THE SAME AUTHOR.
Shakspeare Quarto, pp. 490, price
a New Work and not a Reprint.
PAUL, TRENCH & CO., 1 PATERNOSTER SQUARE.
New Work on Old Lines.
Rational Plea on behalf of Shakspeare's Sonnets.
A Permanent Reply to
Labour of Love dedicated to his Lovers.
necessary Supplement to all Editions of his Works.
Our most observant Man, most
Maker of Portraits
He held the Mirror
up to Nature's, face,
Forgetting with colossal
To look into it and reflect his
Even in the Sonnets he put on the Mask.
And was, at times,
the Player as in the Plays.—G. M.
St. James's Gazette,
January 7th, 1889.
"Mr. Massey published, more than twenty years ago, an
exposition of his Theory that 'Shakspeare's Sonnets' are partly personal and
partly dramatic. In the handsome volume before us he has restated that
exposition in an emended form, and produced further evidence in its favour.
Mr. Dyce had previously declared that, after repeated perusals, he was convinced
that the greater number of these sonnets were composed in an assumed character,
on different subjects, and at different times, for the amusement, and probably
at the suggestion, of the author's intimate associates. Mr. Massey duly
admits that this conviction forms the kernel of the nut which he claims to have
cracked, only his theory goes much further. For it unmasks, he believes,
the characters assumed, unfolds the nature of the various subjects, and
identifies the intimate associates of Shakspeare who supplied both suggestion
and subjects for his Sonnets. The question whether Mr. Massey has
demonstrated the truth of his important and interesting theory is one that we
cannot answer unconditionally. But he has unquestionably won for himself
the right to say, as he does in effect, that his evidence and arguments are
armourproof against the slings and arrows of anonymous criticism. He challenges
the Shakspearians, who contend that the confessions of the Sonnets are
autobiographical, to pick up his glove. Till men, therefore, of the
calibre and lore of Professor Dowden and Mr. Furnivall answer this challenge and
confute the man who issues it, Mr. Massey's theory may be fairly accepted as
substantially correct! And on the assumption that it is, he does not
overstep the modesty of nature in calling his present book 'a necessary
supplement to all editions of Shakspeare's works.' For it wipes away all
the spots which a misrepresentation of the Sonnets has brought their readers to
see in Shakspeare. Hallam wished regretfully that these confessions had
never been written. Carlyle and Emerson sighed over the dismal secrets which
they were supposed to reveal. And the mistake made by these distinguished men
was repeated and exaggerated by C. A. Brown in his confident analysis of
'Shakspeare's Autobiographical Poems,' half a century ago. We need not
mention again the names of those critics who are still bound hand and foot to
that analysis. "
"But, in justice to Mr. Massey, it must be said that many of his most important
conclusions have been stolen—or let as say
'conveyed'—by some critics who are loudest in
repudiating his dramatic interpretation. Palman qui meruit ferat. . . . .
The gist of his arguments, admirable and valuable as it is to the last degree."
"Your monumental book's a trifle bulky
(Five hundred pages turn some critics sulky,
My massive MASSEY), but 'tis full of 'meat,’
And sown with Song as masculine as sweet.
Mellifluous echoes of the master-rhymes,
Whose music filled the Great Armada times
Three centuries since, and still moves heart and brain
More than the pageantries of Drury Lane.
'Tush! none but minstrels' like of sonneting,'
Sings SHAKSPEARE'S self with an ironic ring.
Minstrels at least will thank you; for the rest
Who have not time or heart for the Great Quest
After the Secrets of the Sonnets, these
May dip and taste where there's so much to please
Both student bee and social butterfly;
Whilst all will track with grateful heart and eye
Your slaughtering of that colossal Sham
Egregious DONNELLY'S Great Cryptogram!"
Illustrated, London News.
"Mr. Massey has maintained his theory with so much learning, argument, and
ingenuity, that he has made a case upon which they alone who have devoted many
years of their lives to the study of Shakspeare, his Sonnets, his friends, and
his times, are competent to deliver a decisive opinion. To us Mr. Massey
appears to have established his theory far more completely than most theories,
which rest to a considerable extent upon conjecture, probability, and the
internal evidence of writings, can be established. That he pleads his
cause with great ingenuity, and that he has brought immense research to hear
upon his labours, is undeniable. His theory, moreover, has the advantage
of vindicating Shakspeare's moral character. The work also rendered
necessary certain Biographies, which will be found highly interesting. Let
the volume itself be read. It certainly deserves very close attention."
Pall Mall Gazette.
"Mr. Massey has explained the Sonnets
of Shakspeare without any such strange and revolting suppositions as others
have brought to bear upon the task. We believe he has made real and
substantial discoveries in the subject-matter of these beautiful but perplexing
poems: but we should be compelled, if we thought he had produced a mere Critical
Romance, to own that it was a most interesting and a noble one-interesting by
its intimate connection with the records of several historic characters, and
ennobled by the healthy and warmhearted sympathies which have animated his
investigations. While this new division of the parts gives to the greater
number of Sonnets a more rich, delicate, and elevated signification, we find it
strongly enforced by the historical memorials with which it is connected in the
present copious and thorough commentary. We hope our contemporaries will
not generally under-rate the necessary obscurity of the subject investigated,
nor the immense value of the light that may have been thrown upon it."
"Accept the warmest
thanks of two fervent Shakspearians for your noble book on Shakspeare's Sonnets
and his Private Friends. My husband and I have read it with thorough delight.
Let me especially thank you for the portions headed 'Poet and Patron: their
personal friendship,' and 'The Man Shakspeare.' I have often felt, with
you, that Antonio and Bassanio were dramatized pictures of Shakspeare and his
beloved friend of the Sonnets. That Southampton was this worshipped friend
of Shakspeare you have admirably demonstrated; and thereby confirmed my own
long-felt conviction, derived from the evidence contained in the two dedications
to 'Venus and Adonis' and to 'Lucrece.' Shakspeare was not the man to
write lightly and meaninglessly such words as 'The love I dedicate to your
lordship is without end,’ and 'what I have done is yours; what I have to do is
yours; being part of all I have devoted yours!' Shakspeare was not
the man to write thus to his friend Southampton overtly, and to write to his
friend of the Sonnets as he there does, unless they were one and the same
person. Mr. COWDEN-CLARKE will
add his own acknowledgments with his own hand; and pray accept those offered in
earnest gratitude by yours faithfully......."
"P.S.—In following the example of my
wife—which every man who has a full sense—in every sense of his vow, would do,—I
subscribe her testimony of admiration of your noble work,—subjoining as 'rider,'
that I cannot name the day when I have received so large a satisfaction from the
perusal of a homage dedicated to the Mind of our World that we implicitly
venerate and cordially love. I cannot close this brief testimony of my
delight, without reference to a Memoir I read in number 17 of The Working Man.
The whole record intensely interested me; but at the four lines, telling of the
poet's mother, I went in admiration (as Essex would say) 'upon the knees of my
heart.'—Every good wish attend you and your work,—Yours faithfully....."
LORD STRATFORD DE REDCLIFFE.
"I am deep in the subject which your volume treats with such profound research
and sagacity. It was my companion last Autumn when I made an excursion to
the North, and I had much pleasure in lending it at Alnwick to Lady —, who is a
woman quite worthy of such a book and such a theme. Do me the favour to
accept a copy of the small volume of poems which I printed two years ago.
If Homer is to be trusted, it will not be the first time that brass has been
given in exchange for gold, and you will kindly allow the feeling with which it
is offered to make up for the want of intrinsic value.—Believe me, dear Sir,
very sincerely yours, STRATFORD DE R."
farfalla, che la luce attira,
Alla vorace fiamma abbrucia e spira,
Cosi, dell' arte al sacro fuoco, anch 'io
M'incendio tutto, per fatal desio!
Per te Massey la sorte e ben diversa!
L'istinto che ti sprona non t'avversa.
Audranne la salma, sepolta e pesta,
Ma con 1'opere tue, if Genio resta! "