James Halliwell: A Life of William Shakespeare (1848), pages 272-298.

[ The story so far:     After a discussion of Shakespeare's involvement in the purchase of property both in London and Stratford, and the possible destruction of manuscripts in the Globe theatre fire of 1613 and in another fire in Warwick, it is recorded that little is known of Shakespeare's activities in retirement outside a reference to being a preacher and a reputation for epitaph writing." ]

      The latter part of Shakespeare's life, according to Rowe, "was spent, as all men of good sense will wish theirs may be, in ease, retirement, and the conversation of his friends ;"   and the same writer adds, that he "is said to have spent some years before his death at his native Stratford."   The last notice of Shakespeare in London is dated in November 1614, and no account of his engagements in the following year has yet been discovered. On February 10th, 1616, his daughter Judith was married to Thomas Queeny, whose father in 1598 had applied to Shakespeare for a loan of £30 (p. 178). Their son, Shakespeare Quiny, baptized in the following November, was probably named after the deceased poet ; and there can be no doubt, from the notice in Shakespeare's will, that the nuptials were celebrated with his sanction. It has been supposed that the will had special reference to this marriage, having been originally dated "vicesimo quinto die Januarii, anno regni domini nostri p.273 / Jacobi nunc regis Angliæ &c. decimo quarto," but the 25th of January in the fourteenth year of James fell in 1617, so that we may perhaps conclude this was only a clerical error. The poet is there described as in perfect health and memory, yet in a few short weeks he was no more. Shakespeare died at New Place on April 23d, 1616, and was buried in the chancel of Stratford church two days afterwards.
      Edward Allen, the celebrated actor, and Shakespeare's contemporary, made a large fortune by his professional labours, and took the surest method of succeeding in a praiseworthy desire to hand down his name and industry to future generations, by a noble foundation not affected by the vicissitudes which attend the continuance of property in the hands of descendants. The name of Shakespeare is bequeathed by his works in perpetuity to all posterity, and it needs no artificial support such as this ; but it is undeniable that, unconscious of his future eminence, our great dramatist was actuated by a similar anxiety, and that his continued increase of property in the neighbourhood of his early home had constant reference to the establishment of a family which should for ages inherit the fruits of his exertions.*

    *   Shakespear, whom you and ev'ry playhouse bill
Style the divine, the matchless, what you will,
For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving flight,
And grew immortal in his own despight.—Pope, ed. 1770, ii. 264.

The limitations of our law of entail occasioned the poet's wishes to be defeated within a very short period after his decease ; and, although no lineal descendants from him remain, there is too much reason to fear the representatives of Shakespeare on his sister's side are not in a position we can contemplate with satisfaction. The will is the last document written in the lifetime of the poet that can be produced. It is preserved in the Prerogative Office, London, and has been printed several times, but most accurately by p.274 / Mr. Collier, who has considered it necessary to follow the original in its numerous capital letters and want of punctuation.*

   In MS. Lansd. 721 is contained a copy of the probate of Shakespeare's will, communicated from Stratford in 1747 by the vicar to Mr. West. It is accompanied with the following curious observations :
    “ I have been extremely concern’d I shou’d disappoint you in your expectation of seeing Shakespear's will. As soon as you left me, I made a diligent search, and at length had the luck to meet with it, and hope for the time to come I shall have more prudence than to promise what I cannot readily perform : I have now transcribed it a second time, which transcript, as some small attonement, I humbly beg your acceptance of. I am pretty certain the thing itself will not come up to the idea you may have entertain'd of it, as it bears the name of Shakespear's will : The legacies and bequests therein are undoubtedly as he intended ; but the manner of introducing them appears to me so dull and irregular, so absolutely void of the least particle of that spirit which animated our great poet, that it must lessen his character as a writer, to imagine the least sentence of it his production. The only satisfaction I receive in reading it, is to know who were his relations, and what he left them, which may perhaps just make you also amends for the trouble of perusing it."

There are several interlineations in the document, which are here indicated by italics as more convenient than foot-notes. It is guarded with unusual care, and the public are not permitted to collate copies with the original; so that a great deal of what has been said about the difficulty of editing it really arises from want of opportunity, not from the MS. itself, which is written with sufficient clearness.

Exterior of the Charnel-house, Stratford. Published size 7.3cm wide by 5.65cm high.

Exterior of the Charnel house, Stratford.

p.275 /

    Vicesimo quinto die Martii,* anno regni domini nostri Jacobi, nunc regis† Angliæ &c. decimo quarto, et Scotiæ xlix°. annoque Domini 1616.

   Originally written Januarii.
    †    Mr. Collier incorrectly reads rex, the original being R. contracted.

    T. Wmi. Shackspeare.
    In the name of God, amen ! I William Shackspeare, of Stratford upon Avon in the countie of Warr. gent. in perfect health and memorie, God be praysed, doe make and ordayne this my last will and testament in manner and forme followeing, that ys to saye, ffirst, I comend my soule into the handes of God my Creator, hoping and assuredlie beleeving, through thonelie merites of Jesus Christe my Saviour, to be made partaker of lyfe everlastinge, and my bodye to the earth whereof yt ys‡ made. Item, I gyve and bequeath unto my daughter§ Judyth one hundred and fyftie poundes of lawfull English money, to be paied unto her in manner and forme followeing, that ys to saye, one hundred pounds in discharge of her marriage porcion within one yeare after my deceas, with consideracion after the rate of twoe shillinges in the pound for soe long tyme as the same shalbe unpaied unto her after my deceas, and the fyftie poundes residewe thereof upon her surrendring of or gyving of such sufficient securitie as the overseers of this my will shall like of to surrender or graunte all her estate and right that shall discend or come unto her after my deceas, or that shee nowe hath, of in or to one copiehold tenemente with thappurtenaunces lyeing and being in Stratford upon Avon aforesaied in the saied countie of Warr. being parcell or holden of the mannour of Rowington, unto my daughter Susanna Hall and her heires for ever. Item, I gyve and bequeath unto my saied daughter Judith one hundred and fyftie poundes more, if shee or anie issue of her bodie be lyvinge att thend of three yeares next ensueing the daie of the date of this my will, during which tyme my executours are to paie her consideracion from my deceas according to the rate aforesaid ; and if she dye within the saied tearme without issue of her bodye, then my will ys, and I doe gyve and bequeath one hundred poundes thereof to my neece Elizabeth Hall, and the fiftie poundes to be sett fourth by my executours during the lief of my sister Johane Harte, and the use and proffitt thereof cominge shalbe payed to my saied sister Jone, and after her deceas the saied l.lt. shall remaine amongst the children of my saied sister equallie to be devided amongst them ; but if my saied daughter Judith be lyving att thend of the saied three yeares, or anie yssue of her bodye, then my will ys and||  soe I devise and bequeath the saied hundred and fyftie poundes to be sett out by my executours and overseers for the best benefitt of her and her issue, and the stock not to be paied unto her soe long as

   Was in the copy of the probate in MS. Lansd. 721.
    §    Originally sonne and daughter, but afterwards altered.
    ||    Mr. Hunter asserts that the will has never been sufficiently well edited, saying, as an example, that the word and in this place is not to be found there ; but, in fact, the usual contracted form of the conjunction is evidently seen in the original. Compare similar passages in Combe's will.

p.276 /

she shalbe marryed and covert baron ;*  but my will ys that she shall have the consideracion yearelie paied unto her during her lief, and, after her deceas, the saied stock and consideracion to bee paied to her children, if she have anie, and if not, to her executours or assignes, she lyving the saied terme after my deceas, Provided that if such husbond, as she shall att thend of the saied three yeares be marryed unto, or att anie† [tyme] after, doe sufficientlie assure unto her and thissue of her bodie landes awnswereable to the porcion by this my will gyven unto her, and to be adjudged soe by my executours and overseers, then my will ys that the saied cl.li shalbe paied to such husbond as shall make such assurance to his owne use. Item, I gyve and bequeath unto my saied sister Jone xx.li  and all my wearing apparrell,‡  to be paied and delivered within one yeare after my deceas ; and I doe will and devise unto her the house with thappurtenaunces in Stratford, wherein she dwelleth, for her naturall lief, under the yearlie rent of xij.d  Item, I gyve and bequeath unto her three

Autograph of Shakespeare to his will. Published size 3.5cm wide by 1.3cm high.

sonnes, William Harte, [Thomas § ] Hart, and Michael Harte, fyve poundes a peece, to be paied within one yeare after my deceas.||  Item, I gyve and bequeath unto the saied Elizabeth Hall ¶  all my plate, except my brod silver and gilt bole, that I now have att the date of this my will. Item, I gyve and bequeath unto the poore of Stratford aforesaied tenn poundes ; to Mr. Thomas Combe my sword ; to Thomas Russell esquier fyve poundes, and to Frauncis Collins of the borough of Warr. in the countie of Warr. gentleman thirteene poundes, sixe shillinges, and eight pence, to be paied within one yeare after my

   After baron was originally written "by my executours and overseers," but the sentence is cancelled. In the copy of the will in the registry the word under was inserted before covert, but it was afterwards erased.
    †    Mr. Collier incorrectly reads attaine.
    ‡    "Part of these premises which belonged to Shakspeare are still occupied by a descendant of Joan Harte, sister to our poet, who pursues the humble occupation of a butcher. His father, Thomas Harte, died about a year ago at the age of sixty-seven. He informed me that, when a boy, he well remembered having, with other boys, dressed themselves as Scaramouches (such was his phrase) in the wearing apparel of our Shakspeare."—Ireland's Picturesque Views on the Warwickshire Avon, 1795, p. 189.
    §    This Christian name is omitted in the original will, but appears in the copy of the probate in MS. Lansd. 721.
    ||    Here is inserted the following passage, but cancelled ; "to be sett out for her within one yeare after my deceas by my executours, with thadvise and direccions of my overseers, for her best profitt, untill her mariage, and then the same with the increase thereof to be paied unto her."  Mr. Collier says the last word her was not erased, but on comparing the original, I find it clearly crossed through.
    ¶    The sentence in italics was originally her.

p.277 /

deceas. Item, I gyve and bequeath to Hamlett Sadler*  xxvj.s. viij.d. to buy him a ringe ; to William Raynoldes gent. xxvj.s. viij.d. to buy him a ringe ; to my godson William Walker xx.s. in gold ; to Anthonye Nashe gent. xxvj.s. viij.d., and to Mr. John Nashe xxvj.s. viij.d. ;†  and to my fellowes John Hemynges, Richard Burbage, and Henry Cundell, xxvj.s. viij.da peece to buy them ringes. Item, I gyve, will, bequeath and devise, unto my daughter Susanna Hall, for better enabling of her to performe this my will, and towardes the performans thereof, all that capitall messuage or tenemente, with thappurtenaunces, in Stratford aforesaid, called the New Place, wherein I nowe dwell, and two messuages or tenementes with thappurtenaunces, scituat lyeing and being in Henley streete within the borough of Stratford aforesaied ; and all my barnes, stables, orchardes, gardens, landes, tenementes and hereditamentes whatsoever, scituat lyeing and being, or to be had, receyved, perceyved, or taken, within the townes, hamletes, villages, fieldes and groundes of Stratford upon Avon, Oldstratford, Bushopton, and Welcombe, or in anie of them in the said countie of Warr. And alsoe all that messuage or tenemente with thappurtenaunces wherein one John Robinson dwelleth, scituat lyeng and being in the Blackfriers in London nere the Wardrobe ; and all other my landes, tenementes, and hereditamentes whatsoever, To have and to hold all and singuler the saied premisses with theire appurtenaunces unto the saied Susanna Hall for and during the terme of her naturall lief, and after her deceas, to the first sonne of her bodie lawfullie yssueing, and to the heires males of the bodie of the saied first sonne lawfullie yssueinge, and for defalt of such issue, to the second sonne of her bodie lawfullie issueinge, and to the heires males of the bodie of the saied second sonne lawfullie yssueinge, and for defalt of such heires, to the third sonne of the bodie of the saied Susanna lawfullie yssueing, and of the heires males of the bodie of the saied third sonne lawfullie yssueing, and for defalt of such issue, the same soe to be and remaine to the ffourth,‡  ffyfth, sixte, and seaventh sonnes of her bodie lawfullie issueing one after another, and to the heires males of the

The second signature to the will [of William Shakespeare]. Published size 8.2cm wide by 1.3cm high.

bodies of the saied fourth, fifth, sixte and seaventh sonnes lawfullie yssueing, in such manner as yt ys before lymitted to be and remaine to the first, second and third sonns of her bodie, and to theire heires males, and for defalt of such issue, the saied premisses to be and remaine to my sayed neece Hall, and the heires males of her bodie lawfullie yssueing, and for defalt of such issue, to my daughter Judith, and the heires males of her bodie lawfullie issueinge, and for defalt of

   Originally Mr. Richard Tyler thelder.
    †    In gold was originally inserted here, and the word viij.d. is interlined.
    ‡    Originally, ffourth sonne.

p.278 /

such issue, to the right heires of me the saied William Shackspeare for ever. Item, I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture. Item, I gyve and bequeath to my saied daughter Judith my broad silver gilt bole. All the rest of my goodes, chattel, leases, plate, jewels, and household stuffe whatsoever, after my dettes and legasies paied, and my funerall expences discharged, I give, devise, and bequeath to my sonne in lawe, John Hall gent., and my daughter Susanna, his wief, whom I ordaine and make executours of this my last will and testament. And I doe intreat and appoint the saied Thomas Russell esquier and Frauncis Collins gent. to be overseers hereof, and doe revoke all former wills, and publishe this to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand* the daie and yeare first abovewritten.

The third signature to the will [of William Shakespeare]. Published size 10cm  by 1.35cm. And  autographs of the witnesses to the will. Published size 6.9cm wide by 5cm high.

    Probatum coram magistro Willielmo Byrde, legum doctore comiss. &c. xxij.do  die mensis Junii, anno Domini 1616, juramento Johannis Hall, unius executorum, &c. cui de bene &c. jurat. reservat. potestate &c. Susannæ Hall alteri executorum &c. cum venerit &c. petitur. (Inv. ex.)

   Seale was originally written.

      A great deal of discussion has been occasioned by the indistinctness of the three signatures of Shakespeare attached to this will, some contending it is Shakspere in p.279 / all the instances, others that the letter a appears in the second syllable in the last. I fear the question will ever be doubtful ; for if we read Shakspere, a redundancy appears for which it is difficult to account, the final stroke belonging to an e, certainly not to a mere flourish ; and it would be scarcely prudent to express a decided opinion on the matter, the signatures being apparently traced by a tremulous hand, and very badly executed. The first autograph has been much damaged since it was traced by Steevens in 1776, and the fac-simile here given has been completed by the copy published by him in 1778. When Steevens made his tracing he was accompanied by Malone, and the latter thus mentions their visit to the Prerogative Office, in a MS. in the Bodleian Library,—" On the 24th of September, 1776, I went with my friend, Mr. Steevens, to the Prerogative Office in Doctors Commons to see Shakspeare's original will, in order to get a fac-simile of the handwriting. The will is written in the clerical hand of that age on three small (?) sheets, fastned at the top like a lawyer's brief. Shakspeare's name is signed at the bottom of the first and second sheet, and his final signature, ‘ by me William Shakspeare,’ is in the middle of the third sheet. The name, however, at the bottom of the first sheet, is not in the usual place, but in the margin at the left hand, and is so different from the others, that we doubted whether it was his handwriting. He appears to have been very ill and weak when he signed his will, for the hand is very irregular and tremulous. I suspect he signed his name at the end of the will first, and so went backwards, which will account for that in the first page being worse written than the rest, the hand growing gradually weaker."  The three large sheets of paper on which the will is written are joined together in the middle of the top margins, which are covered with a narrow slip of parchment ; but, although protected p.280 / with the greatest care, if it be left in its present state, I fear nothing can prevent the gradual decay of this precious relic, which has even materially suffered since Steevens made tracings from it seventy years ago. The office in which it is kept is properly guarded by the strictest regulations, for manuscripts required for legal purposes demand a verification seldom necessary in literary inquiries ; and it seems these rules forbid the separation of the sheets of the will, which, singly, could be safely preserved between plates of glass, and so daily examined without the slightest injury. At present the folding and unfolding requisite on every inspection of the document imperceptibly tend to the deterioration of the fragile substance on which it is written, and I sincerely hope the consent of the registrars will at length be given to the adoption of a course which shall permanently save this interesting record of the last wishes of the great poet, the most important memorial of him that has descended to our days.
      The three signatures of Shakespeare attached to his will, and that appended to the indenture preserved in the library of the Corporation of London, are the only autographs of the poet of unquestionable authority that are now known to exist.*

   The mortgage deed of the property in the Blackfriars exhibits another, but it has been unfortunately lost or mislaid.

Most careful fac-similes of all of these, from the accurate pencil of Mr Fairholt, are given in the preceding pages, and the reader will thus be enabled to judge of the manner in which the dramatist signed his name. It is unnecessary to say that many alleged autographs of Shakespeare have been exhibited ; but forgeries of them are so numerous, and the continuity of design, which a fabricator could not produce in a long document, is so easy to obtain in a mere signature, that the only safe course is to adopt none as genuine on internal evidence. A signature in a p.281 / copy of Florio's translation of Montaigne, 1609,* is open to this objection. The verbal evidence as to its existence only extends as far back as 1780, after the publication of Steevens's fac-simile of the last autograph in the will, of which it may be a copy with intentional variations. Even supposing we can find the same formed capitals elsewhere, and a contraction precisely similar to the very unusual one over the letter m, no evidence on such a subject which does not commence much earlier than 1780 can safely be relied upon. It is unnecessary to allude to the claims which have been produced in favour of other supposititious signatures of the poet, for none of them will bear investigation.
      It will be observed that it is therefore a matter of great uncertainty whether Shakespeare was one of the few persons of the time who adopted an uniform orthography in his signature ; but, on the supposition that he always wrote his name Shakspere, it was contended as early as 1784†  that it should be printed in this curtailed form.

   The well-known coincidence of a passage in this work with one in the Tempest, so far from being a testimony in favour of the autograph, is the reverse ; for the similarity was pointed out long before 1780, and nothing is more likely than that a forger should select a book known to have been read by Shakespeare for the object on which to exercise his skill.
    †    In some papers in the Gentleman's Magazine.

The question is one of very small importance, and the only circumstance worth consideration in the matter is the tendency of this innovation to introduce the pronunciation of Shaxpere, a piece of affectation so far dangerous, inasmuch as it harmonizes not with the beautiful lines that have been consecrated to his memory by Ben Jonson and other eminent poets ; and those who have adopted it seem to have overlooked the fact, that in the orthography of proper names the printed literature of the day is the only safe criterion. In the case of Shakespeare, there are the poems of Lucrece, and Venus and p.282 / Adonis, published under his own superintendence, in which the name occurs Shake-speare, and so it is found in almost every work printed in the lifetime of the poet. Shakespeare's son-in-law, in the earlier part of his life, signed his name Hawle, and afterwards Hall. In 1581 Sir Walter Raleigh signed his name Rauley ; five years afterwards we find it Ralegh. Henslowe sometimes wrote Heglowe ; and so in innumerable instances. There were doubtlessly exceptions, as the case of Lord Burghley and a few others, but there is no sufficient evidence to show that Shakespeare adhered to any uniform rule. Shakespeare's brother spelt his name Shakespere, so that if we adopted the system of guiding our orthography by autographs, we should, when speaking of the poet, write Shakspere or Shakspeare ; but when we have occasion to mention his relative, it must be Shakespere.

Autograph of Gilbert Shakespeare. Published size 11cm by 2.2cm.

      The only method of reconciling these inconsistencies is to adopt the name as it is bequeathed to us by his contemporaries, and there is a great additional reason for doing so when we reflect on the certainty that the poet was called Shake-speare* by his literary friends. I may add further

   118. To Shakespeare.
Thy muses sugred dainties seeme to us
Like the fam'd apples of old Tantalus,
For we (admiring) see and heare thy straines,
But none I see or heare those sweets attaines.

                            119. To the same.
Thou hast so us'd thy pen or shooke thy speare,
That poets startle, nor thy wit come neare.
                      Bancroft's Two Bookes of Epigrammes, 1639.

p.283 /

that Mr. Wheler of Stratford possesses what may be fairly considered as the only sentence known to exist, which can be supposed with any probability to be in the poet's handwriting. It is an endorsement on the indenture between Shakespeare and the Combes in 1602,* a document we know did belong to the dramatist ; and Mr. Wheler is of opinion that no scrivener or clerk would have described a deed in such a manner.

   In the original this endorsement is in one line, with the exception of the word field, which is in the position here indicated.

I certainly agree with him in considering it to be in the autograph of Shakespeare, or of one of the family ; and there are similarities to be traced between this and some of the poet's acknowledged signatures.

Writing supposed to be in the autograph of Shakespeare. Published size 9.4cm wide by 3.3cm high.

Here we have another orthography Shackspeare, and the latter part eare, the a appearing like u, is so similar to that portion of the name in the two last signatures in the will, that it is at once an argument in favour of the appropriation of the above to Shakespeare, and of the correctness of reading Shakspeare in those two autographs.

      The exact nature of the malady which deprived the world of Shakespeare has not been correctly ascertained. The only direct evidence on the subject is contained in a MS. miscellany by John Ward, vicar of Stratford, preserved in the library of the Medical Society of London ; but it was not penned till forty years after the death of Shakespeare.  p.284 /  According to a note at the end of the volume, "this booke was begunne ffeb. 14, 1661, and finished April the 25, 1663, att Mr. Brooks his house in Stratford uppon Avon in Warwickeshire."  Several manuscripts by Ward are in the same collection, but this is the only one which contains any notice of Shakespeare of much worth.

    Shakspear had but 2 daughters, one whereof Mr. Hall, the physitian, married, and by her had one daughter, to wit, the Lady Bernard of Abbingdon.
    I have heard that Mr Shakespeare was a natural wit, without any art at all;*  hee frequented the plays all his younger time, but in his elder days livd at Stratford, and supplied the stage with 2 plays every year, and for that had an allowance so large that hee spent att the rate of 1000.d. a yeer, as I have heard.
    Shakespear, Drayton, and Ben Jhonson, had a merry meeting, and itt seems drank too hard, for Shakespear died of a feavour there contracted.
    Remember to peruse Shakespears plays, and bee versed in them, that I may not bee ignorant in that matter.

   No notion about Shakespeare was so general as this and taken in a proper sense, none more correct. It of course implies his disregard of the classical models, and the absence of all pedantic display of learning, considered so essential by most of his contemporaries. Ben Jonson meant no more than this when he remarked to Drummond "that Shakespeer wanted arte,"  for in his lines in the first folio he expressly commends the art with which Shakespeare has contrived his natural "matter."  Shakespeare's far-seeing judgment excluded the barriers that in an after age were found to be blemishes instead of beauties, and it is chiefly on this account that his want of learning was so much insisted upon by the writers of the seventeenth century. According to Fuller, "his learning was very little, so that, as Cornish diamonds are not polished by any lapidary, but are pointed and smoothed even, as they are taken out of the earth, so Nature itself was all the art that was used upon him."  Honest John Taylor, the water-poet, was of a different opinion, "Spencer and Shakespeare did in art excell,"  Workes, 1630, iii. 72. Cartwright thus alludes to Shakespeare in some lines on Fletcher, Poems, 1651, p. 273,—

                                    ––– we did sit
Sometimes five acts out in pure spightfull wit,
Which flow'd in such true salt, that we did doubt
In which scene we laught most two shillings out.
Shakespeare to thee was dull, whose best jest lies
I’ th’ ladies questions and the fools replies,
Old fashion'd wit, which walk'd from town to town
In turn'd hose, which our fathers call'd the clown ;
Whose wit our nice times would obsceaness call,
And which made bawdry pass for comicall.
Nature was all his art ;  thy vein was free
As his, but without his scurility.

      It may be said in favour of this traditionary account of the poet's last illness, that it is perfectly reasonable and in- p.285 / telligible, and comes to us on very fair authority. A festive meeting might have accelerated fever, and the bad drainage of Stratford fostered epidemics. The good people of that town were not very careful in such matters ;*  and the removement of filth without injury to health was not understood in those days. Even in Garrick's time Stratford is mentioned by that great actor as "the most dirty, unseemly, ill pav'd, wretched looking town in all Britain."†  We may be quite sure the streets, however classic now as the paths of Shakespeare, were in the days of the poet equally amenable to a similar criticism. Whatever degree of credit, then, we may be disposed to give to the account of the "merry meeting," the probabilities are greatly in favour of the other part of Ward's history being correct.‡  Shakespeare was probably attended in his last illness by his son-in-law, Dr. John Hall. Malone, in a letter dated May 1st, 1790, says, "I find, from Dr. Hall's pocket-book, which was once in my possession, that a Mr. Nason was Shakspeare's apothe-

   Presenmenttes made this 8th of Januarie, 1605, by the juriers holdenn by Mr. William Wyeatte Bailieffe within the burroughe of Stratford att the Quartter Sessions.

    Item, for Paulle the dier for leavinge mucke before his doore.
    Wyddoe Roggers att the Bullringe for leavinge mucke in Swyenne streitt.
    Goodmane Sannes for leavinge mucke in Swyenne streytte.
    For Mr. Abraham Sturlie nott makinge cleane his soylle before his barne in Rather markett and mud waull in Henlie streytte.
    Richard Burman for makinge a muckhill before his doore.
    Edward Cottrill for makinge a muckhill in Rather markett.
    Edward Bromlie for nott makinge cleane the churche waye before his barne by the water side.
    Nicholis James for makinge a muckhill att the sheip streytts end.
    Roger Marshalle for nott makinge cleane his soille before his door in the Sheip streytte.
    Hamnett Sadler and George Warrane for nott makinge cleane the soille in Sheip streytte.
    Henrye Smythe for nott makinge cleane the water couarsse before his barne in Chapple laine.
    Johne Perrie for a muckhill in the Chapple laine.
    Henrye Smythe for keipinge his swynne and duckes in the Chapple yarde.
    †    Autograph letter in the possession of W. O. Hunt, Esq.
    ‡    Perhaps it could be ascertained whether Drayton and Ben Jonson could have been at Stratford shortly before the death of Shakespeare. Drayton, it is p.286 / well known, was a Warwickshire man, and he and Shakespeare are mentioned together in the following epigram on Dugdale,—

Now, Stratford upon Avon, we would choose
Thy gentle and ingenuous Shakespeare muse,
Were he among the living yet, to raise
T’our antiquaries merit some just praise :
And sweet-tongu'd Drayton, that hath given renown
Unto a poor (before) and obscure town,
Harsull, were he not fal'n into his tombe,
Would crown this work with an encomium.
Our Warwickshire the heart of England is,
As you most evidently have prov'd by this ;
Having it with more spirit dignifi'd
Then all our English counties are beside.
            Cokain's Small Poems, 1658, pp. 111-112.

cary."  This name is corrected to Court in a subsequent note, but I suspect he merely drew this conclusion from the circumstance of there being an apothecary of that name at Stratford in 1616, not from an actual statement that he had attended the poet.
      Shakespeare was buried in the chancel of Stratford church, a few paces from that part of the wall against which the charnel-house was erected. A flat stone covers his remains, with the following inscription,—

Inscription on Shakespeare's Tomb. 'Good frend for Iesus sake forbeare, To digg the dust encloased heare: Bleste be the man that spares these stones, And curst be he that moves my bones.' Published size 8.9cm wide by 3.1cm high.

but the poet's name does not appear. No reasonable doubt, however, can be raised as to the fact of this being his last resting-place. It is parallel with the graves of the other members of the family, and Dugdale, in 1656, expressly states that "his body is buried" underneath this stone. The letter quoted at p. 88, asserts that this epitaph was " made by himselfe a little before his death,"  a late belief, p.287 / unnoticed earlier than 1693. It is unnecessary to say that such wretched doggrel never could have proceeded from Shakespeare's pen, yet those have not been wanting who have told us that they did so, and that his horror of the charnel-house, so near this spot, was the occasion of them. The Gothic doorway, within a few steps of Shakespeare's grave, opened into this building, which, says Ireland, "contains the greatest assemblage of human bones I ever saw."  It is now pulled down, but Captain Saunders has fortunately preserved a very careful drawing of its interior, the most curious record of this charnel-house that has been preserved,—

Interior of the Charnel-house, Stratford. Published size 5.7cm wide by 6.7cm high.

Or shut me nightly in a charnel house,
O'er cover'd quite with dead men's rattling bones,
With reaky shanks, and yellow chapless sculls,
Things that to hear them told have made me tremble.

      On the north wall of the chancel, elevated about five feet from the floor, is erected a monument to Shakespeare. He is represented with a cushion before him, a pen in his right hand, his left resting upon a scroll. This bust, says Wivell, p.288 / "is fixed under an arch, between two Corinthian columns of black marble, with gilded bases and capitals, supporting the entablature ; above which, and surmounted by a death's head, are carved his arms ; and on each side is a small figure in a sitting posture, one holding in his left hand a spade, and the other, whose eyes are closed, with an inverted torch in his left hand, the right resting upon a skull, as symbols of mortality."  The monument was erected before 1623, for it is mentioned by Leonard Digges in some verses prefixed to the first folio ; and it was executed by Gerard Johnson,*  an eminent sculptor of that period. It was originally coloured, the eyes being represented as light hazel, the hair and beard auburn, the dress a scarlet doublet, over which was a loose black gown without sleeves. In 1748, it was repainted, the old colours being faithfully imitated ; but in 1793, Malone caused it to be painted white, not delicately and artistically, but by a common house-painter, It is to be feared that this injudicious act has irretrievably lost to us some of the more characteristic features of the bust, and the regret is the greater, because no representation of the bard is so authentic. The portrait in the first folio, 1623, although it receives the tribute of rare Ben, written, it may be, before he saw the engraving, is not a creditable work of art, but it ranks next to the bust in point of authority, and a general resemblance is to be traced between them. †

   " Shakspeares and John Combes monumts. at Stratford sup’ Avon made by one Gerard Johnson."—Dugdale's Diary, 1653, 4to, ed. 1827, p. 99. This diary is printed from a series of interleaved almanacs preserved in the collection of Dugdale Stratford Dugdale, Esq., M.P. at Merevale, co. Warw.
    †    " Now if we compare this picture with the face on the Stratford monument, there will be found as great a resemblance as perhaps can well be betwixt a statue and a picture, except that the hair is described rather shorter and streighter on the latter than on the former."—Gent. Mag. 1759, p. 257.

Several paintings of Shakespeare have been produced, but the genuineness of most of them may be doubted, for fabrication has been as industrious with the poet's likeness as with his autograph. The Chandos portrait, in the posses- p.289 / sion of the Duke of Buckingham, is said to have been traced back to a former owner, Sir William Davenant, and as this can, I am told, be substantiated by evidence, the picture bears greater authenticity than any others that have been asserted to be original likenesses of the great bard. Kneller painted a picture of Shakespeare which he gave to Dryden, but no portrait which cannot be traced much nearer Shakespear's time can be regarded as an original authority, and so little critical judgment was formerly displayed in such matters, that a painting of James I. was palmed upon Pope as a representation of the poet. The bust in the chancel of Stratford Church is beyond the reach of any such doubt, and is in no way assailable to hesitating criticism. It is at once the most interesting memorial of the dramatist that remains, and the only one that brings him before us in form and substance. There is a living and a mental likeness in this monument, one that grows upon us by contemplation, and makes us unwilling to accept any other resemblance.*  Let us repeat the lines that are inscribed beneath this memorial (p. 87), and implore the reflective observer to pause before it,—

Lines under the monument to Shakespeare.Published size 8.9cm wide by 4.2cm high.

   The reader will find a woodcut of this bust at the commencement of the work, and, I believe, it is the first in which all the characteristic features of the original have been scrupulously expressed. Mr. Fairholt's pencil has ex- p.290 / hibited to us every fold and wave of the garment, and the positions of the fingers and hands, which are extremely appropriate and beautiful in the original, are not well shown in any representation hitherto published.

      I have elsewhere noticed a popular belief that Shakespeare's union was not productive of much social happiness, and an interlined clause in the will has unnecessarily tended to perpetuate this notion,—" Item, I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture."  So far from this bequest being one of slight importance, and exhibiting small esteem, it was the usual mode of expressing a mark of great affection. The first bequest in the will of Joyce Hobday,* of Stratford, dated March 28th, 1602, is, " I geve and bequeth to my brother Rychard Ward of Warwycke my best fether bed, one boulster, a pillowe, and the best coveryng for a bed."

   It should be remarked that this lady was possessed of considerable property, and that therefore the bequest here mentioned, which now appears so trivial, was not by any means the result of poverty. Similar entries occur in many other old wills. One other entry from this may be quoted: " Item, I geve and bequeth unto Frauncis Smyth aforenamed a ffetherbed wyth the furnyture therof."

Henry Harte, of Andover, whose will (in the Prerogative office) was proved in 1586, gives " unto John Harte one bedde one the right hande comminge in at the doore in the Starr Chamber with all the furniture, and twoe other beddes, with twoe coverletts, and twoe bolsters, and twoe blanketts;  item, I give to William Harte one bedd with all the furniture in the chamber called the Hallffe Moone."  William Underhill, in his will dated 1595, proved in 1599, in the same office, bequeaths two similar legacies of beds with their furniture to near relatives ; and John Sadler, whose will is dated in 1625, gives and bequeaths " to my sone John Sadler of London the bed and whole furniture therunto belonging in the parlour where I lye."  These instances might be multiplied, but what is here before us is quite sufficient to show that the ordinary opinion concerning this often-quoted bequest of Shakespeare to his wife is p.291 / altogether erroneous. On equally uncertain grounds, it was alleged that the poet left his partner no provision for her life, and it was reserved for Mr. Knight to point out that she was provided for by dower. Thus each allegation on which the above-mentioned belief is founded has been dissipated. It has also been supposed that the poet in some respect neglected part of his family to found an inheritance of great magnitude for a favorite daughter, but it must be recollected no proof has yet been adduced of the manner in which he employed the very large sum he received for his shares in the Globe and Blackfriars theatres, and, in the absence of any direct evidence on the subject, it is not unreasonable to assume that it was expended for the benefit of his family.
      None of the Hathaways are mentioned in Shakespeare's will, not even by the small remembrances with which the poet has honoured so many not related or connected with him ; yet we cannot on this negative evidence conclude he was not on good terms with his wife's relatives. The only notice of any intercourse between Anne Shakespeare and the friends of her youth at Shottery is contained in the will of Thomas Whittington of that hamlet, who was shepherd to Anne's father, Richard Hathaway, in 1581. Whittington died in April, 1601,*

   " 1601, April 10, Thomas Whitingtonne, shepard."—Register of Burials for the Parish of Stratford on Avon.

and in his will, made a few days previously, and proved on April 29th, occurs the following :

    Item, I geve and bequeth unto the poore people of Stratford xl.s. that is in the hand of Anne Shaxspere, wyfe unto Mr. Wyllyam Shaxspere, and is due debt unto me, beyng paid to mine executor by the sayd Wyllyam Shaxspere or his assignes according to the true meanyng of this my wyll.

A judicious bequest, not implying any want of friendship for the Shakespeares, but most likely considering that the owners of New Place were too wealthy to require such an p.292 / addition to their substance. It is worthy of remark that when Anne's father died, in 1582, he owed this person £4 6s. 8d, and it is most probable that the £5 was merely placed for security in the hands of Anne Shakespeare, as a person in whom Whittington had confidence. The principal value of the information this bequest affords is the glimpse it gives us of transactions between Shakespeare's wife and her early friends. Whittington also left twelve-pence to "Thomas Hathaway sonne to the late Margret Hathway," who may have been one of Anne Shakespeare's nephews ; but the will of Richard Hathaway, her father, a very important document, which I have discovered in the Prerogative Office since my account of the family in the former part of this volume was printed, does not enable us to decide that question. I take the opportunity of introducing it in this place, merely remarking there is nothing unusual in the circumstance of all the members of the family not being mentioned, however much it is to be regretted that no notice of Anne Hathaway is there to be found. His daughter Joan, born in 1566, is also not alluded to.

    In the name of God amen ; The firste daie of September, in the yeare of oure Lorde God one thowsande fyve hundred eightie one, and in the three and twentithe yeare of thee raigne of oure soveraigne ladye Elizabethe, by the grace of God queene of Englande, Fraunce, and Irelande, defender of the faithe, etc. I Richard Hathway of Shottree in the perishe of Stratford uppon Avon in the countie of Warwick, husbandman, beinge sicke in bodye but of perfecte memorye, I thancke my Lord God, doe ordaine and make this my last will and testamente in manner and forme followinge. Firste, I bequeathe my sowle unto Allmightie God, trustinge to be saved by the meritts of Christes Passion, and my bodye to be buried in the churche or churche yarde of Stratforde aforesaide. Item, I give and bequeathe unto Thomas my sonne sixe poundes thirtene shillings fower pence, to be paide unto him at the age of twentie yeares. Item, I give and bequeath unto John my sonne sixe poundes thirtene shillings fower pence, to be paide unto him at the age of twentie yeares. Item, I give and bequeathe unto William my sonne tenne poundes to bee paide unto him at the age of twentie yeares. Item, I give and bequeathe unto Agnes my daughter sixe poundes thirtene shillinges fower pence, to be paide unto her at the daie of her marriage.  p.293 /  Item, I give and bequeathe unto Catherine my daughter sixe poundes thirtene shillinges fower pence, to be paide unto her at the daie of her marriage. Item, I give and bequeathe unto Margaret my daughter sixe pounds thirtene shillinges fower pence, to be paide unto her at the age of seaventene yeares. And if it fortune that any of my said sonnes or daughters before named, that is to saie, Thomas, John, William, Agnes, Catherine, or Margarett, to decease before theie receyve theire legacies, then my will is that the legacies of he or she so deceased to remayne equallie amonge the rest, and so unto the longest lyvers of theme. Item, my will is (withe consente of Jone my wife) that my eldiste sonne Barthellmewe shall have the use, commoditie and profytt, of one halfe yearde lande withe all pastures and meadowinge therto belonginge, withe appurtenaunces, to be tilled, mucked, and sowed at the charges of Joane my wyffe, he onelie findinge seede, duringe the naturall life or widdowehode of the same Johan my wife, to be severed from the other parte of my lande for his commoditie and proffitte. And my will is that he the same Bartholomewe shalbe a guide to my saide wife in hir husbandrye, and also a comforte unto his bretherne and sisters to his power, Provided alwaies that if the saide Joane my wife shall at anye tyme or tymes at-after my decease goe aboute to disannull or to take awaye from my saide sonne Bartholomewe the foresaide half yarde lande withe the appurtenaunces, so that he doe not enjoye the commoditye and profitte of the same, accordinge to the trewe meaninge of this my last will and testamente, then my will is that the sayde Joane my wief shall gyve delyver and paye unto my saide sonne Bartholomewe, within one yeare after any suche deniall or discharge the somme of fortie poundes of lawfull Englishe monney. Item, my will is that all the seelings in my hall howse, withe twoe wyned beddes in my parlor, shall contynewe and stande unremoved duringe thee naturall liffe or widowhode of Jone my wyffe, and the naturiall lief of Bartholomewe my sonne, and John my sonne, and the longest lyver of theme. Item, I gyve and bequeathe unto everie of my godchildrenne fower pence a peece of theme. Item, I gyve and bequeathe unto Agnes Hathway and Elizabeth Hathway, daughters unto Thomas Hathway, a sheepe a peece of theme. This bequest donne, debts paide, and legacies leavied, and my bodye honestlie buried, then I gyve and bequeathe all the rest of my goods moveable and unmoveable unto Joane my wief, whome I make my sole executrixe to see this my last will and testament trulye performed. And I desier my trustie frende and neighbours Stephen Burman and Fowlke Sandelles to be my supervisors of this my last will and testamente, and theie to have for theire paynes therin to be taken twelve pence apeece of theme. Witnesses, sir William Gilbard clark and curate in Stretforde, Richarde Burman, John Richardson, and John Hemynge, withe others. Signum Richardi Hathwaie testatoris. Debtes to be paide. Inprimis, I doe owe unto my neighbour John Pace fortye shillings. Item, I owe unto John Barber thirtie sixe shillings fower pence. Item, I owe unto Thomas Whittington, my sheepherd, fower poundes sixe shillings eight pence. Item, I owe unto Edwarde Hollyocke for woode twenty shillings.

    [ Probatum &c. nono die mensis Julii, 1582.]

p.294 /

      The names of Sandells and Richardson, the bondsmen on the occasion of Shakespeare's marriage, occur in this document, and it will be seen that Anne's father was no more learned than her husband's, for he signs with a mark. It seems to be very doubtful whether Anne herself could write, for no evidence of her calligraphy has been produced, and we know that one of her brothers was not versed in that science. She survived Shakespeare several years, and was buried near him in the chancel of Stratford church, on August 8th, 1623.*

   " 1616, Apr. 25, Will. Shakspere, gent.—1623, Aug. 8, Mrs. Shakspeare."—Parish Register of Stratford.

A brass plate on the stone which covers her remains thus pays tribute to her religious worth :

Inscription on the grave of Shakespeare's wife. Published size 8.5cm wide by 3.9cm high

      The gravestones of the Shakespeare family are in a row with this, facing the rail of the altar. That of Anne Shakespeare is immediately beneath the poet's monument ; next comes the stone with the verses, " Good friend," &c., and next to that are inscriptions to the memory of Thomas Nash, who married the only daughter of Susanna Hall ; Dr. John Hall, son-in-law to the dramatist ; and Susanna Hall, Shakespeare's favorite daughter, in the following order:

p.295 /

Inscriptions to the buried relatives of Shakespeare in Stratford church. Published size 9.8cm wide by 4.5cm high.

      The verses on the tombstone of Mrs. Hall were obliterated many years ago to make room for an inscription on some one else, but they had fortunately been preserved by Dugdale, and have recently been judiciously restored. For this welcome service we are indebted to the taste and liberality of the Rev. W. Harness. Mrs. Hall was buried on July 16th, 1649, "July 16, Mrs. Susanna Hall widow."  At Shakespeare's death, in 1616, his family consisted of his wife, his daughter Susanna, married to Dr. Hall, his daughter Judith, married to Thomas Quiny, and Elizabeth Hall, a grand-daughter. Judith Quiny had several children, who were all dead in 1639 (p. 31), she herself living till 1662. The poet's grand-daughter, Elizabeth Hall, was married in 1626 to Thomas Nash, who died in 1647, without issue ; and secondly, in 1649, to John Barnard, of Abington, co. Northampton, by whom she had no family. She died in 1670, and with her the lineal descent from Shakespeare perished. The persons who now claim to be the poet's descendants belong to the Hart family, into which Joan, Shakespeare's sister, married.

p.296 /

Autograph and Seal of Susanna Hall; Mark of Judith Shakespeare; Signatures of Eliza, George, and Thomas Nash; Autograph of Dr. John Hall; Autograph of Thomas Quiney; Seal and Autograph of Elizabeth Barnard; The same of Sir John Barnard. Published size 12cm wide by 17cm high.

Signatures of members of the Shakespeare family.

p.297 /

      Susanna Hall was only tenant for life of the freehold estates under her father's will, which were strictly entailed on her male issue, with several remainders. Before many years had elapsed this property suffered the infliction of many legal fictions, the entail was barred, and the estates dispersed. The whole history of it will be correctly gathered from the documents inserted in the Appendix.

      The preceding pages furnish the reader with all evidence of any importance respecting the personal history of Shakespeare that has yet been discovered, and, considering how deficient the lives of authors generally are in those striking events which most attract the notice and commemoration of contemporaries, it would not have been surprising had even less information regarding him been preserved. It has, however, been asserted we know so little of the poet's life, that his past existence is scarcely more determined than that of Homer ; and this opinion has been repeated by the latest biographers. Perhaps the collection of facts here brought together will at least tend to modify this prevalent belief. The character of Shakespeare is even better substantiated than his history. We have direct and undeniable proofs that he was prudent and active in the business of life, judicious and honest, possessing great conversational talent,* universally esteemed as gentle and amiable ;† yet

   "His conversation was admir’d by some of the greatest men in his own time."—Oldys, MS. Notes to Langbaine. See p. 183.
    †    Twice does Ben Jonson give testimony of this, in his ‘Discoveries,’ and in the lines prefixed to the first folio, where he says Shakespeare's "well-turned and true-filed lines" reflected his mind and manners. The following lines by a contemporary confirm these tributes:

If Pride ascende the stage, O base ascent,
Al men may see her, for nought comes thereon
But to be seene, and where Vice should be shent,
Yea, made most odious to ev'ry one
In blazing her by demonstration,

p.298 /

Then Pride, that is more then most vicious,
Should there endure open damnation,
And so shee doth, for shee's most odious,
In men most base that are ambitious.

Players, I love yee, and your qualitie,
As ye are men that pass-time not abus'd :
And [ W.S.  R.B.] some I love for painting, poesie,
And say fell Fortune cannot be excus'd,
That hath for better uses you refus'd :
Wit, courage, good-shape, good partes, and all good,
As long as al these goods are no worse us'd ;
And though the stage doth staine pure gentle bloud,
Yet generous yee are in minde and moode.

Davies' Microcosmos, 4to. 1603, p. 215.

more desirous of accumulating property than increasing his reputation, and occasionally indulging in courses " irregular and wild,"  but not incompatible with this generic summary. It is unnecessary to repeat the various statements of early writers on this subject, for all of them have been already quoted and specially pointed out to the reader's attention. Still less requisite is it to pronounce any eulogy on the writer to whose history these pages refer, for his place in the temple of Fame is irrevocably fixed, and his works are no longer affected by praise or censure. May the shadow of that name protect the minute detail the memory of no other author would deserve !

Shakespeare's seal-ring. Published size 5.2cm wide by 2.6cm high.

Shakespeare's seal ring.

Link to 'Life of Shakespeare', contents.
Link to 'Life of Shakespeare', part 7.      Link to 'Life of Shakespeare', Appendix 1-1.