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Study I Shakespeare's Cradle and School

Far from the sun and summer gale,
In thy green lap was Nature's darling laid,
What time where lucid Avon strayed,

To him the mighty mother did unveil
Her awful face. The dauntless child
Stretched forth his little arms and smiled.
“This pencil take," she said, " whose colors clear
Richly paint the vernal year:
Thine too these golden keys, immortal Boy!
This can unlock the gates of joy;
Of horror that, and thrilling fears,
Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic tears."

- The Progress of Poesy, by Thomas Gray (1754).

STUDY I

SHAKESPEARE'S CRADLE AND SCHOOL

A STUDY OF HIS EARLY ENVIRONMENT AND HIS

GENIUS FOR LABOR

or

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.”

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