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“I remember the players have often mentioned it as an ho
clare my mind and meaning to be, that the said Henry Smith, my surviving trustee, or his heirs, shall with all convenient speed after the decease of the said Sir John Barnard my husband, make sale of the inheritance of all and singular the premises, and that my loving cousin Edward Nash, Esq. shall have the first offer or refusal thereof, according to my promise formerly made to him: and the monies to be raised by such sale I do give, dispose of, and appoint the same to be paid and distributed, as is herein after expressed; that is to say, to my cousin Thomas Welles of Carleton, in the county of Bedford, Gent. the sum of fifty pounds, to be paid him within one year next after such sale: and if the said Thomas Wells shall happen to die before such time as his said legacy shall become due to him, then my desire is, that my kindsman Ed. ward Bagley, citizen of London, shall have the sole benefit thereof.
Item, I do give and appoint unto Judith Hathaway, one of the daughters of my kinsınan Thomas Hathaway, late of Stratford aforesaid, the annual sum of five pounds of lawful money of England, to be paid unto her yearly and every year, from and after the decease of the survivor of the said Sir John Barnard and me the said Elizabeth, for and during the natural life of her the said Judith, at the two most usual feasts or days of payment in the year, videlicet, the feast of the Annunciation of the blessed Virgin Mary, and Saint Michael, the archangel, by equal portions, the first payment thereof to begin at such of the said feasts as shall next happen, after the decease of the survivor of the said Sir John Barnard and me the said Elizabeth, if the said premises ca be so soon sold ; or otherwise so soon as the same can be sold : and if the said Judith shall happen to marry, and shall be minded to release the said annual sum of five pounds, and shall accordingly release and quit all her interest and right in and to the same after it shall become due to her, then and in such case, I do give and appoint to her the sum of forty pounds in lieu thereof, to be paid unto her, at the time of the executing of such release as aforesaid.
“ Item, I give and appoint unto Joan the wife of Edward Kent, and one other of the daughters of the said Thomas Hathway, the sum of fifty pounds, to be likewise paid unto her within one year next after the decease of the survivor of the said Sir John Barnard and me the said Elizabeth, if the said premises can be soon sold, or otherwise so soon as the same can be sold; and if the said Joan shall happen to die before the said fifty pounds shall be paid to her, then I do give and appoint the same unto Ed. ward Kent the younger, her son, to be paid unto himn when he shall attain the age of one-and-twenty years.
“ Item, I do also give and appoint unto him the said Edward Kent, son of the said John, the sum of thirty pounds, towards
nour to Shakspeare, that in writing (whatsoever he penned) he
putting him out as an apprentice, and to be paid and disposed of to that use when he shall be fit for it.
“ Item, I do give or appoint and dispose of unto Rose, Eliza. beth, and Susanna, three other of the daughters of my said kinsman Thomas Hathaway, the sum of forty pounds a-piece, to be paid unto every of them at such time and in such manner as the said fifty pounds before appointed to the said Joan Kent, their sister, shall become payable.
“ Item, All the rest of the monies that shall be raised by such sale as aforesaid, I give and dispose of unto my said kinsman Edward Bagley, except five pounds only, which I give and appoint to my said trustee Henry Smith for his pains; and if the said Edward Nash shall refuse the purchase of the said mes. suage and four-yard land and a half with the appurtenances, then my will and desire is, that the said Herny Smith or his heirs shall sell the inheritance of the said premises and every part thereof unto the said Edward Bagley, and that he shall purchase the same; upon this condition, nevertheless, that he the said Edward Bagley, his heirs, executors, or administrators, shall justly and faithfully perform any will and true meaning, in making due payment of all the several sums of money or legacies before mentioned, in such manner as aforesaid. And I do hereby declare my will and meaning to be that the executors or administrators of my said husband Sir John Barnard shall have and enjoy the use and benefit of my said house in Stratford, called the New-Place, with the orchards, gardens, and all other the appurtenances thereto belonging, for and during the space of six months next after the decease of him the said Sir John Barnard.
“ Item, I give and devise unto my kinsman, Thomas Hart, the son of Thomas Hart, late of Stratford-upon-Avon aforesaid, all that my other messuage or inn situate in Stratford-upon-Avon aforesaid, commonly called the Maidenhead, with the appurtenances, and the next house thereunto adjoining, with the barn belonging to the same, now or late in the occupation of Michael Johnson or his assigns, with all and singular the appartenances; to hold to him the said Thomas Hart tiie son, and the heirs of his body; and for default of such issue, I give and devise the same to George Hart, brother to the said Thomas Hart, and to the heirs of his body; and for default of such issue to the right heirs of me the said Elizabeth Barnard for ever.
“ Item, I do make, ordain, and appoint my said loving kinsman Edward Bagley sole executor of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills; desiring him to see a just per formance hereof, according to my true intent and meaning. In witness whereof I the said Elizabeth Barnard have hereuntu set my hand and seal, the nine-and-twentieth day of January, Anno Domini, one thousand six hundred and sixty-nine.
never blotted out a line.* My answer hath been, Would he had
“ Signed, sealed, published, and declared to be the last will and testament of the said Elizabeth Barnard, in the presence of
“ John Howes, Rector de Abington.
“ Francis Wickes. “ Probatum fuit testamentum suprascriptum apud ædes Exo
nienses situat. in le Strand, in comitatu Middx. quarto die mensis Martij, 1669, coram venerabili viro Domino Egidio Sweete, milite et legum doctore, surrogato, &c. juramento Edwardi Bagley, unici executor. nominat. cui, &c.
de bene, &c. jurat.” Malone.
that in writing (whatsoever he penned) he never blotted out a line.] This is not true. They only say in their preface to his plays, that “his mind and hand went together, and what he thought, he uttered with that easiness, that we have scarce re. ceived from him a blot in his papers.” On this Mr. Pope oba serves, that “there never was a more groundless report, the contrary of which there are more undeniable evidences. As, the comedy of The Merry Wives of Windsor, which he entirely new writ; The History of Henry the Sixth, which was first published under the title of The Contention of York and Lancas, ter; and that of Henry V, extremely improved; that of Hamlet enlarged to almost as much again as at first, and many others."
Surely this is a very strange kind of argument. In the first place this was not a report, (unless by that word we are to under. stand relation) but a positive assertion, grounded on the best evidence that the nature of the subject admitted; namely, ocular proof. The players say, in substance, that Shakspeare had such a liappiness of expression, that, as they collect from his papers, he had seldom occasion to alter the first words he had set down ; in consequence of which they found scarce a blot in his writings. And how is this refuted by Mr. Pope? by telling.
that a great many of his plays were enlarged by their author. Allowing this to be true, which is by no means certain, if he had written twenty plays, each consisting of one thousand lines, and afterwards added to each of them a thousand more, would it therefore follow, that he had not written the first thousand with facility and correctness, or that those must have been necessarily expunged, because new matter was added to them? certainly not.-But the truth is, it is by no means clear that our author did enlarge all the plays mentioned by Mr. Pope, if even that would prove the point intended to be established. Mr. Pope was evidently deceived by the quarto copies. From the play of Henry V, being more perfect in the folio edition than in the quar. to, nothing follows but that the quarto impression of that piece was printed from a mutilated and imperfect copy, stolen from the theatre, or taken down by ear during the representation. What have been called the quarto copies of the Second and Third Parts of King Henry VI, were in fact two old plays writ. ten before the time of Shakspeare, and entitled The First Part
w blotted a thousand! which they thought a malevolent speech. “I had not told posterity this, but for their ignorance, who chose “that circumstance to commend their friend by, wherein he most “ faulted: and to justify mine own candour, for I loved the man, "and do honour his memory, on this side idolatry, as much
as any. He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free na“ture, had an excellent fancy, brave notions, and gentle expres.
wherein he flowed with that facility, that sometimes it was necessary he should be stopped: Sufflaminandus erat, as “ Augustus said of Haterius. His wit was in his own power; “would the rule of it had been so too. Many times he fell into “those things which could not escape laughter; as when he said “in the person of Cæsar, one speaking to him,
*Cæsar thou dost me wrong.' “He replied:
* Cæsar did never wrong, but with just cause.' “and such like, which were ridiculous. But he redeemed his “ vices with his virtues: there was ever more in him to be “praised than to be pardoned.”
of the Contention of the two Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, &c. and The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of Yorke, &c. on which he constructed two new plays; just as on the old plays of King John, and The Taming of the Shrew, he formed two other plays with nearly the same titles. See The Dissertation in Vol. X, p. 437.
The tragedy of Hamlet in the first edition, (now extant) that of 1604, is said to be “ enlarged to almost as much again as it was, according to the true and perfect copy." What is to be collected from this, but that there was a former imperfect edition (I believe, in the year 1602)? that the one we are now speaking of was enlarged to as much again as it was in the former mutilated impression, and that this is the genuine and perfect copy, the other imperfect and spurious ?
The Merry Wives of Windsor, indeed, and Romeo and Juliet, and perhaps Love's Labour's Lost, our author appears to have altered and amplified; and to King Richard II, what is called the parliament-scene, seems to have been added; (though this last is by no means certain;) but neither will these augmentations and new-modellings disprove what has been asserted by Shakspeare's fellow-comedians concerning the facility of his writing, and the exquisite felicity of his first expressions.
The hasty sketch of The Merry Wives of Windsor, which he is said to have composed in a fortnight, he might have written without a blot; and three or four years afterwards, when he chose to dilate his plan, he might have composed the additional scenes without a blot likewise. In a word, supposing even that nature had not endowed him with that rich vein which he unquestionably possessed, he who in little more than twenty years produces thirty-four or thirty-five pieces for the stage, has certainly not much time for expunging. Milone.
As for the passage which he mentions out of Shakspeare, there is somewhat like it in Julius Cæsar, but without the absurdity; nor did I ever meet with it in any edition that I have seen, as quoted by Mr. Jonson.*
Besides his plays in this edition, there are two or three ascribed to him by Mr. Langbaine,f which I have never seen, and know nothing of. He writ likewise Venus and Adonis, and Tarquin and Lucrece, in stanzas, which have been printed in a late collection of poems. As to the character given of him by Ben Jon.
- nor did I ever meet with it in any edition that I have seen, as quoted by Mr. Jonson.] See Mr. Tyrwhitt's note on Julius Cæsar, Act III, sc. i, Vol. XIV. Malone.
† Besides his plays in this edition, there are two or three ascribed to him by Mr. Langbaine,] the Birth of Merlin, 1662, written by W. Rowley; the old play of King John, in two parts, 1591, on which Shakspeare formed his King John; and The Arraignment of Paris, 1584, written by George Peele.
The editor of the folio, 1664, subjoined to the 36 dramas published in 1623, seven plays, four of which had appeared in Shakspeare's life-time with his name in the title-page, viz. Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1609, Sir John Oldcastle, 1600, The London Prodigal, 1605, and The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608; the three others which they inserted, Locrine, 1595, Lora Cromwell, 1602, and The Puritan, 1607, having been printed with the initials W. S. in the title-page, the editor chose to interpret those letters to mean William Shakspeare, and ascribed them also to our poet. I published an edition of these seven pieces some years ago, freed in some measure from the gross errors with which they had been exhibited in the ancient copies, that the publick might see what they contained; and do not hesitate to declare my firm persuasion that of Locrine, Lord Cromwell, Sir John Oldcastle, The London Prodigal, and The Puritan, Shakspeare did not write a single line.
How little the booksellers of former times scrupled to affix the names of celebrated writers to the productions of others, even in the life-time of such celebrated authors, may be collected from Heywood's translations from Ovid, which in 1612, while Shakspeare was yet living, were ascribed to him. See Vol. X, p. 321, n. 1.9 With the dead they would certainly make still more free. “This book (says Anthony Wood, speaking of a work to which the name of Sir Philip Sydney was prefixed) coming out so late, it is to be inquired whether Sir Philip Sydney's name is not set to it for sale-sake, being a usual thing in these days to set a great name to a book or books, by sharking booksellers, or snivelling writers, to get bread.” Athen. Oxon. Vol. I, p. 208. Malone.
in a late collection of poems.] In the fourth volume of State Poems, printed in 1707. Mr. Rowe did not go beyond
Mr. Malone's edition of our author's works, 1790.