Imágenes de páginas
PDF
[graphic]

rn at Stratford of the glove trade in queen Elizabeth's time. on the 23d day | But, notwithstanding the flourishing state of of his family it that trade in Stratford, and a conjecture, that

Mr. Rowe John Shakspeare furnished his customers with er and certain leathern hose, aprons, belts, points, jerkins, ford, his an- pouches, wallets, satchels, and purses,” Mr. and fashion" | Malone confesses, that from all this, the poet's I as “gentle- father derived but a scanty maintenance. te as well as John Shakspeare had been, in 1568, an ofTone is, that ficer or bailiff (high-bailiff or mayor) of the pplied to the body corporate of Stratford, and chief alderman period of his in 1571. At one time, it is said that he poselevate Shak sessed lands and tenements to the amount of 1, yet he is 5001., the reward of his grandfather's faithful rly years' la- and approved services to king Henry VIII. o support it. This might account for his being elected to the according to magistracy, had it not been asserted upon very

in or before doubtful authority; but Mr. Malone is of opiwas not ori- nion, that these "faithful and approved services” 5, says Mr. must be meant of some of the ancestors of his is but three wife, one of the Ardens.

to Stratford | Whatever may have been his former wealth 50. Former it appears to have been greatly reduced in the have been a latter part of his life, as it is found in the books Mr. Malone of the corporation, that in 1579 he was exVer; and, to cused the trifling weekly tax of fourpence, le

Y,* he has vied on all the aldermen; and that in 1586 pon the state another alderman was appointed in his room, in

consequence of his declining to attend on the f John Shak-business of that office. ity of relying

His wife, to whom he was married in 1557, very tedious this long agi

was the youngest daughter and heiress of RoLife of Shak-bert Arden, of Wellingcote or Wilmecote, in tion of Shak the county of Warwick, by Agnes Webb his Svo. 1821. It

wife. Mary Arden's fortune, Mr. Malone has in about the gitated. His

discovered, amounted to one hundred and ten erted by Mr.

pounds thirteen shillings and fourpence! all succeeding Mr. Arden is styled a "gentleman of worone not ex-ship," and the family of Arden is very ancient. n's trade was

Robert Arden of Bromich, Esq., is in the list imagination,

| of the Warwickshire gentry, returned by the long agitated on the Warwickshire gentry,

commissioners in the twelfth year of king

[ocr errors]
[graphic][ocr errors]

000000000

[blocks in formation]

0000000000000

23 Life of Shakspeare

By a. Chalmers.

WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE was born at Stralford of the glove trade in queen Elizabeth's time. upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, on the 23d day But, notwithstanding the flourishing state of of April, 1564. Or the rank of his family it that trade in Stralford, and a conjecture, that is not easy to form an opinion. Mr. Rowe John Shakspeare furnished his customers with says, that according to the register and certain “ leathern hose, aprons, belts, points, jerkins, public writings relating to Stratford, his an- pouches, wallets, satchels, and purses,” Mr. cestors were “ of good figure and fashion” Malone confesses, that from all this, the poel's in that town, and are mentioned as “gentle- rather derived but a scanly maintenance. men;" but the result of the late as well as John Shakspeare had been, in 1568, an ofearly inquiries made by Mr. Malone is, that ficer or bailiff (high-bailiff or mayor) of the the epithel gentleman was first applied to the body corporate of Stratford, and chief alderman poet, and even to him at a late period of his in 1571. At one time, it is said that he poslife. Mr. Malone's inclination to elevate Shak-sessed lands and tenements to the amount of speare's family cannot be doubted, yet he is 5001., the reward of his grandfather's faithful obliged to confess that, after thirty years' la- and approved services to king Henry VIII. bour, he could find no evidence to support it. This might account for his being elected to the

His father, John Sbakspeare, according to magistracy, had it not been asserted upon very Mr. Malone's conjecture, was born in or before doubtful authority; but Mr. Malone is of opithe year 1530. John Shakspeare was not ori- nion, that these “faithful and approved services” ginally of Stratford, but, perhaps, says Mr. must be meant of some of the ancestors of his Malone, of Snitterfield, which is but three wife, one of the Ardens. miles from Stratford. He came to Stratford Whatever may have been his former wealih not very long after the year 1550. Former it appears to have been greatly reduced in the accounts have reported him to have been a latter part of his life, as it is found in the books considerable dealer in wool, but Mr. Malone of the corporation, that in 1579 he was exbas discovered that he was a glover ; and, to cused the trifling weekly tax of fourpence, lead importance to this discovery, * he has vied on all the aldermen; and that in 1586 given us a historical dissertation upon the state another alderman was appointed in his room, in

consequence of his declining to attend on the "On the subject of the trade of John Shak business of that office. speare, I am not under the necessity of relying

His wife, to whom he was married in 1557, "on conjecture, being enabled, after a very tedious "and troublesome search, to shut up this long agi

| was the youngest daughter and heiress of Ro"lated question for ever.” Malone's Life of Shak-bert Arden, of Wellingcote or Wilmecote, in speare, vol. ï. p. 70. of his new edition of Shak- the county of Warwick, by Agnes Webb his speare's Plays and Poems, 21 vols. 8vo. 1821. It

wife. Mary Arden's fortune, Mr. Malone has does not appear where any question about the trade of John Shakspeare was ever agitated. His

| discovered, amounted to one hundred and ten being a dealer in wool was first asserted by Mr.

pounds thirteen shillings and fourpence! Rowe, and silently acquiesced in by all succeeding | Mr. Arden is styled a “gentleman of woreditors and commentators, Mr. Malone not ex- ship." and the family of Arden is very ancient. cepted, until he discovered that John's trade was that of a glover; and then, in his imagination,

| Robert Arden of Bromich, Esq., is in the list be had the honour of shutting up a long agitated

of the Warwickshire gentry, returned by the question for erer.

| commissioners in the twelfth year of king

Henry V., A.D. 1433. Edward Arden was mestic economy or professional occupalion at sheriff of the county in 1568. The woodland this time, we have no information; but if we part of this county was apciently called Ardern, may credit former accounts, by Rowe, &c., it afterwards softened to Arden, and hence the would appear, that both were in a considerable name.

degree neglected, in consequence of his assoIt was formerly said that John Shakspeareciating with a gang of deer-stealers. had ten children, and it was inferred, that the It is said, that being detected with them in providing for so large a family must have em- robbing the park, that is, stealing deer out of barrassed his circumstances; but Mr. Malone the park of sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote, near has reduced them to eight, five of whom only Stratford, he was so rigorously prosecuted by attained to the age of maturity,-four sons and that gentleman as to be obliged to leave his faa daughter. Our illustrious poet was the eldest mily and business, whatever that might be, and of the eight, and received his education, how-take shelter in London. Sir Thomas, on this ever narrow or liberal, at the free-school found occasion, was exasperated by a ballad which ed at Stratford.

Shakspeare wrote (probably his first essay in From this he appears to have been placed in poetry), of which the following stanza was comthe office of some country attorney, or the se municated to Mr. Oldys :neschal of some manor court, where, it is highly probable, he picked up those technical law "A parliemente member, a justice of peace,

At home a poor scare-crowe, at London an asse, phrases that frequently occur in his plays, and

If lowsie is Lacy, as some volke miscalle it, which could not have been in common use un Then Lucy is lowsie, whatever befall it :

He thinks himself greate, less among professional men. It has been re

Yet an asse in his state marked, but the remark will probably be We allowe by his ears but with asses to mate,

If Lacy is lowsie, as some volke miscalle it. thought of no great value, that he derives none Sing lowsie Lucy, whatever befall it. of his allusions from the other learned professions. Of amusements, his favourite appears in our preceding edition, we remarked that to have been falconry. Very few, if any of his these lines do no great honour to our poet, and plays, are without some allusions to that sport; the satire was probably unjust; for, although and archery, likewise, appears to have engaged some of his admirers have exclaimed against much of his attention.

sir Thomas as a “ vain, weak, and vindictive Mr. Capell conjectures, that his early mar- magistrate," he was certainly exerting no very riage prevented bis being sent to one of the uni- violent act of oppression in protecting his proversities. It appears, however, as Dr, Farmer perty against a young man who was degrading observes, that bis early life was incompatible the commonest rank of life, and who had at with a course of education; and it is certain this time bespoke no indulgence by any display that “his contemporaries, friends and foes, of superior talents. It was also added, that "pay, and himself likewise, agree in his want the ballad must have made some noise at sir of what is usually termed literature.” It is, Thomas's expense, for the author took care it indeed, a strong argument in favour of Shak-should be asfixed to his park gates, and liberally speare's illiterature, that it was maintained by circulated among his neighbours. all his contemporaries, many of whom have In defence of Shakspeare, Mr. Malone atbestowed every other merit upon him, and by templs to prove that our poet could not bave of his successors, who lived nearest to his time, fended sir Thomas Lucy by stealing his deer : when “his memory was green :" and that it FIRST, because (granting for a moment that he has been denied only by Gildon, Sewell, and did steal deer) stealing deer was a common others, down to Upton, who could have no youthful frolic, and therefore could not leave means of ascertaining the truth. Mr. Malone any very deep stain on his character: SECONDLY, seems inclined to revive their opinion, but finds it was a practice wholly unmixed with any it impossible.

sordid or lucrative motive, for the venison thus In his eighteenth year (1582), or perhaps a obtained was not sold, but freely participated little sooner, he married ANNE HATHAWAY, I at a convivial board : THIRDLY, that the ballad who was seven years and a half older than him Shakspeare is said to have written in ridisell. She was the daughter of one Hathaway, cule of sir Thomas Lucy is a forgery : and who is said to have been a substantial yeoman LASTLY, thal sir Thomas had no park, and no in the neighbourbood of Stratford. Of his do dcer.

After this very singular defence of Shakspeare, as the business of the play requires their apwhich occupies thirty of Mr. Malone's pages, | pearance on the stage. Pope, however, rebesides some very prolix notes, he appears to be lates a story communicated to him by Rowe, perplexed to know what lo do with Shakspeare's | but which Rowe did not think deserving of resentment against sir Thomas Lucy. That he a place in the life which he wrote, tbat must bad a resentment against this gentleman is a little retard the advancement of our poet to certain, and that he retained it for many years the office just mentioned. According to this is equally certain, for he gave vent to it in | story, Shakspeare's first employment was to 1601, when he wrote “ The Merry Wives of wait at the door of the play-house, and hold Windsor," about a year after sir Thomas's the horses of those who had no servants, that death.

they might be ready after the performance. Mr. Malone, after allowing that various pas- But “I cannot,” says his acute commentator, sages in the first scene of the above-mentioned | Mr. Steevens, “ dismiss this anecdote without play afford groupd for believing that our author, |“ observing that it seems to want every mark 06 some account or other, had not the most of probability. Though Shakspeare quitted profound respect for sir Thomas, adds, “ the “Stratford on account of a juvenile irreguladosen white luces, however, which Shallow is “ rily, we have no reason to suppose that be made to commend as a good coat,' was not “ had forfeited the protection of his father, who sir Thomas Lucy's coat of arms : though Mr. “ was engaged in lucrative business, or the Theobald asserts that it is found on the mo- “ love of his wife, who had already brought nument of one of the family, as represented by “ him two children, and was hersell the Dagdale. No such coat certainly is found, “ daughter of a substantial yeoman. It is uneither in Dugdale's Antiquilies of Warwick |“ likely, therefore, when he was beyond the shire, or in the church of Charlecote, where I “ reach of his prosecutor, that he should conin vain sought for it. It is probable that the “ ceal his plan of life, or place of residence, deviation from the real coat of the Lucies, “ from those who, if he found himself diswhich was gules, three lucies bariant, argent, “ tressed, could not fail to afford him such was intentionally made by our poet, that the “ supplies as would have set him above the application might not be too direct, and give “ necessity of holding horses for subsistence. offence to sir Thomas Lucy's son, who, when " Mr Malone has remarked, in his “Attempt this play was written, was living, and much " to ascertain the Order in wbich the Plays of respected, at Stratford.”

“ Shakspeare were written,' that he might As the deer-stealing story has bitherto been “ have found an easy introduction to the stage: told in order to account for Shakspeare's arrival “ for Thomas Green, a celebrated comedian of in London, it might have been expected that “ that period, was his townsman, and perhaps Mr. Malone would have been enabled to sub- " his relation. The genius of our author stitute some other reason, and to precede the “ prompted him to write poetry; his connexion arrival of our poet with some circumstances of “ with a player might have given his producftrore importance and of greater dignity; but “lions a dramatic turn; or his own sagacity noibing of this kind is to be found. We have“ might have taught him that fame was not inlost the old tradition, with all its feasible ac “ compatible with profit, and that the theatre companiments, but have got nothing in return. |" was an avenue to both. That it was once the All that Mr. Malone ventures to conjecture, is, “ general custom to ride on horseback to the that wben Shakspeare left Stratford, “he was“ play I am likewise yet to learn. The most involved in some pecuniary difficulties." “ popular of the theatres were on the Bank

On his arrival in London, which was pro- “ side; and we are told by the satirical pambably in the year 1586, when he was only " phleteers of that time, that the usual mode twenty-two years old, he is said to have made “ of conveyance to these places of amusement his first acquaintance in the play-house, to “ was by water, but not a single writer so which idleness or taste may have directed him, “ much as hints at the custom of riding to and where his necessities, if tradition may be “them, or at the practice of having horses credited, obliged him to accept the office of “ held during the bours of exhibition. Some call-boy, or prompter's assistant. This is a “ allusion to this usage (if it had existed), menial wbose employment it is to give the "must, I think, have been discovered in the performers notice to be ready to enter, as often i " course of our researches after contemporary

at

« AnteriorContinuar »