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Place was sold, in 1675*, to Sir Edward Walker, Kt., Garter King at Arms; by whom it was left to his only child, Barbara, married to Sir John Clopton, Kt., of Clopton in the parish of Stratford. On his demise, it became the property of a younger son of his, Sir Hugh Clopton, Kt. (this family of the Cloptons seems to have been peculiarly prolific in the breed of knights), by whom it was repaired and decorated at a very large expense. Malone affirms that it was pulled down by him, and its place supplied by a more sumptuous edifice. If this statement were correct, the crime of its subsequent destroyer would be greatly extenuated; and the hand which had wielded the axe against the hallowed mulberry tree, would be absolved from the second act, imputed to it, of sacrilegious violence. But Malone's account is, unquestionably, erroneous. In the May of 1742, Sir Hugh entertained Garrick, Macklin, and Delany under the shade of the Shakspearian mulberry. On the demise of Sir Hught in the December of 1751, New Place was sold by his son-in-law and executor, Henry Talbot, the Lord Chancellor Talbot's brother, to the Rev. Francis Gastrell, Vicar of Frodsham in Cheshire; by whom, on some quarrel with the magistrates on the subject of the parochial assessments, it was razed to the ground, and its site abandoned to vacancy. On this completion of his outrages f against the memory of
* Malone gives a different account of some of the transfers of New Place. According to him, it passed by sale, on the death of Lady Barnard, to Edward Nash, the cousin-german of that Lady's first husband; and, by bim, was bequeathed to his daughter Mary, the wife of Sir Reginald Foster ; from whom it was bought by Sir Jobn Clopton, who gave it by deed to his youngest son, Sir Hugh. But the deed, which conveyed New Place to Sir Edward Walker, is still in existence; and has been published by R. B. Wheler, the historian of Stratford.
† Sir Hugb Clopton was knighted by George I. He was a barrister at law; and died in the December of 1751, at the advanced age of eighty. MALONE.
Our days, also, have witnessed a similar profanation of the relicks of genius ; not, indeed, of genius equally hallowed with
Shakspeare, which his unlucky possession of wealth enabled him to commit, Francis Gastrell departed from Stratford, hooted out of the town, and pursued by the execrations of its inhabitants. The fate of New Place has been rather remarkable. After the demolition of the house by Gastrell, the ground, which it had occupied, was thrown into the contiguous garden, and was sold by the widow of the clerical barbarian. Having remained during a certain period, as' a portion of a garden, a house was again erected on it; and, in consequence also of some dispute about the parish assessments, that house, like its predecessor, was pulled down; and its site was finally abandoned to Nature, for the production of ber fruits and her flowers: and thither may we imagine the little Elves and Fairies frequently to resort, to trace the footsteps of their beloved poet, now obliterated from the vision of man; to throw a finer perfume on the violet; to unfold the first rose of the year, and to tinge its cheek with a richer blush ; and, in their dances beneath the full-orbed moon, to chant their harmonies, too subtle for the gross ear of mortality, to the fondly cherished memory of their darling, the sweet SWAN OF AVON.
that of which we have been speaking, for Nature has not yet produced a second Shakspeare; but of genius, which had conversed with the immortal Muses, which had once been the delight of the good and the terror of the bad. I allude to the violation of Pope's charming retreat, on the banks of the Thames, by a capricious and tasteless woman, who bas endeavoured to blot out every memorial of the great and moral poet from that spot, which his occupation had made classic, and dear to the heart of his country. In the mutability of all human things, and the inevitable shiftings of property, “ From you to me, from me to Peter Walter,” these iamentable desecrations, which mortify our pride and wound our sensibilities, will of necessity sometimes occur. The site of the Tusculan of Cicero maybecome the baunt of banditti, or be disgraced with the walls of a monastery. The residences of a Shakspeare and a Pope may be devastated and defiled by a Parson Gastrell and a Baroness Howe. We can only sigh over the ruin when its deformity strikes upon our eyes; and execrate the hands by which it has been savagely accomplished.
Of the personal history of William Shakspeare, as far as it can be drawn, even in shadowy existence, from the obscurity which invests it, and of whatever stands in immediate connexion with it, we have now exhibited all that we can collect; and we are not conscious of having omitted a single circumstance of any moment, or worthy of the attention of our readers. We might, indeed, with old Fuller, speak of our Poet's wit-combats, as Fuller calls them, at the Mermaid with Ben Jonson: but then we have not one anecdote on record of either of these intellectual gladiators to produce, for not a sparkle of our Shakspeare's convivial wit has travelled down to our eyes; and it would be neither instructive nor pleasant to sce him represented as a light skiff, skirmishing with a huge galleon, and either evading or pressing attack as prudence suggested, or the alertness of his movements emboldened him to attempt. The lover of heraldry may, perhaps, censure us for neglecting to give the blazon of Sbakspeare's arms, for which, as it appears, two patents were issued from the herald's office, one in 1569 or 1570, and one in 1599; and by him, who will insist on the transcription of every word which has been imputed on any authority to the pen of Shakspeare, we may be blamed for passing over in silence two very indifferent epitaphs, which have been charged on him. We will now, therefore, give the arms which were accorded to him ; and we will, also, copy the two epitaphs in question. We may then, without any further impediment, proceed to the more agreeable portion of our labours,—the notice of our author's works.
The armorial bearings of the Shakspeare family are, or rather were,—Or, on a bend sable, a tilting spear of the first, point upwards, headed argent. Crest, A falcon displayed, argent, supporting a spear in pale, or.
In a MS. volume of poems, by William Herrick and others, preserved in the Bodleian, is the following epitaph, attributed, certainly not on its internal evidence, to our Poet. Its subject was, probably, the member of
a family with the surname of James, which once existed in Stratford.
When God was pleased, the world unwilling yet,
Among the monuments in Tonge Church, in the county of Salop, is one raised to the memory of Sir Thomas Stanley, Knt., who is thought by Malone to have died about the year 1600. With the prose inscription on this tomb, transcribed by Sir W. Dagdale, are the verses wbich I am about to copy, said by Dugdale to bave been made by William Shakspeare, the late famous tragedian.
ON THE EAST END OF THE TOMB.
ON THE WEST END.
As the great works of Shakspeare bave engaged the attention of an active and a learned century since they were edited by Rowe, little that is new on the subject of them can be expected from a pen of the present day. It is necessary, however, that we should notice them, lest our readers should be compelled to seek in another page than ours for that common information which they might conceive themselves to be entitled to expect from us,
Fourteen of his plays were published separately, in quarto copies, during our Poet's life; and, seven years after his death, a complete edition of them was given to the public in folio by his theatric fellows, Heminge and Condell. Of those productions of his, which were circulated by the press while he was yet living, and were all surreptitious, our great author seems to have been as atterly regardless as he necessarily was of those which appeared when he was mouldering in his grave * We
* In his essay on the chronological order of Shakspeare's plays, Malone concludes very properly from the title-page of the earliest edition of Hamlet, which he believed then to be extant, that this edition (published in 1604) had been preceded by another of a less correct and less perfect character. A copy of the elder edition, in question, has lately been discovered; and it is, indeed, far more remote from perfection than its successor, which was collated by Malone. It obviously appears to have been printed from the rude draught of the drama, as it was sketched by the Poet from the first suggestions of bis mind. But how this rude and imperfect draught could fall into the hands of its pablisher, is a question not easily to be answered. Such, howéver, is the authority to be attached to all the early quartos. They were obtainex by every indirect mean; and the first incorrect MS., blotted again and again by the pens of ignorant transcribers, and multiplied by the press, was suffered, by the apathy of its illustrious author, to be circulated, without check, among the multitude. Hence the grossest anomalies of grammar have been considexed, by his far-famed restorers, as belonging to the dialect of Shakspeare; and the most egregious infractions of rhythm, as the tones of bis honey-tongued muse. The variations of tbe copy of Hamlet immediately before us, which was pubJished in 1603, from the perfect drama, as it subsequently issued from the Bress, are far too numerous to be noticed in this place, if indeed this place could properly be assigned to such a purpose. I may, however, just mention that Corambis and Montano are the names given in this copy to the Polonius and Reynaldo of the more perfect, editions; and the young lord, Osrick, is callej in it only a braggart gentleman.