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field beyond Bishopton, nor none in the enclosures beyond Bishopton." The landowners, it appears, were desirous of effecting certain enclosures as a means of improving their property, but their scheme was opposed by the corporation, on the plea that the inhabitants of the place had recently suffered from a disastrous fire,87 and would be still further endamaged by the consummation of this measure. A petition was consequently addressed to the Privy Council, and the effect was an order, not only prohibiting the enclosures, but requiring William Combe, who was a chief promoter of the plan, to undo certain work which, in respect of his own property, he had begun.88 On this business, Thomas Greene, the clerk of the corporation, and a relative of Shakespeare, was sent to London, and some memoranda made by him on the occasion are still preserved. Under date of Nov. 17th, 1614, he notes, "my cosen ShakspearS9 comyng yesterdy to Town, I went to see him how he did. He told me that they assured him they ment to inclose no further than to Gospell Bush, and so upp straight (leavying out part of the Dyngles to the meld) to the gate in Clopton hedg, and take in Salisburyes peece; and that they mean in Aprill to survey the land, and then to gyve satisfaccion, and not before; and he and Mr. Hall say they think ther will be nothing done at all."
Shortly after the date of this memorandum, Greene returned to Stratford, leaving the poet in London. Other notes of his prove Shakespeare's uneasiness at the projected encroachments. And that he took precautions to guard himself from loss, we have remarkable evidence in certain articles of agreement between him and William Eeplingham, of Great Harborough, dated the 28th of October, 1614. These articles provide that the latter shall, "uppon reasonable request, satisfied, content, and make recompense unto him the said William Shackespeare or his assignes, for all such losse, detriment, and hinderance as he the said William Shackespeare, his heires and assignes, and one Thomas Greene gent, shall or maye be thought in the viewe and judgement of foure indifferent persons, to be indifferentlie elected by the said William and William and their heirs, and in default of the said William Eeplingham, by the said William Shakespeare or his heires onely, to survey and judge the same to sustayne or incurred for or in respecte of the increasing of the yearlie value of the tythes they the said William Shackespeare and Thomas doe joyntlie or severallie hold and enjoy in the said fieldes or anie of them, by reason of anie inclosure or decayo of tyllage there ment and intended by the said William Keplingham; and that the said William Roplingham and his heires shall procure such sufficient securitie unto the said William Shackespeare and his heires for the performance of theis covenauntes, as shall bee devised by learned counsel, In witness whereof the parties abovsaid to theis presentes interchangeablie their handes and seales have put, the daye and yeare first above wrytten.
"Sealed and delivered in the presence of us, Tho. Lucas, Jo. Rogers, Anthonie Nasshe, Mich. Olney."
In the Chamberlain's Accounts for Stratford, in 1614, there is an entry :—" Item, for on quart of sack and on quart of clarrett winne, geven to a preacher at the New Place, xxd," which is supposed to show that Shakespeare was entertaining a preacher at the time. This is not improbable, as the custom of refreshing eminent visitors with sack and claret at the general expense was not uncommon in Stratford formerly. At the same time it is quite possible that the
87 It appears from a brief granted for the relief of the town shortly afterwards, that this fire, " within the space of less than two hours consumed and burnt fifty and fowre Dwelling Howses, many of them being very faire Houses, besides Barnes, Stables, and other Houses of Office, togother with great Store of Corne, Hay, Straw, Wood and Timber therein, amounting to the value of Eight Thousand Pounds and upwards; the force of which Mr was so great (tho Wind sitting full upon the Towne), that it dispersed into so many places thereof, whereby
the whole Towne was in very great danger to have beene utterly consumed."
88 But the poet did not live to See the issue of the contest; the prohibition and order in question not being made before 1618.
89 Greene terms Shakespeare his cousin, i.e. linsman, but their exact relationship is unknown. In tho burial register of Stratford there is an entry, "1589 , March 6, Thomas Greene, alias Shakspere," and the town clerk is thought to have been his son.
words "New Place," may have been intended to signify, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, contiguous to the poet's dwelling. The same year saw the publication of a poem entitled The Ghost of Richard the Third, by C. B. in which Richard is made to utter what Mr. Dyce pronounces "perhaps the happiest encomium that Shakespeare had yet received as a dramatist " :—
"To him that impt my fame with Clio's quill,
Early in 1616, the poet's youngest daughter, Judith, was married to Thomas Quiney, vintner and wine merchant of Stratford. The ceremony took place on the 10th of February, 1615-16, the bride being then thirty-one years of age, and her husband twenty-seven.
On the 25th of the next month, Shakespeare executed his will, which had evidently been prepared two months before: the date,—" Vicesimo quinto die Marlii,"—having originally been "Tuxsimo quinto die Januarii." It declares the testator to be "in perfect health and memory ;" which might be true at the time when the instrument was first drawn, but his signatures on the three sheets of paper which the will occupies, are thought to indicate much physical debility. This was his last recorded act. A few weeks later, on the 23d of April, 1616, William Shakespeare died.
Of the particular malady which deprived the world of this incomparable genius, we have no authentic information. The Rev. John Ward, who was vicar of Stratford in the seventeenth century, has left behind him a Diary, now in the library of the Medical Society of London, wherein is the following passage :—" I have heard that Mr. Shakespeare 'was a natural wit, without any art at all; he frequented the plays all his younger time, but in his elder days lived at Stratford and supplied the stage with two plays every year, and for itt had an allowance *o large, that hee spent att the rate of 1000J. a-year, as I have heard. Shakespeare, Drayton, and Bnt Jhmson, had a merie meeting, and itt seems drank too hard, for Shakespear died of a feavour there contracted."90 The statement that subsequent to his retirement from London, Shakespeare applied the stage with two plays a-year, and lived at the rate of a thousand pounds a-year, b, no doubt an exaggeration; but the carousal is not at all improbable. As Mr. Dyce remarks,—" Drayton, a native of Warwickshire, and frequently in the neighbourhood of Stratford, may fairly be presumed to have partaken at times of Shakespeare's hospitality; and Jonson, who, >bout two years after, wandered on foot into Scotland and back again, would think little of it journey to Stratford for the sake of visiting so dear a friend.—"
It is remarkable that the poet's son-in-law, Dr. Hall, who doubtless attended him in his last illness, and who has left observations on various medical cases within his own experience,91 should have preserved no memorandum concerning this, the most interesting case of all.
* A note at the end of the volume says, "this booke *u legunne ffeb. 14. 1661, and finished April the 25th, IMS, att Mr. Brooks his house, in Stratford uppon Avon, m Warwickshire."
"They were written in Latin, and published with the foUowmg title in 1657: Select Observations on English Bt4im: Or, Cura bath Empericall and Historicall, perivrsud «bos wry eminent Persons in desperate Diseases.
First written in Laline by Mr. John Hall Physician, living at Stratford upon Avon in Wartnct-shire, ■where he teas very famous, as also in the Counties adjacent, as appears by these Observations drawn out of severall a ndreds of his as choycest. Now put into English for common benefit by James Cooke Practitioner in J'htjsick and Chirur
On the 25th of April92 all of Shakespeare that could perish was buried on the north side of the chancel of Stratford Church. A flat stone covering his grave bears the following inscription :—
"Good friend for Jesus sake forbear,
The monument erected to the great dramatist's memory against the north wall of the chancel, is too well known to require description. It is said to have been executed by Gerard Johnson soon after the poet's death, and is mentioned by Leonard Digges, in his verses prefixed to the folio edition of Shakespeare's plays published in 1623. The bust which forms part of the monument must therefore be regarded as the most authentic likeness of Shakespeare we possess.94 The inscription below it is as follows:—
"Judicio Pylium, genio Socratem, arte Maronem,
Terra tegit, populus mmrot [moeret,] Olympus habet." "Stay, passenger, why goest thou by so fast?
Read, if thou canst, whom envious Death hath plast
Within this monument, Shakspeare, with whome
Quick nature dido whose name doth deck yo tombe
Far more then cost; sith all yt he hath writt,
Loaves living art but page to serve his witt.
The first folio is illustrated with a portrait, engraved by Martin Droeshout, which, though inferior as a work of art, bears a general resemblance to the bust at Stratford.95 Unless it were a copy therefrom, the similarity would indicate a certain fidelity in both. Accompanying this print are some verses by Ben Jonson, which of themselves attest in some degree the truthfulness of the portrait:—
"This figure, that thou here seest put,
The bequests of the poet's will have been often criticized. The interlineation, by which he leaves to his wife only the "second-best bed," has occasioned especial speculation. But
* The record in the burial-register is
"1616. April 25. Wilt Shakspere, Genl."
83 Dowdall affirms that this epitaph was "made by himself, a little before his death.
M "The bust is as large as life, and was originally ooloured in imitation of nature: the eyes were light hazel; the hair and beard auburn; the doublet was scarlet; tho loose gown, without sleeves, blaok; the plain band round the neck, and the wrist-bands were white: the upper part of the cushion in front of tho bust was green, tho Under half crimson : the cord running along the cushion
and the tassels were gilt. These colours were renewed in 1749; but Malone caused the whole to be covered over with one or more ooats of white paint in 1793."—Dtcb.
85 For particulars respecting tho other portraits of Shakespeare, the reader is referred to,—An Inquiry into the A utlteniicity of Various Pictures and Prints, which, from the decease of the Poet to our own times, have been offered to the Public as Portraits of Skaiespeare, ire., by James Boaden, 1824: and to An Inquiry into the History, Autlienticily, and Characteristics of the Shakespeare Portraits, die, by Abraham Wivell, 1827.
the credit is due to Mr. Knight of having suggested that by the law of the land, Mrs. Shakespeare had certain rights in her husband's property which required no provision in his will. The same writer has pointed out that even the express mention of the second-best bed, was anything but unkindness and insult; the best bed at that period being considered amongst the chattels which went by custom to the heir in chief.
I have now approached, not without a sense of relief, the limits apportioned to a record of the few particulars in the personal history of Shakespeare which have been discovered. But, as everybody connected with so illustrious a man possesses interest, this imperfect memoir must not close without some account, however brief, of those members of his family who survived him. His widow outlived him seven years. She was buried at Stratford on the 8th of August, 1623.96 The inscription on the brass plate over her remains is as follows :—" Heere lyeth interred the body of Anne wife of William Shakespeare, who departed this life the 6th day of Augi". 1623, being of the age of 67 yeares.
TJbera tu, mater, tu lac vitamque dedisti:
Vae mihi, pro tanto munere saxa dabo.
Quam mallem amoveat lapidem bonus angelus ore,
Exeat Christi97 corpus imago tua.
Sed nil vota valent: venias cito, Christe, rosurget,
Clausa licet tumulo, mater et astra petot."
Shakespeare's wife makes but a small figure in this memoir. From her having been older than her husband; from certain passages in his works; from the slight notice of her in his wilt; from none of her family being named in that instrument; and from her having apparently lived a great part of her married life in some measure separated from him; it has been inferred that the match was not felicitous. But we have no satisfactory means of forming a judgment on the F abject, and in the absence of these it is not fair to conclude that there was unhappiness or estrangement between them.98
His eldest daughter, Susanna, who it has been mentioned was married to Dr. John Hall inherited the bulk of his property.99 Her daughter, and only child, Elizabeth, was born 21st of February, 1607-8, and appears to have been a favourite of her grandfather, as testified by his will. Dr. Hall died in 1635,100 leaving his property between his wife and daughter. Susanna survived him fourteen years, being buried on the 16th of July, 1649. The inscription on her tombstone, which adjoins her husband's in the chancel of Stratford Church, is as follows :—
* The entry of her burial in the register is peculiar :—
3623. "8 ( Mn. Shakespeare.
\ A naa ttror Hxdiardi James."—
The figure represents the day of the month, but what Are we to understand by the bracket? Mr. Harness is of opinion that the two names represent one person; that »ra- Shakespeare, after the death of her husband, forgot her allegiance to his memory, and became Mrs. James. "The book," he remarks, "affords no similar instance of this mode of entry. On every occasion, when two funerals bare taken place on the same day, the date is either repeated, or left blank, but this bracketing the names together—supposing Mrs. Shakespeare and Mrs. James to be different people, is altogether without a parallel. What can be the meaning of this departure from the common rule, unless it was intended to show that the two names owta'tute one register? Again, with hardly an exception to the contrary, all the entries on the page are in Latin; tni it would not only be difficult to account for the deration into the vulgar tongue in the case of the poet's •idow but to explain why, unless the whole register referred to one individual, the officiating minister, who described one A man, at full length, as 'Uxor Richardi Jimc ' should have been content without describing the atherAinui at full length also, as Vidua OnlUlmi S/iak
'^t"in UK this line no doubt originally read as it is ..J^fr.rinted, "Exeat ««Christ,?to, -but the "ui" S^dontbe bra*, plate.
98 A memorial of Anne Shakespeare in connexion with the friends of her youth at Shottery, is found in the will of Thomas Whittington, a man who had been her father's shepherd. Whittington, who died in 1608, made one bequest as follows :—
"Item, I geve and bequeth unt the poore of Stratfud 40*., that is in the hand of Anne Sbaxpere, wyfe unto Mr. Wyllyam Shaxpere, and is due debt unto me, beyng paid to mine executor by the sayd Wyllyam Shaxpere or his assignes according t the true meanyng of this my will." The money in question had probably been deposited in the hands of Mrs. Shakespeare for safe custody.
89 "New Place, the abode of the poet's later years,— which is said to have been originally built by Sir Hugh Clopton in the reign of Henry the Seventh, and which was then known by the name of The Great Howie,—came, on Shakespeare's death, to Mrs. Hall, and, on her decease, to her only child, Elizabeth Nash, afterwards Lady Barnard. In this mansion, while it belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Nash, Queen Henrietta Maria held her court for about three weeks, during tho civil wars in 1643. As directed in Lady Barnard's will, New Place was sold after the death of herself and her husband. Subsequently we find it again in the possession of the Clopton family: and in 1742 Garrick, Macklin, and Delano (the actor) were entertained by Sir Hugh Clopton, in the garden of New Place, under what was called Shakespeare's mulberry-tree. The constant tradition of Stratford declared that this celebrated tree was planted by the poet's hand: probably about 1609, a? during that year an immense number of young mulberry trees was imported from France, and sent into different
"Heero lyeth f body of Susanna, wife of John Hall, gent; y* daughter of William Shakespeare, gent: :shee deceased y* 11th of July, A" 1649, aged 66.
Witty above her sex, but that's not all.
Elizabeth, the poet's grand-daughter, was married on the 22d of April, 1626, to Thomas Nash, son of Anthony Nash, who had an estate at Welcombe. Thomas Nash was born in 1593, he was therefore fifteen years older than his wife. He died in April,102 1647, leaving no issue.108 His widow married her second husband John, afterwards Sir John, Bernard, of Abington, near Northampton. He was created a knight by Charles II., on the 25th of November, 1661. He was himself a widower, having married for his first wife a daughter of Sir Clement Edmonds, of Preston, in Northamptonshire. The Bernards were a respectable county family, having held the manor and advowson of Abington for more than two hundred years. Lady Bernard died at Abington, and was buried there on the 17th of February, 1669-70,104 and with her passed away the last of the poet's immediate descendants, as she left no issue by her marriage with Sir John Bernard.105 By her will, preserved in the Prerogative Court of London, Lady Bernard bequeathed legacies of forty and fifty pounds each, to six members of the Hathaway family, testifying thereby, to an affectionate regard for the memory of her grandmother, Anne Shakespeare.106 She left the inn called the Maidenhead, and the next house
counties of England, by order of King James, with a view to the encouragement of the silk manufacture. Sir Hugh Clopton modernized the house by internal and external alterations. His son-in-law, Henry Talbot, Esq" sold New Place to the Rev. Francis Gastrell, Vicar of Frodsham, in Cheshire. This wealthy and unamiable clergyman, conceiving a dislike to the mulberry-tree, because it subjected him to the importunities of travellers, whose veneration for Shakespeare induced them to visit it, caused it to be cut down and cleft into pieces for fire-wood, in 1756: the greater part of it, however, was bought by a watchmaker of Stratford, who converted every fragment into small boxes, goblets, toothpiek-cases, tobacco-stoppers, &c, for which he found eager purchasers. Mr. Gastrell having quarrollod with the magistrates about parochial assessments, razed the mansion to the ground in 1759, and quitted Stratford amidst the rage and execrations of the inhabitants."—Dvca.
100 The inscription on his tombstone reads thus :—
Hallius hie situs est, mediea celeberrimus arte,
Ne tumulo quid desit, adest fidissima conjux,
101 This inscription was removed to make room for another to the memory of one Richard Watts, who died in 1707; but it was restored a few years ago at the expense of the Rev. William Harness
i"2 He was buried with the Shakespeares in the chancel of Stratford Church:
"Heore resteth P' body of Thomas Nashe, esq. He mar. Elizabeth, the daug. and heire of John Halle, gent. He died Aprill 4. A. 1647, aged 53.
Fata manent omnes: hunc non virtute carentem,
Ut neque divitiis, abstulit atra dies;
Abstulit, at reforet lux ultima: siste, viator;
Si peritura paras, per male parta peris." 103 See Appendix.
101 The following is the record of her burial from the Abington register:—
"AnnoD^i. Nu. J. C. 1669. Madam Elizabeth Bernard wife of Sir John Bernard Knt., was buried 17th Febr. 1669."
108 The representatives of the poet are now the Harts, descendants from his sister Joan, who was buried at Stratford, Nov. 4, 1646.
10* See Appendix.