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be and remain to the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh sons of her body, lawfully issuing one after another, and to the heirs males of the bodies of the said fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh sons lawfully issuing, in such manner as it is before limited to be and remain to the first, second, and third sons of her body, and to their heirs males; and for default of such issue, the said premises to be and remain to my said niece Hall, and the heirs males of her body lawfully issuing; and for default of such issue, to my daughter Judith, and the heirs males of her body lawfully issuing ; and for default of such issue, to the right heirs of me the said William Shakspeare for ever.

· Item, I give unto my wife my second best bed, with the furniture."

Item, I give and bequeath to my said daughter Judith my broad silver gilt bowl. All the rest of my goods, chattels, leases, plate, jewels, and houshold

stuff whatsoever, after my debts and legacies paid, and my funeral expences discharged, I give, devise, and bequeath to my son-in-law, John Mall, gent. and my daughter Susanna bis wife, whom I ordain and make executors of this my last will and testament. And I do entreat and appoint the said Thomas Russell, esq. and Francis Collins, gent. to be overseers hereof. And do revoke all former wills,

my second best bed, with the furniture.] Thus Shakspeare's original will.

It appears, in the original will of Shakspeare, (now in the Prerogative-office, Doctor's Commons,) that he had forgot his wife; the legacy to her being expressed by an interlineation, as well as those to Heminge, Burbage, and Condell.

The will is written on three sheets of paper, the last two of which are undoubtedly subscribed with Shakspeare's own hand. The first indeed has his name in the margin, but it differs somewhat in spelling as well as manner, from the two signatures that follow.

and publish this to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand, , the day and year first above written.

By me Willian Shakspeare. Witness to the publishing hereof,

Fra. Collyns,
Julius Shaw,
John Robinson,
Hamnet Sadler,
Robert Whatcott.

Probatum fuit testamentum suprascriptum

apud London, coram Magistro William Byrde, Legum Doctore, &c. vicesimo secundo die mensis Junii, Anno Domini, 1616; juramento Johannis Hall unius ex. cui, &c. de bene, &c. jurat. reservata potestate, &c. Susanna Hall, alt. ex. &c. eam cum venerit, &c. petitur. &c.




..1596 ..1596


The following is the order in which Mr. MALONE supposes the plays of Shakspeare to have been written : 1. First Part of King Henry VI.... 2. Second Part of King Henry VI..

.1591 3. Third Part of King Henry VI....

.1591 4. A Midsummer-Night's Dream

1592 5. Comedy of Errors .. 6. Taming of the Shrew

1594 7. Love's Labour's Lost.

.1594 8. Two Gentlemen of Verona.

1595 9. Romeo and Juliet.,

..1595 10. Hamlet .... 11. King John... 12. King Richard II ...

..1597 13. King Richard III.....

,1597 14. First Part of King Henry IV...

..1597 15. Second Part of King Henry IV 16. The Merchant of Venice..

..1598 17. All's Well that Ends Well.

..1598 18. King Henry V....

..1599 19. Much Ado about Nothing . 20. As You Like It..

..1600 21. Merry Wives of Windsor

..1601 22. King Henry VIII.... 23. Troilus and Cressida

.1602 24. Measure for Measure 25. The Winter's Tale ...

..1604 26. King Lear..

.1605 27. Cymbeline.

1005 28. Macbeth

.1676 29. Julius Cæsar.

. 1607 30. Antony and Cleopatra

.1603 31. Timon of Athens ..

.1609 32. Coriolanus

..1610 33. Othello.

1611 34. The Tempest

..1612 35. Twelfth Night





Since the foregoing elaborate, and, for the most part, satisfactory result of a laborious enquiry was last published, the order of the plays of Shakspeare, as settled by Mr. Malone, has been controverted by Mr. Chalmers, who has formed a new arrangement; and in support of it has produced his evidence and assigned his reasons. To these (being too long to be here inserted)

..1591 ..1592 ..1592

..1595 ..1595 ..1595


the reader is referred for farther satisfaction. On a subject which both parties admit does not pretend to the certainties of demonstration, a difference of opinion may be expected. Time, research, and accident, may yet bring to light evidence to confirin or confute either party's statement. The arrangement of Mr. Malone being already before the reader it will be necessary to add that of Mr. Chalmers; and that a judgment may be formed which claims the preference, both lists are subjoined. The first is by Mr. Chalmers, the second by Mr. Malone. 1. The Comedy of Errors ..

1593 2. Love's Labour's Lost.

1594 3. Romeo and Juliet...

1595 4. Henry VI. the First Part.


1589 5. Henry VI. the Second Part.

1591 6. Henry VI. the Third Part....

1591 7. The Two Gentlemen of Verona

1595 8. Richard Ill.....

.1595 1597 9. Richard II ...

1697 10. The Merry Wives of Windsor


1601 11. Henry IV. the First Part..

.1596 1597 12. Henry IV. the Second Part..

.1597 1598 13. Henry V....

. 1597 1597 14. The Merchant of Venice.

1597 1598 15. Hamlet ....

...1597 1596 16. King John....

1596 17. A Midsummer Night's Dream ,1598

1592 18. The Taming of the Shrew... 1598

1594 19. All's Well that Ends Well... .1599

1598 20. Much Ado About Nothing.

..1599 1600 21. As You Like It ...

1600 22. Troilus and Cressida.


1602 23. Timon of Athens ..

..1601 1609 24. The Winter's Tale .

1604 25. Measure for Measure.


1603 26. Lear ...

.1605 1605 27. Cymbeline.


1605 28. Macbeth ..

.1606 1606 29. Julius Cæsar...

..1607 1607 80. Antony and Cleopatra


1608 31. Coriolanus ....

..1609 1610 32. The Tempest..

1612 33. The Twelfth-Night.

1614 34. Henry VIII..


1601 35, Othello.....

.1614 1611 See Supplemental Apology for the Believers in the ShakspearePapers. "By George Chalmers, F.R.S. A.S. p. 266.








THAT, praises are without reason lavished on the

dead, and that the honours due only to excellence are paid to antiquity, is a complaint likely to be always continued by those, who, being able to add nothing to truth, hope for eminence from the heresies of paradox; or those, who, being forced by disappointment upon consolatory expedients, are willing to hope from posterity what the present age refuses, and flatter themselves that the regard which is yet denied by envy, will be at last bestowed by time.

Antiquity, like every other quality that attracts the notice of mankind, has undoubtedly votaries that reverence it, not from reason, but from prejudice. . Some seem to admire indiscriminately whatever has been long preserved, without considering that time has sometimes co-operated with chance; all perhaps are more willing to honour past than present excellence; and the mind contemplates genius through the shades of age, as the eye surveys the sun through artificial opacity. The great contention of criticism is to find the faults of the modernis, and the beauties of the ancients. While an author is yet living, we estimate his powers by his worst performance; and when he is dead, we rate them by his best.

To works, however, of which the excellence is not absolute and definite, but gradual and comparative; not raised upon principles demonstrative and scientifick, but appealing wholly to observation and experience, no other test can be applied than length of duration and continuance of esteem. What mankind have long possessed they have often examined and compared, and if they persist to value the possession, it is because frequent comparisons have confirmed opinion in its favour. As among the works of nature

First printed in 1765.


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