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His social qualities, his good temper, hilarity, vivacity, mitted to posterity under great names. The same exand what Aubrey calls his "very ready, and pleasant, cuse may be made for two other pieces of unpretending and smooth wit,” (in our author's own words,“ pleasant | pleasantry between the same parties, which we subjoin without scurrility, witty without affectation,") cannot be in a note, because they relate to such men, and have doubted, since, besides what may be gathered from his been handed down to us upon something like authority.' works, we have it from various quarters; and although nothing very good of this kind may have descended to us, we have sufficient to show that he must have been a most welcome visitor in all companies. The epithet “gentle” has been frequently applied to him, twice by Ben Jonson; and if it be not to be understood precisely in its modern acceptation, we may be sure that one distinguishing feature in his character was general kindliness: he may have been “sharp and sententious,” but never needlessly bitter or ill-natured : his wit had no malice for an ingredient. Fuller speaks of the “wit-combats” between Shakespeare and Ben Jonson at the convivial meetings at the Mermaid club, established by Sir Walter Raleigh ;' and he adds," which two I behold like a Spanish great galleon and an Eng. lish man-of-war: Master Jonson, like the former, was built far higher in learning; solid, but slow in his performances: Shakespeare, with the English man-of-war, lesser in bulk, but lighter in sailing, could turn with all tides, tack about, and take advantage of all winds by the quickness of his wit and invention." The simile is
Michael Drayton. well chosen, and it came from a writer who seldom said any thing ill.' Connected with Ben Jonson's solidity Of a different character is a production preserved by and slowness is a witticism between him and Shake- Dugdale, at the end of his “Visitation of Salop,” in the speare, said to have passed at a tavern. One of the Heralds' College: it is an epitaph inscribed upon the Ashmolean manuscripts contains the following: - tomb of Sir Thomas Stanley, in Tongue church; and "Mr. Ben Johnson and Mr. Wm. Shakespeare being merrie at
Dugdale, whose testimony is unimpeachable, distinctly a tavern, Mr. Jonson begins this for his epitaph,
states that “the following verses were made by William Here lies Ben Jonson
Shakespeare, the late famous tragedian:"-
"Written upon the east end of the tomb. he gives it to Mr. Shakespeare to make up, who presently writt
“Ask whose lies here, but do not weep;
He is not dead, he doth but sleep.
This stony register is for his bones;
His fame is more perpetual than these stones :
And his own goodness, with himself being gone, difference between the estimate of an extempore joke
Shall live when earthly monument is none. at the moment of delivery, and the opinion we may
" Written on the west end thereof. form of it long afterwards, when upon paper, and trans
“Not monumental stone preserves our fame, 1 Gifford, (Ben Jonson's Works, vol. i.,) fixes the date of the
Nor sky-aspiring pyramids our name.
The memory of him for whom this stands establishment of this club, at the Mermaid in Friday-street, about
Shall out-live marble and defacers' hands. 1603, and he adds that “here for many years Ben Jonson re.
When all to time's consumption shall be given, paired with Shakespeare, Beaumont, Fletcher, Selden, Cotton,
Stanley, for whom this stands, shall stand in heaven.” Carew, Martin, Donne, and many others, whose names, even at this distant period, call up a mingled feeling of reverence and
1" Shakespeare was god-father to one of Ben Jonson's children, respect." Of what passed at these many assemblies Beaumont
and after the christening, being in a deepe study, Jonson came to thus speaks, addressing Ben Jonson :
cheere him up, and askt him why he was so melano 9-'No, "—What things have we seen
faith, Ben, (sayes he) not I; but I have been considering a great Done at the Mermaid! heard words that have been
while what should be the fittest gift for me to bestow upon my So nimble, and so full of subtle flame,
god-child, and I have resolv'd at last.'—' I priythee what?' says As if that every one from whom they came
he. 'l'faith, Ben, I'll e'en give him a douzen of Latten spoones, Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest."
and thou shalt translate them.'" The Mitre, in Fleet-street, seems to have been another tavern Of course the joke depends upon the pun between Latin, and where the wits and poets of the day hilariously assembled. the mixed metal called latten. The above is from a MS. of Sir ?" Worthies." Part. iii.
R. L'Estrange, who quotes the authority of Dr. Donne. It is in. : Fuller has another simile respecting Shakespeare and his serted in Mr. Thoms's amusing volume, printed for the Camden acquirements, which is worth quoting. “He was an eminent in Society, under the title of "Anecdotes and Traditions." The stance of the truth of that rule, Poeta non fit, sed nascitur ; one next is from a MS. called “Poetical Characteristics," formerly is not made, but born a poet. Indeed his learning was very little, in the Harleian Collection : to that as Cornish diamonds are not polished by any lapidary, “Verses by Ben Jonson and Shakespeare, occasioned by the but are pointed and smooth even as they are taken out of the motto to the Globe theatre-Totus mundus ag it histrionem. earth, so nature itself was all the art which was used upon him." "Jonson. If but stage-actors all the world displays, Of course Fuller is here only referring to Shakespeare's classical
Where shall we find spectators of their plays ? acquirements : his "learning" of a different kind, perhaps, ex "Shakespeare. Little, or much of what we see, we do; ceeded that of all the ancients put together.
We are both actors and spectators too."
With Malone and others, who have quoted them, we what we really know of our great dramatist with what feel satisfied of the authenticity of these verses, though we might possibly have known, we cannot but be we may not think, as he did, that the last line bears aware how little has been accomplished. “Of William such“ strong marks of the hand of Shakespeare.” The Shakespeare,” says one of our greatest living authors coincidence between the line
of our greatest dead one,“ whom, through the mouths "Nor sky.aspiring pyramids our name,"
of those whom he has inspired to body forth the modi
fications of his immense mind, we seem to know better and the passage in Milton's Epitaph upon Shakespeare,
than any human writer, it may be truly said that we prefixed to the folio of 1632—
scarcely know any thing. We see him, so far as we do “Or that his hallow'd relics should be hid
see him, not in himself, but in a reflex image from the Under a star.ypointing pyramid,”
objectivity in which he is manifested: he is Falstaff, is worthy of notice.
and Mercutio, and Malvolio, and Jacques, and Portia, We have thus brought into a consecutive narrative and Imogen, and Lear, and Othello; but to us he is (with as little interruption of its thread as, with such scarcely a determined person, a substantial reality of disjointed materials, seemed possible) the part.culars re- past time, the man Shakespeare." We cannot flatter specting the life of the “ myriad-minded Shakespeare,' ourselves that we have done much to bring the reader with which our predecessors were acquainted, or which, better acquainted with “ the man Shakespeare,” but from various sources, we have been able, during a long if we have done any thing we shall be content; and, series of years, to collect. Yet, after all, comparing instead of attempting any character of our own, we will
subjoin one, in the words of the distinguished writer The following reaches us in a more questionable shape: it is we have above quoted, as brief in its form as it is comfrom a MS. of the time of Charles I., preserved in the Bodleian prehensive in its matter:—“The name of Shakespeare Library, which contains also poems by Herrick and others.
is the greatest in our literature,-it is the greatest in
all literature. No man ever came near to him in the “When God was pleas'd, the world unwilling yet,
creative powers of the mind; no man had ever such Elias James to nature paid his debt, And here reposeth. As he lived he died,
strength at once, and such variety of imagination." The saying in him strongly verified,
If the details of his life be imperfect, the history of Such life, such death: then, the known truth to tell, his mind is complete; and we leave the reader to turn He liv'd a godly life, and died as well.
from the contemplation of “the man Shakespeare" to Wm. Shakespeare."
the study of THE POET SHAKESPEARE. * Coleridge's "Table Talk.”—Mr. Hallam in his "Introduction to the Literature of Europe," somewhat less literally translates the 1 Hallam's “ Introduction to the Literature of Europe, (vol i Greek epithet, poplovous, " thousand-souled.”
and iii.) 88
Vicesimo Quinto Die Martij Anno Regni Domini saied Sister Equallie to be Devided Amongst them But
nostri Jacobi nunc Rex Anglie &c. Decimo quarto | if my saied Daughter Judith be lyving att thend of the & Scotie xlixo Annoq; Domini 1616.
saied three Yeares or anie yssue of her bodye then my I Wai Shackspeare
will ys & soe I Devise & bequeath the saied Hundred In the name of god Amen I William Shack & Fyftie Poundes to be sett out by my executours & speare of Stratford vpon Avon in the countie of warr overseers for the best benefitt of her & her issue & the gent in perfect health & memorie god be praysed doe stock” not to be paied vnto her soe long as she shalbe make & Ordayne this my last will & testament in marryed & Covert Baron' but my will ys that she shall manner & forme followeing That ys to saye First I have the consideracion yearelio paied vnto her during Comend my Soule into the handes of god my Creator
her lief & after her deceas the saied stock and conhoping & assuredlie beleeving through thonelie merites sideracion to bee paied to her children if she have Anie of Jesus Christe my Saviour to be made partaker of & if not to her executours or assignes she lyving the lyfe everlastinge And my bodye to the Earth whereof saied terme after my deceas Provided that if such yt ys made Item I Gyve & bequeath vnto my Daugh- | husbond as she shall att thend of the saied three yeares ter Judyth One hundred & Fyftie poundes of lawfull be marryed vnto or attaine after doe sufficientlie Assure English money to be paied vnto her in inanner & forme vnto her & thissue of her bodie landes Awnswereable followeing That ys to saye One hundred pounds in to the porcion by this my will gyven vato her & to be discharge of her marriage porcion within one yeare adiudged soe by my executours & overseers then my after my deceas with consideracion after the Rate of will ys that the saied Cl" shalbe paied to such husbond twoe Shillinges in the pound for soe long ty me as the
as shall make such assurance to his owne vse Item I same shalbe vnpaied vnto her after my deceas & the gyve & bequeath vnto my saied sister Ione xxl & all Fyftie poundes Residewe thereof vpon her Surrendring my wearing Apparrell to be paied & deliuered within oft or gyving of such sufficient Securitie as the overseers one yeare after my Deceas And I doe will & devise of this my Will shall like of to Surrender or graunte vnto her the house with thappurtenances in Stratford All her estate & Right that shall discend or come vnto
wherein she dwelleth for her naturall lief vnder the her after my deceas or that shee nowe hath of in or to yearlie Rent of xiio Item I gyve & bequeath® vnto her one Copiebold tenemente with thappurtenances lyeing three sonns William Harte Hart & Michaell Harte & being in Stratford vpon Avon aforesaied in the saied Fyve Poundes A peece to be paied within one Yeare countie of warr being parcell or holden of the mannour after my deceas’ her Item I gyve & bequeath unto the of Rowington vnto my Daughter Susanna Hall & her
saied Elizabeth Hallø All my Plate (except my brod heires for ever Item I Gyve & bequeath vnto my saied
silver & gilt bole) that I now have att the Date of this Daughter Judith One hundred & Fyftie Poundes more my will Item I gyve & bequeath vnto the Poore of if shee or Anie issue of her bodie be Lyving att thend Stratford aforesaied tenn poundes to Mr Thomas Combe of three yeares next ensueing the Daie of the Date of my Sword to Thomas Russell Esquier Fyve poundes & this my Will during which tyme my executours to paie
to Frauncis Collins of the Borough of warr in the her consideracion from my deceas according to the Rate | countie of warr gentleman thirteene poundes Sixe shil aforesaied And if she dye within the saied terme with
linges & Eight pence to be paied within one Yeare after out issue of her bodye then my will ys & I Doe gyve
my Deceas Item I gyve & bequeath to Hamlett Sadleri & bequeath One Hundred Poundes thereof to my Neece Elizabeth Hall & the Fiftie Poundes to be sett fourth
" by my executours and overseers," are interlined.
9 The words "the stock" are interlined. by my executours during the lief of my Sister Johane
3 The words "to be" are interlined. Harte & the vse and proffitt thereof Cominge shalbe • After “ Baron" the words " by my executours & overseers" payed to my saied Sister Ione & after her deceas the are erased with the pen. saied l" shall Remaine Amongst the children of my
5 The words "the house" are interlined.
6 The first sheet ends with the word " bequeath," and the testa1 The following is from an extract transcript of the original tor's signature is in the margin opposite. Will deposited in the Prerogative Office, London, the only differ. ? After “deceas" follow these words, struck through with the face being that we have not thought it necessary to give the legal pen, "to be sett out for her within one yeare after my deceas by contractions of the scrivener: in all other respects, even to the my executours with thadvise and direccions of my overseers for misemployment of capital letters, and the omission of points, our her best profitt vntill her mariage and then the same with the in. copy is most faithful.
crease thereof to be paied vnto:" the erasure ought also to have : Before “Daughter" sonne and was originally written, but included the word “her," which follows "vnto." struck through with the pen.
& The words "the saied Elizabeth Hall" are interlined above • The words “in discharge of her marriage porcion" are inter her, which is struck through with the pen. lined.
9 This parenthesis is an interlineation. The word "of" is interlined.
10 “ Hamlett Sadler" is an interlincation above Mr. Richard • The words that shec" are interlined
Tyler thelder, which is erased.
i The wo
xxvi viija to buy him A Ringe to William Raynoldes issue the same soe to be & Remaine to the Fourth’ Fyfth gent xxvje viije to buy him A Ringel to my god-son sixte & Seaventh sonnes of her bodie lawfulie issueing William Walker xx* in gold to Anthonye Nashe gent one after Another & to the heires? Males of the bodies xxvjo viija & to Mr John Nashe xxvji viijd& to my of the saied Fourth fifth Sixte and Seaventh sonnes lawFellowes John Hemynges Richard Burbage & Henry | fullie yssueing in such manner as yt ys before Lymitted Cundell xxvjø viija Apeece to bay them Ringes' Item I to be & Remaine to the first second & third Sonns of her Gyve will bequeath & devise vnto my Daughter Susanna bodie & to their heires Males And for defalt of such Hall for better enabling of her to performe this my will issue the saied premisses to be & Remaine to my sayed & towardes the performans thereof* All that Capitall | Neece Hall & the heires Males of her bodie lawfullie inessuage or tenemente with thappurtenances in Stratford | yssueing & for defalt of such issue to my Daughter Judith aforesaid Called the new place wherein I nowe Dwell & the heires Males of her bodie lawfullie issueinge And & two Messuages or tenementes with thappurtenances for defalt of such issue to the Right heires of me the scituat lyeing & being in Henley streete within the saied William Shackspeare for ever Item I gyve vnto borough of Stratford aforesaid And all my barnes stables my wief my second best bed with the furniture Item Orchardes gardens landes tenementes & hereditamentes | I gyve & bequeath to my saied Daughter Judith my whatsoeuer scituat lyeing & being or to be had Re broad silver gilt bole All the rest of my goodes ceyved perceyved or taken within the townes Hamletes Chattel Leases plate Jewels & household stuffe whatsoVillages Fieldes & groundes of Stratford vpon Aron euer after my Dettes and Legasies paied & my funerall Oldstratford Bushopton & Welcombe or in anie of them expences discharged I gyve devise & bequeath to my in the said countie of warr And alsoe All that mes Sonne in Lawe John Hall gent & my Daughter Susanna suage or tenemente with thappurtenances wherein One his wief whom I ordaine & make executours of this my John Robinson dwelleth scituat lyeng & being in the Last will & testament And I doe intreat & Appoint the blackfriers in London nere the Wardrobe & all other
saieda Thomas Russel Esquier & Frauncis Collins gent to my landes tenementes & hereditamentes whatsoeuer be overseers hereof And doe Revoke All former wills To have & to hold All & singuler the saied premisses & publishe this to be my last will and testament In with their appurtenances vnto the saied Susanna Hall Witness whereof I have herevnto put my hands the for & during the terme of her naturall lief & after her | Daie & Yeare first aboue written. deceas to the first sonne of her bodie lawfullie yssueing
* By me William Shakspeare. & to the heires Males of the bodie of the saied first Sonne lawfullie yssueinge & for defalt of such issue to
Witnes to the publishing
hereof Fra: Collyns Probatum coră Magr. Willim the second Sonne of her bodie lawfully issueinge & to
Byrde Dcore Comiss. &c. xxijdo die the heires males of the bodie of the saied Second Sonne
mensis Junij Anno Dni 1616 lawfullie yssueinge and for defalt of such heires to the Hamnet Sadler
Juram to Johannis Hall vnius third Sonne of the body of the saied Susanna Lawfullie Robert Whattcott ed &c Cui &c De bene &c Jurat
Rešvat ptate &c. Susanne Hall yssueing & of the heires males of the bodie of the saied
all' es &c cũ veñit &c petitur third sonne lawfullie yssueing And for defalt of such
(Invi ext) 1 The words “ to William Raynoldes gent xxvj viije to buy him A Ringe" are interlined.
1 After “ Fourth" the word sonne was first written, but erased After “xxvja viijd" in gold was originally written, but erased
with the pen. with the pen.
2 The second sheet ends with the word "heires," and the sig. * The words “ & to my Fellowes John Hemynges Richard Bur. nature of the testator is at the bottom of it. bage & Henry Cundell xxvja viijd to buy them Ringes” are inter 3 The words "Item I gyve vnto my wief my second best bed lined.
with the furniture" are interlined. 4 The words " for better enabling of her to performe this my * The words “the saicd" are interlined. will & towardes the performans thereof" are interlined.
6 The word "hand" is interlined above seale, which is erased 6 The words “ in Stratford aforesaid" are interlined.
with the pen. 90
The Dedication prefixed to the folio of 1623.1 To the most Noble and Incomparable Paire of Brethren.
William Earle of Pembroke, &c. Lord Chamberlaine to the Kings most Excellent Maiesty.
And Philip Earle of Montgomery, &c. Gentleman of his Maiesties Bed-Chamber. Both Knights of the most Noble Order of the Garter, and our singular
good Lords. Right Honourable,
Whilst we studie to be thankful in our particular, for the many fauors we haue receiued from your L. L we are falne vpon the ill fortune, to mingle two the most diuerse things that can bee, feare, and rashnesse ; rashnesse in the enterprize, and feare of the successe. For, when we valew the places your H. H. sustaine, we cannot but know their dignity greater, then to descend to the realing of these trifles: and, while we name them trifles we haue depriu'd our selues of the defence of our
1 The following is an exact copy of the title-page of the folio of 1623. It is faced on a fly-leaf, by the verses of Ben Jonson (see P. 86,) on the head of Shakespeare, engraved by Droeshout, which occupies the centre :
* Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies. London Printed by Isaac laggard, and Ed. Blount. 1623."
At the bottom of the last leaf of the volume is the following colophon : "Printed at the Charges of W. Jaggard, Ed. Blount, I Smithweeke, and W. Aspley, 1623."
The title-page of the folio of 1632 has “The second Impression" after “ true Originall Copies," and the imprint at the bottom is as follows:-"London, Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot,
Dedication. But since your L. L. have beene pleas'd to thinke these trifles some-thing, heeretofore; and have prosequuted both them, and their Author liuing, with so much fauour: we hope, that (they out-liuing him, and he not having the fate, common with some, to be exequutor to his owne writings) you will vse the like indulgence toward them, you haue done vnto their parent. There is a great difference, whether any booke choose his Patrones, or finde them: This hath done both. For, so much were your L. L. likings of the seuerall parts, when they were acted, as before they were published, the Volume ask'd to be yours. We have but collected them, and done an office to the dead, to procure his Orphanes, Guardians; without ambition either of selfe-profit, or fame: onely to keepe the memory of so worthy a Friend, and Fellow aliue, as was our SHAKESPEARE, by humble offer of his playes. to your most noble patronage. Wherein, as we haue iustly obserued, no man to come neere your L. L. but and are to be sold at the signe of the Blacke Beare in Pauis Church-yard. 1632.” The colophon on the last leaf is, “Printed at London by Thomas Cotes, for John Smethwick, William Aspley, Richard Hawkins, Richard Meighen, and Robert Allot, 1632.''
In the third and fourth folios the head of Shakespeare is made a frontispiece, facing the title-page, with Ben Jonson's verses printed under it. After "The third Impression," in the folio of 1664, these words are added, “And unto this Impression is added seven Playes, never before Printed in Folio, viz. Pericles Prince of Tyre. The London Prodigall. The history of Thomas La Cromwell. Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham. The Puritan Widow. A Yorkshire Tragedy. The Tragedy of Locrine."