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* It appears from Peck? Collcetion of divors curi'us Hiftorical Pieces, &c. (appended to his Memoirs &c. of Oliver Cromwell,) p. 14. that a Latin play on this subject had been written. - Epilogus Cæsaris interfeéti, quomodo in senam prodiit ea res, acta, in Eccleña Chrifti, Oxon. Qui Epilogus a Magistro Ricardo Eedes, et scriptus et in proscenio ibidem dictus fuit, A. D. 1582." Meres, whose Wit's Commonwealth was publithed in 1598, enumerales Dr. Eedes among the best tragic writers of that time. STEEVENS.
From some words spoken by Polonius in Hamlet, I think it probable that there was an Engliņ play on this subject, before Shakspeare commenced a writer for the stage.
Stephen Goffon in his School of Abuse, 1579, mentions a play entitled The History of Cæfar and Pompey.
William Alexander, afterwards earl of Sterline, wrote a tragedy on the story and with the tide of Julius Cæfar. It may be presumed that Siakspeare's play was posterior to his; for lord Sterline, when he composed his Julius Cajar 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 Cæsar, 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 fource. However, there are some reasons for thinking the coincidence more than accidental.
A passage in The Tempest, (p. 127,) seems to have been copied from one in Darius, another play of lord Sterline's, printed at Edinburgh in 1603. His Julius Cæfar appcared in 1607, at a time when he was little acquainted with English writers; for both these pieces abound with scorticisms, which, in the subsequent folio ejition, 1637, he corrected. But neither The Tempejt nor the Julius Cæfar of our author was printed till 1623.
It should also be remembered, that our author has several plays, founded on subjects which had been previously treated by others. Of this kind are King John, King Richard II. the two parts of K. Henry IV. King Henry V. King Richard III. King Lear, Antory and Cleopatra, Measure for Niafure, The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, and I believe, Hamlet, Timon of Athens, and tbe Second and Third Part of King Henry VI. whe::is no proof has hitherto been produced, that any contemporary writer ever presumed to new model a story that had already employed the pen of Shakspeare. On all these grounds it appears more probable, that Shakspeare was indebted to lord Sterlin., than that Jord Sterline borrowed from Shakspeare. If this reasoning be just, this play could not have appeared before the year 1607. I believe it was produced in that year. See An Attempt to ascertain i be order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. I. Malone
The real length of time in Julius Cæfar is as follows: About the mid. dle of February A. U. c. ;09, a frantick festival, Sacred to Pan, and called Lufercalia, was held in honour of Cæfar, when the regal crown was offered to him by Antony. On the 15th of March in the same year, he was Nain. Nov. 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, Upton.
Triumvirs, after the Death of Julius
Conspirators against Julius Cæsar,
Friends to Brutus and Cassius. Varro, Clitus, Claudius, Strato, Lucius, Dardanius; Ser.
vants to Brutus, Pindarus, Servant to Cassius,
Calphurnia, Wife to Cæsar.
Senators, Citizens, Guards, Attendants, c.
SCENE, during a great part of the play, at Rome : after
wards at Sardis; and near Philippi.