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tions, though far from wealthy, were yet too remote | departure from Stratford and his becoming the ob from absolute poverty, to permit him to act for a mo-ject of Greene's malignant attack, constituted a ment in such a degrading situation. He was certainly, busy and an important period of his life. Within therefore, immediately admitted within the theatre; this term he had conciliated the friendship of the but in what rank or character cannot now be known. young Thomas Wriothesly, the liberal, the high This fact, however, soon became of very little con- souled, the romantic Earl of Southampton: a sequence; for he speedily raised himself into con- friendship which adhered to him throughout his life; sideration among his new fellows by the exertions and he had risen to that celebrity, as a poet and a of his pen, if not by his proficiency as an actor. dramatist, which placed him with the first wits of the When he began his career as a dramatic writer; age, and subsequently lifted him to the notice and or to what degree of excellence he attained in his the favour of Elizabeth and James, as they succes personation of dramatic characters, are questions sively sate upon the throne of England. which have been frequently agitated without any At the point of time which our narrative has now satisfactory result. By two publications, which reached, we cannot accurately determine what appeared toward the end of 1592, we know, or at dramatic pieces had been composed by him: but least we are induced strongly to infer, that at that we are assured that they were of sufficient excelperiod, either as the corrector of old or as the writer lence to excite the envy and the consequent hostiof original dramas, he had supplied the stage with a lity of those who, before his rising, had been the copiousness of materials. We learn also from the luminaries of the stage. It would be gratifying to same documents that, in his profession of actor, he curiosity if the feat were possible, to adjust with trod the boards not without the acquisition of ap- any precision the order in which his wonderful plause. The two publications, to which I allude, productions issued from his brain. But the atare Robert Greene's "Groatsworth of Wit bought tempt has more than once been made, and never with a Million of Repentance," and Henry Chet- yet with entire success. We know only that his tle's "Kind Hart's Dream." In the former of connection with the stage continued for about twen these works, which was published by Chettle sub-ty years, (though the duration even of this term sequently to the unhappy author's decease, the cannot be settled with precision,) and that, within writer, addressing his fellow dramatists, Marlowe, this period he composed either partially, as work Peele, and Lodge, says, "Yes! trust them not," ing on the ground of others, or educing them alto(the managers of the theatre;) "for there is an gether from his own fertility, thirty-five or (if that upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that, wretched thing, Pericles, in consequence of Drywith his tiger's heart wrapped in a player's hide, den's testimony in favour of its authenticity, and supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank of a few touches of THE GOLDEN PEN being disco verse as the best of you; and, being an absolute verable in its last scenes, must be added to the Johannes Factotum, is in his own conceit the only number) thirty-six dramas; and that of these it is Shake-scene in a country." As it could not be probable that such as were founded on the works doubtful against whom this attack was directed, we of preceding authors were the first essays of his cannot wonder that Shakspeare should be hurt by dramatic talent; and such as were more perfectly it or that he should expostulate on the occasion his own, and are of the first sparkle of excellence, rather warmly with Chettle as the editor of the of were among the last. While I should not hesitate, fensive matter. In consequence, as it is probable, therefore, to station "Pericles," the three parts of of this expression of resentment on the part of "Henry VI," (for I cannot see any reason for Shakspeare, a pamphlet from the pen of Chettle throwing the first of these parts from the protection called "Kind Hart's Dream" issued from the press of our author's name,) "Love's Labour Lost," before the close of the same year (1592,) which had "The Comedy of Errors," "The Taming of he witnessed the publication of Greene's posthumous Shrew," "King John," and "Richard II.," among work. In this pamphlet, Chettle acknowledges his his earliest productions, I should, with equal confi concern for having edited any thing which had given dence, arrange "Macbeth," "Lear," "Othello," pain to Shakspeare, of whose character and accom-"Twelfth Night," and "The Tempest," with his plishments he avows a very favourable opinion. latest, assigning them to that season of his life, Marlowe, as well as Shakspeare, appears to have when his mind exulted in the conscious plenitude been offended by some passages in this production of power. Whatever might be the order of succesof poor Greene's: and to both of these great drama-sion in which this illustrious family of genius sprang tic poets Chettle refers in the short citation which into existence, they soon attracted notice, and we shall now make from his page: "With neither speedily compelled the homage of respect from of them that take offence was I acquainted, and with those who were the most eminent for their learnone of them" (concluded to be Marlowe, whose ing, their talents, or their rank. Jenson, Selden, moral character was unhappily not good) "I care Beaumont, Fletcher, and Donne, were the associ not if I never be. The other," (who must neces-ates and the intimates of our Poet: the Earl of sarily be Shakspeare,)" whom at that time I did Southampton was his especial friend: the Earls not so much spare as since I wish I had; for that, of Pembroke and of Montgomery were avowedly as I have moderated the hate of living authors, and his admirers and patrons : Queen Elizabeth dismight have used my own discretion, (especially in tinguished him with her favour; and her successor, such a case, the author being dead,) that I did not James, with his own hand, honoured the great draI am as sorry as if the original fault had been my matist with a letter of thanks for the compliment fault: because myself have seen his den.eanor no paid in Macbeth to the roval family of the Stuarts.* less civil than he is excellent in the quality he pro- The circumstance which first brought the two fesses. Besides divers of worship have reported lords of the stage, Shakspeare and Jonson, into his uprightness of dealing, which argues his honesty; that embrace of friendship which continued indisand his facetious grace in writing, that approves soluble, as there is reason to believe, during the his art." Shakspeare was now twenty-eight years permission of mortality, is reported to have been of age; and this testimony of a contemporary, who the kind assistance given by the former to the lat was acquainted with him, and was himself an actor, ter, when he was offering one of his plays (Every in favour of his moral and his professional excel- Man in his Humour) for the benefit of representa lence, must be admitted as of considerable value.tion. The manuscript, as it is said, was on the It is evident that he had now written for the stage; point of being rejected and returned with a rude and before he entered upon dramatic composition, we are certain that he had completed, though he had not published his two long and laboured poems of Venus and Adonis, and the Rape of Lucrece. We cannot, therefore, date his arrival in the capital ater than 1588, or, perhaps, than 1587; and the four or five years which interposed between his
answer, when Shakspeare, fortunately glancing his eye over its pages, immediately discovered its
serted on the authority of Shetheld Duke of Bucking The existence of this royal letter of thanks is as ham, who saw it in the possession of Davenant. The cause of the thanks is assigned on the most probable conjecture
land to a mere actor, of ten times the nominal and twice the effective value of this proud bounty of the great Earl of Southampton's* to one of the master spirits of the human race? †
Imeri and, with his influence, obtained its intro- | duction on the stage. To this story some specious objections have been raised; and there cannot be any necessity for contending for it, as no lucky accident can be required to account for the induceOf the degree of patronage and kindness extendment of amity between two men of high genius, each ed to Shakspeare by the Earls of Pembroke and treading the same broad path to fame and fortune, Montgomery, we are altogether ignorant: but we yet each with a character so peculiarly his own, know, from the dedication of his works to them by that he might attain his object without wounding the Heminge and Condell, that they had distinguished pride or invading the interests of the other. It has themselves as his admirers and friends. That he been generally believed that the intellectual superi-numbered many more of the nobility of his day ority of Shakspeare excited the envy and the con- among the homagers of his transcendent genius, sequent enmity of Jonson. It is well that of these we may consider as a specious probability. But asserted facts no evidences can be adduced. The we must not indulge in conjectures, when we can friendship of these great men seems to have been gratify ourselves with the reports of tradition, apunbroken during the life of Shakspeare; and, on proaching very nearly to certainties. Elizabeth, as his death, Jonson made an offering to his memory it is confidently said, honoured our illustrious draof high, just, and appropriate panegyric. He places matist with her especial notice and regard. She him above not only the modern but the Greek dra- was unquestionably fond of theatric exhibitions; matists; and he professes for him admiration short and, with her literary mind and her discriminating only of idolatry. They who can discover any pe- eye, it is impossible that she should overlook; and nuriousness of praise in the surviving poet must be that, not overlooking, she should not appreciate the gifted with a very peculiar vision of mind. With man, whose genius formed the prime glory of her the flowers, which he strewed upon the grave of reign. It is affirmed that, delighted with the chahis friend, there certainly was not blended one racter of Falstaff as drawn in the two parts of Henry poisonous or bitter leaf. If, therefore, he was, as IV., she expressed a wish to see the gross and dishe is represented to have been by an impartial and solute knight under the influence of love; and that able judge, (Drummond of Hawthornden,)" a great the result of our Poet's compliance, with the desire lover and praiser of himself; a contemner and of his royal mistress, was "The Merry Wives o scorner of others; jealous of every word and ac- Windsor." Favoured, however, as our Poet tion of those about him," &c. &c., how can we seems to have been by Elizabeth, and notwithotherwise account for the uninterrupted harmony of standing the fine incense which he offered to her his intercourse with our bard than by supposing vanity, it does not appear that he profited in any that the frailties of his nature were overruled by degree by her bounty. She could distinguish and that pre-eminence of mental power in his friend could smile upon genius: but unless it were immewhich precluded competition; and by his friend's diately serviceable to her personal or her political sweetness of temper and gentleness of manners, interests, she had not the soul to reward it. Howwhich repressed every feeling of hostility. Be- ever inferior to her in the arts of government and tween Shakspeare and Thomas Wriothesly, the in some of the great characters of mind might be munificent and the noble Earl of Southampton, dis- her Scottish successor, he resembled her in his love tinguished in history by his inviolable attachment of letters, and in his own cultivation of learning. to the rash and the unfortunate Essex, the friendship He was a scholar, and even a poet: his attachwas permanent and ardent. At its commencement, ment to the general cause of literature was strong; in 1593, when Shakspeare was twenty-nine years and his love of the drama and the theatre was par of age, Southampton was not more than nineteen; ticularly warm. Before his accession to the Engand, with the love of general literature, he was lish throne he had written, as we have before no particularly attached to the exhibitions of the thea- ticed, a letter, with his own hand, to Shakspearo, tre. His attention was first drawn to Shakspeare | by the poet's dedication to him of the "Venus and Adonis," that "first heir," as the dedicator calls it, "of his invention;" and the acquaintance, once begun between characters and hearts like theirs, would soon mature into intimacy and friendship. In the following year (1594) Shakspeare's second poem, "The Rape of Lucrece," was addressed by him to his noble patron in a strain of less distant timidity; and we may infer from it that the poet had then obtained a portion of the favour which he sought. That his fortunes were essentially promoted by the munificent patronage of Southampton cannot reasonably be doubted. We are told by Sir William Davenant, who surely possessed the means of knowing the fact, that the peer gave at one time to his favoured dramatist the magnificent present of a thousand pounds. This is rejected by Malone as an extravagant exaggeration; and because the donation is said to have been made for the purpose of enabling the poet to complete a pur-assistance of the crown. chase which he had then in contemplation; and The late Duke of Northumberland made a preser because no purchase of an adequate magnitude to John Kemble of 10,0007. seems to have been accomplished by him, the cri- Animated as this comedy is with much distinct de tic treats the whole story with contempt; and is lineation of character, it cannot be pronounced to be desirous of substituting a dedication fee of one hun-unworthy of its great author. But it evinces the diffi dred pounds for the more princely liberality which is attested by Davenant. B surely a purchase might be within the view of Shakspeare, and even tually not be effected; and then of course the thousand pounds in question would be added to his personal property; where it would just complete the income on which he is reported to have retired from the stage. As to the incredibility of the gift in consequence of its value, have we not witnessed a gift, made in the present day, by a noble of the
As the patron and the friend of Shakspeare, Thomat Wriothesly, Earl of Southampton, is entitled to our es pecial attention and respect. But I cannot admit his eventful history into the text, without breaking the uni within the compass of a note will be only to inform my ty of my biographical narrative; and to speak of him. readers, that he was born on the 6th of October, 1573 that he was engaged in the mad attempts of his friend, the Earl of Essex, against the government of Eliza beth: that, in consequence, he was confined during he life by that Queen, who was so lenient as to be satisfied with the blood of one of the friends: that, immediately disposed to adopt the enmities of the murderess of his on her death, he was liberated by her successor, not mother: that he was promoted to honours by the new sovereign; and that, finally, being sent with a military command to the Low Countries, he caught a fever from his son, Lord Wriothesly; and, surviving him only five days, concluded his active and honourable career of life at Bergen-op-zoom, on the 10th of November, 1624. It left his widow in such circumstances as to call for the may be added, that, impoverished by his liberalities, he
ing with effect under the control of another mind. As culty of writing upon a prescribed subject, and of werk he sported in the scenes of Henry IV., Falstaff was insusceptible of love and the egregious dupe of Windsor, ducked and cunge.ie, as he was, cannot be the wit of Eastcheap, or the guest of Shanow, or the military commander on the field of Shrewsbury. But even the He did what he coul! to revive his own Falstaff: but genius of Shakspeare could not effect impossibilities. the life which he reinfused into his creature was not the vigorous vitality of Nature; and he placed him in a scene where he could not subsist.
hands New Place had most unfortunately fallen.
acknowledging, as it is supposed, the compliment | rell, a clergyman, into whose worse than Gothic paid to him in the noble scenes of Macbeth; and scarcely had the crown of England fallen upon his As we are not told the precise time, when Shakhead, when he granted his royal patent to our Poet speare retired from the stage and the metropolis to and his company of the Globe; and thus raised enjoy the tranquillity of life in his native town, we them from being the Lord Chamberlain's servants cannot pretend to determine it. As he is said, to be the servants of the King. The patent is dated however, to have passed some years in his estab on the 19th of May, 1603, and the name of William lishment at New Place, we may conclude that his Shakspeare stands second on the list of the patentees. removal took place either in 1612 or in 1613, when As the demise of Elizabeth had occurred on the he was yet in the vigour of life, being not more 24th of the preceding March, this early attention of than forty-eight or forty-nine years old. He had James to the company of the Globe may be regard- ceased, as it is probable, to tread the stage as an ed as highly complimentary to Shakspeare's thea-actor at an earlier period; for in the list of actors, tre, and as strongly demonstrative of the new sov-prefixed to the Volpone of B. Jonson, performed at ereign's partiality for the drama. But James' the Globe theatre, and published in 1605, the name patronage of our Poet was not in any other way of William Shakspeare is not to be found. However beneficial to his fortunes. If Elizabeth were too versed he might be in the science of acting, (and parsimonious for an effective patron, by his profu- that he was versed in it we are assured by his dision on his pleasures and his favourites, James soon rections to the players in Hamlet,) and, however became too needy to possess the means of bounty well he might acquit himself in some of the suborfor the reward of talents and of learning. Honour, dinate characters of the drama, it does not appear in short, was all that Shakspeare gained by the fa- that he ever rose to the higher honours of his provour of two successive sovereigns, each of them fession. But if they were above his attainment, versed in literature, each of them fond of the dra- they seem not to have been the objects of his am ma, and each of them capable of appreciating the bition; for by one of his sonnets* we find that he transcendency of his genius. lamented the fortune which had devoted him to the stage, and that he considered himself as degraded by such a public exhibition. The time was not yet come when actors were to be the companions of princes: when their lives, as of illustrious men, were to be written; and when statues were to be erected to them by public contribution!
It would be especially gratifying to us to exhibit to our readers some portion at least of the personal history of this illustrious man during his long residence in the capital;-to announce the names and characters of his associates, a few of which only we can obtain from Fuller; to delineate his habits of life; to record his convivial wit; to com- The amount of the fortune, on which Shakspeare memorate the books which he read; and to number retired from the busy world, has been the subject his compositions as they dropped in succession of some discussion. By Gildon, who forbears to from his pen. But no power of this nature is in-state his authority, this fortune is valued at 300l. a dulged to us. All that active and efficient portion year; and by Malone, who, calculating our Poet's of his mortal existence, which constituted conside-real property from authentic documents, assigns a rably more than a third part of it, is an unknown random value to his personal, it is reduced to 2004 region, not to be penetrated by our most zealous Of these two valuations of Shakspeare's property, and intelligent researches. It may be regarded by we conceive that Gildon's approaches the more us as a kind of central Africa, which our reason nearly to the truth: for if to Malone's conjectural assures us to be glowing with fertility and alive with estimate of the personal property, of which he pro population; but which is abandoned in our maps, fesses to be wholly ignorant, be added the thousand from the ignorance of our geographers, to the death pounds, given by Southampton, (an act of munifi of barrenness, and the silence of sandy desolation. cence of which we entertain not a doubt,) the preBy the Stratford register we can ascertain that his cise total, as money then bore an interest of 101. only son, Hamnet, was buried, in the twelfth year per cent., of the three hundred pounds a year will of his age, on the 11th of August, 1596; and that, be made up. On the smallest of these incomes, after an interval of nearly eleven years, his eldest however, when money was at least five times its daughter, Susanna, was married to John Hall, present value, might our Poet possess the comforts a physician, on the 5th of June, 1607. With the ex- and the liberalities of life and in the society of ception of two or three purchases made by him at his family, and of the neighbouring gentry, conciliaStratford, one of them being that of New Place, ted by the amiableness of his manners and the which he repaired and ornamented for his future re-pleasantness of his conversation, he seems to have sidence, the two entries which we have now ex- passed his few remaining days in the enjoyment of tracted from the register, are positively all that we tranquillity and respect. So exquisite, indeed, apcan relate with confidence of our great poet and his pears to have been his relish of the quiet, which family, during the long term of his connection with was his portion within the walls of New Place, that the theatre and the metropolis. We may fairly it induced a complete oblivion of all that had enconclude, indeed, that he was present at each of the gaged his attention, and had aggrandized his name domestic events, recorded by the register: that he in the preceding scenes of his life. Without any attended his son to the grave, and his daughter to regard to his literary fame, either present or to the altar. We may believe also, from its great come, he saw with perfect unconcern some of his probability, even to the testimony of Aubrey, that immortal works brought, mutilated and deformed, he paid an annual visit to his native town; whence in surreptitious copies, before the world; and others his family were never removed, and which he seems of them, with an equal indifference to their fate, always to have contemplated as the resting place he permitted to remain in their unrevised or interof his declining age. He probably had nothing more polated MSS. in the hands of the theatric promp than a lodging in London, and this he might occa-ter. There is not, probably, in the whole compass sionally change: but in 1596 he is said to have of literary history, such another instance of a proud lived somewhere near to the Bear-Garden, in South- superiority to what has been called by a rival wark. genius,
In 1606, James procured from the continent a large importation of mulberry trees, with a view to
"The last infirmity of noble minds,"
the establishment of the silk manufactory in his as that which was now exhibited by our illustrious dominions; and, either in this year or in the fol-dramatist and poet. He seemed
lowing, Shakspeare enriched his garden at New Place with one of these exotic, and at that time, very rare trees. This plant of his hand took root, and flourished till the year 1752, when it was destroved by the barbarous axe of one Francis Gast
"As if he could not or ke would not find,
How much his worth transcended all his kind.†”
* See Sonnet cxi.
Epitaph on a Fair Maiden Lady, by Dryden.
Good-fellow, the fairy servant of Oberon, my readers would have just cause to complain of me, as sporting with their time and their patience.
With a privilege, rarely indulged even to the sons | make them worse, are said to have been written of genius, he had produced his admirable works after Combe's death. Steevens and Malone diswithout any throes or labour of the mind: they had credit the whole tale. The two first lines, as given obtained for him all that he had asked from them, to us by Rowe, are unquestionably not Shak-the patronage of the great, the applause of the speare's; and that any lasting enmity subsisted witty, and a competency of fortune adequate to between these two burghers of Stratford is disprothe moderation of his desires. Having fulfilled, or, ved by the respective wills of the parties, Joha possibly, exceeded his expectations, they had dis- Combe bequeathing five pounds to our Poet, and charged their duty; and he threw them altogether our Poet leaving his sword to John Combe's ne from his thought; and whether it were their des- phew and residuary legatee, John Combe himself tiny to emerge into renown, or to perish in the being at that time deceased. With the two comdrawer of a manager; to be brought to light in a mentators above mentioned, I am inclined, therefore, state of integrity, or to revisit the glimpses of the on the whole, to reject the story as a fabrication; moon with a thousand mortal murders on their head, though I cannot, with Steevens, convict the lines of engaged no part of his solicitude or interest. They malignity; or think, with him and with Malone, that had given to him the means of easy life, and he the character of Shakspeare, on the supposition of sht from them nothing more. This insensi- his being their author, could require any laboured bility in our Author to the offspring of his brain vindication to clear it from stain. In the anecdote, may be the subject of our wonder or admira- as related by Rowe, I can see nothing but a whim tion but its consequences have been calamitous sical sally, breaking from the mind of one friend, to those who in after times have hung with delight and of a nature to excite a good-humoured smile on over his pages. On the intellect and the temper of the cheek of the other. In Aubrey's hands, the these ill-fated mortals it has inflicted a heavy load transaction assumes a somewhat darker comof punishment in the dullness and the arrogance of plexion; and the worse verses, as written after the commentators and illustrators-in the conceit and death of their subject, may justly be branded as petulance of Theobald; the imbecility of Capell; malevolent, and as discovering enmity in the heart the pert and tasteless dogmatism of Steevens; the of their writer. But I have dwelt too long upon a ponderous littleness of Malone and of Drake. Some topic which, in truth, is undeserving of a syllable; superior men, it is true, have enlisted themselves and if I were to linger on it any longer, for the purpose in the cause of Shakspeare. Rowe, Pope, War- of exhibiting Malone's reasons for his preference of burton, Hanmer, and Johnson have successively Aubrey's copy of the epitaph to Rowe's, and his been his editors; and have professed to give his discovery of the propriety and beauty of the single scenes in their original purity to the world. But Ho in the last line of Aubrey's, as Ho is the abbrefrom some cause or other, which it is not our pre-viation of Hobgoblin, one of the names of Robin sent business to explore, each of these editors, in his turn, has disappointed the just expectations of the public; and, with an inversion of Nature's general rule, the little men have finally prevailed against the great. The blockheads have hooted the wits from the field; and, attaching themselves to the mighty body of Shakspeare, like barnacles to the hull of a proud man of war, they are prepared to plough with him the vast ocean of time; and thus, With his various powers of pleasing; his wit and by the only means in their power, to snatch them- his humour; the gentleness of his manners; the flow selves from that oblivion to which Nature had devo- of his spirits and his fancy; the variety of anec ted them. It would be unjust, however, to defraud dote with which his mind must have been stored; these gentlemen of their proper praise. They have his knowledge of the world, and his intimacy read for men of talents; and, by their gross labour with man, in every gradation of the society, from m the mine, they have accumulated materials to the prompter of a playhouse to the peer and the be arranged and polished by the hand of the finer sovereign, Shakspeare must have been a delightful artist. Some apology may be necessary for this-nay, a fascinating companion; and his acquainshort digression from the more immediate subject tance must necessarily have been courted by all of my biography. But the three or four years, which were passed by Shakspeare in the peaceful retirement of New Place are not distinguished by any traditionary anecdote deserving of our record; and the chasm may not improperly be supplied with whatever stands in contiguity with it. I should pass in silence, as too trifling for notice, the story of our Poet's extempore and jocular epitaph on On the 2d of February, 1615-16, he married his John Combe, a rich townsman of Stratford, and a youngest daughter, Judith, then in the thirtynoted money-lender, if my readers would not object first year of her age, to Thomas Quiney, a vintner to me that I had omitted an anecdote which had in Stratford; and on the 25th of the succeeding been honoured with a place in every preceding bio-month he executed his will. He was then, as it graphy of my author. As the circumstance is re- would appear, in the full vigour and enjoyment of lated by Rowe, "In a pleasant conversation among life; and we are not informed that his constitution their common friends, Mr. Combe told Shakspeare, had been previously weakened by the attack of any in a laughing manner, that he fancied he intended to write his epitaph if he happened to outlive him: and, since he could not know what might be said of him when he was dead, he desired it might be done immediately upon which Shakspeare gave him these four verses:
Ten in the hundred lies here ingraved :
But the sharpness of the satire is said to have stung
On the 9th of July, 1614, Stratford was ravaged by a fire, which destroyed fifty-four dwelling-houses besides barns and out-offices. It abstained, however, from the property of Shakspeare; and he had only to commiserate the losses of his neighbours.
the prime inhabitants of Stratford and its vicinity. But over this, as over the preceding periods of his life, brood silence and oblivion; and in our total ignorance of his intimacies and friendships, we must apply to our imagination to furnish out his convivial board where intellect presided, and delight, with admiration, gave the applause.
malady. But his days, or rather his hours, were now all numbered; for he breathed his last on the 23d of the ensuing April, on that anniversary of his birth which completed his fifty-second year. It would be gratifying to our curiosity to know something of the disease, which thus prematurely terminated the life of this illustrious man: but the secret is withheld from us; and it would be idle to endeavour to obtain it. We may be certain that Dr. Hall, who was father-in-law in his last illness; and Dr. Hall kept a physician of considerable eminence, attended his a register of all the remarkable cases, with their symptoms and treatment, which in the course of his practice had fallen under his observation. This curious MS., which had escaped the enmity of time, was obtained by Malone: but the recorded cases in
it most unfortunately began with the year 1617; | whose expense the monument was constructed, and the preceding part of the register, which most nor by whose hand it was executed; nor at what probably had been in existence, could no where be precise time it was erected. It may have been found. The mortal complaint, therefore, of William wrought by the artist, acting under the recollections Shakspeare is likely to remain for ever unknown; of the Shakspeare family into some likeness of the and as darkness had closed upon his path through great townsman of Stratford; and on this probalife, so darkness now gathered round his bed of bility, we may contemplate it with no inconsidedeath, awfully to cover it from the eyes of succeed-rable interest. I cannot, however, persuade my ing generations.
self that the likeness could have been strong. The On the 25th of April, 1616, two days after his de- forehead, indeed, is sufficiently spacious and intel cease, he was buried in the chancel of the church lectual: but there is a disproportionate length in the of Stratford; and at some period within the seven under part of the face: the mouth is weak; and subsequent years, (for in 1623 it is noticed in the the whole countenance is heavy and inert. Not verses of Leonard Digges,) a monument was raised having seen the monument itself, I can speak of it to his memory either by the respect of his towns-only from its numerous copies by the graver; and by men, or by the piety of his relations. It represents these it is possible that I may be deceived. But if we the Poet with a countenance of thought, resting on cannot rely on the Stratford bust for a resemblance a cushion and in the act of writing. It is placed of our immortal dramatist, where are we to look under an arch, between two Corinthian columns of with any hope of finding a trace of his features? K black marble, the capitals and bases of which are is highly probable that no portrait of him was paint gilt. The face is said, but, as far as I can find, not ed during his life; and it is certain that no portrait of on any adequate authority, to have been modelled him, with an incontestible claim to genuineness, is from the face of the deceased; and the whole was at present in existence. The fairest title to au painted, to bring the imitation nearer to nature. thenticity seems to be assignable to that which is The face and the hands wore the carnation of life called the Chandos portrait; and is now in the colthe eyes were light hazel: the hair and beard lection of the Duke of Buckingham, at Stowe. The were auburn a black gown, without sleeves, hung possession of this picture can be distinctly traced loosely over a scarlet doublet. The cushion in up to Betterton and Davenant. Through the hands its upper part was green in its lower, crimson; of successive purchasers, it became the property and the tassels were of gold colour. This certainly of Mr. Robert Keck. On the marriage of the heirwas not in the high classical taste; though we may ess of the Keck family, it passed to Mr. Nicholl, of learn from Pausanias that statues in Greece were Colney-Hatch, in Middlesex: on the union of this sometimes coloured after life; but as it was the gentleman's daughter with the Duke of Chandos, it work of contemporary hands, and was intended, by found a place in that nobleman's collection; and, those who knew the Poet, to convey to posterity finally, by the marriage of the present Duke of some resemblance of his lineaments and dress, it Buckingham with the Lady Anne Elizabeth Brydges, was a monument of rare value; and the tasteless- the heiress of the house of Chandos, it has settled ness of Malone, who caused all its tints to be ob- in the gallery of Stowe. This was pronounced by literated with a daubing of white lead, cannot be the late Earl of Orford. (Horace Walpole,) as we sufficiently ridiculed and condemned. Its material are informed by Mr. Granger, to be the only origi is a species of free-stone; and as the chisel of the nal picture of Shakspeare. But two others, if not sculptor was most probably under the guidance of more, contend with it for the palm of originality; one, Doctor Hall, it bore some promise of likeness to the which in consequence of its having been in the pos mighty dead. Immediately below the cushion is the session of Mr. Felton, of Drayton, in the county of following distich :Salop, from whom it was purchased by the Boydells, has been called the Felton Shakspeare; and one, a miniature, which, by some connection, as I believe, with the family of its proprietors, found its way into the cabinet of the late Sir James Lamb, more generally, perhaps, known by his original name of James Bland Burgess. The first of these pictures was reported to have been found at the Boar's Head in Eastcheap, one of the favourite haunts, as it was erroneously called, of Shakspeare and his companions; and the second by a tradition, in the family of Somervile the poet, is affirmed to have been drawn from Shakspeare, who sate for it at the presand the flat stone, covering the grave, holds out, in sing instance of a Somervile, one of his most intivery irregular characters, a supplication to the read-mate friends. But the genuineness of neither of er, with the promise of a blessing and the menace of a curse:
Judicio Pylium; genio Socratem; arte Maronem
Terra tegit; populus mœret; Olympus habet.
On a tablet underneath are inscribed these lines :
Stay, passenger, why dost thou go so fast?
Read, if thou can'st, whom envious death has placed
Good Friend! for Jesus' sake forbear To dig the dust inclosed here. Blest be the man that spares these stones; And cursed be he that moves my bones. The last of these inscriptions may have been written by Shakspeare himself under the apprehension of his bones being tumbled, with those of many of his townsmen, into the charnel-house of the parish. But his dust has continued unviolated, and is likely to remain in its holy repose till the last awful scene of our perishable globe. It were to be wished that the two preceding inscriptions were more worthy, than they are, of the tomb to which they are attached. It would be gratifying if we could give any faith to the tradition, which asserts that the bust of this monument was sculptured from a cast moulded on the face of the departed poet; for then we might assure ourselves that we possess one authentic resemblance of this pre-eminently intellectual mortal. But the cast, if taken, must have been taken immediately after his death; and we know neither at
these pictures can be supported under a rigid investigation; and their pretensions must yield to those of another rival portrait of our Poet, which was once in the possession of Mr. Jennens, of Gopsal in Leicestershire, and is now the property of that liberal and literary nobleman, the Duke of Somerset. For the authenticity of this portrait, attributed to the pencil of Cornelius Jansenn, Mr. Boaden* contends with much zeal and ingenuity. Knowing that some of the family of Lord Southampton, Shakspeare's especial friend and patron, had been painted by Jansenn, Mr. Boaden speciously infers that, at the Earl's request, his favourite dramatist had, likewise, allowed his face to this painter's imitation; and that the Gopsal portrait, the result of the artist's skill on this occasion, had obtained a distinguished place in the picture-gallery of the noble Earl. This, however, is only unsup ported assertion, and the mere idleness of conjec ture. It is not pretended to be ascertained that the Gopsal portrait was ever in the possession of Shak
An Inquiry into the Authenticity of Pictures and Prints offered as Portraits of Shakspeare, p. 67-so