« AnteriorContinuar »
Item, I give unto my wife my second best bed, with the furniture."
Item, I give and bequeath to my said daughter Judith my broad silver gilt bowl. All the rest of my goods, chattels, leases, plate, jewels, and houshold stuff whatsoever, after my debts and legacies paid, and my funeral expences discharged, I give, devise, and bequeath to my son-in-law, John Hall, gent. and my daughter Susanna his wife, whom I ordain and make executors of this my last will and testament. And I do entreat and appoint the said Thomas Russel, esq. and Francis Collins, gent. to be overseers hereof. And do revoke all former wills, and publish this to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand, the day and year first above written.
By me1 William Shakspeare.
Witness to the publishing hereof,
second best bed, with the furniture.] Thus Shakspeare's original will. Mr. Theobald and the other modern editors have been more bountiful to Mrs. Shakspeare, having printed instead of these words, -my brown best bed, with the furniture." MALONE.
It appears, in the original will of Shakspeare, (now in the Prerogative-Office, Doctor's Commons,) that he had forgot his wife; the legacy to her being expressed by an interlineation, as well as those to Heminge, Burbage, and Condell.
The will is written on three sheets of paper, the two last of which are undoubtedly subscribed with Shakspeare's own hand. The first indeed has his name in the margin, but it differs somewhat in spelling as well as manner, from the two signatures that
Probatum fuit testamentum suprascriptum apud London, coram Magistro William Byrde, Legum Doctore, &c. vicesimo secundo die mensis Junii, Anno Domini 1616; juramento Johannis Hall unius ex. cui, &c. de bene, &c. jurat. reservata potestate, &c. Susanna Hall, alt ex. &c. eam cum venerit, &c. petitur. &c.
follow. The reader will find a fac-simile of all the three, as well as those of the witnesses, opposite this page. STEEvens.
The name at the top of the margin of the first sheet was probably written by the scrivener who drew the will. This was the constant practice in Shakspeare's time. MALONE.
1 By me William Shakspeare.] This was the mode of our poet's time. Thus the Register of Stratford is signed at the bottom of each page, in the year 1616: "Per me Richard Watts, Minister." These concluding words have hitherto been inaccurately exhibited thus: " the day and year first above-written by me, William Shakspeare." Neither the day, nor year, nor any preceding part of this will, was written by our poet. me," &c. only means-The above is the will of me William Shakspeare. MALone.
Fra. Collyns,] See p. 157. - Julius Shaw,] was born in Sept. 1571. He married Anne Boyes, May 5, 1594; and died at Stratford in June 1629.
John Robinson,] John, son of Thomas Robinson, was baptized at Stratford, Nov. 30, 1589. I know not when he died.
Hamnet Sadler.] See p. 158.
DEDICATION OF THE PLAYERS.
MOST NOBLE AND INCOMPARABLE PAIRE OF
Earle of PEMBROKE, &c. Lord Chamberlaine to the Kings most Excellent Majestie;
Earle of MONTGOMERY, &c. Gentleman of his Majesties Bed-chamber.
Both Knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and our singular good LORDS.
WHILST we studie to be thankfull in our particular, for the many favors we have received from your L. L. we are falne upon the ill fortune, to mingle two the most diverse things that can be, feare, and rashnesse; rashnesse in the enterprize, and feare of the successe. For, when we value the places your H. H. sustaine, wee cannot but know the dignity greater, than to descend to the reading of these trifles and, while we name them trifles, we have deprived ourselves of the defence of our de
dication. But since your L. L. have been pleased to thinke these trifles something, heretofore; and have prosequuted both them, and their authour living, with so much favour; we hope that (they out-living him, and he not having the fate, common with some, to be exequutor to his owne writings) you will use the same indulgence toward them, you have done unto their parent. There is a great difference, whether any booke choose his patrones, or find them: this hath done both. For so much were your L. L. likings of the several parts, when they were acted, as before they were published, the volume asked to be yours. We have but collected them, and done an office to the dead, to procure his orphanes, guardians; without ambition either of selfe-profit, or fame: onely to keepe the memory of so worthy a friend, and fellow alive, as was our SHAKSPEARE, by humble offer of his playes, to your most noble patronage. Wherein, as we have justly observed no man to come neere your L. L. but with a kind of religious addresse, it hath bin the height of our care, who are the presenters, to make the present worthy of your H. H. by the perfection. But, there we must also crave our abilities to be considered, my lords. We cannot goe beyond our owne powers. Country hands reach forth milke, creame, fruits, or what they have: and many nations (we have heard) that had not gummes and incense, obtained their requests with a leavened cake. It was no fault to approach their
6 Country hands reach forth milk, &c. and many nations→→ that had not gummes and incense, obtained their requests with a leavened cake.] This seems to have been one of the commonplaces of dedication in Shakspeare's age. We find it in Morley's Dedication of a Book of Songs to Sir Robert Cecil, 1595: "I have presumed (says he) to make offer of these simple composi