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tales has no better foundation than the vanity of our degener Neoptolemus," and the latter originates from modern conjecture. The prefent age will probably

7 Nor does the fame piece of ancient scandal derive much weight from Aubrey's adoption of it. The reader who is acquainted with the writings of this abfurd goffip, will scarcely pay more attention to him on the prefent occafion, than when he gravely affures us that "Anno 1670, not far from Cirencester was an apparition; being demanded whether a good spirit or a bad? returned no anfwer, but difappeared with a curious perfume and most melodious twang. Mr. W. Lilly believes it was a fairy.' See Aubrey's Mifcellanies, edit. 1784, p. 114-Aubrey, in fhort, was a dupe to every wag who chose to practise on his credulity; and would moft certainly have believed the person who fhould have told him that Shakspeare himself was a natural fon of Queen Elizabeth.

An additional and no less pleasant proof of Aubrey's cullibility, may be found at the conclufion of one of his own Letters to Mr. Ray; where, after the enumeration of several wonderful methods employed by old women and Irishmen to cure the gout, agues, and the bloody flux, he adds: "Sir Chriftopher Wren told me once [eating of firawberries] that if one that has a wound in the head eats them, 'tis mortal."

See Philofophical Letters between the late learned Mr. Ray &c. Published by William Derham, Chaplain to his Royal Highness George Prince of Wales, & F. R. S. 8vo. 1718, p. 251.

In the foregoing inftance our letter-writer feems to have been perfectly unconscious of the jocularity of Sir Christopher, who would have meant nothing more by his remark, than to fecure his ftrawberries, at the expence of an allufion to the crack in poor Aubrey's head. Thus when Falstaff " did defire to eat fome prawns," Mrs. Quickly told him " they were ill for a green


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Mr. T. Warton has pleasantly obferved that he "cannot fuppofe Shakspeare to have been the father of a Doctor of Divinity who never laughed ;" and-to wafte no more words on Sir William D'Avenant,-let but our readers furvey his heavy, vulgar, unmeaning face, and, if we mistake not, they will as readily conclude that Shakspeare never holp to make it." So defpicable, indeed, is his countenance as represented by Faithorne, that it appears to have funk that celebrated engraver beneath many a common artift in the fame line.


allow the vintner's ivy to Sir William, but with equal juftice will withhold from him the poet's bays.

To his pretenfions of defcent from Shakspeare, one might almost be induced to apply a ludicrous paffage uttered by Fielding's Phaeton in the Suds:

-by all the parish boys I'm flamm'd: i "You the SUN's fon, you rafcal! you be d―d."

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About the time when this picture found its way into Mr. Keck's hands, the verification of portraits was fo little attended to, that both the Earl of Oxford, and Mr. Pope, admitted a juvenile one of King James I. as that of Shakspeare. Among the heads of illuftrious perfons engraved by Houbraken, are several imaginary ones, befide Ben Jonfon's and Otway's; and old Mr. Langford pofitively afferted that, in the fame collection, the grandfather of Cock the auctioneer had the honour to perfonate the great and amiable Thurloe, fecretary of ftate to Oliver Cromwell.

From the price of forty guineas paid for the suppofed portrait of our author to Mrs. Barry, the real value of it fhould not be inferred. The poffeffion


• Much respect is due to the authority of portraits that defcend in families from heir to heir; but little reliance can be placed on them when they are produced for fale (as in the present inftance) by alien hands, almost a century after the death of the perfon supposed to be represented; and then, (as Edmund says in King Lear) come pat, like the catastrophe of the old comedy." Shakspeare was buried in 1616; and in 1708 the first notice of this picture occurs. Where there is fuch a chafm in evidence, the validity of it may be not unfairly queftioned, and especially by those who remember a species of fraudulence recorded in Mr. Foote's Tafte: "Clap Lord Dupe's arms on that half-length of Erafmus; I have fold it him as his great grandfather's third brother, for fifty guineas."

of fomewhat more animated than canvas, might have been included, though not specified, in a bargain with an actrefs of acknowledged gallantry.

Yet allowing this to be a mere fanciful infinuation, a rich man does not eafily miss what he is ambitious to find. At least he may be perfuaded he has found it, a circumftance which, as far as it affects his own content, will answer, for a while, the fame purpose. Thus the late Mr. Jennens, of Gopfal in Leicesterfhire, for many years congratulated himself as owner of another genuine portrait of Shakspeare, and by Cornelius Janfen; nor was difpofed to forgive the writer who obferved that, being dated in 1610, it could not have been the work of an artist who never faw England till 1618, above a year after our author's death.

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So ready, however, are interested people in affifting credulous ones to impofe on themfeives, that we will venture to predict,-if fome opulent dupe to the flimfy artifice of Chatterton fhould advertise a confiderable fum of money for a portrait of the Pfeudo-Rowley, fuch a defideratum would foon emerge from the tutelary crypts of St. Mary Redcliff at Bristol, or a hitherto unheard of repository in the tomb of Syr Thybbot Gorges at Wraxall.'

A kindred trick had actually been paffed off by Chatterton on the late Mr. Barrett of Bristol, in whofe back parlour was a pretended head of Canynge, moft contemptibly fcratched with a pen on a small fquare piece of yellow parchment, and framed and glazed as an authentick icon by the " curyous poyntill" of Rowley. But this fame drawing very foon ceafed to be stationary, was alternately exhibited and concealed, as the wavering faith of its poffeffor fhifted about, and was prudently withheld at laft from the publick eye. Why it was not inferted in the late Hiftory of Bristol, as well as Rowley's plan and elevation of its ancient castle, (which all the rules of all the ages of architecture pronounce to be spurious) let the Rowleian advocates inform us.

It would also come attefted as a strong likeness of our archæological bard, on the faith of a parchment. exhibiting the hand and feal of the dygne Mayfter Wyllyam Canynge, fetting forth that Mayfter Thomas Rowlie was fo entyrely and passynge wele belovyd of himself, or our poetick knight, that one or the other causyd hys femblaunce to be ryght conynglye depeyncten on a marveilloufe fayre table of wood, and enfevelyd wyth hym, that deth mote theym not clene departyn and putte afunder.-A fimilar impofition, however, would in vain be attempted on the editors of Shakspeare, who, with all the zeal of Rowleians, are happily exempt from their credulity.

A former plate of our author, which was copied from Martin Droefhout's in the title-page to the folio 1623, is worn out; nor does fo "abominable an imitation of humanity" deserve to be restored. The smaller head, prefixed to the Poems in 1640, is merely a reduced and reverfed copy by Marshall from its predeceffor, with a few flight changes in attitude and drefs. We boaft therefore of no exterior ornaments, except thofe of better print and paper than have hitherto been allotted to any octavo edition of Shakspeare.


We are happy at leaft to have recollected a fingle impofition that was too grofs for even thefe gentlemen to fwallow. Mr. Barrett, however, in the year 1776, affured Mr. Tyrwhitt and Mr. Steevens, that he received the aforefaid fcrawl of Canynge from Chatterton, who defcribed it as having been found in the prolifick cheft, fecured by fix, or fix-and-twenty keys, no matter which.


They who with for decorations adapted to this edition of Shakspeare, will find them in Silvefter Harding's Portraits and Views, &c. &c. (appropriated to the whole fuite of our author's Hiftorical Dramas, &c.) publifhed in thirty numbers.

See Gent. Mag. June 1759, p. 257.

Juftice nevertheless requires us to fubjoin, that had an undoubted picture of our author been attainable, the Bookfellers would most readily have paid for the beft engraving from it that could have been produced by the most skilful of our modern artists; but it is idle to be at the charge of perpetuating illufions: and who fhall offer to point out, among the numerous prints of Shakspeare, any one that is more like him than the reft ?5

The play of Pericles has been added to this collection, by the advice of Dr. Farmer. To make room for it, Titus Andronicus might have been omitted; but our proprietors are of opinion that fome ancient prejudices in its favour may still exift, and for that reafon only it is preserved.

We have not reprinted the Sonnets, &c. of Shakfpeare, because the strongest act of parliament that could be framed would fail to compel readers into their service; notwithstanding these miscellaneous poems have derived every poffible advantage from the literature and judgment of their only intelligent editor, Mr. Malone, whofe implements of criticism,

s Lift of the different engravings from the Chandofan Shakspeare :

By Vandergucht, to Rowe's edit.

Vertue, half sheet, Set of Poets
Do. fmall oval, Jacob's Lives
Do. to Warburton's 8vo.
Duchange, 8vo. to Theobald's
Gravelot, half fheet, Hanmer's edit.
Houbraken, half fheet, Birch's Heads

Millar, fmall oval, Capell's Shakspeare
Hall, 8vo. Reed's edit.

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Cook, 8vo. Bell's edit.


Knight, 8vo. Mr. Malone's edit.


Harding, 8vo. Set of Prints to Shakspeare


No two of thefe Portraits are alike; nor does any one of them bear the flightest resemblance to its wretched original. G. S.

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