« PředchozíPokračovat »
Henry V., A.D. 1433. Edward Arden was meslic economy or professional occupalion at sheriff of the county in 1568. The woodland this time, we have no information ; but if we part of this county was apcienlly called Ardern, may credit former accounts, by Rowe, &c., it afterwards sostened to Arden, and hence the would appear, that both were in a considerable name.
degree neglected, in consequence of bis assoIt was formerly said that John Shakspeare ciating with a gang of deer-stealers. had ten children, and it was inferred, that the It is said, that being detected with them in providing for so large a family must have em- robbing the park, that is, stealing deer out of barrassed his circumstances ; but Mr. Malone the park of sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote, near has reduced them to eight, five of whom only Stratford, he was so rigorously prosecuted by altained to the age of maturity,- four sons and that gentleman as to be obliged to leave his faa daughter. Our illustrious poet was the eldest mily and business, whatever that might be, and of the eight, and received his education, bow-take shelter in London. Sir Thomas, on this ever narrow or liberal, at the free-school found- occasion, was exasperated by a ballad which ed at Stratford.
Sbakspeare wrote (probably bis first essay in From this he appears to have been placed in poetry), of which the following stanza was comthe office of some country attorney, or the se-municated to Mr. Oldys :neschal of some manor court, where, it is highly probable, he picked up those technical law "A parliemente member, a justice of peace, phrases that frequently occur in his plays, and
At home a poor scare-crowe, at London an asse,
If lowsie is Lucy, as some volke miscalle it, which could not have been in common use un- Then Lucy is lowsie, whatever befall it:
He thinks himself greate, less among professional men. It has been re
Yet an asse in his state marked, but the remark will probably be
We allowe by his ears but with asses to mate,
If Lacy is lowsie, as some volke miscalle it, thought of no great value, that he derives none Sing lowsie Lucy, whatever befall it." of his allusions from the other learned professions. Of amusemenls, his favourite appears In our preceding edition, we remarked that to have been falconry. Very few, if any of his these lines do no great honour to our poet, and plays, are without some allusions to that sport; the satire was probably unjust; for, although and archery, likewise, appears to have engaged some of his admirers have exclaimed against much of his attention.
sir Thomas as a “vain, weak, and vindictive Mr. Capell conjectures, that his early mar- magistrate,” he was certainly exerting no very riage prevented bis being sent to one of the uni- violent act of oppression in protecting his proversities. It appears, however, as Dr. Farmer perty against a young man who was degrading observes, that his early life was incompatible the commonest rank of life, and who had at with a course of education; and it is certain this time bespoke no indulgence by any display that “his contemporaries, friends and foes, of superior talents. It was also added, that “ nay, and himself likewise, agree in bis want the ballad must have made some noise at sir “ of what is usually termed literalure.” It is, Thomas's expense, for the author took care it indeed, a strong argument in favour of Shak-should be affixed to his park gates, and liberally speare's illiterature, that it was maintained by circulated among his neighbours. all his contemporaries, many of whom have In defence of Shakspeare, Mr. Malone albestowed every other merit upon him, and by tempts to prove that our poet could not bave of his successors, who lived nearest to his time, rended sir Thomas Lucy by stealing his deer : when “his memory was green :” and that it FIRST, because (granting for a moment that he has been denied only by Gildon, Sewell, and did steal deer) stealing deer was a common others, down to Uplon, who could have no youthful frolic, and therefore could not leave means of ascertaining the truth. Mr. Malone any very deep stain on his character: SECONDLY, seems inclined to revive their opinion, but finds it was a practice wbolly unmixed with any it impossible.
sordid or lucrative motive, for the venison thus In his eighteenth year (1582), or perhaps a obtained was not sold, but freely participated little sooner, he married ANNE HATHAway, at a convivial board : THIRDLY, that the ballad who was seven years and a half older than him- Shakspeare is said to have written in ridiself. She was the daughter of one Hathaway, cule of sir Thomas Lucy is a forgery: and who is said to have been a substantial yeoman LASTLY, thal sir Thomas had no park, and no in the neighbourbood of Stratford. Of his do- deer.
It is un
After this very singular desence of Shakspeare, as the business of the play requires their apwhich occupies thirty of Mr. Malone's pages, pearance on the stage. Pope, however, rebesides some very prolix notes, he appears to be lales a story communicated to him by Rowe, perplexed to know what to do with Shakspeare's but which Rowe did not think deserving of resentment against sir Thomas Lucy. That he a place in the life which he wrote, that must had a resentment against this gentleman is a little retard the advancement of our poet to certain, and that he retained it for many years the office just mentioned. According to is equally certain, for he gave vent 10 it in story, Shakspeare's first employment was to 1601, when he wrole “ The Merry Wives of wait at the door of the play-house, and hold Findsor,” about a year after sir Thomas's the horses of those who had no servants, that
they might be ready after the performance. Mr. Malone, after allowing that various pas- But “I cannot,” says his acute commentator, sages in the first scene of the above-mentioned Mr. Steevens, “ dismiss this anecdote without play afford ground for believing that our author, observing that it seems to want every mark 00 some account or other, bad not the most “ of probability. Though Shakspeare quitted profound respect for sir Thomas, adds, “ Stratford on account of a juvenile irreguladozen white luces, however, which Shallow is " rily, we have no reason to suppose that be made to commend as a good coat,' was not “had forfeited the protection of bis father, who sir Thomas Lucy's coat of arms : though Mr. was engaged in lucrative business, or the Theobald asserts that it is found on the mo- “ love of his wife, who had already brought fument of one of the family, as represented by “ him two children, and was herself the Duzdale. No such coat certainly is found, daughter of a substantial yeoman. eilber in Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwick- likely, therefore, when he was beyond the shire, or in the church of Charlecote, where I “ reach of his prosecutor, that he should conin vain sought for it. It is probable that the “ ceal his plan of life, or place of residence, deviation from the real coat of the Lucies, “ from those who, if he found himself diswhich was gules, three lucies bariant, argent, “ tressed, could not fail to afford him such was intentionally made by our poet, that the “ supplies as would have set him above the application might not be too direct, and give “ necessity of holding horses for subsistence. offence lo sir Thomas Lucy's son, who, when " Mr Malone has remarked, in his · Attempt this play was written, was living, and much to ascertain the Order in wbich the Plays of respecled, at Stratford.”
Shakspeare were written,' that he might As lhe deer-stealing story has bitherto been " have found an easy introduction to the stage: lold in order to account for Shakspeare's arrival “ for Thomas Green, a celebrated comedian of in London, it might have been expected that “ that period, was his townsman, and perhaps Mr. Malone would have been enabled to sub- “ his relation. The genius of our author stilute some other reason, and to precede the prompted him to write poetry; his connexion arrival of our poet with some circumstances of " with a player might have given his producfare importance and of greater dignity; but " lions a dramatic turn; or his own sagacity Dabing of this kind is to be found. We have “ might have taught him that same was not inlost the old tradition, with all ils feasible ac- “compatible with profit, and that the theatre companiments, but have got nothing in return. was an avenue to both. That it was once the All that Mr. Malone ventures to conjecture, is, “ general custom to ride on horseback to the that when Shakspeare left Stratford, “he was ' play I am likewise yet to learn. The most involved in some pecuniary difliculties."
popular of the theatres were on the BankOn his arrival in London, which was pro- “ side; and we are told by the satirical pambably in the year 1586, when he was anly phleteers of that time, that the usual mode lwenty-two years old, he is said to have made “ of conveyance to these places of amusement his first acquaintance in the play-house, to was by water, but not a single writer so which idleness or taste may have directed bim, “ much as bints at the custom of riding to and where his necessities, is tradition may be " them, or at the practice of having horses crediled, obliged bim to accept the office of ” held during the hours of exhibition. Some cali-boy, or prompter's assistant. This is a " allusion to this usage (if it bad existed), menial whose employment it is to give the "must, I think, have been discovered in the performers police to be ready to enter, as often
course of our researches after contemporary
“ fashions. Let it be remembered, too, that only popular, but approved by persons of the “ we receive this tale on no higher authority higher order, as we are certain that he enjoyed “ than that of Cibber's Lives of the Poels, the gracious favour of queen Elizabeth, who “ vol. i. p. 130. Sir William Davenant lola was very fond of the stage; and the particular
it lo Mr. Betterton, who communicated it to and affectionale patronage of the earl of South“ Mr. Rowe, who, according to Dr. Johnson, ampton, to whom he dedicated bis poem of " related it to Mr. Pope."
“ Venus and Adonis," and his “Rape of LuMr. Malone concurs in opinion that this crece.” On Sir William Davenant's authority, story stands on a very slender foundation, while it has been asserted ibat this nobleman at one he differs with Mr. Steevens as to the fact of lime gave him a thousand pounds to enable him gentlemen going to the theatre on horseback. to complete a purchase. This anecdote Mr. With respect to Shakspeare's father“ being Malone thinks extravagantly exaggerated, and engaged in a lucralive business,” we may re considers it as far more likely that he might mark that this could not have been the case at have presented the poet with an hundred pounds the lime our author came to London. He is in relurn for his dedications. said to have arrived in London in 1586, the At the conclusion of the advertisement preyear in which his father resigned the office of fixed to Lintol's edition of Shakspeare's poems, alderman, and was in decayed circumstances. it is said, “that most learned prince and great
But in whatever situation he was first em- patron of learning, king James the First, ployed at the theatre, he appears to have soon was pleased with bis own hand to write an discovered those talents which afterwards made “ amicable letter to Mr. Shakspeare: which him
“ leller, though now lost, remained long in the
" bands of sir William Davenant, as a credible “The applause ! delight! the wonder of our stage !"
“ person now living can lestify.” Dr. Farmer
with great probability supposes, that this lelter Some distinction he probably first acquired was wrillen by King James in relurn for the as an aclor, although Mr. Rowe was not able compliment paid to him in Macbeth. The to discover any character in which he appeared | relalor of this anecdote was Shellield, duke of to more advantage than that of the ghost in Buckingham. These brief notices, meagre as Hamlet. The instructions given to the players they are, may show that our author enjoyed in that tragedy, and other passages of his works, high favour in his day. Whatever some may show an intimate acquaintance with the skill or think of king James as a "learned prince,” his acting, and such as is scarcely surpassed in our patronage, as well as that of his predecessor, own days. He appears to have studied nature was sufficient to give celebrity to the founder in acting as much as in writing. Mr. Malone, of a new stage. It inay be added, lhat Shakhowever, does not believe that he played parts speare's uncommon merit, his candour, and of the first rale, though he probably distin- good- nature are supposed to have procured guished himself by whatever be performed; him the admiration and acquaintance of every and the distinction which he oblained could person distinguished for such qualities. It only be in bis own plays, in which he would be is not difficult, indeed, to suppose that Shakassisted by the novel appearance of author and speare was a man of humour and a social comaetor combined. Before his time, it does not panion, and probably excelled in that species appear that any actor could avail himself of the of minor wit pot ill adapled to conversalion, of wretched pieces represented on the stage. which it could have been wished he had been
Mr. Rowe regrels lhat he cannot inform us more sparing in his writings. which was the first play he wrote, nor is that How long he acted has not been discovered, a point yet determined. Mr. Malone, in his but he continued to write till the year 1614. first edition, appears to have allained something | During his dramatic career he acquired a proconclusive; but in his last edition, he has perty in the theatre,* which he must have dischanged the dates of so many of the plays, that posed of when he retired, as no mention occurs we can only refer to the lists given at the end of it in his will. His connection with Ben of bis History of the Stage. The progress of Jonson has been variously related. It is said Sbakspeare's taste or genius, it seems to be
* In 1603 he and several others obtained a license impossible to ascertain with any certainty.
from king James to exhibit comedies, tragedies, His plays, however, must have been not histories, &c. at the Globe Theatre and elsewhere.
that when Jonson was unknown to the world, per annum; a sum at least equal lo 10001. in be offered a play to the theatre, which was re- our days; but Mr. Malone doubes whether all jected after a very careless perusal, but that his property amounted to much more than Shakspeare having accidentally cast his eye on 2001. per annum, which yet was a considerable it, conceived a favourable opinion of it, and fortune in those times ; and it is supposed that afterwards recommended Jonson and bis wril- he might have derived 2001. per annum from ings to the public. For this candour he is the theatre while connected with it. said to have been repaid by Jonson, when the He retired about four years (1611 or 1612) lalter became a poet of note, with an envious before his death, to a house in Stralford, of disrespect. Jonson acquired reputation by the which it has been thought important to give the variety of his pieces, and endeavoured to arro- history. It was built by sir Hugh Clopton, a gate the supremacy in dramatic genius. Like younger brother of an ancient family in that a French critic, he insinuated Shakspeare's in- neighbourhood. Sir Hugh was sheriff of Loncorrectness, bis careless manner of writing, and don in the reign of Richard III., and lordhis waplof judgment; and, as he was a remark- mayor in that of Henry VII. By his will he able slow writer himself, he could not endure bequeathed to his elder brother's son his manor the praise frequently bestowed on Shakspeare, or Cloplon, &c., and his house the name of the viz. Ibat be seldom altered or blolled out what Great House in Stratford.* A good part of he had written. Mr. Malone says, that, "not the estate was in possession of Edward Clopton, ** long after the year 1600, a coolness arose Esq. and sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. in 1733. The " between Shakspeare and him, which, bow- principal estate had been sold out of the Cloplon * ever be may talk of bis almost idolatrous family for above a century, at the time when “ affection, produced, on his part, from that Shakspeare became the purchaser; who, having * time to the death of our author and for repaired and modelled it to his own mind, “ many years afterwards, much clumsy sarcasm changed the name to New Place, which the " and many malevolent reflections.” But from mansion-house, afterwards erected in the room these, which were until lately the commonly of the poet's house, retained for many years. received traditions on this subject, the learned The house and lands belonging to it coniinued Dr. Farmer was inclined to depart; and to in the possession of Shakspeare's descendants tink Jonson's hostility to Shakspeare absolutely to the time of the Restoration, when they were groundless : and this opinion bas been amply repurchased by the Cloplon family. Here in confirmed by modern crilics.
May, 1742, when Mr. Garrick, Mr. Macklin, Jonson had only one advantage over Shak- and Mr. Delane visited Stratford, they were speare, that of superior learning, which might, hospitably entertained under Shakspeare's mulin certain situations, give him a superior rank, berry-tree by Sir Hugh Cloplon. He was a but could never promote his rivalship with a barrister-at-law, was knighted by king George I., man who attained the highest excellence without and died in the eightieth year of his age, in it. Nor will Shakspeare suffer by its being Dec. 1751. His executor, about the year 1752, known, that all the dramatic poels before he sold New Place to the Rev. Mr. Gastrell, a man appeared were scholars. Greene, Lodge, Peele, of large fortune, who resided in it but a few Marlow, Nashe, Lily, and Kid, had all, says years, inconsequence of a disagreement with the Mr. Malone, a regular university education ; | inhabitants of Stratford : as he resided part of and, as scholars in our universilies, frequently the year at Lichfield, he thought he was assessed composed and acled plays on historical sub- too bighly in the monthly rate towards the jects. *
maintenance of the poor ; but being very proThe latter part of Shakspeare's life was spent perly compelled by the magistrales of Stratford in ease, retirement, and the conversation of his to pay the whole of what was levied on him, on friends. He had accumulated considerable pro- the principle that his house was occupied by his perly, which Gildon (in his “ Lellers and
servanls in his absence, he peevishly declared, Essays” in 1694,) stated to amount to 3001.
The account of this house in Malone's Shak* This was the practice in Milton's days. “One speare, 1821, is the same which appeared in his of his objections to academical education, as it edition of 1790, but which he probably would *was then conducted, is, that men designed for have corrected, had he seen some further infor"orders in the church were permitted to act mation on the subject, by Mr. Wheler, in Gent. * plays," &c. Johnson's wife of Milton.
Mag. vol. lxxix. and vol. Ixxx.
that that house should never be assessed again; | The sharpness of the satire is said to have stung and soon afterwards pulled it down, sold the ihe man so severely that he never forgave it. materials, and left the town. He had some These lines, however, or some which nearly time before cut down Shakspeare's mulberry- resembled them, appeared in various collectrec,* to save himself the trouble of showing it lions, both before and after the time when they to those whose admiration of our great poet led were said to have been composed; and the inthem to visit the classic ground on which it quiries of Mr. Steevens and Mr. Malone satisstood. That Shakspeare planted this tree ap- factorily prove that the whole story is a fabricapears to be sufliciently authenticated. Where lion. Betterton is said to have heard it when New Place slood is now a garden. Before con- he visited Warwickshire on purpose to collect cluding this history, it may be necessary lo anecdotes of our poet, and probably thought mention that the poet's bouse was once honoured it of too much importance to be nicely examined. by the temporary residence of Henrietta Maria, We know not whether it be worth adding of queen to Charles I. Theobald has given an a story which we have rejected, that a usurer, inaccurate account of this, as if she had been in Shakspeare's time, did not mean one who obliged to take refuge in Stratford from the took exorbitant, but any interest or usuance for rebels : but that was not the case. She marched money, and that ten in the hundred, or ten per from Newark, June 16, 1643, and entered cent., was then the ordinary interest of money. Stratford triumphantly about the 22d of the It would have been of more consequence, howsame month, at the head of 3000 foot and ever, 10 have here recorded the opinion of Mr. 1,500 horse, with 150 waggons and a train of Malone, in his first edition, that Shakspeare, artillery. Here she was met by prince Rupert, during his retirement, wrote the play of Twelfth accompanied by a large body of troops. She Night; but unfortunately, in his last edition, he resided about three weeks at our poet's house, carried the date of this play back to the year which was then possessed by his grand-daugh- 1607. ler, Mrs. Nash, and her husband.
Shakspeare died on his birth-day, Tuesday, During Shakspeare's abode in this house, bis April 23, 1616, when he had exactly compleasurable wit, and good nature, says Mr. pleted his fifty-second year ,* and was buried Rowe, engaged him the acquaintance, and en- on the north side of the chancel, in the great tilled him to the friendship of the gentlemen of church at Stratford, where a monument is the neighbourhood. This may be readily be placed in the wall, on which he is represented lieved, for he was entitled to their respect. He under an arch, in a sitting posture, a cushion had left bis native place, poor, and almost un placed before bim, with a pen in his right known. He returned ennobled by fame, and hand, and his left rested on a scroll of paper. enriched by fortune.
The following Lalin distich is engraved under Mr. Rowe gives us a traditional story of a the cushion :miser, or usurer, named Combe, who, in conversation with Shakspeare, said, he fancied the Judicio Pylium, genio Socratem, arte Maronem, poet intended to write his epitaph if he should
Terra tegit, populus mæret, Olympus habet. survive him, and desired to know what he “ The first syllable in Socratem,' says meant to say. On this Shakspeare gave him “ Steevens, is here made short, wbich cannot the following, probably extempore :
“ be allowed. Perhaps we should read “SoTen in the hundred lies here engravid,
phoclem.' Shakspeare is then appositely « Tis an hundred to ten his soul is not say'd ; If any man ask, who lies in this tombe ?
" compared with a dramatic author among Oh! oh! quoth the devil, 'tis my John-a-Combe.”
“The ancients : but still it should be remem“ As the curiosity of this house and tree brought“ bered that the eulogium is lessened while much fame, and more company and profit to the “ the metre is reformed ; and il is well known town, a certain man, on some disgust, has pulled “ that some of our early writers of Latin poetry the house down, so as not to leave one stone upon another, and cut down the tree, and piled it as a
were uncommonly negligent in their prosody, stack of firewood, to the great vexation, loss, and
“ especially in proper names. The thought disappointment of the inhabitants; however, an honest silversmith bought the whole stack of wood, * The only notice we have of his person is and makes many odd things of this wood for the from Aubrey, who says, “ he was a handsome curious." Letter in Annual Register, 1760. Of well-shaped man,” and adds, “verie good com Mr. Gastrell and his Lady see Boswell's Life of "pany, and of a very ready, and pleasant, and Dr. Johnson, vol. ii. p. 456. edit. 1822. 4 vol. smooth wit."