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peer and the sovereign, Sbakspeare must have been a delightful-nay, a fascinating companion; and his acquaintance must necessarily have been courted by all the prime inhabitants of Stratford and its vicinity. But over this, as over the preceding periods of his life, brood silence and oblivion; and in our total ignorance of his intimacies and friendships, we must apply to our imagination to furnish out his convivial board where intellect presided, and delight, with admiration, gave the applause.
On the 2d of February 1615-16, he married bis youngest daughter, Judith, then in the thirty-first year of her age, to Thomas Quiney, a vintner in Stratford ; and on the 25th of the succeeding month he executed his will. He was then, as it would appear, in the full vigour and enjoyment of life, and we are not informed that his constitution had been previously weakened by the attack of any malady. But his days, or rather his hours, were now all numbered; for he breathed his last on the 23d of the ensuing April, on that anniversary of his birth which completed his fifty-second year. It would be gratifying to our curiosity to know something of the disease, which thus prematurely terminated the life of this illustrious man: but the secret is withheld from us; and it would be idle to endeavour to obtain it. We may be certain that Dr. Hall, who was a physician of considerable eminence, attended his father-in-law in his last illness; and Dr. Hall kept a register of all the remarkable cases, with their symptoms and treatment, which in the course of his practice had fallen under his observation. This curious MS., which had escaped the enmity of time, was obtained by Malone: but the recorded cases in it most unfortunately began with the year 1617; and the preceding part of the register, which most probably had been in existence, could nowhere be found. The mortal complaint, therefore, of William Sbakspeare is likely to remain for ever unknown; and, as darkness had closed upon his path through life, so darkness now gathered round his bed of death, awfully to cover it from the eyes of succeeding generations.
On the 25th of April 1616, two days after his decease, he was buried in the chancel of the church of Stratford; and at some period within the seven subsequent years (for in 1623 it is noticed in the verses of Leonard Digges) a monument was raised to bis memory either by the respect of his townsmen, or by the pięty of his relations. It represents the Poet with a countenance of thought, resting on a cushion and in the act of writing. It is placed under an arch, between two Corinthian columns of black marble, the capitals and bases of which are gilt. The face is said, but, as far as
I can find, not on any adequate authority, to have been modelled from the face of the deceased ; and the whole was painted to bring the imitation nearer to nature. The face and the bands wore the carnation of life: the eyes were light hazel; the hair and beard were auburn: a black gown, without sleeves, hung loosely over a scarlet doublet. The cushion in its upper part was green: in its lower, crimson; and the tassels were of gold colour. This certainly was not in the high classical taste; though we may learn from Pausanias that statues in Greece were sometimes coloured after life; but as it was the work of contemporary hands, and was intended, by those who knew the Poet, to convey to posterity some resemblance of his lineaments and dress, it was a monument of rare value; and the tastelessness of Malone, who caused all its tints to be obliterated with a daubing of white lead, cannot be sufficiently ridiculed and condemned. Its material is a species of free-stone; and as the chisel of the sculptor was most probably under the guidance of Doctor Hall, it bore some promise of likeness to the mighty dead. Immediately below the cushion is the following distich:
Judicio Pylium; genio Socratem ; arte Maronem
Terra tegit ; populus mæret; Olympus habet.
On a tablet underneath are inscribed these lines :
Stay, passenger, why dost thou go so fast ?
Within this inonument-Shakspeare; with whoin
Leaves living art bat page to serve his wit : and the flat stone, covering the grave, holds out, in very irregular characters, a supplication to the reader, with the promise of a blessing and the menace of a curse :
Good Friend ! for Jesus' sake forbear
And cursed be be that moves my bones. The last of these inscriptions may have been written by Shakspeare himself under the apprehension of his bones being tumbled, with those of many of his townsmen, into the charnel-house of the parish. But his dust bas continued unviolated, and is likely to remain in its holy repose till the last awful scene of our perishable globe, It were to be wished that the two preceding inscriptions were more worthy, than they are, of the tomb to which they are attached. It would be gratifying if we could give any faith to the tradition, which asserts that the bust of this monument was sculptured from a cast moulded on the face of the departed poet; for then we might assure ourselves that we possess one authentic resemblance of this preeminently intellectual mortal. But the cast, if taken, must have been taken immediately after bis death; and we know neither at whose expense the monument was constructed; nor by whose hand it was executed; nor at what precise time it was erected. It may have been wrought by the artist, acting under the recollections of the Shakspeare family, into some likeness of the great townsman of Stratford ; and on this probability, we may contemplate it with no inconsiderable interest. I cannot, however, persuade myself that the likeness could have been strong. The forehead, indeed, is sufficiently spacious and intellectual: but there is a disproportionate length in the under part of the face: the mouth is weak; and the whole countenance is heavy and inert. Not having seen the monument
itself, I can speak of it only from its numerous copies by the graver; and by these it is possible that I may be deceived. But if we cannot rely on the Stratford bust for a resemblance of our immortal dramatist, where are we to look with any hope of finding a trace of his features ? It is highly probable that no portrait of him was painted during his life; and it is certain that no portrait of him, with an incontestible claim to genuineness, is at present in existence. The fairest title to authenticity seems to be assignable to that which is called the Chandos portrait; and is now in the collection of the Duke of Buckingham at Stowe. The possession of this picture can be distinctly traced up to Betterton and Davenant. Through the hands of successive purchasers, it became the property of Mr. Robert Keck. On the marriage of the heiress of the Keck family, it passed to Mr. Nicholl of Colney-Hatch in Middlesex: on the union of this gentleman's daughter with the Duke of Chandos, it found a place in that nobleman's collection; and, finally, by the marriage of the present Duke of Buckingham with the Lady Anne Elizabeth Brydges, the heiress of the house of Chandos, it has settled in the gallery of Stowe. This was pronounced by the late Earl of Orford (Horace Walpole), as we are informed by Mr. Granger, to be the only original picture of Shakspeare. But two others, if not more, contend with it for the palm of originality; one, which in consequence of its having been in the possession of Mr. Felton of Drayton in the county of Salop, from whom it was purchased by the Boydells, has been called the Felton Shakspeare; and ove, a miniature, which, by some connexion, as I believe, with the family of its proprietors, found its way into the cabinet of the late Sir James Lamb, more generally, perhaps, known by his original name of James Bland Burgess. The first of these pictures was reported to have been found at the Boar's Head in Eastcheap, one of the favorite haunts, as it was erroneously called, of Shakspeare and his companions; and the second by a tradition, in the family of Somervile the poet, is affirmed to bave been drawn from Shakspeare, who sate for it at the pressing instance of a Somervile, one of his most intimate friends. But the genuineness of neither of these pictures can be supported under a rigid investigation; and their pretensions must yield to those of another rival portrait of our Poet, which was once in the possession of Mr. Jennens of Gopsal in Leicestershire, and is now the property of that liberal and literary nobleman, the Duke of Somerset. For the authenticity of this portrait, attributed to the pencil of Cornelius Jansenn, Mr. Boaden * contends with much zeal and ingenuity. Knowing that some of the family of Lord Southampton, Shakspeare's especial friend and patron, had been painted by Jansenn, Mr. Boaden speciously infers that, at the Earl's request, his favorite dramatist had, likewise, allowed his face to this painter's imitation; and that the Gopsal portrait, the result of the artist's skill on this occasion, had obtained a distinguished place in the picture-gallery of the noble Earl. This, however, is only unsupported assertion, and the mere idleness of conjecture. It is not pretended to be ascertained that the Gopsal portrait was ever in the possession of Shakspeare's illustrious friend; and its transfers, during the hundred and thirty-seven years, wbich interposed between the death of Southampton, in 1624, and the time of its emerging from darkness at Gopsal, in 1761, are not made the subjects even of a random guess. On such evidence, therefore, if evidence it can be called, it is impossible for us to receive, with Mr. Boaden, the Gopsal picture as a genuine portrait of Shakspeare. We are now assured that it was from the Chandos portrait Sir Godfrey Kneller copied the painting which he presented to Dryden, a poet inferior only to bim wbose portrait constituted the gift. The beautiful verses, with which the poet requited the kind attention of the painter, are very generally known: but many may require to be informed that the present, made on this occasion by the great master of the pencil to the greater master of the pen, is still in existence, preserved no doubt by the respect felt to be due to the united names of Kneller, Dryden, and Shakspeare; and is now in the