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If any decree were pronounced, it is singular that noi faithful chronicler, to “ the late greatest price." Malone trace of it should have been preserved either in the records found, and printed, a letter from Abraham Sturley, of Stratof the Court of Chancery, or among the papers of Lord ford-upon-Avon, dated 24th Jan., 1597–8, stating that his Ellesmere; but such is the fact, and the inférence is, that “neighbours groaned with the wants they felt through the the suit was settled by the parties without proceeding to dearness of corno," and that malcontents in great numbers this extremity. We can have little doubt that the bill had had gone to Sir Thoms Lucy and Sir Fulke Greville to been filed with the concurrence, and at the instance, of our complain of the maltsters for engrossing it. Connected with great dramatist, who at this date was rapidly acquiring this dearth, the Shakespeare Society has been put in poswealth, although his father and mother put forward in their session of a document of much value as regards the biobill their own poverty and powerlessness, compared with graphy of our poet, although, at first sight, it may not apthe riches and influence of their opponent. William Shake- pear to deserve notice, it is sure in the end to attract. It is speare must have been aware, that during the last seven- thus headed : teen years his father and mother had been deprived of their right to Asbyes : in all probability his money was employed
“ The noate of corne and malte, taken the 4th of February, in order to commence and prosecute the suit in Chancery :
1597, in the 40th year of the raigne of our most gra
cious Soveraigne Ladie, Queen Elizabeth, &c." and unless we suppose them to have stated and re-stated a deliberate falsehood, respecting the tender of the 401., it is.
Sand in the margin opposite the title are the words “ Stratvery clear that they had equity on their side. We think, # therefore, we may conclude that John Lambert, finding
i forde Burroughe, Warwicke.” It was evidently prepared
ang in order to ascertain how much corn and malt there really he had no chance of success, relinquished his claim to Asbyes,
ASOYES, was in the town; and it is divided into two columns, one perhaps on the payment of the 201. and of the sums which
showing the “ Townsmen's corn," and the other the "Stranhis father had required from John and Mary Shakespeare in 1580, and which in 1597 they did not dispute to have (when known) are all given, with the wards in which they
ary Shakespeare gers' malts. The names of the Townsmen and Strangers been due.
resided, so that we are enabled by this document, among Among other matters set forth by John Lambert in his
S | other things, to prove in what part of Stratford the family answer is, that the Shakespeares were anxious to regain of
of our great poet then dwelt: it was in Chapel-street, Ward, possession of Asbyes, because the current lease was near and
ear and it appears that at the date of the account William its expiration, and they hoped to be able to obtain an im- Shakes
Shakespeare had ten quarters of corn in his possession. As proved rent. Supposing it to have been restored to their
I some may be curious to see who were his immediate neighhands, the fact may be that they did not let it again, but hon
in, but bours, and in what order the names are given, we copy the cultivated it themselves; and we have at this period some
account, as far as it relates to Chapel-street Ward, exactly new documentary evidence to produce, leading to the belief
| as it stands. , that our poet was a land-owner, or at all events a land-occupier, to some extent in the neighbourhood of Stratford
CHAPPLE STREET WARD. upon-Avon.
3 Frauncis Smythe, Jun'., 3 quarters. * Aubrey informs us, (and there is not only no reason for 5 John Coxe, 5 quarters. disbelieving his statement, but every ground for giving it| 171 Mr. Thomas Dyxon, 171 quarters. credit) that William Shakespeare was “wont to go to his 3 Mr. Thomas Barbor, 3 quarters. native country once a year." Without seeking for any evi 5 Mychaell Hare, 5 quarters. dence upon the question, nothing is more natural or proba
6 M. Bifielde, 6 quarters. ble; and when, therefore, he had acquired sufficient pro
6 Hugh Aynger, 6 quarters. perty, he might be anxious to settle his family comfortably
6 Thomas Badsey, 6 quarters—bareley 1 quarter.
1.2 str. John Rogers, 10 strikes. and independently in Stratford. We must suppose that his
8 Wm. Emmettes, 8 quarters. father and mother were mainly dependent upon him, not
11 Mr. Aspinall, aboute 11 quarters. withstanding the recovery of the small estate of the latter 10 Wm. Shackespere, 10 quarters. at Wilmecote; and he may have employed his brother 7 Jul. Shawe, 7 quarters." Gilbert, who was two years and a half younger than himself, and perhaps accustomed to agricultural pursuits, to We shall have occasion hereafter again to refer to this look after his farming concerns in the country, while he document upon another point, but in the mean time we may himself was absent superintending his highly profitable remark that the name of John Shakespeare is not found in theatrical undertakings in London. In 1595, 1596, and 1597, any part of it. This fact gives additional probability to the our poet must have been in the receipt of a considerable belief that the two old people, possibly with some of their and an increasing income: he was part proprietor of the children, were living in the house of their son William, for Blackfriars and the Globe theatres, both excellent specula- such may be the reason why we do not find John Shaketions; he was an actor, doubtless earning a good salary, in- speare mentioned in the accuunt as the owner of any corn. dependently of the proceeds of his shares; and he was the It may likewise in part explain how it happened that Wilmost popular and applauded dramatic poet of the day. In liam Shakespeare was in possession of so large a quantity: the summer he might find, or make, leisure to visit his na-in proportion to the number of his family, in time of scartive town, and we may be tolerably sure that he was there city, he would be naturally desirous to be well provided in August, 1596, when he had the misfortune to lose his with the main article of subsistence; or it is very possible only son Hamnet, one of the twins born early in the spring that, as a grower of grain, he might keep some in store for of 1585 : the boy completed his eleventh year in February, sale to those who were in want of it. Ten quarters does 1596, so that his death in August following must have been not seem much more than would be needed for his own & very severe trial for his parents?
consumption; but it affords some proof of his means and Stow informs us, that in 1596 the price of provisions in substance at this date, that only two persons in ChapelEngland was so high, that the bushel of wheat was sold for street Ward had a larger quantity in their hands. We are six, seven, and eight shillings: the dearth continued and (led to infer from this circumstance that our great dramatist increased through 1597, and in August of that year the may have been a cultivator of land, and it is not unlikely price of the bushel of wheat had risen to thirteen shillings, that the wheat in his granary had been grown on his mofell to ten shillings, and rose again, in the words of the old ther's estate of Asbyes, at Wilmecote, of which we know
1 The following is the form of the entry of the burial in the regis- besides 9 quarters of barley—their peas, beans, and vetches to 15 ter of the church of Stratford :
quarters, and their oats to 12 quarters. The malt, the property of 6 1596. August 11. Hannet filius William Shakspere."
Strangers, amounted to 248 quarters and 5 strike, together with 3 2 Annales, edit. 1615, p. 1279.
3 Ibid. p. 1304.
quraters of peas. Besides malt, the Townsmen, it is said, were in 4 Malone's Shakspeare, by Boswell, vol. ii. p. 566.
possession of 43 quarters and a half of "wheat and mill-corn," and 5 In the indorsement of the document it is stated, that the Towns- of 10 quraters and 6 strike of barley ; but it seems to have been conmen's malt amounted to 449 quarters and two strike" or bushels, siderably more, even in Chapel-street Ward.
that no fewer than fifty, out of about sixty, acres were afforded him, because he was “ as well known, and perhaps arable'.
better," than Shakespeare himself. Surely, with all deferWe must now return to London and to theatrical affairs ence for Mr. Gifford's undisputed acuteness and general acthere, and in the first place advert to a passage in Rowe's curacy, we may doubt how Ben Jonson could be better, or Life of Shakespeare, relating to the real or supposed com- ; even as well known as Shakespeare, when the latter had mencement of the connexion between our great dramatist been for twelve years connected with the stage as author and Ben Jonson”. Rowe tells us that “Shakespeare's ac- and actor, and had written, at the lowest calculation, twelve quaintance with Ben Jonson began with a remarkable piece dramas, while the former was only twenty-four years old, of humanity and good nature. Mr. Jonson, who was at and had produced no known play but “Every Man in his that time altogether unknown to the world, had offered one Humour." It is also to be observed, that Henslove had no of his plays to the players, in order to have it acted; and pecuniary transactions with Ben Jonson prior to the month the persons into whose hands it was put, after having turned of August, 1598; whereas, if “ Umers" had been purchased it carelessly and superciliously over, were just upon return- from him, we could scarcely have failed to find some meing it to him wi;h an ill-natured answer, that it would be morandum of payments, anterior to the production of the of no service to their company, when Shakespeare, luckily, comedy on the stage in May, 1597. cast his eye upon it, and found something so well in it, as to L Add to this, that nothing could be more consistent with engage him first to read it through, and afterwards to re- the amiable and generous character of Shakespeare, than commend Mr. Jonson and his writings to the public.” This that he should thus have interested himself in favour of a anecdote is entirely disbelieved by Mr. Gifford, and he rests writer who was ten years his junior, and who gave such his incredulity upon the supposition, that Ben Jonson's ear- undoubted proofs of genius as are displayed in “Every Man liest known production, “ Every Man in his Humour," was in his Humour.” Our great dramatist, established in public originally acted in 1597 at a different theatre, and he pro- favour by such comedies as “ The Merchant of Venice" and duces as evidence Henslowe's Diary, which, he states, proves“ A Midsummer Night's Dream," by such a tragedy as that the comedy came out at the Rose
1“ Romeo and Juliet, and by such histories as “ King John," The truth, however, is, that the play supposed, on the “ Richard II.,” and “ Richard III.," must have felt himself authority of Henslowe, to be Ben Jonson's comedy, is only above all rivalry, and could well afford this act of “hucalled by Henslowe“ Humours” or “ Umers," as he igno- manity and good-nature," as Rowe terms it, (though Mr. rantly spells it4. It is a mere speculation that this was Ben Gifford, quoting Rowe's words, accidentally omits the two Jonson's play, for it may have been any other performance, last,) on behalf of a young, needy, and meritorious author. by any other poet, in the title of which the word “Hu- It is to be recollected also that Rowe, the original narrator mours" occurred; and we have the indisputable and une- of the incident, does not, as in several other cases, give it as quivocal testimony of Ben Jonson himself, in his own au- if he at all doubted its correctness, but unhesitatingly and
his Humour” was not acted until 1598: he was not satisfied believed, at the time he wrote. with stating on the title-page, that it was “ acted in the year Another circumstance may be noticed as an incidental 1598 by the then Lord Chamberlain his servants," which confirmation of Rowe's statement, with which Mr. Gifford might have been considered sufficient; but in this instance could not be acquainted, because the fact has only been re(as in all others in the same volume) he informs us at the cently discovered. In 1598 Ben Jonson, being then only end that 1598 was the year in which it was first acted :- twenty-four years old, had a quarrel with Gabriel Spencer, “ This comedy was first acted in the year 1598.” Are we one of Henslowe's principal actors, in consequence of which prepared to disbelieve Ben Jonson's positive assertion (a they met, fought, and Spencer was killed. Henslowe, writman of the highest and purest notions, as regarded truth ing to Alleyn on the subject on the 26th September, uses and integrity) for the sake of a theory founded upon the these words :-“ Since you were with me, I have lost one bare assumption, that Henslove by “Umers” not only of my company, which hurteth me greatly ; that is Gabriel, meant Ben Jonson’s “Every Man in his Humour," but could for he is slain in Hoxton Fields by the hands of Benjamin mean nothing else?
Jonson, bricklayers." Now, had Ben Jonson been at that Had it been brought out originally by the Lord Admi- date the author of the comedy called “ Umers," and had it ral's players at the Rose, and acted with so much success been his “ Every man in his Humour," which was acted by that it was repeated eleven times, as Henslowe's Diary the Lord Admiral's players eleven times, it is not very shows was the case with “ Umers," there can be no appa- likely that Henslowe would have been ignorant who Benjarent reason why Ben Jonson should not have said so; and min Jonson was, and have spoken of him, not as one of the if he had afterwards withdrawn it on some pique, and car- dramatists in his pay, and the author of a very successful ried it to the Lord Chamberlain's players, we can hardly comedy, but merely as “ bricklayer;" he was writing also conceive it possible that a man of Ben Jonson's temper and to his step-daughter's husband, the leading member of his spirit would not have told us why in some other part of his company, to whom he would have been ready to give the works.
fullest information regarding the disastrous affair. We only Mr. Gifford, passing over without notice the positive state- adduce this additional matter to show the improbability of ment we have quoted, respecting the first acting of “ Every the assumption, that Ben Jonson had anything to do with Man in his Humour” by the Lord Chamberlain's servants the comedy of “ Umers," acted by Henslowe's company in in 1598, proceeds to argue that Ben Jonson could stand in May, 1597; and the probability of the position that, as Ben need of no such assistance, as Shakespeare is said to have Jonson himself states, it was originally brought out in 1598
1 Malone's Shakespeare, by Boswell, vol. ii. p. 25.
scription (which we have seen in Strype's edit. of Stowe's Survey, 2 For the materials of the following note, which sets right an im- 1720, b. vi. p. 69) informs us also, that Mr. Thomas Fowler was born portant error relating to Ben Jonson's mother, we are indebted to Mr. lat. Wicam, in the county of Lancaster," and that he had been Peter Cunningham.
" Comptroller and Paymaster of the Works" to Queen Mary, and Malone and Gifford (Ben Jonson's Works, vol. i. p. 5) both came to for the first ten years of Queen Elizabeth. The date of his death is the conclusion that the Mrs. Margaret Jonson, mentioned in the not stated in the inscription, but by the register of the church it apo register of St. Martin's in the Fields as having been married, 17th pears that he was buried on the 29th May, 1595. The Mrs. Margaret November, 1575, to Mr. Thomas Fowler, was the mother of Ben Jon-Fowler, who died before 1595, could not have been the mother of son, who then took a second husband. 56 There cannot be a reasona- Ben Jonson, who was living about 1604; and if Ben Jonson's moble 'doubt of it," says Gifford ; but the fact is nevertheless certainly ther married a second time, we have yet to ascertain who was her otherwise. It appears that Ben Jonson's mother was living after the second husband. comedy of " Eastward Ho!" which gave offence to King James, (and 3 The precise form in which the entry stands in Henslowe's ac. which was printed in 1605,) was brought out.-(Laing's edit. of count book is this: “Ben Jonson's Conversations," p. 20.) It is incontestable that the
“Maye 1597. 11. It. at the comodey of Vmers." Mrs. Margaret Fowler, who was married in 1575, was dead before 1 4 Ben Jonson's Works, 8vo. 1816, vol. i. p. 46. 1595; for her husband, Mr. Thomas Fowler, was then buried, and in 5 See “Memoirs of Edward Alleyn,' p. 51. The author of that the inscription upon his tomb, in the old church of St. Martin's in work has since seen reason to correct himself on this and several other the Fields, it was stated that he survived his three wives, Ellen, Mar- points. garet, and Elizabeth, who were buried in the same grave. The in
by " the then Lord Chamberlain's servants." It may have that the magistrates had been written to on the 28th July, been, and probably was, acted by them, because Shake- 1597, requiring that no plays should be acted during the speare had kindly interposed with his associates on behalf summer, and directing, in order to put an effectual stop to of the deserving and unfriended author.
such performances, because “lewd matters were handled on
the owners of “any other common play-house" within their CHAPTER XII.
I jurisdiction, and not only to forbid performances. of every
description, but “ so to deface” all places erected for theatriRestriction of dramatic performances in and near London in cal representations, “ as they might not be employed again to
1597. Thoinas Nash and his play, The Isle of Dogs :" such use." This command was given just anterior to the imprisonment of Nash, and of some of the players of the production of Nash's “Isle of Dogs," which was certainly Lord Admiral. Favoir shown to the companies of the not calculated to lessen the objections entertained by any Lord Chamberlain and of the Lord Admiral. Print Shakespeare's Plays in 1597. The list of his known dra- |
The Blackfriars, not being, according to the terms of the mas, published by F. Meres in 1598. Shakespeare authorized the printing of none of his plays, and never corrected
order of the privy council, “a common play-house," but the press. Carelessness of dramatic authors in this respect.
what was called a private theatre, does not seem to have 6 The Passionate Pilgrim,'' 1599. Shakespeare's reputation been included in the general ban; but as we know that as a dramatist.
similar directions had been conveyed to the magistrates of
the county of Surrey, it is somewhat surprising that they In the summer of 1597 an event occurred which seems to seem to have produced no effect upon the performances at have produced for a time a serious restriction upon dramatic the Globe or the Rose upon the Bankside. We must attriperformances. The celebarted Thomas Nash, early in the bute this circumstance, perhaps, to the exercise of private year, had written a comedy which he called “ The Isle of influence; and it is quite certain that the necessity of keepDogs :" that he had partners in the undertaking there is no ing some companies in practice, in order that they might doubt; and he tells us, in his tract called “ Lenten Stuff,” | be prepared to exhibit, when required, before the Queen, printed in 1599, that the players, when it was acted by the was made the first pretext for granting exclusive “ licenses Lord Admiral's servants in the beginning of August, 1597, to the actors of the Lord Chamberlain, and of the Lord had taken most unwarrantable liberties with his piece, by Admiral. We know that the Earls of Southampton and making large additions, for which he ought not to have Rutland, about this date and shortly afterwards, were in the been responsible. The exact nature of the performance is frequent habit of visiting the theatres : the Earl of Notnot known, but it was certainly satirical, no doubt personal, tingham also seems to have taken an unusual interest on and it must have had reference also to some of the polemi- various occasions in favour of the company acting under cal and political questions of the day. The representation his name, and to the representations of these noblemen we of it was forbidden by authority, and Nash, with others, are, perhaps, to attribute the exemption of the Globe and was arrested under an order from the privy council, and the Rose from the operation of the order “ to deface" all sent to the Fleet prison'. Some of the offending actors had buildings adapted to dramatic representations in Middlesex escaped for a time, and the privy council, not satisfied with and Surrey, in a manner that would render them unfit for what had been already done in the way of punishment, any such purpose in future. We have the authority of the wrote from Greenwich on 15th August, 1597, to certain registers of the privy council, under date of 19th Feb. 1597-8, magistrates, requiring them strictly to examine all the par- for stating that the companies of the Lord Chamberlain ties in custody, with a view to the discovery of others not and of the Lord Admiral obtained renewed permission “ to yet apprehended. This important official letter, which has use and practise stage-plays," in order that they might be hitherto been unmentioned, we have inserted in a note from duly qualified, if called upon to perform before the Queen. the registers of the privy council of that date; and by itThis privilege, as regards the players of the Lord Admiwe learn, not only that Nash was the author of the “sedi- ral, seems the more extraordinary, because that was the very tious and slanderous” comedy, but possibly himself an ac- company which only in the August preceding had given such tor in it, and “ the maker of part of the said play," especi- offence by the representation of Nash's “ Isle of Dogs," that ally pointed at, who was in custody.
its farther performance was forbidden, the author and some Before the date of this incident the companies of various of the players were arrested and sent to the Fleet, and play-houses in the county of Middlesex, but particularly at vigorous steps taken to secure the persons of other parties The Curtain and Theatre in Shoreditch had attracted atten- who for a time had made their escape. It is very likely tion, and given offence, by the licentious character of their that Nash was the scape-goat on the occasion, and that the performances; and the registers of the privy council show chief blame was thrown upon him, although, in his tract,
| From the No. 13. p. 346. satirist of the tim
I The circumstance was thus alluded to by Francis Meres in the quire yow to examine these of the plaiers that are comytted, whose next year:- As Actæon was wooried of his owne hounds, so is Tom names are knowne to you, Mr. Topclyfe, what is become of the rest Nash of his Ile of Dogs. Dogges were the death of Euripides; but of theire fellowes that either had their partes in the devysinge of that bee not disconsolate, gallant young Juvenall; Linus the sonne of sedytious matter, or that were actours or plaiers in the same, what Apollo died the same death. Yet, God forbid, that so brave a witte copies they have given forth of the said playe, and to whome, and should so basely perish : thine are but paper dogges ; neither is thy soch other pointes as you shall thinke meete to be demaunded of banishment, like Ovid's, eternally to converse with the barbarous them; wherein you shall require of them to deale trulie, as they will Getes : therefore, comfort thyselfe, sweete Tom, with Cicero's glori looke to receave anie favour. Wee praie yow also to peruse soch paous return to Rome, and with the counsel Aeneas gives to his sea pers as were fownde in Nash his lodgings, which Ferrys, a messenbeaten soldiors, lib. i. Aeneid :-
ger of the Chamber, shall delyver unto yow, and to certyfie us the
examynations you take. So &c. Greenwich, 15. Aug. 1597." Pluck up thine heart, and drive from thence both feare and care
From the Council Register. away; To thinke on this may pleasure be perhaps another day.'
3 We find evidence in a satirist of the time, that about this date 56 Durato, et temet rebus servato secundis.”_Palladis Tamid, 1598, the Theatre was abandoned, though not "plucked down." fo. 286.
---"But see yonder 2 The minute in the registers of the privy council (pointed out to
One, like the unfrequented Theatre us by. Mr. Lemon) is this :
Walkes in darke silence, and vast solitude." A letter to Richard Topclyfe, Thomas Fowler, and Ric. Skeving
Edw. Guilpin's "Skialetheia," 8vo. 1598. Sign. D 6. ton, Esquires, Doctour Fletcher, and Mr. Wilbraham.
"Upcn information given us of a lewd plaie, that was plaied in one The theatre, in all probability, was not used for plays afterwards. of the plaie howses on the Bancke side, containing very seditious 4 See Vol. ii. p. 132 of the li Sidney Papers," where Rowland and sclaunderous matters, wee caused some of the players to be ap-White tells Sir Robert Sydney, “My Lord Southampton and Lord prehended and comytted to pryson, whereof one of them was not only | Rutland come not to the court : the one doth but very seldom. They an actor, but a maker of parte of the said plaie. For as much as yt pass away the time in London inerely in going to plays every day:"! ys thought meete that the rest of the players or actours in that mat- This letter is dated 11th October, 1599, and the Queen was then at ter shal be apprehended, to receave soche punyshment as there lewde Nonesuch. and mutynous behavior doth deserve; these shall be, therefore, to re-i
before mentioned, he maintains that he was the most inno-work of Meres came from the press”. It is a remarkable cent party of all those who were concerned in the transac- circumstance, evincing strikingly the manner in which the tion. It seems evident, that in 1598 there was a strong various companies of actors of that period were able to disposition on the part of some members of the Queen's keep popular pieces from the press, that until Shakespeare government to restrict dramatic performances, in and near had been a writer for the Lord Chamberlain's servants ten or
then four of his first printed plays were without his name As far as we can judge, there was good reason for show- as if the bookseller båd been ignorant of the fact, or as if ing favour to the association with which Shakespeare was he considered that the omission would not affect the sale: one connected, because nothing has reached us to lead to the of them, “ Romeo and Juliet," was never printed in any early belief that the Lord Chamberlain's servants had incurred quarto as the work of Shakespeare, as will be seen from any displeasure : if the Lord Admiral's servants were to be our exact reprint of the title-pages of the editions of 1597, permitted to continue their performances at the Rose, it 1599, and 1609, (see Introduc. The reprints of “ Richard would have been an act of the grossest injustice to have II.” and “Richard III.” in 1598, as before observed, have prevented the Lord Chamberlain's servants from acting at Shakespeare's name on the title.pages, and they were issued, the Globe. Accordingly, we hear of no interruption, at perhaps, after Meres had distinūtly assigned those “histothis date, of the performances at either of the theatres in ries” to him. the receipts of which Shakespeare participated.
! It is our conviction, after the most minute and patient To the year 1598 inclusive, only five of his plays had examination of, we believe, every old impression, that been printed, although he had then been connected with the Shakespeare in no instance authorized the publication of his stage for about twelve years, viz. “Romeo and Juliet," plays : we do not consider even “Hamlet” an exception, “Richard II.” and “ Richard III.” in 1597, and “ Love's La- although the edition of 1604 was probably intended, by bour's Lost” and “Henry IV.” part i. in 15982; but, as we some parties connected with the theatre, to supersede the learn from indisputable contemporaneous authority, he had garbled and fraudulent edition of 1603 : Shakespeare, in written seven others, besides what he had done in the way our opinion, had nothing to do with the one or with the of alteration, addition, and adaptation. The earliest enu- other. He allowed most mangled and deformed copies of meration of Shakespeare's dramas made its appearance in several of his greatest works to be circulated for many 1598, in a work by Francis Meres entitled “ Palladis Ta- years, and did not think it worth his while to expose the mia, Wits Treasury." In a division of this small but thick fraud, which remained, in several cases, undetected, as far as volume (consisting of 666 8vo. pages, besides “The Table,'') the great body of the public was concerned, until the apheaded "A comparative discourse of our English Poets, pearance of the folio of 1623. Our great dramatist's indifwith the Greeke, Latine and Italian Poets," the author in- ference upon this point seems to have been shared by many, serts the following paragraph, which we extract precisely if not by most, of his contemporaries; and if the quarto as it stands in the original, because it has no where, that we impression of any one of his plays be more accurate in recollect, been quoted quite correctly.
typography than another, we feel satisfied that it arose out
of the better state of the manuscript, or the greater pains 66 As Plautus and Seneca are accounted the best for Comedy and fidelity of the printer. and Tragedy among the Latines: so Shakespeare among ye We may here point out a strong instance of the carelessEnglish is the inost excellent in both kinds for the stage; for ness of dramatic authors of that period respecting the conComedy, witnes his Getleme of Veronu, his Errors, his Loue litin labors Tost, his Loue labours wonne, his Midsummers night.
dition in which their productions came into the world : others dreame. & his Merchant of Venice : 'for Tragedy his Richari might be adduced without much difficulty, but one will be the 2. Richard the 3. Henry the 4. King Lohn, Titus An- sufficient. Before his “Rape of Lucrece," a drama first dronicus and his Romeo and Julieta."
printed in 1608, Thomas Heywood inserted an address to
the reader, informing him (for it was an exception to the Thus we see that twelve comedies, histories, and trage- general rule) that he had given his consent to the publicadies (for we have specimens in each department) were tion; but those who have examined that impression, and known as Shakespeare's in the Autumn of 1598, when the its repetition in 1609, will be aware that it is full of the
i It is doubtful whether an edition of "Titus Andronicus”.had not Plautus, Terence, Næuius, Sext. Turpilius, Licinius Imbrex, all appeared as early as 1594; but no earlier copy than that of 1600, in Virgilius Romanus; so the best for comedy amongst us bee Edward the library of Lord Francis Egerton, is known. It is necessary to Earle of Oxforde, Doctor Gager of Oxforde, Maister Rowley, once à bear, in mind, that the impression of “Romeo and Juliet"in 1597 rare scholler of learned Pembrooke Hall in Cambridge, Maister Eilwas only a mangled and mutilated representation of the state in wardes, one of her Maiesties Chappell, eloquent and wittie Join which the tragedy came from the hand of its author.
Lilly, Lodge, Gascoyne, Greene, Shakespeare, Thomas Nash, Thomas 2 The following passages, in the same division of the work of Heywood, Anthony Mundye, our best plotter, Chapman, Porter, WilMeres, contain mention of the name or works of Shakespeare.
son, Hathway, and Henry Chettle." fol. 283. 6 As the soule of Euphorbus was thought to liue in Pythagoras, “As these are famous among the Greeks for elegie, Melanthus, so 'the sweete wittie soule of Ouid liues in mellifluous and hony- Mymnerus Colophonius, Olympius Mysius, Parthenius Nicæns, Puitongued Shakespeare ; witnes his Venus und Adonis, his Lucrece, his letas Cous, Theogenes Megarensis, and Pigres Halicarnas@us; and sugred sonnets among his priuate friends &c." fol. 281.
these among the Latines, Mecænas, Ouid, Tibullus, Propertius. T. As Epius Stolo said, the Muses would speake with Plautus Valgius, Cassius Seuerus, and Clodius Sabinus; so these are the tongue, if they would speak Latin; so I say the Muses would speak most passionate among us to be waile and bemoane the perplexities with Shakespeare's fine-filed phrase, if they would speak English." of loue : Henrie Howard Earle of Surrey, sir Thomas Wyat the elder. fol. 232.
sir Francis Brian, sir Philip Sidney, sir Walter Rawley, sir Edward "And as Horace saith of his, Exegi monumentu ære perennius, Dyer, Spencer, Daniel, Drayton, Shakespeare, Whetstone, Gascoyne, Regaliq; situ pyramidum altius; Quod non imber edax; Non Aquilo Samuell Page sometime fellowe of Corpus Christi Colledge in Oximpotens possit diruere, aut innumerabilis annorum series et fuga ford, Churchyard, Bretton." fol. 233. temporum; so say I severally of Sir Philip Sidneys, Spencers, Dan 3 It was entered for publication on the Stationers' Registers in Sena iels, Draytons, Shakespeares, and Warners workes." fol. 282.
tember, 1598. Meres must have written something in verse which As Pindarus, Anacreon, and Callimachus among the Greekes, and has not reached our day, because in 1601 he was addressed by C. Horace and Catullus among the Latines, are the best lyrick poets; Fitzgeoffrey, in his Affanie, as a poet and theologian : he was cerso in this faculty the best amog our poets are Spencer (who excelleth tainly well acquainted with the writings of all the poets of his time, in all kinds) Daniel, Drayton, Shakespeare, Bretto." fol. 282.
whatever might be their department. Fitzgeoffrey mentions Meres As these tragicke poets flourished in Greece, Æschylus, Euripe in company with Spenser, Daniel, Drayton, Ben Jonson, Sylvester, des, Sophocles, Alexander Aetolus, Achæus Erithriæus, Astydamas Chapman, Marston, &c. Atheniesis, Apollodorus Tarsensis, Nicomachus Phrygius, Thespis *4 The same remark will apply to " Henry V." first printed in 4to, Atticus, and Timon Apolloniates; and these among the Latines, 1600, and again in 1602, and a third time in 1608, without the naine Accius, M. Attilius, Pomponius Secundus and Seneca; so these are of Shakespeare. However, this "history” never appeared in any our best for tragedie; the Lord Buckhurst, Doctor Leg of Cambridge, thing like an authentic shape, such as we may suppose it came from Dr. Edes of Oxford, Maister Edward Ferris, the Authour of the Mira Shakespeare's pen, until it was included in the folio of 1623. rour for Magistrates, Marlow, Peele, Watson, Kid, Shakespeare, 5 It will be observed that we confine this opinion to the plays, Drayton, Chapman, Decker, and Beniamin Iohnson." fol. 233. because with respect to the poems, especially : Venus and Adonis ;
cThe best poets for comedy among the Greeks are these : Menan- and “Lucrece," we feel quite as strongly convinced that Shakespeare, der, Aristophanes, Eupolis Atheniensis Alexis, Terius, Nicostratus, being instrumental in their publication, and more anxious about Amipsias Atheniensis, Anaxadrides Rhodius, Aristonymus, Archip their correctness, did see at least the first editions through the press. pus Atheniesis, and Callias Atheniensis; and among the Latines,
very grossest blunders, which the commonest corrector of Kempe are introduced as characters, the one of whom had the press, much less the author, if he had seen the sheets, obtained such celebrity in the tragic, and the other in the could not have allowed to pass. Nearly all plays of that comic parts in Shakespeare's dramas: we allude to “The time were most defectively printed, but 'Heywood's “Rape Return from Parnassus," which was indisputably acted before of Lucrece," as it originally came from the press with the au- the death of Queen Elizabeth. In a scene where two young thor's imprimatur, is, we think, the worst specimen of ty- students are discussing the merits of particular poets, one of pography that ever met our observation'.
them speaks thus of Shakespeare: Returning to the important list of twelve plays furnished
" Who loves Adonis love or Iricrece rape, by Meres, we may add, that although he does not mention
His sweeter verse contains heart-robbing life ; them, there can be no doubt that the three parts of “ Henry Could but a graver subject him content, VI.” had been repeatedly acted before 1598: we may pos Without love's foolish, lazy languishment.' sibly infer, that they were not inserted because they were then well known not to be the sole work of Shakespeare.
are Not the most distant allusion is made to any of his By “ Henry IV.” it is most probable that Meres intended dramatic productions, although the poet criticised by the both parts of that “ history.” * “ Love's Labour's Won” has young students immediately before Shakespeare was Ben been supposed, since the time of Dr. Farmer, to be “ All's Jonson, who was declared to be “the wittiest fellow, of a Well thât ends Well.” under a different title: our notion is bricklayer, in England,” but“ a slow inventor.” Hence we (see Introduction) that the original name given to the play might be led to imagine that, even down to as late a period vas • Love's Labour's Won;" and that, when it was revived as the commencement of the seventeenth century, the repuwith additions and alterations, in 1605 or 1606, it received tation of Shakespeare depended rather upon his poems than also a new appellation.
upon his plays; almost as if productions for the stage were In connexion with the question regarding the interest not looked upon, at that date, as part of the recognized taken by Shakespeare in the publication of his works, we
orks. we literature of the country. may notice the impudent fraud practised in the year after the appearance of the list furnished by Meres. In 1599 came out a collection of short miscellaneous poems, under the title of “ The Passionate Pilgrim :" they were all of them
CHAPTER XIII. imputed, by W. Jaggard the printer, or by W. Leake the bookseller, to Shakespeare, although some of them were
New Place, or, " the great_house,” in Stratford, bought by notoriously by other poets. In the Introduction to our Shakespeare in 1597. Removal of the Lord Admiral's
players from the Bankside to the Fortune theatre in Cripparticulars regarding it; but Shakespeare, as far as ap plegate. Rivalry of the Lord Chamberlain's and Lord Adpears from any evidence that has descended to us,
miral's company. Order in 1600 confining the acting of took no notice of the trick played upon him : possibly he
plays to the Globe and Fortune : the influence of the two never heard of it, or if he heard of it, left it to its own
associations occupying those theatres. Disobedience of
various companies to the order of 1600. Plays by Shak detection, not thinking it worth while to interfere. It
speare published in 1600. The “ First Part of the Life of serves to establish, what certainly could not otherwise be Sir John Oldcastle," printed in 1600, falsely imputed to doubted, the popularity of Shakespeare in 1599, and the Shakespeare, and cancelling of the title-page. manner in which a scheming printer and stationer endeavoured to take advantage of that popularity.
It will have been observed, that, in the document we have Yet it is singular, if we rely upon several coeval authori- produced, relating to the quantity of corn and malt in Stratties, how little our great dramatist was about this period ford, it is stated that William Shakespeare's residence was known and admired for his plays. Richard Barnfield pub- in that division of the borough called Chapel-street ward. lished his “ Encomion of Lady Pecunia," in 1598, (the year This is an important circumstance, because we think it may in which the list of twelve of Shakespeare's plays was be said to settle decisively the disputed question, whether printed by Meres) and from a copy of verses entitled our great dramatist purchased what was known as “ the “Remembrance of some English Poets,” we quote the great house," or “ New Place," before, in, or after 1597. It following notice of Shakespeare:
was situated in Chapel-street ward, close to the chapel of
the Holy Trinity. We are now certain that he had a house 66 And Shakespeare thou, whose honey-flowing vein,
in the ward in February, 1597–8, and that he had ten quar-Pleasing the world, thy praises doth contain, Whose Venus, and whose Lucrece, sweet and chaste,
ters of corn there; and we need not doubt that it was the Thy name in Fame's immortal book hath plac'd ;
dwelling which had been built by Sir Hugh Clopton in the Live ever you, at least in fame live ever:
reign of Henry VII. : the Cloptons subsequently sold it to a Well may the body die, but fame die never."
person of the name of Botte, and he to Hercules Underhill,
who disposed of it to Shakespeare. We therefore find him, Here Shakespeare's popularity, as “ pleasing the world,” in the beginning of 1598, occupying one of the best houses, is noticed; but the proofs of it are not derived from the in one of the best parts of Stratford. He who had quitted stagè, where his dramas were in daily performance before his native town about twelve years before, poor and comcrowded audiences, but from the success of his “ Venus and paratively friendless, was able, by the profits of his own Adonis” and “ Lucrece," which had gone through various exertions, and the exercise of his own talents, to return to it, editions. Precisely to the same effect, but a still stronger and to establish his family in more comfort and opulence instance, we may refer to a play in which both Burbage and than, as far as is known, they had ever before enjoyed*.
1 We cannot wonder at the errors in plays surreptitiously procured 3 Botte probably lived in it in 1564, when he contributed 4s. to the and hastily printed, which was the case with many impressions of poor who were afflicted with the plague : this was the highest amount that day. Upon this point Heywood is an unexceptionable witness, subscribed, the bailiff only giving 3s. 4d., and the head alderman 2s, 8d. and he tells us of one of his dramas,
4 That Shakespeare was considered a man who was in a condition that some by stenography drew
to lend a considerable sum, in the autumn of 1598, we have upon the The plot, put it in print, scarce one word true.”
evidence of Richard Quyney, (father to Thomas Quyney, who subse
quently married Shakespeare's youngest daughter Judith) who then Other dramatists make the same complaint; and there can be no doubt applied to him for a loan of 301., equal to about 1507. of our present that it was the practice so to defraud authors and actors, and to palm money, and in terms which do not indicate any doubt that our poet wretchedly disfigured pieces upon the public as genuine and authen- would be able to make the advance. This application is contained in tic works. It was, we are satisfied, in this way that Shakespeare's a letter which must have been sent by hand, as it unluckily contains "Romeo and Juliet," "Henry V.," and “Hamlet," first got out into no direction: it is the only letter yet discovered addressed to Shakethe world.
speare, and it was first printed by Boswell from Malone's papers, vol. 2 When The Passionate Pilgrim" was reprinted in 1612, with ii. p. 585. some additional pieces by Thomas Heywood, that dramatist pointed "Loving Contryman, I am bolde of yow, as of a frende, craveing out the imposition, and procured the cancelling of the title-page in yowr helpe wth xxxlb, uppon Mr Bushell & my securytee, or Mr Mytwhich the authorship of the whole was assigned to Shakespeare. tens with me. Mr Rosswell is not come to London as yeate, & I have