8 MAY 1886, Page 23

What we Really Know about Shakespeare. By Caroline Healey Dale.

(Roberts Brothers, Boston, U.S.A.)—Mrs. Dale has the biographer's blindness to a hero's faults in its most pronounced form. The poet's father never got into difficulties ; the poet's marriage with Anne Hathaway was all that could be desired. How did Mrs. Dale learn that a pre-contract was "the equivalent of a legal marriage" P The tone of the poems is pure and lofty. "A fresh, pure breeze," in particular, " trembles " through "Venus and Adonis." "In politics, the poet was the unconscious mouthpiece of a very Liberal party." Coriolanue is the proof of this, we suppose. There seems to be a want of wisdom and judgment in all this. The one theory which Mrs. Dale contributes to the subject is the suggestion that the elder Shakespeare may have been excused payment of certain dues, on the ground, not of poverty, but of non-residence.