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And for this comfort I have received from your goodnes I must and ever will remayne your Honors in all I ame
Having, perhaps, gone a little out of my way in the insertion of the letters of the master of the queen's revels, an office Shakspeare endeavored to procure in 1603, I must now revert briefly to the draft of the warrant of 1609, according to which, had it been carried into effect, Shakspeare would have been at the head of a company of juvenile performers. When that draft was sent to Lord Ellesmere, some inquiry seems to have been made as to the nature and names of the "Tragedies, Comedies, &c.," which the children were to act; for in the margin of the paper are written the titles of thirteen plays, five of which are perhaps known, and eight certainly unknown. They are these
Proud Poverty is no where mentioned; and the same may be said of Widow's Mite, Triumph of Truth, Touchstone, Mirror of Life, English Tragedy, False Friends, and Hate and Love: Anthony Munday, indeed, wrote a play called The Widow's Charm; Thomas Middleton, a pageant called The Triumphs of Truth; and Kirton, a tract called The Mirror of Man's Life; but they could have had no other connection with the names of plays in the margin of the draft than some similarity of title. Antonio may have been Marston's Antonio and Mellida, printed in 1602, or the old play of Antonio and Vallia, introduced into Henslowe's Diary. Kinsmen was possibly The Two Noble Kinsmen, attributed to Shakspeare and Fletcher, which was not printed until 1634. Grisell was doubtless some dramatic version of Boccaccio's Story of Griselda, and perhaps the comedy of Patient Grisell, printed anonymously in 1603, but, from Henslowe's Diary, ascertained to have been written by Haughton, Chettle, and Dekker. Taming of S. instantly brings to mind Shakspeare's Taming of the Shrew; or it
might be the older comedy, The Taming of a Shrew, to whicn Shakspeare was indebted, and which was printed in 1594. K. Edw. 2. was most likely Marlow's tragedy of Edward the Second.
Of course it is impossible even to guess at the authors of the other dramatic productions, the titles of which are here inserted for the first time: perhaps more than one proceeded from the pen of Shakspeare, contributed by him in the outset of the new company, with whom he once designed to be connected.
I shall offer no other apology for the length of this letter, than by saying that, if I had consulted my own inclination, I should have made it at least four times as long, by adding a great deal of other new matter relating to Shakspeare, his works, and his fellow dramatists and actors. I wish a few other people had half your knowledge of, and half your liking for, such details; but perhaps, after all, you may only have a temporary escape.
I must not conclude without expressing my personal thankfulness, and the obligations of literature, not in this instance merely, to Lord Francis Egerton: he has laid open the manuscript stores of his noble family with a liberality worthy of his rank and race; and, if the example were followed by others possessed of similar relics, literary and historical information of great novelty and of high value might in many cases be obtained.
My dear Amyot,
Yours most sincerely,
J. PAYNE COLLIER.
LONDON, May 20, 1835.
FROM THE ORIGINAL IN THE OFFICE OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT OF CANTERBURY.
Vicesimo quinto die Martii, Anno Regni Domini nostri Jacobi nunc Regis Angliæ, &c. decimo quarto, et Scotia quadragesimo Anno Domini 1616.
In the name of God, Amen. I, William Shakspeare, of Stratford upon Avon, in the county of Warwick, gent., in perfect health and memory, (God be praised!) do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following; that is to say :
First, I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping, and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Savior, to be made partaker of life everlasting; and my body to the earth whereof it is made.
Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Judith, one hundred and fifty pounds of lawful English money, to be paid unto her in manner and form following; that is to say, one hundred pounds in discharge of her marriage portion within one year after my decease, with consideration after the rate of two shillings in the pound for so long time as the same shall be unpaid unto her after my decease; and the fifty pounds residue thereof, upon her surrendering of, or giving of such sufficient security as the overseers of this my will shall like of, to surrender or grant, all her estate and right that shall descend or come unto her after my decease, or that she now hath, of, in, or to, one copy hold tenement, with the appurtenances, lying and being in Stratford upon Avon aforesaid, in the said county of Warwick, being parcel or holden of the manor of Rowington, unto my daughter Susanna Hall, and her heirs forever. Item, I give and bequeath unto my said daughter Judith one hun
dred and fifty pounds more, if she, or any issue of her body, be liv ing at the end of three years next ensuing the day of the date of this my will, during which time my executors to pay her consideration from my decease according to the rate aforesaid: and if she die within the said term without issue of her body, then my will is, and I do give and bequeath one hundred pounds thereof to my niece Elizabeth Hall, and the fifty pounds to be set forth by my executors during the life of my sister Joan Hart, and the use and profit thereof coming, shall be paid to my said sister Joan, and after her decease the said fifty pounds shall remain amongst the children of my said sister, equally to be divided amongst them; but if my said daughter Judith be living at the end of the said three years, or any issue of her body, then my will is, and so I devise and bequeath the said hundred and fifty pounds to be set out by my executors and overseers for the best benefit of her and her issue, and the stock not to be paid unto her so long as she shall be married and covert baron; but my will is, that she shall have the consideration yearly paid unto her during her life, and after her decease the said stock and consideration to be paid to her children, if she have any, and if not, to her executors and assigns, she living the said term after my decease provided that if such husband as she shall at the end of the said three years be married unto, or at any [time] after, do sufficiently assure unto her, and the issue of her body, lands answerable to the portion by this my will given unto her, and to be adjudged so by my executors and overseers, then my will is, that the said hundred and fifty pounds shall be paid to such husband as shall make such assurance, to his own use.
Item, I give and bequeath unto my said sister Joan twenty pounds, and all my wearing apparel, to be paid and delivered within one year after my decease; and I do will and devise unto her the house, with the appurtenances, in Stratford, wherein she dwelleth, for her natural life, under the yearly rent of twelve pence.
Item, I give and bequeath unto her three sons, William Hart,
Hart, and Michael Hart, five pounds apiece, to be paid within
one year after my decease.
Item, I give and bequeath unto the said Elizabeth Hall all my plate (except my broad silver and gilt bowl), that I now have at the date of this my will.
Item, I give and bequeath unto the poor of Stratford aforesaid, ten pounds; to Mr. Thomas Combe, my sword; to Thomas Russel, esq., five pounds; and to Francis Collins, of the borough of Warwick, in the county of Warwick, gent., thirteen pounds six shillings and eight pence; to be paid within one year after my decease.
Item, I give and bequeath to Hamlet [Hamnet] Sadler twenty-six shillings eight pence, to buy him a ring; to William Reynolds, gent., twenty-six shillings eight pence, to buy him a ring; to my godson William Walker, twenty shillings in gold; to Anthony Nash, gent., twenty-six shillings eight pence; and to Mr. John Nash, twenty-six shillings eight pence; and to my fellows, John Hemynge, Richard Burbage, and Henry Cundell, twenty-six shillings eight pence apiece, to buy them rings.
Item, I give, will, bequeath, and devise, unto my daughter Susanna Hall, for better enabling of her to perform this my will, and towards the performance thereof, all that capital messuage or tenement, with the appurtenances, in Stratford aforesaid, called The New Place, wherein I now dwell, and two messuages or tenements, with the appurtenances, situate, lying, and being in Henley Street, within the borough of Stratford aforesaid; and all my barns, stables, orchards, gardens, lands, tenements, and hereditaments whatsoever, situate, lying, and being, or to be had, received, perceived, or taken, within the towns, hamlets, villages, fields, and grounds of Stratford upon Avon, Old Stratford Bishopton, and Welcombe, or in any of them, in the said county of Warwick; and also all that messuage or tenement, with the appurtenances, wherein one John Robinson dwelleth, situate, lying, and being, in the Blackfriars in London, near the Wardrobe; and all other my lands, tenements, and hereditaments whatsoever: to have and to hold all and singular the said premises, with their appurtenances, unto the said Susanna Hall, for and during the term of her natural life; and after her decease to the first son of her body lawfully issuing, and to the heirs males of the body of the said first son lawfully issuing; and for default of such issue, to the second son of her body lawfully issuing, and to the heirs males of the body of the said second son lawfully issuing; and for default of such heirs, to the third son of the body of the said Susanna lawfully issuing, and to the heirs males of the body of the said third son lawfully issuing; and for default of such issue, the same so to be and remain to the fourth, fifth, sixth, and