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and at the close dismisses them without further weakness did not diminish the respect, com care, and leaves their examples to operate by manded by the probity of his heart; or the chance. This fault the barbarity of the age love, conciliated by the benignity of his marcannot extenuate! for it is always a writer's ners; or the admiration exacted by the triumph duty to make the world better, and justice is a of his genius. virtue independent on time or place." Why The Will of Shakspeare, giving to his youngest this commonplace on justice should be com daughter, Judith, not more than three hundred pelled into the station in which we here most pounds, and a piece of plate, which probably strangely find it, I cannot for my life conjecture. was valuable, as it is called by the testator, But absurd as it is made by its association in " My broad silver and gilt bowl," assigns al this place, it may not form an improper con- most the whole of his property to his eldest clusion to a paragraph which means little, and daughter, Susanna Hall, and her husband ; which, intending censure, confers dramatic whom he appoints to be his executors. The praise on a dramatic writer. It is evident, cause of this evident partiality in the father however, that Dr. Johnson, though he says that appears to be discoverable in the higher mental a system of moral duty may be selected from accomplishments of the eldest daughter; who Shakspeare's writings, wished to inculcate that is reported to have resembled him in her inhis scenes were not of a moral tendency. On this tellectual endowments, and to have been emitopic, the first and the greater Jonson seems nently distinguished by the piety and the Christo have entertained very different sentiments tian benevolence which actuated her conduct. “Look, how the father's face
Having survived her estimable husband fourteen
years, she died on the 11th of July, 1619; and the (says this great man)
inscription on her tomb, preserved by Dugdale, Lives in his issue; even so the race
commemorates her intellectual superiority and Of Shakspeare's mind, and manners, brightly influence of religion upon her heart. This inshines
scription, which we shall transcribe, bears witIn his well-turned and true filed lines."
ness also, as we must observe, to the piety of We think, indeed, that his scenes are rich in her illustrious father. sterling morality, and that they must have been
Witty above her sex; but that's not all : the effnsions of a moral mind. The only crimi
Wise to salvation was good Mistress Hall. nation of his morals must be drawn from a few Something of Shakspeare was in that ; but this of his sonnets; and from a story first suggested Wholly of him, with whom she now's in blise. by Anthony Wood, and afterwards told by Oldys
Then, passenger, hast ne'er a tear on the authority of Betterton and Pope. From To weep with her, that wept with all : the Sonnets * we can collect nothing more than that their writer was blindly attached to an
That wept, yet set herself to cheer unprincipled woman, who preferred a young
Them up with comforts cordial. and beautiful friend of his to himself. But the
Her love shall live, her mercy spread,
When thou hast ne'er a tear to shed. story told by Oldys presents something to us of a more tangible nature ; and as it possesses some Judith, his younger daughter, bore to her hus. intrinsic merit as a story, and rests, as to its band, Thomas Quiney, three sons; Shakspeare, principal facts, on the authority of Wood, who who died in his infancy, Richard and Thomas, was a native of Oxford, and a veracious man, who deceased, the first in his 21st year, the last we shall not hesitate, after the example of in his 19th, unmarried, and before their mother; most of the recent biographers of our Poet, to who, having reached her 77th year, expired in relate it, and in the very words of Oldys. "If February 1661-2-being buried on the 9th of that tradition may be trusted, Shakspeare often month. She appears either not to have received baited at the Crown Inn or Tavern in Oxford, any education, or not to have profited by the on his journey to and from London. The land-lessons of her teachers, for to a deed, still in ex. lady was a beautiful woman and of a sprightly istence, she affixes her mark. wit; and her husband, Mr. John Davenant, We have already mentioned the dates of the (afterwards mayor of that city,) a grave, melan- birth, marriage, and death of Susanna Hall. choly man, who, as well as his wife, used much She left only one daughter, Elizabeth, who was to delight in Shakspeare's pleasant company. baptized on the 21st of February 1607-8, eight Their son, young Will Davenant (afterwards years before her grandfather's decease, and was Sir William Davenant) was then a little school- married on the 22d of April 1626, to Mr. boy, in the town, of about seven or eight years Thomas Nash, a country gentleman, 'as it apold : and so fond also of Shakspeare that, when peixes, of independent fortune. Two years after ever he heard of his arrival, he would fly from the death of Mr. Nash, who was buried on the school to see him. One day, an old townsman, 5th of April 1617, she married on the 5th of observing the boy running homewards almost June 1619, at Billesley in Warwickshire, Sir out of breath, asked him whither he was posting John Barnard, Knight, of Abington, a small in that heat and hurry. He answered, to see his village in the vicinity of Northampton. She god-father, Shakspeare. There is a good boy : died, and was buried at Abington, on the 17th of said the other; but have a care that you don't February 1669-70 ; and, as she left no issue by take God's name in vain! This story Mr. Pope either of her husbands, her death terminated the told me at the Earl of Oxford's table, upon oc- lineal descendants of Shakspeare. His collatecasion of some discourse wbich arose about ral kindred have been indulged with a much Shakspeare's monument, then newly erected in longer period of duration; the descendants of Westminster Abbey."
his sister, Joan, having continued in a regular On these two instances of his frailty, under succession of generations even to our days; the influence of the tender passion, one of them whilst none of them, with a single exception, supported by his own evidence, and one resting have broken from that rank in the community in an authority which seems to be not justly ques. which their ancestors, William Hart and Joan tionable, depend all the charges which can be sbakspeare united their unostentatious fortunes brought against the strict personal morality of in the year 1599. The single exception to which Shakspeare. In these days of peculiarly sensi- we allude, is that of Charles Hart, believed, for tive virtue, he would not possibly be admitted good reasons, to be the son of William the elinto the party of the sainis: but, in the age in dest son of William and Joan Hart, and conwhich he lived, these errors of his human sequently the grand-nephew of our poet. At
* See Son. 141, 144, 147, 151, 152. the early age of seventeen Charles Hart, o
lieutenant in Prince Rupert's regiment, fought younger son of an old family resident near at the battle of Edgehill; and, subsequently Stratford, who had filled in succession the of. betaking himself to the stage, he became the fices of Sheriff and of Lord Mayor of London. most renowned tragic actor of his time. "What In 1563 it was sold by one of the Clopton faMr. Hart delivers," says Rymer, (I adopt the mily to William Bott; and by him it was again citation from the page of Malone) "every one sold in 1570 to Williamn Underhill, (the purchatakes upon content; their eyes are prepossessed ser and the seller being both of the rank of esand charmed by his action before aught of the quires,) from whom it was bought by our Poet, in poet's can approach their ears; and to the most 1597. By him it was bequeathed to his daughter, wretched or characters he gives a lustre and Susanna Hall; from whom it descended to her brillianey, which dazzles the sight that the de- only child, Lady Barnard. In the June of 1643, formities in the poetry cannot be perceived." this Lady, with her first husband, Mr. Nash, “Were I a poet,'
(says another contemporary entertained, for nearly three weeks, at New writer,) "nay a Fletcher or a Shakspeare, 1 Place, Henrietta Maria, the queen of Charles would quit my own title to immortality so that I., when escorted by Prince Rupert and a large one actor might never die. This I may mo-body of troops, she was on her progress to meet destly say of him, (nor is it my particular opi- her royal consort, and to proceed with him to nion, but the sense of all mankind,) that the best Oxford. On the death of Lady Barnard withtragedies on the English stage have received out children, New Place was sold in 1675, to Sir their lustre from Mr. Hart's performance: that Edward Walker, K., Garter King at Arms; he has left such an impression behind him, that by whom it was left to his only child, Barbara, no less than the interval of an age can make married to Sir John Clopton, Kt., of Clopton them appear again with half their majesty from in the parish of Stratford. On his demise, ít beany second hand.". This was a brilliant erup- came the property of a younger son of his, Sir tion from the family of Shakspeare: but as it Hugh Clopton, Kt., (this family of the Cloplong was the first, so it appears to have been the seems to have been peculiarly prolific in the last; and the Harts have ever since, as far at breed of knights), by whom it was repaired and least as it is known to us," pursued the noise- decorated at a very large expense. Malone afless terror of their way," within the precincts of firms that it was pulled down by him, and its their native town on the banks of the soft-flow- place supplied by a more sumptuous edifice. If ing Avon.
this statement were correct, the crime of its subWhatever is in any degree associated with the sequent destroyer would be greatly extenuated; Dersonal history of Shakspeare is weighty with and the hand which had wielded the axe against general interest. The circumstance of his birth the hallowed mulberry tree, would be absolved can impart consequence even to a provincial from the second act, imputed to it, of sacriletown; and we are not unconcerned in the past gious violence. But Malone's account is, un. or the present fortunes of the place, over which guestionably, erroneous. In the May of 1742, bovers the glory of his name.' But the house in Sir Hugh entertained Garrick, Macklin, and which he passed the last three or fonr years of Delany, under the shade of the Shakspearian his life, and in which he terminated his mortal mulberry. On the demise of Sir Hugh in the labours, is still nore engaging to our imagina- December of 1751, New Place was sold by his tions, as it is more closely and personally con- son-in-law and executor, Henry Talbot, the nected with him. Its history, therefore, must Lord Chancellor Talbot's brother, to the Rev. not be omitted by us; and if, in some respects, Francis Gastrell, Vicar of Frodsham in Chewe should differ in it from the narrative of Mashire; by whom, on some quarrel with the malope, we shall not be without reasons sufficient gistrates on the subject of the parochial assessto jastify the deviations in which we indulge. ments, it was razed to the ground, and its site New Place, then, which was not thus first na- abandoned to vacancy. On this completion of med by Shakspeare, was built in the reign of his outrages against the memory of Shakspeare, Henry VII., by Sir Hugh Clopton, Kt., the which his unlucky possession of wealth enabled
him to commit, Francis Gastrell departed from * By intelligence, on the accuracy of which Stratford, hooted ont of the town, and pursued I can rely, and which has only just reached me, by the execrations of its inbabitants. The fate from the birthplace of Shakspeare, I learn that of New Place has been rather remarkable. Afthe family of the Harts, after a course of linealter the demolition of the house by Gastrell, the descents during the revolution of two hundred ground, which it had occupied, was thrown and twenty-six years, is now on the verge of ex. into the contiguous garden, and was sold by the Linction; an aged woman, who retains in single widow of the clerical barbarian. Having reblessedness her maiden name of Hart, being at mained during a certain period, as a portion of this time (Nov. 1825) its sole surviving repre- a garden, a house was again erected on it; and sentative. For some years she occupied 'the in consequence also of some dispute about the house of her ancestors, in which Shakspeare is parish assessments, that house, like its predereported to have first seen the light; and herecessor, was pulled down; and its site was finalshe obtained a comfortable subsistence by show.ly abandoned to Nature, for the production of ing the antiquities of the vencrated mansion to her fruits and flowers : and thither may we ima. the numerous strangers who were attracted to gine the little Elves and Fairies frequently to reit Being dispossessed of this residence by the sort, to trace the footsteps of their beloved poet, rapaciousness of its proprietor, she settled her. now obliterated from the vision of man; to self in a dwelling nearly opposite to it. llere throw a finer perfume on the violet; to unfold she still lives; and continues to exhibit some re- the first rose of the year, and to tinge its cheek üqaes, not reputed to be genuine, of the mighty with a richer blush ; and, in their dances bebard, with whom her maternal ancestor was neath the full-orbed moon, to chant their harnourished in the same womb. She regards her- monies, too subtle for the gross ear of morta. self also as a dramatic poet; and, in support of lity, to the fondly cherished memory of their her pretensions, she produces the rude sketch of darling, The Sweet Swan of Avon. & play, uninformed, as it is said, with any of When I have cited, at the close of what I am the vitality of genius. For this information, I am now writing, the description by Jaques, in “As indebted to Mr. Charles Fellows, of Notting. you Like it,'' of the seven ages of man, as an ham ; who, with the characteristic kindness of evidence of Shakspeare's power to touch the his most estimable family, sought for the intel- most familiar topics into poetry, as the Phry ligence which was required by me, and obtain- gian monarch could touch the basest substances
linto gold, I shall conclude this Life of Shak
speare, by asking if he be not a mighty genius, On the scath'd heath the fatal Sisters scowls sufficiently illustrious and commanding to call Or, as hell's caldron bubbles o'er the flame, forth the choice spirits of a learned and intellec- Prepare to do a deed without a name. tual century to assert his greatness, and to These are thy wonders, Nature's darling birth march in his triumph to fame?
And Fame exúlting bears thy name o'er earth.
There, where Rome's eagle never stoop'd for Yes, Master of the human heart! we own
blood, Thy sovereign sway; and bow before thy By hallow'd Ganges and Missouri's flood : throne:
Where the bright eyelids of the Morn onclose; Where, richly deck'd with laurels never sere, And where Day's steeds in golden stalls repose; It stands aloft, and baffles Time's carcer, Thy peaceful triumphs spread ; and mock the There warbles Poesy her sweetest song:
pride There the wild Passions wait, thy vassal throng. Of Pella's Youth, and Julius slaughter-dyed. There Love, there Hate, there Joy, in turn pre-mathbuch'd the mortal limit, mark?d by Fate:
In ages far reinote, when Albion's state sides ; And rosy Langhter holding both his sides. When Arts and Science fly her naked shore : At thy cominand the varied tumult rolls : And the world's Empress shall be great no more; Now Pity melts, now Terror chills our souls. Then Australasia shall thy sway prolong i Now, as thou wavest thy wizard rod; are seen And her rich cities echo with thy song. The Fays and Elves quick glancing o'er the There myriads still shall laugh, or drop the tear, green:
At Falstal's humour, or the woes of Lear: And, as the moon her perfect orb displays, Man, wave-like, following man, thy powers The little people sparkle in her rays.
admire ; There, 'n id 'the lightning's blaze, and whirl- And thou, iny Shakspeare, reiga till time es wind's howl,
TO THE MEMORY
OF MY BELOVED
AND WHAT HE HATH LEFT US.
To draw no envy, Shakspeare, on thy name, To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
/ The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance; The merry Greek, tart Aristophapes, Or crafty malice might pretend this praise, Neat Terence, witty Plantus, now not please : And think to ruin, where it seem'd to raise. Dut antiquated and deserted lie, These are, as some infamous bawd or whore As they were not of Nature's femily. Should praise a matron. What could hurt her Yet must I not give Nature all: thy art, more?
My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part. But thou art proof against them, and indeed For though the poet's matter nature be, Above the ill fortune of them, or the need. His art doth give the fashion. And that he I therefore will begin. Son of the age ! Who casts to write a living line, must sweat, The applause! delight! the water of our stage ! (such as thine are) and strike the second heat My Shakspeare, rise ! I will not lodge thec by Upon the Muse's anvil; turn the same, Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beanmount lie And himself with it, that he thinks to frame; A little further, to make thee a room:
Or for the laurel, he must gain a scorn, Thou art a monument without a tomb,
For a good poet's made, as well as born. And art alive still, while thy book doth live, And such wert thou. Look how the father's face And we have wits to read, and praise to give. Lives in his issue : even so the race That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses, Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly I mean with great, but disproportion'd muses: shines For if I thonght my jurgment were of years, In his well turned, and true filed lines : I should commit thee surely with thy peers, In each of which he seems to shake a lance, And tell how far thou didst our Lily outshine, As brandish'd at the eyes of ignorance. Or sporting Kid, or Marlow's mighty line. Sweet swan of Avon ! what a sight it were, And though thou hadst small Latin and less To see thee in our water yet appear, Greek,
And make those slights upon the banks of From thence to honour thee, I will not seek
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath Of all, that insolent Greece, or haughty Rome mourn'd like night, Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come. And despairs day, but for thy volumes' light. Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show,
ON WORTHY MASTER SHAKSPEARE,
AND HIS POEMS.
A mind reflecting ages past, whose clear Improved, by favour of the nine-fold train :-
The silver-voiced lady, the most fair
These jointly woo'd him, envying ono
another; A royal ghost from churls; by art to learn Ohey'd by all as spouse, but loved as brother ;The physiognomny of shades, and give
And wrought a curious robe, ot sable grave,
Here hangs a mossy rock ; there plays a fair
But fine materials, which the Muses know,
And more than nature takes our hands shall
So with this robe they cloath him, bid him wear
For time shall never stain, nor envy tear it. Bat hy himself, his tongue, and his own breast, The friendly Admirer of his Endowments, Was Shakspeare's freehold ; which his cunning
I M.. brain
THE PREFACE OF THE PLAYERS.
PREFIXED TO THE FIRST FOLIO EDITION PUBLISHED IN 1623.
TO THE GREAT VARIETY OF READERS.
From the most able, to him that can but spell: office of their care and paine, to have collected there you are number'd. We had rather you and publish'd them; and so to have publishd were weigh'd. Especially when the fate of all them, as where (before) you were abus'd with Bookes depends upon your capacities : and not divers stolne, and surrepritious copies, maimed of your heads alone, but of your purses. Well! and deformed by the frauds and stealthes of it is now publique, and you will stand for your injurious impostors, that expos'd them: even priviledges wee know: to read, and censure. those are now offer'd to your view cur'd, and Do so, but buy it first. That doth best commend perfect of their limbes; and all the rest, absolute a Booke, the Stationer saies. Then, how odde in their numbers, as he conceived them : Who, soever your braines be, or your wisedomes, as he was a happie imitator of Nature, was a make your licence the same, and spare not. most gentle expresser of it His mind and hand Judge your sixe-pen'orth, your shillings worth, went together; and what he thought, he uttered your five shilling, worth at a time, or higher, with easinesse, that wee have scarse received so you rise to the just rates, and welcome. But, from him a blot in his papers. But it is not our whatever, you do, Biny. Censure will not drive province, who onely gather his works, and give a Trade, or make the Jacke go. And though them you, to praise him. It is yonrs that reade you be a Magistrate of wit, and sit on the Stage hiin. And there we hope, to your divers capaat Black-Friers or the Cockpit, to arraigne cities, you will finde enough, both to draw, and Playes dailie, know, these Playes have had hold you : for his wit can no more lie hid, then their triall alreadie, and stood out all Appeales; it could be lost. Read him, therefore ; and and do now come forth quitted rather by a againe, and againe : And if then you do not Decree of Court, than any purchas'd Letters of like him, surely you are in some manifest dan commendation.
ger, not to understand him. And so we leave It had bene a thing, we confesse, worthie to you to other of his Friends, whom if you need, na ve bene wished, that the Author himselfe had can bee your guides: if you neede them not, you lived to have set forth, and overseen his owne can leade yourselves, and others. And such writings ; But since it hath bin ordain'd other readers we wish him. wise, and he by death departed from that right,
JOHN HEMINGE, we pray you, doe not envie his Friends the