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to lend, on Fo security, a sum of money for the summer, the Blackfriars the winter house of the use of the town of Stratford. His continued the company with which he was connected. advance in worldly consideration is indicated . [For a more enlarged view of the subject, see by his further purchases. In 1602, according the Account of the Theatres in Shakspeare's Time, to Wheeler, he gave £320 for one hundred and p. xliii.] seventy acres of land, which he added to his estate Inspired with feelings of gratitude for the disin New Place. In 1605, he bought for £440 a tinction accorded to his associates, or in complimoiety of the great and small tithes of Stratford; ance with the servile spirit of the times, Shakspeare and in 1613, a tenement in Blackfriars for assiduously courted a monarch, whose ear was £140. It is remarkable in this latter purchase, ever open to the blandishments of flattery. In opthat only £80 of the money was paid down, the re- position to historical evidence, Banquo, the ancessidue being left as a mortgage on the premises. tor of James, is represented in the tragedy of MacMalone is of opinion that his annual income could beth, as noble in mind, and free from the guilt of not have been less than £200, which, at the age | Duncan's murder. There is another passage in - when he lived, was equal to £800 at present. the same play respecting the efficacy of the royal

Several of the nobility, particularly the earls of touch in curing the evil, highly complimentary, - | Pembroke and Montgomery, vied with Southampton and this delicate praise richly merited the honour

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inconferring benefits on Shakspeare, and he was dis- it is said to have earned,—"an amicable letter,” tinguished in a most flattering manner, by the favour penned by king James's own hand. Davenant, if of two successive sovereigns. We are told that we may credit Oldys, possessed this curious episthe Merry Wives of Windsor (the first draught of tie, and related the circumstance to Sheffield, o, which was finished in a fortnight,) was written ex- duke of Buckingham. The favour shewn by Elio [..." at the command of the Virgin Queen, who i zabeth and her successor to Shakspeare was a ing o delighted with Falstaff's humour in fact familiar in his own day. Ben Jonson says,

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broke a contract, or spitefully refused to part with written of his plays, which refer to that monarch some land, for a too. to in highly laudatory terms; and in a curious Ms. Shakspeare’s, in or near that town. volume of poems, written o about the The author's reputation was no doubt increased by period of the Revolution, the following lines occur, the approbation of his royal mistress, which in all which are confidently ascribed to our poet:— likelihood was the only solid advantage he obtained “Shakspeare upon the King. from her notice. Rowe celebrates the “many gra- “Crownes have their compasse, length of dayes their late; cious marks of her favour” which Shakspeare re- Triumphes their tombes, felicity her fate: &eived; but no traces of any pecuniary reward from $."...:*::::::::::::::::::...” her munificence is to be found, and the almost invari- - able parsimony of Elizabeth towards literary men, Though Elizabeth and James were particularly o- may fairly induce ns to question whether her gene- fond of dramatic representations, it does not aprosity was exhibited in anything more substantial pear that they ever visited the public theatres; ... than praise, notwithstanding all the elegant flattery they gratified their taste by commanding the comewhich the poet offered on the shrine of her vanity. dians to perform plays at court. These entertainElizabeth was certainly a very highly-gifted ments were usually given at night, which arrangewoman, but she was too selfish to pay for ap- ment suited the actors, as the theatres were geneplause, which she was sure of obtaining at an rally open in the morning. The ordinary see for easier rate. such a performance in London was £6: 13s 4d. and In James I. the stage found a warm and generous an additional £3:6s: 8d. was sometimes bestowed patron. In 1599, he gave protection to a company by the bounty of royalty. . of English comedians in his Scottish capital; and Shakspeare soon became important in the ma; he had no sooner ascended the British throne, than nagement of the theatre, and participated in all he effected an absolute change in the theatrical the emoluments of the company. It is imposworld. In the first year of his reign, an act of par- sible to estimate his income from this source : liament passed, which took from the nobility the we are ignorant into how many shares this the: privilege of licensing comedians, and all the skele- atrical property was divided; nor can we tell ton companies then existing were immediately what proportion of them was enjoyed by our poet. united into three regular establishments patronised If, however, he was equal with Heminges, who is by the royal family. Henry, prince of Wales, be- joined with him in the license, we are authorized came the patron of lord Nottingham's company, by his partner to assert that it produced “a good which performed at the Curtain; the earl of Wor: yearly income.” This worldly elevation induced cester's servants, who commonly acted at the Red him to quit the drudgery of an actor, which employ: Bull, were turned over to the queen, and ulti | inent he speaks of in his Sonnets with disgust, and mately designated Children of the Revels; while the henceforth he seems to have yielded all the powers king declared the lord chamberlain's company un- of his comprehensive mind to the improvement of der his own especial care. The license which dramatic literature; . The affectionate wish which James granted to Laurence Fletcher, William | Shakspeare formed in early life, to return, after Shakspeare, Richard Burbage, and others, dated his brilliant career, to his native Stratford, and May 19, 1903, constituted them his servants, gave die at home, induced him to purchase New Place, then legal possession of their usual house, the in 1597. . In the pleasure ground of that unassumGlobe, and Allowed them to exhibit every kind of ing mansion, he planted with his own hand a mul; dramatic representation, in all suitable places in berry tree, which flourished for many years. and : his dominions. From this document we learn that was regarded with reverence. To this favourite the Globe was the theatre generally occupied by spot, in 1613 or 1614, he retired from * lor. the lord chamberlain's servants; but they had some of his contemporaries and the bustle of i . *::: interest in the house at Blackfriars, which, in the to the genuine repose and unso o †: o end, they purchased. At these theatres all Shak- of a country life. Aubrey '; oi, ; but speare's plays were originally acted; the Globe was our bard’s custom to visit Stra y

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revious to 1596, the place of his residence in !. has not been discovered. He then lodged near the Bear Garden in Southwark, and it is not improbable that he remained there till his final retirement from the metropolis. We shall now throw together such facts as we have gleaned in a careful course of reading, with reference to the subject, as may serve to illustrate the manners, habits, and individual character of Shakspeare. The following abstract of his life is from Aubrey : “Mr.William Shakspeare was born at Stratford-upon Avon, in the county of Warwick; his father was a butcher, and I have been told heretofore by some of his neighbours, that when he was a boy he exercised his father's trade; but when he killed a calfe, he would doe it in a high style and make a speech. There was, at that time, another butcher's son in that towne, that was helde not at all inserior to him for a naturall witt, his acquaintance and coètanean, but died young. This Wm. being inclined naturally to poetry and acting, came to London, I guesse about eighteen, and was an actor at one of the playhouses, and did act exceedingly well. Now B. Jonson never was a good actor, but an excellent instructor. He began early to make essayes at dramatic poetry, which at that time was very lowe, and his playes tooke well. He was a handsome well shap’t man, and of a verie readie and pleasant smooth witt: the humour of the constable in A Midsummer Night’s Dreame, he happened to take at Grendon, in Bucks, which is the roade from London to Stratforde, and there was living that constable about 1642, when I first came to Oxon. Mr. Jos. Howe is of that parishe, and knew him. Ben Jonson and he did gather humours of men dayly, wherever they came. One time, as he was at a tavern at Stratford-upon-Avon, one Combes, an old rich usurer was to be buryed, he makes there this extemporary epitaph : “Ten in the hundred the devill allowes, But Combes will have twelve, he sweares and vowes;

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“He was wont to goe to his native countrie once a yeare. I think I have been told, that he left 2 or 300 lib. per annum, or thereabout, to a sister. I have heard sir Wm. Davenant and Mr. Thomas Shadwell (who is counted the best comedian we have now), say that he had a most prodigious witt; and did admire his naturall parts beyond all other dramaticall writers. He was wont to say, that he never blotted out a line in his life; sayd Ben Jonson, I wish he had blotted out a thousand. His comedies will remain witt as long as the English tongue is understood, for that he handles mores hominum : now our present writers reflect , so much upon particular persons and coxcombities, that twenty years hence they will not be understood.”

There is no such character in the Midsummer Night's Dream as a constable. Aubrey nost probably referred to the sagacious Dogberry in Much Ado about Nothing. This account, though seemingly sanctioned by good authority, and written most probably within thirty years of Shakspeare's death, is treated by his biographers as incredible; yet it is well worth preservation, for we cannot find any reasonable grounds on which Aubrey's testimony should be rejected. The story of the epitaph is variously told. In the following version the wit is certainly heightened: “Mr. John Combe had amassed considerable wealth b the practice of usury; he was Shakspeare's intimate friend. In the gaiety of conversation he told the poet that he fancied he intended to furnish his epitaph; and since whatever might, be said of him after he was dead must be unknown to him, he requested it might be written orth with.

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Peck, in his Memoirs of Milton, 4to. 1740, ha. introduced another epitaph, which he attributes though it does not appear on what authority, t Shakspeare. It is on a Tom-a-Combe, otherwis }}}}.} brother to the above-named John who is noticed by Rowe : “Thin in beard, and thick in purse, Never man beloved worse: He went to the grave with many a curse; The devil and he had both one nurse.” Much has been said of the rivalship and dissen tion between Ben Jonson and Shakspeare: we shal give a few particulars, from which we think it wil appear that they both were entirely free from per sonal ill-will. Pope says, that Jonson “love, Shakspeare as well as honoured his memory, cele brates the honesty, openness and frankness of hi temper, and only distinguishes, as he reasonabl: ought, between the real merit of the author, an the silly and derogatory applauses of the players. Gilchrist, a very o critic, published a pamphle to prove that Jonson was never a harsh or enviou rival of Shakspeare, and that the popular opinio on that subject is altogether erroneous. Row gives us the subjoined anecdote, which has bee. thought worthy of credit: “Mr. Jonson, who wa at that time altogether unknown to the world, ha offered one of his plays to the players, in order t have it acted ; an §: persons into whose hand it was put, after having turned it carelessly and su perciliously over, were just upon returning it to his with an ill-natured answer, that it would be of n service to their company, when Shakspeare luckil cast his eye upon it, and found something so we in it as to engage him first to read it through, an afterwards to recommend Mr. Jonson and his writ ings to the public.” It is not a little remarkable that Jonson seems to have held a higher place i public estimation than our poet, for more than century after the death of the latter. Within the period, Ben's works went through numerous edi tions, and were read with eagerness, while Shak speare's remained in comparative neglect till th time of Rowe ; of this fact, abundant evidenc might be given ; not only was Jonson preferrec but even Beaumont and Fletcher, with many dro matic writers infinitely below them in merit, wer exalted above him. The following passages an curious, and will satisfactorily shew the little est mation our bard's works were held in by the mi lion of that day. - “................ You see What audience we have, what company To Shakspeare comes ; whose mirth did once beguile Dull hours, and buskin'd, made even sorrow smile: So lovely were the wounds, that men would say,

{o} could endure the bleeding a whole day. He has but few friends lately.”---Prologue to the Sister,

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tions introduced, that the elegant critic had no aci.; with his original, but through the meinm of Davenant's new modelled editions of his great god-father's dramas. This fact is partly accounted for on the principle that classical literature and the learning of the schools were esteemed in those days as the best criterions of talent. Jonson's constant objection to Shakspeare, was the want of o: of knowledge; and upon his o in it, he arrogated the superiority to himself. All classical scholars, however, did not sanction Jonson's claims; since, among the warmest admirers of Shakspeare, was one of the most learned men of his age, the great and excellent Hales. “On one occasion, the latter, after listening in silence to a warm debate between sir John Suckling and Jonson, is reported to have interposed, by observing ‘that if Shakspeare had not read the ancients, he had likewise not stolen anything from them, and that if he (Jonson) would produce any one topic finely treated by any of them, he would undertake to show something upon the same subject, at least as well written by Shakspeare.’ A trial, it is added, ing in consequence agreed to, judges were apPointed to decide the dispute, who unanimously voted in favour of the English poet, after a candid examination and comparison of the passages produced by the contending parties.” All this proves nothing more than a collision of intellect between these greatmen, which might exist without aparticle of enmity or malicious feeling, and there are several circumstances to favour the opinion that Shakspeare and Jonson lived together on the most friendly terms. Our bard, in all probability, assisted in the composition of Sejanus; and on his death, Jonson wrote an elegy in his honour, inseribed his effigy with panegyrical verses, and furmished a presace for the first edition of his plays: nor did the lapse of years cool his regard, or efface from his mind the recollection of his companion; in his declining days, he declared with all the energy of truth, “I loved the man, and do honour his memory, on this side idolatry, as much as

aay. Filer. comparative view of these illustrious writers is highly interesting: “Shakspeare was an eminent instance of the truth of that rule: Poeta non At sed nascitur, (one is not made, but born a Yo! Indeed his learning was but very little; so that as Cornish diamonds are not polished by any lapidary, but are pointed and smoothed even as they are taken out of the earth, so nature itself was all the art which was used upon him. Many were the wit combats betwixt him and Ben Jonson, which two I beheld, like a Span; great galleon, and an English man of war!, Master Jonson, like the former, was built far higher in learning, solid but slow in his performances. Shakspeare, with the English man of war, lesser in i. lighter in sailing, could turn with all tides, and take advantage of all winds, by the quickness of his wit and invention.” The following anecdote, preserved by Malone, will serve to shew the habits of close intimacy in which these great and amiable men lived. In the serious business of life, rivals, and even enemies, are often obliged to associate; but when we find men seeking each other in the season of relax*tion, and mingling thoughts in their sportive humours, we may safely pronounce them to be friends. An amicable dispute arose concerning the motto of the Globe theatre, “Totus mundus *git histriomem;" (all the world acts a play;) some condemned it as unmeaning, others declared it to be a fine piece of sententious wisdom; Jonson,

being asked for his opinion, wrote on a scrap of paper, “If but stage actors all the world displays, Where of we find spectators of their plays?” Shakspeare smiled, and taking the pen, set down these |. under Ben's couplet: * Little or much of what we see, we do, We're all both actors and spectators too.” All this may be called trifling; but even trifles become interesting, when connected with a Jonson and a Shakspeare. Mr. Gifford has triumphantly proved, that the once generally received opinion of Jonson's malignant feelings towards his friend and benefactor, is void of the slightest foundation in fact; on the contrary, we are justified in believing that the author of Sejanus was, on all occasions, ready to admit the wonderful merit of his less learned, but more highlygifted, contemporary. His lines under Shakspeare's effigy breathe the warmest spirit of reverence and love: We “The figure that thou here seest put, It was for gentle Shakspeare cut; Wherein i. graver ..F. strife With nature to outdo the life. O, could he but have drawne his wit As well in brass, as he bath hit His face, the print would then surpass All that was over writ in brass: But since he cannot, reader, looke Not on his picture but his booke.” The anecdotes subjoined rest, perhaps, on slight authority ; but every particular relative to our un . rivalled dramatist has such powerful attraction, that we should not feel justified in withholding them. Queen Elizabeth used sometimes to sit behind the scenes, while her favourite plays were performing: one evening, Shakspeare enacted the part of a monarch (probably, in Henry IV.) The audience knew that her majesty was present. She crossed the stage while Shakspeare was acting, and being loudly greeted by the spectators, curtsied politely to the poet, who took no notice of her condescension. When behind the scenes, she caught his eye and moved again, but still he would not throw of his character to pay her any attention. This made her majesty think of some means to know whether she could induce him to forget the 'dignity of his character while on the stage. Accordingly, as he was about to make his exit, she stepped before him, dropped her glove, and re-crossed the stage, which Shakspeare noticing, took it up with these words, so immediately, after finishing his speech, that they seemed to belong to it: “And though now bent on this high embassy, Yet stoop we to take up our cousin's glove.” He then withdrew from the stage, and presented the #. to the queen, who was much pleased with his ehaviour, and complimented him on its propriety. Qne evening, Burbage performed Richard III. and while behind the scenes, Shakspeare overheard him making an assignation with a lady of considerable beauty. Burbage was to knock at her chamber-door; she was to say, “Who comes there 2" and on receiving for answer, “’Tis I, Richard the Third,” the favoured tragedian was to be admitted. Shakspeare instantly determined to keep the appointment himself. , Tapping at the lady's door, he made the expected response to her interrogatory, and gained admittance. The poet's eloquence soon converted the fair one’s anger into satisfaction; but the real Simon Pure quickly arrived ; he rapped loudly, and to the expected query replied, “"Tis I, Richard the Third.” “Then,” quoth Shakspeare,

“go thy ways, Burby, for thou knowest that Wil;

liam the Conqueror reigned before Richard the Third.”

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The Falcon Tavern, Bankside, the Resort of Shakspeare and his Dramatic companions.

Shakspeare's associates, during his residence in London, were the great spirits who were engaged, like him, in the pursuit of literary distinction: with Fletcher he was particularly intimate, and it is believed he assisted him largely in the composition of The Two Noble Kinsmen. Rowley, Forde, Massinger, and Decker were also indebted to his liberal muse: indeed, there is scarcely any dramatist of his age to whom the light of his genius was not extended. A tradition exists of a literary club, of which Shakspeare was a member, and which included the following illustrious names: Jonson, Fletcher, Selden, Cotton, Carew, Martin, Beaumont, and Donne. The meetings of such a phalanx of talent must necessarily have been attended with “the feast of reason and the flow of soul.” Of Shakspeare's convivial disposition, the following legendary story, told by John Jordan, a native of Stratford, might be given as evidence; though, certainly, it does not redound much to his credit. Shakspeare, says the tradition, loved hearty draughts of English beer orale, and there were two clubs of persons who met at a village called Bidford, about seven miles below Stratford, who distinguished themselves by the designation of topers and sippers, the former of whom could drink the most without being intoxicated; the latter, however, were superior to most other drinkers in the country. These lovers of John Barleycorn challenged all England to drink with them, to try the strength of their heads; the Stratford bard and his companions accepted it, and went to Bidford, on a W. to encounter the topers; but they were gone to Evesham fair upon a }. expedition, so * Shakspeare and his Stratford friends were forced to sit down with the sippers; upon trial, they found themselves inferior to *. opponents; the poet and his companions became so intoxicated that they were forced to decline further trial. Leaving Bidford, they proceeded homeward, but oor William, when he o gone about half a mile, aid himself down on the turf, under the boughs of a crab-tree, where he reposed for the night. Awaking with the lark, he was invited to return to Bidford and renew the contest, but he refused, telling them, that he had drunk with

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No. These epithets we are told, are still given to t adjoining villages; and the reader will, accord to his degree of faith, credit or reject a. tale, articulars of which correspond so ill with |. character. There is a tradition in Stratford, of our po likening the carbuncled face of a drunken bla smith to a maple. The smith addressed him leant over a mercer's door, thus:

“Now, Mr. Shakspeare, tell me if you can.
The difference between a youth and a young man.”

To which Shakspeare instantly answered: “Thou son of fire, with thy face like a maple, The same difference as between a scalded and a coddleThis story was told, upwards of fifty years sinc a gentleman at Stratford, by a person who was more than eighty years old, whose father m have been a contemporary of Shakspeare. Perh however, it was only a version of the story t Tarleton, the clown. (See p. 1.) We come now to speak of some traditional lantries of our poet; they may not deserve credence, but it would not be satisfactory to them altogether. In his journeyings bet Stratford and London, Shakspeare often put u the Crown Inn, Oxford; the o was bea and witty; the host, a discreet citizen, of a nine complexion, but a lover of plays and wrights, and more particularly, of his visitor. bard's frequent calls, and the loveliness o landlady, gave occasion to the following st Young William Davenant, afterwards sir Wii was then a slip of a school-boy, of about eight old: this lad was so much attached to Shaks that whenever he heard of his arrival he wou. the school to see him. One day, an old towns observing the boy hastening homewards breathless impatience, demanded of him whi was running in that eager manner. “To se god-father Shakspeare,” was the reply. “T a good boy,” said the citizen; “but have a you don't take God's name in rain.” From the Sonnets of our author we may corn that he had formed an unhappy attachmen while he celebrates the charms of his fair e

in the most hyperbolical terms, he is at no less

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A breach, however, did ensue between the bard and his good spirit; yet the pangs of separation scon proved intolerable; and, in defiance of his jealousies and doubts, Shakspeare took back his friend to his bosom, with an affection which seemed more powerful for this short interruption.

It has often been mentioned as singular, that Shakspeare does not appear to have written any commendatory verses on his literary companions, to which his great good-nature, it might have been supposed, would have inclined him; it was not known that he had composed even a solitary stanza to applaud the living or eulogize the dead. The annexed epitaphs, if they be authentic, and they have much of Shakspeare's manner about them, will prove, that in two instances at least, he laid aside that disfidence of his own merits, which made him undervalue the plaudits of a muse, the slightest breath of whose §. would have conferred immortality. In a MS. volume of poems, by Herrick and others, in the handwriting of Charles I. preserved in the Bodleian library, is the following epitaph, ascribed to our poet:

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“Written upon the west end thereof. * Not monumental stone preserves our fame, Nor skye-aspiring pyramids our name. The memory of him for whom this stands, Shall out-live marble, and desacers’ hands. When all to time’s consumption shall be given, Stanley, for whom this stands, shall stand in heaven.” Shakspeare seems to have had no personal connexion with the theatre for about three years to: to his death, and this scanty remnant of s days was passed in peace and comfort. Rowe says: “The latter part of his life was spent, as all men of good sense would wish theirs' may be, in

ease, retirement, and the conversation of his friends. His pleasurable wit and good-nature engaged him in the acquaintance, and entitled him to the friendship, of the gentlemen of the neighbourhood.” And in the words of Dr. Drake, “He was high in reputation as a poet, favoured by the great and accomlished, and beloved o all who knew him.” othing can be more delightful than to contemplate this wonderful man, in the vigour of his age, and in the full possession of his amazing faculties, retiring from the scene of his well-earned triumphs, to find, in the comparative seclusion of his native town, that repose and quietude both of mind and body, which is not to be looked for in the bustle of #: world. And if he, whose glory was to fill the universe, and whose pursuits (if anything connected with time can be, ) were worthy of an immortal soul, could pant for retirement in the meridian of his days, what excuse have they, who, in senectude and feebleness, continue to toil among the mole-hills of earth for a little perishable gold, § which they have no use when they have obtained it? Shakspeare retired from the metropolis at a period little past the prime of life. We meet with no hint of any failure in his constitution; and the execution of łł. will, in “perfect health and memory,” on the 25th of March, 1616, warrants no immediate expectation of his decease. The curtain was now to fall, however, on his earthly stage of existence. He died on the 23d of April, the anniversary of his birth, having exactly completed his fifty-second year. On the 25th, two days after his death, his body was laid in its original dust, being buried under the north side of the chancel of the great church at Stratford; a flat stone, protecting all that was perishable of the remains of Shakpeare, bears this inscription: “Good frend, for Jesus' sake sorbeare, To digg the dust enclosed here! Bless'd be the man that spares these stones, And curst be he that moves my bones.” The common opinion is, that these lines were written by the poet himself; but this notion has, perhaps, originated solely from the use of the word “my” in the closing line. “The ". says Malone, was probably suggested by an ..". sion “that our author's remains might share the same fate with those of the rest of his countrymen, and be added to the immense pile of human bones deposited in Stratford charnel-house.” We shall now give a brief abstract of Shakspeare's will, which is yet extant in the Prerogative Office. It bears date, March 25, 1616, and commences with the following paragraphs: “In the name of God, amen. I, William Shakspeare, at Stratford-upon-Avon, in the county of Warwick, gent. in perfect health and memory, (God be praised') do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and sorm following; that is to say: “First, I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping, and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ, my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting; and my body to the earth, whereof it is made.” It then proceeds to make the bequests enumerated below : To his daughter Judith he gave £150 of lawful English money; £100 to be paid in discharge of her marriage-portion within one year after his decease, and the remaining £50 upon her giving up to her elder sister, Susanna Hall, all her right in a copyhold tenement and appurtenances, parcel of the manor of Rowington. To the said Judith he also bequeathed £150 more, if she or any of her issue were living three years from the date of his will; but, in the contrary event, then he directed that £100 of the sum should be paid to his niece,

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