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A LIFE OF THE POET, EXPLANATORY FOOT-NOTES, CRITICAL
NOTES, AND A GLOSSARIAL INDEX.
Rev. HENRY N. HUDSON,
PROFESSOR OF SHAKESPEARE IN BOSTON UNIVERSITY.
IN TWENTY VOLUMES.
PUBLISHED BY GINN & HEATH.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1881, by
HENRY N. HUDSON, in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
GINN & HEATH:
the volume. The only contemporary notice of it that has reached us is in the Diary of Dr. Simon Forman, who gives with considerable detail the leading incidents of the play as he saw it performed at the Globe theatre somewhere between April, 1610, and May, 1611; the particular time not being noted, nor any further ascertainable, it seems, from other dates. This Forman is the same odd genius whom we have met with in connection with The Winter's Tale and Macbeth.
There is, I believe, no reason for doubting that Cymbeline was fresh from the Poet's hand when Forman saw it. It has the same general characteristics of style and imagery as The Tempest and The Winter's Tale; while perhaps no play in the series abounds more in those overcrammed and elliptical passages which show too great a rush and press of thought for the author's space. The poetry and characterization, also, are marked by the same severe beauty and austere sweetness as in the other plays just named: therewithal the moral sentiment of the piece comes out, from time to time, in just those electric starts which indicate, to my mind, the Poet's last and highest stage of art.
The only part of Cymbeline that has any historical basis is that about the demanding and enforcing of the Roman tribute. This Shakespeare derived, as usual in matters of British history, from Holinshed, who places the scene in the reign of the Emperor Augustus, and a few years before the beginning of the Christian
The domestic part of the King's action, with all that relates to the Queen and Cloten, except the name of the latter, is, so far as we know, a pure invention of the Poet's; as is also the entire part of Belarius and the King's two sons, except that the names Guiderius and Arviragus were found in Holinshed.