SHAKESPEARE AS A MAN
If everything that I have said should be granted, there would be great gaps in our knowledge of Shakespeare. We could only fill them by the help of data no longer ascertainable. We do not know what scrapes he may have got into; only that he must have got out of them: nor how much he cared for his wife and children, or how he behaved in business transactions, or whether he was too obsequious to his patrons. If such questions could be answered we might know a great deal more of him. Yet I think also that some very distinct personal qualities are sufficiently implied. Shakespeare's life suggests a problem. We have, on the one hand, a man abnormally sensitive to all manner of emotions, and having an unrivalled power of sympathy with every passion of human nature. On the other hand, though exposed to all the temptations of a most exciting 'environment,' he accomplishes a prosperous and outwardly commonplace career. He could emerge from the grosser element, no doubt, because his powers of intellect and imagination raised him above the level of the sensualist whose tastes he sometimes condescended to gratify. But he could not be a
in the quiet country town endeared by youthful memories.