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seen, at the Blackfriars; and no doubt at the Globe | the deed, attending, probably, to the duties which stil? also. His interests as a sharer might be diligently devolved upon him as a sharer in the Blackfriars. He watched over by his fellows; and he might only have is not a resident in London; he has come to town, as visited London when he had a new play to bring for- | Thomas Greene describes in 1614. But we have no ward, the fruit of his leisure in the country. But until evidence that he sold his theatrical property at all. be disposed of his wardrobe and other properties, more Certainly the evidence that he sold it to Edward Alleyn frequent demands might be made upon his personal may be laid aside in any attempt to fix the date of attendance than if he were totally free from the respon- Shakspere's departure from London. sibilities belonging to the charge of such an embarrass- Every one agrees that during the last three or four ing stock in trade. Mr. Collier has printed a memo- years of his life Shakspere ceased to write. Yet we randum in the handwriting of Edward Alleyn, dated venture to think that every one is in error. The opinion April 1612, of the payment of various sums “for the is founded upon a belief that he only finally left LonBlackfryers," amounting to 5991. 6s. 8d. Mr. Collier don towards the close of 1613. We have shown, from adds, “To whom the money was paid is nowhere his purchase of a large house at Stratford, his constant stated; but, for aught we know, it was to Shakespeare acquisition of landed property there, his active enhimself, and just anterior to his departure from Longagements in the business of agriculture, the interest don." The memorandum is introduced with the which he took in matters connected with his property in observation, “ It seems very likely, from evidence now

which his neighbours had a common interest, that he for the first time to be adduced, that Alleyn became the must have partially left London before this period. purchaser of our great dramatist's interest in the theatre, There were no circumstances, as far as we can collect, properties, wardrobe, and stock of the Blackfriars.” to have prevented him finally leaving London several Certainly the document itself says nothing about pro- years before 1613. But his biographers, having fixed perties, wardrobe, and stock. It is simply as follows :- a period for the termination of his connexion with the

active business of the theatre, assume that he became Money paid by me E. A. for the Blacksryers

wholly unemployed; that he gave himself up, as Rowe More for the Blackfryrts

126 li More againe for the lensse

has described, to “ease, retirement, and the conversaThe writinges for the same, and other small

tion of his friends.” His income was enough, they say, charges

to dispense with labour; and therefore he did not More than half of the entire sum is paid “again for the labour. But when the days of leisure arrived, is it lease.” If the estimate “For avoiding of the Play- reasonable to believe that the mere habit of his life house"* be not rejected as an authority, the conjec. would not assert its orilinary control ; that the greatest ture of Mr. Collier that the property purchased by of intellects would suddenly sink to the condition of an Alleyn belonged to Shakspere is wholly untenable ; every-day man-cherishing no high plans for the future, for the Fee, valued at a thousand pounds, was the looking back with no desire to equal and excel the property of Burbage, and to the owner of the Fee work of the past ? At the period of life when Chaucer would be paid the sum for the lease. Subsequent began to write the “Canterbury Tales,' Shakspere, acmemoranda by Alleyn show that he paid rent for cording to his biographers, was suddenly and utterly to the Blackfriars, and expended sums upon the building cease to write. We cannot believe it. Is there a -collateral proofs that it was not Shakspere's per- parallel case in the career of any great artist who had sonal property that he bought in April 1612. There won for himself competence and fame? Is the mere is distinct evidence furnished by another document that applause of the world, and a sufficiency of the goods Shakspere was not a resident in London in 1613; for in of life, “ the end-all and the be-all” of the labours of an indenture executed by him on the 10th of March in a mighty mind? These attained, is the voice of his that year, for the purchase of a dwelling-house in the spiritual being to be heard no more? If tbose who precinct of the Blackfriars, he is described as “William reason thus could present a satisfactory record of the Shakespeare of Stratforde Upon Avon in the countie of dates of all Shakspere's works, and especially of his Warwick gentleman;" whilst his fellow John Hemyng, later works, we should still cling to the belief that some who is a party to the same deed, is described as “ of fruits of the last years of his literary industry bad London, gentleman.” From the situation of the pro- wholly perished. It is unnecessary, as it appears to us, perty it would appear to have been bought either as an to adopt any such theory. Without the means of fixing appartenance to the theatre, or for some protection of the precise date of many particular dramas, we have the interests of the sharers. In the deed of 1602, Shak- indisputable traces, up to this period, of the appearance spere is also described as of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is of at least five-sixths of all Shakspere's undoubted natural that he should be so described, in a deed for the works. Are there any dramas whose individual appearpurchase of land at Stratford; but upon the same prin- ance is not accounted for by those who have attempted ciple, had he been a resident in London in 1613, he to fix the exact chronology of other playsThere are would have been described as of London in a deed for such dramas, and they form a class. They are the three tne purchase of property in London. Yet we also look great Roman plays of Coriolanus,'Julius Cæsar,' and upon this conveyance as evidence that Shakspere had in Antony and Cleopatra.' March 1613 nut wholly severed himself from his inte- The happy quiet of Shakspere's retreat was not res: in the theatre. He is in London at the signing of wholly undisturbed by calamity, domestic and public. • See page 1074.

His brother Richard, who was ten years his junior, was




buried at Stratford on the 4th of February, 1613. Of | vate letter from Mr. Greene, moving him to exert bis his father's family his sister Joan, who had married influence against this plan of the inclosure :-“ 23 Dec. Mr. Williamı Hart of Stratford, was probably the only A. Hall, Lres. wrytten, one to Mr. Manyring—another other left. There is no record of the death of his bro- to Mr. Shakspeare, with almost all the company's hanta ther Gilbert; but as he is not mentioned in the will of to eyther. I also wrytte myself to my Csn. Sbakspear, William, in all likelihood he died before him. Oldys, the coppyes of all our .....

... then also a note of the in his manuscript notes upon Langbaine, has a story inconvenyences wold ... by the inclosure." Arthur of “One of Shakspeare's younger brothers, who lived to Mannering, to whom one of these letters was writta a good old age, even some years, as I compute, after the by the Corporation, was officially connected with the restoration of King Charles II.” Gilbert was born in Lord Chancellor, and then residing at his house; and 1566; so that if he had lived some years after the from the letter to him, which has been preserved, * it restoration of Charles II. it is not surprising that “his appears that he was apprised of the injury to be esmemory was weakened,” as Oldys reports, and that he pected from the intended inclosure; reminded of the could give “the most noted actors but “little satis- damage that Stratford, then • lying in the ashes of faction in their endeavours to learn something from him desolation,' had sustained from recent fires; and eof his brother.” The story of Oldys is clearly apocry- treated to forbear the inclosure.” The letter to Soak. phal, as far as regards any brother of Shakspere's. spere has not been discovered. The fact of its having They were a short-lived race. His sister, indeed, sur been written leaves no doubt of the importance which vived hirn thirty years. The family at New Place, at

was attached to his opinion by his neighbours. Truly this period, would be composed therefore of his wife in his later years he had only, and his unmarried daughter Judith ; unless his “Honour, love, obedience, troops of friends." elder daughter and his son-in-law formed a part of the The younger daughter of Shakspere was married cr. same household, with their only child Elizabeth, who the 10th of February, 1616, to Thomas Quiney, as the was born in 1608. The public calamity to which we register of Stratford shows. Thomas Quiney was the have alluded was a great fire, which broke out at Strat- son of Richard Quiney of Stratford, whom we have ford on the 9th of July, 1614. That Shakspere assisted seen in 1598 soliciting the kind offices of his loving with all the energy of his character in alleviating the countryman Shakspere. Thomas, who was bom in miseries of this calamity, and in the restoration of his 1588, was probably a well-educated man. The last town, we cannot doubt. In the same year we find him will of Shakspere would appear to have been prepared taking some interest in the project of an inclosure of in some degree with reference to this marriage. It is the cominon-fields of Stratford. The inclosure would dated the 25th of March, 1616; but the word “ Janoprobably have improved his preperty, and especially arii" seems to have been first written and afterwards have increased the value of the tithes, of the noiety of struck out, “Martii” having been written above it. It which he held a lease. The Corporation of Stratford is not unlikely, and indeed it appears most probable, were opposed to the inclosure. They held that it would that the document was prepared before the marriage of be injurious to the poorer inhabitants, who were then Judith; for the elder daughter is mentioned as Susarina deeply suffering from the desolation of the fire; and Hall,—the younger simply as Judith. To her, ode they appear to have been solicitous that Shakspere hundred pounds is bequeathed, and fifty pounds conshould take the same view of the matter as themselves. ditionally. The life-interest of a further sum of one His friend William Combe, then high sheriff of the hundred and fifty pounds is also bequeathed to her, county, was a principal person engaged in forwarding with remainder to her children; but if she died without the inclosure. The Corporation sent their common issue within three years after the date of the will, the clerk, Thomas Greene, to London, to oppose the project; hundred and fifty pounds was to be otherwise appro and a memorandum in his hand-writing, which still priated. We pass over the various legacies to relations remains, exhibits the business-like manner in which and friends to come to the bequest of the great bulk of Shakspere informed himself of the details of the plan. the property. All the real estate is devised to his The first memorandum is dated the 17th of November, daughter Susanna Hall, for and during the term of 1614, and is as follows :—“ My Cosen Shakspeare her natural life. It is then entailed upon her first sin

_ comyng yesterday to town, I went to see how he did. and his heirs male ; and in default of such issue, to He told me that they assured him they ment to inclose her second son and his heirs male; and so on : in deno further than to Gospel Bush, and so upp straight fault of such issue, to his granddaughter Elizabeta (leaving out pt. of the Dyngles to the field) to the gate Hall (called in the language of the time his “ piece": in Clopton hedg, and take in Salisbury's peece; and and in default of such issue, to his daughter Judith that they mean in Aprill to svey. the land and then to and her heirs male. By this strict entailment it was gyve satisfaccion, and not before: and he and Mr. Hall manifestly the object of Shakspere to found a family. say they think yr. will be nothyng done at all.” Mr. Like many other such purposes of short-sighted ta Greene appears to have returned to Stratford in about manity the object was not accomplished. His elde: a fortnight after the date of this memorandum, and daughter had no issue but Elizabeth, and she di Shakspere seems to have remained in London ; for ac- childless. The heirs male of Judith died before her cording to a second memorandum, which is damaged The estates were scattered after the second generatie. und partly illegible, an official letter was written to and the descendants of his sister were the only til Shakspere by the Corporation, accompanied by a pri- mitters to posterity of his blood and lineage.

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" Item, I give unto my wife my second-best bed, with The will of Shakspere thus commences :"I, Wilthe furniture." This is the clause of the will upon liam Shakspere, of Stratford-upon-Avon, in the county which, for half a century, all men believed that Shak- of Warwick, gent., in perfect health and memory, (God spere recollected his wife only to mark how little he be praised !) do make and ordain this my last will and esteemed her,—to “cut her off, not indeed with a shil- testament." And yet within one month of this declara. ling, but with an old bed."* We had the satisfaction tion William Shakspere is no more: of first showing the utter groundlessness of this opinion;

OBUT ANO. doi, 1616. Ætatis 53. DIE 23. AP. and we here briefly repeat the statement which we made in our Postscript to “Twelfth Night,' that the wife of Such is the inscription on his tomb. It is corroborated Shakspere was unquestionably provided for by the by the register of his burial :-“ April 25. Will Shak. natural operation of the law of England. His estates, spere gent.” Writing forty-six years after the event, with the exception of a copyhold tenement, expressly the vicar of Stratford says, “Shakspere, Drayton, and mentioned in his will, were freehold. His wife was Ben Jonson had a merry meeting, and, it seems, drank entitled to dower. She was provided for amply, by the too hard, for Shakspere died of a ferer there contracted." clear and undeniable operation of the English laro. A tradition of this nature, surviving its object nearly of the houses and gardens which Sbakspere inherited half a century, is not much to be relied on. But if it from his father, she was assured of the life-interest of a were absolutely true, our reverence for Shakspere would third, should she survive her husband, the instant that not be diminished by the fact that he accelerated his old John Shakspere died. . Of the capital messuage end in the exercise of hospitality, according to the mancalled New Place, the best house in Stratford, which ner of his age, towards two of the most illustrious of his Shakspere purchased in 1597, she was assured of the friends. The “merry-meeting,” the last of many same life-interest, from the moment of the conveyance, social hours spent with the full-hearted Jonson and the provided it was a direct conveyance to her husband. elegant Drayton, may be contemplated without a That it was so conveyed we may infer from the term painful feeling. Shakspere possessed a mind eminently of the conveyance of the lands in Old Stratford, and social—“ he was of a free and generous nature.” But, other places, which were purchased by Shakspere in says the tradition of half a century, “ he drank too hard” 1602, and were then conveyed “to the onlye proper use at this “merry meeting.” We believe that this is the and behoose of the saide William Shakespere, his heires vulgar colouring of a common incident. He “died of and assignes, for ever.” Of a life-interest in a third of a fever there contracted.” The fever that is too often these lands also was she assured. The tenement in the attendant upon a hot spring, when the low grounds Blackfriars, purchased in 1614, was conveyed to Shak- upon a river bank have been recently inundated, is a spere and three other persons; and after his death was fever that the good people of Stratford did not well unre-conveyed by those persons to the uses of his will, derstand at that day. The “ merry meeting” rounded “ for and in performance of the confidence and trust in off' a tradition much more effectively. Whaterer was them reposed by William Shakespeare deceased." In the immediate cause of his last illness, we may well this estate, certainly, the widow of our poet had not believe that the closing scene was full of tranquillity dower. It has been remarked to us that even the ex- and hope; and that he who had sought, perhaps more press mention of the second-best bed was anything but than any man, to look beyond the material and finite unkindness and insult ; that the best bed was in all things of the world, should rest at last in the “ peace probability an heir-loom: it might have descended to which passeth all understanding”-in that assured beShakspere himself from his father as an heir-loom and, lief which the opening of his will has expressed with far as such, was the property of his own heirs. The best more than formal solemnity :—“commend my soul bed was considered amongst the most important of those into the hands of God my creator, hoping, and assuredly chattels which went to the heir by custom with the believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ, my house.f

Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting.”


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* Malone.

have an action for them at the common law, and shall not + “And note that in some places chattels as heir-looms sue for them in the ecclesiastical court; but the heir-loom (as the best bed, table, pot, pan, cart, and other dead chattels is due by custom, and not by the common law."-Coke upon moveable) may go to the heir, and the heir in that case may Littleton, 18 b.


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