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fabric of literature. It is a book that brings us sensibly nearer to the great poet. It is filled with fine life as an organism; its parts wisely ordered and related. It prepares the reader gradually for the meaning of its splendid concluding sentence: "Let Athens have Aristophanes; but even all Greece shall not keep Homer: we give Calderon to Spain; but every nation owns Cervantes : Dante belongs to Italy; Milton to England; but Shakespeare belongs to MAN."
JOHN BOYLE O'Reilly.
March 15, 1882.
HAVING been invited, several years ago, to deliver a course of lectures before the Lowell Institute, in Boston, I accordingly delivered those which I now venture to print. The hall would, I believe, hold twelve hundred; but such was the desire to hear, that a sufficient number could not be accommodated. Each lecture was therefore repeated, at three o'clock in the afternoon, on the day following. I was then in health and spirits; now, alas! I am in an illness which will close but with my death. In sending forth my book, therefore, in my weakness, I hope it may be as generously received by the public, as the lectures spoken from my lips were by the audience. HENRY GILES.
QUINCY, January 1, 1868.
HUMAN LIFE IN SHAKESPEARE.
THE GROWING AND PERPETUAL
INFLUENCE OF SHAKESPEARE.
W study law, Lord Campbell implies that
HETHER Shakespeare did or did not
he did, is of interest only as every inquiry is which concerns the personal existence of a poet who has fully revealed man, and entirely concealed himself. Shakespeare is, indeed, as to his individuality, THE GREAT UNKNOWN; So, instead of knowledge, we strive after hints, conjectures, guesses, and we are excited if any one of them serves even as an illusive link by which we can connect our common life with his. So it is that association with the mighty confers dignity on trifles. When, therefore, we ridicule contemporary gossip about the peculiarities of distinguished characters, we are ridicul
ing by anticipation matters that ere long will be invaluable for biography. What an amount of interest there is in that short letter of Cicero's, in which he describes how Cæsar dined witn him; how "he ate and drank without reserve; sumptuously, indeed, and with due preparation;" and not only that, "but with good conversation, well digested and seasoned, and, if you ask, cheerfully; " how the guest was not one to whom you would say, "Pray come to me in the same manner when you return; how once was enough;" how "there was nothing of importance in the conversation, but a great deal of liberal learning;" how, "in short, he was highly pleased, and enjoyed himself"! Thus we find that "the man who kept the world in awe" ate, and drank, and talked as any other cultivated gentleman would; and the community of nature between him and us, which the majesty of his genius seemed to destroy, the dinner-table thoroughly restores. Nor is the interest lessened by the recollection that, even then, the dagger was ucarly ready for Cæsar's imperial heart. In the same way, we long for particulars which would out aside the majesty of Shakespeare's genius, and open an entrance for us to his individual humanity. We would like even to learn surely that he had been a lawyer's clerk, in order to see