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Shakespeare's England and London Shakespeare lived in a period of change. In religion, politics, literature, and commerce, in the habits of daily living, in the world of ideas, his lifetime witnessed continual change and movement. When Elizabeth came to the throne, six years before he was born, England was still largely Catholic, as it had been for nine centuries; when she died England was Protestant, and by the date of Shakespeare's death it... more...

Many years ago, I was retained in the great case of The Critics against Shakspere, the most celebrated on the calendar of history during three centuries. Unlike other cases, it has been repeatedly decided, and as often reopened and reheard before the most eminent judges, who have again and again non-suited the plaintiffs. Appeals have availed nothing to reverse those decisions. New actions have been brought on the ground of newly discovered... more...

CHAPTER IBALLAD CHARACTERISTICS 'Layés that in harpingBen y-found of ferli thing;Sum beth of wer, and sum of wo,Sum of joye and mirthe also;And sum of treacherie and gile;Of old aventours that fell while;And sum of bourdes and ribaudy;And many ther beth of faëry,—Of all things that men seth;Maist o' love forsoth they beth.' The Lay of the Ash. Who would set forth to explore the realm of our Ballad Literature needs not to... more...

I.—Mr. Pepys   Mr. Pepys was a Puritan. Froude once painted a portrait of Bunyan as an old Cavalier. He almost persuaded one that it was true till the later discovery of Bunyan’s name on the muster-roll of one of Cromwell’s regiments showed that he had been a Puritan from the beginning. If one calls Mr. Pepys a Puritan, however, one does not do so for the love of paradox or at a guess. He tells us himself that he... more...

CHAPTER I. THE PIONEERS The United States of America has been from the beginning in a perpetual change. The physical and mental restlessness of the American and the temporary nature of many of his arrangements are largely due to the experimental character of the exploration and development of this continent. The new energies released by the settlement of the colonies were indeed guided by stern determination, wise forethought, and inventive... more...


IRace, Nation, and Book Many years ago, as a student in a foreign university, I remember attacking, with the complacency of youth, a German history of the English drama, in six volumes. I lost courage long before the author reached the age of Elizabeth, but I still recall the subject of the opening chapter: it was devoted to the physical geography of Great Britain. Writing, as the good German professor did, in the triumphant hour of Taine's... more...

INTRODUCTION. I. The death of John Dryden, on the first of May, 1700, closed a period of no small significance in the history of English literature. His faults were many, both as a man and as a poet, but he belongs to the race of the giants, and the impress of greatness is stamped upon his works. No student of Dryden can fail to mark the force and sweep of an intellect impatient of restraint. His 'long-resounding march' reminds us of a... more...

I THE ADWERT ACADEMY The importance of biography for the study of history can hardly be overrated. In a sense it is true that history should be like the law and 'care not about very small things'; concerning itself not so much with individual personality as with fundamental causes affecting the rise and fall of nations or the development of mental outlook from one age to another. But even if this be conceded, we still must not forget that the... more...

INTRODUCTORY The Shakespearean Sonnets are not a single or connected work like an ordinary play or poem. Their composition apparently extended over a considerable time, which may be fairly estimated as not less than four years. Read literally they seem to portray thoughts, modes or experiences fairly assignable to such a period. Though variable and sometimes light and airy in their movement, the greater portion appear to reveal deep and intense... more...

The following Tales are meant to be submitted to the young reader as an introduction to the study of Shakespeare, for which purpose his words are used whenever it seemed possible to bring them in; and in whatever has been added to give them the regular form of a connected story, diligent are has been taken to select such words as might least interrupt the effect of the beautiful English tongue in which he wrote: therefore, words introduced into... more...