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compliment paid in Macbeth to the royal family at one time to his favoured dramatist the mag of the Stuarts.
nificent present of a thousand pounds. The circumstance which first brought the iwo of the degree of patronage and kindness ex lords of the stage, Shakspeare and Jonson, into tended to Shakspeare by the Earls of Pembroke that embrace of friendship which continued in- and Montgomery, we are abrogether ignorant : dissoluble, as there is reason to believe, during but we know, from the dedication of his works the permission of mortality, is reported to have to them by Heminge and Condell, that they had been the kind assistance given by the former distinguished themselves as his admirers and to the latter, when he was offering one of his friends. That he numbered many more of the plays (Every Man in his Humour) for the benefit nobilit, of his day among the homagers of his of representation. The manuscript, as it is said, transcendent genius, we may consider as a spewas on the point of being rejected and returned cious probability. But we must not indulge in with a rude answer, when Shakspeare, fortu- conjectures, when we can grasify ourselves with mately glancing his eye over its pages, imme- the reports of tradition, approaching very nearly diately discovered its merit; and, with bis in- to certainties, Elizabeth, as it is confidently said, Huenice, obtained its introduction on the stage honoured our illustrious dramatist with her er "To this story some specious objections have pecial notice and regard. She was unquestionbeen raised; and there cannot be any necessity ably fond of theatric exhibitions; and, with her for contencing for it, as no lucky accident can literary mind and her diseriminating eye, it is be required to account for the inducement of impossible that she should overlook, and that, amity between two men of high genius, each noi overlooking, she should not appreciate the Weading the same broad path to fame and for man, whose genius formed the prime glory of tune, yet each with a character so peculiarly her reigu. fi is affirmed that, delighted with his own that he might attain his object without the charaster of Falstaff as drawn in the two wounding the pride or invading the interests of parts of Henry IV., she expressed a wish to see the other. It has been generally believed that ihe gross and dissolute knight under the influence •he intellectual superiority of shakspeare ex- of love, and that the result of our poet's com cited the envy and the consequent enmity of pliance with the desire of his royal mistress, šonson. It is well that of these asserted facts was" The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Favourech, no evidences can be adduced. The friendship bowever, as our poet seems to have been by of these great men seems to have been unbroken Elizabeth, and notwithstanding the fire incense during the life of Shakspeare; and, on his death, which he offered to her vanity, it does not appear Jonson made an offering to his memory of high, that he profited in any degree by her bounty. just, and appropriate anegyric. He places him she could distinguish and eould sinile upon ubove not only the modern bat the Greek dra. genius: but unless it were immediately service mntists; and he professes for him admiration able to her personal or her political interests, whort only of idolatry, They who can discover she had not the soul to reward it. However any penuriousness of praise in the surviving isferior to her in the arts of government and in poet, must be gifted with a very peculiar vision some of the great characters of mind might be of mind. With the towers, which he strewed her Scottish successor, he resembled her in his mpon the grave of his friend, there certainly love of letters, and in his own cultivation of was not blended one poisonous or bitter leaf. learning: He was a scholar, and even a poet : I, therefore, he was, as he is represented to his attachment to the general cause of literature have been by an impartial and able judge, was strong; and his love of the drama and the (Drummond of Hawthornden) “a great lover theatre was particularly warm. Before his ac. and prajrer of himself; a contemner and scorner cession to the English throne he had written, as of others; jealous of every word and action of we have before noticed, a letter, with his own those about him,"? &c. &c., how can we other hand, to Shakspeare, acknowledging, as it is sup wise account for the uninterrupted harmony of posed, the compliment paid to him in the noble his intercourse with our hard than by supposing scenes of Macbeth; and scarcely had the crown that the frailties of his nature were overruled of England fallen upon his head, when he granted by that pre-eminence of mental power in his his royal patent to our poet and his company of friend which precluded competition; and by the Giobe; and thus raised them from being the his friend's sweetness of temper and gentleness Lord Chamberlain's servants to be the servants of manners, which repressed every feeling of of the King. The patent is dated on the 19th of hostility. Between Shakspeare and Thomas May, 1603, and the name of William Shakspeare Wriothesly, the munificent and the noble Earl stands second on the list of the patentees. As of Southampton, distinguished in history by his the demise of Elizabeth had ocenrred on the inviolable attachment to the rash and the un- 24th of the preceding March, this early attention fortunate Essex, the friendship was permanent of James to the company of the Globe may be and ardent. At its commencement, in 1593, regarded as highly complimentary to Shake when Shakspeare was twenty-nine years of speare's theatre, and as strongly demonstrative age, Southampton was not more than nineteen; of the new sovereign's partiality for the drama. aud, with the love of general literature, he was But James's patronage of our poet was not in particularly attached to the exhibitions of the any other way beneficial to his fortunes. If theatre. His attention was first drawn to Shak. Elizabeth were too parsimonious for an effective speare by the poet's dedication to him of the patron, by his profusion on his pleasures and
Venus and Adonia," that "first heir," as the his favourites, James soon became too needy to dedicator calls it, " of his invention;" and the possess the means of bounty for the reward of acquaintance, once begun between characters talents and of learning. Honour, in short, was and hearts like theirs, would soon mature into all that Shakspeare gained by the favour of two intimacy and friendship. In the following year successive sovereigns, each of them versed in €1594) Shakspeare's second poem, " The Rape literature, each of them fond of the drama, and of Lucrece," was addressed by him to his noble each of them capable of appreciating the tranpatron in a strain of less distant timidity: and scendency of his genius. we may infer from it that the poet had then ob- It would be especially gratifying to us to ex: tained a portion of the favour which he sought. hibit to our readers some portion at least of the That his fortunes were essentially promoted by personal history of this illustrions man during the munificent patronage of Southampton can- his long residence in the capital ;-to announce not reasonably be doubted. We are told by Sir the names and characters of his associates, a William Davenant, who surely possessed the few of which only we can obtain from Fuller; dieans of knowing the fact, that the peer gave' to delineate his hábits of life; to record his con
vivial wit; to commemorate the books which as degraded by such a public exhibition. The he read; and to number his compositions as time was not yet come when actors were to be they dropped in succession from his pen. But the companions of princes; when their lives, no power of this nature is indulged to us. All as of illustrious mea, were to be written; and that active and efficient portion of his mortal when statues were to be erected to them by existence, which constituted considerably more public contribution ! than a third part of it, is an unknowo region, The amount of the fortune, on which Shak. not to be penetrated by our most zealous and speare retired from the busy world, has been intelligent researches. It may be regarded by the subject of some discussion. By Gildon, who us as å kind of central Africa, which our reason forbears to state his anthority, this fortone is assures us to be glowing with fertility and alive valued at 3001. a year; and by Malone, who, with population, but which is abandoned in our calculating our Poet's real property from au. maps, from the ignorance of our geographers, thentic ducuments, assigns a random value to to the death of barrenness, and the silence of his personal, it is reduced to 2001. Or these two sandy desolation. By the Stratford register we valuations of Shakspeare's property, we concan ascertain that his only son, Hamnet, was ceive that Gildon's approaches the more nearly brried in the elfth year of his age, on the 11th to the truth: for if lu Malone's conjectural es of August 1596; and that, after an interval of imate of the personal property, of which he nearly eleven years; his eldest daughter, Su- professes to be wholly ignorant, he added the sanna, wus married to John Hall, a physician, ihousand pounds, given by Southampton, (an on the 5th of June 1607. With the exception of act of munificence of which we entertain not two or three purchases made by him at Strat- a doubt,) the precise total, as money then bore ford, one of them being that of New Place, an interest of 101. per cent., of the three hun which he repaired and ornamented for his future dred pounds a year will be made up. On the residence, the two entries which we have now smallest of these incomes, however, when moextracted from the register, are positively all ney was at least of five times its present value, that we can relate with confidence of onr great might our Poet possess the comforts and the Poet and his family, during the long term of his liberalities of life: and in the society of his connexion with the theatre and the metropolis. family, and of the neighbouring gentry, conciWe may fairly conclude, indeed, that he was liated by the amiableness of bis manners and present at each of the domestic events, recorled the pleasantness of his conversation, he seems by the register: that he attended his son to the to bave passed his few remaining days in the grave, and his daughter to the altar. We may enjoyment of tranquillity and respect. So ex: believe also, from its great probability, even on qisite, indeed, appears to have been his relish the testimony of Aubrey, that he paid an annual of the quiet, which was his portion within the visit to his native town, whence his family were walls of New Place, that it induced a complele never removed, and which he seems always to oblivion of all that had engaged his attention, have contemplated as the resting place of his and had aggrandized his name in the preceding declining age. He probably had nothing more scenes of his life. Without any regard to his than a lodging in London, and this he might literary fame, either present or to come, he saw occasionally change: but in 1595 he is said to with perfect onconcern some of his immortal have lived somewhere near to the Bear-Garden works brought, mutilated and deformed, is ia Southwark.
surreptitious copies, before the world ; and In 1606, James procared from the continent others of them, with an equal indifference to 1 large importation of mulberry trees, with a their fate, he permitted to remain in their nareview to the establishment of the silk manufac-vised or interpolated MRS. in the bands of the tory in his dominions; and, either in this year theatric prompter. There is not, probably, in or in the following, Shakspeare enriched his the whole compass of literary history, such garden at New Place with one of these exotic, another instance of a proud superiority to what and at that time very rare trees. This plant of has been called by a rival genius, his hand took root, and flourished till the year
“The last infirmity of noble minds,' 1752, when it was destroyed by the barbarous Axe of one Francis Gastrell, a clergyman, in to as that which was now exhibited by our illum whose worse than Gothic hands New Place had trious dramatist and poet. He seemed most unfortunately fallen.
“As if he could not or he would not find, As we are not told the precise time, when How much his worth transcended all his kind."* Shakepeare retired from the stage and the metropolis to enjoy the tranquillity of life in his With privilege, rarely indulged even to the native town, we cannot pretend to determine sons of genius, he had produced his admirable it. As he is said, however, to have passed some works without any throes or labour of the mind : years in bis establishment at New Place, we they had obtained for him all that he had asked may conclude that his removal took place either from them, -the patronage of the great, the apin 1612 or in 1613, when he was yet in the vigour planse of the witty, and a competency of fortune of life, being not more than forty-eight or forty- adequate to the moderation of his desires. Hav. nine years old. He had ceased, as it is probable, ing fulfilled, or, possibly, exceeded his expecta to tread the stage as an actor at an earlier period; tions, they had discharged their duty ; and he for in the list of actors, prefixed to the Volpone threw them altogether from his thought; and of B. Jonson, performed at the Globe theatre, whether it were their destiny 1o emerge into reand published in 1605, the name of W. Shak- nown, or to perish in the drawer of a manager; speare is not to be found However versed he to be brought to light in a state of integrity, or to might be in the science of acting, (and that he revisit the glimpses of the moon with a thousand was versed in it we are assured by his directions mortal murders on their head, eogaged no part to the players in Hamlet,) and however well he of his solicitude or interest. They had given to might acqnit himself in some of the subordinate him the means of casy life, and he sought from characters of the drama, it does not appear that them nothing more. This insensibility in our Auhe ever rose to the higher honours of his prothor to the offspring of his brain may be the subfession. But if they were above his attainment,ject of our wonder or admiration : but its conse. they seem not to have been the objects of his qnences have been calamitous to those who in Ambition ; for by one of his sonnets we find after times have hung with delight over his hat he lamented the fortune which had devoted pages. On the intellect and the temper of thesg aim to the stage, and that he considered himselt bil-fated mortals it has inflicted a heavy load o See Sonnel ext.
• Epitaph on a Fair Maiden Lady, by Dryden.
punishment in the dulness and the arrogance can see nothing but a whimsical sally, breaking of commentators and illustrators in the con from the mind of one friend, and of a nature to ceit am petalance of Theobald ; the imbecility excite a good-humoured smile on the cheek of of Capell; the pert and tasteless dogmatism of the other. In Aubrey's hands, the transaction Steevens; the ponderous littleness of Malone assumes a somewhat darker complexion; and and of Drake. Some superior men, it is true, the woi se verses, as written after the death of have enlisted themselves in the cause of Shak their subject, may justly be branded as malevospeare. Rowe, Pope, Warburton, Hanmer, and lent, and as discovering enmity in the heart of Johnson, have successively been his editors; an their writer. But I have dwelt too long upon a have , rrofessed to give his scenes in their origi- topic which, in truth, is undeserving of a syllanal purity to the world. But from some cause ble; and if I were to linger on it any longer, for or other, which it is not our present basiness to the purpose of exhibiting Malone's reasons for explore, each of these editors, in his turn, has his preference of Aubrey's copy of the epitaph to disappointed the just expectations of the public : Rowe's, and his discovery of the propriety and and, with an inversion of Nature's general rule, beauty of the single Ho in the last line of Authe little men have finally prevailed against the brey's, as Ho is the abbreviation of Hobgoblin, great. The blockheads have hooted the wits one of the nanies of Robin Good-fellow, the fairy froin the field; and attaching themselves to the servant of Oberon, my readers would have just mighty body of Shakspeare, like barnacles to cause to complain of me as sporting with their the hull of a proud man of war, they are pre- time and their patience. pared to plough with trim the vast ocean of time; On the 9th of July 1614, Stratford was ravaged and thris, by the only means in their power, to by a fire, which destroyed fifty-four dwelling. snatch themselves from that oblivion to which houses besides barns and out offices. It abstaintNature had devoted them. It would be unjust, ed, however, from the property of Shakspeare: however, to defrand these gentlemen of their and he had only to commiseraie the losses of his proper praise. They have read for men of neighbours. talents; and, by their gross labour in the mine, With his various powers of pleasing ; his wit they have accumulated materials to be arranged and bis humour; the gentleness of his manners; and polished by the hand of the finer artist. the flow of his spirits and his fancy; the variety Some apology may be necessary for this short of anecdote with which his mind must have digression from the more immediate subject of been stored ; his knowledge of the world, and my biography. Brit the three or four years, his intimacy with man, in every gradation of which were passed by Shakspeare in the peace society, from the prompter of a playhouse to the ful retirement of New Place are not distinguish- peer and the sovereign, Shakspeare must have ed by any traditionary anecdote deserving of been a delightful--nay, a fascinating compawir record; and the chasm may not improperly mion, and his acquaintance must necessarily be supplied with whatever stands in contiguity have been courted by all the prime inhabitants with it
. I should pass in silence, as too trifling of Stratford and its vicinity. But over this, as for notice, the story of our Poel's extempore and over the preceding periods his life, brood jocular epitaph on John Combe, a rich towns silence and oblivion; and in our total ignorance man of Stratford, and a noted money-lender, if of his intimacies and friendships, we must apply my readers would not object to me that I had to our imagination to furnish out his convivial omitted an anecdote which had been honoured board, where intellect presided, and delight with with a place in every preceding biography of my admiration gave the applause. author As the circumstance is related by Rowe, On the 2d of February 1615-16, he married his "In a pleasant conversation among their com- youngest daughter, Judith, then in the thirtyinon frier Is, Mr. Combe toid Shakspeare, in a first year of her age, to Thomas Quiney, a laughing manner, that he fancied he intended to vintner in Stratford : and on the 25th of the write his epitaph if he happened to outlive him; succeeding month he executed his will. He and since he could not know what might be was then, as it would appear, in the full vigour kuid of him when he was dead, he desired it and enjoyment of life, and we are not informed might be done immediately: upon which Shak- that his constitution had been previously weakspeure gave him these four verses :
ened by the attack of any malady. But his days, Ten in the hundred lies here ingraved :
or rather his hours, were now all numbered ; for "Tis a hundred to ten his soul is not saved.
he breathed his last on the 23d of the ensuing If any man ask, who lies in this tomb :
April, on that anniversary of his birth which Ho! ho! quoth the devil, 'tis my John a Combe. gratifying to our curiosity to know something of
completed his fifty-second year. It would be But the sharpness of the satire is said to have the disease, which thus prematurely terminated slung the man so severely that he never forgave the life of this illustrious man : but the secret is it." By, Aubrey the story is differently told : withheld from us; and it would be idle to endeaand the lines in question, with some alterations, vour to obtain it. We may be certain that Dr. which evidently made them wors, are said to Hall, who was a physician of considerable have been written after Combe's death. Stee. eminence, attended his father-in-law in his last vens and Malone discredit the whole tale. The illness; and Dr. Hall kept a register of all the two first lines, as given to us by Rowe, are un remarkable cases, with their symptoms and questionably not Shakspeare's; and that any treatment, which in the course of his practice lasting enmity subsisted between these two bur- had fallen under his observation. This curious ghers of Stratford is disproved by the respective MS., which had escaped the enmity of time, was wills of the parties, John Combe bequeathing five obtained by Malone but the recorded cases in pounds to our Poet, and our Poel leaving his it most unfortunately began with the year 1617; sword to John Combe's nephew and residuary and the preceding part of the register, which legatee, John Comhe himself being at that time most probably had been in existence, could no deceased. With the two commentators above where he fonnd. The mortal complaint, therementioned, I am inclined, therefore, on the fore, of William Shakspeare, is likely to remain whole, to reject the story as a fabrication ; for ever unknown; and, as darkness had closed though I cannot, with Steevens, convict the upon his path through life, so darkness now lines of malignity; or think, with him and with gathered round his bed of death, awfully to cover Malone, that the character of Shakspeare, on it from the eyes of succeeding generations. the supposition of his being their author, could On the 25th of April 1616, two days after his require any labonred vindication to clear it from decease, he was baried in the chancel of the slain. In the anecdote, as related by Rowe, Ilchurch of Stratford ; and at some period within
hd seven subsequent years (for in 1632 it is | artist, acting under the recollections of the noticed in the verses of Leonard Digges) a mo- Shakspeare family, into some likeness of the nument was raised to his memory either by the great lownsman of Stratford : and on this pro respect of his lownsinen, or by the piety of his bability, we may contemplate it with no incom relations. It represents the poet with a counte.. siderable interest. I cangot, however, persuade nance of thought, resting on a cushion and in myself that the likeness could have been strong. the act of writing. It is placed under an arch, The forehead, indeed, is sufficiently spacious between two Corinthian columns of black mar and intellectualbut there is a disproportionate ble, the capitals and bases of which are gilt. The length in the under part of the face ; the mouth face is said, but, as far as I can find, not on any is weak; and the whole countenance is beavy adequate authority, to have been modelled from and inert. Not having seen the monument ii. the face of the deceased ; and the whole was self, I can speak of it only from its numerous painted to bring the imitation nearer to nature. copies by the graver; and by these it is possible The face and the hands wore the carnation of that I may be deceived. But if we cannot rely life: the eyes were light hazel; the hair and on the Stratford bust for a resemblance of our beard were auburn: a black gown, without immortal dramatist, where are we to look with sleeves, huing, Hoosely over a scarlet doublet. any hope of finding a trace of his features ? It The cushion m its upper part was green, in its is highly probable tha DO portrait of him was lower crimson; and the tassels were of gold painter during his life, and it is certain that no colour. This certainly was not in the high clas- portrait of him, with an incontestible claim to sical state, though we may learn from Pausanias genuineness, is at present in existence. The that statues in Greece were sometimes coloured (airest title to authenticity seems to be assigna after life ; but as it was the work of contempo- ble to that which is called the Chandos portrait ; rary hands, and was intended, by those who and is now in the collection of the Duke of knew the Poet, to convey to posterity some re- Buckingham at Stowe. semblance of his lineaments and dress, it was a It is well that we are better acquainted with monument of rare value; and the tastelessness the rectitude of his morals, than with the symof Malone, who caused all its tints to be oblite-metry of his features. To the integrity of his rated with a daubing of white lead, cannot be heart; the gentleness and benignity of his man sufficiently ridiculed and condemned. Its maners, we have the positive testimony of Chettle terial is a species of free-stone; and as the chisel and Ben Jonson; the former of whom seems to of the sculptor was most probably under the gui- have been drawn by our Poet's good and amiadance of Doctor Hall, it bore some promise of ble qualities, from the faction of his dramatic ene. likeness to the mighty dead. Immediately below mies; and the latter, in his love and admiration the cushion is the following distich :
of the man, to have lost all his natural jealousy
of the successful competitor for the poetic palm. Judicio Pylium; genic Socratem; arte Maronem. I have already cited Chette: let me now cite
Terra tegit; populus mæret ; Olympus habet. Jonson, from whose pages much more of a simi. On a tablet underneath are inscribed these lines: lar nature might be adduced. “I loved," he
says in his Discoveries,' " I loved the inan Stay, passenger, why dost thoa go so fast ?
and do honour his memory, on this side idolatry, Read, if thou canst, whom envious death has as much as any. He was, indeed, honest, of an placed
open and free nature; had an excellent fancy, Within this monument-Shakspeare ; with brave notions, and gentle expressions," &c. &c. whom
When Jonsov apostrophizes his deceased friend Quick Nature died : whose name doth deck he calls him, “My gentle Shakspeare," and the
the tomb Far more than cost : since all that he hath ly given to him, after the example of Jonson,
title of the sweet swan of Avon," so general: writ
by his contemporaries, seems to have been given Leaves living art but page to serve his wit : with reference as much to the suavity of his temand the flat stone, covering the grave, holds out, per as to the harmony of his verse. In their dein very irregular characters, a supplication to dication of his works to the Earls of Pembroke the reader, with the promise of a blessing and Condell, profess that their great object in their
and Montgomery, his fellows, Heminge and the menace of a curse :
publication was "only to keep the memory of Good Friend ! for Jesus' sake forbear so worthy a friend and fellow alive as was our To dig the dust inclosed here.
Shakspeare:" and their preface to the public apBlest be the man that spares these stones; pears evidently to have been dictated by their And cursed be he that moves my bones.
personal and affectionate attachment to their
departed friend. If we wish for any farther The last of these inscriptions may have been evidence in the support of the moral character written by Shakspeare himself under the appre of Shakspeare, we may find it in the friendship hension of his bones being lambled, with those of Southampton ; we may extract it from the of many of his townsmen, into the charnel-house pages of his immortal works. Dr. Johnson, in of the parish. But his dust has continued un- his much over-praised Preface, seems to have violated, and is likely to remain in its holy re taken a view, very different from ours, of the pose till the last awful scene of our perishable morality of our author's scenes. He says, "His globe. It were to be wished that the two pre- (Shakspeare's) first defect is that to which may ceding inscriptions were more worthy, than be imputed most of the evil in books or in they are, of the tomb to which they are attached. men. 'He sacrifices virtue to convenience; and It would be gratifying if we could give any faith is so much more careful to please than to into the tradition, which asserts that the bust of struct, that he seems to write without any morat this monument was sculptured from a cast purpose. From his writings, indeed, a system moulded on the face of the departed poet; for of moral duty may be selected," (indeed !) but then we might assure ourselves that we possess his precepts and axions drop casually from one authentic resemblance of this pre-eminently him" (Would the preface-writer have wished intelleetual mortal. But the cast, if taken, must the dramatist to give a connected treatise on have been taken immediately after his death ; ethics like the offices of Cicero '?) " he makes and we know neither at whose expense the no just distribution of good or evil, nor is al monument was constructed, nor by whose hand ways careful to show in the virtuous a disap it was executed ; nor at what precise time it probation of the wicked; he carries his perwas erected. It may have been wrought by the Isons indifferently through right and wrong: and at the close dismisses them without further weakness did not diminish the respect, come care, and leaves their examples to operate by manded by the probity of his heart; or the chance. This fault the barbarity of the age love,
conciliated by the benignity of his man cannot extenuate! for it is always a writer's ners; or the admiration exacted by the triumph duty to make the world better, and justice is a of his genius. virtue independent on time or place." Why The Will of Shakspeare, giving to his youngest this commonplace on justice should be com daughter, Judith, not more than three hundred pelled into the station in which we here most pounds, and a piece of plate, which probably strangely find it, I cannot for my life conjecture. was valuable, as it is called by the testator, But absurd as it is made by its association in " My broad silver and gilt bowi," assigns al this place, it may not form an improper con- most the whole of his property to his eldest clusion to a paragraph which means little, and daughter, Susanna Hall, and her husband; which, intending censure, confers dramatic whom he appoints to be his executors. The praise on a dramatic writer. It is evident, cause of this evident partiality in the father however, that Dr. Johnson, though he says that appears to be discoverable in the higher mental a system of moral duty may be selected from accomplishments of the eldest daughter; who Shakspeare's writings, wished to inculcate that is reported to have resembled him in her in his scenes were not of a moral tendency. On this tellectual endowments, and to have been emitopic, the first and the greater Jonson seems nently distinguished by the piety and the Chris to have entertained very different sentiments
tian benevolence which actuated her conduct. “Look, how the father's face
Having survived her estimable hasband fourteen
years, she died on the 11th of Jaly, 1649; and the (says this great man)
inscription on her tomb, preserved by Dugdale, Lives in his issue ; even so the race
commemorates her intellectual superiority and Of Shakspeare's mind, and manners, brightly influence of religion upon her heart. This inshines
scription, which we shall transcribe, bears witIn his well-turned and true filed lines." ness also, as we must observe, to the piety of
her illustrious father. We think, indeed, that his scenes are rich in sterling morality, and that they must have been Witty above her sex; but that's not all : the effusions of a moral mind. The only crimi- Wise to salvation was good Mistress Hall. nation of his morals must be drawn from a few Something of Shakspeare was in thal; but this of his sonnets; and from a story first suggested Wholly of him, with whom she now's in bliss. by Anthony Wood, and afterwards told by Oldys Then, passenger, hast ne'er a tear on the authority of Betterton and Pope. From To weep with her, that wept with all : the Sonnets * we can collect nothing more than that their writer was blindly attached to an
That wept, yet set herself to cheer unprincipled woman, who preferred a young
Them up with comforts cordial. and beautiful friend of his to himself. But the
Her love shall live, her mercy spread, story told by Oldys presents something to us of a
When thou hast ne'er a tear to shed. more tangible nature; and as it possesses some Judith, his younger daughter, bore to her hus. intrinsic merit as a story, and rests, as to its band, Thomas Quiney, three sons; Shakspeare, principal facts, on the authority of Wood, who who died in his infancy, Richard and Thomas, was a native of Oxford, and a veracious man, who deceased, the first in his 21st year, the last we shall not hesitate, after the example of in his
19th, unmarried, and before their mother; most of the recent biographers of our Poet, to who, having reached her 7th year, expired in relate it, and in the very words of Oldys. "If February
1661-2-being buried on the 9th of that tradition may be trusted, Shakspeare often month. She appears either not to have received daited at the Crown Inn or Tavern in Oxford, any education, or not to bave profited by the on his journey to and from London. The land lessons of her teachers, for to a dced, still in ex. lady was a beautiful woman and of a sprightly istence, she affixes her mark. wit; and her husband, Mr. John Davenani, We have already mentioned the dates of the (afterwards mayor of that city,) a grave, melan- birth, marriage, and death of Susanna Hall. choly man, who, as well as his wife, used much She left only one daughter, Elizabeth, who was to delight in Shakspeare's pleasant company. baptized on the 21st of February 1607-8, eight Their son, young Wil Davenant (afterwards years before her grandfather's decease, and was Sir William Davenant) was then a little school- married on the 22d of April 1626, to Mr. boy, in the town, of about seven or eight years Thomas Nash, a country gentleman, as it apold and so fond also of Shakspeare that, when-pears, of independent fortune. Two years after ever he heard of his arrival, he would fly from the death of Mr. Nash, who was buried on the school to see him. One day, an old townsman, 5th of April 1647, she married on the 5th of observing the boy running homewards almost June 1649, at Billesley in Warwickshire, Sir out of breath, asked him whither he was posting John Barnard, Knight, of Abington, a small in that heat and hurry. He answered, to see his village in the vicinity of Northampton. She god-father, Shakspeare. There is a good boy; died, and was buried at Abington, on the 17th
of said the other; but have a care that you don't February 1669-70; and, as she left no issue by take God's name in vain! This story Mr. Pope either of her husbands, her death terminated the told me at the Earl of Oxford's table, upon oc- lineal descendants of Shakspeare. His collate casion of some discourse which arose about ral kindred have been indulged with a much Shakspeare's monument, then newly erected in longer period of duration; the descendants of Westminster Abbey."
his sister, Joan, having continued in a regular On these two instances of his frailty, under succession of generations even to our days; the influence of the tender passion, one of them whilst none of them, with a single exception, supported by his own evidence, and one resting have broken from that rank in the community in on authority which seems to be not justly ques. which their ancestors, William Hart and Joan tionable, depend all the charges which can be Shakspeare united their unostentatious fortunes bronght against the strict personal morality of in the year 1599. The single exception to which Shakspeare. In these days of peculiarly sensi- we allude, is that of Charles Hart, believed, for tive virtue, he would not possibly be admitted good reasons, to be the son of William the elinto the party of the saints:
but, in the age in dest son of William and Joan Hart, and conwhich he lived, these errors of his human sequently the grand-nephew of our poet. Al
* See Son. 141, 144, 147, 151, 152. the early age of seventeen Charles Hart, as