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extravagancies, which our author has given 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 same 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, fon of Sir William Lucy, in which are quartered in four sea veral 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 can| dour 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 po1 lite learning to admire him); and that he should throw this

humourous piece of satire 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 pro secutor's side: 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 said, our author spent some years before his death, in eafe, 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 fome, that Spenser's Thalia, in his Tears of his Mules, where she laments the loss of her Willy in the comick scene, has been applied to our author's quitting the stage. But Spenser himfelf, it is well known, quitted the stage of life in the year 1598; and, five years after this, we find Shakespeare'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, fince, that very year, a licence under the privy-seal was granted by K. James I. to him and Fletcher, Burbage, Phillippes, Hemings, Condel, &c. authorizing them to exercise the art of playing comedies, tragedies, &c. as well at their usual house called The Globe on the other side of the water, as in any other parts of the kingdom, during - bis majesty's pleasure (a copy of which licence is preserved

in Rymer's Federa). Again, it is certain, that Shakespeare
did not exhibit his Macbeth, till after the union was brought
about, and till after K. James I. had begun to touch for
the evil; for it is plain, he has inserted compliments, on
both those accounts, upon his roval mafter 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 Shake-
speare, must hint at some occasional recess he made for a
time upon a disgust taken: or the Willy, there mentioned,
muft relate to some other favourite poet. I believe, we may
safely determine, that he had not quitted in the year 1610.
For in his Tempest, our author makes mention of the Ber-
muda islands, which were unknown to the English, till, in
1609, Sir John Summers made a voyage to North-America,
and discovered them: and afterwards invited some of his
countrymen 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
ulury: and upon whom Shakespeare made the following fa-
cetious epitaph. ::L"!!. : 'nda "No ;

Ten in the hundred lies here ingravid, ... :
'Tis a hundred to ten his foulis not favd;
If any man afk, who lies in this tomb, soi.
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, iş said to have died in the year 1614, 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, efq; who died the roth of July, 1614, « who bequeathed several annual charities to the parish of « Stratford, and 100l. 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 inVOL. I. : : [1]

« crease

' " creafe to be distributed to the almes-poor there.” The donation has all the air of a rich and sagacious usurer.

Shakespeare 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 side 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 reprefented under an arch in a fitting poiture, 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.

INGENIO Pylium, genio Socratem, arte Maronem,

Terra tegit, populus mæret, Olympus habet.

I confess, I do not conceive the difference betwixt 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 Worwickshire, has copied this distich with a distinction which Mr. Rowe · has followed, and which certainly restores us the true meaning of the epitaph.

JUDICIO Pylium, genio Socratem *, &c.


* The first syllable in Socratem is here made Nort, which cannot be allowed. Perhaps we Mhould read Sophoclem. Shakeipeare is then appositely compared with a dramatic author among the ancients : but still it should be remembered that the elogium is lelsen'd while the metre is reform’d; and it is well known that some of our early writers of Latin poetry were uncommonly negligent in their prosody, especially in proper names. The thought of this distich, as Mr. Tollet observes, might have been taken from the Fairy Queen of Spenser, b. 11, c. 9. it. 48, and c. 10. st. 3.

To this Latin inferiprion on Shakespeare should be added the lines which are found underneath it on his monument."

Stay, passenger, why dost thou go fo fast?
Read, if thou canst, whom envious death hath plac'd
Within this monument; Shakespeare, with whom
Quick nature dy'd, whose name doth deck the tomb
Far more than coit; fince all that he hath writ
Leaves living art but page to serve his wit. .

In 3614, the greater part of the town of Stratford was consumed by fire; butour Shakespeare'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 gena tleman the town of Stratford is indebted for the fine stonebridge, consisting of fourteen arches, which, at an extraordinary expence, he built over the Avon, together with a causeway running at the west-end thereof; as also for rebuilding the chapeladjoining to his house, and the cross-isle in the church there. It is remarkable of him, that, though he lived and died a batchelor, among the other extensive charities which he left both to the city of London and town of Stratford, he bequeathed considerable legacies for the marriage of poor maidens of good name and fame both in London and at Stratford. Notwithstanding which large donations in his life, and bequests at his death, as he had purchased the manor of Clopton, and all the estate of the family, so he left the same again to his elder brother's son with a very great addition (a proof how.well beneficence and æconomy may walk hand in had in wise families): good part of which estate is yet in the poffeffion of Edward Clopton, esq; and Sir Hugh Clopton, knt. lineally descended from the elder brother of the firit Sir Hugh : who particularly bequeathed to his nephew, by his will, his house, by the name of his Great House in Stratford.

The estate had now been sold out of the Clopton family for above a century, at the time when Shakespeare became the purchafer : who, having repaired and modelled it to his own mind, changed the name to New-piace; which the mansion-house, since erected upon the same spot, at this day retains. The house and lands, which attended it, continued in Shakespeare's descendants to the time of the Refton ration : when they were repurchased by the Clapton family, and the mansion now belongs to Sir Hugh Clopton, knt. Again, near the wall on which this monument is ereEted, is a plain free-stone, under which his body is buried, with another epitaph, expressed in the following uncouth mixture of small and capital letters :

Good Frend for Iesus SAKE forbeare
To digg 'FE Dust EncloAfed HERE
Blese be TE Man I spares TEs Stones

And curst be He moves my Bones. STĘEVENS.
Vol. I.
[1 2]

TI To the favour of this worthy gentleman I owe the knowledge of one particular, in honour of our poet's once dwellinghouse, of which, I presume, Mr. Rowe never was apprized. When the civil war raged in England, and king Charles the First's queen was driven by the necessity of affairs to make a recess in Warwickshire, she kept her court for three weeks in New.place. We may reasonably suppose it then the best private house in the town; and her majesty preferred it to the college, which was in the poffeffion of the Combe family, who did not fo strongly favour the king's party.

How much our author employed himself in poetry, after his retirement from the stage, does not fo evidently appear: very few posthumous sketches of his pen have been recovered to ascertain that point. We have been told, indeed, in print, but not till very lately, that two large cheits full of this great man's loose papers and manuscripts, in the hands of an ignorant baker of Warwick (who married one of the descendants from our Shakespeare) were carelessly scattered and thrown about as garret-lumber and litter, to the particular knowledge of the late Sir William Bishop, till they were all consumed in the general fire and destruction of that town. I cannot help being a little apt to diftrust the authority of this tradition : because his wife survived him seven years, and as his favourite daughter Sufanna survived her twenty-six years, it is very improbable they should suffer such a treasure to be removed, and translated into a remoter branch of the family, without a scrutiny firft made into the value of it. This, I fay, inclines me to distrust the authority of the relation : but, notwithstanding such an apparent improbability, if we really lost such a treasure, by whatever fatality or caprice of fortune they came into fuch ignorant and neglectful hands, I agree with the relater, the misfortune is wholly irreparable.

To these particulars, which regard his person and private life, some, few more are to be gleaned from Mr. Rowe's Account of his Life and Writings: let us now take a short view of him in his publick capacity as a writer : and, from thence, the transition will be easy to the state in which his writings have been handed down to us.

No age, perhaps, can produce an author more various from himself, than Shakespeare has been universally acknowledged to be. The diversity in stile, and other parts of composition, so obvious in him, is as variously to be accounted for. His education, we find, was at best but begun ; and

. . he

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