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Atro. Humanæ vitæ filum sic scindere Parce.
Atropos occat. TRES SIMUL. Vive diu felix votis hominumque deumque, Corpore, mente, libro, doctissima, candida, casta.
[They lay down their properties at the Queen's feet. Clo. Clotho colum pedibus. Lach. Lachesis tibi pendula fila.
Atro. Et fatale tuis manibus ferrum Atropos offert. TRES SIMUL. Vive diu felix, fc.
How Flora with her flowers strew'd the earth,
Juno. The lovely Graces were not far away,
T'en. The Fates against their kind began a cheerful song, And vow'd her life with favour to prolong. Then first gan Cupid's eyesight waxen dim ; Belike Eliza's beauty blinded him. To this fair nymph, not earthly, but divine, Contents it me my honour to resign.
Pal. To this fair queen, so beautiful and wise,
Juno. To her whom Juno's looks so well become,
Dia. Then mark my tale. The usual time is nigh,
After the song each of the Fates makes her offer. ing in blank verse. Diana next-
Dia. And, lo, beside this rare solemnity,
[Delivers the ball of gold to the Queen's own hands.
Ven. So, fair Eliza, Venus doth resign The honour of this honour to be thine.
Juno. So is the Queen of Heaven content likewise
Pal. So Pallas yields the praise hereof to thee,
The music sounds, and the Nymphs within sing or solfa with
roices and instruments awhile. Then enter CLOTHO, LACHESIS, and Atropos, singing as follows : ' the state
being in place. Clo. Humanæ vitæ filum sic volvere Parce. Lach. Humanæ vitæ filum sic tendere Parcæ.
1 Clo, So the Fates spin the thread of human life.
Atropos breaks it.
THE THREE TOGETHER : Live long blest with the gifts of men
and gods, In body and mind free, wisest, pure, and chaste.
[They lay down their properties at the Queen's feet. Clo. Clotho her distaff at your feet. Lach. And Lachesis to you her hanging thread. Atro. And to your hands her fate enclosing steel Atropos offers.
THE THREE TOGETHER. Live long blest, &c. ? ALL TOGETHER. Live long blest with gifts of men and gods, In body and mind free, wisest, pure, and chaste.
lived, and Joan married in due time William Hart, CHAPTER IV.
a batter. Two years younger than Joan was another FROM THE YEAR IN WHICH IT IS SUPPOSED THAT
daughter, Anne, born in September, 1571, who died SHAKESPEARE CAME TO LONDON TO THE YEAR OF
in April, 1579. In that year, therefore, if the bapTHE DEATH OF MARLOWE.—A.D. 1586 to A.D. 1593.
tisms represent the number of John Shakespeare's
children, William Shakespeare was fifteen years old, While the first theatres were being formed in with a brother Gilbert aged between twelve and London, William Shakespeare was a boy at Strat- thirteen, a sister Joan aged between ten and eleven, ford, in Warwickshire. His father was John Shake- and a sister Anne, whose death at the age of seven speare, a glover in Henley Street, who had married, or eight was one of the sorrows of the household. in 1557, Mary Arden, of Wilmcote, youngest of seven At that date the Blackfriars Theatre was only three daughters of Robert Arden, a husbandman. Mary years old, and Stephen Gosson turned from the stage Arden had a little inheritance from her father, who to write his “School of Abuse." died a month before her marriage. There were The death of his little daughter Anne in that year about fifty-four acres at Wilmcote, in a property was but one of the troubles of John Shakespeare. called Ashbies, and some interest in other land He was falling into poverty. In 1564, the year of there; also two tenements in Snitterfield, and the birth of his eldest son William, he was prosperous £6 13s. 4d. in cash. There are said to have been enough to pay a fair amount to subscriptions for
ten, and known to have been eight, children of the relief of the town poor. In the following year he marriage. First and second of the eight were two was elected alderman. In 1568 and 1569 he was girls born in 1558 and 1562. Each of these died bailiff of Stratford and, by right of his office, magisin infancy. Next came a boy, who lived and lives, trate; but he signed with his mark. When ShakeWilliam Shakespeare, born in April, 1564. He was speare was born there was no English Tragedy or baptised on the 26th. A MS. note of an antiquary Comedy in print. The first Tragedy was printed of the eighteenth century, William Oldys, records a when he was one year old, and when he was two tradition that Shakespeare died on his birthday; and years old the first Comedy. He was four or five as his monument says that he died, aged fifty-three, years old at the date of the earliest record of “ The on the 23rd of April, 1616, the 23rd of April, fairly Queen's Players" acting at Stratford. In 1570, when consistent with the record of his baptism on the 26th, his son William was six years old, John Shakespeare is assumed to be Shakespeare's birthday. But Mr. rented for eight pounds Ington Meadow, near SnitterBolton Corney has observed that if Shakespeare died field. In the following year he was chosen head on his birthday he only completed his fifty-second alderman. In 1574, when his son William was ten year, and his age could not have been said, on a years old, John Shakespeare gave forty pounds for monument set up in the lifetime of his wife and two freehold houses in Henley Street, with gardens daughters, to be fifty-three, unless he was born at some and orchards. He already had a copyhold in the date before the 23rd of April. There is no direct, but same street. Four years later the records of his good presumptive, evidence, and scarcely a doubt, poverty begin. In 1578 he mortgaged his wife's that Shakespeare was born in the house visited by property, Ashbies, for forty pounds ; paid 3s. 4d. many pilgrims, and carefully preserved as his birth- when other aldermen paid 6s. 8d., for pikemen and place. The next child, of whose baptism there is billmen; and in November of the same year was record, was Gilbert Shakespeare, two years and a excused payment of any part of the fourpence a week half younger than William. Then came, five years levied for relief of the poor. In 1579, when his younger than William, a daughter, who, like the little daughter Anne died, John Shakespeare raised dead first-born, was called Joan. Gilbert and Joan money on his wife's interest in tenements at Snitter
field, and from that date ceased to attend when sum- | as it can be proved that he was a lawyer, soldier, or moned as alderman. Shakespeare was at that time what you will Idle tales about him have passed fifteen years of
age. There is no distinct evidence current; as that of the unreasoning gossip, John as to the place where he received his education, Aubrey, who wrote in the seventeenth century that though it could hardly have been other than Stratford. Shakespeare's father was a butcher, “and I have
been told heretofore by some of the neighbours that when he was a boy he exercised his father's trade, but when he killed a calf he would do it in a high style and make a speech."
There is evidence of nothing until the 28th of November, 1582, which is the date of the bond preliminary to the licence of marriage with once asking the banns between William Shagspere and Anne Hathaway. Anne Hathaway was of Shottery, an outlying hamlet in the parish of Stratford, daughter of Richard Hathaway, husbandman, whose family had been long settled there. For as far back as William Shakespeare could remember, the Hathaways were friends of his father's, for record is found that Richard Hathaway stood as security for John Shakespeare as early as the year 1566. He had been dead a twelvemonth when his daughter Anne was married to John Shakespeare's son. According to the record of their tombs, Shakespeare died in 1616, aged fifty-three; his wife in 1623, aged sixty
Her age, therefore, was sixty when her husband died, and she was seven years, or a few
months more than seven years, his senior. ShakeTHE FREE SCHOOL AT STRATFORD.
speare's age at the time of his marriage was eighteen
and seven months ; Anne Hathaway's, therefore, How long William Shakespeare was at school we do about twenty-six. There was in those days a country not know. It is idle to guess. In what way he custom of betrothal several months before marriage. endeavoured to earn after leaving school,—whether Betrothment was a legal contract under Roman law. he helped his father, who was sinking deeper into It remained so, and remains so yet, in various parts
poverty, or tried some other employment for his of Europe, inducing the obligation to marry. How separate support,—we do not know. It is idle to it was commonly regarded in Elizabeth's time, is guess. There have been many idle guesses. Any- indicated in George Peele's “Old Wives' Tale," where thing can be said to be “proved” by giving personal a magic lamp is to be blown out by one " that is reference to select scraps out of his plays. It may neither maid, wife, nor widow.” It is blown out by be “proved” that he committed murders, or was a Venelia, who is betrothed, but not yet married, to king somewhere, and had rebellious subjects, as easily Erestus. There had, doubtless, been such a betrothment between Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. | space and time. They found ingenious ways of runThe love of a young man with thoughts and aspira- ning it down critically, according to what Chaucer tions far beyond his years has not seldom rested on a calls the common custom of men to disparage what woman somewhat more mature than girls of his own they do not understand, “ They demen gladly to the age, and there is not a trace of evidence that Shake- badder end." Desiring for some unknown reason to speare was not—while there is very good reason for have it believed that Shakespeare did not love his holding that he was-happy throughout life in the wife, they say he did not love her because, having in wife who had his love when he was a youth of nine- his particular case chosen a wife older than himself, teen, who took him in his adversity, shared with he allows a character in one of his plays to express him the prosperity he earned, and was beside him with dramatic fitness the common opinion that the when he died. To her, I believe in his last years at
wife ought to be younger. Then they will have it Stratford, the gentle heart of Shakespeare could say, that he did not love his wife because he did not take as tenderly as in the first years of marriage,
her to London with him. He went to London a
poor adventurer, able only to afford bad lodging in To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
an unhealthy city never wholly free from plague, For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
and about every ten years seriously scourged with Such seems your beauty still;"
it. He had a natural affection for his native place,
and all that is known of his management of his life or in the words of another of his sonnets,
indicates that from first to last he regarded Stratford
as his home. He left his wife with her three-yearKind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind,
old little girl and her two babies among wholesome Still constant in a wondrous excellence;
surroundings, physical and human, with his own Therefore my verse to constancy confin'd,
kindred and friends and hers about them, and himOne thing expressing, leaves out difference.
self able to be with them whenever the theatres were He had that within which defied Time. No, Time,
closed. If he had not loved them, he might have thou shalt not boast that I do change :"
brought them to London with a fair chance of be
coming in a few years free of them all. The little This do I vow, and this shall ever be,
ones could hardly have lived in such a London home I will be true, despite thy scythe and thee.
as his poverty at first could compass, and his wife
would have been taken from all the healthy surroundIn 1583, on the 26th of May, William and Anne ings of her old natural life into the companionship of Shakespeare's first child, Susanna, was christened. wits and actors. Shakespeare's reverence for the In 1585, on the 2nd of February, twin children of simple ties of kindred and human fellowship, that theirs, a boy and girl, were christened by the names strengthen as the child grows to the man, is manifest of Hamnet and Judith, after a husband and wife throughout his plays. He did not break from them, who were among Shakespeare's friends, Hamnet and but cherished them, kept his wife and children part Judith Sadler, bakers. The friendship was life-long, of them, and held by them himself till death. for Hamnet Sadler was a witness to Shakespeare's When Shakespeare, aged about twenty-two, came will, and had bequeathed to him in it 26s. 8d. “to to London, poor and unknown, joined the Blackfriars buy him a ring." In 1586 William Shakespeare, company, and, ready to be useful in any way, as actor aged twenty-two, had a wife and three little ones, the or adapter of old plays, began his apprenticeship to his eldest three years old, and the twins only at weaning art and his study of life in the great resorts of men, time. In that year the poverty of his father was a youth of his own age, born in the same year 1564, complete. In February and March he was arrested Christopher Marlowe, suddenly leaped into fame as a for debt, because there were no goods in his house to dramatist. Marlowe's career was short, for he died distrain upon. In September he was deprived of his by violence in 1593, when his age was but a few alderman's gown. His son William, unable to assist months over twenty-nine. The few years of his his father, probably had at the same time so dark a brilliant success were the years, so to speak, of prospect that he then obeyed his impulse as a poet, Shakespeare's apprenticeship. When Marlowe died, and resolved to try whether he could not earn a having brought the drama to the highest point then better livelihood in London than his native town reached, Shakespeare was master of his art, and there promised to yield. There is an idle story that makes were none left to compete with him. deer-stealing from the park of Sir Thomas Lucy, at Christopher Marlowe was the son of a shoemaker Charlecote, the cause of Shakespeare's quitting Strat- at Canterbury, and was only two months older than ford. Charlecote had only been built by Sir Thomas William Shakespeare. Marlowe was baptised in Lucy in 1558, the year of Elizabeth's accession, and in 1564, on the 26th of February ; Shakespeare on the 1586 there was no deer park attached to it. Shake- 26th of April. From the King's School at Cantersquare had a low opinion of Sir Thomas Lucy; but bury a way was made for young Marlowe, probably there can surely be other reasons for having a low by help of a patron, to Benet College, Cambridge. opinion of a man than that one has stolen his goods In 1583 he graduated as B.A., and became M.A. in and been whipped for it.
1587. He was known as a poet at his university, Some critics discuss the genius of Shakespeare in and at that date had already achieved success as a the spirit of those revellers in Chaucer's “Story of dramatist by his play of “ Tamburlaine the Great," Cambuscan Bold,” who went out to admire and criti- which probably was acted in 1586, and of which a cise the marvel of the enchanted horse that conquered | second part soon followed the first. “ Tamburlaine"