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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:00:58
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Experts of unchallengeable authority have testified definitely as to only one of Shakespeare’s multifarious craft-equipments, so far as my recollections of Shakespeare-Bacon talk abide with me — his law-equipment. I do not remember that Wellington or Napoleon ever examined Shakespeare’s battles and sieges and strategies, and then decided and established for good and all that they were militarily flawless; I do not remember that any Nelson, or Drake, or Cook ever examined his seamanship and said it showed profound and accurate familiarity with that art; I don’t remember that any king or prince or duke has ever testified that Shakespeare was letter-perfect in his handling of royal court-manners and the talk and manners of aristocracies; I don’t remember that any illustrious Latinist or Grecian or Frenchman or Spaniard or Italian has proclaimed him a past-master in those languages; I don’t remember — well, I don’t remember that there is TESTIMONY— great testimony — imposing testimony — unanswerable and unattackable testimony as to any of Shakespeare’s hundred specialties, except one — the law.

Many poets have died poor, but this is the only one in history that has died THIS poor; the others all left literary remains behind. Also a book. Maybe two.

But when a layman ventures to plunge deeply into legal subjects, he is naturally apt to make an exhibition of his incompetence. Let a non-professional man, however acute,” writes Lord Campbell again, presume to talk law, or to draw illustrations from legal science in discussing other subjects, and he will speedily fall into laughable absurdity.”

O dear, how long ago it was — how pathetically long ago! And here am I, old, forsaken, forlorn, and alone, arranging to get that argument out of somebody again.


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