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buried at Stratford on the 4th of February, 1613. Of | vate letter from Mr. Greene, moving him to exert bis his father's family his sister Joan, who had married influence against this plan of the inclosure:-“ 23 Dec. Mr. William Hart of Stratford, was probably the only A. Hall, Lres. wrytten, one to Mr. Manyring—another other left. There is no record of the death of his bro- to Mr. Shakspeare, with almost all the company's bands ther Gilbert; but as he is not mentioned in the will of to eyther. I also wrytte myself to my Csn. Shakspear, William, in all 'ikelihood he died before him. Oldys, the coppyes of all our .. then also a note of the in his manuscript notes upon Langbaine, has a story inconvenyences wold by the inclosure." Arthur of “One of Shakspeare's younger brothers, who lived to Mannering, to whom one of these letters was written a good old age, even some years, as I compute, after the by the Corporation, was officially connected with the restoration of King Charles II.” Gilbert was born in Lord Chancellor, and then residing at his house; and 1566; so that if he had lived some years after the from the letter to him, which has been preserved, " it restoration of Charles II. it is not surprising that “his appears that he was apprised of the injury to be es. memory was weakened,” as Oldys reports, and that he pected from the intended inclosure; reminded of the could give “the most noted actors” but “little satis- damage that Stratford, then • lying in the ashes of faction in their endeavours to learn something from him desolation,' had sustained from recent fires ; and enof his brother.” The story of Oldys is clearly apocry- treated to forbear the inclosure.” The letter to Saakphal, as far as regards any brother of Shakspere’s. spere has not been discovered. The fact of its having They were a short-lived race. His sister, indeed, sur- been written leaves no doubt of the importance which vived him thirty years. The family at New Place, at was attached to his opinion by his neighbours. Truly this period, would be composed therefore of his wife in his later years he had only, and his unmarried daughter Judith; unless his “Honour, love, obedience, troops of friends." elder daughter and his son-in-law formed a part of the The younger daughter of Shakspere was married or same household, with their only child Elizabeth, who the 10th of February, 1616, to Thomas Quiney, as the was born in 1608. The public calamity to which we register of Stratford shows. Thomas Quiney was the have alluded was a great fire, which broke out at Strat- son of Richard Quiney Stratford, whom we have ford on the 9th of July, 1614. That Shakspere assisted seen in 1598 soliciting the kind offices of his loving with all the energy of his character in alleviating the countryman Shakspere. Thomas, who was bom in miseries of this calamity, and in the restoration of his 1588, was probably a well-educated man. The last town, we cannot doubt. In the same year we find him will of Shak-pere would appear to have been prepared taking some interest in the project of an inclosure of in some degree with reference to this marriage. It is the cominon-fields of Stratford. The inclosure would dated the 25th of March, 1616; but the word " Janeprobably have improved his property, and especially arii" seems to have been first written and afterwards have increased the value of the tithes, of the moiety of struck out, “Martii” having been written above it. It which he held a lease. The Corporation of Stratford is not unlikely, and indeed it appears most probable, were opposed to the inclosure. They held that it would that the document was prepared before the marriage of be injurious to the poorer inhabitants, who were then Judith; for the elder daughter is mentioned as Susana deeply suffering from the desolation of the fire; and Hall,—the younger simply as Judith. To her, one they appear to have been solicitous that Shakspere hundred pounds is bequeathed, and fifty pounds conshould take the same view of the matter as themselves. ditionally. The life-interest of a further sum of me His friend William Combe, then high sheriff of the hundred and fifty pounds is also bequeathed to her, county, was a principal person engaged in forwarding with remainder to her children; but if she died without the inclosure. The Corporation sent their common issue within three years after the date of the will, the clerk, Thomas Greene, to London, to oppose the project; hundred and fifty pounds was to be otherwise approand a memorandum in his hand-writing, which still priated. We pass over the various legacies to relations remains, exhibits the business-like manner in which and friends to come to the bequest of the great bulk of Slakspere informed himself of the details of the plan. the property. All the real estate is devised to his The first memorandum is dated the 17th of November, daughter Susanna Hall, for and during the term of 1614, and is as follows :-“My Cosen Shakspeare her natural life. It is then entailed upon her first son comyng yesterday to town, I went to see how he did. and his heirs male ; and in default of such issue, to He told me that they assured him they ment to inclose her second son and his heirs male; and so on : in de no further than to Gospel Bush, and so upp straight fault of such issue, to his granddaughter Elizabeth (leaving out pt. of the Dyngles to the field) to the gate Hall (called in the language of the time his “piece"): in Clopton hedg, and take in Salisbury's peece; and and in default of such issue, to his daughter Judith that they mean in Aprill to svey. the land and then to and her heirs male. By this strict entailment it was gyve satisfaccion, and not before: and he and Mr. Hall manifestly the object of Shakspere to found a family. say they think yr. will be nothyng done at all.”' Mr. Like many other such purposes of short-sighted huGreene appears to have returned to Stratford in about manity the object was not accomplished. His elder a fortnight after the date of this memorandum, and daughter had no issue but Elizabeth, and she died Shakspere seems to have remained in London ; for ac- childless. The heirs male of Judith died before her cording to a second memorandum, which is damaged The estates were scattered after the second generatit. and partly illegible, an official letter was written to and the descendants of his sister were the only trat Sbakspere by the Corporation, accompanied by a pri- mitters to posterity of his blood and lineage.
“Item, I give unto my wife my second-best bed, with The will of Shakspere thus commences :—“I, Wilthe furniture." This is the clause of the will upon liam Shakspere, of Stratford-upon-Avon, in the county which, for half a century, all men believed that Shak- of Warwick, gent., in perfect health and memory, (God spere recollected his wife only to mark how little he be praised !) do make and ordain this my last will and esteemed her,—to “cut her off, not indeed with a shil- testament." And yet within one month of this declaraling, but with an old bed."* We had the satisfaction tion William Shakspere is no more : of first showing the utter groundlessness of this opinion;
OBIIT ANO. DOI. 1616. ÆTATIS 53. DIE 23. AP. and we here briefly repeat the statement which we made in our Postscript to "Twelfth Night,' that the wife of Such is the inscription on his tomb. It is corroborated Shakspere was unquestionably provided for by the by the register of his burial :-“ April 25. Will Shaknatural operation of the law of England. His estates, spere gent.” Writing forty-six years after the event, with the exception of a copyhold tenement, expressly the vicar of Stratford says, “Shakspere, Drayton, and mentioned in his will, were freehold. His wife was Ben Jonson had a merry meeting, and, it seems, drank entitled to dower. She was provided for amply, by the too hard, for Shakspere died of a fever there contracted.” clear and undeniable operation of the English law. A tradition of this nature, surviving its object nearly Of the houses and gardens which Shakspere inherited half a century, is not much to be relied on. But if it from his father, she was assured of the life-interest of a were absolutely true, our reverence for Shakspere would third, should she survive her husband, the instant that not be diminished by the fact that he accelerated his old John Shakspere died. . Of the capital messuage end in the exercise of hospitality, according to the mancalled New Place, the best house in Stratford, which ner of his age, towards two of the most illustrious of his Shakspere purchased in 1597, she was assured of the friends. The “merry-meeting," the last of many same life-interest, from the moment of the conveyance, social hours spent with the full-hearted Jonson and the provided it was a direct conveyance to her husband. elegant Drayton, may be contemplated without a That it was so conveyed we may infer from the term painful feeling. Shakspere possessed a mind eminently of the conveyance of the lands in Old Stratford, and social—“ he was of a free and generous nature." But, other places, which were purchased by Shakspere in says the tradition of half a century, “ he drank too hard" 1602, and were then conveyed “ to the onlye proper use at this “merry meeting.” We believe that this is the and behoose of the saide William Shakespere, his heires vulgar colouring of a common incident. He “died of and assignes, for ever.” Of a life-interest in a third of a fever there contracted." The fever that is too often these lands also was she assured. The tenement in the attendant upon a hot spring, when the low grounds Blackfriars, purchased in 1614, was conveyed to Shak- upon a river bank have been recently inundated, is a spere and three other persons; and after his death was fever that the good people of Stratford did not well unre-conveyed by those persons to the uses of his will, derstand at that day. The “merry meeting" rounded “ for and in performance of the confidence and trust in off a tradition much more effectively. Whaterer was them reposed by William Shakespeare deceased.” In the immediate cause of his last illness, we may well this estate, certainly, the widow of our poet had not believe that the closing scene was full of tranquillity dower. It has been remarked to us that even the ex- and hope; and that he who had sought, perhaps more press mention of the second-best bed was anything but than any man, to look beyond the material and finite unkindness and insult; that the best bed was in all things of the world, should rest at last in the “
peace probability an heir-loom: it might have descended to which passeth all understanding"-in that assured beShakspere himself from his father as an heir-loom and, lief which the opening of his will has expressed with far as such, was the property of his own heirs. The best more than formal solemnity :-“) commend my soul bed was considered amongst the most important of those into the hands of God my creator, hoping, and assuredly chattels which went to the heir by custom with the believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ, my house.t
Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting.”
have an action for them at the common law, and shall not + “And note that in some places chattels as herr-looms sue for them in the ecclesiastical court; but the heir-loom (as the best bed, table, pot, pan, cart, and other dead chattels is due by custom, and not by the common law."- Coke upon moveable) may go to the heir, and the heir in that case may Littleton, 18 b.
RND OF TAB LINK
A TABLE OF SHAKSPERE'S PLAYS,
SHOWING THE POSITIVE FACTS WHICH DETERMINE THE DATES PREVIOUS TO WHICH
THEY WERE PRODUCED.
. 1629 . 1509
• 1597 . 1597 • 1597
HENRY VI., Part I.
Aeted in the Middle • Pierce Pennilesse 1592
Acted at Harefield
MEASURE FOR MEASURE Acted at Whitehall . 1604 HENRY VI., Part III. . • Printed as 'The True Tra- LEAR
Printed 1608. Acter at gedy of Richard Duke
1607 of York
1595 TAMINO OT THE SHREW • Supposed to have been RICHARD II.. Printed
acted Henslow's RICHARD III. Printed
Theatre, 1593. Entered ROMEO AND JULIET Priuted
at Stationers' Hall 1697 Love's LABOUR 's Lost
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA. Printed 1609. Previously HENRY IV., Part I.
acted at Court
1609 HENRY IV., Part II.
1609 HENRY V.
Acted at Whitehall 1612
Acted at Whitehall . 161: by Meres
• Acted as a new play when MIDSUMMER Night's DREAM Printed 1600. Mentioned
the Globe was burned. 1613 by Meres
1598 MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Printed
Out of the thirty-seven Plays of Shakspere, the dates of As You LIKE IT Entrd. at Stationers' Hall 1600
thirty-one are thus to some extent fixed in epochs. These dates ALL's WELL THAT ENDS WILL Held to be mentioned by
are, of course, to be modified by other circumstances, which are Meres as 'Love's La
stated in our Introductory Notice to each Play. There are only bour's Won'
six Plays remaining, whose dates are not thus limited by pubTwo GENTLEMEN OF VERONA . Mentioned by Meres
1598 lication, by the notice of contemporaries, or by the record of COMEDY OF ERRORS Mentioned by Meres
their performance; and these certainly belong to the Poet's KING JOHN Mentioned by Meres 1598
latter period. They are TITUS ANDRONICUS
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA,
TIMON OF ATHENS, CORIOLANDS