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DRAMATIC WORKS:

WITH

A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,

AND A SELECTION OF

NOTES, CRITICAL, HISTORICAL, AND EXPLANATORY,

BY THE

REV. W. HARNESS, A.M.

OF CHRIST'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE

TO WHICH ARE ADDED, THE AUTHOR'S POEMS.

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LONDON:
PRINTED AND SOLD BY J. F. DOVE,

ST. JOHN'S SQUARE.

SHAKSPEARE'S

DRAMATIC WORKS.

VOL. VII.

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This tragedy was neither printed nor entered at Stationers' Hall, till 1623. It was probably composed about the year 1607. From the words of Polonius in Hamlet, who says that, when in the university “ he did enact Julius Caesar,” it seems probable that an English play on this subject had appeared before Shakspeare commenced a writer for the stage. A Latin play on the death of Caesar was acted at Christ's Church, Oxford, so early as 1582, as appears from Peck's Collection of divers curious historical Pieces, &c. (appended to his Memoirs, &c. of Oliver Cromwell) p. 14, and William Alexander, afterwards earl of Sterline, wrote a tragedy on the story, and with the title of Julius Caesar. “It may be presumed,” says Malone, “ that Shakspeare's play was posterior to his; for Lord Sterline, when he composed his Julius Caesar, was a very young author, and would hardly have ventured into that circle, within which the most eminent dramatick writer of England had already walked. The death of Caesar, which is not exhibited, but related to the audience, forms the catastrophe of his piece. In the two plays many parallel passages are found, which might, perhaps, have proceeded only from the two authors drawing from the same source.” The real length of time in Julius Caesar is as follows: About the middle of February, A. U.C. 709, a frantick festival, sacred to Pan, and called Lupercalia, was held in honour of Caesar, when the regal crown was offered to him by Antony. On the 15th of March in the same year, he was slain. November 27, A. U. C. 710, the triumvirs met at a small island, formed by the river Rhenus, near Bononia, and there adjusted their cruel proscription.—A. U. C. 711, Brutus and Cassius were defeated near Philippi.

VOL. VII, B

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