"The coeval existence in England of two individuals, [Francis Bacon & William Shakespeare] more lavishly endowed with intellectual qualifications than any others of English or indeed any origin before or since, is so eminently calculated to impress observers or critics as an incredible phenomonon, that the apparent opportunity of escape from the miracle by the reduction of one of them to an umbra or a cat's paw acquired a new force and a new felicity. It has always struck me as extraordinary, and almost as a problem to be explained, how the two greatest Englishmen belonged to one era, nearly the same interval of years, how they lived, as it were, side by side, face to face, yet, so far as we could learn, were strangers to each other, the one a poetical philosopher, the other a philosophical poet, and at length , according to some, the mystery is unravelled, the veil is rent asunder and not Stratford, but Gorhambury is entitled to the glory of being the first village in the world."

W. Carew Hazlitt Shakespeare Himself and his Work (1903, 2nd edition)

 

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