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The Licence for acting, granted by James the First to the Company at the Globe, extracted from Rymer's Fædera.
Pro LAURENTIO FLETCHER & WILLIELMO SHAKE. SPEARE & aliis:
A. D. 1603. Par. *
J. Jac. P. 2. m 4. James by the grace of God, &c. to all justices, maiors, sheriffs, constables, headboroughs, and
* Among the unpublished collections of Rymer which are now in the British Museum, is the following patent granted in the 16th year of Q. Elizabeth, (viz. 1574). See MSS. Rymer, vol. I. The James Burbage mentioned therein, was in all probability faa ther to Richard Burbage the contemporary of Shakespeare, and chief performer in his plays. I have printed it, because perhaps it is the first regular licence ever granted to players.
" Pro Jacobo Burbage et aliis, de licentia fpeciali Elizabeth by the grace of God, quene of England, &c. To all justices, mayors, sheriffes, baylyffes, head constables, under constables, and all other oure officers and mynisters gretinge.
Know ye, that we of our especiall grace, certen knowledge, and mere motion have licensed and auctorised, and by these presents do lycence and auctorise oure lovinge subjectes James Burbage, John Perkyn, John Lanham, William Johnson, and Robert Wila fon, servaunts to our trustie and well beloved cosen and counseyllour the Earle of Leycester, to use, exercyfe and occupie the arte and facultye of playenge commedies, tragedies, enterludes, stage. playes, and suche other like as they have alredie used and studied, or hereafter shall use and studie, as well for the recreation of oure lovinge subjectes as for oure solace and pleasure when we shall thinke good to see them, as also to use and occupie all suche in. strumentes as they have alredie practised or hereafter shall prace tise for and duringe our pleasure; and the said commedies, tra. gedies, enterludes, and stage-plaies, together with their musicke, to shew, publishe, exercise and occupie to their best commoditie, during all the terme aforesaide, as well within the liberties and freedomes of anye our cities, townes, bouroughs, &c, whatsoever, VOL. I. [N]
other our officers and loving subjects, greeting. Know you that wee, of our special grace, certaine knowledge and meer motion, have licensed and authorized, and by these presentes doe licence and authorize theise our servaunts Laurence Fletcher, William Shakespeare, Richard Burbage, Augustine Philippes, John Hemings, Henrie Condel, William Sly, Robert Armin, Richard Cowly, and the rest of their associates, freely to use and exercise the arte and faculty of playing comedies, tragedies, histories, interludes, morals, pastorals, stage-plaies, and such like others as theie have alreadie studied or hereafter shall use or studie, as well for the recreation of our lovinge subjects, as well as for our soJace and pleasure when we fhall thincke good to see them,
during our pleasure: and the said comedics, tragedies, his· tories, enterludes, morals, pastorals, stage-plaies, and such
like, to shew and exercise publiquely to their best commoditie, when the infection of the plague shall decrease, as well within theire nowe usuall house called the Globe, within our county of Surrey, as also within anie toune halls or moute halls, or other convenient places within the liberties and freedom of any other citie, universitie, toun, or boroughe whatsoever within our faid realmes and dominions. Willing and commanding you and everie of you, as you tender our pleasure, not onlie to permit and suffer them herein, without anie your letts, hindrances, or mo
as without the same, thoroughoute oure realme of England, Wyllinge and cominaundinge yowe and every of you as ye tender oure pleasure to permitt and furter them herein withoute anye lettes, hynderaunce or molestation duringe the terme aforesaide, any acte, statute, or proclamation or cominaundement heretofore made or hereafter to be made notivythstandynge; provyded that the laide commedies, tragedies, enterludes and stage-playes be by the matter of our revells for the tyme beyinge before lene and al. lowed; and that the fame be not published or shewen in the tyme of common prayer or in the tyme of greate and common plague in our faide citye of London.
: In wytnes whereof, &c.
Per breve de privato figillo." Mr. Dodney in the preface to his collection of old plays 1744, p. 21. says that the firii company oj players we have any account of in history, are the children of Pauls'in 1578. STEEVENS.
lestations, during our faid pleasure, but also to be aiding or asliftinge to them if any wrong be to them offered, and to allow them such former curtefies as hathe bene given to men of their place and quallitie; and also what further favour you shall shew to theise our servaunts for our fake, we shall take kindlie at your handes.
In witness whereof, &c.
Witness our felfe at Westminster, the nynteenth daye of
Per Breve de Privato Sigillo.
Extracted from the Registry of the Archbishop of
Vicefimo quinto die Martii Anno Regni Domini noftri Jacobi nunc
Regis Anglia, &c. decimo quarto & Scotia quadragefimo nono. Anno Domini 1616.
TN the name of God, Amen. I William Shakespeare of
| Stratford upon Avon, in the county of Warwick, gent. in perfect health and memory (God be praised) do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following; that is to say:
First, I coni mend my soul into the hands of God my creater, hoping, and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting; and my body to the earth whereof that is made.
Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Judith one hundred and fifty pounds of lawful English money, to be paid unto her in manner and form following; that is to say, one hundred pounds in discharge of her marriage portion within one year after my decease, with confiderations after the rate of two shillings in the pound for so long time as the fame shall be unpaid unto her after my decease; and the fifty pounds residue thereof, upon her surrendering of or giving of such sufficient security as the overseers of this my will ihall like of, to surrender or grant all her estate and right that shall descend or come unto her after my decease, or that she now hath of, in, or to, one copyhold tenement, with the appurtenances, lying and being in Stratford upon Avon aforesaid, in the said county of Warwick, being parcel or holden of the manor of Rowington, unto my daughter Susannah Hall, and her heirs for ever.
Item, I give and bequeath unto my said daughter Judith one hundred and fifty pounds more, if she, or any issue of her body, be living at the end of three years next ensuing the day of the date of this my will, during which time my executors to pay her confideration from my decease accord
This Shadowe is renowned Shakespear's? Soule of th’age The applause : delight ? the wonder of the Stage. Nature her selfé, was proud of his designes
And joy'd to weare the dressing of his lines; | The learned will Confess, his works are fuch, As neither man, nor Muse, can prayse to much.
For ever live thy fame, the world to tell ,