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friendship of the gentlemen of the neighbourhood. Among them, it is a story almost still remembered in that country, tiiat he had a particular intimacy with Mr. Combe, an old gentleman noted thereabouts for his wealth and usury. It happeneil, that in a pleasant conversation among their common friends, Mr. Combe told Shakespeare, in a laughing manner, that he fancied he intended to write his epitaplı, if he happened to outlive him; and, since he could not know what might be said of him when he was dead, he desired it might be done immediately. Upon which Shakespeare gave him these four lines of verse:

Ten in the hundred lies here ingrav'd;

'Tis a hundred to ten his soul is not sav'd:
If any man ask, who lies in this tomb ?

O, ho! quoth the devil, 'tis my John-a-Combe.” But the sharpness of the satire is said to have stung the man so severely, that he never forgave it.

He died in the fifty-third year of his age, and was buried on the north side of the chancel, in the great church at Stratford, where a monument is placed in the wall. On his gravestone underneath is, –

“Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear

To dig the dust inclosed here :
Blest be the man that spares these stones,

And curst be he that moves my bones.” He had three daughters, of which two lived to be married; Judith, the elder, to one Mr. Thomas Quiney, by whom she had three sons, who all died without children; and Susannah, who was his favourite, to Dr. John Hall, a physician of good reputation in that country. She left one child only, a daughter, who was married first to Thomas Nash, Esq.; and afterwards to Sir John Bernard, of Abington, but died likewise without issue.

CHAPTER I.

THE FAMILY OF SHAKESPEARE.

THE RACE and lineage of WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE has not been traced, on the paternal side, further back than to his grandfather, nor is the process altogether certain even so far as that. The name, which in its very composition smacks of brave old knighthood and chivalry, was frequent in War. wickshire from an early period. It occurs repeatedly in a manuscript “ Register of the brothers and sisters of the Guild of St. Anne of Knolle," from the year 1407 to the dissolution of the Guild in 1535. Ainong them are found the Christian names John, Ralph, Richard, Thomas, Christopher, and William; mention is also made of a “ Lady Jane Shakespeare,” and of an “ Isabella Shakespeare, for. merly Prioress of Wroxhall.” The sur-name is there variously spelt. Several of these Shakespeares are spoken of as belonging to the town of Rowington, where the name continues to be met with for a long time after ; a William Shakespeare being mentioned as one of the jury in 1614, and a Margaret Shakespeare as being married there in 1665.2 And for more than a century later, the name is met

1 It may be well to give a few items from the Register in illustration of this: About 1440, “Pro anima Ricardi Shakspore et Aliciæ uxoris ejus, de Woldiche;” - about 1464 “Radulphus Schakespere et Isabella uxor ejus, et pro anima Johannæ uxoris primæ;" _“Ricardus Schakespeire de Wrexsale et Margeria uxor ejus;” -“Johannes Shakespeyre ejusdem villæ (Rowington) et Alicia uxor ejus; ” - 1476, “ Thomas Chacsper et Christian. cons. duæ de Rowneton;" — 1486, “Pro anima Thomæ Schakspere;' - 1505, “Orate pro anima Isabellæ Shakspere quondam Priorissa de Wraxale;” - 1512, " Ballishalle, Alicia Shakespere et pro anima Thomæ Shakespere;” -“Meriden, Christophorus Shakespere et Isabella uxor ejus;” - 1527, “Domina Jane Shakspere;” -“Willielmus Shakspere et Agnes uxor."

: Mr. Halliwell mentions a Thomas Shackspear, of Rowing. with in the Rowington papers. It appears also that there where Shakespeares living at Balsal, Woldiche, Claverdon, Hampton, and other places in Warwickshire : a John Shake. speare was living at Warwick in 1578, and a Thomas Shake. speare in 1585; and a William Shakespeare was drowned in the Avon, near that town, in 1579 :3 a Thomas Shake. speare, also, was chosen bailiff of Warwick in 1613, and again in 1627.

There is no doubt that the father of our Poet was JOHN SHAKESPEARE, who, as we shall presently see, was living at Stratford-on-Avon in 1552. He was most likely a native of Snitterfield, a village three miles from Stratford. The ground of this likelihood is, that we find a RICHARD SHAKE SPEARE living at Snitterfield in 1550, and occupying a house and land owned by ROBERT ARDEN, the maternal grandfa ther of our Poet. This appears from a deed executed July 17, 1550, in which Robert Arden conveyed certain lands and tenements in Snitterfield, describeıl as being “now in the tenure of one Richard Shakespeare,” to be held in trust for three daughters, “after the death of Robert and Agnes Ars den.”4 It has been also ascertained that there was a Henry

ton, as being assessed on goods of the value of £3 in the Subsidy Roll of 1597; and a Thomas Shaxper, senior, of the same place, assessed on land of the value of thirty shillings in a similar roll of 1610. He adds the following : “ Amongst some early undated fragments of Records relating to Warwickshire, preserved in the Carlton Ride, I find a mention of a John Shakeseper, of Rowington. If our Poet's family had been nearly connected with this branch, it is most probable one of his brothers would have received the Christian name of Thomas. A survey of crown lands in Warwickshire, 1607, in the Land Revenue Office, notices a Thom. as, George, Richard, and John Shakespeare, as holding property in Rowington."

3 Mr. Halliwell prints the following curious entry from the Parish Register of St. Nicholas, Warwick : “ 1579, Junii: sexto die uujus mensis sepultus fuet Gulielmus Saxspere, qui demersus fuet in rivulo aquæ qui vel quæ vocatur Avona” The same register also has the following: “1598, Junii 21: Solemnizatuin matrimonium inter Thomam Shaxeper et Elizabeth Letherberrow.”

• Mr. Halliwell prints this deed in full. We subjoin enough of

Shakespeare living at Snitterfield in 1586; the Parish Register of that village showing that on the 4th of September in that year Henry Townsend was baptized, and Henry Shakespeare one of the sponsors. From the same source we also learn that a Henry Shakespeare died there in 1596.5 Both Malone and Collier conjectured that this Henry was brother to the John Shakespeare, who is found at Stratford in 1552. There can be little doubt that such was the case; for in 1587 Nicholas Lane brought an action against John Shakespeare for debt; and from a declaration filed that year in the Court of Record at Stratford, it appears that this was a debt wherein John had become surety for his brother Henry ; and that, the latter not paying, John was proceeded against for the amount. Supposing the Richard Shakespeare, who

it to authenticate the statement of the text : Sciant præsentes et futuri quod ego Robertus Ardern, de Wylmecote in parochia de Aston Canılowe in com. Warr., husbandman, dedi, concessi, et hac præsenti carta mea tripartiter indentat. confirmavi Adæ Palmer de Astou Canilowe prædict., et Hugoni Porier de Snyllerfylde in com. prædicato, totuin illud mesuagium meum cum suis pertinentiis in Soyllerfylde prædict., quæ nunc sunt in tenura cujusdam Ricardi Shakespere, ac omnia illa mea terr. prai. pascuas et pasturas, cum suis pertinentiis in Snytierfylde predict. eidem mesiagio speciant. et pertinent., quæ nunc sunt in tenura prædicti Ricardi Shakespere."

5 This no doubt is the same person as the one mentioned in 1586. The following are some of the entries relating to him : : 1586, 4 Sept. Baplysed Henry Townsend, the son of John l'owrisend and Darrity bis wyff, William Meaydes. Henry Shaxsper, Elizabeth Perkes, pleages.”—“ 1596. Henrey Shaxspere was buryed the xxix.ch day of December.” — " 1597. Margret Saxo spere widow, being times the wyff of Henry Shakspere, was buried ix. Feb.' – The will of Christopher Smyth of Stratford, made Nov. 2d, 1586, also has the following: “ltem, Henry Shax. spere of Snylterfild oweth me v. li. ix. s." — There was also an Antony Shakespeare living at Snitterfield in 1569, and a Thomas Shakespeare in 1582. These were most likely brothers of John, and all three of them sons of Richard Shakespeare.

6 The original of this declaration is preserved at Stratford. and a copy of it is given in Halliwell's Life of the Poet. The rela. tionship of John and Henry. Shakespeare is shown by the following passage : “Quoddam colloquium tractatum et habituia fuit was a tenant of Robert Arden in 1550, to be the father of John and Henry, this will go far to explain the alliance which afterwards took place between the Arden and Shakespeare families.

At what time John Shakespeare took up his abode at Stratford, has not been fully ascertained. Until quite lately, the earliest trace of him there was in June, 1556, when a suit was brought against him in the Bailiff's Court by Thomas Siche for the sum of £8, and in the register of the Court he is described as “ John Shakespeare, of Stratford in the county of Warwick, glover.A few years ago, however, the Rev. Mr. Hunter discovered an entry in a Court Roll dated April 29th, 1552, and preserved in the Record Office of Carlton Ride; from which it appears that John Shakespeare and two other citizens were fined twelve pence each, for permitting filth to accumulate in Henley-street contrary to the order of the Court.? This, it seems, was a common offence, and was often visited in like manner by the Stratford authorities. In 1558, the same John Shakespeare, and four others, one of whom was Francis Burbage, then at the head of the corporation, were fined 4d, each, “ for not keeping of their gutters clean.” 8

inter prætatum Johannem Shakesper et dictum Nicholaum Lanc, de quodam debito viginti et duarum libr. legalis monetæ Angliæ, in quibus Henricus Sharpere, frater dicti Johannis, debito modo wodebilatus fuit præsalo Nicholao Lane, et super colloquium illud aggreat. et concordat. fuil."

? This curious entry is printed by Mr. Halliwell, thus: “Item, [juratores] present. super sacramentum suum quod Humfridus Reynoldes (xii. d.) Adrianus Quirjey (xii. d.) et Johannes Shaky spere (xii. d.) fecerunt sterquinarium in vico vocato Hendley strete contra ordinationem curiæ. Ideo ipsi in miserecordia, ut patet.”

8 Noled in the records of the Stratford Court thus : - Francis Berbage, master baly that now yi, Adreane Quiny, Mr. Hall, Mr. vlopton, for the gutter alonge the chappell in Chappell Lane, John Shakspeyr, for not kepynge of their gutters clene, they stand amerced.” Halliwell prints a very curious sei of orders made at a Stratford Court in 1553. The following are a specimen : .“ liem, that no ynhabytaunte dwellynge within this lyberty from heitsfurtbe receve nor have eny yımak but ouly sucb perseues as

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