« AnteriorContinuar »
King Charles II, would in his younger days come to London to visit his brother Will, as he called him, and be a spectator of him as an actor in some of his own plays. This custom, as his brother's fame enlarged, and his dramatick entertainments grew the greatest support of our principal, if not of all our theatres, he continued it seems so long after his brother's death, as even to the latter end of his own life. The curiosity at this time of the most noted actors [exciting them] to learn something from him of his brother, &c. they justly held him in the highest veneration. And it may be well believed, as there was besides a kinsman and descendant of the family, who was then a celebrated actor among them, [Charles Hart.* See Shakspeare's Will.] this opportunity made them greedily inquisitive into every little cir cumstance, more especially in his dramatick character, which his brother could relate of him. But he, it seems, was so stricken in years, and possibly his memory so weakened with infirmities, (which might make him the easier pass for a man of weak intellects) that he could give them but little light into their enquiries; and all that could be recollected from him of his brother Will in that station was, the faint, general, and almost lost ideas he had of having once seen him act a part in one of his own comedies, wherein being to personate a decrepit old man, he wore a long beard, and appeared so weak and drooping and unable to walk, that he was forced to be supported and carried by another person to a table, at which he was seated among some company, who were eating, and one of them sung a song." See the character of Adam, in As you Like it, Act II, sc. ult.
"Verses by Ben Jonson and Shakspeare, occasioned by the motto to the Globe Theatre-Totus mundus agit histrionem.
'If, but stage actors, all the world displays,
'Little, or much, of what we see, we do;
"Poetical Characteristicks, 8vo. MS. Vol. I, some time in the Harleian Library; which volume was returned to its owner."
Charles Hart.] Mr. Charles Hart the player was born, I believe, about the year 1630, and died in or about 1682. If he was a grandson of Shakspeare's sister, he was probably the son of Michael Hart, her youngest son, of whose marriage or death there is no account in the parish register of Stratford, and therefore I suspect he settled in London. Malone.
Charles Hart died in August, 1683, and was buried at Stanmore the 20th of that month. Lyson's Environs of London, Vol. III, p. 400. Reed.
"Old Mr. Bowman the player reported from Sir William Bishop, that some part of Sir John Falstaff's character was drawn from a townsman of Stratford, who either faithlessly broke a contract, or spitefully refused to part with some land for a valuable consideration, adjoining to Shakspeare's, in or near that town."
To these anecdotes I can only add the following.
At the conclusion of the advertisement prefixed to Lintot's edition of Shakspeare's poems, it is said, "that most learned prince and great patron of learning, King James the First, was pleased with his own hand to write an amicable letter to Mr. Shakspeare; which letter, though now lost, remained long in the hands of Sir William D'Avenant," as a credible person now liv. ing can testify."
Mr. Oldys, in a MS. note to his copy of Fuller's Worthies, observes, that "the story came from the Duke of Buckingham, who had it from Sir William D'Avenant."
It appears from Roscius Anglicanus, (commonly called Downes the prompter's book) 1708, that Shakspeare took the pains to instruct Joseph Taylor in the character of Hamlet, and John Lowine in that of King Henry VIII. Steevens.
The late Mr. Thomas Osborne, bookseller, (whose exploits are celebrated by the author of the Dunciad) being ignorant in what form or languague our Paradise Lost was written, employed one of his garretteers to render it from a French translation into English prose. Lest, hereafter, the compositions of Shakspeare should be brought back into their native tongue from the version of Monsieur le Compte de Catuelan, le Tourneur, &c. it may be necessary to observe, that all the following particulars, extracted from the preface of these gentlemen, are as little founded in truth as their description of the ridiculous Jubilee at Stratford, which they have been taught to represent as an affair of general approbation and national concern.
They say, that Shakspeare came to London without a plan, and finding himself at the door of a theatre, instinctively stopped there, and offered himself to be a holder of horses: that he was remarkable for his excellent performance of the Ghost in Hamlet:—that he borrowed nothing from preceding writers-that all on a sudden he left the stage, and returned without eclat into his native country:-that his monument at Stratford is of copper:-that the courtiers of James I paid several compliments to him which are still preserved:-that he re
which letter, though now lost, remained long in the hands of Sir William D'Avenant,] Dr. Farmer with great probability sup poses that this letter was written by King James in return for the compliment paid to him in Macbeth. The relater of this anecdote was Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham. Malone,
lieved a widow, who, together with her numerous family, was involved in a ruinous law-suit:-that his editors have restored many passages in his plays, by the assistance of the manuscripts he left behind him, &c. &c.
Let me not, however, forget the justice due to those ingenious Frenchmen, whose skill and fidelity in the execution of their very difficult undertaking, is only exceeded by such a display of candour as would serve to cover the imperfections of much less elegant and judicious writers. Steevens.
BAPTISMS, MARRIAGES, and BURIALS of the Shakspeare Family; transcribed from the Register-Books of the Parish of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire,*
JONE,† daughter of John Shakspere, was baptized Sept. 15,
Johanna, daughter of Richard Hathaway, otherwise Gardiner,
* An inaccurate and very imperfect list of the baptisms, &c. of Shakspeare's family was transmitted by Mr. West about eighteen years ago to Mr. Steevens. The list now printed I have extracted with great care from the registers of Stratford; and I trust, it will be found correct. Malone.
†This lady Mr. West supposed to have married the ancestor of the Harts of Stratford; but he was certainly mistaken. She died probably in her infancy. The wife of Mr. Hart was undoubtedly the second Jone, mentioned below. Her son Michael was born in the latter end of the year 1608, at which time she was above thirty-nine years old. The elder Jone would then have been near fifty. Malone.
He was born three days before, April 23, 1564. Malone.
This Richard Hathaway of Shottery was probably the father of Anne Hathaway, our poet's wife. There is no entry of her baptism, the register not commencing till 1558, two years after she was born. Thomas, the son of this Richard Hathaway, was baptized at Stratford, April 12, 1569; John, another son, Feb. 3, 1574; and William, another son, Nov. 30, 1578. Malone.
It was common in the age of Queen Elizabeth to give the
Anne, daughter of Mr. John Shakspere, was baptized Sept. 28,
Richard, son of Mr. John Shakspere, was baptized March 11, 1573. [1573-4.]
Anne, daughter of Mr. John Shakspere, was buried April 4,
Edmund, son of Mr. John Shakspere, was baptized May 3, 1580. Susanna, daughter of WILLIAM SHAKSPERE, was baptized May 26, 1583.
Elizabeth, daughter of Anthony Shakspere, of Hampton,* was baptized February 10, 1583. [1583-4.]
John Shakspeare and Margery Roberts were married Nov. 25,
Hamnett and Judith, son and daughter of WILLIAM SHAK. SPERE. were baptized February 2, 1584. [1584-5.]
same christian name to two children successively. (Thus, Mr. Sadler, who was godfather to Shakspeare's son, had two sons, who were baptized by the name of John. See note †.) This was undoubtedly done in the present instance. The former Jone having probably died, (though I can find no entry of her burial in the register, nor indeed of many of the other children of John Shakspeare) the name of Jone, a very favourite one in those days, was transferred to another new-born child. This latter Jone mar ried Mr. William Hart, a hatter in Stratford, some time, as I conjecture, in the year 1599, when she was thirty years old; for her eldest son William was baptized there, August 28, 1600. There is no entry of her marriage in the register. Malone.
* There was also a Mr. Henry Shakspeare settled at HamptonLucy, as appears from the register of that parish:
1582- -Lettice, daughter of Henry Shakspeare, was baptized. 1585- -James, son of Henry Shakspeare, was baptized. -James, son of Henry Shakspeare, was buried. There was a Thomas Shakspeare settled at Warwick; for in the Rolls Chapel I found the inrolment of a deed made in the 44th year of Queen Elizabeth, conveying "to Thomas Shakspeare of Warwick, yeoman, Sachbroke, alias Bishop-Sachbroke, in Com. Warw." Malone.
† Mr. West imagined that our poet's only son was christened by the name of Samuel, but he was mistaken. Mr. Hamnet Sadler, who was related, if I mistake not, to the Shakspeare family, appears to have been sponsor for his son; and his wife, Mrs. Judith Sadler, to have been godmother to Judith the other twinchild. The name Hamnet is written very distinctly both in the entry of the baptism and burial of this child. Hamnet and Hamlet seem to have been considered as the same name, and to have been used indiscriminately both in speaking and writing. Thus, this Mr. Hamnet Sadler, who is a witness to Shakspeare's will, writes his christian name, Hamnet; but the scrivener who drew up the will, writes it Hamlet. There is the same variation in the
Margery, wife of John Shakspere, was buried Oct. 29, 1587. Thomas, son of Richard Queeny, was baptized Feb. 26, 1588.
[1588-9.] Ursula, daughter of John Shakspere, was baptized March 11, 1588. [1588-9.]
register of Stratford, where the name is spelt in three or four different ways. Thus, among the babtisms we find, in 1591, "May 26, John, filius Hamletti Sadler;" and in 1583, "Sept. 13, Margaret, daughter to Hamlet Sadler." But in 1588, Sept. 20, we find "John, son to Hamnet Sadler;" in 1596, April 4, we have “Judith, filia Hamnet Sadler;" in 1597-8, “Feb. 3, Wilhelmus, filius Hambnet Sadler;" and in 1599, "April 23, Francis, filius Hamnet Sadler." This Mr. Sadler died in 1624, and the entry of his burial stands thus: "1624, Oct. 26, Hamlet Sadler." So also in that of his wife: "1623, March 23, Judith, uxor Hamlet Sadler."
The name of Hamlet occurs in several other entries in the register. Oct. 4, 1576, "Hamlet, son to Humphry Holdar, was buried; and Sept. 28, 1564, "Catharina, uxor Hamoleti Hassal." Mr. Hamlet Smith, formerly of the borough of Stratford, is one of the benefactors annually commemorated there.
Our poet's only son, Hamnet, died in 1596, in the twelfth year of his age. Malone.
*This gentleman married our poet's youngest daughter. He had three sisters, Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary, and five brothers; Adrian, born in 1586, Richard, born in 1587, William, born in 1593, John in 1597, and George, baptized April 9, 1600. George was curate of the parish of Stratford, and died of a consumption. He was buried there April 11, 1624. In Doctor Hall's pocket book is the following entry relative to him: "38, Mr. Quiney, tussi gravi cum magna phlegmatis copia, et cibi vomitu, feb. lenta debilitatus." &c. The case concludes thus: "Anno seq. (no year is mentioned in the case, but the preceding case is dated 1624,) in hoc malum incidebat. Multa frustra tentata;-placide cum Domino dormit. Fuit boni indolis, et pro juveni omnifarian doctus." Malone.
†This Ursula, and her brothers, Humphrey, and Philip, appear to have been the children of John Shakspeare by Mary, his third wife, though no such marriage is entered in the register. I have not been able to learn her surname, or in what church she was married. She died in Sept. 1608.
It has been suggested to me that the John Shakspeare here mentioned was an elder brother of our poet, (not his father). born, like Margaret Shakspeare, before the commencement of the register: but had this been the case, he probably would have been called John the younger, old Mr. Shakspeare being alive in 1589. I am therefore of opinion that our poet's father was meant, and that he was thrice married. Malone..