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the daughter of one Hathaway, faid to have been a fubftantial yeoman in the neighbourhood of Stratford. In this kind of fettlement he continued for fome time, till an extravagance that he was guilty of forced him both out of his country, and that way of living which he had taken up; and though it feemed at firft to be a blemish upon his good manners, and a misfortune to him, yet it afterwards happily proved the occafion of exerting one of the greatest geniuses that ever was known in dramatick poetry. He had by a misfortune common enough to young fellows, fallen into ill company, and amongst them, fome that made a frequent practice of deerftealing, engaged him more than once in robbing a park that belonged to Sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote, near Stratford. For this he was profecuted by that gentleman, as he thought, fomewhat too feverely; and in order to revenge that ill ufage, he made a ballad upon him. And though this, pro
Theobald was mistaken in fuppofing that a monument was erected to her in the church of Stratford. There is no memorial there in honour of either our poet's wife or daughter, except flat tombftones, by which, however, the time of their respective deaths is afcertained. His daughter, Susanna, died, not on the fecond, but the eleventh of July, 1649. Theobald was led into this error by Dugdale. MALONE.
9 His wife was the daughter of one Hathaway,] She was eight years older than her husband, and died in 1623, at the age of 67 years. THEOBALD.
The following is the infcription on her tomb-ftone in the church. of Stratford :
"Here lyeth interred the body of ANNE, wife of William. Shakespeare, who departed this life the 6th day of August, 1623, being of the age of 67 yeares."
After this infcription follow fix Latin verses, not worth preferving. MALONE.
in order to revenge that ill ufage, he made a ballad upon him.] Mr. William Oldys, (Norroy King at Arms, and
bably the first effay of his poetry, be loft, yet it is faid to have been fo very bitter, that it redoubled
well known from the fhare he had in compiling the Biographia Britannica) among the collections which he left for a Life of Shakspeare, obferves, that "there was a very aged gentleman Hiving in the neighbourhood of Stratford, (where he died fifty years fince) who had not only heard, from feveral old people in that town, of Shakspeare's tranfgreffion, but could remember the firft ftanza of that bitter ballad, which, repeating to one of bis acquaintance, he preferved it in writing; and here it is nei ther better nor worse, but faithfully transcribed from the copy which his relation very courteously communicated to me ›”
"A parliemente member, a juftice of peace,
"At home a poor fcare-crowe, at London an affe,
He thinks himfelf greate,
"Yet an affe in his ftate
"We allowe by his ears but with affes to mate.
Contemptible as this performance muft now appear, at the time when it was written it might have had fufficient power to irritate a vain, weak, and vindictive magiftrate refpecially as it was affixed to feveral of his park-gates, and confequently pub lifhed among his neighbours.It may be remarked likewise, that the jingle on which it turns, occurs in the firft fcene of The Merry Wives of Windfor.
I may add, that the veracity of the late Mr. Oldys has never yet been impeached; and it is not very probable that a ballad fhould be forged, from which an undiscovered wag could derive no triumph over antiquarian credulity. STEEVENS.
According to Mr. Capell, this ballad came originally from Mr. Thomas Jones, who lived at Tarbick, a village in Worcesterfhire, about 18 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon, and died in 1703, aged upwards of ninety. "He remembered to have heard from feveral old people at Stratford the ftory of Shak fpeare's robbing Sir Thomas Lucy's park; and their account of it agreed with Mr. Rowe's, with this addition, that the ballad written against Sir Thomas Lucy by Shakspeare was stuck upon his park-gate, which exafperated the knight to apply to a lawyer at Warwick to proceed against him. Mr. Jones (it is added) put down in writing the firft ftanza of this ballad,, which was all he
the profecution against him to that degree, that he was obliged to leave his bufinefs and family in Warwickshire, for fome time, and fhelter himself in London.
It is at this time, and upon this accident, that he is faid to have made his firft acquaintance in the playhouse. He was received into the company then in being, at first in a very mean rank, but
remembered of it." In a note on the transcript with which Mr. Capell was furnished, it is faid, that "the people of those parts pronounce lowfie like Lucy." They do fo to this day in Scotland. Mr. Wilkes, grandfon of the gentleman to whom Mr. Jones re peated the ftanza, appears to have been the perfon who gave a copy of it to Mr. Oldys, and Mr. Capell.
In a manufcript Hiftory of the Stage, full of forgeries and falfehoods of various kinds written (I fufpect by William Chet wood the prompter) fome time between April 1727 and October 1730, is the following paffage, to which the reader will give juft as much credit as he thinks fit:
« Here we shall obferve, that the learned Mr. Joshua Barnes, late Greek Profeffor of the Univerfity of Cambridge, baiting about forty years ago at an inn in Stratford, and hearing an old woman finging part of the above-said song, such was his respect for Mr. Shakspeare's genius, that he gave her a new gown for the two following ftanzas in it; and, could fhe have faid it all, he would (as he often faid in company, when any discourse has cafually arofe about him) have given her ten guineas:
"Sir Thomas was too covetous,
"To covet fo much deer,
When horns enough upon his head,
"Moft plainly did appear.
"Had not his worship one deer left?
"Took pains enough to find him horns
"Should last him during life." MALONE.
2 He was received into the company at firft in a very mean rank;] There is a ftage tradition, that his firft office in the theatre was that of Call-boy, or prompter's attendant; whofe employment it is to give the performers notice to be ready to enter, as often as the bufinefs of the play requires their appearance on the ftage. MALONE.
his admirable wit, and the natural turn of it to the ftage, foon diftinguished him, if not as an extraordinary actor, yet as an excellent writer. His name is printed, as the custom was in those times, amongst those of the other players, before fome old plays, but without any particular account of what fort of parts he used to play; and though I have inquired, I could never meet with any further account of him this way, than that the top of his performance was the Ghoft in his own Hamlet.3 I fhould have been much more pleased, to have learned from certain authority, which was the firft play he wrote;4 it would be without doubt a pleasure to any man, curious in things of this kind, to fee and know what was the first effay of a fancy like Shakspeare's. Perhaps we are not to look for his beginnings, like thofe of other authors, among their leaft perfect writings; art had fo little, and nature fo large a share in what he did, that, for aught I know, the performances of his youth, as they were the most vigorous, and had the moft fire and ftrength of imagination in them, were the beft.5 I would not
than that the top of his performance was the Ghost in his own Hamlet.] See fuch notices as I have been able to collect on this subject, in the Lift of old English actors, post.
to have learned from certain authority, which was the firft play he wrote;] The highest date of any I can yet find, is Romeo and Juliet in 1597, when the author was 33 years old; and Richard the Second, and Third, in the next year, viz. the 34th of his age. POPE.
Richard II. and III. were both printed in 1597.-On the order of time in which Shakspeare's plays were written, see the Effay in the next volume. MALONE.
for aught I know, the performances of his youthwere the beft.] See this notion controverted in An Attempt to afcertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays. MALONE.
be thought by this to mean, that his fancy was fo loose and extravagant, as to be independent on the rule and government of judgment; but that what he thought was commonly fo great, fo juftly and rightly conceived in itself, that it wanted little or no correction, and was immediately approved by an impartial judgment at the firft fight. But though the order of time in which the feveral pieces were written be generally uncertain, yet there are paffages in fome few of them which feem to fix their dates. So the Chorus at the end of the fourth act of Henry the Fifth, by a compliment very handfomely turned to the Earl of Effex, fhows the play to have been written when that lord was general for the Queen in Ireland; and his elogy upon Queen Elizabeth, and her fucceffor King James, in the latter end of his Henry the Eighth, is a proof of that play's being written after the acceffion of the latter of these two princes to the crown of England. Whatever the particular times of his writing were, the people of his age, who began to grow wonderfully fond of diverfions of this kind, could not but be highly pleased to see a genius arife amongst them of fo pleasurable, fo rich a vein, and fo plentifully capable of furnishing their favourite entertainments. Besides the advantages of his wit, he was in himself a good-natured man, of great fweetnefs in his manners, and a moft agreeable companion; fo that it is no wonder, if, with fo many good qualities, he made himfelf acquainted with the beft converfations of thofe times. Queen Elizabeth had feveral of his plays acted before her, and without doubt gave him many gracious marks of her favour: it is that maiden princess plainly, whom he intends by
a fair veftal, throned by the west."
A Midfummer-Night's Dream. F