Page images

Jonfon has made a fort of an effay towards it in his Discoveries, I will give it in his words:

does not appear; but I fuppofe that after the death of Mr. Thomas Nath the exchanged the patrimonial lands which he bequeathed to her, with Edward Nafh and his fon, and took NewPlace, &c. inftead of them.

Sir John Barnard died at Abington, and was buried there on March 5th, 1673-4. On his tomb-ftone, in the chancel of the church is the following infeription:

Hicjacent exuvia generofiffimi viri Johannis Bernard, militis; patre, avo, abavo, tritavo, aliifque progenitoribus per ducentos et amplius annos hujus oppidi de Abingdon dominis, infignis: qui fato ceffit undefeptuagefimo elatis fuæ anno, quinto nonas Martii, annoque a partu B. Virginis, MDCLXXIII.

Sir John Barnard having made no will, adminiftration of his effects was granted on the 7th of November 1674, to Henry Gilbert of Locko in the county of Derby, who had married his daughter Elizabeth by his first wife, and to his two other furviving daughters; Mary Higgs, widow of Thomas Higgs of Colefborne, Efq. and Eleanor Cotton, the wife of Samuel Cotton, Efq. All Sir John Barnard's other children except the three above mentioned died without iffue. I know not whether any defcendant of these be now living: but if that should be the cafe, among their papers may poffibly be found fome fragment or other relative to Shakspeare; for by his grand-daughter's order, the adminiftrators of her hufband were entitled to keep poffeffion of her houfe, &c. in Stratford, for fix months after his death.

The following is a copy of the will of this last descendant of our poet, extracted from the Registry of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury:

"In the Name of God, Amen. I Dame Elizabeth Barnard, wife of Sir John Barnard of Abington in the county of Northampton, knight, being in perfect memory, (bleffed be God!) and mindful of mortality, do make this my laft will and teftament in manner and form following:

"Whereas by my certain deed or writing under my hand and feal, dated on or about the eighteenth day of April, 1653, according to a power therein mentioned, I the faid Elizabeth have limited and difpofed of all that my meffuage with the appurte nances in Stratford-upon-Avon, in the county of Warwick, called the New-Place, and all that four-yard land and an half in Stratford-Welcombe and Bifhopton in the county of Warwick, (after the decease of the faid Sir John Barnard, and me the said Eliza

"I remember the players have often mentioned "it as an honour to Shakspeare, that in writing

beth,) unto Henry Smith of Stratford aforefaid, Gent. and Job Dighton of the Middle Temple, London, Efq, fince deceased, and their heirs; upon trust that they, and the furvivor, and the heirs of fuch furvivor, fhould bargain and fell the fame for the beft value they can get, and the money thereby to be raised to be employed and difpofed of to fuch perfon and perfons, and in fuch manner as I the faid Elizabeth fhould by any writing or note under my hand, truly teftified, declare and nominate; as there. by may more fully appear. Now my will is, and I do hereby fignify and declare my mind and meaning to be, that the faid Henry Smith, my furviving truftee, or his heirs, fhall with all convenient fpeed after the decease of the faid Sir John Barnard my husband, make fale of the inheritance of all and fingular the premifes, and that my loving coufin Edward Nash, Efq, fhall have the first offer or refufal thereof, according to my promife formerly made to him: and the monies to be raised by fuch fale I do give, difpofe of, and appoint the fame to be paid and diftributed, as is herein after expreffed; that is to fay, to my cousin Thomas Welles of Carleton, in the county of Bedford, Gent. the fum of fifty pounds, to be paid him within one year next after fuch fale and if the faid Thomas Wells fhall happen to die before fuch time as his faid legacy fhall become due to him, then my defire is, that my kinfman Edward Bagley, citizen of London, fhall have the fole benefit thereof.


"Item, I do give and appoint unto Judith Hathaway, one of the daughters of my kinfman Thomas Hathaway, late of Stratford aforefaid, the annual fum of five pounds of lawful money of England, to be paid unto her yearly and every year, from and after the decease of the faid furvivor of the faid Sir John Barnard and me the faid Elizabeth, for and during the natural life of her the faid Judith, at the two most usual feasts or days of payment in the year, videlicet, the feaft of the Annunciation of the Bleffed Virgin Mary, and Saint Michael, the archangel, by equal portions, the firft payment thereof to begin at fuch of the faid feafts as fhall next happen, after the decease of the furvivor of the faid Sir John Barnard and me the faid Elizabeth, if the faid premifes can be fo foon fold; or otherwife fo foon as the fame can be fold and if the faid Judith fhall happen to marry, and shall be minded to release the faid annual fum of five pounds, and fhall accordingly release and quit all her intereft and right in and to the fame after it fhall, become due to her, then and in fuch cafe, I do give and appoint to her the fum of forty pounds in lieu


"(whatsoever he penned) he never blotted out a

thereof, to be paid unto her at the time of the executing of fuch release as aforefaid.

"Item, I give and appoint unto Joan the wife of Edward Kent, and one other of the daughters of the faid Thomas Hathaway, the fum of fifty pounds, to be likewife paid unto her within one year next after the decease of the furvivor of the faid Sir John Barnard and me the faid Elizabeth, if the faid premifes can be foon fold, or otherwise so soon as the fame can be fold; and if the faid Joan fhall happen to die before the faid fifty pounds fhall be paid to her, then I do give and appoint the fame unto Edward Kent the younger, her fon, to be paid unto him when he fhall attain the age of one-and-twenty years.

"Item, I do alfo give and appoint unto him the faid Edward Kent, fon of the faid John, the fum of thirty pounds, towards putting him out as an apprentice, and to be paid and difpofed of to that use when he shall be fit for it.


Item, I do give or appoint and difpofe of unto Rofe, Elizabeth, and Sufanna, three other of the daughters of my faid kinfman Thomas Hathaway, the fum of forty pounds a-piece, to be paid unto every of them at fuch time and in fuch manner as the faid fifty pounds before appointed to the faid Joan Kent, their fifter, fhall become payable.

"Item, All the reft of the monies that shall be raised by such fale as aforefaid, I give and difpofe of unto my faid kinfman Edward Bagley, except five pounds only, which I give and appoint to my faid truftee Henry Smith for his pains; and if the faid Edward Nafh fhall refufe the purchase of the faid meffuage and four-yard land and a half with the appurtenances, then my will and defire is, that the faid Henry Smith or his heirs fhall fell the inheritance of the faid premises and every part thereof unto the faid Edward Bagley, and that he fhall purchase the fame; upon this condition, nevertheless, that he the faid Edward Bagley, his heirs, execu tors, or administrators, fhall juftly and faithfully perform my will and true meaning, in making due payment of all the feveral fums of money or legacies before mentioned, in fuch manner as aforefaid. And I do hereby declare my will and meaning to be that the executors or adminiftrators of my faid husband Sir John Barnard fhall have and enjoy the ufe and benefit of my faid house in Stratford, called the New-Place, with the orchards, gardens, and all other the appurtenances thereto belonging, for and during the fpace of fix months next after the decease of him the faid Sir John Barnard.

"Item, I give and devife unto my kinfman, Thomas Hart, the

"line. My answer hath been, Would he had blotted

fon of Thomas Hart, late of Stratford-upon-Avon aforefaid, all that my other meffuage or inn fituate in Stratford-upon-Avon aforefaid, commonly called the Maidenhead, with the appurtenances, and the next house thereunto adjoining, with the barn belonging to the fame, now or late in the occupation of Michael Johnfon or his affigns, with all and fingular the appurtenances; to hold to him the said Thomas Hart the fon, and the heirs of his body; and for default of fuch iffue, I give and devife the fame to George Hart, brother of the faid Thomas Hart, and to the heirs of his body; and for default of fuch iffue to the right heirs of me the faid Elizabeth Barnard for ever.

"Item, I do make, ordain, and appoint my faid loving kinfman Edward Bagley fole executor of this my laft will and teftament, hereby revoking all former wills; defiring him to see a just performance hereof, according to my true intent and meaning. In witness whereof I the faid Elizabeth Barnard have hereunto fet my hand and feal, the nine-and-twentieth day of January, Anno Domini, one thoufand fix hundred and fixty-nine.


"ELIZABETH BARNARD. Signed, Sealed, published, and declared to be the last will and teftament of the faid Elizabeth Barnard, in the prefence of "John Howes, Rector de Abington. "Francis Wickes.

"Probatum fuit teftamentum fuprafcriptum apud ædes Fronienfes fituat. in le Strand, in comitatu Middx. quarto die menfis Martij, 1669, coram venerabili viro Domino Egidio Sweete, milite et legum doctore, furrogato, &c. juramento Edwardi Bagley, unici executor. nominat. cui, &c. de bene, Sc. jurat.”


that in writing (whatsoever he penned) he never blotted out a line.] This is not true. They only fay in their preface to his plays, that "his mind and band went together, and what he thought, he uttered with that eafinefs, that we have Scarce received from him a blot in his papers." On this Mr. Pope obferves, that "there never was a more groundless report, or to the contrary of which there are more undeniable evidences. As, the comedy of The Merry Wives of Windfor, which he entirely new writ; The Hiftory of Henry the Sixth, which was first published under the title of The Contention of York and Lancaster; and that of Henry V. extremely improved; that of Hamlet enlarged to almoft as much again as at firft, and many others."

"a thousand! which they thought a malevolent speech. I had not told pofterity this, but for

[ocr errors]

Surely this is a very strange kind of argument. In the first place this was not a report, (unless by that word we are to underftand relation,) but a pofitive affertion, grounded on the best evidence that the nature of the fubject admitted; namely, ocular proof. The players fay, in fubftance, that Shakspeare had fuch a happiness of expreffion, that, as they collect from his papers, he had feldom occafion to alter the firft words he had fet down; in confequence of which they found fcarce a blot in his writings. And how is this refuted by Mr. Pope? By telling us, that a great many of his plays were enlarged by their author. Allowing this to be true, which is by no means certain, if he had written twenty plays, each confifting of one thoufand lines, and afterwards added to each of them a thousand more, would it therefore follow, that he had not writen the first thousand with facility and correctness, or that thofe muft have been neceffarily expunged, because new matter was added to them? Certainly not. But the truth is, it is by no means clear that our author did enlarge all the plays mentioned by Mr. Pope, if even that would prove the point intended to be established. Mr. Pope was evidently deceived by the quarto copies. From the play of Henry V. being more perfect in the folio edition than in the quarto, nothing follows but that the quarto impreffion of that piece was printed from a mutilated and imperfect copy, ftolen from the theatre, or taken down by ear during the reprefentation, What have been called the quarto copies of the Second and Third Parts of King Henry VI. were in fact two old plays written before the time of Shakspeare, and entitled The First Part of the Contention of the two Houfes of Yorke and Lancafter, &c. and The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of Yorke, &c. on which he conftructed two new plays; just as on the old plays of King John, and The Taming of a Shrew, he formed two other plays with nearly the fame titles. See The Differtation in Vol, XIV. p. 223.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The tragedy of Hamlet in the first edition, (now extant,) that of 1604, is faid to be" enlarged to almoft as much again as it was, according to the true and perfect copy." What is to be collected from this, but that there was a former imperfect edition (I believe, in the year 1602) that the one we are now fpeaking of was enlarged to as much again as it was in the former mutilated impreffion, and that this is the genuine and perfect eopy, the other imperfect and fpurious?

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »