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The latter part of his life was spent, as all men

6. The matter of fact, if my memory fail me not, was this. Mr. Hales of Eton affirmed, that he would shew all the poets of antiquity out-done by Shakspeare, in all the topicks and common-places made use of in poetry. The enemies of Shakspeare would by no means yield him so much excellence ; fo that it came to a resolution of a trial of skill upon that subject. The place agreed on for the dispute was Mr. Hales's chamber at Eton. A great many books were sent down by the enemies of this poet; and on the appointed day my lord Falkland, Sir John Suckling, and all the persons of quality that had wit and learning, and interested themselves in the quarrel, met there; and upon a thorough disquisition of the point, the judges chosen by agreement out of this learned and ingenious assembly, unanimously gave the preference to Shakspeare, and the Greek and Roman poets were adjudged to vail at least their glory in that, to the English Hero. 9,

This elogium on our author is likewise recorded at an earlier period by Tate, probably from the fame authority, in the preface to the Loyal General, quarto, 1680: 66 Our learned Hales was wont to assert, that, since the time of Orpheus, and the oldest poets, no common-place has been touched upon, where our author has not performed as well. ,,

Dryden himselfalfo certainly alludes to this story, which he appears to have related both to Gildon and Rowe, in the following passage of his Essay of Dramatick Poejy, 1667 ; and he as well as Gildon goes somewhat further than Rowe in his panegyrick. After giving that fine character of our poet which Dr. Johnson has quoted in his preface, he adds, 6 The confideration of this made Mr. Hales of Eton say, that there was no subječt of which any poet ever writ, but he would produce it MUCH BETTER done by Shakspeare ; and however others are now generally preferred before him, yet the age wherein he lived, which had contemporaries with him, Fletcher and Jonson, never equalled them to him in their esteem : And in the last king's court (that of Charles I.) when Ben's reputation was at highest, Sir John Suckling, and with him the greater part of the courtiers set our Shakspeare far above him.,,

Let ever-memorable Hales, if all his other merits be forgotten, be ever mentioned with honor, for his good taste and admiration of our poet. 6. He was, w fays Lord Clarendon, 66 one of the least men in the kingdom; and one of the greatest scholars in Europe.» See a long character of him in Clarendon's Life, Vol. I. p. 52. Malone.

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of good sense will wish theirs may be, in ease, retirement, and the conversation of his friends. He had the good fortune to gather an estate equal to his occasion, and, in that, to his with; and is said to have spent some years before his death at his, native Stratford.* His pleasureabie wit and good

; He had the good fortune to gather an estate equal to his occasion,) Gildon, without authority, I believe, fays, that our author left behind him an estate of Zool. per ann. This was equal to at least 1000l. per ann. at this day; the relative value of money, the mode of living in that age, the luxury and taxes of the present time, and various other circumstances, being considered. But I doubt whether all his property amounted to much more than 2001. per ann.which yet was a considerable fortune in thofe times. He appears from his grand-daughter's will to have pofsessed in Bishopton, and Stratford Welcombe, four yard land and a half. A jard land is a denomination well known in Warwickshire, and contains from 30 60

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average therefore being 45, four yard land and a half may be estimated at about two hundred acres. As fixteen years purchase was the common rate at which land was sold at that time, that is, one half less than at this day, 'we may suppose that these lands were let at seven shillings per acre, and produced 70l. per annum. If we'rate the New-Place with the appurtenances, and our poet's other houses in Stratford, at bol. a year, and his house &c. in the Blackfriars, (for which he pay'd 1401.) at 20l. a year, we have a rent-roll of 1501. per annum. Of his personal property it is not now possible to form any accurate estimate : but if we rate it at five hundred pounds, money then bearing an interest of ten per cent, Shakspeare's total income was 2001.

per

ann. In, The Merry Wives of Windsor, which was written foon after the year 1600, Three hundred pounds a year is described as an estate of such magnitude as to cover all the defects of its pofseisor :

10, what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults
« Look handsome in three hundred pounds a year.»

MALONE. to have spent some years before his death at his native Stratford.) In 1614 the greater part of the town of Stratford was con

* To Shakspeare's income from his real and personal property must be added L. 200 per Ann. which he probably derived from the theatre, while he continued on the stage. See Vol. III. p• 179; VOL. 1.

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The latter part of his life was spent, as all men

6. The matter of fact, if my memory fail me not, was this. Mr. Hales of Eton affirmed, that he would shew all the poets of antiquity out-done by Shakspeare, in all the topicks and common-places made use of in poetry. The enemies of Shakspeare would by no means yield him so much excellence ; so that it came to a refolution of a trial of skill upon that subject. The place agreed on for the dispute was Mr. Hales's chamber at Eton. A great many books were sent down by the enemies of this poet; and on the appointed day my lord Falkland, Sir John Suckling, and all the persons of quality that had wit and learning, and interested themselves in the quarrel, met there; and upon a thorough disquisition of the point, the júdges chosen by agreement out of this learned and ingenious assembly, unanimously gave the preference to Shakspeare, and the Greek and Roman poets were adjudged to vail at least their glory in that, to the English Hero.»,

This elogium on our author is likewise recorded at an earlier period by Tate, probably from the same authority, in the preface to the Loyal General, quarto, 1680: - Our learned Hales was wont to assert, that, since the time of Orpheus, and the oldest poets, no common-place has been touched upon, where our author has not performed as well. »

Dryden himselfalfo certainly alludes to this story, which he appears to have related both to Gildon and Rowe, in the following passage of his Es ay of Dramatick Poely, 1667; and he as well as Gildon goes somewhat further than Rowe in his

panegyrick. After giving that fine character of our poet which Dr. Johnson has quoted in his preface, he adds, « The confideration of this made Mr. Hales of Eton say, that there was no subje&t of which any poet ever writ, but he would produce it MUCH BETTER done by Shakspeare ; and however others are now generally preferred before him, yet the age wherein he lived, which had contemporaries with him, Fletcher and Jonson, never equalled them to him in their esteem : And in the last king's court (that of Charles I.) when Ben's reputation was at highest, Sir John Suckling, and with him the greater part of the courtiers set our Shakspeare far above him...

Let ever-memorable Hales, if all his other merits be forgotten, be ever mentioned with honor, for his good taste and admiration of our poet. " He was, " says Lord Clarendon, - one of the least men in the kingdom ; and one of the greatest scholars in Europe." See a long character of him in Clarendon's Life, vol. I. p. 52. MALONE.

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of good sense will wish theirs may be, in case, retirement, and the conversation of his friends. He had the good fortune to gather an estate equal to his occasion, and, in that, to his wish ; and is said to have spent some years before his death at his, native Stratford.* His pleasureable wit and good

; He had the good fortune to gather an estate equal to his occasion,) Gildon, without authority, I believe, fays, that our author left behind him an estate of 3ool.

per

This was equal to at least ioool. per ann. at this day; the relative value of money, the mode of living that age, the luxury and taxes of the prefent time, and various other circumstances, being considered. But I doubt whether all his property amounted to much more than 200l. per ann.which yet was a considerable fortune in thofe times. He appears from his grand-daughter's will to have poffeffed in Bishopton, and Stratford Welcombe, four yard land and a half. A yard land is a denomination well known in Warwickshire, and contains from 30 to 60 acres. The

average therefore being 45, four yard land and a half may be estimated at about two hundred acres. As fixteen years purchase was the common rate at which land was sold at that time, that is, one half lefs than at this day, 'we may suppose that these lands were let at seven shillings per acre, and produced 70l. per annum. If we rate the New-Place with the appurtenances, and our poet's other houses in Stratford, at bol. a year, and his house &c. in the Blackfriars, (for which he pay'd 1401.) at 20l. a year, we have a rent-roll of 150l. per annum. Of his personal property it is not now possible to form any accurate estimate : but if we rate it at five hundred pounds, money then bearing an interest of ten per cent, Shakspeare's total income was 200l. per ann. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, which was written foon after the year 1600, Three hundred pounds a year is described as an estate of such magnitude as to cover all the defects of its possessor :

o, what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults
« Look handsome in three hundred pounds a year."

MALONE. to have spent some years before his death at his native Stratford.) In 1614 the greater part of the town of Stratford was con

* To Shakspeare's income from his real and personal property must be added L. 200 per Ann. which he probably derived from the theatre, while he continued on the stage. See Vol. III. p. 179; VOL. I.

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nature engaged him in the acquaintance, and entitled him to the friendship, of the gentlemen of the neighfumed by fire; but our Shakfpeare'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. Sir Hugh was Sheriff of London in the reign of Richard III. and Lord-Mayor in the reign of King Henry VII. By his will he bequeathed to his elder brother's son his manor of Clopton, &c. and his house, by the name of the Great House in Stratford. Good part of the estate is yet ( in 1733) in the poffeflion of Edward Clopton, esq. and Sir Hugh Clopton, Knť. Iineally defcended from the elder brother of the first Sir Hugh.

The estate had now been sold out of the Clopton family foc above a century, at the time when Shakspeare became the purchaser: who having repaired and modelled it to his own mind, changed the name to New-Placs, which the mansionhouse fince erected upon the fame fpot, at this day retains. The house, and lands which attended it, continued in Shakspeare's descendants to the time of the Restoration ; when they were Te-purchased by the Clopton family, and the mansion now belongs to Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. To the favor of this worthy gentleman I owe the knowledge of one particular in honor of our poet's once dwelling-house, of which I prefume Mr. Rowe never was apprized. When the Civil War raged in England, and King Charles the First's Queen was driven by the necellity of her affairs to make a recefs in Warwickshire, she kept her court for three weeks in New-Place. We may reasonably suppofe 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 so strongly favor the king's party. THEOBALD.

From Mr. Theobald's words the reader may be led to suppofe that Henrietta Maria was obliged to take refuge from the rebels in Stratford-upon-Avon : but that was not the case. She marched from Newark, June 16, 1643. and entered Stratfordupon-Avon triumphantly, about the 22d of the fame month, at the head of three thousand foot and fifteen hundred horse, with 150 waggons and a train of artillery. Here she was met

by Prince Rupert, accompanied by a large body of troops. After fojourning about three weeks at our poet's house, which was then poffeffed by his grand-daughter Mrs. Nash, and her hufband, the Queen went (July 13) to the plain of Keinton under Edge-hill, to meet the king, and proceeded from thence with

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