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in the story-book, out of thy mouth there
cometh nothing but venemous things."
"But what mercer art thou attempting
to ruin ?" inquired his companion.

"A fig for the mercer-'tis the mercer's daughter I seek!" replied his guest. "Attempt to ruin a mercer's daughter!" exclaimed the other, half starting from his chair with affected surprise. "Fie on thee, for a reprobate! thou art enough to corrupt us all; thou wilt have the whole city up in arms against us, and we shall be obliged to fly from the Bankside to escape the stocks."

"I meant not that, Will-I am a heathen if I meant that; but thou knowest my failing-I am always after the women. Oh, those exquisite, sweet creatures!"

dear wench did repeat some most enticing words, which sent me to the mercer's in a presently. To please him, I ordered these fallals, and to please her, I wear them. I met her by appointment since then in Paul's Walk, and after that she gave me some delicious interviews alone in her father's dwelling, of which I made right profitable use. I tell thee, she is ready to melt in my arms.

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"A wax doll would do the same, Dick," drily remarked the other, "if thou wert warm enough."

"Away with thy pestilent similes!" exclaimed his guest, starting up from his seat, as if in anger; then, resuming his place, continued: "She showed me yesterday a sonnet, or some other pernicious mischief of the kind, which had been written in commendation of her beauty

"Thou shouldst have more ambition, Dick; precedency is man's natural right—perhaps by some crazy engrosser of in such instances, but if thou art always parchments. The plague of bad clients after the women, thou canst never hope be upon him!—and asked me to try what to get before them." I could do in that way. Now, unless I can produce some such verses-—my malediction rest upon Apollo and all his gen"Ieration!-I feel assured I may spare myself the trouble of venturing within the precincts of her tenement. Thou knowest I could as soon fly as rhyme. I have scratched my head till it ached, and looked up to the ceiling till my neck was as stiff as my ruff; but if ever I succeeded in making reason of my rhyme, or rhyme of my reason, I'm worse than a Jew. So I tell thee what, sweet Will, thou shalt help me in this strait with thine own unparalleled talents, and if I be not grate

Thou hast me again," cried his companion, as he threw himself back in his seat to give vent to his laughter; would as soon attempt to parry jests with thee as to eat thistles with a jackass; so take thy fill, and be hanged to thee. But I tell thee how it is, Will: This mercer's daughter is said to be the richest heiress in the city. I saw her at the Bear garden with the old hunks her father, whom she ruleth most filially; and observing that she had an eye like Venus"

"Only one, Dick ?" inquired his companion, innocently. “Two, or I'm a sinner," replied he-ful, call me a dog." "and a bust like Juno; ay, and every grace that all Olympus possessed. In brief, a beauty of such ravishing perfections, that immediately I found her gaze upon me, I felt as many of Cupid's arrows in my heart as there are pins in her huswife, and thereupon fell most continently in love."

"With her father's strong box, Dick ?" asked the other.

"With her own sweet self, thou aggravating varlet. I presently made up to the father, and did enter into very sober discourse, till I found I had got hold of the daughter's ear, and then I pointed out the persons of distinction in the company, and seasoned my conversation with some delicate compliments, all which she did receive in very good fashion, rewarding me with such looks from her soft hazel eyes as warmed my veins like a stoup of canary. The old fellow courteously invited me to his house, and the

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'Dog, quotha!" cried the other, in seeming amazement; "art thou not the veriest dog that howls o' nights? What a face hast thou, thou impudent varlet, after having, with thy miserable breath, cursed Apollo and all his generation, to come, cap in hand, to one of the humblest of his followers! Go to, I'll ha' none o' thee! I abandon thee to the fury of the immortal gods."

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Nay, but, sweet Will."

Ay, sweet Will' thou callest me now; yet a moment since I was likened to a jackass eating thistles. Hast thou no shame? Dost think, because thine own wretched hack will not stir a foot, that thou shalt ride on my Pegasus? I'm an oyster if I let thee."

"What! not assist thy old friend and comrade ?" asked the other, in the same bantering tone he had used from the first; "how often have I done thee a good turn that way? Dost remember, in merry

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Stratford, when we were both boys, yet with an intolerant inclination for the honors of manhood, how often I did lead Sir Thomas Lucy's gamekeeper in search of imaginary deer-stealers, whilst thou wert courting his niece in the shrubbery ?"

"Ha! ha! thou hast me there, Dick," replied his friend, unable to refrain from laughing at the odd associations which came crowding to his memory; “ thou hast me there of a surety. Ah, Kate! she was a delectable little gipsey, with a most enticing ankle, and a smile that would thaw a six weeks' frost. But dost forget thine own tricks, old memorandum? Hast forgot when thou wert laying siege to Barbara, the sexton's pretty daughter, behind the church, how I, with a sheet I had stolen for the nonce, and a turnip-lantern and candle, did stalk through the churchyard, to keep the folks from disturbing thee to the horror of the whole neighborhood, and the near frightening to death of three ancient spinsters, two drunken ploughboys, and the parish constable ?"

"Ha ha ha!" shouted the other, with an obstreperous fit of mirth, "'tis as true as life; I'm nothing better than a Turk, if every word isn't gospel. But," added he, gravely, "who could imagine Master William Shakspeare playing the ghost in a country churchyard ?""

"Or Master Richard Burbage playing the lover to a sexton's daughter ?"

And thereupon the two worthies did laugh till the tears ran down their cheeks, and for some time every word they added seemed to act as a provocative to their mirth.

"I'faith, after all's said and done," observed Master Shakspeare, when he had recovered his gravity, "'twas most exquisite fooling.'

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"I'faith it was," said Master Burbage. "But thou wilt let me have the verses?" he added, as he sauntered up to the table. Ay, marry will I, for old acquaintance sake," replied his friend, and immediately did search among his papers, from which he presently selected one. Scrutinizing it earnestly, he continued—“ Ha! here is a string of idle rhymes that mayhap may suit thy purpose, and thy mercer's daughter also. I think of it indifferently; nay, I will acknowledge I fancy 'tis rather discreditable to me; but each has his own taste, and therefore it may stand a chance of pleasing thy inamorata. Listen, and I will read it to thee."

and supporting his head with his hand, and kept a profound attention whilst Master Shakspeare read the following lines:—

Master Burbage did lean his elbow on the table, having his body bent forward, |

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Thy word's chaste Dian's voice enslave, For thee the Sea Nymphs' crystal urns,

When in the bath thy limbs must lave. Love in thine eyes hath ta'en new ground,

And keeps his sharp artillery there; The breeze Apollo's strings hath found, And stirs them in thy golden hair; And as for Pan's Arcadian reed,

Tuned with the Dryads' measured trips, What blissful melodies exceed

The music breathing from thy lips? Well cared for is the green earth still, When round thee all Olympus glows; Well honored is the poet's skill,

When worth like thine its praise bestows. Then blessings be upon thy path,

And joy that no ill breath can blast Be with thee-now the world's poor wrath Can harm me not-THE TIME HATH PASSED!"

"Excellent good, i'faith!" exclaimed Master Burbage, delightedly. "Excellent good! If she be not satisfied with it, nothing less than another Iliad will gratify her cormorant fancy. Give me the paper, sweet Will! Dan Homer was a blind ballad-monger to thee, thou prince of rhymers."

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Avaunt, thou horrid flatterer!" cried Master Shakspeare, as he allowed his companion to conceal the verses in his purse. "But 'tis poor fishing with other folks' tackle, Dick," he added, in his own facetious way.

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Faith, I care not an' I have good sport: and I'll pay thee for thy tackle with a loose fish or two," replied the other, with a chuckle of inward satisfaction.

"I'll ha' none o' thy gudgeons," said | Fletcher; for that there is something in his friend, with mock disdain. "When the book is evident in the index-thou I fish I catch whales." lookest as important as a tailor's wife threading her husband's needle."

"O' my troth, I have something worth the telling," replied he.

"Disburthen thyself then, and quickly, good Lazarus," observed Master Shakspeare.

"Then hast thou a very blubberly taste," rejoined Master Burbage, “and when I want salve for a wound I'll come to thee; for thou must have a most infinite stock of spermaceti."

Thus they proceeded, bantering and laughing at one another, and indulging their humors with perfect satisfaction to themselves, when a knock was heard at the door, and admittance being granted, there entered a man of a pleasant aspect, and of spare figure, not so gayly garmented as Master Burbage, yet having much of the outward appearance of respectability.

"Welcome, good Lazarus Fletcher. Welcome!" cried Master Shakspeare.

"Hail to thee, Lazarus!" added Master Burbage, in his usual jocose manner. "Hast thou come to the rich man's table, Lazarus? Look for the crumbs, man! Look for the crumbs! and thou art not like to get anything else; for the table hath nothing better than a bare trencher and an empty tankard. Catch the crumbs that hath fallen then, for, in truth, thou lookest wofully like a right hungry Laz

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arus.

"If I look as hungry as Lazarus, thou lookest as fine as Dives," retorted Master Fletcher.

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What, be there no dogs to lick this Lazarus, that he seemeth so woundily sore ?" said the other. "But I tell thee what, Lazarus, an' thou ever liest in Abraham's bosom, thou hadst best tuck up thine ankles, for thou must needs find there a plentiful lack of bed-room."

"Mind not the reprobate, worthy Fletcher," observed Master Shakspeareyet unable to refrain from laughing.

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Marry, why should I mind him," replied the other, "he only showeth that he hath a spice of the ability of Samson: for he maketh a goodly use of the jawbone of an ass.'

"

"Ha, ha!" shouted Master Shakspeare, chafing his hands in the intensity of his delight. "Spare him not, good Lazarus; an' thou loveth me, spare him not." Then looking toward his friend, he added, "I'faith, Dick, thou hast found thy match."

"Match exclaimed Master Burbage, turning sharp round from the casement out of which he had that moment been leaning, "ay, marry! and like other matches-all the good lieth in the brimstone. But tell us thy news, Master

"There hath a message come from the master of the Revels, worthy Master Edmond Tilney," said Master Fletcher, "to the intent that it be the design of the queen's majesty, with divers of her honorable court, to honor her poor players with a visit; and leaving Hemings and Condell and the rest to prepare for her reception, I posted off here, as Master Burbage had left word that he would be found at Master Shakspeare's lodgings."

"Hurrah!" shouted Master Burbage, snatching up his hat and waving it over his head, "we'll have a right worshipful audience. Heaven preserve her majesty, and enrich her servants, say I. Come along, good Lazarus !" he added, as he caught his brother actor by the 66 arm, we must to the playhouse."

"I will be with thee anon, Dick,” said Master Shakspeare, as his visiters were proceeding to the door. "But I have a letter to write to my Lord Southampton, to thank him for yonder exquisite present of flowers he hath sent me from his own garden, and to acquaint him with our proceedings with the court of aldermen, touching our threatened liberties, at the Blackfriars."

"Success attend thee, Will, in all thy doings," exclaimed his friend, and putting on his hat he led his companion out of the chamber.

Master Shakspeare being left alone, did presently draw up his chair closer to the table on which he had been writing, and did recommence his labors with an admirable diligence. Mayhap he was engaged in the inditing of one of those right famous plays which did bring so much honor to his name; but know I not this for a surety; and as a trusty chronicler, I will only subscribe to that of which I have a perfect knowledge. However, it be certain that he had not been long so engaged, when a third knock was heard at the door, so gentle it was scarcely audible; and although he seemed at first somewhat impatient of interruption (for no man liketh to be much disturbed in his privacy), when, upon his giving permission to the person to enter, he observed his visiter, he gave him most cour

teous welcome. He was a youth, aged seventeen, or thereabouts, tall, slim, and elegant, and though clad in homely russet, there was that in his graceful carriage, and in his mild yet thoughtful countenance, that did signify something of a far higher quality than such poor apparel did denote. But most remarkable was the exceeding modesty of his deportment. He opened and closed the door almost tremblingly, and respectfully taking off his hat, advanced into the room with downcast eyes, to the great marvel of our illustrious poet.

"I took the boldness, Master Shakspeare," said the youth falteringly, as he kept smoothing his hat with his hand where he stood in the middle of the chamber-"I took the boldness some time since to send you a tragedy of my poor contrivance; hoping, from what I had heard of your worthy disposition, that you would honor that humble attempt to such an extent as to give it your perusal; and peradventure if such an obscure individual be not thought altogether unworthy of attention from one so excellently gifted as yourself, you will favor me so far as to grant me your opinion of its matter and management.'

"That will I, worthy sir, without fail," replied Master Shakspeare, regarding his young visiter with a more than ordinary interest. But you must first acquaint me with your name, and the title of the play you intrusted to my custody; for my reputation, however little deserved it may be, and my influence at the playhouse, which is thought to be greater than it is, are the causes of my being continually applied to for a similar purpose."

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"The tragedy was called Hero Leander,' and I signed my name 'Francis," " murmured the youth.

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Let me beg of you to be seated, worthy Master Francis," exclaimed the other, as he hastily handed him a chair. "I remember it well," he added, as he searched among his papers on the table, by the token that it did contain many passages that exhibited no mean ability."

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The melancholy aspect of the young stranger did brighten up marvellously at the hearing of this commendation, and his eyes looked abundance of thanks. He argued the most favorable conclusion from so promising a commencement, for It is the nature of youth to be sanguine upon very little occasion.

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"I have it," said Master Shakspeare, as he laid hold of the manuscript; and,

opening it, sat himself down in the chair, as if to give it a careful examination: then added, "but in all honesty, I must acknowledge that it hath a total unfitness for representation." At this the youth's countenance became blanched with a sudden paleness. "It hath a lack of everything which is most necessary for a drama to have: to wit, action-interest-and character;-the which, if it have not, were it written by King Solomon himself, or the seven wise masters in conjunction, it would have no chance with our modern audiences. The time of mysteries and moralities hath gone by. People now will not listen to dialogues without an object, and plays without a plot. David hath ceased to abuse Goliath in a set speech an hour long, and Joseph lingereth no longer to preach a thrice tedious sermon to Potiphar's wife. If a play have not action it must needs have but little interest; for although something may occasionally be done in a narrative form, if the ball be not kept up-that is to say, if the dramatis persona be doing of nothingeven if the sentences be proverbs of wisdom, then shall the play be a bad play. Again, if the characters who form the plot have no individuality or distinct features, in accordance with nature or probability, though they look like Alexanders and argue like Aristoties, shall the play be a bad play. Your tragedy, Master Francis, hath these particular defects, and I should be hugely deficient in candor, and in no way deserving the confidence you have been pleased to place in me, were I to refrain from telling you that it can not be acted with any profit either to yourself or others. There is another objection to it-the subject hath already been done by Kit Marlowe."

Master Shakspeare observing for the first time that the lips of his visiter had lost their accustomed ruddiness, and that he did look most despairing and wo-begone, with that sweet sympathy which maketh the generous so fearful of giving pain to another, instantly began to turn over the leaves of Master Francis his play, and resumed his discourse. "But let me not cause you to imagine that I think naught of your tragedy, Master Francis. Far be it from me to say so. I do consider the blank verse very musical and eloquent, and full of right admirable conceits. Here is a passage in which a lover, expostulating with his mistress, who doth affect inconstancy in no small measure, sayeth this much as argument to prove the unity of love :—

You will wait awhile before you offer any composition to the public eye," said Master Shakspeare, affecting not to notice the interruption he had received, yet being much pleased thereat.-" You are young-your knowledge of the world must, therefore, be scanty; and although I do perceive in your writings a comprehensive acquaintance with books, he who writeth tragedies should possess an equal knowledge of men; therefore I do advise you, for some years to come, to study mankind, if you entertain any desire of

“And again, in continuation of the taking your stand among our English

same subject:

dramatists. Moreover, you have as yet acquired no information as to the business of the stage-a matter of vast moment toward the success of even the best play. This you can only inform yourself of by noting what others have done. The most effective way for you to do this is to come to us at the playhouse, where you shall have free ingress and egress upon every fitting occasion: and I will forward your interest in all that my poor skill or influence can effect."

**Effect and cause-(the lover and the loved)
Are consequence and origin of one
Pure, single, and connective property-
The proud desire of human happiness:
Which leads one spirit to another one,
One heart unto its fellow. This is love,
Which, with an inclination natural,
And fond and sweet, and generous and good,
Ever inclineth one sex to the other
To realize a mutual bliss. The two,

In pairs, from other pairs apart, are joined
In bonds of budding hopes and blushing joys;
The whilst the Social Virtues hand in hand,
Linked like the golden rings that form a chain
Of precious, priceless worth, circle them round,
And keep off from the temple of their bliss,
Unholy thoughts, false gods, and evil deeds.'

"The forest tops

Give voices to the wind, and there the dove
Sits with her mate secure-with heart all joy-
In inclination uncorrupt-in dreams
That are reality: and still her breast
With passionate ecstacy heaves tremblingly;
There is a stirring gladness in her eyes;
There is a thrilling music in her voice;
For she doth own a blessed tranquillity.
No other winged one can seek that nest;
They find a perfect pleasure in themselves;
Their lives are for each other; and unknown
Beyond the little sanctuary of their loves.
Is any rapture which they there enjoy.

"If Nature then declare her law to be
That one alone should unto one be fixed
In sacred love and pure devotedness,
Shall human kind, of loving things the best,
The noblest, wisest, and the most divine,
Give that in partnership to more than one
Which one alone can know in purity?
Divide this precious influence 'tis lost.
The moment that in other hands 'tis placed
Gone is the golden virtue it possessed.
The sage's wisdom is his own-the wand
Of the magician doth forget its charm
With one who hath no magic-strike the harp
A moment since so eloquent with song
Raised by the Poet's skill, and nothing speaks
But what is dull, and harsh, and dissonant.
And why is this?-Because in natural things,
There is an ownership; and Love, of all
Our natural gifts most natural,

Admits of no division of its worth.
We can not set one gem in many rings.'

"I do opine, Master Francis," continued our illustrious dramatist, with a look of kindness toward his young companion, who had been listening with delighted attention to Master Shakspeare's faultless delivery of his lines-"I do opine that there is much admirable matter in these words; and the same opinion holds good toward other passages in your play, of similar excellence; which plainly prove to me that there is no lack of promise in you. But be not too hasty; pluck not the fruit before it be ripe, else they who may chance to taste it will make wry mouths. If you would take the advice of one willing to do you all manner of good offices"

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"If I do not, I should be the most worthy varlet that lives," exclaimed Master Francis warmly.

The tone of kindness with which these last sentences were delivered, seemed to have a most powerful effect upon the listener; indeed it had gone direct to his heart, and he sat for some seconds perfectly unable to utter a syllable.

"Is there anything more I can do for you?" inquired Master Shakspeare, regarding the changing color and modest demeanor of his visiter with increasing interest. "Though I seek not to make a boast of it, I have some powerful friends, to whom, peradventure, my recommendation would do good service, if ventured in behalf of one of your excellent parts and disposition."

"Oh, Master Shakspeare!" murmured the youth, looking up to him with eyes made humid by his grateful emotions, "I would I had language to thank you; but my heart is too full."

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Nay, nay, worthy Master Francis,' said the other, encouragingly, "if you love me you must not think of that. He who looks for thanks deserveth them not. Such a one am not I. I will acknowledge I feel a regard for you, and would wish to be your friend: and if you will intrust me with your confidence, rest assured it shall not be abused. Tell me, is your way of life agreeable to you?"

Indeed it is not," replied his visiter, with a melancholy expression of counte un-nance that completely attested the truth of the avowal. "But why should I take advantage of the goodness of your dispo

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