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uons, 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 Thumas Wriothesly, the liberal, the high This face, 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 rises 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 iwo publications, to which I allude, productions issued from his brain. But the atare Robert Greene's “Groatsworth of Wit bought iempt has more than once been made, and never with a Million of Repentance,” and Henry Chei-, 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 twenthese works, which was published by Chettle sub- ty years, (though the duration even of this tem sequently to the unhappy anthor's decease, the cannot be settled with precision,) and that, within writer, addressing his fellow dramatists, Marlowe, this period he composed either partially, as workPeele, and Louge, 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 disca 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 conrequence, 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 pamph'et from the pen of Chettle throwing the first of these parts from the protection called '“ Kind Hart's Jieam” issued from the press of our author's nams,) "Love's Labour Lost," before the close of the silme year (1592,) which had " The Comedy of Errors,” “The Taming of 'he witnessed the publication of Greene's posthumous Sarew,” “King John,” and “ Richard II.," among work. In this pamphlet, Chettle acknowledges his his earliest productions, I should, with equal conficoncern 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 Tempesy," 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 plenitudo 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 cita on 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 unliappily not good) “I care Beaumont, Fletcher, and Donne, were the associnot if I never be. The other," (who inust 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 disa might 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 demeanor no Apaid in Macbeth to the roval family of the Stuarts. less civil than he is excellent in the quality he pro- The circunstance 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 indis. and his facetious grace in writing, that approves soluble, as there is reason to believe, during the his ari.” Shakspeare was now twenty-eight years permission of mortality, is reported to have been of age; and this testimony of a contemporary, who ihe kind assistance given by the former to the latwas acquainted with him, and was himseif 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 he benefit of representa lence, must be admitted as of considerable value. rion. The manuscrip!, 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, answer, when Shakspeare, fortunately glancing we are certain that he had completed, though he his eye over its pages, immediately discovered its had not published his two long and laboured poems
* The existence of this roval letter o thanks is as of Venus and Adonis, and the Rape of Lucrece. We serted on the authority of Sheffield Duke of Buckingcannus, therefore, date his arrival in the capital ham, who saw it in the possession of Davenant. The luter than 1589, or, perhans, than 1587; and the cause of tho thanks is assigned on the most pro sable four or five years which interposed between his Iconjecture
Inert, and, with his influence, obtained its intro- land to a mere actor, of ten times the nominal and duction on the stage. To this story some specious twice the effective value of this prouu bounty of objections have been raised; and there cannot be the great Earl of Southampton's* to one of the any necessity for contending for it, as no lucky ac- master spirits of the human race? t cident can be required to account for the induce- of the degree of patronage and kindness extend. ment of amity between two men of high genius, cached to Shakspeare by the Earls of Pembroke and treading the same broad path to fame and fortune, Montgomery, we are altogether ignorant: but wo 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. li 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 condemily 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 duriousness 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 •,f 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 on scorner of others; jealous of every word and ac- Windsor.”I 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 atiachment 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 drarna and the theatre was par of age, Southampton was not more than nineicen; ticularly warm. Before his accession to the Eng. and, 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 * As the patron and the friend or Shakspeare, Thomas Adonis,” that "first heir," as the dedicator calls it, Wriothesly, Earl of Southampton, is entitled to our es“of his invention ;” and the acquaintance, once pecial attention and respect. Bui I cannot admit his begiin between choracters and hearts like theirs, eventful history into the text, without breaking the uni. wouid soon mature into intimacy and friendship tyf my biographical narrative; and to speak of hiba In the following year (1594) Shakspeare's second readers, that he was born on the 6th of October, 1573
within the compass of a note will be only to inform nay poem, “ The Rape of Lucrece," was addressed by that he was engaged in the mad alempus of his friend him to his noble patron in a strain of less distant the Earl of Essex, against the government of Eliza timidity; arid we may infer from it that the poet beth: that, in consequence, he was confined during he had then obtained a portion of the favour which he lite by that Queen, who was so lenient as to be satisfies sought. That his fortunes were essentially pro- on her death, he was liberated by her successor, no
with ihe blood of one of the friends : thal, im mediately moted by the munificent patronage of Southampton disposed to adopt the enmities of the murderess of his
cannot reasonably be doubted. We are told by mother : that he was promoted to honours by the new Sir William Davenant, who surely possessed the sovereign; and that, finally, being sent with a military means of knowing the fact, that the peer gave at command in the Low Countries, he caught a fever from one time to his favoured dramatist the magnificent his son, Lord Wriothesly; and, surviving him only five present of a thousand pounds. This is rejected by ways, concludeil his active and honourable career of life Malone as an extravagant exaggeration; and be at Bergen op.zoom, on the 10th of November, 1624.lt cause the donation is said to have been made for lleli'hig widow'in such circumstances as to call for the
may be added, that, impoverished by his liberalities, ho 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 preveci because no purchaso of an adequate magnitude to Jolin Kemble of 10,0001. 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 le desirous of substituting a dedication fee of one hun- unworthy of its great author. Bill it evinces the dini drodd pounds for the more princely liberality which ing with effect wider the control of another min. As
sulty of writing upon a prescribetl subject, and ol' werk is attested by Davenant. Bir sürelv a purchase be sported in the scenes of Henry IV., Falstafi' was in. might be within the view of Shakspeare, ana even-dronible of love: and the egregious dupe of Winsor, tually not be effected; and then of course the Mucked and condcie as he was, cannot be the wil of thousand pounds in question would be added to his Eastcheap, or ihe siest of Sna*, or the military personal property, where it would just complete commander on the field of Shrewxbury. Bill ever ino the income on which he is reported to have retired he did what lic coul! lo revive his own Falstaff: bus
genius of Shakspeare could not encei inipossibilities. from the stage. As to the incredibility of the gist the life which he reinfiscal into his creature was not the in consequence of its value, have we not witnessed vigorous vitality of Nature; and le pluced him in a a gift, male in the present day, by a noble of the scene where he could not subsiste
acknowle iging, as it is supposed, the compliment rell, a clergyman, into whose worse than Gothic paid to him in the noble scenes of Macbeth ; and hands New Place had most unfortunately fallen. scarcely had the crown of England fallen upon his As we are not told the precise time, when Shak. head, when he granted his royal patent to our Poet speare retired from the stage and the metropo is 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 astabo on the 19th of May, 1603, and the name of William lishment at New Place, we may conclude this 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 foriy-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 Elizabeih were 100 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 ialents 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 amma, 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 It would be especially gratifying to us to exhibit stage, and that he considered himself as degraded to our readers some portion at least of the per- by such a public exhibition. The time was not yet sonal history of this illustrious man during his long come when actors were to be the companions of residence in the capital ;-10 announce the names princes: when their lives, as of illustrious men, and characters of his associates, a few of which were to be written; and when statues were to be oniy we can obtain from Fuller; to delineate his erected to them by public contribution ! 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 3001. 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, assigris a rably more than a third part of it, is an unknown random value to his personal, it is reduced to zud. 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 approachos the more us as a kind of central Africa, which our reason nearly to the truth: for is to Malone's conjectural assures us to be glowing with fertility and alive with estimate of the personal property, of which he prom 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 munifiof 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 cisc total, as money then bore an interest of '10. 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 their unrevised or interof his declining age. He probably had nothing more polated MSS. in the hands of the theatric prompthan 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 farge importation of mulberry trees, with a vien to
“The last infirmity of noble minds,” the establishment of the silk manufactory in his as that which was now exhibited by our illustriou 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,
" As if he could not or he would not find, very rare trees. This plant of his hand look root,
How much his worth transcended all his kind. and flourished till the year 1752, when it was de
See Sonnet cxi. stroved by the barbarous axe of one Francis Gast
| Epitaph on a Fair Maiden Lady, by Dryden
With a privilege, rarely indulged even to the sons make them worse, are said to have been written
now to write his epitaph if he happened to outlive him : all numbered ; for he breathed his last on the 23d of! and, since he could not know what might be said of the ensuing April, on that anniversary of his birth him when he was dead, he desired it might be done which completed his fifty-second year. It would be immediately: upon which Shakspeare gave bim gratifying to our curiosity to know something of the these four verses :
disease, which thus prematurely terminated the life
of this illustrious man: but the secret is withheld Ten in the hundred lies here ingraved :
from us; and it would be idle to endeavour to ob'Tis a hundred to ten his soul is not saved. If any man ask, who lies in this tomb:
tain it. We may be certain that Dr. Hall, who was Ho! Ho! quoth the devil, 'tis my John a Combe. father-in-law in his last
illness; and Dr. Hall kept a physician of considerahle eminence, attended his
a register of all the remarkable cases, with their But the sharpness of the satire is said to have stung symptoms and treatment, which in the course of the man so severely that he never forgave it.”. By his practice had fallen under his observation. This
ubrey the story is differently told; and the lines curious MS., which had escaped the enmity of time, Aquestion, with some alterations, which evidently was obtained by Malone : but the recorded cases in
it most unfortunately began with the year 1617; whose expense the monument was construirtet, and the preceding part of the register, which must 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 Williain 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 mying 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 ccase, 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 resemblanco 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 aupainted, 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 col. the 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 heir. was 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 líneaments 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 origiis a species of free-stone ; and as the chisel of the nal picture of Shakspeare. But two others, if not sculpior 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 posa 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 Judicio Pylium; genio Socratem ; arte Maronem miniature, which, by some connection, as I believe, Terra legit; populus mæret; Olympus habet.
with the family of its proprietors, found its
the cabinet of the late Sir James Lamb, more geneOn a tablet underneath are inscribed these lines :
rally, perhaps, known by his original name of James
Bland Burgess. The first of these pictures was Stay, passenger, why dost thou go so fast ? Read, if thou can'st, whom envious death has placed
reported to have been found at the Boar's Head in Within this monument-Shakspeare ; with whom
Eastcheap, one of the favourite haunts, as it was Quick Nature died; whose name doth deck the tomb erroneously called, of Shakspeare and his compaFar more than cost : since all that he hath writ
nions; and the second by a tradition, in the family Leaves living art but page to serve his wit :
of Somervile the poet, is affirmed to have been
drawn from Shakspeare, who satc 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 these pictures can be supported under a rigid inof a curse :
vestigation; and their pretensions must yield to Good Friend! for Jesus' sake forbear
those of another rival portrait of our Poet, which To dig the dust inclosed here.
was once in the possession of Mr. Jennens, of GopBlest be the man that spares these stones;
sal in Leicestershire, and is now the property of And cursed be he that moves my bones.
that liberal and literary nobleman, the Duke of
Somerset. For the authenticity of this portrait, The last of these inscriptions may have been written attributed to the pencil of Cornelius Jansenn, Mr. by Shakspeare himself under the apprehension of Boaden* contends with much zeal and ingenuity. his bones being tumbled, with those of many of his Knowing that some of the family of Lord Southtownsmen, into the charnel-house of the parish. ampton, Shakspeare's especial friend and patron, But his dust has continued unviolated, and is likely had been painied by Jansenn, Mr. Boaden spes to remain in its holy repose till the last awful scene ciously infers that, atihe Earl's request, his favourite of our perishable globe. It were to be wished that dramatist had, likewise, allowed his face to this the two preceding inscriptions were more worthy, painter's imitation ; and that the Gopsal portrait, than they are, of the tomb to which they are at the result of the artist's skill on this occasion, had tached. 'It would be gratifying if we could give any obtained a distinguished place in the picture-gallery faith to the tradition, which asserts that the bust of of the noble Earl. This, however, is only unsupthis monument was sculptured from a cast moulded ported assertion, and the mere idleness of conjec. on the face of the departed poet; for then we might iure. It is not pretended to be ascertained that the assure ourselves that we possess one authentic re. Gopsal portrait was ever in the possession of Shake semblance of this pre-eminently intellectual mortal. Bit the cast, if taken, must have been taken im
* An Inquiry into the Authenticity of Pictures and mediately after his death; and we know neither at Prints offered as Portraits of Shakspeare, p. 07—50