James Halliwell: A Life of William Shakespeare (1848), pages 182-218.


[ The story so far:     "It appears probable that Shakespeare may, even at this early period, have had possessions of which no record, as far as he is concerned, now remains ; for Mr. Hunter discovered his name in a subsidy roll of 1598, assessed on property of the value of 5, in the parish of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate. [This evidence however can be read either way, it can be read as indicating Shakespeare was] one of the parties who did not reside in the district, and were consequently compelled to produce certificates or affidavits of non-residence. If the poet ever did reside in that part of London it could only have been for a very short period. Perhaps the exact nature of the property held by Shakespeare in St. Helen's may heareafter be discovered, but it is worthy of remark that his name does not occur in the roll of a subsidy levied two years afterwards." ]

      In 1598 Shakespeare was one of the principal actors in Ben Jonson's play of ‘Every Man in his Humour,’ performed by the Lord Chamberlain's servants at the Globe Theatre ; and Rowe has handed us down an anecdote respecting rare Ben's introduction to the stage, which, if true, occurred not very long before the appearance of that comedy. "His acquaintance with Ben Johnson," he says, "began with a remarkable piece of humanity and good nature : Mr. Johnson, who was at that time altogether unknown to the world, had offer'd one of his plays to the players in order to have it acted, and the persons into whose hands it was put, after having turn'd it carelessly and superciliously over, were just upon returning it to him with an ill-natur'd answer that it would be of no service to their company, when Shakespear luckily cast his eye upon it, and found something so well in it as to engage him first to read it through, and afterwards to recommend Mr. Johnson and his writings to the publick."  In the first edition of his Life of Shakespeare, Rowe had added a long paragraph to this, omitted in the next impression, in the course of which he said, "after this they were profess'd friends, p.183 / tho' I don't know whether the other ever made him an equal return of gentleness and sincerity."  There is nothing in this tradition dissonant to what is known of Jonson's career. Mr. Collier has succeeded in proving satisfactorily that Gifford's arguments against it are established on erroneous data, the play of Umers, mentioned in Henslowe's Diary, certainly not being Jonson's celebrated drama.
      Rowe, in the first edition above mentioned, accuses Jonson of having been "naturally proud and insolent," and, referring to his alleged envious disposition, alludes to Ben's criticism on Shakespeare's "seldom altering or blotting out what he writ" as an evidence of this. Nothing can be more erroneous than such an inference, for Jonson's criticism was evidently written with a spirit of great kindness. But often as the passage (Timber, or Discoveries, 1641) has been quoted, it must be read once again, and the conclusion to be drawn from it will not coincide with Rowe's.

      De Shakespeare nostrat.—Augustus in Hat.—I remember the players have often mentioned it as an honour to Shakespeare, that in his writing (whatsoever he penn'd) hee never blotted out line. My answer hath beene, Would he had blotted a thousand. Which they thought a malevolent speech. I had not told posterity this, but for their ignorance, who choose that circumstance to commend their friend by, wherein he most faulted ; and to justifie mine owne candor, for I lov'd the man, and doe honour his memory, on this side idolatry, as much as any. Hee was (indeed) honest, and of an open and free nature ; had an excellent phantsie, brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein hee flow'd with that facility, that sometime it was necessary he should be stop'd : Sufflaminandus erat, as Augustus said of Haterius. His wit was in his owne power ; would the rule of it had beene so too. Many times hee fell into those things could not escape laughter : as when hee said in the person of Cæsar, one speaking to him, "Cæsar, thou dost me wrong." Hee replyed, "Cæsar did never wrong but with just cause," and such like ; which were ridiculous. But hee redeemed his vices with his vertues. There was ever more in him to be praysed then to be pardoned.

      Heminge and Condell, in their address prefixed to the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, 1623, observe that "his mind and hand went together, and what he p.184 / thought, he uttered with that easinesse, that wee have scarse received from him a blot in his papers."  Jonson "had not told posterity this, but for their [the players'] ignorance, who choose that circumstance to commend their friend by wherein he most faulted ;" in fact, a deficiency in that careful retouching considered requisite by Jonson, the want of which even the most extravagant admirer of Shakespeare must admit is occasionally felt in his plays. This habit of writing with great rapidity occasioned, no doubt, the mistake which Jonson quotes from ‘Julius Cæsar,’ exactly one of those errors even the greatest genius might commit, and once committed, would, with the players, "be argument for a week, laughter for a month, and a good jest for ever." For some reason or other, perhaps from unnecessary but kindly feelings towards the memory of Shakespeare, the passage quoted by Jonson is mutilated in the folio edition of his works. Gifford is certainly right in believing that Jonson quoted correctly, and there is great additional evidence for this opinion in the fact that the passage had been previously quoted by him in the Induction to the Staple of News, acted in 1625. In fact, Jonson's anecdote enables us to make poetry of lines in Shakespeare which are absolutely mean and unintelligible without such assistance. Even with it they are not far from absurd. Had they been otherwise, where would have been the joke against Shakespeare ?  Metellus Cimber, one of the conspirators, kneeling, thus addresses Cæsar,—

Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Cæsar,
Metellus Cimber throws before thy seat
An humble heart.—

but Cæsar quickly tells him how cheaply he holds "sweet words, low-crooked curtesies, and base spaniel fawning."  Then does the emperor add,—

p.185 /

Know, Cæsar doth not wrong ; nor without cause
Will he be satisfied.

A lame and impotent conclusion, only to be explained on the obscure principles of continental criticism, not by the exercise of common sense. Well may Gifford say, "here is no congruity, and the poetry is as mean as the sense." How satisfied, and of what ?  Take Jonson's words as literally true, and the whole becomes clear ; not clear indeed as to Shakespeare's exact meaning, but it unfolds a dialogue not more obscure than many others in his plays ; and without such an arrangement, the only alternative is to accuse Jonson of wilful misrepresentation for the sake of a jest against a deceased friend, a theory I should imagine the wildest critic would scarcely venture to adopt, now we have had the benefit of the discriminating labours of Gifford :—

    Cæs.    Thy brother by decree is banished :
If thou dost bend, and pray, and fawn for him,
I spurn thee like a cur out of my way !
    Met.    Cæsar, thou dost me wrong.
    Cæs.    Cæsar did never wrong but with just cause,*
Nor without cause will he be satisfied.

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    *
  If wrong is taken in the sense of injury or harm, as Shakespeare sometimes uses it, there is no absurdity in this line. "He shall have no wrong," 2 Henry IV., v. 1.
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      Ben Jonson's noble testimony "to the memory of my beloved, the author, Mr. William Shakespeare, and what he hath left us," is of itself sufficient to acquit him of any posthumous ill-feeling to his friend ; yet it is remarkable that even in the first line he seems to allude to the charge of envy, that had been previously brought against him, as we know from some lines in Davies's ‘Scourge of Folly,’ which seem to imply that Jonson had been unfairly maligned. Fuller, in his ‘Worthies,’ 1662, speaking of Shakespeare, thus mentions his intimacy with rare Ben,—"Many were p.186 / the wit-combates betwixt him and Ben Johnson, which two I behold like a Spanish great gallion and an English man-of-war ; Master Johnson, like the former, was built far higher in learning, solid, but slow in performances ; Shake-spear, 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."  Some of these wit-combats have been handed down to posterity, but are not of the most brilliant description, as will appear from the following specimen preserved in the Ashmolean MSS. at Oxford, No. 38, p. 181 :

    Mr. Ben Johnson and Mr. Wm. Shake-speare being merrye att a tavern, Mr. Jonson haveing begune this for his epitaph,

Here lies Ben Johnson, that was once one.

he gives ytt to Mr. Shakspear to make upp, who presently wrightes,

Who while hee liv'de was a sloe thinge,
And now being dead is nothinge.

      It is not particularly easy to appreciate the exact force of the wit here exhibited, but the anecdote comes to us in a "questionable shape," and is most probably corrupted. The conclusion of the first line of the epitaph should probably be "that was one's son," for in an early MS. common-place book I have seen the following lines, B. Johnson in seipsum,—

Heere lies Johnson,
Who was ones sonne :
Hee had a litle hayre on his chin,
His name was Benjamin !

an amusing allusion to his personal appearance, as any one may see who will turn to Ben's portrait. Oldys has preserved some lines by Jonson and Shakespeare contained in an early manuscript, and bearing greater marks of authenticity. They are entitled "verses by Ben Jonson and p.187 / Shakspeare, occasioned by the motto to the Globe Theatre, totus mundus agit histrionem."

    Jonson.    If but stage actors all the world displays,
Where shall we find spectators of their plays ?
    Shakspeare.    Little or much of what we see we do ;
We are all both actors and spectators too.

      Gifford has assumed that Shakespeare was a member of a convivial club established at the Mermaid by Sir Walter Raleigh, but for this I find no authority, however probable such a supposition may be in itself. Mr. Collier states it as a fact mentioned by Fuller, but he seems to have relied on Gifford's assertion without referring to the original authority, for Fuller says nothing on the subject. The following anecdote relating to these two poets is preserved in MS. Harl. 6395, entitled ‘Merry Passages and Jeasts,’ compiled by Sir Nicholas Lestrange during the civil wars, and is given on the authority of Mr. Dun.*

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    *
  It has been supposed that this refers to Donne the poet, a conjecture not very probable. A person of the name of Dun, "that kept the Mermaid Tavern in Cornhill," is mentioned in an anecdote in the Agreeable Companion, 1765, p. 343.
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Lattin was a kind of mixed metal, very much resembling brass in its nature and colour. Hence the force of the jest, which has been frequently printed :

      Shake-speare was god-father to one of Ben Johnsons children, and after the christning, being in a deepe study, Johnson came to cheere him up, and askt him why he was so melancholy. No, faith, Ben, sayes he, not I ; but I have beene considering a great while what should be the fittest gift for me to bestow upon my god-child, and I have resolv'd at last. I prythe what, sayes he. ’Ifaith, Ben, I’le e’en give him a douzen good Lattin spoones, and thou shalt translate them.

      In an edition of the ‘Town Jester,’ without date, but printed about 1760, another anecdote occurs in which the p.188 / names of Shakespeare and Jonson are again mentioned in connexion with each other. According to this authority, "Ben Johnson and Shakespeare were once at a tavern-club where there were several lords from the court who went to hear their wit and conversation ; Shakespeare call'd upon Ben Johnson to give a toast; he nam'd that lord's wife that sat near him; the nobleman demanded why he nam'd her : Why not, replied the poet, she has the qualifications of a toast, being both brown and dry; which answer made them all laugh, his lordship having been obliged to marry her against his inclinations."  I need not add there is no probability for the truth of this story, which I find slightly altered, and attributed to Phillips the poet in another collection. The jest-books of the last century are worth examination, but a great similarity and much repetition are to be traced through them, and the same anecdotes are often given in the different collections to a variety of individuals. Much trash is there to be found sheltered under the names of the poets of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
      In 1598, we find from Meres that Shakespeare, then thirty-four years of age, had written at least twelve plays, believing, as I think there is every reason to believe, that ‘Love's Labours Won’ is a play now lost, but perhaps hereafter to be discovered in some of our numerous unexplored collections of manuscripts. In his work entitled ‘Palladis Tamia, Wits Treasury, being the Second Part of Wits Commonwealth,’ 12mo. Lond. 1598, he gives the following very curious notices of Shakespeare,—

      As the soule of Euphorbus was thought to live in Pythagoras, so the sweete wittie soule of Ovid lives in mellifluous and honytongued Shakespeare; witnes his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, his sugred sonnets among his private friends, &c.
      As Plautus and Seneca are accounted the best for comedy and tragedy among the Latines, so Shakespeare among the English is the most excellent in both kinds for the stage ;  for comedy, witnes his Gentlemen of Verona, his Errors,
p.189 / his Love Labors Lost, his Love Labours Wonne, his Midsummers Night Dreame, and his Merchant of Venice :  for tragedy, his Richard the 2. Richard the 3. Henry the 4. King John, Titus Andronicus, and his Romeo and Juliet.
      As Epius Stolo said that the muses would speake with Plautus tongue, if they would speak Latin, so I say that the muses would speak with Shakespeares fine filed phrase, if they would speake English.

      It is scarcely necessary to observe that this has been quoted by all writers on the chronology of Shakespeare's plays. Romeo and Juliet, Richard II. and Richard III. were published in 1597, and were probably written earlier; and Weever, who, in 1596 or earlier, wrote a collection of Epigrams, published in 1599, thus alludes to them,—

Ad Gulielmum Shakespeare.
Honie-tongd Shakespeare, when I saw thine issue,
     I swore Apollo got them, and none other ;
Their rosie-tainted features clothed in tissue,
     Some heaven-born goddesse said to be their mother.
Rose-cheeckt Adonis with his amber tresses,
     Faire fire-hot Venus charming him to love her,
Chaste Lucretia, virgine-like her dresses,
     Proud lust-stung Tarquine seeking still to prove her ;
Romeo, Richard, more whose names I know not :
     Their sugred tongues and power attractive beauty
Say they are saints, althogh that saints they shew not,
     For thousand vowes to them subjective dutie.
They burn in love, thy children, Shakespeare, let them :
Go, wo thy muse !  more nymphish brood beget them.

      The first sketches of the Second and Third Parts of Henry VI. had appeared in 1593, and Titus Andronicus is said to have been printed in 1594 ; but a doubt has arisen on the question whether the entry on the Stationers' Company registers, no copy of the book itself being known, refers to Shakespeare's play or another under the same title. It should be observed that Meres does not seem by any means to write as if the list he had given of Shakespeare's plays was more than a selection, and the tendency of modern p.190 / discovery is certainly towards the earlier composition of most of the plays than the older critics were willing to allow. Mr. Collier discovered that Othello* was acted at Harefield Place in the year 1602, the following entry occurring in accounts for that year in Lord Ellesmere's collection,— "6 August, 1602;  rewardes to the vaulters, players and dauncers (of this x.li. to Burbidges players for Othello), lxiiij.li. xviij.s. x.d."  This play was therefore acted before Queen Elizabeth in July 1602, when she was entertained by Lord Keeper Egerton, and Mr. Collier seems to think it was selected because it was then a new play ; but I do not see the force of this argument, which would be equally applicable to the notice of its performance at Court on Nov. 1st, 1604. I have evidence to produce which very clearly shows that this play was written before 1600, for in a MS. entitled ‘ The Newe Metamorphosis, or a Feaste of Fancie, or Poeticall Legendes, written by J. M. Gent. 1600,’ occurs the following passage, evidently imitated from Shakespeare's well-known lines beginning "Who steals my purse, steals trash," †—

The highwayman that robs one of his purse
Is not soe bad ; nay, these are ten tymes worse !
For these doe rob men of their pretious name,
And in exchange give obloquie and shame.

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    *
  Othello was considered one of Shakespeare's masterpieces at a very early period. It is mentioned with Jonson's Cataline in Sheppard's Epigrams, 1651, p. 98, but as inferior to the Albovine of Davenant !
    †   Trash was an old cant term for money. “Pelfe, trash, id est, mony.”—Florio, ed. 1611, p. 63.  The following passage contains the nearest approach to the difficult phrase rump-fed in Macbeth that I have yet met with, and would seem to give it an indelicate and reproachful meaning,—
Of rumpe-wood widdowes, she's a patterne just,
Though ner so old yet younge lads have they must,
Who for the most part them doe thus rewarde,
Getting their gold, they quickly them discarde.
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      It should be remarked that some additions were made by the author of this MS. several years after the date he p.191 / assigns to its composition ; but there is no reason to suppose that the part in which the above passage occurs was written after the year 1600. There are several imitations of Shakespeare to be traced in this curious poem ; the following was probably suggested by a similar enumeration of antipathies in the Merchant of Venice :

I knewe the like by one that nould endure
To see a goose come to the table sure ;
Some cannot brooke to se a custarde there,
Some of a cheese doe ever stande in feare ;
And I knowe one, if she tobacco see,
Or smels the same, she swoones imediately :
The like of roses I have heard some tell,
Touch but the skyn and presently ’twill swell,
And growe to blisters ; the reason it is this,
Twixt them and these there's such antithisis.

      I have not succeeded in discovering the author of this work, but this is not a matter worth much inquiry, for it has no poetical merit. He was well acquainted with the writers of the time, many of whom he mentions : kynde Kit Marloe, noble Sidney, and several others.   "Green's Galiard" he also alludes to, and the references to obscure persons and events of the time are highly entertaining and curious. This is not the proper place to exhibit them, but one probable allusion to Shakespeare must not be omitted,—

Who hath a lovinge wife and loves her not,
He is no better then a witlesse sotte ;
Let such have wives to recompence their merite,
Even Menelaus forked face inherite.
Is love in wives good, not in husbands too ?
Why doe men sweare they love then when they wooe ?
It seemes tis true that W. S. said,
When once he heard one courting of a mayde,—
Beleeve not thou mens fayned flatteryes,
Lovers will tell a bushell-full of lyes !

      Although Meres does not particularize the two parts of Henry IV., there can be little doubt they had both been p.192 / produced before 1598, and much of Shakespeare's reputation with his contemporaries probably rested on the inimitable scenes in which are pictured the irregular adventures of Falstaff and the Prince. Mr. Hunter appears to think the circumstance of some of these scenes being laid at the Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap was occasioned by a desire to particularize a favorite inn celebrated in Shakespeare's own days, the keeper of which "would doubtless find his account, as other persons have since done, in having his house

Carved bas-relief formerly at the Boar's Head tavern. Published size 4.7cm wide by 4.3cm high.

advertised at the theatres."  This reads like antiquated conjecture, and the subject is hardly worth discussion, but Shakespeare has so popularized this tavern that a few words on its history will scarcely be considered out of place. It is found first mentioned as an inn in 1537, "all that tavern called the Bores Hedde," and frequent notices of it occur in Elizabethan writers. It was destroyed by the fire of London, but after that catastrophe a new tavern was raised on the old site, and a carved bas-relief in stone, represented above, placed over the gate. This second building remained till the alterations for the erection of the new London bridge required its removal. Soon after the Restoration a person of the name of John Sapcott was the successor of p.193 / Mistress Quickly, and issued penny tokens, one of which, still preserved in the cabinet of a collector, is here engraved.

Penny-token of the Boar's Head tavern. Published size 5.3cm wide by 2.4cm high.

It should be observed that the Boar's Head was formerly a common sign in London, and an unpublished document in the Chapter-house* mentions a theatre so called, a curious

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    *
  "James, by the grace of God, Kynge of England, Scotland, Fraunce, and Irelande, Defender of the Faith, &c.   To all Justices of peace, Maiors, Sherefes, Vicechancellours of any our unyversities, bailiffes, headboroughes, constables, and to all other our offycers, mynisters, and lovinge subjectes, to whome it may appertaine, greeting, Knowe yee that wee, of our speciall grace, certaine knowledge, and mere motion, have lycensed and authorised, and by these presentes doe lycence and authorise Thomas Greene, Christopher Beeston, Thomas Hawood, Richard Pyrkins, Robert Pallant, John Duke, Thomas Swynerton, James Holt, Robert Beeston, and Robert Lee, servauntes unto our dearest wyfe the Queene Anna, with the rest of there associates, freely to use and exercise the art and faculty of playinge comedies, tragedies, histories, enterludes, morralls, pastoralls, stage plaies, and such other lyke as they have already studied, or hereafter shall use or study, as well for the recreacion of our lovinge subjectes, as for our solace and pleasure, when wee shall thinke good to see them duringe our pleasure ;  And the said comedies, tragedies, histories, enterludes, morralls, pastoralls, stage playes, and suche like, to shew and exercise publikly, when the infecion of the plague shall decrease to the nomber of thirty weekly within our Citie of London and the liberties thereof, aswell within there now usuall howsen called the Curtayne and the Bores head, within our County of Midd. as in any other play-house not used by others, by the said Thomas Greene erected, or by hym hereafter to be builte, And also within any townehalls or mouthalls, or other conveinyent places, within the liberties and freedomes of any cittie, universitie, towne, or boroughe whatsoever within our said realmes and domynyons. Willing and commaundinge you and everie of you, as you tender our pleasure, not only to permytt and suffer them to use and exercise the said art of playing without any your lettes, hinderaunces, or molestacions, duringe our said pleasure, but also to be aydinge and assistinge unto them, yf any wronge be to them offered ;  And to allow them such former curtesies, as hath heretofore bene gyven unto any men of theire qualitie :  And also what further favour any of our subjectes shall shew to these our deare and loveinge wyfes servauntes, for our sake, wee shall take kyndly at your handes."
      In the original document, this last paragraph is scratched through, as intended to be cancelled. The whole is without date, and is only a rough draft. There are several interlineations in the MS., which are here indicated by italics.
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p.194 / fact, hitherto unnoticed by all writers on the history of the stage. Among the records in the muniment room at Warwick Castle is an early lease relating to a tenement in the metropolis called the Boar's Head, situated not far from the Globe Theatre.
      It is not my intention here to enter into any lengthened discussion on the subject that has occasioned this digression—the chronology of Shakespeare's plays ; but I venture to hazard a remark, that it may hereafter be discovered that Shakespeare's energies required in some measure the impulse of necessity to develop them in their full extent ; and that, after his fortune was made, acting and writing became secondary objects. Before Shakespeare had attained the age of forty, he had completed every purchase of great importance he ever made, and the best evidence we can produce exhibits him as paying more regard to his social affairs than to his profession. It is not impossible that even at this late period the lost accounts of the Lord Chamberlains may be recovered, and these would probably ascertain the exact order in which his plays were written, and how many of them he produced in the earlier period of the career. The uncertainty of reasoning on internal evidence in such matters has been eminently shown by recent discoveries, and the judgments of critics are so varied on this subject, that it would be a difficult task to reconcile their discordant conclusions. Perhaps Mr. Collier's opinions may claim the preference, but even they must be adopted with some hesitation, and I frequently have found occasion to dissent from the results he has arrived at. Without occupying these pages with my own conjectures, I may be allowed to mention that Cymbeline, which Mr. Collier thinks was not written before 1609, seems to be alluded to in the ‘Returne from Pernassus,’ 1606,—

p.195 /

Or make some sire acknowledge his lost son,
Found when the weary act is almost done.

       We learn from several allusions in early works that Shakespeare's plays met with great success,* and were by no means so neglected by the public of his own time as some writers would appear to believe.

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*   Shakespeare, most rich in humours, entertain
The crouded theatres with his happy vein.
Small Poems, by Sir Aston Cokain, 1658, p. 108.
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Yet this success does great credit to the popular taste of that age, for some of his dramas are better fitted for the closet than for representation, and it is scarcely possible all his writings could have been thoroughly appreciated by those before whom they first appeared. It is, however, not improbable that the direction of public favour received an impulse from the

Autograph of Richard Burbage.  Published size 5.1cm wide by 1.7cm high.

excellent acting of Burbage, one of the greatest artistes this country has ever produced. Shakespeare may have had him in view when he was writing some of his plays, and to the size of Burbage must be attributed the description of Hamlet, "he's fat and scant of breath," so discordant to all poetical taste. Mr. Collier has printed a poem, in which a description of Burbage's personal appearance is given nearly in the same words ; and in confirmation of this opinion it may be observed how very seldom we are enabled to realize the persons of any of Shakespeare's creations, except in the case of Falstaff and some of his comic characters. It is well remarked by Sir Edward Bulwer, comparing p.196 / Shakespeare and Scott, two writers of quite dissimilar power, the latter chiefly eminent in description, "few of us can picture to ourselves the exterior of his great creations, while we intimately know their hearts ; but who of us cannot image forth the swart Templar and the stately Leicester ?"
      Burbage and Shakespeare were intimate friends, and he is remembered with Heminges and Condell in the poet's

Autograph of John Heminges. Published size 6.1cm wide by 1.1cm high.

will. Manningham, in his Diary, MS. Harl. 5353, mentions an anecdote respecting them on the authority of Tooley, who was, according to Mr. Collier, Burbage's apprentice. Manningham heard this story in March, 1602, and it is thus noticed in his book,—"March 13, 1601; Upon a tyme, when Burbidge played Rich. 3, there was a citizen greue soe farr in liking with him, that before shee went from the play, shee appointed him to come that night unto hir by the name of Ri. the 3.  Shakespeare, overhearing their conclusion, went before, was intertained, and at his game ere Burbidge came. Then, message being brought that Rich. the 3d. was at the dore, Shakespeare caused returne to be made that William the Conquerour was before Rich. the 3.  Shakespeares name Willm.—Mr. Tooly(?)."  If this anecdote be false, it was at all events current in London in 1602, and is a singularly curious discovery, for which we are indebted to Mr. Collier. It is worthy of remark that tradition carried the same tale with great fidelity up to the close of the last century.*

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    *
  Richard Burbadge was a contemporary and most celebrated brother actor of Shakespeare. "Richard" was his greatest part. One evening that he was p.197 / to represent this character, and while behind the scenes, Shakespeare overheard him making an assignation with a lady of considerable beauty. Burbadge was to knock at her chamber door ; she was to say "who comes there?" and on receiving for answer, " ’Tis I, Richard the Third," the favourite tragedian was to be admitted. Shakespeare instantly determined to keep the appointment himself; and while Burbadge was giving due effect to the tyranny of Richard on the stage, Shakespeare hurried to the lady's house. Tapping at her door, he made the expected response to her interrogatory, and gained admittance. The poet's eloquence soon converted the fair one's anger into satisfaction; but quickly Burbadge was heard rapping at the door, and to the expected query replied, " ’Tis I, Richard the Third." "Then," quoth Shakespeare, "go thy ways, knave, for thou knowest that William the Conqueror reigned before Richard the Third."—Saunders, MS.
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p.196 / In the same MS. diary Mr. Collier also p.197 / discovered the following curious and valuable notice of the performance of Twelfth Night in 1602, at the Middle Temple : "1601, Febr. 2.  At our feast, wee had a play called Twelve Night, or What you Will, much like the Commedy of Errors, or Menechni in Plautus, but most like and neere to that in Italian called Inganni. A good practise in it to make the steward beleeve his lady widdowe was in love with him, by counterfayting a lettre as from his lady in generall termes, telling him what shee liked best in him, and prescribing his gesture in smiling, his apparraile, &c., and then when he came to practise, making him beleeve they tooke him to be mad, &c."  Before this curious memorandum was discovered, 1607 was the year usually assigned by the critics as the date of the composition of this play.
      The same year in which Othello was performed at Hatfield discovers Shakespeare adding most extensively to his Stratford property. In May, 1602, he purchased a hundred and seven acres of arable land in the parish of Old Stratford, from William and John Combe. The original indenture, dated May 1st, is in the possession of Mr. Wheler. Shakespeare was not at Stratford when the conveyance was executed, and the counterpart of the indenture, also in Mr. Wheler's possession, does not contain his signature ; but it p.198 / appears from a memorandum that the business was transacted for the poet by his brother Gilbert.*

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    *
  Sealed and delivered to Gilbert Shakespere to the use of the within named William Shakespere in the presence of
     Anthony Nasshe.
William Sheldon.
Humfrey Maynwaringe.
Rychard Mason.
       Jhon Nashe.
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      This Indenture, made the ffirste daie of Maye, in the ffowre and ffortieth yeare of the raigne of our Soveraigne Ladie Elizabeth, by the grace of God, of England, ffraunce, and Ireland, Queene, Defendresse of the faithe, &c. Betweene William Combe, of Warrwicke, in the countie of Warrwick, esquier, and John Combe, of Olde Stretford, in the countie aforesaid, gentleman, on the one partie, and William Shakespere, of Stretford-uppon-Avon, in the countie aforesaide, gentleman, on thother partie ; Witnesseth, that the saide William Combe, and John Combe, for and in consideracion of the somme of three hundred and twentie poundes of currant Englishe money, to them in hande, at and before thensealinge and deliverie of theis presentes, well and trulie satisfied, contented, and paide ; wherof and wherwith they acknowledge themselves fullye satisfied, contented, and paide, and therof, and of everie parte and parcell therof, doe clearlie exonerate, acquite, and discharge the saide William Shakspere, his heires, executors, administrators and assignes for ever ; by theis presentes, have aliened, bargayned, solde, geven, graunted and confirmed, and by theis presentes, doe fullie, clearlie, and absolutelie alien, bargayne, sell, give, graunte, and confirme unto the saide William Shakespere, all and singuler those errable landes, with thappurtenaunces, conteyninge by estimacion ffowre yarde lande of errable lande, scytuate, lyinge or beinge within the parrishe, feilds, or towne of Older Stretford aforesaid, in the saide countie of Warrwick, conteyninge by estimacion one hundred and seaven acres, be they more or lesse ; and also all the comon of pasture for sheepe, horse, kyne, or other cattle, in the feildes of Olde Stretforde aforesaid, to the saide ffowre yarde lande belonginge, or in any wise apperteyninge ; And also all hades, leys, tyinges, proffites, advantages, and commodities whatsoever, with their and everie of their appurtenaunces to the saide bargayned premisses belonginge or apperteyninge, or hertofore reputed, taken, knowne, or occupied as parte, parcell, or member of the same, and the revercion and the revercions of all and singuler the same bargayned premisses, and of everie parte and parcell therof, nowe or late iu the severall tenures or occupacions of Thomas Hiccox, and Lewes Hiccox, or of either of them, or of their assignes, or any of them : together also with all charters, deedes, writinges, escriptes, and mynumentes whatsoever, touchinge or concerninge the same premisses onlye, or onlye any parte or parcell therof : and also the true copies of all other deedes, evidences, charters, writinges, escriptes, and mynumentes, which doe touche and concerne the p.199 / saide premisses before bargayned and solde, or any parte or parcell therof, which the saide William Combe, or John Combe, nowe have in their custodie, or herafter may have, or which they may lawfully gett, or come by, without suite in lawe. To have and to holde the saide ffowre yarde of errable lande, conteyning by estimacion one hundred and seaven acres, be it more or lesse, and all and singuler other the premisses before by theis presentes aliened and solde, or mencioned, or entended to be aliened and solde, and everie parte and parcell therof ; and all deedes, charters, writinges, escriptes, and mynumentes, before by theis presentes bargayned and solde unto the saide William Shakespere, his heires and assignes for ever, to the onlye proper use and behoofe of the saide William Shakespere, his heires and assignes, for ever. And the saide William Combe, and John Combe, for them, their heires, executors, and administrators, doe covenant, promise, graunte to and with the saide William Shakespere, his heires, executors, and assignes, by theis presentes, that they, the saide William and John Combe, are seazed, or one of them is seazed, of a good, sure, perfect, and absolute estate, in fee simple, of the same premisses, before by theis presentes bargayned and solde, or ment, or mencioned to be bargayned and solde, without any further condicion, or lymyttacion of use, or estate, uses, or estates : and that he, the saide John Combe, his heires and assignes, shall and will, from tyme to tyme, and at all tymes herafter, well and sufficiently save and keepe harmles, and indempnified, as well the saide ffowre yardes of errable lande, conteyninge one hundred and seaven acres, and all other the premisses, with their appurtenaunces, before bargayned and solde, or mencioned or entended to be bargayned and solde, and every parte and parcell therof, as also the saide William Shakespere, and his heires and assignes, and everie of them, of and from all former bargaynes, sales, leases, joyntures, dowers, wills, statutes, recognizances, writinges obligatory, ffynes, feoffamentes, entayles, judgmentes, execucions, charges, titles, forfeytures, and encombrances whatsoever, at any tyme before thensealinge herof, had, made, knowledged, done, or suffred by the saide John Combe, or by the saide William Combe, or either of them, or by any other person or persons whatsoever, any thinge lawfully clayminge or havinge, from, by, or under them, or either of them ; (the rentes and services herafter to be due, in respect of the premisses before mencioned or entended to be bargayned and solde to the cheife lorde or lordes of the fee or fees only excepted and foreprized.)   And the saide William Combe, and John Coombe, for them, their heires, executors, administrators and assignes, doe covenant, promise, and graunte to and with the saide William Shakespere, his heires and assignes, by theis presentes, that they, the saide William and John Combe, or one of them, hathe rightfull power and lawfull aucthoritie for any acte or actes done by them, the saide William and John Combe, or by the sufferance or procurement of them, the saide William and John Combe, to geve, graunte, bargayne, sell, convey, and assure the saide ffowre yardes of errable lande, conteyninge one hundred and seaven acres, and all other the premisses before by theis presentes bargayned and solde, or mente or mencioned to be bargayned and solde, and everie parte and parcell therof, to the saide William Shakespere, his heires and assignes, in suche manner p.200 / and forme, as in and by theis presentes is lymytted, expressed, and declared : And that they, the saide William and John Combe, and their heires, and also all and everie other person, and persons, and their heires, nowe, or herafter havinge or clayminge any lawfull estate, righte, title, or interest, of, in, or to the saide errable lande, and all other the premisses before by theis presentes bargayned and solde, with their and everie of their appurtenaunces (other then the cheife lorde or lordes of the fee or fees of the premisses, for their rentes and services onlie) at all times herafter, duringe the space of ffyve yeares next ensewinge the date herof, shall doe, cause, knowledge, and suffer to be done and knowledged, all and everie suche further lawfull and reasonable acte and actes, thinge and thinges, devise and devises, assurances and conveyances whatsoever, for the further, more better, and perfect assurance, suretye, sure makinge and conveyinge of all the saide premisses before bargayned and solde, or mencioned to be bargayned and solde, with their appurtenaunces, and everie parte and parcell therof, to the saide William Shakespere, his heires and assignes, for ever, accordinge to the true entent and meaninge of theis presentes, as by the saide William Shakespere, his heires or assignes, or his or their learned counsell in the lawe, shal be reasonablie devized, or advized, and required, by yt by fyne or fynes, with proclamacion, recoverie with voucher or vouchers over, deede or deedes enrolled, enrollment of theis presentes, feoffament, releaze, confirmacion, or otherwise; with warrantie against the saide William Combe, and John Combe, their heires and assignes, and all other persons clayminge by, from, or under them, or any of them, or without warrantie, at the costes and charges in the lawe of the saide William Shakespere, his heires, executors, administrators, or assignes, so as for the makinge of any suche estate, or assurance, the saide William and John Combe be not compell'd to travaile above sixe myles. And the saide William Combe, and John Combe, for them, their heires, executors, administrators, and assignes, doe covenant, promise, and graunte to and with the saide William Shakespere, his heires, executors, administrators, and assignes, by theis presentes, that the saide William Shakespere, his heires and assignes, shall or may, from tyme to tyme, from henceforth for ever, peaceably and quietlie have, holde, occupie, possesse, and enjoye the saide ffowre yardes of errable lande, and all other the bargayned premisses, with their appurtenaunces, and everie parte and parcell therof, without any manner of lett, trouble, or eviccion of them, the saide William Combe, and John Combe, their heires, or assignes ; and without the lawfull lett, trouble or eviccion, of any other person or persons whatsoever, lawfully havinge, or clayminge any thinge in, of, or out of the saide premisses, or any parte therof, by, from, or under them, the saide William Combe, and John Combe, or either of them, or the heires or assignes of them, or either of them, or their, or any of their estate, title, or interest. In wytnes wherof, the parties to theis presentes have enterchangeably set to their handes and seales, the daie and yeare firste above written.   1602.
W.  COMBE. JO.  COMBE.

       On September 28th, 1602, at a court baron of the manor of Rowington, Walter Getley surrendered to Shakespeare a p.201 / house in Dead Lane, Stratford, near New Place. Its exact position will be seen in the plan at p. 165, where it is marked G, the street being now called Chapel Lane. It appears from the Court Roll that Shakespeare was not at Stratford at the time of the surrender, there being a proviso that the property should remain in the possession of the lady of the manor till the purchaser had done suit and service in the court. Getley's cottage was in existence a few years ago, but a modern building has now usurped its place. The property is still held under the manor* of Rowington, and is now in the possession of W. O. Hunt, Esq.

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    *
  Rowington Manor.—"By the custome thereof, the eldest sonne is to inherite, and for default of yssue male, the eldest daughter. The coppieholders for every messuage and for every tofft of a messuage paye a herriott, but a cottage and tofft of a cottage paye not herriotts."—Survey, MS. at Carlton Ryde.
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House sold by Getley to Shakespeare, 1602. Published size 9.3cm wide by 3.25cm high.

House sold by Getley to Shakespeare, 1602.

      Rowington. Vis. franc. pleg. cum cur. baron. prænobilis dominæ Annæ comitissæ Warwici ibidem tent. xxviijº. die Septembris, anno regni dominæ nostræ Elizabethæ, Dei gracia Angliæ, Franciæ et Hiberniæ reginæ, fidei defensor. &c. quadragesimo quarto, coram Henr. Michell generoso deputat. scenescall. Johannis Huggeford ar. capitalis scenescalli ibidem.
      Ad hanc curiam venit Walterus Getley per Thomam Tibbottes jun. attorn. suum, unum customar. tenent. manerii prædicti (præd. Thoma Tibbottes jur. pro veritate inde), et sursumredd. in manus dominæ manerii prædicti unum cotagium cum pertinent. scit. jacen. et existen. in Stratford super Avon, in quodam vico ibidem vocato Walkers Streete alias Dead Lane, ad opus et usum
p.202 / Willielmi Shackespere et hæred. suorum in perpetuum, secundum consuetudinem manerii prædicti ; et sic remanet in manibus dominæ manerii prædicti, quousque prædictus Willielmus Shakespare ven. ad capiend. præmissa prædicta. In cujus rei testimonium, prædictus Henricus Michell huic præsenti copiæ sigillum suum apposuit die et anno supradictis.
Per me HENR. MICHELL.        

      This property is mentioned in a survey*  of the manor of Rowington, dated 1 Aug. 4 Jac. I. 1606, preserved in the Auditors' Land Revenue Office ; and from the circumstance of Shakespeare not having appeared, and the particulars not being furnished, we may safely conclude he was not at Stratford at that period.

---------------------------
    *
  Several persons of the name of Shakespeare are mentioned in this survey. Among the jurymen were Thomas Shackspeare sen., Ricardus Shackspeare, sen., and Thomas Chaxspere, the two first being marksmen, the latter signing his name with the curious orthography here indicated.
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Tenen. Custum.
Stratford
super Avon.   
} Willielmus Shakespere tenet per cop. dat.
die . . . . . . Anno . . . . . .
viz.


Dom. manss.


Redd. per annum

Habend.
¯\ 
   |  
   |  
   |  
   |  
   \
   /
   |  
   |  
   |  
   |  
_/ 
ij.s.
fin.
her.

Ann. val.
dimitt.


      In the same year in which he made the purchases last mentioned, Shakespeare also bought a property from Hercules Underhill, described as consisting of one messuage, two barns, two gardens, and two orchards, for the sum of sixty pounds. The fine levied on this occasion was first published by Mr. Collier, but he has wrongly dated it 1603, and the same error has been committed by subsequent p.203 / writers. The following is taken from the foot of the fine preserved in the Chapter House :

      Inter Willielmum Shakespeare generosum quer. et Herculem Underhill generosum deforc. de uno mesuagio, duobus horreis, duobus gardinis, et duobus pomariis, cum pertinentiis, in Stretford super Avon ; unde placitum convencionis sum. fuit inter eos &c. scilicet quod prædictus Hercules recogn. prædicta ten. cum pertinentiis esse jus ipsius Willielmi, ut ill. quæ idem Willielmus habet de dono prædicti Herculis, et ill. remisit et quietclam. de se et hæred. suis prædicto Willielmo et hæred. suis in perpetuum. Et præterea*  idem Hercules concessit pro se et hæred. suis quod ipsi warant. prædicto Willielmo et hæred. suis prædicta tenementa cum pertinentiis contra prædictum Herculem et hæred. suos in perpetuum ;  Et pro hac recogn. remis. quietclam. &c. idem Willielmus dedit prædicto Herculi sexaginta libras sterlingorum. [ Mich. 44 & 45 Eliz. ]

---------------------------
    *
  Mr. Collier reads prædicta, which is clearly erroneous.
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      It has already been observed that Shakespeare enjoyed the patronage of Elizabeth and her successor, and this seems the proper place for introducing the warrant for a patent, authorising the performances of the company to which Shakespeare belonged, which was granted by James soon after his arrival in England. The Lord Chamberlain's players were taken into the king's service, and they were afterwards called the King's Players. The warrant alluded to bears date May 7th, 1603, and is preserved at the Chapter House, Privy Seal Papers, no. 71.

      By the King.   Right trusty and welbeloved counsellor, we greete you well and will and commaund you, that under our privie seale in your custody for the time being, you cause our letters to be derected to the keeper of our greate seale of England, commaunding him under our said greate seale, he cause our letters to be made patents in forme following. James, by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland, Fraunce and Irland, defendor of the faith, &c., to all justices, maiors, sheriffs, constables, headboroughes, and other our officers and loving subjects, greeting ;  Know ye, that we of our speciall grace, certaine knowledge, and meere motion, have licenced and authorized, and by these presentes doe licence and authorize, these our servants, Lawrence Fletcher, William Shakespeare, Richard Burbage, Augustine Phillippes, John Hemmings, Henrie Condell, William Sly, Robert Armyn, Richard Cowlye, and the rest of their associats, freely to use and exercise the arte and faculty of playing p.204 / comedies, tragedies, histories, enterludes, moralls, pastoralls, stage plaies, and such other like, as thei have already studied, or hereafter shall use or studie, as well for the recreation of our loving subjects, as for our solace and pleasure, when we shall thinke good to see them, during our pleasure ; and the said comedies, tragedies, histories, enterludes, moralls, pastoralls, stage plaies, and such like, to shew and exercise publiquely to their best commoditie, when the infection of the plague shall decrease, as well within theire now usuall howse called the Globe, within our county of Surrey, as also within anie towne halls, or mout halls, or other convenient places within the liberties and freedome of any other citie, universitie, towne or borough whatsoever within our said realmes and dominions. Willing and commaunding you, and every of you, as you tender our pleasure, not only to permit and suffer them heerin, without any your letts, hinderances, or molestations, during our said pleasure, but also to be ayding or assisting to them yf any wrong be to them offered ; and to allowe them such former courtesies, as hathe bene given to men of their place and qualitie, and also what further favour you shall shew to these our servants for our sake we shall take kindly at your hands, and these our letters shall be your sufficient warrant and discharge in this behalfe. Given under our signet at our mannor of Greenewiche the seavententh day of May in the first yeere of our raigne of England, France, and Ireland, and of Scotland the six and thirtieth.

      We here find Shakespeare's name second in the list of the company, and there can be no doubt of his having been at that time one of the principal sharers in the Globe and Blackfriar's theatres. A letter from Daniel to Sir Thomas Egerton, found by Mr. Collier in Lord Ellesmere's collection of manuscripts, written about this period, for Daniel's appointment was made early in 1604, alludes to Shakespeare as having attempted to procure the office of Master of the Queen's Revels, or overlooker of the plays performed by the Children of the Revels. Shakespeare is not mentioned by name, but the description is sufficiently minute to enable us to conclude with tolerable certainty that he is alluded to, for it could apply to no other member of the company. The letter is printed in Mr. Collier's New Facts, 1835, p. 48, but the following passage is the only portion of it relating to this subject :

      But a little time is past since I was called upon to thanke your honor for my brothers advancement, and now I thanke you for myne owne ; which double p.205 / kindnes will alwaies receive double gratefulnes at both our handes. I cannot but knowe that I am lesse deserving then some that sued by other of the nobility unto her Majestie for this roome : if M. Draiton, my good friend, had bene chosen, I should not have murmured, for sure I ame he wold have filled it most excellentlie ; but it seemeth to myne humble judgement that one who is the authour of playes now daylie presented on the public stages of London, and the possessor of no small gaines, and moreover himselfe an actor in the King's Companie of comedians, could not with reason pretend to be Mr. of the Queenes Majesties Revells, for as much as he wold sometimes be asked to approve and allow of his owne writings. Therefore he, and more of like quality, cannot justlie be disappointed, because, through your Honors gracious interposition, the chance was haply myne.

      The reason here given by Daniel for Shakespeare's unfitness for the office shows that he was writing for the stage, and the curious accounts discovered by Mr. Cunningham in the Audit Office exhibit the popularity of Shakespeare's plays about this period.*

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    *
  "A probable computation of the thousands of people of both sexes whom Shakespeare's plays have maintained to this day would appear incredible to any one who did not maturely consider it."—Oldys MS.
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These accounts were printed by Mr. Cunningham in his ‘Extracts from the Accounts of the Revels at Court,’ 1842, but they are of so much curiosity and importance, that I here give a copy of those entries which relate to Shakespeare's plays.

The Plaiers.   
1605.
The poets which
mayd the plaies
.
By the Kings
Matis plaiers.
   Hallamas Day being the first of Novembar, A play in the Banketinge House att Whithall called the Moor of Venis. [Nov. 1st, 1604.]
By his Matis
   plaiers.
   The Sunday ffollowinge, a play of the Merry Wives of Winsor. [Nov. 4th, 1604.]
By his Matis
   plaiers.
   On St. Stivens night in the hall a play caled Mesur for Mesur. [Dec. 26th, 1604.] Shaxberd.   
By his Matis
   plaiers.
   On Inosents Night the Plaie of Errors. [Dec. 28th, 1604.] Shaxberd.   
By his Matis
   plaiers.
   Betwin Newers day and Twelfe day a play of Loves Labours Lost. [1605.]
By his Matis
   plaiers.
   On the 7 of January was played the play of Henry the fift. [1605.]
p.206 /
The Plaiers.   
1605.
The poets which
mayd the plaies
.
By his Matis
   plaiers.
   On Shrovsunday a play of the Marchant of Venis. [Mar. 24th, 1605.] Shaxberd.
By his Matis
   players.
   On Shrovtusday a play cauled the Martchant of Venis againe com­manded by the Kings Matie. [26 Mar. 1605.]

Shaxberd.
[Accounts from Oct. 31st, 1611, to Nov. 1st, 1612.]
By the Kings
   players.
   Hallomas nyght was presented att Whithall before the Kinges Matie a play called the Tempest. [Nov. 1st, 1611.]
The Kings
   players.
   The 5th of November :  A play called the Winters Nightes Tayle. [1611.]

      From these notices it appears that the Merchant of Venice pleased James sufficiently to call from that monarch a special command for its representation only two days after it had been performed on March 24th, 1605. This circumstance almost extinguishes a conjecture I should otherwise have mentioned with more confidence, that Shakespeare may have represented the sovereign in the play of the Gowry Conspiracy, which occasioned great displeasure at court in 1604,*  and that to such a circumstance the remarkable lines quoted from Davies (at p. 149) refer.

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    *
  "The tragedy of Gowry, with all action and actors, hath been twice represented by the king's players with exceeding concourse of all sorts of people ; but whether the matter or manner be not well handled, or that it be thought unfit that princes should be played on the stage in their lifetime, I hear that some great counsellors are much displeased with it, and so it is thought it shall be forbidden."—Letter, dated Dec. 18th, 1604, Collier's Annals of the Stage, i. 358.
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The verses of Davies may, however, possibly allude to a later circumstance, for, in 1606, James was again brought on the stage by the players, who "made him curse and swear because he had been robbed of a bird, and beat a gentleman, because he had called off the hounds from the scent ; they represent him as drunk at least once a day ;"  but p.207 / although Shakespeare may have aided in an historical play on the former subject, yet it is unlikely he would have been so imprudent as to indulge in a burlesque of so broad a character as the second narrative implies, and I am not sure that this latter relates to the king's players. Mr. Collier, who furnishes this information, also prints some verses entitled ‘Shakespeare on the King’ from a manuscript in his possession. These lines are contained in several early collections generally attributed to Shakespeare, and Mr. Collier unhesitatingly assigns them to the poet ; but I much doubt whether the compliment is sufficiently elegant to be classed with his other essays of the same kind.*

Crowns have their compass, length of days their date,
Triumphs their tomb, felicity her fate :
Of nought but earth can earth make us partaker,
But knowledge makes a king most like his Maker.

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    *
  Since writing the above I have met with a confirmation of this opinion, for a copy of these lines in a MS. in the Ashmolean Museum, No. 38, is entitled "Certayne verses wrighten by Mr. Robert Barker, his Majestis printer, under his Majestis picture."
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      It should be recollected that the manuscript miscellanies of Shakespeare's time, although generally very good authorities for biographical information, cannot always be depended upon for accuracy in the names of authors to whom short poems are assigned. One of these contains the poem beginning "From the rich Lavinian shore," entitled ‘Shakespeare's rime which he made at the Mytre in Fleete Streete;’ and in the same MS. one of Ben Jonson's epigrams is slightly altered and attributed to Shakespeare. We must be cautious in adding to the works of Shakespeare from such sources ;† 

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    †
  A curious volume of short poems, attributed to Shakespeare, printed about 1660, is preserved in the Bodleian Library. It is entitled ‘Cupids Cabinet Unlock't, or the New Accademy of Complements, Odes, Epigrams, Songs, and Sonnets, Poesies, Presentations, Congratulations, Ejaculations, Rhapsodies, &c., with other various fancies. Created partly for the delight, but chiefly for the use of all Ladies, Gentlemen, and Strangers, who affect to speak Elegantly, or write Queintly. By W. Shakespeare.’
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for these being erroneously attributed to his pen merely p.208 / prove his popularity, and are not any evidences in favour of his having had a share in their composition. This practice was not solely confined to manuscript literature, for we learn from Heywood that Shakespeare was "much offended" with Jaggard for publishing pieces under his name which he had not written ; and, although very unwilling to hazard an opinion against the genuineness of a poem that has invariably been ascribed to Shakespeare without hesitation, I confess it would be more satisfactory were some other evidence to be produced of the authenticity of the singular lines published in Chester's ‘Love's Martyr,’ 1601, commencing

Let the bird of loudest lay,
   On the sole Arabian tree,
   Herald sad and trumpet be,
To whose sound chaste wings obey.

      Returning to the consideration of Shakespeare's personal history, and calling the reader's attention to the purchases made by him at Stratford in 1602, the following document will be found to be highly interesting, exhibiting the poet engaged in commercial transactions in his native town. Mr. Knight conjectures that he farmed the land he purchased of the Combes. In 1604 he brought an action against Phillip Rogers for 1 15s. 10d., for malt sold and delivered to him at several times. The declaration was filed in the Stratford Court of Record, and is one of the most curious documents connected with Shakespeare's personal history known to exist. It has never yet been printed.

Docket of action brought by Shakespeare for malt sold in 1604. Published size 7.6cm wide by 2.2cm high.

    Phillipus Rogers summonitus fuit per servient. ad clavem ibidem ad respond. Willielmo Shexpere de placito quod reddat ei triginta et quinque solid. decem denar. quos ei debet et injuste detinet, et sunt pleg. de prosequend. Johannes p.209 / Doe et Ricardus Roe, &c. et unde idem Willielmus, per Willielmum Tetherton attorn. suum, dicit quod cum prædictus Phillippus Rogers vicesimo septimo die Marcii, anno regni domini Jacobi regis, nunc Angliæ, Franc. et Hiberniæ, primo, et Scociæ tricesimo septimo, hic apud Stretford præd. et infra jurisdictionem hujus curiæ emisset de eodem Willielmo tres modios brasii pro sex solid. de præd. triginti et quinque solid. decem denar., ac etiam quod cum præd. Phillipus Rogers, decimo die Aprillis anno regni dicti domini regis nunc Angliæ &c. secundo, hic apud Stretford præd. ac infra jurisdictionem hujus curiæ, emisset de eodem Willielmo quatuor modios brasii pro octo solid. de præd. 35 solid. 10 denar., ac etiam quod cum præd. Phillipus 24º. die dicti Aprilis, anno regni dicti domini regis nunc Angliæ &c. secundo, hic apud Stretford præd. infra jurisdictionem hujus curiæ emisset de eodem Willielmo alios tres modios brasii pro sex solid. de præd. 35 solid. 10 denar., ac etiam quod cum præd. Phillipus, tercio die Maii, anno regni dicti domini regis nunc Angliæ &c. secundo, hic apud Stretford præd. infra jurisdictionem hujus curiæ emisset de eodem Willielmo alios quatuor modios brasii pro octo solid. de præd. 35 solid. 10 denar., ac etiam quod cum præd. Phillipus, tricesimo die Maii, anno regni dicti domini regis nunc Angliæ &c. secundo, hic apud Stretford præd. ac infra jurisdictionem hujus curiæ emisset de eodem Willielmo duos modios brasii pro tres solid. decem denar. de præd. 35 solid. 10 denar., ac etiam quod cum præd. Phillipus, vicesimo quinto die Junii, anno dicti domini regis nunc Angliæ &c., hic apud Stretford præd. ac infra jurisdictionem hujus curiæ, mutuatus fuisset duos solid. legalis monetæ &c. de præd. 35 solid. 10 denar. resid. solvend. eidem Willielmo, cum inde requisit. fuisset ; quæ omnia seperal. somn. attingunt se in toto ad quadraginta et unum solid. decem denar. Et prædictus Phillipus Rogers de sex solid. inde eidem Willielmo postea satisfecisset, prædictus tamen Phillipus, licet sepius requisit., prædictos trigint. et quinque solid. decem denar. resid. eidem Willielmo nondum reddidit, sed illa ei huc usque reddere contradixit et adhuc contradic., unde quod deter. est et dampna habet ad valenc. decem solidorum. Et inde producit sectam &c.

      In July, 1605, Shakespeare made the largest purchase he ever completed, giving the sum of 440 for the unexpired term of a moiety of a lease, granted in 1544 for ninety-two years, of the tithes of Stratford, Old Stratford, Bishopton, and Welcombe. In the indenture of conveyance he is described as of Stratford upon Avon, gentleman ; and, as he is similarly designated three years earlier, when we know that he was in London, we may conclude that after the purchase of New Place he had taken up his permanent abode in his native town. It appears from a letter, printed at p. 172, that as early as 1598 the subject of Shakespeare p.210 / becoming the purchaser of these tithes had been mooted at Stratford, and the management of them would probably require great prudential care. It is not impossible that confidence was entertained in Shakespeare's tact and judgment, and that this, as well as his command of capital, produced the desire of the Council of Stratford, who received a rent from these tithes, that he should become the purchaser.

      This indenture made the [24th of July, 1605,] &c. Betweene Raphe Hubande of Ippesley in the countye of Warr. esquier on thone parte, and William Shakespeare of Stratford uppon Avon in the saied countie of Warr. gent. on thother parte, Whereas Anthonie Barker clarke, late Warden of the Colledge or Collegiate Churche of Stratford upon Avon in the saied countye of Warr. and Giles Coventrie subwarden there, and the whole chapter of the same late colledge, by their deade indented sealed with their chapter seale, Dated the seaventh diae of September in the sixe and thirtyth yeare of the raigne of the late kinge of famous memorie Kinge Henrye the viij.te. demised, graunted, and to farme lett (amongst diverse other things) unto one William Barker of Sonnynge in the countye of Bark. gent. all and all manner of tythes of corne, graine, blade and heye yearelie and from tyme to tyme comyng, encreasing, reneweing, arrysing, groweing, yssueing or happeninge, or to bee had, receyved, perceyved or taken out, upon or in the townes, villages, hamletts, grounds or ffyelds of Stratford, Old Stratford, Welcombe, and Buyshopton in the saied countye of Warr. and alsoe all and all manner of tythes of wooll, lambe, and other small and pryvie tythes, oblacions, obvencions, alterages, myniments and offerings whatsoever yearelie and from tyme to tyme cominge, encreasinge reneweing or groweing, or to bee had receyved perceyved or taken within the parishe of Stratford upon Avon aforesaid in the saied countie of Warr. by the name or names of all and singuler their mannors, lands, tenements, meadowes, pastures, feedings, woods, underwoods, rents, revercions, services, courts, leets, releeves, wards, marriages, harriotts, perquisites of courts, liberties, jurisdictions, and all other hereditaments, with all and singuler other rights, commodities, and their appurtenaunces, together with all manner of parsonages, gleebe landes, tythes, alterages, oblacions, obvencions, myniments, offerings, and all other issues, proffits, emoluments and advantages in the countie of Warr. or Worcester, or elsewhere whatsoever they bee, unto the said colledge apperteyninge, (the mancion-house and the scite of the saied colledge, with their appurtenaunces within the precincts of the walls of the saied Colledge unto the saied warden and subwarden onlie excepted), To have and to holde all the saied mannors, landes, tenements, and all other the premisses with all and singuler their appurtenaunces (excepte before excepted) unto the saied College belonginge or in anie[wise] apperteyninge unto the said William Barker, his executors and assignes, from the ffeast of St. Michaell tharchangell then last paste before the date of the p.211 / saied indenture, unto thend and terme of ffourescore and twelve yeares then next ensueinge, yelding and paieng therefore yearelie unto the said warden and subwarden and their successors att the saied colledge cxxij.li. xviij.s. ix.d. of lawfull money of England, as more playnelie appeareth by the saied indenture, And whereas also the revercion of all and singuler the saied premisses emonge other things by vertue of the acte of Parlyment made in the first yeare of the raigne of our late soveraigne lorde Kinge Edwarde the sixte for the dissolucion of chauntries, colledges, and ffree chappels, or by some other meanes, came to the hands and possession of the saied late Kinge Edwarde, and where also the saied late King Edward the sixte being seised, as in the right of his crowne of England, of and in the revercion of all and singuler the premisses, by his lettres patents bearing date the xxviijth daie of June in the vijth yeare of his raigne, for the consideracion therein expressed, did gyve and graunte unto the baylief and burgesses of Stratford aforesaied, and to their successors, emonge other things, all and all manner of the saied tythes of corne, graine and hay, cominge, encreasinge or arrysinge, in the villages and ffields of Old Stratford, Welcombe, and Bushopton, in the saied countie of Warwicke, then or late in the tenure of John Barker, and to the late Colledge of Stratford upon Avon in the saied countye of Warr. of late belonginge and apperteyninge, and parcell of the possession thereof beinge, and alsoe all and all manner the saied tyethes of wooll, lambe, and other smalle and pryvie tythes, oblacions and alterages, whatsoever, within the parishe of Stratford upon Avon aforesaid, and to the saied late Colledge of Stratford upon Avon belonging or apperteyninge, and then or late in the tenure of William Barker or of his assignes, and the revercion and revercions whatsoever of all and singuler the saied tythes, and everie parte and parcell thereof, and the rents, revenues, and other yearelie profitts whatsoever reserved upon anie demise or graunte of the saied tiethes or anie parte or parcell thereof ; and whereas alsoe the interest of the said premisses in the said original lease mencioned, and the interest of certaine coppieholdes in Shotterie in the parishe of Stratford aforesaid, beinge by good and lawfull conveyance and assurance in the lawe before that tyme conveyed and assured to John Barker of Hurste in the said countie of Berks, he the said John Barker by his indenture bearinge date the ffowre and twenteth daye of June in the twoe and twenteth yeare of the raigne of the late Quene Elizabeth for the consideracions therein specified, Did give graunte assigne and sett over unto Sir John Huband Knighte deceassed, brother of the saied Raphe Huband of Ipsley in the said countie of Warwicke esquire, all and singuler the said last mencioned premisses, And all his estate right tytle and interest that he then had to come, of and in and to all and singler the said premisses, and of all other mannors, messuages, lands, tenements, gleebe lands, tiethes, oblacions, commodities, and proffitts in the said originall lease mencioned, for and duringe all the yeares and terme then to come unexpired in the said originall lease, (exceptinge as in and by the saide laste mencioned indenture is excepted), as by the same indenture more at large maie appeare, To have and to holde all and singler the said recyted premisses (excepte before excepted) to the said Sir John Huband Knight, his executors and assignes, for and duringe the yeares then to come of and in the same, Yeldinge and payeing therfore yearly p.212 / after the ffeast of St. Michaell tharchangell next ensuing the date of the last mencioned indenture, for and duringe all the yeares mencioned in the said first mencioned indenture then to come and not expired, unto the said John Barker, his executors, administrators, assignes, one annuall or yearely rente of twenty seaven pounds thirteene shillinges ffowre pence by the yeare, to be yssuynge and goynge out of all the mannors, lands, tenements, tyethes and hereditaments, in the said indenture specified, to be paide yearly to the said John Barker, his executors, administrators, and assignes, by the said Sir John Huband, his executors, administrators, and assignes, att the ffeaste of the annunciacion of our Lady and St. Michaell tharcheangell, or within ffortie dayes after the said ffeasts, in the porche of the Parishe Churche of Stratford aforesaid by yeven porcions, And further prayinge, doynge, and performynge all such other rents, duties, and services, as at anie tyme from thenceforth, and from tyme to tyme, and duringe the terme aforesaide, shoulde become due to anie person or persons for the same premisses, or anie parte thereof, and thereof to discharge the said John Barker, his executors and administrators ; And yff yt shoulde happen the said twentie-seaven pounds thirtene shillinges ffowre pence to be behinde and unpaide, in parte or in all, by the space of ffortie dayes nexte after anie of the said ffeasts or dayes of payments, in which, as is aforesaid, yt oughte to be paide, beinge lawfully asked, That then yt shoulde be lawfull to and for the said John Barker, his executors, administrators and assignes, into all and singular the premisses, with their appurtenaunces and everie parte and parcell thereof, to reenter and the same to have againe, as in his or their former righte, and that then and from thenceforth the said recyted indenture of assignemente, and everie article, covenaunte, clause, provisoe and agreemente, therein conteyned on the parte and behalfe of the said John Barker, his executors, administrators, and assignes, to be performed, shoulde cease and be utterly voyde and of none effecte, with diverse other covenaunts, graunts, articles and agreements in the said indenture of assignemente specified to be observed and performed by the said Sir John Huband, his executors and assignes, as in and by the said recyted indenture it doth and maye appeare. And whereas the said Sir John Huband did, by his deede obligatorie, bynde himselfe and his heires to the said John Barker in a greate summe of monney for the performance of all and singler the covenaunts, graunts, articles and agreements, which on the parte of the said Sir John Huband were to be observed and performed, conteyned and specified as well in the said recyted indenture of assignement, as alsoe in one other indenture, beringe the date of the said recyted indenture of assignemente, made betwene the said John Barker on thone partie and the said Sir John Huband on thother partie, as by the saied deede obligatorie moore at large yt dothe and maie appeare. And whereas alsoe the saied Sir John Huband, by his laste will and testamente in writinge, did gyve and bequeath [unto his executors &c. amongste other things the moytie or one halfe of * ] all and singuler the saied tythes,

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    *
  Instead of the passage between brackets the following is interlined : “unto the saied Raphe Huband, and unto George Digbye then esquier and after made knight.’
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p.213 /
as well greate and smalle, before mencioned, to be graunted to the saied baylieffe and burgesses, and duringe soe long tyme, and untill the issues and profitts thereof, soe much as with other things in his saied will to that purpose willed, lymitted, or appointed, should be sufficient to dischardge, beare, and paie his funerall debts and legacies, and the other moytie or one halfe of the saied tythes did alsoe gyve and bequeath unto the saied Raphe Huband and his assignes, during all the yeares then to come in the saied originall lease and not expired, payeinge the one halfe of the rents and other charges dewe or goeing out of or for the same, that is to saie the one halfe of tenne pounds by yeare to be paied to the saied John Barker, over and above the rents thereof reserved upon the saied originall lease for the same, as by the saied will and testament more at large appeareth ; This indenture nowe witnesseth that the saide Raphe Huband, for and in consideracion of the somme of ffoure hundred and ffourtie poundes of lawfull Englishe money to him by the saied William Shackesphere, before thensealinge and deliverye of these presentes, well and truelie contented and paied, whereof everye parte and parcell whereof he doth by these presentes acknowledge the receipt, and thereof and of everye parte and parcell thereof the saied Raphe Huband doth by thees presentes clerelie acquite exonerate and discharge the saied William Shackesphere, his heires, executors and administrators, for ever, Hath graunted, demised, assigned, and sett over, and by these presentes doth graunte, demise, assigne, and sett over unto the saied William Shackesphere, his executors and assignes, the saied moytie or one half of all the saied tythes of corne, graine, blade and heye, yearelie, and from tyme to tyme cominge, increasinge, reneweinge, arrysing and groweinge, essueinge, or happininge or to be had, receyved, perceyved, or taken out, of, upon, or in the townes, villages, hamletts, grownds and ffyelds of Stratford, Old Stratford, Bushypton, and Welcombe, in the saied Countie of Warr. and alsoe the moytie or one half of all the tythes of wooll, lambe, and other smalle and pryvie tythes, herbage, oblacions, obvencions, alterages, mynuments, offerings, and proffits whatsoever, yearelie, and from tyme to tyme, cominge, encreasinge, reneweinge, or groweinge, or to bee had, receyved, perceyved, or taken, within the parishe of Stratford upon Avon aforesaid ; and alsoe the moytie or one halfe of all and all manner of tythes, as well greate as smalle whatsoever, which were by the laste will and testamente of the said Sir John Huband gyven and bequeathed to the saied Raphe Huband, arrysing, encreasing, reneweing, or groweinge within the saied parishe of Stratford upon Avon, and whereof the saied Raphe Huband hath att anie tyme heretofore been possessed of, or whereof by vertue of the saied will and testament of righte ought to be possessed, or whereunto he nowe hath, or hereafter should have, anie estate, right, or interest, in possession or revercion, and all the estate, right, title, interest, claime, and demaunde whatsoever, of the saied Raphe Huband, of, in, and to all and singler the premisses hereby lastelie mencioned to be graunted and assigned, and everie or anie parte or parcell thereof, and the revercion and revercions of all and singuler the premisses, and all rentes and yearelie proffitts reserved upon anie demise, graunte, or assignemente thereof, or anie parte thereof heretofore made, (the pryvie tythes of Luddington and suche parte of the tythe of hey, p.214 / and pryvie tythes of Bushopton, as of righte doe belonge to the vicar, curate or minister there for the tyme beinge, alwaies excepted and foreprised), To have and to hold the saied moyties of all and singuler the saied tythes, before, in, and by these presentes lastelie mencioned to be graunted and assigned, and everie parte and parcell of them, and all the estate, right, title, and interest, of the saied Raphe Huband, of, in, and to the same, and all other the aforedemised premisses, and everie part thereof (except before excepted) unto the saied William Shakespear, his executors and assignes, from the daie of the date hereof, for and duringe the residewe of the saied terme of ffowrescore and twelve yeares in the saied first mencioned indenture expressed, and for suche and soe longe terme and tyme, and in as longe, ample, and beneficyall manner as the saied Raphe Huband should or ought enjoye the same, yeldinge and paieinge therefore yearelie duringe the residewe of the saied terme of ffourescore and twelve yeares which be yet to come and unexpired, the rents hereafter mencioned, in manner and forme followeinge, that is to saie, unto the baylieffe and burgesses of Stratford aforesaid, and their successors, the yearelie rent of seaventeene pounds, at the ffeasts of St. Michaell tharchangell and thannunciacion of blessed Maria the Virgin by equall porcions, and unto John Barker, his executors, administrators or assignes, the yearlie rent of ffyve pounds att ffeast daies and place in the recited indenture of assignemente lymitted and appointed, (or within fourtie dayes after the saied ffeasts due by even porcions) as parcell of the saied annuall rent of twenty seaven pounds, thirteene shillings, foure pence, in the saied assignement mencioned ; And the saied Raphe Huband doth, by thees presentes, for him, his heires, executors, administrators, and assignes, covenaunte and graunte to and with the saied William Shakesphere, his executors, administrators, and assignes, and everye of them, that hee the saied Raphe Huband att the tyme of thensealinge of thees presentes hath, and att the tyme of the first execucion of anie estate interest or terme by force of thees presentes shall have, full power, lawfull and sufficient aucthoritie, certenlie, suerlie, and absolutelie, to graunte, demise, assigne, and sett over the saied moyties, or one half of all and singler the saied tythes, and other premisses before by thees presentes lastlie mencioned to be assigned and sett over, and everie parte and parcell thereof, unto the saied William Shakesphere, his executours and assignes, according to the true meaning of thees presentes ; and alsoe that the said William Shakesphere, his executours, administratours, or assignes, shall and maye from tyme to tyme, and att all tymes duringe the residewe of the saied terme of ffoure score and twelve yeares yet to come and unexpired, for the yearlie severall rents above by these presentes reserved, peaceblie, lawfullie and quietlie have, hold, occupie, possesse and enjoie the saied moyties, or one half of all and singler the saied tythes of corne, graine, blade, heye, wooll, lambe and other smalle and pryvie tythes, herbage, oblacions, obvencions, offerings, and other the premisses before by thees presentes graunted and assigned, or ment to be graunted and assigned, and everie parte and parcell thereof (except before excepted) without anie lett, trouble, entrie, distresse, claime, deniall, interrogacion, or molestacion whatsoever of the saied Raphe Huband, his executours, administratours, or assignes, p.215 / or of anie other person or personnes having or clayming to have, or which, att anie tyme hereafter, shall or maie have, or claime to have, anie thing of, in, to, or out of the afore graunted premisses or any parte thereof, by, from, or under the saied Raphe Huband, his executours, administratours, or assignes, or anie of them, (or by, from, or under the saied Sir John Huband, or by their or anie of their meanes, consent, forfeiture, act, or procurement,) and without anie lawfull lett, trouble, distresse, claime, deniall, entrie or demaunde whatsoever, other than for the saied yearelie rent of v.li. above reserved of the saied John Barker, his executors, administrators, or assignes, or anie of them, or of anie personne or personnes clayming by, from, or under them, or anie of them, (the state and interest of the Lord Carewe of and in the tythes of Bridgetowne and Ryen Clifford, and the interest of Sir Edward Grevill of and in the moytie of the tythe hay, wooll, lambe, and small and pryvie tythes, oblacions, obvencions, offerings, and proffitts, before by thees presentes graunted and assigned unto the saied William Shacksphare, which is to endure untill the feast of St. Michaell tharchangell next ensueing the date hereof, and noe longer, excepted and foreprised), and the saied Raphe Huband doth by thees presentes, for him his heires, executors, and administrators, covenaunte and graunte to and with the saied William Shakesphere, his executors, administrators, and assignes, that the saied moyties of the saied tythes before mencioned to be graunted to the saied William, and other the premisses (except before excepted) nowe are, and soe from tyme to tyme, and att all tymes hereafter duringe the residewe of the saied terme of ffourescore and twelve yeres yett to come and unexpired, shalbe, remaine, and continewe, accordinge to the intent and true meaninge of thees presentes, free and cleere, and freelie and clerelie acquited, exonerated and discharged, or well and sufficientlie saved and kept harmelesse, of and from all and all manner of bargainges, assignements, graunts, leases, recognizaunces, statutes marcheant, and of the staple, outlaries, judgements, execucions, entries, titles, troubles, charges, encumbraunces, and demaunds whatsoever, heretofore had, made, done, committed, omitted, done or suffered, or hereafter to be had, made, done, committed, omitted, done or suffered, by the saied Raphe Huband, Sir John Huband, and John Barker, or anie of them, their or any of their executors, administrators, or assignes, or anie of them, or by anie personne, or personnes whatsoever, clayming, or which at anie tyme hereafter during the residewe of the said terme, shall or maie claime, by, from, or under them or anie of them, their or anie of their executors, administrators, or assignes, or anie of them, or by their or anie of their meanes, act, graunte, forfeyture, consent, or procurement, and alsoe that he the saied Raphe Huband, his executors, administrators, and assignes, shall and will, from tyme to tyme and at all tymes during the space of three yeares next ensueinge, upon requeste, and att the costs and charges in the lawe of the saied William Shakesphere, his executors or assignes, doe, performe, and execute, and cause, permitt, and suffer to be done, performed, and executed, all and every suche further acte and acts, thing and things, devise and devises in the lawe, whatsoever, by yt or they by anie meane, course, act, devise, or assuraunces in the lawe whatsoever, (as by the saied W. S. his executors or assignes, or his or their learned counsell in the lawe shalbe resonablie de- p.216 / vised, advised, or required,) for the further or more better or firmer assurans, suertie, suer makinge and conveyeinge of all and singuler the premisses before by thees presentes demised and assigned, or ment or intended to bee demised and assigned, and everie parte and parcell thereof, unto the saied William Shaksphere, his executors and assignes, during all the residewe of the saied terme of ffourescore and twelve yeares which bee yet to come and unexpired, according to the tenor and true meaninge of thees presentes, soe as the saied Raphe Huband bee not compelled to travell from his dwelling house att Ippesley aforesaid for the doeing thereof.

      The above document appears to be only a draft for correction, and is indorsed "Barker's lease."  The following bond proves its subsequent execution and ratification :

Bond from John Huband to William Shakespeare for the due performance of contract.]
      Noverint universi per præsentes me Radulphum Huband de Ippesley in com. Warr. armigerum teneri et firmiter obligari Willielmo Shakespeare de Stratforde super Avon in dicto com. Warr. generoso, in octingenta libris bonæ et legalis monetæ Angliæ solvend. eidem Willielmo, aut suo certo attorn. executoribus vel assign. suis, ad quam quidem solucionem bene et fideliter faciend. obligo me, hæredes, executores, et administratores meos firmiter per præsentes sigillo meo sigillat. Dat. vicesimo quarto die Julii, annis regni domini nostri Jacobi Dei gratia, Angliæ, Scociæ, Franciæ et Hiberniæ regis, fidei defensoris, &c. scilicet Angliæ, Franciæ, et Hiberniæ, tertio, et Scociæ tricesimo octavo.
      The condicion of this obligacion is suche, that if thabove bounden Raphe Hubande, his heires, executors, administrators and assignes, and every of them, shall and doe, from tyme to tyme and att all tymes, well and truelye observe, performe, fulfill and keepe all and everye covenaunte, graunte, article, clause, sentence, and thinge mencioned, expressed and declared in a certein writinge indented, bearing date with thees presentes, made betweene the sayed Raphe Hubande on thone parte and the abovenamed William Shakespear on thother parte, and which on the parte and behalfe of the saied Raphe, his heires, executors, administrators and assignes, or anie of them, are to bee observed, performed, fulfilled, or kept, according to the purporte and true meaninge of the saied writinge, That then this present obligacion to bee voyde and of none effect, or els to stand and abide in full force, power, and vertue.
   Sealed and delivered in the presens of      Ralph Huband (signature). Published size 3.6cm wide by 1.2cm high.  
Signatures of Ralph Huband and others. Published size 9cm wide by 1.5cm high.

p.217 /

      A copy of a rent-roll of the borough of Stratford, preserved in the Council Chamber, contains the following notice of the property to which the above documents refer. In the original, "the executours of Sir John Hubande" was formerly in the place of "Mr. William Shakespear," the latter name of course having been inserted after Shakespeare had made the purchase above mentioned.

      Mr. Thomas Combes and Mr. William Shakespear doe holde all maner of tythes of corne, grayne, and hey, in the townes, hamlettes, villages, and feildes of Olde Stratford, Welcome and Bishopton, and all maner of tythes of woole, lambe, hempe, flaxe, and other small and privie tythes, for the yerely rent of xxxiiij.li. paiable at our Lady Day and Michaelmas.

      Ward, the vicar of Stratford on Avon, in his Diary written in 1662,* tells us that Shakespeare "frequented the plays all his younger time, but in his elder days livd at Stratford, and supplied the stage with two plays every year, and for that had an allowance so large that hee spent att the rate of 1000d. a yeer, as I have heard."

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    *
  MS. in the library of the Medical Society of London. It was published in 1839, but the extracts given in this work have been collated with the original, kindly shown to me by the President, W. C. Dendy, Esq.
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It is well for Ward's veracity that he had added this qualifying observation, for the amount of Shakepeare's annual expenditure, however large for those days, could not have reached half of that sum ; but it is certain he must have been most successful in his profession, or his gains would not have enabled him to complete such large purchases as those which have just been mentioned. We must not, however, forget that, after the year 1605, he made few purchases of any magnitude, so that perhaps we may conclude he did not consider it necessary after that period to retain any large portion of his income for the purpose of increasing his possessions. With the exception of the house in the Blackfriars, there is no property p.218 / mentioned in his will of which he was not possessed in 1605, supposing that the two houses in Henley street were inherited by him on his father's dying intestate in 1601, and there is every reason for believing that to have been the case. Shakespeare's property has been differently valued. According to Gildon, his income was 300 a year, but Malone computes it at 200, not having all the evidence before him that has now been made attainable. An exact opinion on this subject is difficult to form, for a portion of his property was perhaps employed before his death in making provisions for those members of his family who have been thought by some biographers to have been neglected by him in his will.


Link to 'Life of Shakespeare', contents.
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