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Wherever any extraordinary display of human inferences of lawless and vagabond conjecture. Intellect has been made, there will human cu- Of this remarkable ignorance of one of the most riosity, at one period or the other, be busy to richly endowed with intellect of the human obtain some personal acquaintance with the dis species, who ran his mortal race in our own tinguished mortal whom Heaven had been pleas-country, and who stands separated from us by ed to endow with a larger portion of its own no very great intervention of time, the causes ethereal energy. If the favoured man walked may not be difficult to be ascertained. William on the high places of the world; if he were con- Shakspeare was an actor and a writer of plays; versant with courts; if he directed the move-in neither of which characters, however he might ments of armies or of states, and thus held in his excel in them, could he be lifted high in the hand the fortunes and the lives of multitudes of estimation of his contemporaries. He was hohis fellow-creatures, the interest, which he noured, indeed, with the friendship of nobles, excites, will be immediate and strong; he stands and the patronage of inonarchs; his theatre was on an eminence where he is the mark of many frequented by the wits of the metropolis; and he eyes; and dark and unlettered indeed must be associated with the most intellectual of his times. the age in which the incidents of his eventful life But the spirit of the age was against him; and, will not be noted, and the record of them be pre-in opposition to it, he could not become the sub Berved for the instruction or the entertainment ject of any general or comprehensive interest. of unborn generations. But if his course were The nation, in short, knew little and cared less through the vale of life: if he were uniningled about him. During his life, and for some years with the factions and the contests of the great: after his death, inferior dramatists outran him if the powers of his mind were devoted to the in the race of popularity; and then the flood of silent pursuits of literature-to the converse of puritan fanaticism swept him and the stage philosophy and the Muse, the possessor of the together into temporary oblivion. ethereal treasure may excite little of the attention storation of the monarchy and the theatre, the of his contemporaries; may walk quietly, with school of France perverted our taste, and it was a veil over his glories, to the grave; and, in not till the last century was somewhat advanced other times, when the expansion of his intel-that William Shakspeare arose again, as it were, lectual greatness has filled the eyes of the world, from the tomb, in all his proper majesty of light. it may be too late to inquire for his history as a He then became the subject of solicitons and man. The bright track of his genius indelibly learned inquiry; but inquiry was then too late; remains; but the trace of his mortal footstep island all that it could recover, from the ravage of soon obliterated for ever. Homer is now only a time, were only a few human fragments, which name-a solitary name, which assures us, that, could scarcely be united into a man. at some unascertained period in the annals of causes of our personal ignorance of the great mankind, a mighty mind was indulged to a hard of England, must be added his own strange human being, and gave its wonderful produc- indifference to the celebrity of genins When tions to the perpetual admiration of men, as they he had produced his admirable works, ignorant spring in succession in the path of time. Of or heedless of their value, he abandoned them Homer himself we actually know nothing; and with perfect indifference to oblivion or to fame. we see only an arm of immense power thrust It surpassed his thought that he could grow into forth from a mass of impenetrable darkness, and the admiration of the world; and, without any holding up the hero of his song to the applauses reference to the curiosity of future ages, in which of never-dying fame. But it may be supposed he could not conceive himself to possess an inthat the revolution of, perhaps, thirty centuries, terest, he was contented to die in the arms of has collected the cloud which thus withdraws obscurity, as an unlaurelled burgher of a prothe father of poesy from our sight. Little more vincial town. To this combination of canses than two centuries has elapsed since William are we to attribute the scantiness of our mateShakspeare conversed with our tongue, and trod rials for the Life of William Shakspeare. His the self same soil with ourselves; and if it were works are in myriads of hands: he constitutes not for the records kept by our Church in its the delight of myriads of readers: his renown is registers of births, marriages, and burials, we erextensive with the civilization of man; and, should at this moment he as personally ignorant striding across the ocean from Europe, it occu of the sweet swan of Avon," as we are of the pies the wide region of transatlantic empire: but old minstrel and rhapsodist of Meles. That he is himself only a shadow which disappoints William Shakspeare was born in Stratford upon our grasp: an undefined form which is rather Avon; that he married and had three children; intimated than discovered to the keenest searchthat he wrote a certain number of dramas; that ings of our eye. Of the little however, questionhe died before he had attained to old age, and able or certain, which can be told of him, we was buried in his native town, are positively the must now proceed to make the best use in our only facts, in the personal history of this extra-power, to write what by courtesy may be called ordinary man, of which we are certainly pos-bis life; and we have only to lament that the Besed; and, if we should be solicitons to fill up result of our labour must greatly disappoint the this bare and most unsatisfactory outline, we curiosity which has been excited by the grandeur must have recourse to the vague reports of un-of his reputation. The slight narrative of Rowe, substantial tradition, or to the still more shadowy founded on the information obtained, in the be

To these


ginning of the last century, by the inquiries of ject of controversy. According to the testimony Betterton, the famous actor, will necessarily of Rowe, grounded on the tradition of Stratford, supply us with the greater part of the materials the father of our poet was a dealer in wool, or, with which we are to work. in the provincial vocabulary of his country, a William Shakspeare, or Shakspere, (for the wool-driver; and such he has been deemed by floating orthography of the name is properly all the biographers of his son, till the tact was attached to the one or the other of these varieties,) thrown into doubt by the result of the inquisi was baptized in the church of Stratford upon tiveness of Malone. Finding, in an old and ob Avon, as is ascertained by the parish register, scure MS. purporting to record the proceedings on the 26th of April 1564; and he is said to have of the bailiff's court in Stratford, our John been born on the 23d of the same month, the Shakspeare designated as a glover, Malone day consecrated to the tutelar saint of England. insults over the ignorance of poor Rowe, and His parents, John and Mary Shakspeare, were assumes no small degree of merit to himself as not of equal ranks in the community; for the the discoverer of a long sought and a most im former was only a respectable tradesman, whose portant historic truth. If he had recollected the ancestors cannot be traced into gentility, whilst remark of the clown in the Twelfth Night, the latter belonged to an ancient and opulent that a sentence is but a cheverel glove to a good house in the county of Warwick, being the wit. How quickly the wrong side may be turned youngest daughter of Robert Arden of Wilme- outwards!" he would, doubtless, have pressed cote. The family of the Ardens (or Ardernes, the observation into his service, and brought it as it is written in all the old deeds,) was of con- as an irresistible attestation of the veracity of siderable antiquity and importance, some of his old MS. them having served as high sheriffs of their Whatever may have been the trade of John county, and two of them (Sir John Arden and Shakspeare, whether that of wool-merchant or his nephew, the grandfather of Mrs Shakspeare,) of glover, it seems, with the little fortune of his having enjoyed each a station of honour in the wite, to have placed him in a state of easy compersonal establishment of Henry VII. The petence. In 1569 or 1570, in consequence partly younger of these Ardens was made, by his of his alliance with the Ardens, and partly of Eovereign, keeper of the park of Aldercar and his attainment of the prime municipal honours bailiff of the lordship of Codnore. He obtained, of his town, he obtained a concession of arms also, from the crown a valuable grant in the from the herald's office, a grant, which placed lease of the manor of Yoxsal in Staffordshire, him and his family on the file of the gentry of consisting of more than 400 acres, at a rent of England; and, in 1574, he purchased two houses, 421 Mary Arden did not come dowerless to her with gardens and orchards annexed to them, plebeian husband, for she brought to him a small in Henley Street in Stratford. But before the freehold estate called Asbies, and the sum of Gl. year 1578, his prosperity, from causes not now 138. 4d. in money. The freehold consisted of a ascertainable, had certainly declined; for in boose and fifty-four acres of land; and, as far that year, as we find from the records of his as it appears, it was the first piece of landed pro-borough, he was excused, in condescension to perty which was ever possessed by the Shak-his poverty, from the moiety of a very moderate speares. Cthis marriage the offspring was four assessment of six shings and eightpence, made sons and four daughters; of whom Joan (or, by the members of the corporation on themaccording to the orthography of that time,Jone,)selves; at the same tine that he was altogether and Margaret, the eldest of the children, died exempted from his contribution to the relief of one in infancy and one at a somewhat more ad the poor. During the remaining years of his vanced age; and Gilbert, whose birth immedi- life, his fortunes appear not to have recovered ately succeeded to that of our Poet, is supposed themselves; for he ceased to attend the meetby some not to have reached his maturity, and ings of the corporation hall, where he had once by others to have attained to considerable lon-presided; and, in 1586, another person was subgevity. Joan, the eldest of the four remaining stituted as alderman in his place, in consequence children, and named after her deceased sister, married William Hart, a hatter in her native town; and Edmund, the youngest of the family, adopting the profession of an actor, resided in St Haviour's parish in London; and was buried in St. Saviour's Church on the last day of De cember 1007, in his twenty-eighth year. Of Anne and Richard, whose births intervened between those of Joan and Edmund, the parish register tells the whole history, when it records that the foriner was buried on the 4th of April 1579, in the eighth year of her age, and the fatter on the 4th of February 1612-13, when he had nearly completed his thirty-ninth.

of his magisterial inefficiency. He died in the September of 1601, when his illustrious son had already attained to high celebrity; and his wife, Mary Shakspeare, surviving him for seven years, deceased in the September of 1608, the burial of the former being registered on the eighth and that of the latter on the ninth of this month, in each of these respective years.

On the 30th of June 1564, when our poet had not yet been three months in this breathing world, his native Stratford was visited by the plague; and, during the six succeeding months, the ravaging disease is calculated to have swept to the grave more than a seventh part of the In consequence of a document, discovered in whole population of the place. But the favoured the year 1770, in the house in which, if tradition infant reposed in security in his cradle, and is to be trusted, our poet was born, some per-breathed health amid an atmosphere of pestiBons have concluded that John Shakspeare was lence. The Genius of England may be supposed a Roman Catholic, though he had risen, by the to have held the arm of the destroyer, and not regular gradation of office, to the chief dignity to have permitted it to fall on the consecrated of the corporation of Stratford, that of high bai-dwelling of his and Nature's darling. The disliff; and, during the whole of this period, had ease, indeed, did not overstep his charmed unquestionably conformed to the rites of the threshold; for the name of Shakspeare is not Church of England. The asserted fact seemed to be found in the register of deaths throughout not to be very probable; and the document in that period of accelerated mortality. That he gnestion, which, drawn up in a testamentary survived this desolating calamity of his townsform and regularly attested, zealously professes men, is all that we know of William Shakspeare the Roman faith of him in whose name it speaks, from the day of his birth till he was sent, as we having been subjected to a rigid examination are informed by Rowe, to the free-school of by Malone, has been pronounced to be spurious Stratford; and was stationed there in the course The trade of John Shakspeare, as well as his of his education, till, in consequence of the straitreligious faith, has recently been made the subAct ii. sc. L.

In the humility of his first to the pride of his of age; and this testimony of a contemporary, subsequent tortunes. The mean and servile who was acquainted with him, and was himself occupation, thus assigned to him, was incom-an actor, in favour of his moral and his protes patible with his circumstances, even in their sional excellence, must be admitted as of conpresent afflicted state and his relations and siderable value. It is evident that he had now connexions, though far from wealthy, were yet written for the stage, and before he entered too remote from absolute poverty, to permit upon dramatic composition we are certain that him to act for a moment in such a degrading he had completed, though he had not published, situation. He was certainly, therefore imme his two long and laboured poeins of Venus and diately admitted within the theatre; but in what Adonis, and the Rape of Lucrece. We cannot, rank or character cannot now be known. This therefore, date his arrival in the capital later fact, however, soon became of very little con- than 1583, or, perhaps, than 1587; and the four sequence; for he speedily raised himself into or five years which interposed between his de consideration among his new fellows by the partire from Stratford and his becoming the exertions of his pen. if not by his proficiency object of Greene's malignant attack, constitured as an actor. When he began his career as a a busy and an important period of his life dramatic writer; or to what degree of excel- Within this term he had conciliated the friendlence he attained in his personation of dramatic ship of the young Thomas Wriothesly, the liberal, characters, are questions which have been fre-the high souled, the romantic Earl of Southamp quently agitated without any satisfactory result ton; a friendship which adhered to him throughBy two publications, which appeared toward out his life; and he had risen to that celebrity, the end of 1592, we know, or at least we are as a poet and a dramatist, which placed him Induced strongly to infer that at that period, with the first wits of the age, and subsequently either as the corrector of old or as the writer of lifted him to the notice and the favour of Eliza original dramas, be had supplied the stage with beth and James, as they successively sat upon a copiousness of materials. We learn also from the throne of England. the same documents that, in his profession of At the point of time which our narrative has actor, he frod the boards not without the acqui-now reached, we cannot accurately determine sition of applause. The two publications to what dramatic pieces had been composed by which I allude, are Robert Greene's "Groats him: but we are assured that they were of suf worth of Wit bought with a Million of Repen- ficient excellence to excite the envy and the tance," and Henry Chettle's "Kind Hart's consequent hostility of those who, before his Dream." In the former of these works, which rising, had been the luminaries of the stage. It was published by Chettle subsequently to the would be gratifying to curiosity if the feat were unhappy author's decease, the writer, address possible, to adjust with any precision the order ing his fellow dramatists, Marlowe, Peele, and in which his wonderful productions issued from Lodge, says, "Yes! trust them not" (the ma- his brain. But the atteinpt has more than once nagers of the theatre ;) "for there is an upstart been made, and never yet with entire success. crow, beautified with our feathers, that, with We know only that his connexion with the his tiger's heart wrapt in a player's hide, sup-stage continued for about twenty years, (though poses he is as well able to bombast ont a blank the duration even of this term cannot be settled verse as the best of you; and, being an absolute with precision,) and that, within this period he Johannes Fac-tomm, is in his own conceit the composed either partially, as working on the only Shake-scene in a country." As it could ground of others, or educing them altogether not be doubtful against whom this attack was from his own fertility, thirty-five or (if that directed we cannot wonder that Shakspeare wretched thing, Pericles, in consecuence of should be hurt by it: or that he should expos | Dryden's testiniony in favour of its authenticity, tulate on the occasion rather warmly with Chet- and of a few touches of the golden pen being tle as the editor of the offensive matter. In con- discover ble in its last scenes, must be added Bequence, as it is probable, of this expression to the number) thirty-six dramas; and that of of resentment on the part of Shakspeare, a these it is probable that such as were founded pamphlet from the pen of Chettle called Kind on the works of preceding anthors were the Hari's Dream" issued from the press before the first essays of his dramatic talent; and such as close of the same year (1592) which had wit-were more perfectly his own, and are of the nessed the publication of Greene's posthumous first sparkle of excellence, were among the last. work. In this pamphlet, Chettle acknowledges While I should not hesitate, therefore, te station his concern for having edited any thing which Pericles," the three parts of "Henry VI." had given pain to Shakspeare, of whose character (for I cannot see any reason for throwing the and accomplishments he avows a very favour-first of these parts from the protection of our able opinion. Marlowe, as well as Shakspeare, author's name) "Love's Labour Lost," "The Appears to have been offended by some passages Comedy of Errors," The Taining of the in this production of poor Greene's: and to both Shrew," "King John," and "Richard II.," of these great dramatic poets Chettle refers in among his earliest productions, I should, with the short citation which we shall now make equal confidence, arrange" Macbeth "Lear," from his page. With neither of them that "Othello," "Twelfth Night," and "The Temtake offence was I acquainted, and with one of pest," with his latest, assigning them to that them" (concluded to be Marlowe, whose moral season of his life, when his mind exulted in the character was unhappily not good) "I care not conscious plenitude of power. Whatever might if I never be. The other" (who must necessa-be the order of succession In which this illus rily be Shakspeare) whom at that time I did trious family of genins sprang into existence, not so much spare as since I wish I had; for they soon attracted notice, and speedily com that, as I have moderated the hate of living an-pelled the homage of respect from those who thors, and might have used my own discretion, were the most eminent for their learning, their (especially in anch a case, the author being talents, or their rank. Jonson, Selden, Beandend.) that I did not I am as sorry as if the origi-mont, Fletcher, and Donne, were the associates nal fanit had been my fault: because myself and the intimates of our poet: the Earl of have seen his demeanour no less civil than he is Southampton was his especial flea: the Earls excellent in the quality he professes. Besides of Pembroke and of Montgomery were avowedly divers of worship have reported his oprightness his admirers and patrons: Queen Elizabeth disof dealing, which argues his honesty; and his tinguished him with her favour; and her suc facetious grace in writing, that approves his cessor, James, with his own hand, honoured the art." Shakspeare was now twenty-eight years great dramatist with a letter of thanks for the

compliment paid in Macbeth to the royal family, at one time to his favoured dramatist the mag
of the Stuarts
nificent present of a thonguid pounds.

The circunstance which first brought the two
lords of the stage, Shakspeare and Jonson, into tended to Shakspeare by the Fars of Pembroke
Of the degree of patronage and kindness ex
that embrace of friendship which continued in ad Montgomery, we are altogether ignorant:
dissoluble, as there is reason to believe, during but we know, from the dedication of his works
the permission of mortality, is reported to have to them by Heminge and Condell, that they had
neen the kind assistance given by the former detinguished themselves as his admirers and
to the latter, when he was offering one of his friends
plays (Every Man in his Humour) for the benefit nobili, of his day among the hogers of his
That he numbered many more of the
of representation. The manuscript, as it is said, transcendent genius, we may consider as a se
was on the point of being rejected and returned cions probability. But we must not indulge in
with a rude answer, when Shakspeare, fortu, conjectures, when we can gratify ourselves with
nately glancing his eye over its pages, imme- the reports of tradition, approaching very nearly
diately discovered its merit; and, with his into certainties El-zabeth, as it is confidently said,
nence, obtained its introduction on the stage. honoure! our illustrious dramatist with her es
To this story some specious objections have pecial notice and regard. She was unquestion
been raised; and there cannot be any necessity ably fond of theatric exhibitions; and, with her
for contending for it, as no lucky accident can literary mind and her discriminating eye, it is
be required to account for the inducement of impossible that she should overlook; and that,
amity between two men of high genius. each not overlooking, she should not appreciate tue
treading the same broad path to fame and for- man, whose genius formed the prime glory of
tune, yet each with a character so peculiarly her reign. It is affirmed that, delighted with

his own that he might attain his object without the character of Falstaff as drawn in the two wounding the pride or invading the interests of parts of Henry IV., she expressed a wish to see the other. It has been generally believed that the gross and diesolute knight under the influence the intellectual superiority of Shakspeare ex- of love; and that the result of our poet's com cited the envy and the conserpent enmity of pliance Jousen. It is well that of these asserted facts was The Merry Wives of Windsor." Favoured. ith the desire of his royal mistress, no evidences can be adduced. The friendship however, as our peet seems to have been by of these great men seems to have been unbroken Elizabeth, and notwithstanding the fire incense during the life of Shakspeare; and, on his death, which he offered to her vanity, it does not appear Jonson made an offering to his memory of high, that he profited in any degree by her bounty. Just, and appropriate, anegyric. He places him She could distinguish and could guile upon above not only the modern but the Greek dra- genius: but unless it were immediately servicematists; and he professes for him admiration able to her personal or der political interests, short only of idolatry. They who can discover she had not the soul to rew it. any penuriousness of praise in the surviving inferior to her in the ars of government and in poet, must be gifted with a very peculiar vision some of the great characters of mind might be However of mind. With the flowers, which he strewed her Scottish successor, he resembled her in his upon the grave of his friend, there certainly love of letters, and in his own cultivation of was not blended one poisonous or bitter leaf learning. He was a scholar, and even a poer: If, therefore, he was, as he is represented to his attachment to the general cause of literature have been by an impartial and able judge, was strong; and his love of the drama and the (Drummond of Hawthornden) "a great lover theatre was particularly warm. and praiser of himself; a contemner and scorner ce sion to the English throne he had written, as of others: jealous of every word and action of we have before noticed, a letter, with his own Before his nothose about him." &c &c, how can we other hand, to Shakspente, acknowledging us it is sup wise account for the uninterrupted harmony of resed, the emp'unent paid to him in the noble his intercourse with our hand than by gpposing scenes of Macbeth; and scarcely had the crown that the frailties of his nature were overruled of England fallen upon his head, when he granted by that pre-eminence of mental power in his his royal patent to our poet and his company of friend which precluded competition; and by the Ciobe; and thus raised them from being the his friend's sweetness of temper and gentlencse Lord Chamberlain's servants to be the servants of manners, which repressed every feeling of of the King. The patent is dated on the 19th of hostility. Between Shakspeare and Thomas May, 1603, and the name of William Shakspeare Wriothesly, the munificent and the noble Ear stands sec nd on the list of the patentees As of Southampton, distinguished in history by his the demise of Elizabeth had occurred on the inviolable attachment to the rash and the un- 24th of the preceding March, this early attention fortunate Essex. the friendship was permanent of James to the company of the Globe may be and ardent. At its commencement, in 1593. regarded as highly complimentary to Shak when Shakspeare was twenty-nine years of speare's theatre, and as strongly demons rative age, Southampton was not more than nineteen; of the new sovereign's partiality for the drama. and, with the love of general literature, he was But James's patronage of our roet was not in particularly attached to the exhibitions of the any other way beneficial to his formines. theatre. His attention was first drawn to Shak Elizabeth were too parsimonious for an effective speare by the poet's dedication to him of the patron, by his profusion on his pleasures and Venus and Adonis," that "first heir," as the his favourites, James soon became too needy to dedicator calls it, "of his invention," and the possess the means of bounty for the reward of acquaintance, once begun between characters talents and of learning. Honour, in short, was and hearts like theirs, would soon mature into all that Shakspeare gained by the favour of twe Intimacy and friendship. In the following year successive sovereigns, each of them versed in (1591) Shakspeare's second poem, "The Rape literature, each of them fond of the drama, and of Lucrece," was addressed by him to his noble each of them capable of appreciating the tran patron in a strain of less distant timidity: and scendeney of his geoins we may infer from it that the poet had then obtained a portion of the favour which he sought. hibit to our readers some portion at least of the It would be especially gratifying to us to exThat his fortunes were essentially promoted by personal his ory of this illustrious man during the munificent patronage of Southampton can his long residence in the capital-to announce not reasonably be doubted. We are told by Sir the names and characters of his associates, a William Davenant, who surely possessed the few of which only we can obtain from Fuller; means of knowing the fact, that the peer gave to delineate his habits of life; to record his con

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vivial wit; to commemorate the books which as degraded by such a public exhibition. The he read; and to number his compositions as time was not yet come when actors were to be they dropped in succession from his pen. But the companions of princes; when their lives, no power of this nature is indulged to us. Allas of illustrious men, were to be written; and that active and efficient portion of his mortal when statues were to be erected to them by existence, which constituted considerably more public contribution! than a third part of it, is an unknown region, The amount of the fortune, on which Shaknot to be penetrated by our most zealous and speare retired from the busy world, has been intelligent researches. It may be regarded by the subject of some discussion. By Gildon, whɔ us as a kind of central Africa, which our reason forbears to state his authority, this fortune is assures us to be glowing with fertility and alive valued at 3001 a year; and by Malone, who, with population; but which is abandoned in our calculating our Poet's real property from aumaps, from the ignorance of our geographers,thentic documents, assigns a random value to to the death of barrenness, and the silence of his personal, it is reduced to 2007. Of these two sandy desolation. By the Stratford register we valuations of Shakspeare's property, we concan ascertain that his only son, Haninet, was ceive that Gildon's approaches the more nearly buried in the twelfth year of his age, on the 11th to the truth: for if to Malone's conjectural esof August 1596; and that, after an interval of timate of the personal property, of which he nearly eleven years; his eldest daughter, Su-professes to be wholly ignorant, he added the sanna, was married to John Hall, a physician, thousand pounds, given by Southampton, (an on the 5th of June 1607. With the exception of act of munificence of which we entertain not two or three purchases made by him at Strat- a doubt,) the precise total, as money then bore ford, one of them being that of New Place, an interest of 101. per cent., of the three hunwhich he repaired and ornamented for his future dred pounds a year will be made up. On the residence, the two entries which we have now smallest of these incomes, however, when mo extracted from the register, are positively all ney was at least of five times its present value, that we can relate with confi lence of our great might our Poet possess the comforts and the Poet and his family, during the long term of his liberalities of life: and in the society of his connexion with the theatre and the inetropolis. family, and of the neighbouring gentry, conciWe may fairly conclude, indeed, that he was liated by the amiableness of his manners and present at each of the domestic events, recorded the pleasantness of his conversation, he seems by the regis er: that he attended his son to the to have passed his few remaining days in the grave, and his daughter to the altar. We may enjoyment of tranquillity and respect. believe also, from its great prob.bility, even on quisite, indeed, appears to have been his relish the testimony of Aubrey, that he paid an unnal of the quiz, which was his portion within the visit to his native town; whence his family were walls of New Place, that it induced a complete never removed, and which he seems always to oblivion of all that had engaged his attention, have contemplated as the resting place of hisland had aggrandized his name in the preceding declining age. He probably had nothing more scenes of his life. Without any regard to his than a lodging in London, and this he might literary fame, either present or to come, he saw occasionally change: bat in 1595 e is said to with perfect nnconcern some of his immortal have lived somewhere near to the Bear-Liarden works brought, mutilated and deformed, in In Southwark. surreptitions copies, before the world; and In 1606, James procured from the continent others of them, with an equal indifference to large importation of mulberry trees, with a their fate, he permitted to remain in their enreview to the establishment of the silk inanufac-vised or interpolated M 13 in the hands of the tory in his dominions; and, either in this year theatric prompter. There is not, probably, in or in the following, Shakspeare enriched his the whole compass of literary history, ch garden at New Place with one of these exotic, another instance of a proud superiority to what and at that time very rare trees This plant of has been called by a rival genius, his hand took root, and flourished till the year 1752, when it was destroyed by the barbarous)

So ex

"The last infirmity of noble minds,"

axe of one Francis Gastrell, a clergyman, into as that which was now exhibited by our illuswhose worse than Gothic hands New Place had trious dramatist and poet. He seemed most unfortunately fallen.

"As if he could not or he would not find, As we are not told the precise time, when Shakepeare retired from the stage and the me- How much his worth transcended all his kind." tropolis to enjoy the tranquillity of life in his With a privilege, rarely indulged even to the native town, we cannot pretend to determine sons of gemos, he had produced his admirable it. As he is said, however, to have passed some works without any throes or labour of the mind: years in his establishment at New Place, we they had obtained for him all that he had asked may conclude that his removal took place either from them,-the patronage of the great, the ap in 1612 or in 1613, when he was yet in the vigour plause of the witty, and a competency of fortune of life, being not more than forty-eight or forty- adequate to the moderation of his desires. Haynine years old. He had ceased, as it is probable, ing fulfilled, or, possibly, exceeded his expecta to tread the stage as an actor at an earlier period; tions, they had discharged their duty, and he fer in the list of actors, prefixed to the Volpone threw them altogether from his thought; and of B. Jonson, performed at the Globe theatre, whether it were their destiny to emerge into reand published in 1605, the name of W. Shak-nown, or to perish in the drawer of a manager; speare is not to be found. However versed he to be brought to light in a state of integrity, or to might be in the science of acting, (and that he revisit the glimpses of the moon with a thousand was versed in it we are assured by his directions mortal murders on their head, engaged no part to the players in Hamlet,) and however well he of his solicitude or interest They had given te might equit himself in some of the subordinate hith the means of easy life, and he sought from enaracters of the drama, it does not appear that them nothing more. This insensibility in our Au he ever rose to the higher honours of his pro-thor to the offspring of his brain may be the sub fession. But if they were above his attainment.ject of our wonder or admiration: but its couse hey seem not to have been the objects of hi-quences have been calamitous to those who in ambition; for by one of his sonne's we find After times have hung with delight over his hat he lamented the fortune which had devoted pages. On the intellect and the temper of these aim to the stage, and that he considered himself ill-fated mortals it has inflicted a heavy load d See Sonnet CXL Epitaph on a Fair Maiden Lady, by Dryden

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