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easy to be determined at this distance; but, it is probable, a view of interest might partly sway his conduct in this point: for he married the daughter of one Hathaway, a substantial yeoman in his neighbourhood, and she had the start of him in age no less than eight years. She survived him notwithstanding seven seasons, and died that very year the players published the first edition of his works in folio, anno Dom. 1623, at the age of 67 years, as we likewise learn from her monument in Stratford church.

How long he continued in this kind of settlement, upon his own native spot, is not more easily to be determined. But if the tradition be true, of that extravagance which forced him both to quit his country and way of living, to wit, his being engaged with a knot of young deer-stealers, to' rob the park of Sir Thomas Lucy, of Cherlecot, near Stratford, the enterprize favours so much of youth and levity, we may reasonably suppose it was before he could write full man. Befides, confidering he has left us fix-and-thirty plays at least, avowed to be genuine ; and considering too that he had retired from the ftage, to spend the latter part of his days at his own native Stratford; the interval of time necessarily required for the finishing fo many dramatick pieces, obliges us to suppole he threw himself very early upon the play-house. And as he could, probably, contract no acquaintance with the drama, while he was driving on the affair of wool at home; fome time must be loft, even after he had commenced player, before he could attain knowledge enough in the science to qualify himself for turning author.

It has been observed by Mr. Rowe, that amongst other extravagancies, which our author has given Vol. I.


to his Sir John Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, he has made him a deer-stealer ; and, that he might at the same time remember his Warwickshire prosecutor, under the name of Justice Shallow, he has given him very near the fame coat of arms, which Dugdale, in his Antiquities of that county, describes for a family there. There are two coats, I observe, in Dugdale, where three silver fishes are borne in the name of Lucy; and another coat, to the monument of Thomas Lucy, son of Sir William Lucy, in which are quartered, in four several divisions, twelve little fishes, three in each division, probably Luces. This very coat, indeed, seems alluded to in Shallow's giving the dozen white Luces, and in Slender saying he may quarter. When I consider the exceeding candour and good-nature of our author (which inclined all the gentler part of the world to love him, as the power of his wit obliged the men of the most delicate knowledge and polite learning to admire him) : and that he should throw this humorous piece of fatire at his prosecutor, at least twenty years after the provocation given ; I am confidently persuaded it must be owing to an unforgiving rancour on the prosecutor's fide : and, if this was the case, it were pity but the disgrace of such an inveteracy should remain as a lasting reproach, and Shallow stand as a mark of ridicule to stigmatize his malice.

It is id, our author spent fome years before his death in ease, retirement, and the conversation of his friends, at his native Stratford. I could never pick up any certain intelligence, when he relinquished the stage. I know, it has been mistakenly thought by some, that Spenser's Thalia, in his Tears of the Muses, where she laments the loss of her Willy in the comick scene, has been applied to our author's quitting the stage. But Spenter himfelf, it is well known, quitted the stage of life in the year 1598 ; and, five years after this, we find Shakspeare's name among the actors in Ben Jonson's Sejanus, which first made its appearance in the year 1603. Nor surely, could he then have any thoughts of retiring, since that very year a licence under the privy-leal was granted by King James I. to him and Fletcher, Burbage, Phillippes, Hemings, Condell, &c. authorizing them to exercise the art of playing comedies, tragedies, &c. as well at their usual houfe called The Globe on the other side of the water, as in any other parts of the kingdom, during his majesty's pleasure (a copy of which licence is preserved in Rymer's Fodera). Again, it is certain, that Shakspeare did not exhibit bis Macbeth till after the Union was brought about, and till after King James I. had begun to touch for the evil: for it is plain, he has inserted compliments on both those accounts, upon his royal master in that tragedy. Nor, indeed, could the number of the dramatick pieces, he produced, admit of his retiring near so early as that period. So that what Spenser there says, if it relate at all to Shakspeare, must hint at tome occasional recess he made for a time upon a disgust taken : or the Willy, there mentioned, must relate to fome other favourite poet. I believe, we may safely determine, that he had not quitted in the year !610. For, in his Tempest, our author makes mention of the Bermuda islands, which were unknown to the English, till, in 1609, Sir John Summers made a voyage to North-America, and difcovered them, and afterwards invited some of his coụntrymen to settle a plantation there. That he

became the private gentleman at least three years before his decease, is pretty obvious from another circumstance: I mean, from that remarkable and well-known story, which Mr. Rowe has given us of our author's intimacy with Mr. John Combe, an old gentleman noted thereabouts for his wealth and usury; and upon whom Shakspeare made the following facetious epitaph :

« Ten in the hundred lies here ingravid,
“ 'Tis a hundred to ten his soul is not sav'd;
If any man alk, who lies in this tomb,
Oh! oh! quoth the devil, 'tis my John-a-Combe."

This sarcastical piece of wit was, at the gentleman's own request, thrown out extemporally in his company. And this Mr. John Combe I take to be the same, who, by Dugdale in his Antiquities of Warwickshire, is said to have died in the year 1614,3 and for whom, at the upper end of the quire of the Guild of the Holy Cross at Stratford, a fair monument is erected, having a statue thereon cut in alabaster, and in a gown, with this epitaph : “ Here lieth interred the body of John Combe, esq; who died the 10th of July, 1614, who bequeathed several annual charities to the parish of Stratford, and 1001. to be lent to fifteen poor tradesmen from three years to three years, changing the parties every third year, at the rate of fifty shillings per annum, the increase to be distributed to the almes-poor there.”—The donation has all the air of a rich and sagacious usurer.

Shakspeare himself did not survive Mr. Combe long, for he died in the year 1616, the 53d of his age. He lies buried on the north fide of the chancel in the great church at Stratford ; where a monument, decent enough for the time, is erected to him, and placed against the wall. He is represented under an arch in a sitting posture, a cushion spread before him, with a pen in his right hand, and his left rested on a scrowl of paper. . The Latin distich, which is placed under the cushion, has been given us by Mr. Pope, or his graver, in this manner :

3 By Mr. Combe's Will, which is now in the Prerogative-office in London, Shakspeare had a legacy of five pounds bequeathed to him. The Will is without any date. Reed.

“ INGENIO Pylium, genio Socratem, arte Maronem, Terra tegit, populus meret, Olympus habet."

I confess, I do not conceive the difference between ingenio and genio in the first verse. They seem to me intirely synonymous terms; nor was the Pylian fage Nestor celebrated for his ingenuity, but for an experience and judgment owing to his long age. Dugdale, in his Antiquities of WarwickShire, has copied this distich with a distinction which Mr. Rowe has followed, and which certainly restores us the true meaning of the epi. taph:

“ JUDICIO Pylium, genio Socratem," &c.

In 1614, the greater part of the town of Stratford was consumed by fire; but our Shakspeare's house, among some others, escaped the flames. This house was first built by Sir Hugh Clopton, a younger brother of an ancient family in that neighbourhood, who took their name from the manor of Clopton. Sir Hugh was Sheriff of London in the reign of Richard III. and Lord-Mayor in the reign of King Henry VII. To this gentle

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