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Far from the sun and summer gale,
To him the mighty mother did unveil
- The Progress of Poesy, by Thomas Gray (1754).
SHAKESPEARE'S CRADLE AND SCHOOL
A STUDY OF HIS EARLY ENVIRONMENT AND HIS
GENIUS FOR LABOR
Many years ago, at the beginning of one of my long summer vacations, I sat down to ascertain if I could what sort of person William Shakespeare in his childhood and youth was, and what foundation, if any, was then laid for his greatness. I discarded preconceived theories, took little nothing for granted, endeavored to verify, so far as practicable, the truth of every alleged fact, and to weigh, accepting or rejecting, all the customary conclusions. A rather bold, even audacious attitude, some one will say, yet often the correct one for a student - certainly in line with the apostolic injunction, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
In this and other studies of Shakespeare I present some of the results at which I then and subsequently arrived. I shall not be so fortunate as to induce all my readers' to agree with me in my findings: I hope many of them will do something better than that. Mrs. Browning well says in Aurora Leigh,
“ Get work in this world; Be sure 't is better than what you work to get.”