Critics Ben Jonson said that Shakspere wanted art the highest appellate court decided that Lear was a greater work than Euripides or Sophocles ever produced. Voltaire, the presiding Justice in the court of French criticism, decided that Shakspere was votre bizarre sauvage; the world has reversed his decision, and everywhere, except perhaps in France, the Henriade is neglected for Hamlet. During the seventeenth century, English criticism sought to put Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger, Otway, Wycherly, Congreve, Cowley, Dryden, and even the madman Lee, above Shakspere. Denham in 1667 sings an obituary to the memory of the immortal Cowley, By Shakspere s, Jonson s, Fletcher slines. Our stages lustre Rome soutshines. Old mother wit and nature gave Shakspere and Fletcher all they have; In Spencer and in Jonson, art of slower Nature got the start.