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in all, that though he was his eldest fon, he could give him no better education than his own employment. He had bred him, it is true, for fome time at a free-school, where, it is probable, he acquired what Latin he was mafter of: but the narrowness of his circumstances, and the want of his affiftance at home, forced his father to withdraw him from thence, and unhappily prevented his further proficiency in that language. It is without controversy, that in his works we fcarce find any traces of any thing that looks like an imitation of the ancients. The delicacy of his tafte, and the natural bent of his own great genius, (equal, if not fuperior, to fome of the beft of theirs,) would certainly have led him to read and study them with fo much pleafure, that fome of their fine images would naturally have infinuated themselves into, and been mixed
inquiries I am indebted for many particulars relative to our poet's family,) that Mr. John Shakspeare in the former part of his life was in good circumftances, fuch perfons being generally chofen into the corporation; and from his being excufed [in 1579] to pay 4d. weekly, and at a fubfequent period (1586) put out of the corporation, that he was then reduced in his circumstances.
It appears from a note to W. Dethick's Grant of Arms to him in 1596, now in the College of Arms, Vincent, Vol. 157, p. 24, that he was a juftice of the peace, and poffeffed of lands and tenements to the amount of 5001.
Our poet's mother was the daughter and heir of Robert Arden of Wellingcote, in the county of Warwick, who, in the MS. above referred to, is called "a gentleman of worship." The family of Arden is a very ancient one; Robert Arden of Bromwich, Efq. being in the lift of the gentry of this county, returned by the commiffioners in the twelfth year of King Henry VI. A. D. 1433. Edward Arden was Sheriff to the county in 1,568, The woodland part of this county was anciently called Ardern; afterwards foftened to Arden. Hence the name.
• He had bred him, it is true, for fome time at a free-school,] The free-fchool, I prefume, founded at Stratford. THEOBALD.
with his own writings; fo that his not copying at leaft fomething from them, may be an argument of his never having read them. Whether his ignorance of the ancients were a difadvantage to him or no, may admit of a difpute: for though the knowledge of them might have made him more correct, yet it is not improbable but that the regularity and deference for them, which would have attended that correctnefs, might have reftrained fome of that fire, impetuofity, and even beautiful extravagance, which we admire in Shakspeare: and I believe we are better pleafed with thofe thoughts, altogether new and uncommon, which his own imagination fupplied him fo abundantly with, than if he had given us the most beautiful paffages out of the Greek and Latin poets, and that in the most agreeable manner that it was poffible for a master of the English language to deliver them.
Upon his leaving fchool, he feems to have given entirely into that way of living which his father proposed to him; and in order to fettle in the world after a family manner, he thought fit to marry while he was yet very young. His wife was
into that way of living which his father proposed to him ;] I believe, that on leaving fchool Shakspeare was placed in the office of fome country attorney, or the fenefchal of fome manor court. See the Effay on the Order of his Plays, Article, Hamlet. MALONE.
he thought fit to marry while he was yet very young,] It is certain he did fo; for by the monument in Stratford church erected to the memory of his daughter, Sufanna, the wife of John Hall, gentleman, it appears, that he died on the 2d of July, 1649, aged 66; fo that fhe was born in 1583, when her father could not be full 19 years old. THEOBALD.
Sufanna, who was our poet's eldest child, was baptized, May 26, 1583. Shakspeare therefore, having been born in April 1564, was nineteen the month preceding her birth. Mr.
the daughter of one Hathaway, faid to have been a substantial yeoman in the neighbourhood of Stratford. In this kind of fettlement he continued for some time, till an extravagance that he was guilty of forced him both out of his country, and that way of living which he had taken up; and though it feemed at firft to be a blemish upon his good manners, and a misfortune to him, yet it afterwards happily proved the occafion of exerting one of the greateft geniuses that ever was known in dramatick poetry. He had by a misfortune common enough to young fellows, fallen into ill company, and amongst them, fome that made a frequent practice of deerstealing, engaged him more than once in robbing a park that belonged to Sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote, near Stratford. For this he was profecuted by that gentleman, as he thought, fomewhat too feverely; and in order to revenge that ill ufage, he made a ballad upon him. And though this, pro
Theobald was mistaken in fuppofing that a monument was erected to her in the church of Stratford. There is no memorial there in honour of either our poet's wife or daughter, except flat tombftones, by which, however, the time of their respective deaths is ascertained. His daughter, Susanna, died, not on the fecond, but the eleventh of July, 1649. Theobald was led into this error by Dugdale. MALONE.
9 His wife was the daughter of one Hathaway,] She was eight years older than her husband, and died in 1623, at the age of 67 years. THEOBALD.
The following is the inscription on her tomb-ftone in the church of Stratford :
"Here lyeth interred the body of ANNE, wife of William Shakespeare, who departed this life the 6th day of Auguft, 1623, being of the age of 67 yeares."
After this infcription follow fix Latin verses, not worth preferving. MALONE.
in order to revenge that ill ufage, he made a ballad upon him.] Mr. William Oldys, (Norroy King at Arms, and
bably the first effay of his poetry, be loft, yet it is said to have been fo very bitter, that it redoubled
well known from the share he had in compiling the Biographia Britannica) among the collections which he left for a Life of Shakspeare, obferves, that "there was a very aged gentleman living in the neighbourhood of Stratford, (where he died fifty years fince) who had not only heard, from feveral old people in that town, of Shakspeare's tranfgreffion, but could remember the first stanza of that bitter ballad, which, repeating to one of his acquaintance, he preserved it in writing; and here it is neither better nor worse, but faithfully tranfcribed from the copy which his relation very courteoufly communicated to me :"
"A parliemente member, a juftice of peace,
"We allowe by his ears but with affes to mate.
Sing lowfie Lucy, whatever befall it."
Contemptible as this performance muft now appear, at the time when it was written it might have had sufficient power to irritate a vain, weak, and vindictive magiftrate; especially as it was affixed to feveral of his park-gates, and confequently publifhed among his neighbours.-It may be remarked likewise, that the jingle on which it turns, occurs in the first scene of The Merry Wives of Windfor.
I may add, that the veracity of the late Mr. Oldys has never yet been impeached; and it is not very probable that a ballad fhould be forged, from which an undiscovered wag could derive no triumph over antiquarian credulity. STEEVEns.
According to Mr. Capell, this ballad came originally from Mr. Thomas Jones, who lived at Tarbick, a village in Worcesterfhire, about 18 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon, and died in 1703, aged upwards of ninety. "He remembered to have heard from several old people at Stratford the ftory of Shakfpeare's robbing Sir Thomas Lucy's park; and their account of it agreed with Mr. Rowe's, with this addition, that the ballad written against Sir Thomas Lucy by Shakspeare was stuck upon his park-gate, which exafperated the knight to apply to a lawyer at Warwick to proceed against him. Mr. Jones (it is added) put down in writing the first stanza of this ballad, which was all he
the profecution against him to that degree, that he was obliged to leave his bufinefs and family in Warwickshire, for fome time, and fhelter himself in London.
It is at this time, and upon this accident, that he is faid to have made his firft acquaintance in the playhouse. He was received into the company then in being, at firft in a very mean rank, but
remembered of it." In a note on the transcript with which Mr. Capell was furnished, it is faid, that "the people of those parts pronounce low fie like Lucy." They do fo to this day in Scotland. Mr. Wilkes, grandfon of the gentleman to whom Mr. Jones repeated the stanza, appears to have been the person who gave a copy of it to Mr. Oldys, and Mr. Capell.
In a manufcript Hiftory of the Stage, full of forgeries and falfehoods of various kinds written (I fufpect by William Chetwood the prompter) some time between April 1727 and October 1730, is the following paffage, to which the reader will give just as much credit as he thinks fit:
"Here we fhall obferve, that the learned Mr. Joshua Barnes, late Greek Profeffor of the Univerfity of Cambridge, baiting about forty years ago at an inn in Stratford, and hearing an old woman finging part of the above-faid fong, fuch was his respect for Mr. Shakspeare's genius, that he gave her a new gown for the two following ftanzas in it; and, could the have faid it all, he would (as he often faid in company, when any discourse has cafually arose about him) have given her ten guineas:
"Sir Thomas was too covetous,
"To covet fo much deer,
"When horns enough upon his head,
"Had not his worship one deer left?
"Took pains enough to find him horns
"Should laft him during life." MALONE.
2 He was received into the company-at first in a very mean rank;] There is a ftage tradition, that his firft office in the theatre was that of Call-boy, or prompter's attendant; whose employment it is to give the performers notice to be ready to enter, as often as the bufinefs of the play requires their appearance on the stage. MALONE.