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him very near the same Coat of Arms, which Dugdale, in his Antiquities of that County, describes for a Family there. There are two Coars, I observe, in Dugdale, where three Silver Fishes are borne in the Name of Lucy; and another Coat, to the Monument of Thomas Lucy, Son of Sir William Lucy, in which are quarter'd in four several Divisions, twelve little Fishes, three in each Division, probably Luces. This very Coat, indeed, seems alluded to in Shailow's giving the dozen Wh te Luces. And in Slender saying he may quarter. When I consider the exceeding Candour and Good nature of our Author, (which inclin'd all the gencler Part of the World to love him ; as the Power of his Wit obliged the Men of the most delicate Knowledge and Police Learning to admire him ;) and that he should throw this humorous Piece of Satire at his Prosecutor, at least twenty Years after the Provocation given ; I am confidently persuaded it must be owing to an unforgiving Rancour on the Profecutor's Side : and if This was the Case, it were Pity but the Disgrace of such an Inveteracy should remain as a lafting Reproach, and Shallow stand as a Mark of Ridicule to ftigmatize his Malice.
It is said, our Author spent some Years before his Death, in Ease, Retirement, and the Conversation of his Friends, ac his Native Stratford. I could never pick up any certain Intelligence, when He relinquish'd the Stage. I know, it has been mistakenly thought by some, that Spenser's Thalia, in his Tears of bis Muses, where she laments the Loss of her Willy in the Comic Scene, has been apply'd to our Author's quitting the Stage. But Spenser himself, 'cis well known, quitted the Stage of Life in the Year 1598; and, five Years after this, we find Shakespear's Name among the Actors in Ben Johnson's Sejanus, which first made its Appearance in the Year 16C3. Nor, surely, could he then have any Thoughts of retiring, lince, that very Year, a Licence under the Privy Seal
was granted by K. James I. to him and Fletcher, Butbage, Pbillippes, Hemings, Cowdell
, &c. authorizing them to exercise the Art of playing Comedies, Tragedics &c. as well ac their usual House calld the Globe on the other Side of the Water, as in any other Parts of the Kingdom, during his Majesty's Pleasure : (A Copy of which Ligence is preserved in Rymer's Fædera.) Again, 'tis certain, that Shakespear did not exhibit his Macbetb, till after the Union was brought about, and till after King James I. had begun to touch for the Evil : for 'tis plain, he has inserted Compliments, on both those Accounts, upon his Royal Marter in that Tragedy. Nor, indeed, could the Number of the Dramatic Pieces, he produced, admit of his retiring near fo early as that Period. So that what Spenser there fays, if ic relate at all to Shakespear, must hint at fome occasional Recess he made for a Time upon a Difgust taken: or the Wily, there mention’d, must relate to some other favourite Poet. I believe, we may fafely determine that he had not quitted in the Year 1610. For in his Tempest, our Author makes mention of the Bermuda Inands, which were unknown to the English, till in 1609, Sir John Summers made a Voyage to Norib- America, and discover'd them : and afterwards invited some of his Countrymen to settle a Plantation there. That he became the private Gentleman, at least three Years before his Decease, is pretty obvious from another Circumftance : I mean, from that remarkable and well-known Story, which Mr. Rowe has given us of our Author's Intimacy with Mr. Jobn Combe, an old Gentleir:an noted thereabouts for his Wealth and Usury: and upon whom Shakespear made the following facetious Epicaph.
Ten in the hundred lies here ingrav’d,
This sarcastical Piece of Wit was, at the Gentleman's own Request, thrown out extemporally in his Company. And this Mr. Jobn Combe I take to be the same, who, by Dugdale in his Antiquities of Warwickshire, is said to have dy'd in the Year 1614, and for whom at the upper end of the Quire, of the Guild of the Holy Crols at Stratford, a fair Monument is erecteu, having a Statue thereon cuc in Alabaster, and in a Gown, with this Epitaph. “ Here lyeth interr'd “ the Body of John C.mbe Esq; who dy'd the icch “ of July, 1614, who bequeathed several Annual sc Charities to the Parish of Stratford, and 100 l. to “ be lent to fifteen poor Tradesmen from three Years “ to three Years, changing the Parties every third “ Year, at the Rate of fifty Shillings per Annum, che 3. Increase to be distributed to Almes poor there
- The Donation has all the air of a rich and sagacious Usurer.
Shakespear himself did not survive Mr. Combe long, for he dy'd in the Year 1616, the 53d of his Age. He lies buried on the North Side of the Chancel in the great Church at Stratford; where a Monument, decent enough for the Time, is erected to him, and plac'd againit the Wall. He is represented under an Arch in a sitting Posture, a Cushion spread before him, with a Pen in his Right Hand, and his left relled on a Scrowl of Paper. The Latin Diltich, which is placed under the Cushion, has b en given us by Mr. Pope, or his Graver, in this Manner.
INGENIO Pylium, Genio Socratem, Arte,
I confess, I don't conceive the Difference betwixt In enio and Genio in the first Verse. They seem to me intirely synonymous Terms; nor was the Pylian Sage Nestor celebrated for his Ingenuicy, but for an Ex
perience and Judgment owing to his long Age. Dugdale, in his Antiquities of Warwickshire, has copied this Diftich with a Distinction which Mr. Rowe has follow'd, and which certainly restores us the true Meaning of this Epitaph.
JUDICIO Pylium, Genio Socralem, &c.
In 1614, the greater Part of the Town of Stratford was consumed by Fir; but our Shakespear's House, among some others, escap'd the Flames. This Houle was first built by Sir Hugh Clopton, a younger Brother of an ancient Family in that Neighbourhood, who took their Name from the Manor of Cloplon. Sir Hugh was Sheriff of London in the Reign of Richard III. and Lord Mayor in the Reign of King Henry VII. To this Gentleman the Town of Stratford is indebted for the fine Stone-bridge, consisting of fourteen Arches, which at an extraordinary Expence he built over the 11V07, to ether with a Cause way running at the Westend thereof; as also for rebuilding the Chapel adjoining to his House, and the Cross-Ife in the Church there. It is remarkable of him, that, tho? he liv'd and dy'd a Bachelor, among the other extensive Charities which he left 'both to the City of London and Town of Sratford, he bequeath'd considerable Legacies for the Marriage of poor Maidens of good Name and fame both in London and at Stratford. Notwithstanding which large Donations in his Life, and Bequests at his Death, as he had purchas'd the Manor of Clopton, and all the Enate of the Family, so he left the same again to his elder Brother's Son with a very great Addition: (a Proof how well Beneficence and Economy n ay walk hand in hand in wife Familis:) God Part of which Estate is yet in the Por- . session of Edword Clop1011, E!q; and Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. lineaily difunded from the elder Brother of the firit Sir Hugh: Who particularly bequeath'd to his
Nephew, hy his Will, his House, by the Name of bis Great-House in Stratford.
The Efiate had now been fold out of the Clopion Family for above a Century, at the Time when ShakeSpear became the Purchaser : who, having repair'd and modell'd it to his own Mind, chang'd the Name to New-place; which the Mansion house, since erected upon the same spor, ar this Day retains. The House and Lands, which attended it, cone nued in Shakespear's Descendants to the Time of the Reparation : when they were repurchased by the Clopton Family, and the Mansion now belongs to Sir Hugh C:opton, Kne. To the Favour of this worthy Gentleman I owe the Knowledge of one Particular, in Honour of our Poet's once Dwelling-house, of which, I presume, Mr. Rowe never was appriz'd. When the Civil War raged in England, and K. Charles the First's Queen was driven by the Neceflity of Affairs to make a Recess in War. wickshire, she kept her Court for three weeks in New place. We may reasonably suppose it then the best private House in the Town; and her Majesty preferr'd it to the College, which was in the Poliellion of the Combe Family, who did not so firongly favour the King's Party.
How much our Author employ'd himself in Poetry, after his Retirement from the Stage, does not so evidently appear: Very few posthumous Sketches of his Pen have been recover'd to ascertain that Point. We have been told, indeed, in Print, but not till very lately, That cwo large Chests full of this Great Man's loose Papers and Manuscripts, in the Hands of an ignorant Baker of Warwick, (who married one of the Descendants from our Shakespear) were carelesly fcatter'd and thrown about, as Garret-Lumber, and Lit. ter, to the particular Knowledge of the late Sir Willien Bishop, till chey were all consumed in the general Fire and Destruction of that Town. I cannot help being a little apt to distrust the Authority of this Tradition ;