of intimacy. He is called by them, without exception, 'my Lord Herbert,' 'the Lord Herbert,' or 'Lord Herbert.' {407} It is true that as the eldest son of an earl he held the title by courtesy, but for all practical purposes it was as well recognised in common speech as if he had been a peer in his own right. No one nowadays would address in current parlance, or even entertain the conception of, Viscount Cranborne, the heir of the present Prime Minister, as 'Mr. J. C.' or 'Mr. James Cecil.' It is no more legitimate to assert that it would have occurred to an Elizabethan—least of all to a personal acquaintance or to a publisher who stood toward his patron in the relation of a personal dependent—to describe 'young Lord Herbert,' of Elizabeth's reign, as 'Mr. William Herbert.' A lawyer, who in the way of business might have to mention the young lord's name in a legal document, would have entered it as 'William Herbert, commonly called Lord Herbert.' The appellation 'Mr.' was not used loosely then as now, but indicated a precise social grade. Thorpe's employment of the prefix 'Mr.' without qualification is in itself fatal to the pretension that any lord, whether by right or courtesy, was intended. {408}

Thorpe's mode of addressing the Earl of Pembroke.

Proof is at hand to establish that Thorpe was under no misapprehension as to the proper appellation of the Earl of Pembroke, and was incapable of venturing on the meaningless misnomer of 'Mr. W. H.' Insignificant publisher though he was, and sceptical as he was of the merits of noble patrons, he was not proof against the temptation, when an opportunity was directly offered him, of adorning the prefatory pages of a publication with the name of a nobleman, who enjoyed the high official station, the literary culture, and the social influence of the third Earl of Pembroke. In 1610—a year after he published the 'Sonnets'—there came into his hands the manuscripts of John Healey, that humble literary aspirant who had a few months before emigrated to Virginia, and had, it would seem, died there. Healey, before leaving England, had secured through the good offices of John Florio (a man of influence in both fashionable and literary circles) the patronage of the Earl of Pembroke for a translation of Bishop Hall's fanciful satire, 'Mundus alter et idem.' Calling his book 'The Discoverie of a New World,' Healey had prefixed to it, in 1609, an epistle inscribed in garish terms of flattery to the 'Truest mirrour of truest honor, William Earl of Pembroke.' {409} When Thorpe subsequently made up his mind to publish, on his own account, other translations by the same hand, he found it desirable to seek the same patron. Accordingly, in 1610, he prefixed in his own name, to an edition of Healey's translation of St. Augustine's 'Citie of God,' a dedicatory address 'to the honorablest patron of the Muses and good mindes, Lord William, Earle of Pembroke, Knight of the Honourable Order (of the Garter), &c.' In involved sentences Thorpe tells the 'right gracious and gracefule Lord' how the author left the work at death to be a 'testimonie of gratitude, observance, and heart's honor to your honour.' 'Wherefore,' he explains, 'his legacie, laide at your Honour's feete, is rather here delivered to your Honour's humbly thrise-kissed hands by his poore delegate. Your Lordship's true devoted, Th. Th.'

Again, in 1616, when Thorpe procured the issue of a second edition of another of Healey's translations, 'Epictetus Manuall. Cebes Table. Theoprastus Characters,' he supplied more conspicuous evidence of the servility with which he deemed it incumbent on him to approach a potent patron. As this address by Thorpe to Pembroke is difficult of access, I give it in extenso:

'To the Right Honourable, William Earle of Pembroke, Lord Chamberlaine to His Majestie, one of his most honorable Privie Counsell, and Knight of the most noble order of the Garter, &c.

'Right Honorable.—It may worthily seeme strange unto your Lordship, out of what frenzy one of my meanenesse hath presumed to commit this Sacriledge, in the straightnesse of your Lordship's leisure, to present a peece, for matter and model so unworthy, and in this scribbling age, wherein great persons are so pestered dayly with Dedications. All I can alledge in extenuation of so many incongruities, is the bequest of a deceased Man; who (in his lifetime) having offered some translations of his unto your Lordship, ever wisht if these ensuing were published they might onely bee addressed unto your Lordship, as the last Testimony of his dutifull affection (to use his own termes) The true and reall upholder of Learned endeavors. This, therefore, beeing left unto mee, as a Legacie unto your Lordship (pardon my presumption, great Lord, from so meane a man to so great a person) I could not without some impiety present it to any other; such a sad priviledge have the bequests of the dead, and so obligatory they are, more than the requests of the living. In the hope of this honourable acceptance I will ever rest,

'Your lordship's humble devoted, 'T. Th.'

With such obeisances did publishers then habitually creep into the presence of the nobility. In fact, the law which rigorously maintained the privileges of peers left them no option. The alleged erroneous form of address in the dedication of Shakespeare's 'Sonnets'—'Mr. W. H.' for Lord Herbert or the Earl of Pembroke—would have amounted to the offence of defamation. And for that misdemeanour the Star Chamber, always active in protecting the dignity of peers, would have promptly called Thorpe to account. {410}

Of the Earl of Pembroke, and of his brother the Earl of Montgomery, it was stated a few years later, 'from just observation,' on very pertinent authority, that 'no men came near their lordships [in their capacity of literary patrons], but with a kind of religious address.' These words figure in the prefatory epistle which two actor-friends of Shakespeare addressed to the two Earls in the posthumously issued First Folio of the dramatist's works. Thorpe's 'kind of religious address' on seeking Lord Pembroke's patronage for Healey's books was somewhat more unctuous than was customary or needful. But of erring conspicuously in an opposite direction he may, without misgiving, be pronounced innocent.


With the disposal of the allegation that 'Mr. W. H.' represented the Earl of Pembroke's youthful name, the whole theory of that earl's identity with Shakespeare's friend collapses. Outside Thorpe's dedicatory words, only two scraps of evidence with any title to consideration have been adduced to show that Shakespeare was at any time or in any way associated with Pembroke.

Shakespeare with the acting company at Wilton in 1603.

In the late autumn of 1603 James I and his Court were installed at the Earl of Pembroke's house at Wilton for a period of two months, owing to the prevalence of the plague in London. By order of the officers of the royal household, the King's company of players, of which Shakespeare was a member, gave a performance before the King at Wilton House on December 2. The actors travelled from Mortlake for the purpose, and were paid in the ordinary manner by the treasurer of the royal household out of the public funds. There is no positive evidence that Shakespeare attended at Wilton with the company, but assuming, as is probable, that he did, the Earl of Pembroke can be held no more responsible for his presence than for his repeated presence under the same conditions at Whitehall. The visit of the King's players to Wilton in 1603 has no bearing on the Earl of Pembroke's alleged relations with Shakespeare. {411}

The dedication of the First Folio.

The second instance of the association in the seventeenth century of Shakespeare's name with Pembroke's tells wholly against the conjectured intimacy. Seven years after the dramatist's death, two of his friends and fellow-actors prepared the collective edition of his plays known as the First Folio, and they dedicated the volume, in the conventional language of eulogy, 'To the most noble and incomparable paire of brethren, William Earl of Pembroke, &c., Lord Chamberlaine to the King's most excellent Majesty, and Philip, Earl of Montgomery, &c., Gentleman of His Majesties Bedchamber. Both Knights of the most Noble Order of the Garter and our singular good Lords.'

The choice of such patrons, whom, as the dedication intimated, 'no one came near but with a kind of religious address,' proves no private sort of friendship between them and the dead author. To the two earls in partnership nearly every work of any literary pretension was dedicated at the period. Moreover, the third Earl of Pembroke was Lord Chamberlain in 1623, and exercised supreme authority in theatrical affairs. That his patronage should be sought for a collective edition of the works of the acknowledged master of the contemporary stage was a matter of course. It is only surprising that the editors should have yielded to the passing vogue of soliciting the patronage of the Lord Chamberlain's brother in conjunction with the Lord Chamberlain.

The sole passage in the editors' dedication that can be held to bear on the question of Shakespeare's alleged intimacy with Pembroke is to be found in their remarks: 'But since your lordships have beene pleas'd to thinke these trifles something, heretofore; and have prosequuted both them, and their Authour living, with so much favour: we hope that (they outliving him, and he not having the fate, common with some, to be exequutor to his owne writings) you will use the like indulgence toward them you have done unto their parent. There is a great difference, whether any Booke choose his Patrones, or find them: This hath done both. For, so much were your lordships' likings of the severall parts, when they were acted, as, before they were published, the Volume ask'd to be yours.' There is nothing whatever in these sentences that does more than justify the inference that the brothers shared the enthusiastic esteem which James I and all the noblemen of his Court extended to Shakespeare and his plays in the dramatist's lifetime. Apart from his work as a dramatist, Shakespeare, in his capacity of one of 'the King's servants' or company of players, was personally known to all the officers of the royal household who collectively controlled theatrical representations at Court. Throughout James I's reign his plays were repeatedly performed in the royal presence, and when the dedicators of the First Folio, at the conclusion of their address to Lords Pembroke and Montgomery, describe the dramatist's works as 'these remaines of your Servant Shakespeare,' they make it quite plain that it was in the capacity of 'King's servant' or player that they knew him to have been the object of their noble patrons' favour.

No suggestion in the sonnets of the youth's identity with Pembroke.

The sonnets offer no internal indication that the Earl of Pembroke and Shakespeare ever saw each other. Nothing at all is deducible from the vague parallelisms that have been adduced between the earl's character and position in life and those with which the poet credited the youth of the sonnets. It may be granted that both had a mother (Sonnet iii.), that both enjoyed wealth and rank, that both were regarded by admirers as cultivated, that both were self-indulgent in their relations with women, and that both in early manhood were indisposed to marry, owing to habits of gallantry. Of one alleged point of resemblance there is no evidence. The loveliness assigned to Shakespeare's youth was not, as far as we can learn, definitely set to Pembroke's account. Francis Davison, when dedicating his 'Poetical Rhapsody' to the earl in 1602 in a very eulogistic sonnet, makes a cautiously qualified reference to the attractiveness of his person in the lines:

[His] outward shape, though it most lovely be, Doth in fair robes a fairer soul attire.

The only portraits of him that survive represent him in middle age, {414} and seem to confute the suggestion that he was reckoned handsome at any time of life; at most they confirm Anthony Wood's description of him as in person 'rather majestic than elegant.' But the point is not one of moment, and the argument neither gains nor loses, if we allow that Pembroke may, at any rate in the sight of a poetical panegyrist, have at one period reflected, like Shakespeare's youth, 'the lovely April of his mother's prime.'

But when we have reckoned up the traits that can, on any showing, be admitted to be common to both Pembroke and Shakespeare's alleged friend, they all prove to be equally indistinctive. All could be matched without difficulty in a score of youthful noblemen and gentlemen of Elizabeth's Court. Direct external evidence of Shakespeare's friendly intercourse with one or other of Elizabeth's young courtiers must be produced before the sonnets' general references to the youth's beauty and grace can render the remotest assistance in establishing his identity.

Aubrey's ignorance of any relation between Shakespeare and Pembroke.

Although it may be reckoned superfluous to adduce more arguments, negative or positive, against the theory that the Earl of Pembroke was a youthful friend of Shakespeare, it is worth noting that John Aubrey, the Wiltshire antiquary, and the biographer of most Englishmen of distinction of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was zealously researching from 1650 onwards into the careers alike of Shakespeare and of various members of the Earl of Pembroke's family—one of the chief in Wiltshire. Aubrey rescued from oblivion many anecdotes—scandalous and otherwise—both about the third Earl of Pembroke and about Shakespeare. Of the former he wrote in his 'Natural History of Wiltshire' (ed. Britton, 1847), recalling the earl's relations with Massinger and many other men of letters. Of Shakespeare, Aubrey narrated much lively gossip in his 'Lives of Eminent Persons.' But neither in his account of Pembroke nor in his account of Shakespeare does he give any hint that they were at any time or in any manner acquainted or associated with one another. Had close relations existed between them, it is impossible that all trace of them would have faded from the traditions that were current in Aubrey's time and were embodied in his writings. {415}


No one has had the hardihood to assert that the text of the sonnets gives internally any indication that the youth's name took the hapless form of 'William Herbert;' but many commentators argue that in three or four sonnets Shakespeare admits in so many words that the youth bore his own Christian name of Will, and even that the disdainful lady had among her admirers other gentlemen entitled in familiar intercourse to similar designation. These are fantastic assumptions which rest on a misconception of Shakespeare's phraseology and of the character of the conceits of the sonnets, and are solely attributable to the fanatical anxiety of the supporters of the Pembroke theory to extort, at all hazards, some sort of evidence in their favour from Shakespeare's text. {416}

Elizabethan meanings of 'will.'

In two sonnets (cxxxv.-vi.)—the most artificial and 'conceited' in the collection—the poet plays somewhat enigmatically on his Christian name of 'Will,' and a similar pun has been doubtfully detected in sonnets cxxxiv. and cxlvii. The groundwork of the pleasantry is the identity in form of the proper name with the common noun 'will.' This word connoted in Elizabethan English a generous variety of conceptions, of most of which it has long since been deprived. Then, as now, it was employed in the general psychological sense of volition; but it was more often specifically applied to two limited manifestations of the volition. It was the commonest of synonyms alike for 'self will' or 'stubbornness'—in which sense it still survives in 'wilful'—and for 'lust,' or 'sensual passion.' It also did occasional duty for its own diminutive 'wish,' for 'caprice,' for 'good-will,' and for 'free consent' (as nowadays in 'willing,' or 'willingly').

Shakespeare's uses of the word.

Shakespeare constantly used 'will' in all these significations. Iago recognised its general psychological value when he said, 'Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners.' The conduct of the 'will' is discussed after the manner of philosophy in 'Troilus and Cressida' (II. ii. 51-68). In another of Iago's sentences, 'Love is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will,' light is shed on the process by which the word came to be specifically applied to sensual desire. The last is a favourite sense with Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Angelo and Isabella, in 'Measure for Measure,' are at one in attributing their conflict to the former's 'will.' The self-indulgent Bertram, in 'All's Well,' 'fleshes his "will" in the spoil of a gentlewoman's honour.' In 'Lear' (IV. vi. 279) Regan's heartless plot to seduce her brother-in-law is assigned to 'the undistinguished space'—the boundless range—'of woman's will.' Similarly, Sir Philip Sidney apostrophised lust as 'thou web of will.' Thomas Lodge, in 'Phillis' (Sonnet xi.), warns lovers of the ruin that menaces all who 'guide their course by will.' Nicholas Breton's fantastic romance of 1599, entitled 'The Will of Wit, Wit's Will or Will's Wit, Chuse you whether,' is especially rich in like illustrations. Breton brings into marked prominence the antithesis which was familiar in his day between 'will' in its sensual meaning, and 'wit,' the Elizabethan synonym for reason or cognition. 'A song between Wit and Will' opens thus:

Wit: What art thou, Will? Will: A babe of nature's brood,

Wit: Who was thy sire? Will: Sweet Lust, as lovers say.

Wit: Thy mother who? Will: Wild lusty wanton blood.

Wit: When wast thou born? Will: In merry month of May.

Wit: And where brought up? Will: In school of little skill.

Wit: What learn'dst thou there? Will: Love is my lesson still.

Of the use of the word in the sense of stubbornness or self-will Roger Ascham gives a good instance in his 'Scholemaster,' (1570), where he recommends that such a vice in children as 'will,' which he places in the category of lying, sloth, and disobedience, should be 'with sharp chastisement daily cut away.' {418a} 'A woman will have her will' was, among Elizabethan wags, an exceptionally popular proverbial phrase, the point of which revolved about the equivocal meaning of the last word. The phrase supplied the title of 'a pleasant comedy,' by William Haughton, which—from 1597 onwards—held the stage for the unusually prolonged period of forty years. 'Women, because they cannot have their wills when they dye, they will have their wills while they live,' was a current witticism which the barrister Manningham deemed worthy of record in his 'Diary' in 1602. {418b}

Shakespeare's puns on the word.

It was not only in the sonnets that Shakespeare—almost invariably with a glance at its sensual significance—rang the changes on this many-faced verbal token. In his earliest play, 'Love's Labour's Lost' (II. i. 97-101), after the princess has tauntingly assured the King of Navarre that he will break his vow to avoid women's society, the king replies, 'Not for the world, fair madam, by my will' (i.e. willingly). The princess retorts 'Why will (i.e. sensual desire) shall break it (i.e. the vow), will and nothing else.' In 'Much Ado' (V. iv. 26 seq.), when Benedick, anxious to marry Beatrice, is asked by the lady's uncle 'What's your will?' he playfully lingers on the word in his answer. As for his 'will,' his 'will' is that the uncle's 'goodwill may stand with his' and Beatrice's 'will'—in other words that the uncle may consent to their union. Slender and Anne Page vary the tame sport when the former misinterprets the young lady's 'What is your will?' into an inquiry into the testamentary disposition of his property. To what depth of vapidity Shakespeare and contemporary punsters could sink is nowhere better illustrated than in the favour they bestowed on efforts to extract amusement from the parities and disparities of form and meaning subsisting between the words 'will' and 'wish,' the latter being in vernacular use as a diminutive of the former. Twice in the 'Two Gentlemen of Verona' (I. iii. 63 and IV. ii. 96) Shakespeare almost strives to invest with the flavour of epigram the unpretending announcement that one interlocutor's 'wish' is in harmony with another interlocutor's 'will.'

It is in this vein of pleasantry—'will' and 'wish' are identically contrasted in Sonnet cxxxv.—that Shakespeare, to the confusion of modern readers, makes play with the word 'will' in the sonnets, and especially in the two sonnets (cxxxv.-vi.) which alone speciously justify the delusion that the lady is courted by two, or more than two, lovers of the name of Will.

Arbitrary and irregular use of italics by Elizabethan and Jacobean printers.

One of the chief arguments advanced in favour of this interpretation is that the word 'will' in these sonnets is frequently italicised in the original edition. But this has little or no bearing on the argument. The corrector of the press recognised that Sonnets cxxxv. and cxxxvi. largely turned upon a simple pun between the writer's name of 'Will' and the lady's 'will.' That fact, and no other, he indicated very roughly by occasionally italicising the crucial word. Typography at the time followed no firmly fixed rules, and, although 'will' figures in a more or less punning sense nineteen times in these sonnets, the printer bestowed on the word the distinction of italics in only ten instances, and those were selected arbitrarily. The italics indicate the obvious equivoque, and indicate it imperfectly. That is the utmost that can be laid to their credit. They give no hint of the far more complicated punning that is alleged by those who believe that 'Will' is used now as the name of the writer, and now as that of one or more of the rival suitors. In each of the two remaining sonnets that have been forced into the service of the theory, Nos. cxxxiv. and cxliii., 'will' occurs once only; it alone is italicised in the second sonnet in the original edition, and there, in my opinion, arbitrarily and without just cause. {419}

The conceits of sonnets cxxxv-vi. interpreted.

The general intention of the complex conceits of Sonnets cxxxv. and cxxxvi. becomes obvious when we bear in mind that in them Shakespeare exploits to the uttermost the verbal coincidences which are inherent in the Elizabethan word 'will.' 'Will' is the Christian name of the enslaved writer; 'will' is the sentiment with which the lady inspires her worshippers; and 'will' designates stubbornness as well as sensual desire. These two characteristics, according to the poet's reiterated testimony, are the distinguishing marks of the lady's disposition. He often dwells elsewhere on her 'proud heart' or 'foul pride,' and her sensuality or 'foul faults.' These are her 'wills,' and they make up her being. In crediting the lady with such constitution Shakespeare was not recording any definite observation or experience of his own, but was following, as was his custom, the conventional descriptions of the disdainful mistress common to all contemporary collections of sonnets. Barnabe Barnes asks the lady celebrated in his sonnets, from whose 'proud disdainfulness' he suffered,

Why dost thou my delights delay, And with thy cross unkindness kills (sic) Mine heart, bound martyr to thy wills?

Barnes answers his question in the next lines:

But women will have their own wills, Since what she lists her heart fulfils. {420}

Similar passages abound in Elizabethan sonnets, but certain verbal similarities give good ground for regarding Shakespeare's 'will' sonnets as deliberate adaptations—doubtless with satiric purpose—of Barnes's stereotyped reflections on women's obduracy. The form and the constant repetition of the word 'will' in these two sonnets of Shakespeare also seem to imitate derisively the same rival's Sonnets lxxii. and lxxiii. in which Barnes puts the words 'grace' and 'graces' through much the same evolutions as Shakespeare puts the words 'will' and 'wills' in the Sonnets cxxxv. and cxxxvi. {421a}

Shakespeare's 'Sonnet' cxxxv. runs:

Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will, And will to boot, and will in over-plus; More than enough am I that vex thee still, To thy sweet will making addition thus. Wilt thou, whose will is large and spacious, {420b} Not once vouchsafe to hide my will in thine? Shall will in others seem right gracious, And in my will no fair acceptance shine? The sea, all water, yet receives rain still, And in abundance addeth to his store; So thou, being rich in will, add to thy will One will of mine, to make thy large will more. Let no unkind no fair beseechers kill; Think all but one, and me in that one—Will.

Sonnet cxxxv.

In the opening words, 'Whoever hath her wish,' the poet prepares the reader for the punning encounter by a slight variation on the current catch-phrase 'A woman will have her will.' At the next moment we are in the thick of the wordy fray. The lady has not only her lover named Will, but untold stores of 'will'—in the sense alike of stubbornness and of lust—to which it seems supererogatory to make addition. {421c} To the lady's 'over-plus' of 'will' is punningly attributed her defiance of the 'will' of her suitor Will to enjoy her favours. At the same time 'will' in others proves to her 'right gracious,' {422a} although in him it is unacceptable. All this, the poet hazily argues, should be otherwise; for as the sea, although rich in water, does not refuse the falling rain, but freely adds it to its abundant store, so she, 'rich in will,' should accept her lover Will's 'will' and 'make her large will more.' The poet sums up his ambition in the final couplet:

Let no unkind no fair beseechers kill; Think all but one, and me in that one—Will.

This is as much as to say, 'Let not my mistress in her unkindness kill any of her fair-spoken adorers. Rather let her think all who beseech her favours incorporate in one alone of her lovers—and that one the writer whose name of "Will" is a synonym for the passions that dominate her.' The thought is wiredrawn to inanity, but the words make it perfectly clear that the poet was the only one of the lady's lovers—to the definite exclusion of all others—whose name justified the quibbling pretence of identity with the 'will' which controls her being.

Sonnet cxxxvi.

The same equivocating conceit of the poet Will's title to identity with the lady's 'will' in all senses is pursued in Sonnet cxxxvi. The sonnet opens:

If thy soul check thee that I come so near, Swear to thy blind soul that I was thy will, {422b} And will thy soul knows is admitted there.

Here Shakespeare adapts to his punning purpose the familiar philosophic commonplace respecting the soul's domination by 'will' or volition, which was more clearly expressed by his contemporary, Sir John Davies, in the philosophic poem, 'Nosce Teipsum:'

Will holds the royal sceptre in the soul, And on the passions of the heart doth reign.

Whether Shakespeare's lines be considered with their context or without it, the tenor of their thought and language positively refutes the commentators' notion that the 'will' admitted to the lady's soul is a rival lover named Will. The succeeding lines run:

Thus far for love, my love-suit, sweet, fulfil. {423a} Will will fulfil the treasure of thy love; Ay, fill it full with wills, and my will one. In things of great receipt with ease we prove Among a number one is reckon'd none: Then in the number let me pass untold, Though in thy stores' account, I one must be; For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold That nothing me, a something sweet to thee.

Here the poet Will continues to claim, in punning right of his Christian name, a place, however small and inconspicuous, among the 'wills,' the varied forms of will (i.e. lust, stubbornness, and willingness to accept others' attentions), which are the constituent elements of the lady's being. The plural 'wills' is twice used in identical sense by Barnabe Barnes in the lines already quoted:

Mine heart, bound martyr to thy wills. But women will have their own wills.

Impulsively Shakespeare brings his fantastic pretension to a somewhat more practical issue in the concluding apostrophe:

Make but my name thy love, and love that still, And then thou lovest me—for my name is Will. {423b}

That is equivalent to saying 'Make "will"' (i.e. that which is yourself) 'your love, and then you love me, because Will is my name.' The couplet proves even more convincingly than the one which clinches the preceding sonnet that none of the rivals whom the poet sought to displace in the lady's affections could by any chance have been, like himself, called Will. The writer could not appeal to a mistress to concentrate her love on his name of Will, because it was the emphatic sign of identity between her being and him, if that name were common to him and one or more rivals, and lacked exclusive reference to himself.

Loosely as Shakespeare's sonnets were constructed, the couplet at the conclusion of each poem invariably summarises the general intention of the preceding twelve lines. The concluding couplets of these two sonnets cxxxv.-vi., in which Shakespeare has been alleged to acknowledge a rival of his own name in his suit for a lady's favour, are consequently the touchstone by which the theory of 'more Wills than one' must be tested. As we have just seen, the situation is summarily embodied in the first couplet thus:

Let no unkind no fair beseechers kill; Think all but one, and me in that one—Will.

It is re-embodied in the second couplet thus:

Make but my name thy love, and love that still, And then thou lovest me—for my name is Will.

The whole significance of both couplets resides in the twice-repeated fact that one, and only one, of the lady's lovers is named Will, and that that one is the writer. To assume that the poet had a rival of his own name is to denude both couplets of all point. 'Will,' we have learned from the earlier lines of both sonnets, is the lady's ruling passion. Punning mock-logic brings the poet in either sonnet to the ultimate conclusion that one of her lovers may, above all others, reasonably claim her love on the ground that his name of Will is the name of her ruling passion. Thus his pretension to her affections rests, he punningly assures her, on a strictly logical basis.

Sonnet cxxxiv. Meaning of Sonnet cxliii.

Unreasonable as any other interpretation of these sonnets (cxxxv.-vi.) seems to be, I believe it far more fatuous to seek in the single and isolated use of the word 'will' in each of the sonnets cxxxiv. and cxliii. any confirmation of the theory of a rival suitor named Will.

Sonnet cxxxiv. runs:

So now I have confess'd that he is thine, And I myself am mortgaged to thy will. {425} Myself I'll forfeit, so that other mine Thou wilt restore, to be my comfort still. But thou wilt not, nor he will not be free, For thou art covetous and he is kind. He learn'd but surety-like to write for me, Under that bond that him as fast doth bind. The statute of thy beauty thou wilt take, Thou usurer, that putt'st forth all to use, And sue a friend came debtor for my sake; So him I lose through my unkind abuse. Him have I lost; thou hast both him and me; He pays the whole, and yet am I not free.

Here the poet describes himself as 'mortgaged to the lady's will' (i.e. to her personality, in which 'will,' in the double sense of stubbornness and sensual passion, is the strongest element). He deplores that the lady has captivated not merely himself, but also his friend, who made vicarious advances to her.

Sonnet cxliii. runs:

Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch One of her feathered creatures broke away, Sets down her babe, and makes all swift despatch In pursuit of the thing she would have stay; Whilst her neglected child holds her in chase, Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent To follow that which flies before her face, Not prizing her poor infant's discontent: So runn'st thou after that which flies from thee, Whilst I, thy babe, chase thee afar behind; But if thou catch thy hope turn back to me, And play the mother's part, kiss me, be kind: So will I pray that thou mayst have thy will, {426} If thou turn back and my loud crying still.

In this sonnet—which presents a very clear-cut picture, although its moral is somewhat equivocal—the poet represents the lady as a country housewife and himself as her babe; while an acquaintance, who attracts the lady but is not attracted by her, is figured as a 'feathered creature' in the housewife's poultry-yard. The fowl takes to flight; the housewife sets down her infant and pursues 'the thing.' The poet, believing apparently that he has little to fear from the harmless creature, lightly makes play with the current catch-phrase ('a woman will have her will'), and amiably wishes his mistress success in her chase, on condition that, having recaptured the truant bird, she turn back and treat him, her babe, with kindness. In praying that the lady may have her 'will' the poet is clearly appropriating the current catch-phrase, and no pun on a man's name of 'Will' can be fairly wrested from the context.


The sonnetteering vogue, as I have already pointed out, {427a} reached its full height between 1591 and 1597, and when at its briskest in 1594 it drew Shakespeare into its current. An enumeration of volumes containing sonnet-sequences or detached sonnets that were in circulation during the period best illustrates the overwhelming force of the sonnetteering rage of those years, and, with that end in view, I give here a bibliographical account, with a few critical notes, of the chief efforts of Shakespeare's rival sonnetteers. {427b}

Wyatt's and Surrey's Sonnets, published in 1557. Watson's 'Centurie of Love,' 1582.

The earliest collections of sonnets to be published in England were those by the Earl of Surrey and Sir Thomas Wyatt, which first appeared in the publisher Tottel's poetical miscellany called 'Songes and Sonnetes' in 1557. This volume included sixteen sonnets by Surrey and twenty by Wyatt. Many of them were translated directly from Petrarch, and most of them treated conventionally of the torments of an unrequited love. Surrey included, however, three sonnets on the death of his friend Wyatt, and a fourth on the death of one Clere, a faithful follower. Tottel's volume was seven times reprinted by 1587. But no sustained endeavour was made to emulate the example of Surrey and Wyatt till Thomas Watson about 1580 circulated in manuscript his 'Booke of Passionate Sonnetes,' which he wrote for his patron, the Earl of Oxford. The volume was printed in 1582, under the title of '[Greek text], or Passionate Centurie of Loue. Divided into two parts: whereof the first expresseth the Authours sufferance on Loue: the latter his long farewell to Loue and all his tyrannie. Composed by Thomas Watson, and published at the request of certaine Gentlemen his very frendes.' Watson's work, which he called 'a toy,' is a curious literary mosaic. He supplied to each poem a prose commentary, in which he not only admitted that every conceit was borrowed, but quoted chapter and verse for its origin from classical literature or from the work of French or Italian sonnetteers. {428a} Two regular quatorzains are prefixed, but to each of the 'passions' there is appended a four-line stanza which gives each poem eighteen instead of the regular fourteen lines. Watson's efforts were so well received, however, that he applied himself to the composition of a second series of sonnets in strict metre. This collection, entitled 'The Teares of Fancie,' only circulated in manuscript in his lifetime. {428b}

Sidney's 'Astrophel and Stella,' 1591.

Meanwhile a greater poet, Sir Philip Sidney, who died in 1586, had written and circulated among his friends a more ambitious collection of a hundred and eight sonnets. Most of Sidney's sonnets were addressed by him under the name of Astrophel to a beautiful woman poetically designated Stella. Sidney had in real life courted assiduously the favour of a married lady, Penelope, Lady Rich, and a few of the sonnets are commonly held to reflect the heat of passion which the genuine intrigue developed. But Petrarch, Ronsard, and Desportes inspired the majority of Sidney's efforts, and his addresses to abstractions like sleep, the moon, his muse, grief, or lust, are almost verbatim translations from the French. Sidney's sonnets were first published surreptitiously, under the title of 'Astrophel and Stella,' by a publishing adventurer named Thomas Newman, and in his first issue Newman added an appendix of 'sundry other rare sonnets by divers noblemen and gentlemen.' Twenty-eight sonnets by Daniel were printed in the appendix anonymously and without the author's knowledge. Two other editions of Sidney's 'Astrophel and Stella' without the appendix were issued in the same year. Eight other of Sidney's sonnets, which still circulated only in manuscript, were first printed anonymously in 1594 with the sonnets of Henry Constable, and these were appended with some additions to the authentic edition of Sidney's 'Arcadia' and other works that appeared in 1598. Sidney enjoyed in the decade that followed his death the reputation of a demi-god, and the wide dissemination in print of his numerous sonnets in 1591 spurred nearly every living poet in England to emulate his achievement. {429a}

In order to facilitate a comparison of Shakespeare's sonnets with those of his contemporaries it will be best to classify the sonnetteering efforts that immediately succeeded Sidney's under the three headings of

(1) sonnets of more or less feigned love, addressed to a more or less fictitious mistress;

(2) sonnets of adulation, addressed to patrons; and

(3) sonnets invoking metaphysical abstractions or treating impersonally of religion or philosophy. {429b}

(1) Collected sonnets of feigned love. Daniel's 'Delia,' 1592.

In February 1592 Samuel Daniel published a collection of fifty-five sonnets, with a dedicatory sonnet addressed to his patroness, Sidney's sister, the Countess of Pembroke. As in many French volumes, the collection concluded with an 'ode.' {429c} At every point Daniel betrayed his indebtedness to French sonnetteers, even when apologising for his inferiority to Petrarch (No. xxxviii.) His title he borrowed from the collection of Maurice Seve, whose assemblage of dixains called 'Delie, objet de plus haute vertu' (Lyon, 1544), was the pattern of all sonnet-sequences on love, and was a constant theme of commendation among the later French sonnetteers. But it is to Desportes that Daniel owes most, and his methods of handling his material may be judged by a comparison of his Sonnet xxvi. with Sonnet lxiii. in Desportes' collection, 'Cleonice: Dernieres Amours,' which was issued at Paris in 1575.

Desportes' sonnet runs:

Je verray par les ans vengeurs de mon martyre Que l'or de vos cheveux argente deviendra, Que de vos deux soleils la splendeur s'esteindra, Et qu'il faudra qu'Amour tout confus s'en retire. La beaute qui si douce a present vous inspire, Cedant aux lois du Temps ses faveurs reprendra, L'hiver de vostre teint les fleurettes perdra, Et ne laissera rien des thresors que i'admire. Cest orgueil desdaigneux qui vous fait ne m'aimer, En regret et chagrin se verra transformer, Avec le changement d'une image si belle: Et peut estre qu'alors vous n'aurez desplaisir De revivre en mes vers chauds d'amoureux desir, Ainsi que le Phenix au feu se renouvelle.

This is Daniel's version, which he sent forth as an original production:

I once may see, when years may wreck my wrong, And golden hairs may change to silver wire; And those bright rays (that kindle all this fire) Shall fail in force, their power not so strong, Her beauty, now the burden of my song, Whose glorious blaze the world's eye doth admire, Must yield her praise to tyrant Time's desire; Then fades the flower, which fed her pride so long, When if she grieve to gaze her in her glass, Which then presents her winter-withered hue: Go you my verse! go tell her what she was! For what she was, she best may find in you. Your fiery heat lets not her glory pass, But Phoenix-like to make her live anew.

In Daniel's beautiful sonnet (xlix.) beginning,

Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night, Brother to Death, in silent darkness born,

he has borrowed much from De Baif and Pierre de Brach, sonnetteers with whom it was a convention to invocate 'O Sommeil chasse-soin.' But again he chiefly relies on Desportes, whose words he adapts with very slight variations. Sonnet lxxiii. of Desportes' 'Amours d'Hippolyte' opens thus:

Sommeil, paisible fils de la Nuict solitaire . . . O frere de la Mort, que tu m'es ennemi!

Fame of Daniel's sonnets.

Daniel's sonnets were enthusiastically received. With some additions they were republished in 1594 with his narrative poem, 'The Complaint of Rosamund.' The volume was called 'Delia and Rosamund Augmented.' Spenser, in his 'Colin Clouts come Home againe,' lauded the 'well-tuned song' of Daniel's sonnets, and Shakespeare has some claim to be classed among Daniel's many sonnetteering disciples. The anonymous author of 'Zepheria' (1594) declared that the 'sweet tuned accents' of 'Delian sonnetry' rang throughout England; while Bartholomew Griffin, in his 'Fidessa' (1596), openly plagiarised Daniel, invoking in his Sonnet xv. 'Care-charmer Sleep, . . . brother of quiet Death.'

Constable's 'Diana,' 1592.

In September of the same year (1592) that saw the first complete version of Daniel's 'Delia,' Henry Constable published 'Diana: the Praises of his Mistres in certaine sweete Sonnets.' Like the title, the general tone was drawn from Desportes' 'Amours de Diane.' Twenty-one poems were included, all in the French vein. The collection was reissued, with very numerous additions, in 1594 under the title 'Diana; or, The excellent conceitful Sonnets of H. C. Augmented with divers Quatorzains of honourable and learned personages.' This volume is a typical venture of the booksellers. {431} The printer, James Roberts, and the publisher, Richard Smith, supplied dedications respectively to the reader and to Queen Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting. They had swept together sonnets in manuscript from all quarters and presented their customers with a disordered miscellany of what they called 'orphan poems.' Besides the twenty sonnets by Constable, eight were claimed for Sir Philip Sidney, and the remaining forty-seven are by various hands which have not as yet been identified.

Barnes' sonnets, 1593.

In 1593 the legion of sonnetteers received notable reinforcements. In May came out Barnabe Barnes's interesting volume, 'Parthenophil and Parthenophe: Sonnets, Madrigals, Elegies, and Odes. To the right noble and virtuous gentleman, M. William Percy, Esq., his dearest friend.' {432a} The contents of the volume and their arrangement closely resemble the sonnet-collections of Petrarch or the 'Amours' of Ronsard. There are a hundred and five sonnets altogether, interspersed with twenty-six madrigals, five sestines, twenty-one elegies, three 'canzons,' and twenty 'odes,' one in sonnet form. There is, moreover, included what purports to be a translation of 'Moschus' first eidillion describing love,' but is clearly a rendering of a French poem by Amadis Jamin, entitled 'Amour Fuitif, du grec de Moschus,' in his 'OEuvres Poetiques,' Paris, 1579. {432b} At the end of Barnes's volume there also figure six dedicatory sonnets. In Sonnet xcv. Barnes pays a compliment to Sir Philip Sidney, 'the Arcadian shepherd, Astrophel,' but he did not draw so largely on Sidney's work as on that of Ronsard, Desportes, De Baif, and Du Bellay. Legal metaphors abound in Barnes's poems, but amid many crudities, he reaches a high level of beauty in Sonnet lxvi., which runs:

Ah, sweet Content! where is thy mild abode? Is it with shepherds, and light-hearted swains, Which sing upon the downs, and pipe abroad, Tending their flocks and cattle on the plains? Ah, sweet Content! where dost thou safely rest In Heaven, with Angels? which the praises sing Of Him that made, and rules at His behest, The minds and hearts of every living thing. Ah, sweet Content! where doth thine harbour hold? Is it in churches, with religious men, Which please the gods with prayers manifold; And in their studies meditate it then? Whether thou dost in Heaven, or earth appear; Be where thou wilt! Thou wilt not harbour here! {433a}

Watson's 'Tears of Fancie,' 1593.

In August 1593 there appeared a posthumous collection of sixty-one sonnets by Thomas Watson, entitled 'The Tears of Fancie, or Love Disdained.' They are throughout the imitative type of his previously published 'Centurie of Love.' Many of them sound the same note as Shakespeare's sonnets to the 'dark lady.'

Fletcher's 'Licia,' 1593.

In September 1593 followed Giles Fletcher's 'Licia, or Poems of Love in honour of the admirable and singular virtues of his Lady.' This collection of fifty-three sonnets is dedicated to the wife of Sir Richard Mollineux. Fletcher makes no concealment that his sonnets are literary exercises. 'For this kind of poetry,' he tells the reader, 'I did it to try my humour;' and on the title-page he notes that the work was written 'to the imitation of the best Latin poets and others.' {433b}

Lodge's 'Phillis,' 1593.

The most notable contribution to the sonnet-literature of 1593 was Thomas Lodge's 'Phillis Honoured with Pastoral Sonnets, Elegies, and Amorous Delights.' {433c} Besides forty sonnets, some of which exceed fourteen lines in length and others are shorter, there are included three elegies and an ode. Desportes is Lodge's chief master, but he had recourse to Ronsard and other French contemporaries. How servile he could be may be learnt from a comparison of his Sonnet xxxvi. with Desportes's sonnet from 'Les Amours de Diane,' livre II. sonnet iii.

Thomas Lodge's Sonnet xxxvi. runs thus:

If so I seek the shades, I presently do see The god of love forsake his bow and sit me by; If that I think to write, his Muses pliant be; If so I plain my grief, the wanton boy will cry. If I lament his pride, he doth increase my pain If tears my cheeks attaint, his cheeks are moist with moan If I disclose the wounds the which my heart hath slain, He takes his fascia off, and wipes them dry anon. If so I walk the woods, the woods are his delight; If I myself torment, he bathes him in my blood; He will my soldier be if once I wend to fight, If seas delight, he steers my bark amidst the flood. In brief, the cruel god doth never from me go, But makes my lasting love eternal with my woe.

Desportes wrote in 'Les Amours de Diane,' book II. sonnet iii.:

Si ie me sies l'ombre, aussi soudainement Amour, laissant son arc, s'assiet et se repose: Si ie pense a des vers, ie le voy qu'il compose: Si ie plains mes douleurs, il se plaint hautement. Si ie me plains du mal, il accroist mon tourment: Si ie respan des pleurs, son visage il arrose: Si ie monstre la playe en ma poitrine enclose, Il defait son bandeau l'essuyant doucement. Si ie vay par les bois, aux bois il m'accompagne: Si ie me suis cruel, dans mon sang il se bagne: Si ie vais a la guerre, it deuient mon soldart: Si ie passe la mer, il conduit ma nacelle: Bref, iamais l'inhumain de moy ne se depart, Pour rendre mon amour et ma peine eternelle.

Drayton's 'Idea', 1594.

Three new volumes in 1594, together with the reissue of Daniel's 'Delia' and of Constable's 'Diana' (in a piratical miscellany of sonnets from many pens), prove the steady growth of the sonnetteering vogue. Michael Drayton in June produced his 'Ideas Mirrour, Amours in Quatorzains,' containing fifty-one 'Amours' and a sonnet addressed to 'his ever kind Mecaenas, Anthony Cooke.' Drayton acknowledged his devotion to 'divine Sir Philip,' but by his choice of title, style, and phraseology, the English sonnetteer once more betrayed his indebtedness to Desportes and his compeers. 'L'Idee' was the name of a collection of sonnets by Claude de Pontoux in 1579. Many additions were made by Drayton to the sonnets that he published in 1594, and many were subtracted before 1619, when there appeared the last edition that was prepared in Drayton's lifetime. A comparison of the various editions (1594, 1599, 1605, and 1619) shows that Drayton published a hundred sonnets, but the majority were apparently circulated by him in early life. {435a}

Percy's 'Coelia,' 1594.

William Percy, the 'dearest friend' of Barnabe Barnes, published in 1594, in emulation of Barnes, a collection of twenty 'Sonnets to the fairest Coelia.' {435b} He explains, in an address to the reader, that out of courtesy he had lent the sonnets to friends, who had secretly committed them to the press. Making a virtue of necessity, he had accepted the situation, but begged the reader to treat them as 'toys and amorous devices.'

Zepheria, 1594.

A collection of forty sonnets or 'canzons,' as the anonymous author calls them, also appeared in 1594 with the title 'Zepheria.' {435c} In some prefatory verses addressed 'Alli veri figlioli delle Muse' laudatory reference was made to the sonnets of Petrarch, Daniel, and Sidney. Several of the sonnets labour at conceits drawn from the technicalities of the law, and Sir John Davies parodied these efforts in the eighth of his 'gulling sonnets' beginning, 'My case is this, I love Zepheria bright.'

Barnfield's sonnets to Ganymede, 1595.

Four interesting ventures belong to 1595. In January, appended to Richard Barnfield's poem of 'Cynthia,' a panegyric on Queen Elizabeth, was a series of twenty sonnets extolling the personal charms of a young man in emulation of Virgil's Eclogue ii., in which the shepherd Corydon addressed the shepherd-boy Alexis. {435d} In Sonnet xx. the author expressed regret that the task of celebrating his young friend's praises had not fallen to the more capable hand of Spenser ('great Colin, chief of shepherds all') or Drayton ('gentle Rowland, my professed friend'). Barnfield at times imitated Shakespeare.

Spenser's 'Amoretti', 1595.

Almost at the same date as Barnfield's 'Cynthia' made its appearance there was published the more notable collection by Edmund Spenser of eighty-eight sonnets, which in reference to their Italian origin he entitled 'Amoretti.' {435e} Spenser had already translated many sonnets on philosophic topics of Petrarch and Joachim Du Bellay. Some of the 'Amoretti' were doubtless addressed by Spenser in 1593 to the lady who became his wife a year later. But the sentiment was largely ideal, and, as he says in Sonnet lxxxvii., he wrote, like Drayton, with his eyes fixed on 'Idaea.'

'Emaricdulfe,' 1595.

An unidentified 'E.C., Esq.,' produced also in 1595, under the title of 'Emaricdulfe,' {436a} a collection of forty sonnets, echoing English and French models. In the dedication to his 'two very good friends, John Zouch and Edward Fitton Esquiers,' the author tells them that an ague confined him to his chamber, 'and to abandon idleness he completed an idle work that he had already begun at the command and service of a fair dame.'

Sir John Davies's 'Gullinge Sonnets,' 1595.

To 1595 may best be referred the series of nine 'Gullinge sonnets,' or parodies, which Sir John Davies wrote and circulated in manuscript, in order to put to shame what he regarded as 'the bastard sonnets' in vogue. He addressed his collection to Sir Anthony Cooke, whom Drayton had already celebrated as the Mecaenas of his sonnetteering efforts. {436b} Davies seems to have aimed at Shakespeare as well as at insignificant rhymers like the author of 'Zepheria.' {436c} No. viii. of Davies's 'gullinge sonnets,' which ridicules the legal metaphors of the sonnetteers, may be easily matched in the collections of Barnabe Barnes or of the author of 'Zepheria,' but Davies's phraseology suggests that he also was glancing at Shakespeare's legal sonnets lxxxvii. and cxxxiv. Davies's sonnet runs:

My case is this. I love Zepheria bright, Of her I hold my heart by fealty: Which I discharge to her perpetually, Yet she thereof will never me acquit[e]. For, now supposing I withhold her right, She hath distrained my heart to satisfy The duty which I never did deny, And far away impounds it with despite. I labour therefore justly to repleave [i.e. recover] My heart which she unjustly doth impound. But quick conceit which now is Love's high shreive Returns it as esloyned [i.e. absconded], not to be found. Then what the law affords I only crave, Her heart for mine, in wit her name to have (sic).

Linche's 'Diella,' 1596.

'R. L., gentleman,' probably Richard Linche, published in 1596 thirty-nine sonnets under the title 'Diella.' {437a} The effort is thoroughly conventional. In an obsequious address by the publisher, Henry Olney, to Anne, wife of Sir Henry Glenham, Linche's sonnets are described as 'passionate' and as 'conceived in the brain of a gallant gentleman.'

Griffin's 'Fidessa,' 1596. Thomas Campion, 1596.

To the same year belongs Bartholomew Griffin's 'Fidessa,' sixty-two sonnets inscribed to 'William Essex, Esq.' Griffin designates his sonnets as 'the first fruits of a young beginner.' He is a shameless plagiarist. Daniel is his chief model, but he also imitated Sidney, Watson, Constable, and Drayton. Sonnet iii., beginning 'Venus and young Adonis sitting by her,' is almost identical with the fourth poem—a sonnet beginning 'Sweet Cytheraea, sitting by a brook'—in Jaggard's piratical miscellany, 'The Passionate Pilgrim,' which bore Shakespeare's name on the title-page. {437b} Jaggard doubtless stole the poem from Griffin, although it may be in its essentials the property of some other poet. Three beautiful love-sonnets by Thomas Campion, which are found in the Harleian MS. 6910, are there dated 1596. {437c}

William Smith's 'Chloris,' 1596.

William Smith was the author of 'Chloris,' a third collection of sonnets appearing in 1596. {437d} The volume contains forty-eight sonnets of love of the ordinary type, with three adulating Spenser; of these, two open the volume and one concludes it. Smith says that his sonnets were 'the budding springs of his study.' In 1600 a license was issued by the Stationers' Company for the issue of 'Amours' by W. S. This no doubt refers to a second collection of sonnets by William Smith. The projected volume is not extant. {438a}

Robert Tofte's 'Laura,' 1597.

In 1597 there came out a similar volume by Robert Tofte, entitled 'Laura, the Joys of a Traveller, or the Feast of Fancy.' The book is divided into three parts, each consisting of forty 'sonnets' in irregular metres. There is a prose dedication to Lucy, sister of Henry, ninth Earl of Northumberland. Tofte tells his patroness that most of his 'toys' 'were conceived in Italy.' As its name implies, his work is a pale reflection of Petrarch. A postscript by a friend—'R. B.'—complains that a publisher had intermingled with Tofte's genuine efforts 'more than thirty sonnets not his.' But the style is throughout so uniformly tame that it is not possible to distinguish the work of a second hand.

Sir William Alexander's 'Aurora.'

To the same era belongs Sir William Alexander's 'Aurora,' a collection of a hundred and six sonnets, with a few songs and elegies interspersed on French patterns. Sir William describes the work as 'the first fancies of his youth,' and formally inscribes it to Agnes, Countess of Argyle. It was not published till 1604. {438b}

Sir Fulke Greville's 'Caelica.'

Sir Fulke Greville, afterwards Lord Brooke, the intimate friend of Sir Philip Sidney, was author of a like collection of sonnets called 'Caelica.' The poems number a hundred and nine, but few are in strict sonnet metre. Only a small proportion profess to be addressed to the poet's fictitious mistress, Caelica. Many celebrate the charms of another beauty named Myra, and others invoke Queen Elizabeth under her poetic name of Cynthia (cf. Sonnet xvii.) There are also many addresses to Cupid and meditations on more or less metaphysical themes, but the tone is never very serious. Greville doubtless wrote the majority of his 'Sonnets' during the period under survey, though they were not published until their author's works appeared in folio for the first time in 1633, five years after his death.

Estimate of number of love-sonnets issued between 1591 and 1597.

With Tofte's volume in 1597 the publication of collections of love-sonnets practically ceased. Only two collections on a voluminous scale seem to have been written in the early years of the seventeenth century. About 1607 William Drummond of Hawthornden penned a series of sixty-eight interspersed with songs, madrigals, and sextains, nearly all of which were translated or adapted from modern Italian sonnetteers. {439a} About 1610 John Davies of Hereford published his 'Wittes Pilgrimage . . . through a world of Amorous Sonnets.' Of more than two hundred separate poems in this volume, only the hundred and four sonnets in the opening section make any claim to answer the description on the title-page, and the majority of those are metaphysical meditations on love which are not addressed to any definite person. Some years later William Browne penned a sequence of fourteen love-sonnets entitled 'Caelia' and a few detached sonnets of the same type. {439b} The dates of production of Drummond's, Davies's, and Browne's sonnets exclude them from the present field of view. Omitting them, we find that between 1591 and 1597 there had been printed nearly twelve hundred sonnets of the amorous kind. If to these we add Shakespeare's poems, and make allowance for others which, only circulating in manuscript, have not reached us, it is seen that more than two hundred love-sonnets were produced in each of the six years under survey. France and Italy directed their literary energies in like direction during nearly the whole of the century, but at no other period and in no other country did the love-sonnet dominate literature to a greater extent than in England between 1591 and 1597.

Of sonnets to patrons between 1591 and 1597, of which detached specimens may be found in nearly every published book of the period, the chief collections were:

II. Sonnets to patrons, 1591-7.

A long series of sonnets prefixed to 'Poetical Exercises of a Vacant Hour' by King James VI of Scotland, 1591; twenty-three sonnets in Gabriel Harvey's 'Four Letters and certain Sonnets touching Robert Greene' (1592), including Edmund Spenser's fine sonnet of compliment addressed to Harvey; a series of sonnets to noble patronesses by Constable circulated in manuscript about 1592 (first printed in 'Harleian Miscellany,' 1813, ix. 491); six adulatory sonnets appended by Barnabe Barnes to his 'Parthenophil' in May 1593; four sonnets to 'Sir Philip Sidney's soul,' prefixed to the first edition of Sidney's 'Apologie for Poetrie' (1595); seventeen sonnets which were originally prefixed to the first edition of Spenser's 'Faerie Queene,' bk. i.-iii., in 1590, and were reprinted in the edition of 1596; {440} sixty sonnets to peers, peeresses, and officers of state, appended to Henry Locke's (or Lok's) 'Ecclesiasticus' (1597); forty sonnets by Joshua Sylvester addressed to Henry IV of France 'upon the late miraculous peace in Fraunce' (1599); Sir John Davies's series of twenty-six octosyllabic sonnets, which he entitled 'Hymnes of Astraea,' all extravagantly eulogising Queen Elizabeth (1599).

III. Sonnets on philosophy and religion.

The collected sonnets on religion and philosophy that appeared in the period 1591-7 include sixteen 'Spirituall Sonnettes to the honour of God and Hys Saynts,' written by Constable about 1593, and circulated only in manuscript; these were first printed from a manuscript in the Harleian collection (5993) by Thomas Park in 'Heliconia,' 1815, vol. ii. In 1595 Barnabe Barnes published a 'Divine Centurie of Spirituall Sonnets,' and, in dedicating the collection to Toby Matthew, bishop of Durham, mentions that they were written a year before, while travelling in France. They are closely modelled on the two series of 'Sonnets Spirituels' which the Abbe Jacques de Billy published in Paris in 1573 and 1578 respectively. A long series of 'Sonnets Spirituels' written by Anne de Marquets, a sister of the Dominican Order, who died at Poissy in 1598, was first published in Paris in 1605. In 1594 George Chapman published ten sonnets in praise of philosophy, which he entitled 'A Coronet for his Mistress Philosophy.' In the opening poem he states that his aim was to dissuade poets from singing in sonnets 'Love's Sensual Empery.' In 1597 Henry Locke (or Lok) appended to his verse-rendering of Ecclesiastes {441a} a collection of 'Sundrie Sonets of Christian Passions, with other Affectionate Sonets of a Feeling Conscience.' Lok had in 1593 obtained a license to publish 'a hundred Sonnets on Meditation, Humiliation, and Prayer,' but that work is not extant. In the volume of 1597 his sonnets on religious or philosophical themes number no fewer than three hundred and twenty-eight. {441b}

Thus in the total of sonnets published between 1591 and 1597 must be included at least five hundred sonnets addressed to patrons, and as many on philosophy and religion. The aggregate far exceeds two thousand.


Ronsard (1524-1585) and 'La Pleiade.' Desportes (1546-1606).

In the earlier years of the sixteenth century Melin de Saint-Gelais (1487-1558) and Clement Marot (1496-1544) made a few scattered efforts at sonnetteering in France; and Maurice Seve laid down the lines of all sonnet-sequences on themes of love in his dixains entitled 'Delie' (1544). But it was Ronsard (1524-1585), in the second half of the century, who first gave the sonnet a pronounced vogue in France. The sonnet was handled with the utmost assiduity not only by Ronsard, but by all the literary comrades whom he gathered round him, and on whom he bestowed the title of 'La Pleiade.' The leading aim that united Ronsard and his friends was the re-formation of the French language and literature on classical models. But they assimilated and naturalised in France not only much that was admirable in Latin and Greek poetry, {442a} but all that was best in the recent Italian literature. {442b} Although they were learned poets, Ronsard and the majority of his associates had a natural lyric vein, which gave their poetry the charms of freshness and spontaneity. The true members of 'La Pleiade,' according to Ronsard's own statement, were, besides himself, Joachim du Bellay (1524-1560); Estienne Jodelle (1532-1573); Remy Belleau (1528-1577); Jean Dinemandy, usually known as Daurat or Dorat (1508-1588), Ronsard's classical teacher in early life; Jean-Antoine de Baif (1532-1589); and Ponthus de Thyard (1521-1605). Others of Ronsard's literary allies are often loosely reckoned among the 'Pleiade.' These writers include Jean de la Peruse (1529-1554), Olivier de Magny (1530-1559), Amadis Jamyn (1538?-1585), Jean Passerat (1534-1602), Philippe Desportes (1546-1606), Estienne Pasquier (1529-1615), Scevole de Sainte-Marthe (1536-1623), and Jean Bertaut (1552-1611). These subordinate members of the 'Pleiade' were no less devoted to sonnetteering than the original members. Of those in this second rank, Desportes was most popular in France as well as in England. Although many of Desportes's sonnets are graceful in thought and melodious in rhythm, most of them abound in overstrained conceits. Not only was Desportes a more slavish imitator of Petrarch than the members of the 'Pleiade,' but he encouraged numerous disciples to practise 'Petrarchism,' as the imitation of Petrarch was called, beyond healthful limits. Under the influence of Desportes the French sonnet became, during the latest years of the sixteenth century, little more than an empty and fantastic echo of the Italian.

Chief collections of French sonnets published between 1550 and 1584.

The following statistics will enable the reader to realise how closely the sonnetteering movement in France adumbrated that in England. The collective edition in 1584 of the works of Ronsard, the master of the 'Pleiade,' contains more than nine hundred separate sonnets arranged under such titles as 'Amours de Cassandre,' 'Amours de Marie,' 'Amours pour Astree,' 'Amours pour Helene;' besides 'Amours Divers' and 'Sonnets Divers,' complimentary addresses to friends and patrons. Du Bellay's 'Olive,' a collection of love sonnets, first published in 1549, reached a total of a hundred and fifteen. 'Les Regrets,' Du Bellay's sonnets on general topics, some of which Edmund Spenser first translated into English, numbered in the edition of 1565 a hundred and eighty-three. De Baif published two long series of sonnets, entitled respectively 'Les Amours de Meline' (1552) and 'Les Amours de Francine' (1555). Amadis Jamyn was responsible for 'Les Amours d'Oriane,' 'Les Amours de Calliree,' and 'Les Amours d'Artemis' (1575). Desportes's 'Premieres OEuvres' (1575), a very popular book in England, included more than three hundred sonnets—a hundred and fifty being addressed to Diane, eighty-six to Hippolyte, and ninety-one to Cleonice. Ponthus de Thyard produced between 1549 and 1555 three series of his 'Erreurs Amoureuses,' sonnets addressed to Pasithee, and Belleau brought out a volume of 'Amours' in 1576.

Minor collections of French sonnets published between 1553 and 1605.

Among other collections of sonnets published by less known writers of the period, and arranged here according to date of first publication, were those of Guillaume des Autels, 'Amoureux Repos' (1553); Olivier de Magny, 'Amours, Soupirs,' &c. (1553, 1559); Louise Labe, 'OEuvres' (1555); Jacques Tahureau, 'Odes, Sonnets,' &c. (1554, 1574); Claude de Billet, 'Amalthee,' a hundred and twenty-eight love sonnets (1561); Vauquelin de la Fresnaye, 'Foresteries' (1555 et annis seq.); Jacques Grevin, 'Olympe' (1561); Nicolas Ellain, 'Sonnets' (1561); Scevole de Sainte-Marthe, 'OEuvres Francaises' (1569, 1579); Estienne de la Boetie, 'OEuvres' (1572), and twenty-nine sonnets published with Montaigne's 'Essais' (1580); Jean et Jacques de la Taille, 'OEuvres' (1573); Jacques de Billy, 'Sonnets Spirituels' (first series 1573, second series 1578); Estienne Jodelle 'OEuvres Poetiques' (1574); Claude de Pontoux, 'Sonnets de l'Idee' (1579); Les Dames des Roches, 'OEuvres' (1579, 1584); Pierre de Brach, 'Amours d'Aymee' (circa 1580); Gilles Durant, 'Poesies'—sonnets to Charlotte and Camille (1587, 1594); Jean Passerat, 'Vers . . . d'Amours' (1597); and Anne de Marquet, who died in 1588, 'Sonnets Spirituels' (1605). {445}



Abbey, Mr. E. A., 342

Abbott, Dr. E. A., 364

Actor, Shakespeare as an, 43-45 See also Roles, Shakespeare's

Actors: entertained for the first time at Stratford-on-Avon, 10 return of the two chief companies to London in 1587, 33 the players' licensing Act of Queen Elizabeth, 34 companies of boy actors, 34 35 38 213 companies of adult actors in 1587, 35 the patronage of the company which was joined by Shakespeare, 35 36 women's parts played by men or boys, 38 and n 2 tours in the provinces, 39-42 foreign tours, 42 Shakespeare's alleged scorn of their calling, 44 45 'advice' to actors in Hamlet, 45 their incomes, 198 199 and n 2, 201 the strife between adult actors and boy actors, 213-17 221 patronage of actors by King James, 232 and n 2 substitution of women for boys in female parts, 334 335

Adam, in As You Like It, played by Shakespeare, 44

Adaptations by Shakespeare of old plays, 56

Adaptations of Shakespeare's plays at the Restoration, 331 332

Adulation, extravagance of, in the days of Queen Elizabeth, 137 138 and n 2

AEschylus, Hamlet's 'sea of troubles' paralleled in the Persae of, 13 n resemblance between Lady Macbeth and Clytemnestra in the Agamemnon of, 13 n

AEsthetic school of Shakespearean criticism, 333

Alexander, Sir William, sonnets by, 438

Alleyn, Edward, manages the amalgamated companies of the Admiral and Lord Strange, 37 pays fivepence for the pirated Sonnets, 90 n his large savings, 204

Allot, Robert, 312

All's Well that Ends Well: the sonnet form of a letter of Helen, 84 probable date of production, 162 plot drawn from Painter's 'Palace of Pleasure,' 163 probably identical with Love's Labour's Won, 162 chief characters, 163 its resemblance to the Two Gentlemen of Verona, 163 For editions see Section xix. (Bibliography), 301-25

America, enthusiasm for Shakespeare in, 341 342 copies of the First Folio in, 308 310 n

Amner, Rev. Richard, 321

'Amoretti,' Spenser's, 115 435 and n 5, 436

'Amours' by 'J. D.,' 390 and n

Amphitruo of Plautus, the, and a scene in The Comedy of Errors, 54

'Amyntas,' complimentary title of, 385 n 2

Angelo, Michael, 'dedicatory' sonnets of, 138 n

'Anthia and Abrocomas,' by Xenophon Ephesius, and the story of Romeo and Juliet, 55 n

Antony and Cleopatra: allusion to the part of Cleopatra being played by a boy, 39 n the youthfulness of Octavius Caesar, 143 n 2 the longest of the poet's plays, 224 date of entry in the 'Stationers' Registers,' 244 date of publication, 245 the story derived from Plutarch, 245 the 'happy valiancy' of the style, 245 For editions see Section xix. (Bibliography), 301-25

Apollonius and Silla, Historie of, 210

'Apologie for Poetrie,' Sidney's, allusion to the conceit of the immortalising power of verse in, 114 on the adulation of patrons, 138

'Apology for Actors,' Heywood's, 182

Apsley, William, bookseller, 90 304 312

'Arcadia,' Sidney's, 88 n, 241 and n 2, 429

Arden family, of Warwickshire, 6 191

Arden family, of Alvanley, 192

Arden, Alice, 7

Arden, Edward, executed for complicity in a Popish plot, 6

Arden, Joan, 12

Arden, Mary. See Shakespeare, Mary

Arden, Robert (1), sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicestershire in 1438, 6

Arden, Robert (2), landlord at Snitterfield of Richard Shakespeare, 3 6 marriage of his daughter Mary to John Shakespeare, 6 7 his family and second marriage, 6 his property and will, 7

Arden, Thomas, grandfather of Shakespeare's mother, 6

Arden of Feversham, a play of uncertain authorship, 71

Ariel, character of, 256

Ariodante and Ginevra, Historie of, 208

Ariosto, I Suppositi of, 164 Orlando Furioso of, and Much Ado about Nothing, 208

Aristotle, quotation from, made by both Shakespeare and Bacon 370 n

Armado, in Love's Labour's Lost 51 n, 62

Armenian language, translation of Shakespeare in the, 354

Arms, coat of, Shakespeare's, 189 190 191 193

Arms, College of, applications of the poet's father to, 2 10 n, 188-92

Arne, Dr., 334

Arnold, Matthew, 327 n 1

Art in England, its indebtedness to Shakespeare, 340 341

As You Like It: allusion to the part of Rosalind being played by a boy, 38 n 2 ridicule of foreign travel, 42 n 2 acknowledgments to Marlowe (III. v. 8), 64 adapted from Lodge's 'Rosalynde,' 209 addition of three new characters, 209 hints taken from 'Saviolo's Practise,' 209 its pastoral character, 209 said to have been performed before King James at Wilton, 232 n 1 411 n. For editions see Section xix. (Bibliography), 301-25

Asbies, the chief property of Robert Arden at Wilmcote, bequeathed to Shakespeare's mother, 7 mortgaged to Edmund Lambert, 12 proposal to confer on John Lambert an absolute title to the property, 26 Shakespeare's endeavour to recover, 195

Ashbee, Mr. E. W., 302 n

Assimilation, literary, Shakespeare's power of, 61 109 seq.

Aston Cantlowe, 6 place of the marriage of Shakespeare's parents, 7

'Astrophel,' apostrophe to Sidney in Spenser's, 143 n 2

'Astrophel and Stella,' 83 the metre of, 95 n 2 address to Cupid, 97 n the praise of 'blackness' in, 119 and n 153 n 1 editions of, 428 429

Aubrey, John, the poet's early biographer, on John Shakespeare's trade, 4 on the poet's knowledge of Latin, 16 on John Shakespeare's relations with the trade of butcher, 18 on the poet at Grendon, 31 lines quoted by him on John Combe, 269 n on Shakespeare's genial disposition, 278 value of his biography of the poet, 362 his ignorance of any relation between Shakespeare and the Earl of Pembroke, 414 415

'Aurora,' title of Sir W. Alexander's collection of sonnets, 438 Autobiographical features of Shakespeare's plays, 164-7 168 248 of Shakespeare's sonnets, the question of, 100 109 125 152 160

Autographs of the poet, 284-6

'Avisa,' heroine of Willobie's poem, 155 seq

Ayrer, Jacob, his Die schone Sidea, 253 and n 1

Ayscough, Samuel, 364 n


Bacon, Miss Delia, 371

Bacon Society, 372

Bacon-Shakespeare controversy, (Appendix II.), 370-73

Baddesley Clinton, the Shakespeares of, 3

Baif, De, plagiarised indirectly by Shakespeare, 111 and n indebtedness of Daniel and others to, 431 432 one of 'La Pleiade,' 443 444

Bandello, the story of Romeo and Juliet by, 55 n 1 the story of Hero and Claudio by, 208 the story of Twelfth Night by, 210

Barante, recognition of the greatness of Shakespeare by, 350

Barnard, Sir John, second husband of the poet's granddaughter Elizabeth, 282

Barnes, Barnabe, legal terminology in his Sonnets, 32 n 2 and (Appendix IX.) 432 use of the word 'wire,' 118 n 2 his sonnets of vituperation, 121 the probable rival of Shakespeare for Southampton's favour, 131 132 133 135 n his sonnets, 132 133 432 called 'Petrarch's scholar' by Churchyard, 133 expressions in his sonnet (xlix.) adopted by Shakespeare, 152 n sonnet to Lady Bridget Manners, 379 n sonnet to Southampton's eyes, 384 compliment to Sidney in Sonnet xcv. 432 Sonnet lxvi. ('Ah, sweet Content') quoted, 432 his sonnets to patrons, 440 his religious sonnets, 441

Barnfield, Richard, feigning old age in his 'Affectionate Shepherd,' 86 n his adulation of Queen Elizabeth in 'Cynthia,' 137 n, 435 sonnets addressed to 'Ganymede,' 138 n 2, 435 predicts immortality for Shakespeare, 179 chief author of the 'Passionate Pilgrim,' 182 and n

Bartholomew Fair, 255

Bartlett, John, 364

Barton collection of Shakespeareana at Boston, Mass., 341

Barton-on-the-Heath, 12 identical with the 'Burton' in the Taming of the Shrew, 164

Bathurst, Charles, on Shakespeare's versification, 49 n

Baynes, Thomas Spencer, 365

Beale, Francis, 389

'Bear Garden in Southwark, The,' the poet's lodgings near, 38

Bearley, 6

Beaumont, Francis, on 'things done at the Mermaid,' 177

Beaumont, Sir John, 388

Bedford, Edward Russell, third Earl of: his marriage to Lucy Harington, 161

Bedford, Lucy, Countess of, 138 n 2, 161

Beeston, William (a seventeenth-century actor), on the report that Shakespeare was a schoolmaster, 29 on the poet's acting, 43

Bellay, Joachim du, Spenser's translations of some of his sonnets, 101 105 n, 432 436 443 444

Belleau, Remy, poems and sonnets by, 441 n 1, 444 445 n

Belleforest (Francois de), Shakespeare's indebtedness to the 'Histoires Tragiques' of, 14 55 n 1, 208 222

Benda, J. W. 0., German translation of Shakespeare by, 344

Benedick and his 'halting sonnet,' 108 208

Benedix, J. R., opposition to Shakespearean worship by, 345

Bentley, R., 313

Berlioz, Hector, 351

Bermudas, the, and The Tempest, 252

Berners, Lord, translation of 'Huon of Bordeaux' by, 162

Bernhardt, Madame Sarah, 351

Bertaut, Jean, 443

Betterton, Mrs., 335

Betterton, Thomas, 33 332 334 335 362

Bianca and her lovers, story of, partly drawn from the 'Supposes' of George Gascoigne, 164

Bible, the, Shakespeare and, 16 17 and n 1

Bibliography of Shakespeare, 299-325

Bensley, Robert, actor, 338

Bidford, near Stratford, legend of a drinking bout at, 271

Biography of the poet, sources of (Appendix I.), 361-5

Birmingham, memorial Shakespeare library at, 298

Biron, in Love's Labour's Lost, 51 and n

Birth of Merlin, 181

Birthplace, Shakespeare's, 8 9

'Bisson,' use of the word, 317

Blackfriars Shakespeare's purchase of property in, 267

Blackfriars Theatre, built by James Burbage (1596), 38 200 leased to 'the Queen's Children of the Chapel,' 38 202 213 occupied by Shakespeare's company, 38 litigation of Burbage's heirs, 200 Shakespeare's interest in, 201 202 shareholders in, 202 Shakespeare's disposal of his shares in, 264

'Blackness,' Shakespeare's praise of, 118-120 cf. 155

Blades, William, 364

Blind Beggar of Alexandria, Chapman's, 51 n

Blount, Edward, publisher, 92 135 n, 183 244 304 305 312 393 394 and n 1

Boaistuau de Launay (Pierre) translates Bandello's story of Romeo and Juliet, 51 n

Boaden, James, 406 n

Boar's Head Tavern, 170

Boas, Mr. F. S., 365

Boccaccio, Shakespeare's indebtedness to, 163 249 251 and n 2

Bodenstedt, Friedrich von, German translator of Shakespeare, 344

Bohemia, allotted a seashore in Winter's Tale, 251 translations of Shakespeare in, 354

Boiardo, 243

Bond against impediments respecting Shakespeare's marriage, 20 21

Bonian, Richard, printer, 226

Booth, Barton, actor, 335

Booth, Edwin, 342

Booth, Junius Brutus, 342

Booth, Lionel, 311

Borck, Baron C. W. von, translation of Julius Caesar into German by, 343

Boswell, James, 334

Boswell, James (the younger), 322 405 n

Boswell-Stone, Mr. W. G. 364

Bottger, A., German translation of Shakespeare by, 344

Boy-actors, 34 35 38 the strife between adult actors and, 213-217

Boydell, John, his scheme for illustrating the work of the poet, 341

Bracebridge, C. H., 364

Brach, Pierre de, his sonnet on Sleep echoed in Daniel's Sonnet xlix., 101 and n 1 431 445 n

Brandes, Mr. Georg, 365

Brassington, Mr. W. Salt, 290 n

Brathwaite, Richard, 269 n 1, 388 398

Breton, Nicholas, homage paid to the Countess of Pembroke in his poems, 138 n 2 his play on the words 'wit' and 'will,' 417

Brewster, E., 313

Bridgeman, Mr. C. 0., 415 n

Bright, James Heywood, 406 n

Broken Heart, Ford's, similarity of theme of Shakespeare's Sonnet cxxvi. to that of a song in, 97 n

Brooke or Broke, Arthur, his translation of the story of Romeo and Juliet, 55 322

Brooke, Ralph, complains about Shakespeare's coat-of-arms, 192 193

Brown, C. Armitage, 406 n

Brown, John, obtains a writ of distraint against Shakespeare's father, 12

Browne, William, love-sonnets by, 439 and n 2

Buc, Sir George, 245

Buckingham, John Sheffield, first Duke of, a letter from King James to the poet said to have been in his possession, 231

Bucknill, Dr. John Charles, on the poet's medical knowledge, 364

Burbage, Cuthbert, 37 200

Burbage, James, owner of The Theatre and keeper of a livery stable, 33 36 erects the Blackfriars Theatre, 38

Burbage, Richard, erroneously assumed to have been a native of Stratford, 31 n a lifelong friend of Shakespeare's, 36 demolishes The Theatre and builds the Globe Theatre, 37 200 performs, with Shakespeare and Kemp, before Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich Palace, 43 his impersonation of the King in Richard III, 63 litigation of his heirs respecting the Globe and the Blackfriars Theatres, 200 his income, 203 219 creates the title-part in Hamlet, 222 231 his reputation made by creating the leading parts in the poet's greatest tragedies, 264 265 anecdote of, 265 the poet's bequest to, 276 as a painter, 292

Burgersdijk, Dr. L. A. J., translation in Dutch by, 352

Burghley, Lord, 375 376 378

Burton, Francis, bookseller, 399 n 2, 400

Butter, Nathaniel, 180 241


'C., E.,' sonnet by, on lust, 153 n 1 his collection of sonnets, 'Emaricdulfe,' 436

Caliban, the character of, 253 256 257 and notes

Cambridge, Hamlet acted at, 224

Cambridge edition of Shakespeare, 324

Camden, William, 191

Campbell, Lord, on the poet's legal acquirements, 364

Campion, Thomas, his opinion of Barnes's verse, 133 his sonnet to Lord Walden, 140 sonnets in Harleian MS., 437 and n 3

Capell, Edward, reprint of Edward III in his 'Prolusions,' 71 224 his edition of Shakespeare, 319 his works on the poet, 320

Cardenio, the lost play of, 181 258 259

Carter, Rev. Thomas, on the alleged Puritan sympathies of Shakespeare's father, 10 n

Casteliones y Montisis, Lope de Vega's, 55 n 1

Castille, Constable of, entertainments in his honour at Whitehall, 233 234

Castle, William, parish clerk of Stratford, 34

Catherine II of Russia, adaptations of the Merry Wives and King John by, 352 353

Cawood, Gabriel, publisher of 'Mary Magdalene's Funeral Tears,' 88 n

Cecil, Sir Robert, and the Earl of Southampton, 143 379 381 382

'Centurie of Spiritual Sonnets, A,' Barnes's, 132

'Certain Sonnets,' Sidney's, 153 n 1

Cervantes, his 'Don Quixote,' foundation of lost play of Cardenio, 258 death of, 272 n 1

Chamberlain, the Lord, his company of players. See Hunsdon, first Lord and second Lord

Chamberlain, John, 149 261 n

Chapman, George, plays on Biron's career by, 51 n, 395 n 1 his An Humourous Day's Mirth, 51 n his Blind Beggar of Alexandria, 51 n his censure of sonnetteermg, 106 his alleged rivalry with Shakespeare for Southampton's favour, 134 135 n, 183 his translation of the 'Iliad,' 227 his sonnets to patrons, 388 440 n sonnets in praise of philosophy, 441

Charlecote Park, probably the scene of the poaching episode, 27 28

Charles I and the poet's plays, 329 his copy of the Second Folio, 312

Charles II, his copy of the Second Folio, 312

Chateaubriand, 349

Chatelain, Chevalier de, rendering of Hamlet by, 351

Chaucer, the story of 'Lucrece' in his 'Legend of Good Women,' 76 hints in his 'Knight's Tale' for Midsummer Night's Dream, 162 the plot of Troilus and Cressida taken from his 'Troilus and Cresseid,' 227 plot of The Two Noble Kinsmen drawn from his 'Knight's Tale,' 260

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