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1. "GOOD-BYE SWEETHEART!"
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NOTES:-Are there any Extant MSS. of Shakespeare's Handwriting? 1- - Memoranda of Junius, 3-The Use of Whale's Ribs - Swiss Folk Lore- Centenarianism: a Man 125!-Deritend, Birmingham-Edward Fairfax and Tasso - Swallows formerly Used in Physic-Curious Addresses on Letters-Quiver Inscription-Argyllshire Folk Lore-Eighth-"Chalk for Cheese" - Dr. Garth on Revolutions - Royal Deaths from Smallpox, 4. QUERIES: "All-to"- -Anonymous -Sir John Boys"Bonaparte's Coachmanship"-Ceremony - Destruction of Prints by Insects-Le Père Duchesne - Queen Elizabeth's dying Words - Geographical Queries - A Jury exposed to the Rain Ladies on Horseback- A Lincolnshire Query-Sir Hudson Lowe - Manuscript Journal mentioned by Byron - Mount Calvary -"The Mistletoe Bough"- Numismatic - A Prophecy of NostradamusPunning Motto - Quotations wanted- Medieval Service Books Tatleriana-"Thole and Thinkon," 6.; REPLIES:-Mural Paintings in Starston Church, Norfolk, 10 The Piano, 11-Heraldic, 12-Antique Heads in Medieval Seals, Ib. -"The Garden of the Soul"-Passages in Shelley Stafford of Blatherwick, Gretton, Sudbury, &c.-The Memory of Smells - Parodies: the late Stephen Kemble, &c.-Chepstow Estrighoiel - Gough a Surname Mourning or Black-edged Writing-paperSir Joshua Reynolds's Palette-Luther "Grand Hérésiarque"- -Charms for Ague - Chevisaunce or Chevisance In the Straw"- Hood's "Address to Mr. Cross"A Cromwell Note Cheshire Cats - "Streak of Silver Sea"-"The Sun never Sets," &c - Spenser, the Poet of Ireland, &c., 14. Notes on Books, &c.
ARE THERE ANY EXTANT MSS. IN SHAKESPEARE'S HANDWRITING?
All that is known of Shakespeare's handwriting is six signatures-one in a book, two on indentures, and three on his will. They all come within the last ten years of his life; two of them are cramped for want of space; three are written by the failing hand of a decaying man. But they all show that the poet's handwriting was that of the ordinary scrivener or copyist of the time. This fact, while it makes any holograph of his more difficult to distinguish from similar writings, at the same time points to the possibility or even probability of something from his hand being extant among the mass of manuscripts written in the scrivener's hand of the period.
In this paper I will give my reasons for thinking that portions of the MS. Harleian 7368 in the British Museum are in his writing. It is the MS. of a play, "Sir Thomas More," which was edited for the Shakespeare Society by Mr. Dyce in 1844. The MS. is important, as being a specimen of a "book" still for the most part remaining in the state in which the author sold it to the players; it is the official copy, submitted by them to the Master of the Revels as censor, with his remarks in the margin, and his scratches through lines and words which he disapproved, and with alterations and additions on separate
sheets of paper, for the most part made in accordance with, or in consequence of, his objections. Moreover, the mention of an actor (p. 53, note 1, of Dyce's reprint) shows the play to have belonged to Shakespeare's company. If then the consentaneous opinion of Shakespearian critics is right, that he was for a long time employed as the Johannes factotum of his company, to alter, cobble, and botch the plays they adopted, there is some à priori probability that he was employed in the alterations of this play.
To enforce this probability I will make some critical remarks on the play itself. First then, it is a biographical play, precisely on the plan of the very similar drama The Life and Death of Thomas Lord Cromwell, and nearly on the plan of Pericles. All three consist of successive tableaux from the hero's life, without more connection than the unity of the person gives them. Of these three plays, Pericles is Shakespeare's, Cromwell was printed with his initials in his lifetime, and More is much more worthy of him than Cromwell. All three belonged to his company of actors.
The date of it is approximately fixed by Mr. Dyce as about 1590, or perhaps a little earlier. The plot itself enables us to fix the date with somewhat more precision. Before doing so, a preliminary remark is necessary. It is clear from the play itself under consideration, and from many other passages from writings of 1589 or 1590 which I might quote, that it was a received theory of the time that plays ought to have a present interest; that it was of no use to reproduce the great men of antiquity unless there were some extant parallel to them in the circles of the day. When no such modern instances existed there was no reason for reviving the old examples. The theatre was the stage to discuss the great questions of the day under the thin disguise of Plutarchian parallels. This is the doctrine of Spenser in his Tears of the Muses. It may be gathered out of Shakespeare's sonnets, and it is declared in the following verses of the present play (p. 50): —
"This is no age for poets; they should sing To the loud cannon heroica facta; Qui faciunt reges heroica carmina laudant. And as great subjects of their pen decay, Even so unphysicked they do melt away." This being the case, it is reasonable to suppose that the play was intended to have reference to the subjects of the day. And this conjecture is strengthened if we find the censor objecting to any part of it for no apparent reason except its political danger. Now the early part of the play refers entirely to the famous "ill May day" of 1517, when the London apprentices rose against the foreigners resident in London. The same feeling, prevalent for years in Elizabeth's reign, was very nearly bursting out into violent acts in