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his care and readiness, that in a fhort time every man as he alighted called for Will. Shakspeare, and fcarcely any other waiter was trufted with a horfe while Will. Shakspeare could be had. This was the firft dawn of better fortune. Shakspeare, finding more horfes put into his hand than he could hold, hired boys to wait under his infpection, who, when Will. Shakspeare was fummoned, were immediately to present themselves,.I am Shakspeare's boy, Sir. In time, Shakspeare found higher employment: but as long as the practice of riding to the playhouse continued, the waiters that held the horfes retained the appellation of, Shakspeare's boys.4 JOHNSON.
-the waiters that held the horfes retained the appellation of, Shakspeare's boys.] I cannot dismiss this anecdote without obferving that it feems to want every mark of probability. Though Shakspeare quitted Stratford on account of a juvenile irregularity, we have no reafon to fuppofe that he had forfeited the protection of his father who was engaged in a lucrative businefs, or the love of his wife who had already brought him two children, and was herself the daughter of a substantial yeoman. It is unlikely therefore, when he was beyond the reach of his profecutor, that he should conceal his plan of life, or place of refidence, from those who, if he found himself diftreffed, could not fail to afford him fuch supplies as would have fet him above the neceffity of holding horses for fubfiftence. Mr. Malone has remarked in his Attempt to ascertain the Order in which the Plays of Shakspeare were written, that he might have found an eafy introduction to the ftage; for Thomas Green, a celebrated comedian of that period, was his townfman, and perhaps his relation. The genius of our author prompted him to write poetry; his connection with a player might have given his productions a dramatick turn; or his own fagacity might have taught him that fame was not incompatible with profit, and that the theatre was an avenue to both. That it was once the general custom to ride on horse-back to the play, I am likewife yet to learn. The most popular of the theatres were on the Bankfide; and we are told by the fatirical pamphleteers of that time, that the ufual mode of conveyance to thefe places of amufement, was by water, but
Mr. Rowe has told us, that he derived the prin'cipal anecdotes in his account of Shakspeare, from Betterton the player, whofe zeal had induced him to vifit Stratford, for the fake of procuring all poffible intelligence concerning a poet to whofe works he might juftly think himself under the strongest
not a fingle writer fo much as hints at the custom of riding to them, or at the practice of having horfes held during the hours of exhibition. Some allufion to this ufage, (if it had exifted) muft, I think, have been difcovered in the courfe of our re fearches after contemporary fashions. Let it be remembered too, that we receive this tale on no higher authority than that of Cibber's Lives of the Poets, Vol. I. p. 130. Sir William Davenant told it to Mr. Betterton, who communicated it to Mr. Rowe," who (according to Dr. Johnson) related it to Mr. Pope Mr. Rowe (if this intelligence be authentick) seems to have concurred with me in opinion, as he forebore to introduce a circumftance fo incredible into his Life of Shakspeare. As to the book which furnishes the anecdote, not the fmalleft part of it was the compofition of Mr. Cibber, being entirely written by a Mr. Shiells, amanuenfis to Dr. Johnfon, when his Dictionary was preparing for the prefs. T. Cibber was in the King's Bench, and accepted of ten guineas from the bookfellers for leave to prefix his name to the work; and it was purpofely fo prefixed as to leave the reader in doubt whether himself or his father was the perfon defigned.
The foregoing anecdote relative to Cibber's Lives, &c. I received from Dr. Johnfon. See, however, The Monthly Review for December, 1781, p. 409. STEEVENS.
Mr. Steevens in one particular is certainly mistaken. To the theatre in Blackfriars I have no doubt that many gentlemen rode in the time of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. From the Strand, Holborn, Bishopfgate Street, &c. where many of the nobility lived, they could indeed go no other way than on foot, or on horfeback, or in coaches; and coaches till after the death of Elizabeth were extremely rare. Many of the gentry, therefore, certainly went to that playhouse on horfeback, See the proofs, in the Effay above referred to.
This, however, will not eftablifh the tradition relative to our author's firft employment at the playhouse, which stands on a very flender foundation. 1 MALONE.
obligations. Notwithstanding this affertion, in the manufcript papers of the late Mr. Oldys it is faid, that one Bowman (according to Chetwood, p. 143, "an actor more than half an age on the London theatres") was unwilling to allow that his affociate and contemporary Betterton had ever undertaken fuch a journey.5 Be this matter as it will, the following particulars, which I fhall give in the words of Oldys, are, for aught we know to the contrary, as well authenticated as any of the anecdotes delivered down to us by Rowe.
Mr. Oldys had covered feveral quires of paper with laborious collections for a regular life of our author. From these I have made the following extracts, which (however trivial) contain the only
it is faid, that one Bowman-was unwilling to allow that his affociate and contemporary Betterton had ever undertaken Such a journey.] This affertion of Mr. Oldys is altogether unworthy of credit. Why any doubt fhould be entertained concerning Mr. Betterton's having vifited Stratford, after Rowe's pofitive affertion that he did fo, it is not eafy to conceive. Mr. Rowe did not go there himself; and how could he have collected. the few circumftances relative to Shakspeare and his family, which he has told, if he had not obtained information from fome friend who examined the Regifter of the parish of Stratford, and made perfonal inquiries on the subject?
"Bowman," we are told," was unwilling to believe," &c. But the fact difputed did not require any exercife of his belief. Mr. Bowman was married to the daughter of Sir Francis Watson, Bart. the gentleman with whom Betterton joined in an adventure to the Eaft Indies, whofe name the writer of Betterton's Life in Biographia Britannica has fo ftudiously concealed. By that unfortunate scheme Betterton loft above 20001. Dr. Ratcliffe 6000). and Sir Francis Watson his whole fortune. On his death foon after the year 1692, Betterton generously took his daughter under his protection, and educated her in his houfe. Here Bowman married her; from which period he continued to live in the most friendly correfpondence with Mr.Betterton, and must have known whether he went to Stratford or not. MALONE.
circumftances that wear the leaft appearance of novelty or information; the fong in p. 62 excepted.
"If tradition may be trufted, Shakspeare often baited at the Crown Inn or Tavern in Oxford, in his journey to and from London. The landlady was a woman of great beauty and fprightly wit, and her husband, Mr. John Davenant, (afterwards mayor of that city,) a grave melancholy man; who, as well as his wife, ufed much to delight in Shakspeare's pleasant company. Their fon young Will. Dayenant (afterwards Sir William) was then a little fchool-boy in the town, of about feven or eight years old, and fo fond alfo of Shakspeare, that whenever he heard of his arrival, he would fly from school to fee him. One day an old townfman obferving the boy running homeward almoft out of breath, asked him whither he was pofting in that heat and hurry. He answered, to fee his god-father Shakspeare. There's a good boy, faid the other, but have a care that you don't take God's name in vain. This ftory Mr. Pope told me at the Earl of Oxford's table, upon occasion of fome difcourfe which arofe about Shakspeare's monument then newly erected in Westminster Abbey ;*
of about feven or eight years old,] He was born at Oxford in February 1605-6. MALONE.
7 Shakspeare's monument then newly erected in Westminfter Abbey ;] "This monument," fays Mr. Granger, was erected in 1741, by the direction of the Earl of Burlington, Dr. Mead, Mr. Pope, and Mr. Martyn. Mr. Fleetwood and Mr. Rich gave each of them a benefit towards it, from one of Shakspeare's own plays. It was executed by H. Scheemaker, after, a defign of Kent.
"On the monument is infcribedamar publicus pofuit. Dr. Mead objected to amor publicus, as not occurring in old claffical
and he quoted Mr. Betterton the player for his authority. I answered, that I thought fuch a ftory might have enriched the variety of those choice
infcriptions; but Mr. Pope and the other gentlemen concerned infifting that it should stand, Dr. Mead yielded the point, faying, "Omnia vincit amor, nos et cedamus amori."
"This anecdote was communicated by Dr. Lort, late Greek Profeffor of Cambridge, who had it from Dr. Mead himself."
It was recorded at the time in The Gentleman's Magazine for Feb. 1741, by a writer who objects to every part of the infcrip tion, and fays it ought to have been, "G. S. centum viginti et quatuor poft obitum annis populus plaudens [ant favens] pofuit."
The monument was opened Jan. 29, 1741. Scheemaker is faid to have got 3001. for his work. The performers at each house, much to their honour, performed gratis; and the Dean and Chapter of Westminster took nothing for the ground. The money received by the performance at Drury Lane, amounted to above 2001. the receipts at Covent Garden to about 100l. Thefe particulars I learn from Oldys's MS. notes on Langbaine.
The fcroll on the monument, as I learn from a letter to my father, dated June 27, 1741, remained for some time after the monument was fet up, without any infcription on it. This was a challenge to the wits of the time; which one of them accepted by writing a copy of verses, the subject of which was a converfation fuppofed to pass between Dr. Mead and Sir Thomas Hanmer, relative to the filling up of the foroll. I know not whether they are in print, and I do not choose to quote them all. The introductory lines, however, run thus :
"To learned Mead thus Hanmer spoke,
Something it doubtless thould contain,
"And fit for Shakspeare to point at;" &c. MALONE. At Drury Lane was acted Julius Cæfar, 28 April, 1738, when a prologue written by Benjamin Martyn, Efq, was fpoken by Mr. Quin, and an epilogue by James Noel, Efq. fpoken by Mrs. Porter. Both thefe are printed in The General Dictionary. At Covent Garden was acted Hamlet, 10th April, 1739, when a prologue written by Mr. Theobald, and printed in The London Magazine of that year, was spoken by Mr. Ryan. In the newfpaper of the day it was obferved that this laft reprefentation was far from being numerously attended. Read.