- Museum number
- Object: The spirit of Shakspere appearing to his detractors
The ghost of Shakespeare (left) standing on a cloud in profile to the right extends his left hand towards the five terrified members of the Ireland family, all kneeling. The older Ireland turns his back on the Ghost, his hands raised in horror; his son looks towards him, putting out his arm; the two girls kneel behind their brother, Mrs. Freeman behind Samuel Ireland. On the ground are a book, a document: 'Tributary lines to Ireland Irelande or Irlaunde for I could not spell his name W Shakspere', and a torn pamphlet: 'Vortigern condemned by a most Disintrested Audience April 2 1796'. Beneath the title:
'Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee Undivulged crimes,
Unwhipp'd of justice
Ah me, Ah me, O dear, O dear,
What Spectre's this, approaching here:
Surely tis Shakspeare's injured shade.
It fills my soul with so much dread
It is, it is, thus on our knees,
Let's strive his anger to appease.
O Father of the British Stage,
Whose wit has charm'd from age to age:
Pardon the base unworthy flame,
That Burn't to rob thee of thy fame.
But now this Solemn mock'ry 's o'er
Thy gracious mercy wee implore
We'll never more disgrace thy page.
Our Brains were gone a pilgrimage.' 1796
- Production date
Height: 222 millimetres
Width: 298 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942)
For the Ireland forgeries see BMSat 8884, &c. For the performance of 'Vortigern and Rowena', for which Sheridan and Harris had competed, see Genest, vii. 245-52. It was played for one night only, being laughed off the stage.
Reproduced, Paston, pl. cix.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number