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folio, and was evidently not a man of any eminence or consideration. I cannot think that he was " Will."
There remains, then, only “that most comicall and conceited Cavaliere Monsieur du Kempe, Jestmonger and vice-gerent generall to the Ghost of Dicke Tarleton,”! the original representative of Dogberry and Justice Shallow; a man whose qualifications and character coincide with all other considerations in pointing him out as most likely to be described by Sir Philip Sydney in the words I have quoted. To him, I think, those words, in all probability, refer, giving us proof that, before the death of Tarlton, he had joined the Blackfriars' company, and had acquired a reputation which entitled him, when Tarlton died, to be his successor, as well " in the favour of her majesty as in the good thoughts of the general audience.”?
A second question, suggested by the words of Sir Philip Sydney is, whether the Earl of Leycester's players did not accompany him into the Low Countries?
It was an occasion upon which Leycester was particularly anxious to display his power and grandeur. He carried over with him a body-guard of 500 men, levied amongst his tenants and retainers, and the passage before us countenances the rumour (although it was afterwards thought politic to deny that there ever had been any such intention) that his countess was about to join him, for the express purpose of increasing the splendour of his court. At such a time, it is not unlikely that his players were present.
Entertainments of a dramatic character, although more nearly resembling pageants or masques than plays, were exhibited before the earl on various occasions, and one instance has come under my notice, in' reference to which it may be certainly said, that the performers were not native players. The instance I allude to occurs in a description of the festivities at Utrecht, on the St. George's day which followed the date of Sir Philip Sydney's letter, and
which description was furnished to Stowe by Segar, the herald, who was present. It is there said, that the feast was succeeded by dancing, vaulting, tumbling, and an exhibition, probably of a pantomimical character, termed, “ The Forces of Hercules," which "gave great delight to the strangers, for they had not seene it before.”
Taking this passage in connection with the positive proof, afforded by Sir Philip Sydney's letter, that certainly one of the Earl's players was with him in the Low Countries (even although that one was Kemp, who was confessedly a man of a roving spirit), it raises something of a probability that he was not alone.
I would not lay any stress upon this point; indeed, the main object of this paper is to direct attention to subjects for further investigation. Other antiquaries may possess evidence not within my reach, which may establish, either that the earl's company did accompany him, or that this is another instance of the presence of a roving company of English players on the continent: a curious subject which has been mooted by Mr. Thoms, and upon which I am glad to learn that we are shortly to receive another communication from him. In the mean time, a most striking and positive proof of the existence and commonness of the practice alluded to has been handed to me by Mr. Wright, and I have great pleasure in adding it to the knowledge upon this subject which we already possess.
i Stowe's Chron. p. 717.
? Kemp has lately been traced, not merely to Norwich, but into France and Italy, and, still more lately, in Mr. Collier's admirable life of Shakespeare (p. cxxix), from one dramatic company to another of the opposing candidates for public favour in London. This fact probably explains how it is that we find “Will” set down in the plot of Frederick and Basilea (Malone iii., 357), as well as in that of Tarlton's Seven Deadlye Sinns. The plays were acted at different periods, as well as at different theatres.
It occurs in De Bry, Ind. Orient. part xii., p. 137, printed in 1613. The writer is describing Japan :
· Vigesimo primo ejusdem mensis die rex iterum Anglorum navem petiit, magna stipatus mulierum caterva, quæ omnes mimæ erant, actrices comædiarum, et saltatrices. Solent autem hæ mulieres agmine facto oberrare per provincias et oppida, actura comædias, ut Angli ludiones per Germaniam et Galliam ragantur, vehentes secum omnis generis vestes et instrumenta histrionica, pro exigentia fabularum quas lusuræ sunt, in quibus frequentissima sunt argumenta belli, amoris, et ejusmodi.”
One other question hangs upon the proof of the presence of Lord Leycester's players in the Low Countries. If they were there, was not Shakespeare probably with them, even although he was not the “ Will” mentioned by Sir Philip Sydney?
He left Stratford after the birth of his twins, who were baptised in the month of February, 1585. He is next traced as an important member of Lord Leycester's company of players, in 1589. He must have been in the company some considerable time, or he could not have attained the station which he held. Now, the earl was appointed to the command in the Low Countries in September, 1585, and immediately afterwards sent out letters to his friends and retainers, requesting them to accompany him thither. From Warwickshire, and especially from the neighbourhood of his domain at Kenilworth, his 500 men were in great part procured. One “John Arden,” who was recommended to the earl's service by his relative and confidential servant Mr. Thomas Dudley,' and another, “ Thomas Ardern,” who was “clarcke comptroller, " ? were probably relatives of Shakespeare, and “ Miles Comes,"
or, as he is afterwards termed, “ Miles Combes," was probably his neighbour. It was just about the time of the stir, which this incident created in Warwickshire, that Shakespeare's father attained the lowest depth of his poverty, and that Shakespeare himself left his native town.
The incidents may be altogether unconnected, but a young man of an excitable temperament, encumbered by an imprudent marriage and domestic difficulties, one to whom neither the world of Stratford nor its law was friendly, was of all persons the most likely to be affected by the general commotion around him. The departure of friends and neighbours would be to him a temptation and an example. They marshalled him the way that he should go; and although seeking distinction in other fields, stirred him up to find an arena for the exercise of that power which he must have felt within him. This consideration would lead to a conclusion very consonant with all we know of his biography ;--that he left home a little earlier than has been usually supposed. There may be nothing in it, but I point it out as a subject for investigation to those who feel an interest in such questions, and who have greater facilities for pursuing the necessary inquiries than I, at present, possess.
Ibid, fo. 106. In the same MS. list of Leycester's servants, we find, under the head of “Musiconer,” the following names: “Thomas Cole, William Bainton, James Wharton, William Edgley, William Black, Jo. the harper, Walter, the boye." No players are mentioned.
Art. XXII.—Corrections of Shakespeare's Text, by Sir William
Blackstone, &c. I beg to submit to the Committee of the Shakespeare Society the accompanying corrections of Shakespeare's text. The first class of Observations, which were considered complete by their Author, are from the pen of Sir William Blackstone, the Judge, and have been copied by myself literatim from the original MS., which, at this present time, forms part of the collection of Mr. Knight of Canonbury, Islington. Being conversant with the handwriting of that accomplished scholar and lawyer, I have no doubt of the authenticity of the MS.; but the MS. is also vouched by the accompanying letter from the son of Judge Blackstone, addressed to the late Doctor Adams of Cork, whose collection of MSS. was sold in May last.
I am indebted to Mr. Upcott of 102 Upper Street, Islington, for the inspection of this MS. and the means of preserving its contents from oblivion, as the notes of the Judge do not appear to have been communicated to subsequent annotators upon Shakespeare.
Cursory Observations on Shakespear,
with a particular View to AD. 1746. Sr T. H.'s Emendations. The Quotations are according to ye Pages of ye London Edition
in Octaco of 1745 [viz. Sr Tho. Hanmer's Edition of Shakespeare.]
Vol. i., page 61, Tempest, Act v., Sc. 2.
Vulg. ......... Ministers
Sr T. H. It seems hardly consistent that Prospero, while he is recounting the mighty Feats he had performed by ye Aid of these Elves, should call them weak Ministers. The Common Reading carries with it a fine Sense, that though these Beings