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married to one Mr. Thomas Quiney. So that. Shakspere must have entered into wedlock by that time he was turned of seventeen years.
Whether the force of inclination merely, or some concurring circumstances of convenience in the match, prompted him to marry so early, is not 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 in which 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 monu, ment 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 savours so much of youth and levity, we may reasonably suppose it was before he could write full man. Besides, considering he has left us six-and-thirty plays at least, avowed to be genuine ; and considering too that he had retired from the stage, to spend the latter part of his days at his own native Stratford; the interval of time necessarily required for the finishing so
anany dramatick pieces, obliges us to suppose 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; some time must be lost, 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 extravagances, 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, 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 goodnature 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 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 unforgivi ing rancour on the prosecutor's side :and, if this was the case, it were pity but the disgrace of such an inves teracy 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 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 his Muses, where she laments the loss of her Willy in the comick scene, has been applied to our author's quitting the stage. But Spenser himself, it is well known, quitted the stage of life in the year 1598; and, five years after this, we find Shakspere'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-seal was granted by. K. James I. to him and Fletcher, Burbage, Phillippes, Heminge, Condell, &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 his majesty's pleasure (a copy of which licence is preserved in Rymer's Fædera). Again, it is certain, that Shakspere did not exhibit his Macbeth till after the Union was brought about, and till after. K. James 1... 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 whát Spenser there. says, if it relate at all to Shaka spere, must hint at some occasional recess he made for a time upon a disgust taken: or the Willy, there mentioned, must 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 Bermuda islands, which were unknown to the English, till, in 1609, Sir John Summers made a voyage to North-America, and discovered thein, and afterwards invited some of his countrymen to settle a plantation there. That he bea came the private gentleman, at least three years before his decease, is pretty obvious from another circumstance : I mean, from that remarkable and wellknown story, which - Mr. Rowe has given us of our author's intimacy with Mr. John Combe, an old genas tleman noted thereabouts for his wealth and usury; and upon whom Shakspere made the following facetious epitaph :
Ten in the hundred lies here ingrav'd,
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 *, and for whom, at the upper end of the choir 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 Johit " Combe, esq. who died the 10th of July, 1614, « who bequeathed several annual charities to the pa“ rish 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 increase to be distributed to “ the alms-poor there."--The donation has all the air of a rich and sagacious usurer.
Shakspere 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 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 scrowł of
* By Mr. Combe's Will, which is now in the Prerogative-Office in London, Shakspere had a legacy of five pounds bequeathed to him, The Will is without any date.