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the "Boar's-Head Inn," Eastcheap, or the "Mermaid," Blackfriars, no longer echo with the jubilant mirth and pleasantries once fabled of Jack Falstaff and his merry men; or with the "wise saws” of the illustrious author of those creations. Let us, then, leave the fictitious and turn to the real-let us accompany the genial author of The Sketch-Book, and seek the grave of Shakspeare:-" The place is solemn and sepulchral: tall elms wave before the pointed windows, and the Avon, which runs at a short distance from the walls, keeps up a low, perpetual murmur. A flat stone marks the spot where the bard is buried, upon which are inscribed the following lines:





Just over the grave, in a niche of the wall, is a bust of Shakspeare, put up shortly after his death, and considered as a resemblance. The aspect is pleasant and serene, with a finely arched forehead." The bust is said to be life-size, and was originally painted over, in imitation of nature: the eyes were light hazel; the hair and beard, auburn; the doublet or coat, scarlet; the loose gown or tabard, black. Malone, however, caused the bust to be painted over white, in 1793. "The inscription on the tombstone has not been without its effect : it has prevented the removal of his remains from the bosom of his native place to Westminster Abbey, which was at one time contemplated. A few years since, also, as some laborers were digging to make an adjoining vault, the earth caved in, so as to leave a vacant space almost like an arch, through which one might have reached into his grave. No one, however, presumed to meddle with his remains, so awfully guarded by a malediction; and lest any of the idle or curious, or any collector of relics, should be tempted to com

mit depredations, the old sexton kept watcn over the place for two days, until the vault was finished and the aperture closed again. He told me that he had made bold to look in at the hole, but could see neither coffin nor bones-nothing but dust. It was something, I thought, to have seen the dust of Shakspeare!"

But, leaving to its silent repose all that is mortal of the great poet, let us seek communion with the spirit that lives immortal in his pages-pages all aglow with clustered brilliants and gems of thought. Dr. Johnson, referring to the difficulty of exhibiting the genius of Shakspeare by quotation, says: "He that attempts it will succeed like the pedant in Hierocles, who, when he offered his house to sale, carried a brick in his pocket as a specimen." Nevertheless, as we are not restricted to a single specimen, we will make the most of our privilege. Had the great bard given us but these four dramasHamlet, Macbeth, Lear, and Othello, he would have yet been decked with the laurel-crown as Prince of Poets. What an affluence of imagery and splendor of diction signalize the first act of Hamlet! Familiar though it may be to us, yet it never can become trite,— that matchless soliloquy of the royal Dane :

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And, by opposing, end them? To die,-to sleep,—
No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,-'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die;—to sleep ;—
To sleep! perchance to dream ;-ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause :—there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life:

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of dispriz'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns

That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would these' fardels bear,
grunt and sweat under a weary

But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will;
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprizes of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn away,*
And lose the name of action.

From this noble reach of philosophy, turn we to the fine impassioned burst of Romeo in the garden :


But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks!

It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,

Who is already sick and pale with grief,

That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she;

Be not her maid, since she is envious;

Her vestal livery is but sick and green,

And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.—
It is my lady; O! it is my love.




These, in first folio, but not in quartos.


Away, in folio; in quartos, awry.

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp: her eye in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright,
That birds would sing, and think it were not night.

What other poet has so felicitously portrayed all that is picturesque and lovely in a summer's dawn;-pouring on our souls all the freshness and cheerfulness of the returning sunlight?

Look, love! what envious streaks

Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east :

Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountains' tops!

Among the masterly passages of the great dramatist may be classed the soliloquy of Juliet, on drinking the opiate :

Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again.
I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins,
That almost freezes up the heat of life:
I'll call them back again to comfort me.—
Nurse! What should she do here?

My dismal scene I needs must act alone.—
Come, phial.-

What if this mixture do not work at all?
Shall I be married, then, to-morrow morning?
No, no ;-this shall forbid it: lie thou there.-

[Laying down the dagger.

What if it be a poison, which the friar
Subtly hath ministered to have me dead;
Lest in this marriage he should be dishonoured,
Because he married me before to Romeo?
I fear, it is and yet, methinks, it should not,
For he hath still been tried a holy man :

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Come to redeem me? there's a fearful point! Shall I not, then, be stifled in the vault,

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