« AnteriorContinuar »
bourhood. Amongst them, it is a story almost still remembered in that country that he had a particuhim to Oxford, where says a contemporary historian, chers coming. (July 15 ) was rather to a triumph than a war.»
Of the college above-mentioned the following was the origin. John de Stratford, Bishop of Winchester, in the fifth year of King Edward III. founded a Chantry consisting of five priests, one of whom was Warden, in a certain chapel adjoining to the church of Stratford on the south side ; and afterwards (in the seventh year of Henry VIII.) Ralph Collingwode inftituled four choristers, to be daily aflisiant in the celebration of divine service there. This chantry, says Dugdale, foon after its foundation, was known by the name of The College of Stratfordupon-Avon. In the 26th
of Edward III. sa house of square stones, was built by Ralph de Stratford, bishop of London, for the habitation of the five priests. This house, or another on the fame spot, is the house of which Mr. Theobald speaks. It still bears the name of 6 The College, 9 and at present belongs to the Rev. Mr. Fullerton.
After the suppression of religious houses, the site of the college was granted by Edward VI. to John earl of Warwick and his heirs ; who being attainted in the ift year of Queen Mary, it reverted to the crown.
Sir John Clopton, knight, (the father of Edward Clopton, efq. and Sir Hugh Clopton,) who died at Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1719, purchased the estate of New-Place, &c. fome time after the year 1685, from Sir Reginald Forster, Barunet, who married Mary, the daughter of Edward Nash, efq. cousingerman to Thomas Nash, efq. who married our poet's granddaughter, Elizabeth Hall. Edward Nash bought it, after the death of her second husband, Sir John Barnard, knight. By her will, which will be found in a subsequent page, the directed her truftee, Henry Smith, to fell the New Place, &c. (after the death of her husband, ) and to make the first offer of it to her cousin Edward Nash, who purchased it accordingly. His fon Thomas Nash, whom for the fake of diflin&tion I shall call the younger, having died without issue, in August 1652, Edward Nash by his will, made on the 16th of March, 1678-9, devifed the principal part of his property to his daughter Mary, and her husband Reginald Forster, efq. afterwards Sir Reginald Forster; 'but in consequence of the teftator's only referring to
lar intimacy with Mr. Combe,' an old gentleman noted thereabouts for his wealth and usury: it happened, that in a pleasant conversation amongst their a deed of fettlement executed three days before, without reciting the substance of it, no particular mention of New-Place is made in his will. After Sir John Clopton had bought it from Sir Reginald Forster, he gave it by deed to his younger son, Sir Hugh, who pulled down our poet's house, and built one móre elegant on the same fpot.
In May 1742, when Mr. Garrick, Mr. Macklin, and Mr. Delane, visited Stratford, they were hospitably entertained under Shakspeare's mulberry-tree, by Sir Hugh Clopton. He was a barrister at law, was knighted by George the First, and died in the both year of his age, in Dec. 1751. His nephew Edward Clopton, the son of his elder brother Edward, lived till June 1753.
The only remaining person of the Clopton family now living ( 1788), as I am informed by the Rev. Mr. Davenport, is Mrs. Partheriche, daughter and heirefs of the second Edward Clopton above-mentioned. “She resides, , he adds, oat the family mansion at Clopton near Stratford, is now a widow, and coinmon friends, Mr. Combe told Shakspeare in a laughing manner, that he fancied he intended to write his epitaph, if he happened to out-live him;
any The New Place was fold by Henry Talbot, efq. son-in-law and executor of Sir Hugh Clopton, in or foon after the year 1752, to the Rev. Mr. Gaftrell, a man of large fortune, who refided in it but a few years ; in consequence of a disagreement with the inhabitants of Stratford. Every house in that town that is let or valued at more than 40s. a year, is assessed by the Overseers, according to its worth and the ability of the occupier, to pay a monthly rate toward the maintenance of the poor. As Mr. Gasrell resided part of the year at Lichfield, he thought he was assessed too highly ; but being very properly compelled by the magißrates of Stratford to pay the whole of what was levied on him, on the principle that his house was occupied by his fervants in his absence, he peevishly declared, that that house should never be assessed again ; and foon afterwards pulled it down, fold the materials, and left the town. Wishing, as it should feem, to be 66damn'd to everlasting farfe," he had fome time before cut down Shakspeare's celebrated mulberrytree, to fave himself the trouble of shewing it to those whose admiration of our great poet led them to vilt the poetick ground on which it flood.
That Shafpeare planted this tree, is as well authenticated as any thing of that nature can be. The Rev. Mr. Davenport informs me, that Mr. Hugh Taylor, (the father of his clerk, ) who is now eighty-five years old, and an alderman of Warwick, where he at present resides, says, he lived when a boy at the next house to New-Place; that his family had inhabited the house for almost three hundred years; that it was transmitted from father to fon during the last and the present century, that this tree (of the fruit of which he had often eaten in his younger days, some of its branches hanging over his father's garden,) was planted by Shakspeare ; and that till this was planted, there was no mulberry-tree in that neighbourhood. Mr. Taylor adus, that the was frequently, when a boy, at NewPlace, and that this tradition was preserved in the Clopton family, as well as in his own.
There were scarce any trees of this fpecies in England till the year 1609, when by order of King James many hundred thousand young mulberry-trees were imported from France, and sent into the different counties, with a view to the feeding of tilkworms, and the encouragement of the filk manufacture, See Camdeni Annales ab anno 1603 ad annum 1623, published by Smith, quarto, 1691, p:7; and Howes's Abridgment of Stowe's Chronicle, edit. 1618, p. 503, where we have a more particular account of this transaction than in the larger work. A very few mulberry-trees had been planted before ; for we are told, that in the preceding year a gentleman of Picardy, Monsieur Forest, bokept greate store of English filkwormis ac Greenwich, the which the king with great pleasure came often to see them worke; and of their filke he caused a piece of tafata to be made.
Shakspeare was perhaps the only inhabitant of Stratford, whose bulinefs called him annually to London ; and probably on his return from thçuce in the spring of the year ibog, he planted this tree.
As a similar enthusiasm to that which with such diligence has sought after Virgil's tomb, may lead my countrymen ta visit the fpot where our great bard spent several years of his, life, and died; it may gratify them to be told that the ground on which The New-Place once flood, is now a Garden belong and since he could not know what might be said of him when he was dead, he desired it might be done immediately ; upon which Shakspeare gave him these four verses :
ri Ten in the hundred lies here ingray'd ;
ing to Mr. Charles Hunt, an eminent attorney, and town-clerk of Stratford. Every Englishman will, I am fure, concur with me in wishing that it may enjoy perpetual verdure and fertility.
In this retreat our SHAKSPEARE's godlike mind
And Nature here display eternal spring! MALONE. 5 -- that he had a particular intimacy with Mr. Combe,) This Mr. John Combe I take to be the fame, who by Dugiale, in his Antiquities of Warwickshire, is said to have died in the year 1614, and for whom at the upper end of the quire of the guild of the holy crois at Stratford, a fair monument is erected, having a ftatue thereon cutiu alabaster, and in a gown, with this epitaph. 66 Here lyeth interred the body of John Combe, Esq. who departing this life the 10th day of July, 1614, bequeathed by his last will and testament these fums ensuing, annually to be paid for ever ; viz. xx. s. for two fermons to be preach'd in this church, and vi. l. xiii. s. iv. d. to buy ten gowneş
far ten poore people within the borough of Stratford ; and 100!. to be lent to fifteen poore tradesmen of the fame borough, from three years to three years, changing the parties every third year, at the rate of fifty shillings per annum, the which increase he appointed to be distributed towards the relief of the almes-poor there. 9. The donation has all the air of a rich and fagacious ufurer. THEOBALD.
6 Ten in the hundred ties here in grav'd ;) In The more the merrier, containing three score and odd headless epigrams, shot, (like the fooles bolls) among you, light where they will : By H. P. Gent. &c. 1608. I find the following couplet, which is almost the fame as the two beginning lines of this Epitaph on john-a-Combe: But the sharpness of the satire is said to have ftung the man so severely, that he never forgave it. :
FENER A TORIS EPITAPHIUM. 6. Ten in the hundred lies under this stone,
66 And a hundred to ten to the devil he's gone. Again, in Wit's Interpreter, 8vo. 3d edit. 1671, p. 298:
- Here lies at least ten in the hundred,
Shackled up both hands and feet,
o But thus being now of life bercav'n,
STEEVENS. So, in Camden's Remains, 1614 :
6. Here lyes ten in the hundied,
In the ground fast ramm'd; ( 'Tis an hundred to ten
si Bụt his soule is damn'd.» MALONE 7 Oh! ho! quoth the devil, 'tis my John-a-Combe.) The Rev. Francis Peck, in his Memoirs of the Life and Poetical Works of Mr. John Milton, 4to. 1740, p. 223, has introduced another epitaph (imputed on what authority is unknown) to Shakspeare. It is on Tom-a-Combe, alias Thin-beard, brother to this John, who is mentioned by Mr. Rowe.
... Thin in beard, and thick in purse ;
4. The devil and he had both one nurse.. STEEVENS, I suspect that these lines were sent to Mr, Peck by some person that meant to impose upon him. It appears from Mr. John Combe's will, that his brother Thomas was.dead in 1614a Jolin devised the greater past of his real and personal estate to his nephew Thomas Combe, with whom Shakspeare was certainly on good terms, having bequeathed him his sword.
Since I wrote the above, I find from the Register of Stratford, that Mr. Thomas Combe) the brother of john) was buried there, Jan. 22, 1609-10. MALONE.
8- the sarpness of the fatire is said to have fung the man fo severely, that he never forgave it.) I take this opportunity to avow my disbelief that Shakspeare was the author of Mr.Combe's Epitaph, or that it was written by any other person at the request of that gentleman. It Betterton the player did really