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that Father liv'd; but I take him to be the fame Mr. John Shakespeare who was living in the uity:. Year 1599, and who then, in Honour of his Lives Son, took out an Extract of his Family-Arms itical from the Herald's Office; by which it apCu- pears, that he had been Officer and Bailiff of et, as Stratford, and that he enjoy'd fome hereditanow. y Lands and Tenements, the Reward of his imes Great Grandfather's faithful and approved Service to King Henry VII.
Be this as it will, our Shakespeare, it feems, E. was bred for fome Time at a Free-School; the that very Free-School, I prefume, founded at hod Stratford: where, we are told, he acquired what Latin he was Master of: but, that his Father being oblig'd, thro' Narrowness of Circumftance, to withdraw him too foon from thence, he was fo unhappily prevented from making any Proficiency in the Dead Languages: A Point, that will deferve some little Difcuffion in the Sequel of this Differtation. How long he continued in his Father's Way of Bufinefs, either as an Affiftant to him, or on his own proper Account, no Notices are left to inform us: nor have I been able to learn precifely at what Period of Life he quitted his native Stratford, and began his Acquaintance with London, and the Stage. In order to fettle in the World after a Family-manner, he thought fit, Mr. Rowe acquaints us, to marry while he was yet very young. It is certain, he did fo: for by the Monu
Monument, in Stratford Church, erected to the Memory of his Daughter Susanna, the Wife of John Hall, Gentleman, it appears, that he died on the 2d Day of July in the Year 1649, aged 66. So that She was born in 1583, when her Father could not be full 19 Years old; who was himself born in the Year 1564. Nor was She his eldest Child, for he had another Daughter, Judith, who was born before her, and who was married to one Mr. Thomas Quiney. So that Shakespeare must have entred into Wedlock, by that Time he was turn'd of feventeen Years.
Whether the Force of Inclination merely, or fome concurring Circumftances of Convenience in the Match, prompted him to marry fo early, is not eafy to be determin'd at this Distance: but 'tis probable, a View of Intereft might partly fway his Conduct in this Point: for he married the Daughter of one Hathaway, a fubftantial Yeoman in his Neighbourhood, and She had the Start of him in Age no less than 8 Years. She furviv'd him, notwithstanding, feven Seasons, and dy'd that very Year in which the Players publish'd the first Edition of his Works in Folio, Anno Dom. 1623, at the Age of 67 Years, as we likewife learn from her Monument in Stratford-Church,
How long he continued, in this kind of Settlement, upon his own Native Spot, is not more cafily to be determin'd. But if the Tra
Tradition be true, of that Extravagance which forc'd him both to quit his Country and way of Living; to wit, his being engag'd, with a Knot of young Deer-ftealers, to rob the Park of Sir Thomas Lucy of Cherlecot near Stratford: the Enterprize favours fo much of Youth and Levity, we may reafonably fuppofe it was before he could write full Man. Befides, confidering he has left us fix and thirty Plays, which are avow'd to be genuine; (to throw out of the Queftion thofe Seven, in which his Title is difputed: tho' I can, beyond all Controverfy, prove fome Touches in every one of them to come from his Pen:) and confi dering too, that he had retir'd from the Stage, to fpend the latter Part of his Days at his own Native Stratford; the Interval of Time, neceffarily required for the finishing so many Dramatic Pieces, obliges us to fuppofe he threw himself very early upon the Play-house. And as he could, probably, contract no Acquaintance with the Drama, while he was driving on the Affair of Wool at home; fome Time must be loft, even after he had commenc'd Player, before he could attain Knowledge enough in the Science to qualify himfelf for turning Author.
It has been obferv'd by Mr. Rowe, that, amongst other Extravagancies which our Author has given to his Sir John Falstaffe, in the Merry Wives of Windfor, he has made him a Deer-stealer; and that he might at the fame
time remember his Warwickshire Profecutor, under the Name of Juftice Shallow, he has given him very near the fame Coat of Arms, which Dugdale, in his Antiquities of that County, defcribes for a Family there. There are two Coats, I obferve, in Dugdale, where three Silver Fishes are borne in the Name of Lucy and another Coat, to the Monument of Thomas Lucy, Son of Sir William Lucy, in I which are quarter'd in four feveral Divifions, twelve little Fishes, three in each Division, probably Luces. This very Coat, indeed, feems alluded to in Shallow's giving the dozen White Luces, and in Slender faying, he may quarter. When I confider the exceeding Candour and Good-nature of our Author, (which inclin'd all the gentler Part of the World to love him; as the Power of his Wit obliged the Men of the most delicate Knowledge and polite Learning to admire him;) and that he fhould throw this humorous Piece of Satire at his Profecutor, at least twenty Years after the Provocation given, I am confidently perfuaded it must be owing to an unforgiving Rancour on the Prosecutor's Side; and if This was the Cafe, the Cafe, it were Pity but the Dif grace of fuch an Inveteracy fhould remain as a lafting Reproach, and, Shallow ftand as a Mark of Ridicule to ftigmatize his Malice,c
It is id, our Author fpent fome Years before his Death, in Eafe, Retirement, and the Converfation of his Friends, at his Native
Stratford. I could never pick up any certain Intelligence, whe when He relinquith'd the Stage. know, it has been mistakenly thought by fome, that Spenser's Thalia, in his Tears of bis Mufes, where the laments the Lofs of her Willy in the Comic Scene, has been apply'd to our Author's quitting the Stage. But Spenfer himself, tis well known, quitted the Stage of Life in the Year 1598; and, five Years after this, we find Shakespeare's Name among the Actors in Ben Jonson's Sejanus, which first made its Appearance in the Year 1603. Nor, furely, could he then have any Thoughts of retiring, fince, that very Year, a uncence der the Privy-Seal was granted by K. James I. to him and Fletcher, Burbage, Phillippes, Hem ings, Condel, &c, authorizing them to exercife the Art of playing Comedies, Tragedies, &c. as well at their ufual Houfe call'd the Globe on the other Side of the Water, as in any other Parts of the Kingdom, during his Majefty's Pleafure: (A Copy of which Licence is preferv'd in Rymer's Fadera.) Again, 'tis certain, that Shakespeare did not exhibit his Macbeth, till after the Union was brought about, and till after K. James I. had begun to touch for the Evil: for 'tis plain, he has inferted co Compliments, on both thofe Accounts, upon his Royal Mafter in that Tragedy. Nor, indeed, could the Number of the Dramatic Pieces, he produced, admit of his retiring near fo early as that Period. So