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imagination. Thomas Carlyle says of him, in his “ Lectures on Heroes" :-“Which Englishman we ever made in this land of ours, which million of Englishmen, would we not give up rather than the Stratford peasant? There is no regiment of highest dignitaries that we would sell him for. He is the grandest thing we have done yet. For our honour among foreign nations, as an ornament to our English household, what item is there that we would not surrender rather than him ?

William Shakespeare was born at Stratford-on-Avon, in Warwickshire, about April 23, 1564. The exact date is a matter of doubt. His father was John Shakespeare, whose occupation is also variously stated as that of a farmer, glover, glazier, wool-stapler and butcher. His mother was Mary Arden, a lady of gentle birth, who was able to trace her descent from the Saxon times. John Shakespeare seems to have been in prosperous circumstances, and to have been the owner of some property in Stratford-on-Avon.

Our poet is supposed to have been one of a family of eight children-namely, John, Margaret, William, Gilbert, Joan, Anne, Richard, and Edmund. Little is known of his childhood or early youth. He seems to have been imperfectly educated in the school of his native town. Ben Jonson describes his classical education as consisting of " little Latin, and less Greek.” Probably his scholarship was not extensive, but his works prove him to have been a man of considerable reading, and he certainly attained to an unrivalled knowledge of human nature.

About 1582 (almost every incident in his biography is uncertain) he married Anne Hathaway, who was the daughter of a yeoman living in the neighbouring village of Shottery, and his senior by seven years. From this marriage were born a daughter, Susanna, in 1583, and twins (Hamnet and Judith) in 1584.

A year or two afterwards he removed to London, probably following the example of many young men of his own and subsequent times who have left the country and gone up to the metropolis. to seek their fortune. There is an obscure tradition that he was obliged to flee from his native town in order to avoid the wrath of Sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote Park, a local country squire whose estates had been trespassed on by our poet for the purpose of stealing deer. This story is now, however, generally abandoned as. not being supported by sufficient evidence and as being improbable.

Shakespeare's career for some years is almost entirely unknown. It is generally supposed that he very soon became connected with theatrical affairs, and one very untrustworthy account states that he at first gained a meagre subsistence by minding the horses of gentlemen who came to the play. We find him before very long one of a company of actors, called the Queen's Players, who performed at the Blackfriars Theatre, and afterwards removed to the new and more commodious building called the Globe Theatre, in Southwark.

He appears to have been only moderately successful as an actor, not rising to higher parts (according to Rowe) than the Ghost in his own“Hamlet.” As a writer for the stage he seems to have been more successful, and it was most likely in that capacity that he rose to be one of the principal proprietors of the Globe Theatre. During his connection with this theatre he wrote many of those great dramas which have immortalised his name.

In 1596 he visited Stratford-on-Avon, on the death of his only son, Hamnet.

He was acquainted with the Earlof Essex, Ben Jonson, and most of the leading spirits of his age. Queen Elizabeth is said to have been an admirer of his genius, and to have been so charmed with his delineation of the character of Falstaff as to request him to continue it in another play, a circumstance which led to the production of “ The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

His father died in 1601, at the age of seventy-one.

In 1607 his eldest daughter, Susanna, married Dr. Hall, a physician of some celebrity in Warwickshire.

Shakespeare seems to have been fond of a quiet country life. He is said to have visited Stratford-on-Avon once a year, and at length, having as a player, author, and proprietor obtained a comfortable competence, he left London early in the seventeenth century and settled down in his native town. Here he acquired property, bought a house and land in “ New Place," and continued the production of the wonderful dramas.

In the year 1613 the Globe Theatre was destroyed by fire during the performance of Shakespeare's "Henry VIII.” Whether he was a loser by this event is not known.

He seems to have lived quietly in Stratford-on-Avon, till his death on the supposed anniversary of his birth, April 23rd, 1616, at the age of fifty-two years. His wife survived him, and died seven years afterwards. His daughter Judith married a vintner of Stratfordon-Avon. There is now no lineal descendant of the great poet.

Shakespeare's will is still in existence, bearing his signature. A specimen of his handwriting is to be seen in the British Museum. The house in Henley Street, where he is supposed to have been born, is still carefully preserved.

He was buried in the Church of Stratford-on-Avon. A stone bearing the following inscription, said to have been written by himself, covers his grave :

Good frend, for Jesus' sake forbeare

To digg the dust encloased heare ;
Bleste be ye man yt spares thes stones,

And curst' be he yt moves my bones.”
A monument is erected to his memory on the chancel wall.

We must reserve our account of the poet's writings for the next number.

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RICHARD II.
BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

PERSONS REPRESENTED.
KING RICHARD THE SECOND. HENRY PERCY, his Son.
EDMUND OF LANGLEY,

LORD Ross.
Duke of York, Uncles to LORD WILLOUGHBY.
JOHN OF GAUNT,

s the King

LORD FITZWATER.
Duke of Lancaster,

BISHOP OF CARLISLE.
HENRY, surnamed BOLINGBROKE, ABBOT OF WESTMINSTER.

Duke of Hereford, Son to John of Lord Marshal ; and another Lord.
Gaunt; afterwards King Henry SIR PIERCE OF EXTON.
IV.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP.
DUKE OF AUMERLE, Son to the Captain of a Band of Welshmen.

Duke of York.
MOWBRAY, Duke of Norfolk. QUEEN to King Richard.
DUKE OF SURREY.

DUCHESS OF GLOSTER.
EARL OF SALISBURY.

DUCHESS OF YORK. EARL BERKELEY.

Lady attending on the Queen. BUSHY, BAGOT, Creatures to King Rich- Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, GREEN, ard.

two Gardeners, Keeper, HessenEARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND.

ger, Groom, and other Attendants. SCENE-Dispersedly in England and IVales.

ACT I.
SCENE I.-London. A Room in the Palace.
Enter KING RICHARD, attended : JOHN OF GAUNT, anit

other Nobles with him.
K. Rich. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster,
Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,
Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son,
Here to make good the boisterous late appeal,
Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray ?
Gaunt. I have, my liege.

K. Rich. Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him,
If he appeal the duke on ancient malice;
10 Or worthily, as a good subject should,
On some known ground of treachery in him ?

Gaunt. As near as I could sist him on that argument,-
On some apparent danger seen in him,
Aim'd at your highness, no inveterate malice.

K. Rich. Then call them to our presence; face to face,
And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear
The accuser and the accused, freely speak.-

[Exeunt some Attendants.
High-stomach'd are they both, and full of ire,
In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.

Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE and NORFOLK.

20

30

Boling. Many years of happy days befal
My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege !

Nor. Each day still better other's happiness ;
Until the heavens, envying earth's good hap,
Add an immortal title to your crown !

K. Rich. We thank you both ; yet one but flatters us,
As well appeareth by the cause you come ;
Namely, to appeal each other of high treason.-
Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object
Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray ?

Boling. First (Heaven be the record to my speech !),
In the devotion of a subject's love,
Tendering the precious safety of my prince,
And free from other misbegotten hate,
Come I appellant to this princely presence.-
Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee,
And mark my greeting well ; for what I speak,
My body shall make good upon this earth,
Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.

Thou art a traitor, and a miscreant ;
40 Too good to be so, and too bad to live ;

Since, the more fair and crystal is the sky,
The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.
Once more, the more to aggravate the note,
With a foul traitor's name stuff I thy throat ;
And wish (so please my sovereign), ere I move,
What my tongue speaks, my right-drawn sword may prove.

Nor, Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal : 'Tis not the trial of a woman's war,

The bitter clamour of two eager tongues, 50 Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain :

The blood is hot that must be cool'd for this,
Yet can I not of such tame patience boast,
As to be hush'd, and nought at all to say :
First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me
From giving reins and spurs to my free speech,
Which else would post, until it had return'd
These terms of treason doubled down his throat.
Setting aside his high blood's royalty,

And let him be no kinsman to my liege, 60 I do defy him, and I spit at him ;

Call him a slanderous coward, and a villain :
Which to maintain, I would allow him odds ;
And meet him, were I tied to run a-foot,
Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,
Or any other ground inhabitable,

Wherever Englishman dare set his foot.
Meantime, let this defend my loyalty,-
By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.

Boling: Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage, 70 Disclaiming here the kindred of a king;

And lay aside my high blood's royalty,
Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except :
If guilty dread hath left thee so much strength,
As to take up mine honour's pawn, then stoop ;
By that, and all the rites of knighthood else,
Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,
What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise.

Nor. I take it up, and by that sword I swear Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder, 80 I'll answer thee in any fair degree,

Or chivalrous design of knightly trial :
And, when I mount, alive may I not light,
If I be traitor, or unjustly fight !

K. Rich. What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray's charge ?
It must be great that can inherit us
So much as of a thought of ill in him.

Boling. Look, what I speak my life shall prove it true ;That Mowbray hath received eight thousand nobles,

In name of lendings for your highness' soldiers ;
90 The which he hath detain'd for lewd employments,

Like a false traitor, and injurious villain.
Besides I say, and will in battle prove,
Or here, or elsewhere, to the farthest verge
That ever was survey'd by English eye, -
That all the treasons, for these eighteen years
Complotted and contrived in this land,
Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring.
Farther I say,—and farther will maintain

Upon his bad life, to make all this good,-
100 That he did plot the Duke of Gloster's death ;

Suggest his soon-believing adversaries;
And, consequently, like a traitor coward,
Sluiced out his innocent soul through streams of blood :
Which blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries,
Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,
To me for justice, and rough chastisement ;
And, by the glorious worth of my descent,
This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.

K. Rich. How high a pitch his resolution soars ! 110 Thomas of Norfolk, what say'st thou to this ?

Nor. O, let my sovereign turn away his face,
And bid his ears a little while be deaf,
Till I have told this slander of his blood,

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