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THERE is hardly any English author of whose life we know so little as the greatest of them all, WILLIAV. SHAKESPEARE. One of his editors has truly said, that when we have told that Shakespeare was born at Stratford-on-Avon, that he married, and had children there, that he went to London when he was twenty-three or twenty-four years of age, that he became an actor and wrote plays, that he returned to Stratford when he was approaching the age of fifty, resided there two or three years, made his will, died, and was buried, we have told all that can be said with certainty.

John Shakespeare, the poet's father, was, as some say, a butcher, or, as is more probably the case, a glover and woolstapler. At all events he was a man of good position in his native town, of which he bad once been high bailiff. He held some landed property which had been granted to his greatgrandfather for services rendered to Henry VII. He married Mary Arden, a member of one of the oldest families of Warwickshire, by whom he had eight children. William, the third child and eldest son, was born, there is reason to believe, on

23, 1564, the day of St. George, the Patron Saint of England.

There was a good free grammar school in his native town, which he most probably attended. There the instruction was not altogether confined to elementary subjects, but extended to the study of the ancient classics; and although one of his most intimate friends has said that Shakespeare “knew little Latin and less Greek,' the phrase seems to infer that he knew something of both. It is known that he was a very good French scholar, and was not ignorant of Italian. When he was still young, his father's fortunes declined, and he was forced to take

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