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and augmented. By W. Shakespeare, &c. Printed by W. Jaggard, 1612.
A fifth edition of the First Part of Henry IV. (with author's name), 1613.
A fourth edition of Richard the Second (with author's name), 1615.
These reprints of former works, we say, are so many authentic external incidents of those closing five years of Shakespeare's life which he spent almost wholly at Stratford, as an elderly gentleman of the place, advancing from his forty-seventh to his fiftythird year. During this same period our information, otherwise derived, leads us to fancy him writing his Coriolanus, his Timon of Athens, his Winter's Tale, his Tempest, and perhaps one or two others of his latest dramas. But we have other personal traces of him and notices of him during the same period, and the chief of these we shall now enumerate.
87. In the City of London Corporation Library, at Guildhall, is exhibited, under a glass-case, one of the most interesting documents relating to Shakespeare. It is the original deed of conveyance, dated March 10, 1612-13, 'between Henry Walker,
citizein and minstrell of London of thone partie, and William 'Shakespeare, of Stratford-upon-Avon, in the countie of Warwick, 'gentleman, William Johnson, citizein and vintener of London, John Jacksen and John Hemmyng of London, gentlemen, on 'thother partie;' the said deed witnessing that the said Henry Walker, for the consideration of 1401., conveys to the said William Shakespeare and the other three persons named, 'all 'that dwelling-house with thappurtenances situate and being ‘within the precinct, circuit and compasse of the late Blackfryers, ‘London, .. · now or late in the tenure or occupation of one William Ireland . . . . abutting upon a street leading down to 'the Puddle Wharf part of which tenement is erected over ' a great gate leading to a capital messuage ... in the tenure ‘or occupation of the right Honourable Henry, now Earle of Northumberland; and also all that plott of ground on the west side of the same tenement which was lately enclosed with boordes by 'two sides thereof by Anne Bacon, widowe, soe farr and in such “sort as the same was enclosed by the said Anne Bacon and not otherwise, and being on the third side enclosed with an olde
brick wall—which said plott of ground was sometime parcell and 'taken out of a great piece of voyde ground lately used for a 'garden. The circumstances leading to this conveyance (which bears Shakespeare's signature) seem to have been that, for some purpose or other (possibly theatrical), Shakespeare's late fellowactor, Hemings, together with Jackson and Johnson, wanted the
Contemporary Notices of Shakespeare. 199 tenement and plot of ground in question, and, not having the money to spare themselves, applied to Shakespeare to share with them in the transaction. The sequel shows that the property ultimately became Shakespeare's own, to the exclusion of the other persons.
Instead of paying down the entire purchasemoney of 1401. at once, Shakespeare, for some reason or other, advanced only 80l.; and instead of the remaining 60l., gave the original seller, Henry Walker, a mortgage on the property. By the deed of mortgage, which is also extant, and which is dated March 11, 1612-13, on the very day after the conveyance, the purchasers let back the premises to Henry Walker for a lease of one hundred years, at a peppercorn rent, provided always that if they, the said William Shakespeare, &c., pay to the said Henry Walker the remaining 607. of the purchase-money, in one sum, on the 29th day of September next, then the lease shall be void. There is no doubt that at the time in question Shakespeare paid the 60l., and became landlord of the property. It was let by him to one John Robinson; and it is a curious fact that the Robinsons, the descendants of this man, were tenants of it till quite recently. Should any one wish now to identify the actual house which was the subject of the transaction, let him take Mr. Peter Cunningham's Handbook of London as his guide, and go to Ireland-yard (observe the tenacity of names), on the west side of St. Andrew's hill, in the parish of St. Anne, Blackfriars.'
88. In 1613 Shakespeare was one of three persons who preferred a suit before Lord Chancellor Ellesmere (draft of bill in possession of the Shakespeare Society), the object of which was to make certain parties in Stratford pay their shares in a rent of 271. 138. 4d. annually, the non-payment of which affected Shakespeare's interest as one of the lessees of the tithes.
89, 90, and 91. In the year 1614 there was a great fire in Stratford, which burnt fifty-four houses; and in the same year there was a good deal of excitement in the town in consequence of a project to enclose some of the common lands in the vicinity. In connexion with this last business we have several notices of Shakespeare. The first of these shows that, so far as his own private interests were concerned, he took care to provide against any injury from the projected enclosure. It is a copy of articles, dated October 28, 1614, betwene William Shackespere, of Strat
ford, gent., on the one partye, and William Replingham, of Great ‘Harborow, in the countie of Warwick, gent., on the other,' to the effect that the said William Replingham, his heirs or assigns, will recompense the said William Shakespeare, his heirs or assigns, for all such losse, detriment, or hinderance as he the said William Shakespeare shall or may be thought, in the view of four indifferent persons, to sustain or incur in respect of increasing of the yearly value of tithes by reason of any enclosure or decay of tillage then meant or intended by the said William Replingham. Thus safe himself, it is uncertain whether Shakespeare, in his public capacity as a townsman, shared in the general feeling against the enclosure project. The Corporation, however, or the party in the Corporation who were hostile to the project, endeavoured to secure his co-operation against it. This appears from the following extracts from memoranda of Thomas Greene, clerk of the Corporation, and a relative of Shakespeare, the originals of which are in the possession of Mr. Wheler, of Stratford. Greene had been sent to London in November, 1614, to oppose the scheme at head-quarters; and here it appears he met Shakespeare, who in that same month had some reason of his own for visiting the metropolis :
1614: Jovis, 17 Nov: My cosen Shakspear comyng yesterday to town I went to see him how he did. He told me that they assured him they meant to enclose no further than to Gospell Bush, and so upp straight (leaving out part of the dyngles to the field) to the gate in Clopton Hedg and take in Salisbury's peece; and that they meant in Aprill to survey the land, and then to give satisfaction, and not before; and he and Mr. Hall say they think there will be nothing done at all.'
Greene returns to Stratford, leaving Shakespeare (who seems
have his son-in-law Hall with him) in London. On the 23rd of December Greene at Stratford makes the following memorandum :
* 23 Dec: A Hall: Lettres wrytten, one to Mr Manyring (Arthur Mainwaring, auditor of private accounts to the Lord Chancellor Ellesmere), another to Mr. Shaksper, with almost all the companys bands to eyther. I also wrytte myself to my cosen Shakspere the coppyes of all our acts and then also a not of the inconveniences would happens by the enclosure.'
The Stratford people have evidently great faith in Shakespeare's ability to assist them by his influence in London.
92 and 93. To the same year, 1614, belong two notices of Shakespeare of a more literary nature. The first of these is a reference to him as the author of Richard the Third. It occurs, according to Mr. Collier, in a rare narrative work, entitled 'The Ghost
of Richard the Third . . containing more of him than hath 'beene heretofore shewed, either in Chronicles, Playes, or Poems: * Printed by G. Eld for L. Lisle.' The author of the work is C. B. (supposed by Mr. Collier to be Charles Best.) The work is divided into three parts; prefixed to the second of which are Contemporary Notices of Shakespeare.
201 the following stanzas, supposed to be spoken by Richard himself:
• To him that impt my fame with Clio's quill,
Crowned be his stile with fame, his head with bayes;
And none detract, but gratulate his praise.
Nor Acts nor Chronicles could ere containe
The hell-deepe reaches of my soundlesse braine.' The other notice occurs in Rubbe and a great Cast, a collection of epigrams published in 1614, by Thomas Freeman, gent.' The 92nd Epigram of the collection is as follows :
"To Master W. Shakespeare.
And help t'adorn thee with deserved baics.' 94. On the 10th of February, 1615-16, Shakespeare's younger daughter, Judith, was married, at the age of thirty, to Thomas Quiney, vintner, of Stratford-on-Avon, son of that Richard Quiney who, twenty years before, had solicited Shakespeare for a loan of 301. It seems to have been in anticipation of this event that Shakespeare, then in sound health, made his will. The will, at all events, was originally dated January 25, 1616, and the word ‘January' was subsequently erased and March' put in its stead. This important document has been so often quoted that it is unnecessary to do more than refer to it. Suffice it here to remind the reader that, in the disposition of the property, the tenement in the Blackfriars, London, 'wherein one John Robinson dwelleth,' goes to Mrs. Hall, and that twenty-six shillings and eightpence each are left to my fellows John Hemynge, Richard Burbage and Henry Cundell,' to buy them rings.
95. The following is to be read among the burial entries in the Stratford register :
*1616: April 25: Will: Shakespeare, Gent.' 96. Some time between 1616 and 1623 was erected that monument to Shakespeare in Stratford Church, which all the world goes to see. The inscriptions placed underneath the bust were the following :
Judicio Pylium, Genio Socratem, Arte Maronem
Obit Ano. Doi. 1616. Etatis 53. Die 23 Ap. Whoever wrote these epitaphs had quite the same estimate of Shakespeare's genius that the world now has, and expressed it not ill.
97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, and 103. In the same interval between 1616 and 1623, in which the Stratford monument was erected, there were seven publications of works of Shakespearesix being reprints, and one a drama not before published. The reprints were fifth and sixth editions of Lucrece, in 1616 and 1620 respectively; sixth and seventh editions of Venus and Adonis, in 1617 and 1620 respectively; a second edition of the Merry Wives of Windsor in 1619; and a second edition of Pericles in the same year. All these bore the author's name. The title-page of the new drama was as follows:
* The tragedy of Othello, the Moore of Venice. As it hath beene diverse times acted at the Globe and at the Blackfriers, by his Majestie's servants: Written by William Shakespeare. London, printed by N. O. for Thomas Walkley, and are to be sold at his shop at the Eagle and Child in Brittan's Bursse : 1622.'
104. In the month of January 1619, Ben Jonson paid his famous visit to Drummond of Hawthornden, and, in his gossip