Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

nant is highly probable; but it is much more, likely to have been purchased by him from fome of the players after the theatres were thut up by authority, and the veterans of the ftage were reduced to great diftrefs, than to have been bequeathed to him by the person who painted it; in whose cuftody it is improbable that it should have remained. Sir William D'Avenant appears to have died infolvent. There is no Will of his in the Prerogative-Office; but administration of his effects was granted to John Otway, his principal creditor, in May 1668. After his death, Betterton the actor bought it, probably at a publick fale of his effects. While it was in Betterton's poffeffion, it was engraved by Vandergucht, for Mr. Rowe's edition of Shakspeare, in 1709. Betterton made no will, and died very indigent. He had a large collection of portraits of actors in crayons, which were bought at the fale of his goods, by Bullfinch the Printfeller, who fold them to one Mr. Sykes. The portrait of Shakspeare was purchafed by Mrs. Barry the actress, who fold it afterwards for 40 guineas to Mr. Robert Keck. In 1719, while it was in Mr. Keck's poffeffion, an engraving was made from it by Vertue: a large half-fheet. Mr. Nicoll of Colney-Hatch, Middlesex, marrying the heirefs of the Keck family, this picture devolved to him; and while in his poffeffion, it was, in 1747, engraved by Houbraken for Birch's Illuftrious Heads. By the marriage of the Duke of Chandos with the daughter of Mr. Nicoll, it be came his Grace's property.

Sir Godfrey Kneller painted a picture of our author, which he presented to Dryden, but from what picture he copied, I am unable to ascertain, as I have never feen Kneller's picture. The poet repaid him by an elegant copy of Verfes.-See his Poems, Vol. II. p. 231, edit. 1743:

Shakspeare, thy gift, I place before my fight,
"With awe I ask his bleffing as I write;
"With reverence look on his majestick face,
"Proud to be lefs, but of his godlike race.
"His foul infpires me, while thy praise I write,
"And I like Teucer under Ajax fight:

"Bids thee, through me, be bold; with dauntless breast "Contemn the bad, and emulate the best:

"Like his, thy criticks in the attempt are loft,

"When most they rail, know then, they envy moft." It appears from a circumftance mentioned by Dryden, that these verses were written after the year 1688: probably after Rymer's book had appeared in 1693. Dryden having made no will, and his wife Lady Elizabeth renouncing, administration was granted on the 10th of June, 1700, to his fon Charles, who was drowned in the Thames near Windsor in 1704. His younger

G4

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

brother, Erafmus, fucceeded to the title of Baronet, and died without iffue in 1711; but I know not what became of his effects, or where this picture is now to be found.

About the year 1725 a mezzotinto of Shakspeare was scraped by Simon, faid to be done from an original picture painted by Zouft or Soeft, then in the poffeffion of T. Wright, painter, in Covent Garden. The earliest known picture painted by Zouft in England, was done in 1657; fo that if he ever painted a picture of Shakspeare, it must have been a copy. It could not however have been made from D'Avenant's picture, (unless the painter took very great liberties,) for the whole air, drefs, difpofition of the hair, &c. are different. I have lately feen a picture in the poffeffion of Douglas, Efq. at Teddington near Twickenham, which is, I believe, the very picture from which Simon's mezzotinto was made. It is on canvas, (about 24 inches by 20,) and fomewhat smaller than the life.

The earliest print of our poet that appeared, is that in the title-
page of the firft folio edition of his works, 1623, engraved by
Martin Droefhout. On this print the following lines, addreffed
TO THE READER, were written by Ben Jonfon:

This figure that thou here feeft put,
"It was for gentle Shakspeare cut;
"Wherein the graver had a ftrife
"With nature, to out-do the life.
" Ọ, could be but have drawn his wit
"As well in brafs, as he hath hit
"His face, the print would then surpass
All that was ever writ in brafs;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"But fince he cannot, reader, look

"Not on his picture, but his book."

Droefhout engraved alfo the heads of John Fox the martyrologift, Montjoy Blount, fon of Charles Blount Earl of Devonshire, William Fairfax, who fell at the fiege of Frankendale in 1621, and John Howfon, Bishop of Durham. The portrait of Bishop Howfon is at Chrift Church, Oxford. By comparing any of these prints (the two latter of which are well executed) with the original pictures from whence the engravings were made, a better judgment might be formed of the fidelity of our author's portrait, as exhibited by this engraver, than from Jonson's affertion, that" in this figure

""

the graver had a ftrife

"With nature to out-do the life;"

a compliment which in the books of that age was paid to fo
many engravers, that nothing decifive can be inferred from it
It does not appear from what picture this engraving was made:
but from the dress, and the fingular difpofition of the hair, &c.

it undoubtedly was engraved from a picture, and probably a very ordinary one. There is no other way of accounting for the great difference between this print of Droefhout's, and his fpirited portraits of Fairfax and Bishop Howfon, but by supposing that the picture of Shakspeare from which he copied was a very coarse performance.

The next print in point of time is, according to Mr. Walpole and Mr. Granger, that executed by J. Payne, a fcholar of Simon Pafs, in 1634; with a laurel-branch in the poet's left-hand. A print of Shakspeare by fo excellent an engraver as Payne, would probably exhibit a more perfect reprefentation of him than any other of those times; but I much doubt whether any fuch ever exifted. Mr. Granger, I apprehend, has erroneously attributed to Payne the head done by Marshall in 1640, (apparently from Droefhout's larger print,) which is prefixed to a fpurious edition of Shakspeare's Poems published in that year. In Marshall's print the poet has a laurel branch in his left hand. Neither Mr. Walpole, nor any of the other great collectors of prints, are poffeffed of, or ever saw, any print of Shakspeare by Payne, as far as I can learn.

Two other prints only remain to be mentioned; one engraved by Vertue in 1721, for Mr. Pope's edition of our author's plays in quarto; faid to be engraved from an original picture in the poffeffion of the Earl of Oxford; and another, a mezzotinto, by Earlom, prefixed to an edition of King Lear, in 1770; said to be done from an original by Cornelius Janfen, in the collection of Charles Jennens, Efq. but Mr. Granger juftly obferves, "as it is dated in 1610, before Janfen was in England, it is highly probable that it was not painted by him, at least, that he did not paint it as a portrait of Shakspeare."

Moft of the other prints of Shakspeare that have appeared, were copied from fome or other of those which I have mentioned. MALONE.

"The portrait palmed upon Mr. Pope" (I use the words of the late Mr. Oldys, in a MS. note to his copy of Langbaine,) "for an original of Shakspeare, from which he had his fine. plate engraven, is evidently a juvenile portrait of King James I." I am no judge in these matters, but only deliver an opinion, which if ill-grounded may be eafily overthrown. The portrait, to me at least, has no traits of Shakspeare. STEEvens.

2 On his grave-ftone underneath is, Good friend, &c.] This epitaph is expreffed in the following uncouth mixture of fmall and capital letters:

"Good Frend for Iefus SAKE forbeare
"To diGG T-E Duft EncloAfed HERE
"Blefe be TE Man fpares TEs Stones
"And curst be He moves my Bones."

STEEVENS.

.

And curft be he that moves my bones.] It is uncertain whether this epitaph was written by Shakspeare himself, or by one of his friends after his death. The imprecation contained in this laft line, was perhaps fuggefted by an apprehenfion that our author's remains might share the fame fate with those of the reft of his countrymen, and be added to the immenfe pile of human bones depofited in the charnel-house at Stratford. This, however, is mere conjecture; for fimilar execrations are found in many ancient Latin epitaphs.

Mr. Steevens has juftly mentioned it as a fingular circumftance, that Shakspeare does not appear to have written any verfes on his contemporaries, either in praise of the living, or in honour of the dead. I once imagined that he had mentioned Spenfer with kindness in one of his Sonnets; but have lately discovered that the Sonnet to which I allude, was written by Richard Barnefield. If, however, the following epitaphs be genuine, (and indeed the latter is much in Shakspeare's manner,) he in two inftances overcame that modeft diffidence, which seems to have supposed the elogium of his humble mufe of no value.

In a Manufcript volume of poems by William Herrick and others, in the hand-writing of the time of Charles I. which is among Rawlinfon's Collections in the Bodleian Library, is the following epitaph, ascribed to our poet :

"" AN EPITAPH.

"When God was pleas'd, the world unwilling yet,
"Elias James to nature payd his debt,
"And here repofeth: as he liv'd, he dyde;
"The faying in him ftrongly verifide,-

"Such life, fuch death: then, the known truth to tell,
"He liv'd a godly life, and dyde as well.

"WM. SHAKSPEARE."

There was formerly a family of the furname of James at Stratford. Anne, the wife of Richard James, was buried there on the fame day with our poet's widow; and Margaret, the daughter of John James, died there in April, 1616.

A monumental infcription" of a better leer," and faid to be written by our author, is preserved in a collection of Epitaphs, at the end of the Vifitation of Salop, taken by Sir William Dugdale in the year 1664, now remaining in the College of Arms, C. 35, fol. 20; a tranfcript of which Sir Ifaac Heard, Garter, Principal King at Arms, has obligingly tranfmitted to me.

Among the monuments in Tongue church, in the county of Salop, is one erected in remembrance of Sir Thomas Stanley, Knight, who died, as I imagine, about the year 1600., In the Vifitation-book it is thus defcribed by Sir William Dugdale :

"On the north fide of the chancell stands a very stately tombe, fupported with Corinthian columnes. It hath two figures of men in armour, thereon lying, the one below the arches and columnes, and the other above them, and this epitaph upon it.

"Thomas Stanley, Knight, fecond fon of Edward Earle of Derby, Lord Stanley and Strange, defcended from the famielie of the Stanleys, married Margaret Vernon, one of the daughters. and co-heires of Sir George Vernon of Nether-Haddon, in the county of Derby, Knight, by whom he had iffue two fons, Henry and Edward. Henry died an infant; Edward furvived, to whom thofe lordships defcended; and married the lady Lucie Percie, fecond daughter of the Earle of Northumberland: by her he had iffue feaven daughters. She and her foure daughters, Arabella, Marie, Alice, and Prifcilla, are interred under a monument in the church of Waltham in the county of Effex. Thomas, her fon, died in his infancy, and is buried in the parish church of Winwich in the county of Lancafter. The other three, Petronilla, Frances, and Venefia, are yet living.

These following verfes were made by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, the late famous tragedian:

"Written upon the east end of this tombe.
"Afke who lyes here, but do not weepe;
"He is not dead, he doth but fleepe.
"This ftony regifter is for his bones,

"His fame is more perpetual than thefe ftones :
"And his own goodness, with himself being gone,
"Shall live, when earthly monument is none.'

""

"Written upon the west end thereof.

"Not monumental ftone preserves our fame,
"Nor fkye-afpiring pyramids our name.
"The memory of him for whom this ftands,
"Shall out-live marble, and defacers' hands.
"When all to time's confumption fhall be given,

Stanley, for whom this ftands, fhall ftand in heaven." The last line of this epitaph, though the worst, bears very ftrong marks of the hand of Shakspeare. The beginning of the firft line," Afke who lyes here," reminds us of that which we have been juft examining: "If any man afk, who lies in this tomb," &c. And in the fifth line we find a thought which our poet has also introduced in King Henry VIII:

"Ever belov'd and loving may his rule be!
"And, when old time fhall lead him to his grave,
Goodness and he fill up one monument !".

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »