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THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
W. G> CLARK, M. A.
Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Public Orator
The voluminous works and immense fame of Shakespeare are in striking contrast with the scanty records of his life. Rowe was the first who attempted a biography of the poet, prefixed to his edition of 1709. Malone, with unwearied industry, gathered all that bore upon this subject from the records of the Corporation of Stratford, from the library at Dulwich, &c, together with all the notices of or allusions to Shakespeare in the works of his contemporaries. Since Malone's time many persons have employed themselves in re-sifting the evidence, and some have succeeded in discovering new facts. Unfortunately most of the documents lately brought to light are with good reason believed to be spurious.
We propose here to state in chronological order the main facts of the poet's life, referring those who desire fuller information to the detailed biographies written by Malone, Knight, Collier, Dyce, and Grant White. William Shakespeare was christened in the parish church of Stratford-onAvon on the 26th of April, 1564. His father was John Shakespeare of Stratford, originally, as some suppose, a glover by trade. He had married in 1557 Mary Arden, one of the seven daughters and coheiresses of a yeoman in the neighbourhood, who brought him a small landed property. William doubtless acquired his ' small Latin and less Greek' at the Grammar School of Stratford. From his fondness for legal phraseology and his accuracy in using it, some have supposed that he was placed in an attorney's ofiice after leaving school. Another account says that he was appren