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instance of his wife, an interval of two days before his interment.
Into the particular provisions of his will we need not enter at all at large, because we have printed it at the end of the present memoir from the original, as it was filed in the Prerogative Court}, probate having been granted on the 22d June following the date of it. His daughter Judith is there only called by her Christian name, although she had been married to Thomas Quiney considerably more than a month anterior to the actual date of the will, and although his eldest daughter Susanna is mentioned by her husband's patronymic. It seems evident, from the tenor of the whole instrument, that when it was prepared Judith was not married , although her speedy union with Thomas Quiney was contemplated: the attorney or scrivener, who drew it, had first written “son and daughter,” (meaning Judith and her intended husband) but erased the words “son and” afterwards, as the parties were not yet married, and were not “son and daughter” to the testator. It is true that Thomas Quiney would not have been Shakespeare's son, only his son-in-law; but the degrees of consanguinity were not at that time strictly marked and attended to, and in the same will Elizabeth Hall is called the testator's “niece,” when she was, in fact, his granddaughter.
The bequest which has attracted most attention is an interlineation in the following words, “Itm I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture.”
3 We are indebted to Sir F. Madden, Keeper of the MSS. in the British Museum, for the use of a most exact collation of Shakespeare's will ; in addition to which we have several times gone over every line and word of it. We have printed it as nearly as possible as it appears in the original.
• Another trifling circumstance leading to the conclusion that the will was prepared in January, though not executed until March, is that Shakespeare's sister is called Jone Hart, and not Jone Hart, widor. Her husband had died a few days before Shakespeare, and he was buried on 17 April, 1616, as “Will. Hart, hatter.” She was buried on 4 Nov. 1646. Both entries are contained in the parish registers of Stratford.
Upon this passage has been founded, by Malone and others, a charge against Shakespeare, that he only remembered his wife as an afterthought, and then merely gave her "an old bed.” As to the last part of the accusation, it may be answered, that the “second best bed” was probably that in which the husband and wife had slept, when he was in Stratford earlier in life, and every night since his retirement from the metropolis: the best bed was doubtless reserved for visitors: if, therefore, he were to leave his wife any express legacy of the kind, it was most natural and considerate that he should give her that piece of furniture, which for many years they had jointly occupied. With regard to the second part of the charge, our great dramatist has of late years been relieved from the stigma, thus attempted to be thrown upon him, by the mere remark, that Shakespeare's property being principally freehold, the widow by the ordinary operation of the law of England would be entitled to, what is legally known by the term, dowers. It is extraordinary that this explanation should never have occurred to Malone, who was educated to the legal profession; but that many others should have followed him in his unjust imputation is not remarkable, recollecting how prone most of Shakespeare's biographers have been to repeat errors, rather than take the trouble to inquire for themselves, to sift out truth, and to balance probabilities.
5 This vindication of Shakespeare's memory from the supposed neglect of his wife we owe to Mr. Knight, in his “ Pictorial Shakspere.” See the Postscript to “ Twelfth Night.” When the explanation is once given, it seems so easy, that we wonder it was never before mentioned ; but like many discoveries of different kinds, it is not less simple than important, and it is just that Mr. Knight should have full credit for it.
Monument to Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon erected before 1623 ; pro
bably under the superintendence of Dr. Hall, and Shakespeare's daughter Susanna. Difference between the bust on the monument and the portrait on the title-page of the folio of 1623. Ben Jonson's testimony in favour of the likeness of the latter. Shakespeare's personal appearance. His social and convivial qualities. “Wit-combats” mentioned by Fuller in his “ Worthies.” Epitaphs upon Sir Thomas Stanley and Elias James. Conclusion. Hallam's character of Shakespeare.
A MONUMENT to Shakespeare was erected anterior to the publication of the folio edition of his “ Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies" in 1623, because it is thus distinctly mentioned by Leonard Digges, in the earliest copy of commendatory verses prefixed to that volume, which he states shall outlive the poet's tomb :
“when that stone is rent, And time dissolves thy Stratford Monument, Here we alive shall view thee still."
This is the most ancient notice of it; but how long before 1623 it had been placed in the church of Stratford-upon-Avon, we have no means of deciding. It represents the poet sitting under an arch, with a cushion before him, a pen in his right hand, and his left resting upon a sheet of paper: it has been the opinion of the best judges that it was cut by an English sculptor, (perhaps Thomas Stanton) and we may conclude, without much hesitation, that the artist was employed by Dr. Hall and his wife, and that the resemblance was as faithful as a bust, not modelled from the life, but probably, under living instructions, from some picture or cast, could be expected to be. Shakespeare is there considerably fuller in the face, than in the engraving on the title-page of the folio of 1623, which must have been made from a different original. It seems not unlikely that after he separated himself from the business and anxiety of a professional life, and withdrew to the permanent inhaling of his native air, he became more robust, and the half-length upon his monument conveys the notion of a cheerful, good-tempered, and somewhat jovial man. The expression, we apprehend, is less intellectual than it must have been in reality, and the forehead, though lofty and expansive, is not strongly marked with thought: on the whole, it has rather a look of gaiety and good humour than of thought and reflection, and the lips are full, and apparently in the act of giving utterance to some amiable pleasantry.
On a tablet below the bust are placed the following inscriptions, which we give literally :
“ Ivdicio Pylivm, genio Socratem, arte Maronem,
Terra tegit, popvlvs mæret, Olympvs habet.
Stay, Passenger, why goest thov by so fast ?
Obiit ano Doi, 1616.
On a flat grave-stone in front of the monument, and not far from the wall against which it is fixed, we read these lines; and Southwell's correspondent (whose letter was printed in 1838, from the original manuscript dated 1693) informs us, speaking of course from tradition, that they were written by Shakespeare himself:
“Good frend, for Jesvs sake forbeare
To digg the dvst encloased heare:
The half-length on the title-page of the folio of 1623, engraved by Martin Droeshout, has certainly an expression of greater gravity than the bust on Shakespeare's monument; and, making some allowances, we can conceive the original of that resemblance more capable of producing the mighty works Shakespeare has left behind him, than the original of the bust: at all events, the first rather looks like the author of “Lear” and “ Macbeth,” and the last like the author of “ Much Ado about Nothing” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor:” the one may be said to represent Shakespeare during his later years at Stratford, happy in the intercourse of his family and friends, and the cheerful companion of his neighbours and townsmen; and the other, Shakespeare in London, revolving the great works he had written or projected, and with his mind somewhat burdened by the cares of his professional life. The last, therefore, is obviously the likeness which ought to accompany his plays, and which his “ friends and fellows,” Heminge and Condell, preferred to the head upon the “Stratford monument,” of the erection of which they must have been aware..
There is one point in which both the engraving and the bust in a degree concur,—we mean in the length of the upper lip, although the peculiarity seems exaggerated in the bust. We have no such testimony in favour of the truth of the resemblance of the bust' as of the engraving, opposite to which are the following lines, subscribed with the initials of Ben Jonson, and doubtless from his pen. Let the reader bear in mind that Ben Jonson was not a man who could be hired to commend, and that, taking it for granted he was sincere
1 It was originally, like many other monuments of the time, and some in Stratford church, coloured after the life, and so it continued until Malone, in his mistaken zeal for classical taste and severity, and forgetting the practice of the period at which the work was produced, had it painted one uniform stonecolour. He thus exposed himself to much not unmerited ridicule. It was afterwards found impossible to restore the original colours.