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Her married life must have been one of constant affliction in the bereavement of her children. Her first son, who was named Shakspere, was born in November, 1616, and died in May, 1617. Her second son, Richard, was born in February, 1618, and died in February, 1639. Her third son, Thomas, was born in August, 1619, and died in January, 1639. Thus perished all of the second branch of the heirs male of William Shakspere. His grand-daughter Elizabeth, the only child of his daughter Susanna, was married in 1626, when she was eighteen years of age, to Mr. Thomas Nash, a native of Stratford. He died in 1647, leaving no children. She remained a widow about two years, having married, on the 5th of June, 1649, Mr. John Barnard of Abington, near Northampton. He was a widower with a large family. They were married at Billesley, near Stratford. Her husband was created a knight by Charles II. in 1661. The grand-daughter of Shakspere died in February, 1670, and was buried at Abington. Her signature, with a seal, the same as that used by her mother,—the arms of Hall impaled with those of Shakspere, is affixed to a deed of appointment in the possession of Mr. Wheler of Stratford. She left no issue.
We have seen that all the sons of Judith Quiney were dead at the commencement of 1639. Shakspere's elder daughter and grand-daughter were therefore at liberty to treat the property as their own by the usual processes of law. The mode in which they, in the first instance, made it subservient to their family arrangements is thus clearly stated by Mr. Wheler, in an interesting tract on the birth-place of Shakspere :—“ By a deed of the 27th of May, 1639, and a fine and recovery (Trinity and Michaelmas Terms, 15th Charles 1st), Mrs. Susannah Hall, Shakspere's eldest daughter, with Thomas Nash, Esq., and Elizabeth his wife (Mrs. Hall's only child), confirmed this and our bard's other estates to Mrs. Hall for her life, and afterwards settled them upon Mr. and Mrs. Nash, and her issue; but in the event of her leaving no family, then upon Mr. Nash. As, however, Mr. Nash died 4th April, 1647, without issue, a resettlement of the property was immediately adopted, to prevent its falling to the heir of Mr. Nash, who had, by his will of the 26th of August, 1642, devised his reversionary interest in the principal part of Shakspere's estates to his cousin Edward Nash. By a subsequent settlement, therefore, of the 2nd of June, 1647, and by another fine and recovery (Easter and Michaelmas Terms, 23rd Charles 1st), Shakspere's natal place and his other estates were again limited to the bard's descendants, restoring to Mrs. Nash the ultimate power over the property.” Upon the second marriage of Shakspere's granddaughter other arrangements were made, in the usual form of fine and recovery, by which New Place, and all the other property which she inherited of William Shakspere, her grandfather, were settled to the use of John Barnard and Elizabeth his wife, for the term of their natural lives; then to the heirs of the said Elizabeth ; and in default of such issue to the use of such person, and for such estate, as the said Elizabeth shall appoint by any writing, either purporting to be her last will or otherwise. She did make her last will on the 29th of January, 1669; according to which, after the death of Sir John Barnard, the property was to be sold. Thus, in half a century, the estates of Shakspere were scattered and went out of his family, with the exception of the two houses in Henley Street, where he is held to have been born, which Lady Barnard devised to her kinsman Thomas Hart, the grandson of Shakspere's sister Joan. Those who are curious to trace the continuity of the line of the Harts will find very copious extracts from the Stratford registers in Boswell's edition of Malone,
NOTE ON THE AUTOGRAPHS OF SHAKSPERE.
The will of Shakspere, preserved in the Prerogative Office, Doctors' Commons, is written upon three sheets of paper. The name is subscribed at the right-hand corner of the first sheet; at the left-hand corner of the second sheet; and immediately before the names of the witnesses upon the third sheet. These signatures, engraved from a tracing by Steevens, were first published in 1778. The first signature has been much damaged since it was originally traced by Steevens. It was for a long time thought that in the first and second of these signatures the poet had written his name Shakspere, but in the third Shakspeare ; and Steevens and Malone held, therefore, that they had authority in the handwriting of the poet for uniformly spelling his name Shakspeare. They rested this mode of spelling the name not upon the mode in which it was usually printed during the poet's life, and especially in the genuine editions of his own works, which mode was Shakespeare, but upon this signature to the last sheet of his will, which they fancied contained an a in the last syllable. When William Henry Ireland, in 1795, produced his ' Miscellaneous Papers and Legal Instruments, it was necessary that he should fabricate Shakspere's name, and the engraving published by Steevens enabled him to do so. He varied the spelling, as he found it said to be varied in the signatures to the will; but he more commonly spelt the name with the a in the final syllable. His confidence in the Shakspere editors supplied one of the means for his detection. Malone, in his • Inquiry,' published in 1796, has a confession upon this subject, which is almost as curious as any one of Ireland's own confessions :-“In the year 1776 Mr. Steevens, in my presence, traced with the utmost accuracy the three signatures affixed by the poet to his will. While two of these manifestly appeared to us Shakspere, we conceived that in the third there was a variation; and that in the second syllable an a was found. Accordingly we have constantly so exhibited the poet's name ever since that time. It ought certainly to have struck us as a very extraordinary circumstance, that a man should write his name twice one way, and once another, on the same paper: however, it did not; and I had no suspicion of our mistake till, about three years ago, I received a very sensible letter from an anonymous correspondent, who showed me very clearly that, though there was a superfluous stroke when the poet came to write the letter r in his last signature, probably from the tremor of his hand, there was no a discoverable in that syllable; and that this name, like both the other, was written ‘Shakspere.' Revolving this matter in my mind, it occurred to me, that in the new fac-simile of his name which I gave in 1790, my engraver had made a mistake in placing an a over the name which was there exhibited, and that what was supposed to be that letter was only a mark of abbreviation, with a turn or curl at the first part of it, which gave it the appearance of a letter.
If Mr. Steevens and I had maliciously intended to lay a trap for this fabricator to fall into, we could not have done the business more adroitly." The new facsimile to which Malone here alludes continued to be given with the a over the name, in subsequent editions; and we have no alternative now but to copy it from the engraving. It was taken from the mortgage deed executed by Shakspere on the 11th of March, 1613.* When Malone's engraver turned the re of that signature into an a, the deed was in the possession of Mr. Albany Wallis, a solicitor. It was subsequently presented to Garrick; but after his death was nowhere to be found. Malone, however, traced that the counterpart of the deed of bargain and sale, dated the 10th of March, 1613, was also in the possession of Mr. Wallis; and he corrected his former error by engraving the signature to that deed in his ' Inquiry.' He says, “ Notwithstanding this authority, I shall still continue to write our poet's name Shakspeare, for reasons which I have assigned in his Life. But whether in doing so I am right or wrong, it is manifest that he wrote it himself Shak
* See Note at the end of Chapter XI,
spere ; and therefore if any original Letter or other MS. of his shall ever be discovered, his name will appear in that form.” This prophecy has been partly realized. The autograph of Shakspere, corresponding in its orthography with the other documents, was found in a small folio volume, the first edition of Florio's translation of Montaigne, having been sixty years in the possession of the Rev. Edward Patteson, minister of Smethwick, near Birmingham. In 1838 the volume was sold by auction, and purchased by the British Museum for one hundred pounds. The deed of bargain and sale, the signature of which was copied by Malone in 1796, was sold by auction in 1841, and was purchased by the Corporation of London for one hundred and forty-five pounds. The purchase was recently denounced in the Court of Common Council as “a most wasteful and prodigal expenditure ;” but it was defended upon the ground that it was not very likely that the purchase of the autograph would be acted upon as a precedent, for Shakspere stood alone in the history of the literature of the world." Honoured be those who have thus shown a reverence for the name of Shakspere! It is a symptom of returning health in the Corporation of London, after a long plethora, which might have ended in sudden death. In former ages she has been the assertor of liberty and the encourager of learning. She has called in the poet to her pageants and the painter to her high festivals. In later times she has been remarkable for tasteless sensuality and grovelling corruption. Folly has sat in her high places, and her state and ancientry have been child's play and burlesque. If the altered spirit of the majority is willing thus to reverence the symbol of the highest literature in Shakspere's autograph, that spirit will lead to a wise employment of the civic riches, in the encouragement of intellectual efforts in their own day. The halls of London will be hung with the pictured chronicles of the great deeds of London's citizens. Taste will preside over their architectural changes. The palm will be bestowed upon the most worthy, and the reign of jobbing will be at an end. The cultivation of letters will not then be considered incompatible with successful industry; and coarseness will not be deemed synonymous with common sense. May those days be hastened !
We subjoin fac-similes of the six authentic autographs of Shakspere. That at the head of the page is from the Montaigne of Florio ; the left, with the seal, is from the counterpart of the Conveyance in the possession of the Corporation of London ; the right, with the seal, is from Malone's fac-simile of the Mortgage-deed which has been lost; the three others are from the three sheets of the Will.
A TABLE OF SHAKSPERE'S PLAYS,
SHOWING THE POSITIVE FACTS WHICH DETERMINE THE DATES PREVIOUS TO
WHICH THEY WERE PRODUCED.
HENRY VI., Part I.
Alluded to by Nashe in · Pierce Pennilesse
1592 Printed as "The First Part of the Contention'
1594 Printed as “The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York' 1595 Printed
1600 Printed 1600. Mentioned by Meres
1598 Printed 1600. Mentioned by Meres
1600 Entered at Stationers' Hall
1600 Held to be mentioned by Meres as . Love's Labour 's Won' 1598 Mentioned by Meres
1598 Mentioned by Meres
1598 Mentioned by Meres
1603 Acted in the Middle Temple Hall
1602 Acted at Harefield
1602 Acted at Whitehall
1604 Printed 1608. Acted at Whitehall .
1607 Supposed to have been acted at Henslow's Theatre, 1593. Entered at Stationers' Hall
1607 Printed 1609. Previously acted at Court.
1609 Acted at Whitehall
1611 Acted at Whitehall
1611 Acted as a new Play when the Globe was burned
* Out of the thirty-s
7-seven Plays of Shakspere, the dates of thirty-one are thus to some extent fixed in epochs. These dates are, of course, to modified by other circumstances, which are stated in our Introductory Notice to each Play. There are only six Plays remaining, whose dates are not thus limited by publication, by the notice of contemporaries, or by the record of their performance; and these certainly belong to the Poet's latter period. They are