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from the individual responsibility which they thus incur."
After the biddings by private individuals had reached £2,000, the property was knocked down to the National Agents for a little more than the sum agreed upon on the day preceding the auction. By these means the walls which sheltered the cradle of William Shakspeare, have become the property of the nation. The public will no doubt relieve the distinguished men, who have been mainly instrumental in accomplishing this laudable undertaking, from the pecuniary responsibilities which they have incurred. The five volumes containing the autographs of the visitors to Shakspeare's birth-place, sold for £73 10s. The various articles of furniture did not create much interest, and were disposed of at moderate prices. It remains to be seen whether the liberality and good taste of the nation will convert the tenements, thus preserved from the speculation of mercenary individuals, into some noble literary, scientific, or charitable institution, with which the honoured name of Shakspeare will be for ever associated. It has been announced that James Sheridan Knowles, one of the finest dramatio writers in modern times, has been selected by the committee to take charge of the property. An appointment more judicious, or more likely to receive general approval from the admirers of poetical genius and taste, could not have been made.
We have entered into a more minute detail of these interesting proceedings than our limited space would appear to justify, because they may be considered as completing the literary history of Shakspeare, and could not, therefore, with propriety, be excluded from this short abridgment of his life. The biographies of this unrivalled author are too numerous to specify. Charles Knight, an enterprisiug publisher in London, the author of several valuable works, and a man of very considerableliterary talent, has published in numbers, and at a very low price, the life and works of our “ immortal bard.” Like other poets of bis age, Shakspeare's productions contain many objectionable passages, impure in thought and licentious in language. Bowder's Family Edition"
of his plays, is free from every allusion and expression that could offend the most fastidious taste, and may be safely recommended for family reading. “ Readings from the Plays of Shakspeare," a work published by J. W. Parker, of London, is an admirable collection for the perusal of youth.
We conclude our memoir of the great dramatist with an epitaph, written 'upon him by the immortal Milton, a poet who ranked next to Shakspeare in originality and sublimity of genius. These beautiful lines are said to have been Milton's first printed poem, having been prefixed, though without his name or initials, to the folio edition of Shakspeare's plays, which appeared in 1630.
What needs my Shakspeare, for his honour'd bones,
SIR HENRY WOTTON.
BORN, 1568; DIED, 1639. SIR HENRY Wotton, an eminent writer, was born in 1568, at Bolton Hall, Kent. He was the descendant of an ancient and respectable family. He received a classical education at Winchester School, and afterwards entered at New College, Oxford, whence he removed to Queen's College, where he greatly distinguished bimself by his successful application to the study of logic and philosophy. While in the University he composed a tragedy, called “Tancredo." He afterwards studied law under an eminent Italian professor, to whose instructions he was indebted for the proficiency he afterwards acquired in the Italian language. He went abroad and continued to travel for many years in France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. After his return from the Continent, he attached himself to the Earl of Essex, the favourite of Queen Elizabeth, whom he attended in his maritime expedition against the Spaniards, and afterwards accompanied him to Ireland. He held the office of private Secretary to that nobleman until the Earl was apprehended for high treason. Having had the sagacity to foresee the downfall of his noble patron, he thought it prudent to leave England and reside at Florence, where he remained until the accession of James I., who appointed him Ambassador to the republic of Venice, and subsequently employed him in several other diplomatic services.
Isaac Walton wrote a memoir of Sir Henry Wotton in which he relates the following amusing anecdote. Passing through Germany, he was requested by some learned friend to write a sentence in his album"a book of white paper," says the biographer, " which the German gentry usually carry about them. Sir Henry wrote in Latin a pleasant definition of an ambassador. “An ambassador is an honest man, and is sent to lie abroad for the good of his country' This innocent joke nearly lost him the favour of his Majesty. It was represented by a malignant enemy as a state maxim, sanctioned by the religion professed by the King of England. James evinced his displeasure by excluding the writer from employment for five years; but having penned a suitable apology, which was deemed satisfactory by the offended Monarch, Wotton was restored to favour. Subsequently he went on a foreign mission to the United Provinces, to Venice, and other places. On his return home he was appointed provost of Eton College. In conformity with the statutes of the place, he entered into holy orders, and spent the remainder of his life in the enjoyment of literary leisure. Of his poems one entitled “A Hymn to God in a Night of
Bitter Sickness," is much admired for its energy of language and melody of versification. His verses on “The Character of a Happy Life,” are extremely pleasing and moral in their tendency. A collection of his miscellanies, consisting of lives, letters, and poems, was published after his death, which took place in December, 1639, in the seventy-second year of his age. There is a brief narrative of his life in Gorton's "Biographical Dictionary,” the writer of which observes, that Sir Henry Wotton
a person of sound understanding, poignant wit, and great accomplishments."
Of Sir Henry Wotton's claims to a respectable rank among the British poets, S. C. Hall remarks in his “Book of Gems,” that “they are by no means large, if they are estimated by the number or length of his contributions to our national store. He neither anticipated nor coveted fame for his poetry. He wrote from the impulse of feeling; and as his mind was of a rare order, what he did, he was sure to do well. Among his productions there are many of exceeding beauty, which touch the heart more than a host of those artificial thoughts and laboured efforts to produce effect, which are so conspicuous in his more voluminous contemporaries."
SIR JOHN DAV.
Born, 1570; DIED, 1626. This eminent lawyer, statesman, and poet, was born in 1570, at Chisgrove, a small hamlet in the parish of Tisbury or Tetbury, Wiltshire. In the fifteenth year of his age he was admitted commoner of Queen's College, Oxford; and in his eighteenth he was removed to the Middle Temple, to study law. After remaining there for two years, he returned to the University and took his degree as Bachelor of Arts. While in the Temple his conduct was so irregular, as to call forth a strong expression of displeasure from the society of Benchers. He was called to the bar in 1595, but was afterwards expelled from the Temple for insulting the Recorder of London in the public hall. He was subsequently restored through the favour of the Lord Keeper. After his expulsion he retired to Oxford, where he wrote his celebrated poem on the “Immortality of the Soul,” which appeared in 1599. This distinguished man was aware of his irritable and violent temper, and did all in his power to control an infirmity that had brought upon him so signal a mark of disgrace. He lived to profit by the uses of adversity, which he acknowledges in one of his poems in the following striking words:
This mistress lately pluck'd me by the ear,
will and rectified my thought.
He obtained the favourable opinion and patronage of Queen Elizabeth by composing an adulatory poem, under the title of the to Hymns
ns of Astrea," which consist of twenty-six acrostics in her Majesty's praise. He published in 1596 his "Orchestra," a poetical piece upon dancing, that has been much admired for its elegance of language and power of thought. In 1601 he aspired to parliamentary distinction, and became a member of the House of Commons for the borough of Corfe Castle. He took a conspicuous part in the proceedings of the house, and distinguished himself by his exertions to suppress monopolies. His work on the
Immortality of the Soul” was the means of introducing him to James I., who sent him to Ireland as SolicitorGeneral.
Sir John Davies was afterwards promoted to the office of Attorney-General, and became speaker of the first Irish House of Commons. He was also Judge of Assize, and received from his royal master the honour of Knighthood. He was the author of “ Reports on Law Cases,” the first ever published in this country: He merits the warmest praise for the services he rendered to Ireland. During his residence there he honourably distinguished himself by his efforts to dispense justice equally among all classes, and to advance the progress of civilization. In 1607 he accompanied the Chief Justice on a judicial tour through the counties of Monaghan, Fermanagh, and Cavan, and afterwards drew up an account of the circuit. In 1612 he published his valuable work, entitled, “A discovery of the true causes why Ireland has never been entirely subdued, and bronght under obedience to the Crown of England, until the beginning of his Majesty's happy reign.” This and other able productions from his pen, have appeared in numerous editions, under the title of "Historical Tracts;" and they afford indisputable evidence of his honesty of purpose, his tolerant and humane