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time, told them, "That if Mr. Shakspeare had no "read the ancients, he had likewise not stolen any "thing from them; and that if he would produce any one topic finely treated by any one of them " he would undertake to shew something upon the same subject at least as well written by Shakspeare."
The latter part of his life was spent, as all men of good sense will wish theirs may be, in ease, retirement, and the conversation of his friends. He had the good fortune to gather an estate equal to his occasion, and, in that, to his wish; and is said to have spent some years before his death at his native Stratford. His pleasureable wit and goodnature engaged him in the acquaintance, and entitled him to the friendship, of the gentlemen of the neighbourhood. Amongst them, it is a story, almost still remembered in that country, that he had a particular intimacy with Mr. Combe, an old gentleman noted thereabouts for his wealth and his usury: it happened, that in a pleasant conver sation amongst their common friends, Mr. Combe told Shakspeare in a laughing manner, that he fancied he intended to write his epitaph, if he happened to out-live him; and since he could not know what might be said of him when he was dead, he desired it might be done immediately: upon which Shakspeare gave him these four verses: "Ten in the hundred lies here ingraved; 'Tis a hundred to ten his soul is not saved; If any man ask, Who lies in this tomb ? Oh! ho! quoth the devil, 'tis my John-a-Combe."
But the sharpness of the satire is said to have stung the man so severely, that he never forgave it.
He died on his birth day, April 23, 1616, having exactly completed the 52d year of his age, and was buried on the north side of the chancel, in the great church at Stratford, where a monument is placed in the wall. On his grave-stone underneath is
10 He had three daughters, of which two lived to be married; Judith, the elder, to one Mr. Thomas euiney, by whom she had three sons, who all died e without children; and Susanna, who was his fa vourite, to Dr. John Hall, a physician of good re
"Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
putation in that county. She left one child only,. a daughter, who was married first to Thomas Nashe, Esq. and afterwards to Sir John Barnard of Abington, but died likewise without issue.
The foregoing details, which it must be confessed are meagre in the extreme, comprise about the whole that has been related by any of Shakspeare's biographers. A few additional anecdotes have certainly been told of him, but these are so improbable in themselves, and if true, they tend so little to il lustrate his character, that we pass them over as totally undeserving of attention. That he was of a generous and good disposition, a man of unaspiring character and unambitious of fame, that he was cherished by the patrons of literature of his time, and rewarded by a liberal competency in the latter part of his life, are facts in which all his commentators agree, and when they have said this, they have told us all they know of one of the greatest, if not absolutely the greatest, genius the world ever produced.
The celebrity of our author's writings has conferred on every thing connected with him a de gree of interest bordering on religious veneration. In the garden attached to New-place (the residence of Shakspeare in his latter days) stood the celebrated mulberry tree, which we are told from the best authority was planted by Shakspeare. In May, 1742, when Mr. Garrick, Mr. Macklin, and Mr. Delane visited Stratford, they were hospitably entertained beneath its wide-spreading branches, by the then proprietor, Sir Hugh Clopton. For. years prior to this period, the town of Stratford was the frequent resort of visitants who came to view this only remaining relic which had been consecrated by the hand of Shakspeare. About the year 1752 the property fell into the hands of a reverend gentleman of the name of Gastrell, who from some pique against the magistrates of Stratford, demolished the house, and cut down the mulberry tree, to save himself the trouble of shewing it to those whose admiration of our great poet led them to visit the poetic ground on which it stood,
On the merits of the poems, to which we have thought it necessary to prefix this short account of his life, it is unnecessary to make any observation. The name of the author alone is sufficient to demand a perusal, and if they do not quite come up to the standard of some of his other Works, they at least shew the variety and versatility of hisgenius
ALONSO, King of Naples.
SEBASTIAN, his Brother.
PROSPERO, the rightful Duke of Milan.
ANTONIO, his Brother, the usurping Duke of Milan.
GONZALO, an honest old Counsellor of Naples.
CALIBAN, a savage and deformed Slave.
TRINCULO, a Jester.
STEPHANO, a drunken Butler.
Master of a Ship, Boatswain, and Mariners.
MIRANDA, Daughter to Prospero.
ARIEL, an Airy Spirit.
Other Spirits attending on PROSPERO.
SCENE, the Sea, with a Ship; afterwards an uninhabited Island.
SCENE 1.-On a Ship at Sea.
A Storm, with Thunder and Lightning.
Enter a SHIP-MASTER, and a BOATSWAIN.
Boats. Here master: what cheer?
Mast. Good: speak to the mariners:-fall to't yarely, or we run ourselves aground: bestir, bestir. [Exit.
Boats. Heigh, my hearts; cheerly, cheerly, my hearts; yare, yare: take in the top sail, 'tend to the master's whistle.-Blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough!
Enter ALONSO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FERDINAND, GONZALO, and others.
Alon. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the master? Play the men.
Boats. I pray now, keep below.
Ant. Where is the master, boatswain?
Boats. Do you not hear him? You mar our labour! keep your cabins: you do assist the storm.
Gon. Nay, good, be patient.
Boats. When the sea is. Hence! What care these roarers for the name of king? To cabin silence: trouble us not.
Gon. Good; yet remember whom thou hast aboard. Boats. None that I more love than myself. You are a counsellor; if you can command these elements to silence, and work the peace of the present,t we will not hand a rope more; use your authority.
+ Present instant.