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intimacy with Mr. John Combe, an old Gentleman noted
thereabouts for his wealth and usury: And upon whom
Shakespeare made the following facetious epitaph.

Ten in the bundred lies bere ingravid,
'Tis a bundred to ten bis foul is not fav’d;
If any man ask who lies in ibis tomb,

Ob! ob ! quotb. tbe Devil, 'tis my John-a-Combe,
This farcastical piece of wit was, at the Gentleman's own
requeft, thrown out extemporally in his company. And this
Mr. John Combe I take to be the fame, who, by Dugdale in
his antiquities of Warwickfire, is said to have dý'd 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 ftatue thereon cut in alabafter, and in a
gown, with this epitaph. “ Here lyeth interr’d the body

« of John Combe, esg; who dy'd the roth of July, 1614.
66 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
* increafe to be diftributed to the almes-poor there."-
The donation has all the air of a rich and fagacious usurer.

Shakespeare himself did not survive Mr. Combe long, for he dy'd in the year 1616; the 534 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 plac'd against the wall. He is represented under an arch in a fitting pofture, a cushion spread before him, with a pen in his right hand, and his left rested on a ferowl of paper. The Latin diftich, which is placed under the cushion, has been given us by Mr. Pope, or his graver, in this manner.

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INGENIO Pylium, Genio Socratem, Arte Maronem,
Terra tegit, Populus mceret, Olympus babet.

I confess, I don't conceive the difference between Ingenio and Genio in the first verse. They seem to me intirely lynonymous terms ; nor was the Pylian Sage Neftor celebrated for his ingenuity, but for an experience and judgment owing to his long age. Dugdale, in his antiquities of WarwickAhire, has copied this distich with a distinction which Mr. Rowe has follow'd, and which certainly restores us the true meaning of the epitaph.

JUDICIO Pylium, Genio Socratem, &c. In 1614, the greater part of the town of Stratford was consumed by fire; but our Shakespeare's house, among fome others, escap'd 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 Gentleman the town of Stratford is 'indebted for the fine ftone-bridge, consisting of fourteen. arches, which at an extraordinary expence he built over the. Avon, together with a caufe-way running at the west-end thereof; as alfo for rebuilding the chapel adjoining to his house, and the cross-ise in the church there. It is remark. able of him, that, tho' ħe liv’d and dy'd a bachelor; among: the other extensive charities which he left both to the city of London and town of Stratford, he bequeath'd confiderable tegacies for the marrriage of poor maidens of goodi name and fame both in London and at Stratford. Notwithstanding which large donations in his life, and bequests at his death, as be bad purchased the manor of Clopton, and all the estate

of the family, fo he left the same again to his elder brother's son with a very great addition : (A proof, how well beneficence and economy may walk hand in hand in wise famj. lies :) Good part of which eftate is yet in the possession of Edward Clopton, efq; and Sir Hugh Clopton, knt. lineally descended from the elder brother of the first 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 à century, at the time when Shakespeare becarre the purchaser : Who, having repair'd and modell’d it to his own mind, chang'd the name to New-place; which the manfion-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 Restoration : When they were repurchased by the Clopton family, and the mansion now belongs to Sir Hugh Clopton, knt. To the favour of this worthy Gentleman I owe the knowledge of one particular, in honour of our poet's once dwel. ling-house, of which, I presume, Mr. Rowė never was appriz’d. When the civil war raged in England, and K. Charles the First's queen was driven by the necessity of af. fairs to make a recess in Warwickshire, the 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 preferr’d it to the College, which was in the poffeffion of the Combe-family, who did not so strongly favour the King's party.

How much our author employ'd himself in poetry, after his retirement from the stage, does not so evidently appear : Very few posthumous sketches of his pen have been recover'd to ascertain that print. We have been told, indeed, in print, but not till very lately that iwo large chefs

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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 carelesly scatter'd 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 distrust the authority of this tradition ; because his wife surviv'd him seven years, and as his favourite daughter Susanna furviv'd her twenty-fix years, 'tis very improbable, they should suffer such a treasure to be remov'd, and translated into a remoter branch of the family, without a scrutiny first made into the value of it. This, I say, inclines me to distrust the authority of the relation : Bút, notwithstanding such an apparent improbabiliry, if we really lost such a treasure, by whatever fatality or caprice of fortune they came into such ignorant and neglectful hands, I agree with the relater, the misfor, tune is wholly irreparable.

To these particulars, which regard his person and private life, some few more are to be glean’d 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 file, 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 started early into a science from the force of genius, unequally affifted by acquir'd improvements. His fire, fpirit, and exuberance of imagination gave an impetuosity to his pen : His ideas fow'd fro... him in a stream rapid, but not

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turbulent; copious, but not ever over-bearing its fhores.
The ease and sweetness of his temper might not a little con-
tribute to his facility in writing: As his employment, as a
player, gave him an advantage and habit of fancying himself
the very character he meant to delineate. He ufed the helps
of his function in forming himself to create and express that
fublime, which other actors can only copy, and throw out,
in action and graceful attitude. But Nullum fine Veniâ pla-
cuit Ingenium, fays Seneca. The genius, that gives us the
"greatest pleasure, fometimes stands in need of our indulgence.
Whenever this happens with regard to Shakespeare I would
willingly impute it to a vice of his times. We see complai-
fance enough, in our days, paid to a bad taste. So that his
clinches, false wit, and descending beneath "himself, may
have proceeded from a deference paid to the then reigning
barbarism.
- I have not thought it out of my province, whenever' oc-
cafion offered, to take notice of some of our poet's grand
touches of nature : Some, that do not appear fuperficially
fuch; but in which he seems the most deeply instructed ;
and to which, no doubt, be has fo much owd that happy
prefervation of his characters, for which he is juftly cele-
brated. Great genius's, like his, naturally unambitious,
are satisfy'd to conceal their art in thefe points. 'Tis the
foible of your worser poets to make a parade and oftentation
of that little science they have ; and to throw it out in
the most ambitious colours. And whenever a writer of
this class shall attempt to copy thefe artful concealments of
our author, and shall either think them easy, or prac-
tised by a writer for his ease, he will soon be convinced of
his mistake by the difficulty of reaching the imitation of
them.

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