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the senior of her husband. 25 Her father, in all probability, was Richard Hathaway, 26 whose family have held property at Shottery from the middle of the sixteenth century to the present day. 27
The first offspring of this union, Susanna, was born in May 1583.28 The only other issue were Hamnet and Judith, twins, who were baptized Feb. 2d. 1584–5.29
Shortly after the birth of these children, it seems to be agreed, that Shakespeare quitted his home and family ; and there is a well-known tradition, that this important step was owing to his being detected, with other young men, in stealing deer from the park of Sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote. For this indiscretion,30 he is said to have been severely punished, and to have retorted with a lampoon so bitter, that Sir Thomas redoubled his persecution and compelled him to fly.31
What degree of authenticity the story possesses will never probably be known. Rowe derived his version of it no doubt through Betterton; but Davies makes no allusion to the source from which he drew his information, and we are left to grope our way, so far as this important incident is concerned, mainly by the light of collateral circumstances. These, it must be admitted, serve in some respects to confirm the tradition. Shakespeare certainly quitted Stratford-upon-Avon when a young man, and it could have been no ordinary impulse which drove him to leave wife, children, friends, and occupation, to take up his abode among strangers in a distant place. Then there is the pasquinade, 32 and the unmistakeable identification of Sir Thomas Lucy as Justice Shallow in the Second Part of Henry IV. and in the opening
23 She died, according to the brass plate over her grave | redoubled the prosecution against him to that degree, in Stratford church, on “the 6th day of August, 1623, that he was obliged to leave his business and family in being of the age of 67 yeares.”
Warwickshire, for some time, and shelter himself in 26 Two precepts of the Stratford Court of Record ex London." hibit John Shakespeare as the surety of Richard Hathaway Aubrey is silent on the subject. He only says, “ This in 1566; and prove an early connexion between the two William, being inclined naturally to poetry and acting, families.
came to London I guess about eighteen." But the deer. 27 A house still existing in the hamlet, though now stealing freak and its consequences are narrated more divided into three cottages, has always passed as that in specifically than by Rowe, in an article headed Shakespeare which the poet's wife resided in her maiden years. Having among the MS. collections of the Rev. William Fulman, no evidence to the contrary, we may still look upon that who died in 1688. This learned antiquary bequeathed his habitation as the scene of Shakespeare's courtship.
papers to the Rev. Richard Davies, rector of Sapperton 28 The record of her baptism is as follows: "1583, and Archdeacon of Litchfield. upon whose death they May 26. Susanna daughter to William Shakspere."
were presented to Corpus Christi College, Oxford. To 29 The record in the register runs thus:-" 1584. Dr. Fulman's notes under the article Shakespeare, Davies Feb. 2. Hamnet and Judeth sonne and daughter to Willia has added the following:-"Much given to all unluckinesse Shaks pere."
in stealing venison and rabbits, particularly from SrThey were doubtless christened after Hamnet Sadler, Lucy, who had him oft whipt and sometimes imprisoned, and Judith his wife; the former a baker at Stratford, to and at last made him fly his native country to his great whom the poet bequeathed 36s. and 8d. to purchase a advancement : but his reveng was so great, that he is his ring.
Justice Clod pate and calls him a great man, and that, in 30 Deer stealing, in Shakespeare's day, was regarded allusion to his name, bore three louses rampant for his arms." only as a youthful frolic. Antony Wood (Athen. Oxon. 32 According to Rowe, the ballad on Sir Thomas Lucy i. 371), speaking of Dr. John Thornborough, who was was lost. According to Oldys, as quoted by Steevens: admitted a member of Magdalen College, Oxford, 1570, “ There was a very aged gentleman living in the neighat the age of eighteen, and was successively Bishop of bourhood of Stratford (where he died fifty years since) Limerick in Ireland, and Bishop of Bristol and Worcester who had not only heard from several old people in that in England, informs us, that he and his kinsman, Robert town of Shakspere's transgression, but could remember Pinkney, “ seldom studied or gave themselves to their the first stanza of that bitter ballad, which, repeating to books, but spent their time in the fencing-schools and one of his acquaintances, he preserved it in writing, and dancing-schools, in stealing deer and conies, in hunting here it is, neither better nor worse, but faithfully tranthe hare, and wooing girls."
scribed from the copy which his relation very courteously 31 The story is first told in print by Rowe, Life of communicated to me :Shakspeare:-“He had, by a misfortune common enough to young fellows, fallen into ill company, and, amongst A parliemente member, a justice of peace, them, some that made a frequent practice of deer-stealing, At home a poor scare-crowe, at London an asse; engaged him more than once in robbing a park that If lowsie is Lucy, as some volke miscalle it, belonged to Sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote, near Strat
Then Lucy is lowsie whatever befall it : ford. For this he was prosecuted by that gentleman, as
He thinks himself greate, be thought, somewhat too severely; and, in order to
Yet an asse in his state revenge that ill usage, he made a ballad upon him. And We allowe by his ears but with asses to mate, though this, probably the first essay of his poetry, be If Lucy is lowsie, as some volke miscalle it, lost, yet it is said to have been so very bitter, that it Sing lowsie Lucy, whatever befall it !"
scene of The Merry Wives of Windsor. The genuineness of the former may be doubted; but the ridicule in the plays betokens a latent hostility to the Lucy family which is unaccountable except upon the supposition that the deer-stealing foray is founded on facts.
Whatever the motive,-fear, distress, or ambition,-Shakespeare, it is believed, left Stratford about 1586, and found employment at some theatre in London ;33 but we have no direct proof of the year when he left his home, or of that in which he took up his abode in the metropolis. According to a document introduced by Mr. Collier, as discovered in Lord Ellesmere's muniments, he was a sharer in the Blackfriars Theatre in 1589, but this memorial, like the rest of the Shakesperian papers from the same collection, has been shown to be a rank fabrication.34 In fact, from the baptism of his twins in 1584–5, to the latter end of the year 1592, when Green alludes to him in A Groatsworth of Wit, &c. his history is a blank.
It does not come within the scope of this brief memoir to enter at large into the subject of the Elizabethan theatre, but a few words respecting it are indispensable. Shakespeare in all likelihood originally joined the company playing at the Blackfriars Theatre. This company afterwards (in 1594) built another theatre, called The Globe, on the south bank of the Thames ; using the latter, which was partially open to the air, in summer; and the former, which was a private or enclosed house, for winter performances. The Blackfriars playhouse stood in an opening still called Playhouse Yard, between Apothecaries' Hall and Printing-house Square. Besides these two, there were several theatres in London during Shakespeare's residence there. The principal appear to have been, The Theatre (so denominated probably from being the first building erected specially for scenic performances) and The Curtain, in Shoreditch; The Paris Garden, The Rose, The Hope, The Swan, on the Bankside, Southwark ; The Fortune, in Golden Lane, Cripplegate ; The Red Bull, St. John Street, Smithfield; The Whitefriars, near to where the gas works now stand, between the Temple and Blackfriars Bridge; and a summer theatre at Newington Butts. 35
Rowe says, “He was received into the company then in being, at first in a very mean rank ;" and this tallies with the statement made by Dowdall in 1693 (Seo
* In a work entitled, Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland, 1753, there is a life of Shakespeare, in which, for the first time, we meet with the incredible tradition of his having held the horses of gentlemen who visited the play :
"I cannot forbear relating a story which Sir William Davenant told Mr. Betterton, who communicated it to Mr. Rove; Rowe told it to Mr. Pope, and Mr. Pope told it to Dr. Newton, the late editor of Milton, and from a gentleman who heard it from him, 'tis here related. Concerning Shakespear's first appearance in the playhouse. When be aume to London, he was without money and friends, and being a stranger, he knew not to whom to apply, nor by what means to support himself. At that time, coaches not being in use, and as gentlemen were accustomed to ride to the playhouse, Shakespear, driven to the last necessity, went to the playhouse door, and pick'd up a little money, by taking care of the gentlemen's horses who came to the play : he became eminent even in that profession, and was taken notice of for his diligence and skill in it, he had soon more business than he himself could manage, and at last hired boys under him, who were known by the name of Shakespear's boys. Some of the players, accidentally conversing with him, found him so acute, and master of so fine a conversation, that, struck therewith, they [introduced) and recommended him to the house, in which he was first admitted in a very low station, but he did not long remain so, for he soon distinguished himself, if not as an extraordinary actor, at least as a fpe writer."
34 It is as follows:-" These are to sertifie yor right honorable Ll that he Mates poore playeres, James Burbidge, Richard Burbidge, John Laneham, Thomas Greone, Robert Wilson, John Taylor, Anth. Wadeson, Thomas Pope, George Peele,: Augustine Phillippes, Nicholas Towley, William Shakespeare, William Kempe, William Johnson, Baptiste Goodale, and Robert Armyn, being all of the sharers in the blacke Fryers playehouse, have never giuen cause of displeasure, in that they haue brought into their playes maters of state and Religion, vnfitt to be handled by them or to be presented before lewde spectators; neither hath anie complainte in that kinde ever beene preferred against them or anie of them. Wherefore they truste moste humblie in yor Ll consideracon of their former good behaiuour, beingo at all tymes readie and willing to yeelde obedience to anie comaund whatsoever your Ll in your wisedome maye thinke in such case moete, &c.
“ Novr. 1589." 35 The Phoenix, which had formerly been a Cockpit, in Drury Lane, was not converted into a playhouse until after Shakespeare's retirement from London.
Edmund Howes, in his Continuation of Stow's chronicle, gives a curious summary of playhouse incidents extending over the whole of Shakespeare's time. After describing the burning of the Globe in 1613, the destruction of the Fortune by a like accident four years after, the rebuilding of both, and the erection of “a new fair playhouse near the Whitefriars," he says, writing in 1631, “And this is the seventeenth stage, or common playhouse, which hath been new made within the space of three scoro years within London and the suburbs, viz. five inns, or common hostelries turned to playhouses, one cockpit, St. Paul's singing school, one in the Blackfriars, one in the Whitefriars, which was built last of all, in the year one
Before the erection of established theatres, and long afterwards, plays were also acted in the yards of certain inns, such as the The Bell Savage, on Ludgate Hill; The Cross Keys, in Gracechurch Street; and The Bull, in Bishopsgate Street.
With respect to the regular theatre we are not very intimately acquainted with the details of its structure, but the interior economy appears to have resembled that of the old inn yards, and it was evidently provided with different accommodation to suit different classes of visitors. There were tiers of galleries or scaffolds, and small rooms beneath, answering to the modern boxes. There was the pit, as it was called in the private theatres, or yard, as it was named at the public ones. In the former, spectators were provided with seats ; in the latter they were obliged to stand throughout the performance.38 The critics, wits, and gallants were allowed stools upon the stage, for which the price was sixpence or a shilling each, 37 according to the eligibility of the situation, and they were attended by pages, who supplied them with pipes and tobacco; smoking, drinking ale, playing cards, and eating nuts and apples, always forming a portion of the entertainment at our early theatres.
The stage appliances were extremely simple. At the back of the stage there was a permanent balcony, about eight feet from the platform, in which scenes supposed to take place on towers or upper chambers were represented. 38 Suspended in front of it were curtains, and these were opened or closed as the performance required. 39 The sides and back of the stage, with the exception of that part occupied by the balcony, were hung with arras tapestry, and sometimes pictures, and the internal roof with blue drapery, except on the performance of tragedy, when the sides, back, - and roof of the stage were covered with black.40 The stage was commonly strewed with rushes, though on particular occasions it was matted over.
The performance commenced at three o'clock, in the public theatres, the signal for beginning being the third sounding or flourish of trumpets.41 It was customary for the actor who spoke the prologue to be dressed in a long velvet cloak. In the early part of Shakespeare's theatrical career, the want of scenery appears to have been supplied by the primitive expedient of hanging out a board, on which was written the place where the action was to be understood as taking place. Sometimes when a change of scene was requisite, the audience were left to imagine that the actors, who still remained on the stage, had removed to the spot mentioned. 42 During the performance, the clown would frequently indulge in extemporaneous buffoonery.
thousand six hundred and twenty nine. All the rest not piece, addressing themselves to the balcony, and regardnamed were erooted only for common playhouses, besides | less of the spectators in the theatre, to whom their backs the new-built Bear Garden, which was built as well for must have been turned during the whole of the performplays, and fencer's prizes, as bull-baiting; besides one ance."--Historical Account of the English Stage, p. 108. in former time at Newington Butts. Before the space of 39 I am of opinion that during Shakespeare's time there three score years abovo said [i.e. before 1571, when
were no curtains across the proscenium. Shakespeare was seven years of age) I neither knew, heard, 40 The covering of the internal roof, or the roof itself, nor read of any such theatres, set stages, or playhouses, was technically termed the heavens. See note (1), p. 332. as have been purposely built within man's memory."
Vol. II. 36 Hence they aro termed groundlings by Shakespeare, There was an interval of some minutes between each and understanding gentlemen of the ground by Ben Jonson. sounding. See the Induction to Ben Jonson's Poetaster and
37 According to Malone, but there is much uncertainty Cynthia's Revels. on the point, the prices of admission to the best rooms, or 42 “ The simplicity of the old stage in this respect, may boxes, was, in Shakespeare's day, a shilling ; that to the also be clearly shown by a reference to R. Greene's Pinner galleries and pit, in the chief theatres, sixpence, in the of Wakefield, printed in 1599, where Jenkin is struck inferior ones, twopence, and sometimes only a penny.
by the Shoe-maker in the street. Jenkin challenges him 38 “ It appears," says Malone, “ from the stage. to come to the towns-end to fight it out; and, after some directions given in The Spanish Tragedy, that when a play farther parley, the professor of the gentle craft' reminds was exhibited within a play (if I may so express myself), Jenkin of his challenge : as is the case in that piece and in Hamlet, the court or
Come, sir, will you come to the town's-end now? audience before whom the interlude was performed sat in
• Jenkin. Aye, Sir, come.' the balcony, or upper stage already described ; and a curtain or traverse being hung across the stage, for the
and in the very next line he adds, nonce, the performers entered between that curtain and
'Now we are at the town's-end." the general audience, and on its being drawn, began their
History of English Dramatic Poetry, &c. ü. 68
There was always music between the acts, and sometimes singing and dancing. And at the end of the play, after a prayer for the reigning monarch, offered by the actors on their knees, 43 the clown would entertain the audience by descanting on any theme which the spectators might supply, or by performing what was called a jig, a farcical doggrel improvisation, accompanied by dancing and singing.
During the reign of Elizabeth, plays were acted every day in the week, 44 .t in the time of James I., though dramatic entertainments on Sundays were allowed at court, they were prohibited in the public theatres. As there were two sorts of theatres, there were two classes of actors. There were the regular companies, acting in the name and under the auspices of the Crown or of a man of rank and influence, such as the Queen's servants (of whom Shakespeare was one), 46 the Earl of Leicester's players ; those of Lord Warwick, Lord Worcester, Lord Pembroke, &c. There were also certain private adventurers who acted without official licence, and were the subjects of prohibitory enactments. The Act of the 14th of Elizabeth (1572) operated as a protective law to the authorized companies. It was entitled an act "for the punishment of vagabonds, and for the relief of the poor and impotent.” One of its provisions extends the meaning of rogues and vagabonds to “all fencers, bearwards, common-players in interludes, and minstrels, not belonging to any Baron of this realm or towards any other honorable personage of greater degree; all jugglers, pedlars, tinkers, and petty chapmen, which said fencers, bearwards, common-players in interludes, minstrels, jugglers, pedlars, tinkers, and petty chapmen shall wander abroad, and not have licence of two justices of the peace at the least, whereof one to be of the quorum, where and in what shire they shall happen to wander.” This act effected no material restriction on the number of actors, for, while its provisions were evaded by numerous jugglers, minstrels, and interlude players, various companies were enrolled in the service of the nobility. The growing Puritanism of the time occasioned many attempts to be made at suppressing the drama on the part of civic authorities, both in London and elsewhere, 46 but the theatre maintained its ground through the reign of Elizabeth and for many years afterwards.
* * At the end of the piece, the actors, in noblemen's | Lord Chamberlain, dated March 20, 1573, refusing their bouses and in taverns, where plays were frequently per consent to his lordship's request in favour of a Mr. Holmes, formed, prayed for the health and prosperity of their that he should be allowed to appoint places for plays and patrons; and in the publick theatres, for the king and interludes within the city; and intimating that some queen. This prayer sometimes made part of the epilogue. previous applications of the same kind had met with a Hence, probably, as Mr. Steevens has observed, the similar refusal. addition of Vicant rez et regina to the modern playbills."
[Cart. Cott. xxvi. 41.) -MAIONE.
“ To the right honorable our singular good Lord the Erle 4 In 1580, the magistrates of the city of London of Sussex, Lord Chamberlan of the Quenes Maties mos obtained from the queen a prohibition against plays on honorable household. the Sabbath, which seems, however, to have continued in Our dutie to yor good L. humbly done, where yol L. force but a short time.
hath made request in favor of Mr. Holmes, for our assent 6 "Comedians and stage-players of former time were that he might have the apointement of places for playes very poor and ignorant in respect of these of this time; and entreludes within the citie. It may please yor L. to bat being now (1583) growne very skilfull and exquisite receive undouted assurance of or redinesse to gratife in actors for all matters, they were entertained into the any thing that we reasonably may, any persone whome service of divers great lords: out of which companies yot L, shal favor and comend. Howbeit this case is such there were twelve of the best chosen, and, at the request and so nere touching the governance of this citie in one of Sir Francis Walsingham, they were sworn the queenes of the greatest maters therof, namely the assemblies of serrants, and were allowed wages and liveries as groomes multitudes of the Quenes people ; and in regard to be of the chamber : and until this year 1583, the queene had bad to sondry inconveniences wherof the peril is conno players. Among these twelve players, were two rare tinually upon everie occasion to be foreseen by the rulers mnen, riz. Thomas Wilson, for a quicke, delicate, refined, of this citie, that we can not with our duties, byside the extemporall witt, and Richard Tarleton, for a wondrous president farr extending to the hart of our liberties, well plentifull pleasant extemporall wit, he was the wonder of assent that the sayd apointement of places be comitted his tyne. He lieth buried in Shoreditch Church."-Stow's to any private persone. For which and other resonable Ckronicle, sub 1583, ed. 1615.
consideracons, it hath long since pleased yor good L.. 46 A few years ago, Sir Frederic Madden published the among the rest of her Maties most honorable counsell, to following interesting illustration of the pertinacity with rest satisfied with our not graunting the like to such which the authorities of the city of London resisted the persone as by their most honorable lettres was heretofore admission of stage-players within the city. It is an in like case comended unto us. Byside that if it might original letter, preserved among the Cottonian charters, with reasonable convenience be graunted, great offres froin the Mayor and Alderman to the Earl of Sussex, I have ben and be made for the same, to the relefe of tte
The "fellowship" which Shakespeare is supposed to have joined was originally attachi to the Parl of Leicester. In 1674, it was distinguished by more illustrious patronage, a wi being issued that year to the Keeper of the Great Seal, 47 commanding him to set forth lette patent aldressed to all justices of the peace, licensing and authorizing James Burbadge, Joh Perkyn, John Lanbam, William Johnson, and Robert Wylson, servants of the Earl of Leiceste "to uge, exercise and occupie the art and faculty of playeing comedies, tragedies, enterludes, stag played, and such other liko su they have alredy used and studied, as well for the recreacion our loving subjects, is for our solace and pleasure, when we shall think good to see them as we within our Cyty of London and the liberties of the same as throughout the realm of England This admonition was opposed by those charged with the liberties of the City of London, and i 1070 the Common Council pasged what in civic language was called an “ Act,” in which the muulled their licenco with a condition, that the players should contribute half their receipts t charitable purposOf. But in the same year Burbadge and his fellow-servants of the Earl Leicester, through tho powerful influence of their patron, obtained a patent for the erection a theatre at Blackfriars ; close to the city wall, though beyond the jurisdiction of the cit authorities. Shortly afterwards they took some large premises in the precinct of the dissolver Black-friars monastery, and in spite of a vigorous opposition on the part of the inhabitants in th neighbourhood, converted them into the very theatre of which it is presumed Shakespearı became a fellow, not long after his arrival in London.
Shakespeare's first connexion with the company in the Blackfriars was probably as an actor Of his qualifications and line of performance in this art, scarcely anything is known, though according to Aubrey, "ho did not exceedingly well.”48 Rowe says, “His name is printed, as the custom was in those times, amongst those of the other players, before some old plays, but without any particular account of what sort of parts he used to play; and though I have inquired, I could never meet with any further account of him this way, than that the top of his performance was the Ghost in his own Hamlet." 49
Downes, the writer of the Roscius Anglicanus, who was prompter at one of the London theating in 1662, speaking of Sir William Davenant's theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, between 1062 and 1663, remarks, "The tragedy of Hamlet, Hamlet being performed by Mr Botterton. Sir William having soon Mr. Taylor of the Blackfryars company act it, whe being instructed by the author, Mr. Shakespear, taught Mr. Betterton in every particle of it which, by his exact performance of it, gained him esteem and reputation superlative to all othe plann.“
In like manner he speaks of Betterion's haring been instructed by Sir William to play Henry VIII, after the fashion or "old Mr. Lowen," who had been taught by Shakespear
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