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old romances or treatises or statutes, rather than imaginations of one mind should become the for historians to treat of or schools to teach! In personal recollections of another. And this mirthe case of Robert Burns we are content not to acle the tinker has wrought.” But this great ask too much, even of genius. Let us be content praise was not abstracted from Macaulay by if the genius of Robert Burns could glorify the wealth of antique learning, universal accuracy of goodwives' fables of his wonted firesides and set information, or vivid portraiture of forgotten civin aureole the homeliest cipher in his vicinage, ilizations. There was no trace of Bunyan's peruntil a field-mouse became a poem or a milkmaid fect familiarity with Plato and Euripides, with a Venus! It were unreasonable to demand that Galen, Paracelsus, Plautus, Seneca, and the long this genius, this fire from heaven, at once and on line of authors down to Boccaccio, Rabelais, the instant, invest a letterless peasant-lad with all Saxo-Grammaticus, and the rest! The critic did the lore and law which the ages behind him had not find in Bunyan's pages the careful diction of shut up in clasped books and buried and forgot- a scholar, the sonorous speech of the ancients, or ten—with all the learning that the past had gath- the elegant and punctilious Norman of the court. ered into great tomes and piled away in libraries. “The Bunyan vocabulary," says Macaulay,“ is And yet, if Robert Burns had sung of the wars the vocabulary of the common people. There is of the Roses, or molded a system of ethics, some not an expression, if we except a few technical Malone or Grant White would doubtless—with theological terms, which would puzzle the rudest history staring him in the face—have arisen to peasant.” In short, we need not pause, marvelput his index-finger upon the sources of his au- ous as are the pages of the “Pilgrim's Progress," thority. Judging by the record in the case of to ask of John Bunyan, as indeed we must ask of William Shakespeare, history is able to oppose William Shakespeare, the question, “How knowno difficulty over which a Malone or a Grant eth this man letters, having never learned?" White can not easily clamber.

Peerless as the result all is, there is nothing in If William Shakespeare was a born genius, a the writings of John Bunyan which can not be true son of nature, his soul overflowing with a accounted for by natural (that is to say, by what sense of the beauty of life and of love, and of all we have been obliged by the course of human around him, we might expect to find his poems experience to accept as not impossible) causes. brimful of the sweet, downcast eyes of his Anne, “The years of Bunyan's boyhood were those of sunny Stratford fields, of Shottery and the during which the Puritan spirit was in the highlordly oaks of Charlecote-to find him “Fancy's est vigor over all England. ... It is not wonchild,” warbling “his native wood-notes wild,” derful, therefore, that a lad, to whom nature had indeed! But of Troy, Tyre, and Epidamnium, given a powerful imagination and sensibility of Priam and Cressid and Cleopatra, of the pro- which amounted to a disease, should have been pulsion of blood from the vital heart, and of the early haunted by religious terrors. Before he was eternal mysteries of physics, who dreams that ten, his sports were interrupted by fits of remorse "sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child,” could and despair, and his sleep disturbed by dreams sing in the very speech and idiom of those for- of fiends trying to fly away with him. ... He gotten towns and times, or within the mathe- enters the Parliamentary army, and, to the last, matical exactitude of sciences that had not yet he loves to draw his illustrations of sacred things been treated of in books ? Or, again, John Bun- from camps and fortresses, guns, trumpets, flags yan is a case in point. John Bunyan was as of truce, and regiments arrayed, each under its squalid and irredeemable a tinker as ever flour

own banner. . . . His 'Greatheart,' his • Captain ished in the days when “a tinker was rogue by Boanerges,' and his 'Captain Credence' are evistatute. And yet he, according to Macaulay, dently portraits of which the originals were among produced the second of the two books of which those martial saints who fought and expounded England should be proudest. What was the in Fairfax's army. ... He had been five years miracle in the case of John Bunyan? He pro- preacher when the Restoration put it in the duced a book which," while it obtains admira- power of the Cavaliers ... to oppress the Distion from the most fastidious critics, is loved by senters. . . He was Aung into Bedford Jail, those who are too simple to admire it. . . . This with pen and paper for company,

etc., etc. is the highest miracle of art, that things which Here are the school and the experience, and the are not should be as though they were ; that the result is writings “which show a keen mother wit, * Cockayne vs. Hopkins, 2 Lev., 214.

a great command of the homely mother tongue, + “Though there were many clever men in England an intimate knowledge of the English Bible, and during the latter half of the seventeenth century, there

a vast and dearly bought spiritual experience." + were only two minds which possessed the imaginative faculty in a very eminent degree. One of these minds *“Bunyan,” in “Encyclopædia Britannica," by Maproduced the Paradise Lost,' and the other the Pil- caulay. grim's Progress.!"

+ Ibid.


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Moreover, here is a scholar like Macaulay striv- The name is now supposed to have been siming to account for the extraordinary phenomenon ply" Jacques-Pierre" (James Peter), which had of a “ Pilgrim's Progress " written by a village been mispronounced — as Englishmen misprotinker. But in the case of the at least equally nounce French—for unnumbered generations.* extraordinary phenomenon of the Shakespearean But, still this most unsatisfactory person—this drama, the creation of a village butcher, the man who answers, like Mr. Carroll's skipper, scholar has not yet been born to the Shakespeare- to “hi, or to any loud cry”— ans who deems it necessary or profitable to try his hand at any such investigation. “ Where did he

“To what-you-may-call-um or what-is-his-name" get his material ?” “Oh, he picked it up around

But especially thing-um-a-jig"Stratford somehow!” “ But his learning ?” “Oh, or to whatever the nearest actor or scene-shifter he found it lying around the theatre somewhere!” may happen to hit on when he wants the poor litProbably there were encyclopædias to be fished tle"supernumerary," and “ Joannes Factotum"out of the mud of the bank-side in those days, of actually lived to clamber astride of the most imwhich we can find no mention in the chroniclers! mortal birthright of his own or of any centu And so, although scarcely a commentator on the and has clung thereon like another old man of glowing text has not paused in wonder at the the sea on Sindbad's shoulders, and been carried vastness and magnificence of this material, lead- down through these three hundred years, and is ing him on to vaster and more magnificent trea- being carried yet, down or up, to an undetermisuries at every step, so far as we are able to dis- nate immortality of fame that is the true estate cover, not one of them has attempted to trace the of somebody else! For, not only has the world intellectual experience of the man who wrought not yet gotten its eyes half open, but it contuit all out of the book and volume of his unaided maciously refuses to open them to the facts in brain. Not one of them has paused to ask the the case, and prefers to hug as tightly as it ever Scriptural question, "How knoweth this man did this stupendous hoax—(" Shakespearean" letters, having never learned ?"

indeed, in that it has outlasted and outlived all It is simply impossible to turn one's research- the other hoaxes put together—the witchcraft es into any channel that leads into the vicinity of hoax, the Chatterton hoax, the Ossian hoax, the Stratford without noticing the fact that the Shake- moon hoax, and all the rest of them); that has speare family left in the neighborhoods where it carried all sorts of parasite hoaxes, like Ireland's, flourished the unmistakable trace–familiar in all for example, upon its back, until their little day cases of vulgar and illiterate families-namely, has been accomplished, and they dropped offthe fact that they never knew or cared, or made just as one of these days the present hoax must an effort to know, of what vowels or consonants drop off, and breathe its last without a single their own name was composed, or even to pre- mourner to stand by the coffin, and confess himserve the skeleton of its pronunciation. They self its disciple. answered—or made their marks—indifferently to For something like three hundred years the “Saxpir” or “Chaksper"; or to any other of present Shakespeare has been allowed to enjoy the thirty forms given by Mr. Grant White, * or by default the estates of another, and it is only the fifty-five forms which another gentleman of within the present generation that it has occurred elegant leisure has been able to collect. The to anybody to move to open that default. But, name Shakespeare as now accepted and the face once this Shakespearean niche is vacated, and now accepted as belonging to William of that who shall slip in to fill the vacancy? At least name are both modern inventions. Even the there need be no fear of Tichborne claimants, “ best of that family” (according to the old nor will the microscopic patience of a state trial clerk), William, when called to sign his own be needed to ascertain if they who come fulfill last will and testament (obliged by law to sign the conditions of the Shakespeare sought. At each of the three sheets upon which it was en- least we are not opening a highway, and we will grossed) three times, spelled it a different way not be thronged with claimants. each time. His daughter Judith lived and died without being able to spell or write it at all ; Mil- * This is the present mispronunciation of Jacques ton, Spenser, Sidney, even Gower and Chaucer prevalent in Warwickshire : "" Thomas Jakes of Wo(whom even our own Artemus Ward pronounced nersh' was one of the list of gentry of the shire 12

Henry IV., 1433. At the surrender of the Abbey of "no speller "), had but one way of writing their Kenilworth 26 Henry VIII., 1535, the abbot was Simon own names and never dreamed of thirty ways Jakes, who had the pension of £100 granted him.”— - let alone fifty-five.

(Wilkes, “Shakespeare from an American Point of

View.” New York : D. Appleton & Co., 1877, p. 464.) *“ Shakespeare's Scholar," pp. 478–480.

Such being the true origin of the name, it is, of + George Russel French, “Shaksperiana Genealogi- course, natural to find it as we do, written in two words, ca," p. 348.

“Shake-speare," in those days.

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Dr. Richard Farmer (who wrote his famous ravel his intrigues, but cut them all open at once letter on

“ The Learning of Shakespeare,” in or in the last act with a knife-probably did write about 1789) appears to have been the first anti- “without blotting a line,” at least so Mr. Hallam Shakespearean and unbeliever. Up to that time thinks, adding that Nature would have overeverybody appears to have swallowed the mass stepped her bounds and have produced the miof impossibilities and absurdities we have so rap- raculous had Lope de Vega, along with this idly surveyed, without a suspicion.* Dr. Farmer rapidity of invention and composition, attained sought, by demonstrating that much of the learn- perfection in any department of literature." * But ing of the plays COULD have been—by sufficient in the case of William Shakespeare the miracuresearch-procured at second-hand, to account lous continued to be swallowed, and so far as for (what he could not overlook) the utter inade- can be discovered-prior to the year 1852 noquacy of the historical man to the immortal work body, except Kitty, in “High Life Below Stairs,” assigned him, just as if it were not, if anything, asked the question, “ Who wrote Shakespeare ?" an increase (or say a substitution) of marvels to But in August of that year an anonymous writer, suppose a busy actor and manager rummaging in Chambers's “Edinburgh Journal,” distinctly England for forgotten manuscripts in the days and for the first time discussed the question, when no public libraries existed, and when stu- “Who wrote Shakespeare?"-and, after going dents lived in cloisters; or (let us say) that he over much of the ground we have already travknew precisely where to lay his hand on every ersed, arrived, to his own "extreme dissatisfacobscure tract, letter, or memorandum ever drawn tion" as he says, at the conclusion that William from a classical source ! And just as if the en- Shakespeare “kept a poet.” It is curious to cyclopedic learning required was lessened by the find this anonymous writer dealing as airily as fact that the plot of the perfected play was bor- Lady Bab herself with the question, and (while rowed or rewritten from an older drama of the unconscious of the elaborate network of evisame name! But Dr. Farmer lived and died dence he might have summoned, and suggesting unsuspicious of the truth-namely, that it was no probable author by name) actually foreshadonly the fair-copied manuscript that was William owing the laborious conviction which, four years Shakespeare's. For it must be remembered that later, Delia Bacon was to announce. He surthe “ without blotting a line” of Ben Jonson was mises, indeed, that William Shakespeare was a not a mere form of speech, but a fact, confirmed sort of showman whose interest in the immorby Heming and Condell, the editors of the “first tal plays was a purchased interest — precisely folio" of 1623, who say in their preface, “We what the law at present understands by “prohave scarce received from him a blot in his pa- prietary copyright.” “The plays apparently arise pers.” Lope de Vega, the Spaniard, who sup- as the series goes on; all at once Shakeplied his native stage with upward of two thou- speare, with a fortune, leaves London, and the sand original dramas—who is computed to have supply ceases. Is this compatible with a genius written upward of 21,300,000 verses, and who thus culminating on any other supposition than wrote so hurriedly that he never had time to un- the death of the poet and the survival of the

employer ?” of this supposititious hack-writer * And, yet how patent was the absurdity to every -goaded by necessity, who dies, and leaves to comer! E. g. : “Let us finally mention the great comedian, the great tragedian, the great philosopher, the great William Shakespeare the halo of his genius as poet, who was in his lifetime butcher's apprentice, poach- well as the profit of his toil — this anonymous er, actor, theatrical manager, and whose name is William writer draws a picture that has something familShakespeare. In twenty years, amid the duties of his iar in its coloring. “May not William Shakeprofession, the care of mounting his pieces, of instructing speare,” he asks, the cautious, calculating man, his actors, he composed the thirty-two tragedies and careless of fame, and intent only on money-makcomedies, in verse and prose, rich with an incomparable knowledge of human nature, and an unequaled power of ing, have found, in some farthest garret overimagination, terrible and comic by turns, profound and looking the silent highway of the Thames,' delicate, homely and touching, responding to every emo- some pale, wasted student ... who, with eyes tion of the soul, divining all that was beyond the range of genius gleaming through despair, was about, of his experience and for ever remaining the treasure of like Chatterton, to spend his last copper coin the agesall this being accomplished, Shakespeare left the theatre and the busy world at the age of forty-five to re upon some cheap and speedy means of death? turn to Stratford-on-Avon, where he lived peacefully in What was to hinder William Shakespeare from the most modest retirement, writing nothing and never reading, appreciating, and purchasing these returning to the stage—ignored and unknown if his dramas, and thereafter “keeping his poet,' like works had not for ever marked out his place in the world Mrs. Packwood ? . . . With this view the dis-a strange example of an imagination so powerful suddenly ceasing to produce, and closing, once for all, the * This passage in Hallam where he alludes to William door to the efforts of genius.”—(Guizot, “History of Shakespeare and Lope de Vega will repay perusal.England.")

(“ Literature of Europe," part i., chap. vi., $ 8.)

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puted passages - those in which critics have storm of derision, abuse, and merciless malice, agreed that the genius is found wanting—the until in poverty, sickness, and distress, but still meretricious ornaments sometimes crowded in- in a grand silence, she passed out of sight for the occasional bad taste—in short, all the im- ever, is true enough. That in the midst of it all perfections discernible and disputable in these she still struggled on in what she believed to be mighty dramas, are reconcilable with their being “the world's work”-bearing more than it was the interpolations of Shakespeare himself on his ever intended a woman should bear—is not to poet's works.” *

overweigh any merit her scheme of the ShakeMiss Delia Bacon, a remarkable lady, followed spearean plays may have possessed, however it in “ Putnam's Magazine," in its issue of January, may have eventuated in the “madness” so in1856, and was supposed therein to distinctly separably connected with her name. announce and maintain that Lord Bacon-her Whatever Delia Bacon died, she lived and namesake by coincidence—was the Shakespeare moved in the conviction that she was a worker wanted—a supposition which, as we shall see, in the world's workshop. What to us is a mere was erroneous. And Mr. William Henry Smith, cold, historical formulary, seems, however we of London, in September, 1856, appeared with may smile at the absurdity, to have seized upon his “Was Lord Bacon the Author of Shake- her whole life and being; and, as in a great cruspeare's Plays? A Letter to Lord Ellesmere," sade against a universal error, she seems to have in which the Baconian theory was very plainly struggled in loneliness and wretchedness, with and circumspectly laid down and admirably a crusader's faith and a martyr's reward. maintained. † The presumption once disturbed, In all her tragic life, Delia Bacon appears inquiry began to be diverted from the well-worn never to have paused to formulate the theory, for track of the commentators, and the result has ever to be associated with her name, as to the been, we think, a candid, rational, and patient actual authorship of the plays.* Before the world attempt to study the Shakespearean writings by had well opened its eyes to the fact that a formithe aid of contemporary history rather than by dable anti-Shakespearean proposition had been mere conjecture, and by the record rather than asserted, its author had left the proposition itself by fancy, guess-work and gossip. It is too early leagues behind, and was well along on her route in the day—the time has been too short—for the to the fountain-head of its inspiration. The reaction to have proved equal to the action, and problem she proposed to herself was not, “ Did verified the physical rule; but three well-defined Bacon and others write the plays ? ” but “ WHY anti-Stratfordian theories have offered them- did Bacon and others write the plays under the selves already, as substitutes for the mossy and name of William Shakespeare ? venerable fossil remains of the commentators. As the fruit of laborious study of the system These theories are: 1. The Delia Bacon Theory;

“William Shakespeare and his Plays," 2. The Baconian Theory; and

although the first she published, seems to treat the mat3. The New Theory (as we are compelled, for ter as already settled. It was rather sarcasm at the exwant of a better name, to call it).

pense of those who rejected the theory of a non-Shake

spearean authorship than a formulation of the theory. THE DELIA BACON THEORY.

itself. That the sarcasm, as a sustained effort, has rarely

if ever been equaled, there certainly can be no question. It was across no dethroned and shattered Her indignation at the idea that the magnificent plays intellect that there first fashed the truth it has sprang from the brain of "the Stratford poacher-now

that the deer-stealing fire has gone out of him ; now that been the essay of these papers to rehearse. That this youthful impulse has been taught its conventional Delia Bacon—who, earliest in point of time, an- mental limits, sobered into the mild, sagacious, witty nounced to the world that “Shakespeare " was Mr. Shakespeare of the Globe," is intense. “What is to the name of a book, and not the name of its au- hinder Mr. Shakespeare, the man who keeps the theatre thor; and who, contenting herself with the bare

on the bank-side, from working himself into a frenzy

when he likes, and scribbling out, unconsciously, Lears, announcement, soon passed on to the theory we

and Macbeths, and Hamlets, merely as the necessary are now about to notice—was pelted with a dialogues to the spectacle he professionally exhibits !”

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* The paper,

Her allusion to Bacon is equally impassioned : * Chambers's “ Edinburgh Journal,” August 7, 1852, “We should have found, ere this, one with learning

broad enough and deep enough and subtile enough and + This “ Letter" was the following year (1857) elab- comprehensive enough; one with nobility of aim and orated into the valuable work on which we have so un- philosophic and poetic genius enough to be able to claim sparingly drawn in these papers, and to which we ac- his own, his own immortal progeny, unwarped, unblindknowledge our exceeding obligation ("Bacon and Shake- ed, undeprived of one ray or dimple of that all-pervading speare : An Inquiry touching Players, Playhouses, and reason that informs them-one who is able to reclaim Playwriters in the days of Elizabeth. By William Henry them, even now, .cured and perfected in their limbs, Smith. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1857 ").

and absolute in full numbers as he conceived them !'"

P. 88.

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and structure of the plays, she reached the an- sandra, she announced her message only to be swer—as she believed, and lived and died believe scorned and flouted in return! ing-hidden and embalmed in the masterpiece By what whim of fortune or fancy the great of them all, the tragedy of “ Hamlet.” “Hamlet,” plays had grown to be known as “Shakespeare's she maintained, was the master-key that unlocked works,” any more than Burbage's works, or Johnthe whole magnificent system. They were not son's works, she never troubled herself to inquire, plays, but chapters in a great Treatise links in a but with the details of her mission she was caregreat chain of philosophy—a new philosophy of ful to possess herself. She held that “the material politics and of life; and, just as the Lord Hamlet evidences of her dogma as to the authorship, to caused certain strolling players, with the set gether with the key of the new philosophy, would speech he put into their mouths, to “catch the be found buried in Shakespeare's grave." * She conscience of the king," so had the greatest mind claimed to have discovered, by careful study of of all the golden age put into the mouths of the Lord Bacon's letters, not only the key and clew vagabond Shakespeare and his crew the truth to the whole mystery, but to an entire Baco which should, in the fullness of time, catch the nian cipher. In these letters—there were over conscience of the whole world. But why should five hundred of them extant, and others have these great minds have chosen to put their phi- been discovered, we believe, since Miss Bacon's losophy into enigmas and ciphers ? Miss Ba- day — however, it still remains, for the secret con's answer was convincing : “ It was the time of Miss Bacon's clew died with her. But she when the cipher, in which one could write om- stoutly maintained that in these letters were nia per omnia,' was in request; when even " definite and minute directions how to find a “wheel ciphers' and 'doubles' were thought not will and other documents relating to the conclave unworthy of philosophic notice. It was a time, of Elizabethan philosophers, which were contoo, when the phonographic art was cultivated cealed in a hollow space in the under surface of and put to other uses than at present, and when Shakespeare's gravestone. ... The directions, a nomme de plume was required for other pur- she intimated, were completely and precisely to poses than to serve as the refuge of an author's the point, obviating all difficulties in the way of modesty, or vanity, or caprice. It was a time coming to the treasure, and so contrived as to when puns, and charades, and enigmas, and ana- ward off any troublesome consequences likely to grams, and monograms, and ciphers, and puz- arise from the interference of the parish officers. zles were not mere sport and child's play; when .... There was the precious secret protected by they had need to be close and solvable only to a curse, as pirates used to bury their gold in the those who should solve them. It was a time guardianship of a fiend.”+ The original manuwhen all the latent capacities of the English lan- scripts of the plays she did not expect to find guage were put in requisition, and it was flashing there. These she believed the ignorant Shakeand crackling through all its length and breadth, speare to have scattered, after the blotless copies with puns and quips and conceits and jokes and for the players had been taken, to have devoted satires, and inlined with philosophic secrets that to domestic purposes, or to have never concerned opened down into the bottom of a tomb, that himself about further. This was the gravamen opened into the tower, that opened on the scaf- of the charge she brought against “ Lord Leicesfold and the block." *

ter's groom," the co-manager, late of Stratford, This was the “ Delia Bacon theory.” This and this the Vandalism for which she never could was the “madness” for ever associated with her forgive him. “This fellow," she cried, “never plaintive story, and not the proposition that the cared a farthing for them, but only for his gains author of the plays (whoever he might be or at their hands. . . . What is to hinder his boilthey, if more than one) and William Shakespeare were persons—as distinctly two as were

* Hawthorne. the noble Hamlet and the poor player who + Id. Delia Bacon was born in New Haven in 1811, played “Gonzago" in the “mouse-trap" that day and early devoted herself to literature, writing two works, before the majesty of Denmark.

“The Tales of the Puritans” and “The Bride of Fort But, madness or not, Miss Bacon never wa

Edward.” She soon, however, abandoned miscellane vered in her conviction that the appointed time to teacher of history, and began her career as a lecturer

ous writing and adopted the profession of a student and read the oracles had come, and that she, Delia

on history in the city of Boston. Her method was Bacon, a namesake, possibly, of the real Hamlet original with herself. She had models, charts, maps, of the plays, had been raised in her appointed and pictures to illustrate her subject, and we are told by place to be the reader. Alas for her! Like Cas- Mrs. Farrar (“ Recollections of Seventy Years," Boston,

Ticknor & Fields, 1866) that, being of a commanding

presence and elegant delivery, she was successful and at*“ Philosophy of Shakespeare's Plays unfolded,” tracted large audiences. Mrs. Farrar says, “She looked

like one of Dante's sibyls, and spoke like an angel."

p. x.

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