Eighteenth Century Essays on Shakespeare

By D. Nichol Smith | Go to book overview

NOTES

NICHOLAS ROWE

2. Some Latin without question, etc. This passage, down to the reference to the scene in Henry V., is omitted by Pope. Love's Labour's Lost, iv. 2, 95; Titus Andronicus, iv. 2, 20; Henry V., iii. 4.

3. Deer-stealing. This tradition -- which was first recorded in print by Rowe -- has often been doubted. See, however, Halliwell-Phillipps Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare, 1886, ii., p. 71, and Mr. Sidney Lee's Life of Shakespeare, pp. 27, etc.

4. the first Play he wrote. Pope inserted here the following note: "The highest date of any I can yet find is Romeo and Juliet in 1597, when the author was 33 years old, and Richard the 2d and 3d in the next year, viz. the 34th of his age." The two last had been printed in 1597.

Mr. Dryden seems to think that Pericles, etc. This sentence was omitted by Pope.

5. the best conversations, etc. Rowe here controverts the opinion expressed by Dryden in his Essay on the Dramatic Poetry of the Last Age: "I cannot find that any of them had been conversant in courts, except Ben Johnson; and his genius lay not so much that way as to make an improvement by it. Greatness was not then so easy of access, nor conversation so free, as now it is" ( Essays, ed. W. P. Ker, i., p. 175).

A fair Vestal. Midsummer Night's Dream, ii. 1, 158. In the original Rowe adds to his quotations from Shakespeare the page references to his own edition.

The Merry Wives. The tradition that the Merry Wives was written at the command of Elizabeth had been recorded already by Dennis in the preface to his version of the play, -- The Comical Gallant, or the Amours of Sir John Falstaffe ( 1702): "This Comedy was written at her command, and by her direction, and she was so eager to see it acted, that she commanded it to be finished in fourteen days; and was afterwards, as Tradition tells us, very well pleas'd at the Representation." Cf. Dennis Defence of a Regulated Stage: "she not only commanded

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