Samuel Taylor Coleridge on Shakespeare

Well. I learn something new everyday.

The great poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a series of lectures on Shakespeare.

He did not believe that “the Bard” wrote this play…

88 Notes on  Titus Andronicus


Act i. sc. I. Theobald’s note.

I never heard it so much as intimated, that he (Shakspeare) had

turned his genius to stage-writing, before he associated with the

players, and became one of their body.

That Shakspeare never ‘turned his genius to stage-writing,’

as Theobald most Theohaldice phrases it, before he

became an actor, is an assertion of about as much authority,

as the precious story that he left Stratford for deer-stealing,

and that he lived by holding gentlemen’s horses at the

doors of the theatre, and other trash of that arch-gossip,

old Aubrey. The metre is an argument against Titus

Andronicus being Shakspeare’s, worth a score such chronological

surmises. Yet I incline to think that both in this

play and in Jeronymo, Shakspeare wrote some passages,

and that they are the earliest of his compositions.

Act V. sc. 2.

I think it not improbable that the lines from

I am not mad ; I know thee well enough;

So thou destroy Rapine, and Murder there,

were written by Shakspeare in his earliest period. But

instead of the text

Revenge, which makes the foul o-ffender quake.

Tit. Art thou Revenge ? and art thou sent to me ?

the words in italics ought to be omitted.

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