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portunity of appearing as a dramatic writer. His connexion with the latter has been variously related; but the imputed malignity of Jonson has been impugned by the able research of Mr. Octavius Gilchrist, in confirmation of the previous reasoning of Dr. Farmer to the same effect. Nor does it follow that an occasional remark in Jonson's Discoveries,' upon the deficiency of Shakspeare's learning, and his careless manner of writing, the only apparent ground of the imputation, merits to be so regarded. Having a sobriety and moderation in his views of life, not very common in the profession which he adopted, our great dramatist retired early with a respectable fortune of from £200 to £300 per annum, adequate possibly to £1,000 in our own day, and spent the remainder of his life in ease, retire ment, and the conversation of his friends. For some years before his death he resided at Stratford, in a house which he bought from the Clopton family, and whick continued in the possession of his descendants until the Restoration, when it was re-purchased by a member of the same family, the representative of which, Sir Hugh Clopton, a baron knighted by George I., entertained Garrick, Macklin, and others, in 1742, under the mulberry-tree planted by Shakspeare. It may be interesting to know, that his executor sold the house to a clergyman of the name of Gastrel, who, being rated for the poor higher than it pleased him to pay, peevishly declared that the house should never pay again ; and in spite to the inhabitants of Stratford who were benefitted by the company it brought to the town, he pulled it down, and sold the materials. He had previously cut down the mulberry-tree for fuel, but an honest silversmith purchased the whole of it, which he profitably manufactured into memorials of the poet. Having thus wreaked his vengeance, this sentimental divine finally quitted Stratford. Such was the fate of a residence in which Shakspeare exhibited so little solicitude for fame, or consciousness of his own merits, that a similar example of modesty is scarcely to be found in literary biography.
“The poet died on his birth-day, April 23, 1616,
having exactly completed his fifty-second year. He was interred on the north side of the chancel of the great church of Stratford, where a monument is placed on the wall, in which 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 resting on a scroll of paper. The following Latin distich is engraved under the cushion:
Judicio Pylium, genio Socratem, arte Maronem,
Terra tegit, populus moret, Olympus habet. An error in quantity in the first syllable of Socrates, induces Mr. Steevens to think that Sophocles was intended. To this Latin inscription may be added the lines to be found underneath it :
Stay, passenger, why dost thou go so fast!
Leaves living art but page unto his wit. This monument was erected within seven years of his death. His monument in Westminster Abbey, which was erected in 1741, under the direction of the Earl of Burlington, Mr. Pope, and Dr. Meade, and paid for by the produce of benefits for the purpose at the two patent theatres, is too well known to need description. Shakspeare left two daughters, the eldest of whom, Susanna, married Dr. Hall, a physician, and left a daughter, married first to T. Nashe, Esq., and afterwards to Sir John Barnard, of Abington, Northamptonshire, but died without issue. Judith, the poet's second daughter, married a Mr. Thomas Quiney, by whom she had three sons, who all died unmarried. The only notice recorded of the person of Shakspeare is to be found in Aubrey, who says, that he was a handsome well-shaped man; and adds, what is otherwise amply corroborated, that he was 'verie good company, and of a verie ready, pleasant, and smooth wit.' The first edition of Shakspeare's plays, in number thirty-six, did not appear until seven years after his death; of these. only seven had been printed during his life-time, owing,
it is thought, to his interest as proprietor and manager interfering with their publicity. This first edition was printed from copies in the hands of his fellow-managers, Heminge and Condell, who gave a second in 1632; but both these and some subsequent ones were full of errors, until in some degree corrected by the poet Rowe's edition of 1714. It is unnecessary to enumerate the various editions which have since appeared, or to describe the critical labours of Rowe, Pope, Theobald, Hanmer, Warburton, Steevens, Malone, and Johnson, by which much has been elucidated, and, in the confusion of opposing opinions, something perhaps obscured.”
In reference to some of the statements contained in the foregoing extracts from Gorton, and which he appears to have taken from the writings of Rowe, Malone, and Farmer, it may be necessary to observe, that the stories of Shakspeare having been guilty of deer-stealing, of his having fled to London to escape the prosecution of Sir Thomas Lucy, and of his alleged menial occupations in the theatres of London, are discredited by our modern biographers of the poet; and with regard to the last rumour, the general impression now entertained is, that on account of his accomplishments as an actor, and of his admirable adaptations of dramatic works to the stage, he became, soon after his arrival in London, a partner in a respectable theatrical company in the metropolis. By this speculation, carried on successfully for a series of years, he became possessed of ample means, and was one of the very few men of letters, who ever rose to affluence solely by the employment of his pen.
Having brought our summary of the poet's life to a close, it remains to notice, generally, some of the means that have been adopted, at various times, to commemorate his fame. We shall also quote the opinions of several of the most eminent critics on his transcendent genius as a dramatic writer. Amongst the festivals in honour of our immortal Shakspeare, one of the most remarkable was proposed by Garrick, and carried into effect in 1769. The design was a noble one; and it must be admitted, that no jubilee was ever celebrated which was more justifiable, or more generally acceptable
every admirer of original talent, than that of doing homage to the memory of so great an ornament to his country. The following is a short description of a portion of the ceremonies on that memorable occasion:
“On the 6th of September, about six o'clock in the morning, the fete opened at Stratford by a triple discharge of seventeen pieces of cannon and twelve small mortars, planted on the banks of the Avon.
At eight o'clock, the apartments of Mr. Garrick and Lord Spenser were serenaded by several of the Drury-lane performers, disguised in mean apparel, and with besmeared faces. These performers afterwards chanted ballads through the streets, accompanying their singing with guitars and German flutes. A little after eight the celebrated Mr. Garrick went to the Town-Hall, where he was joined by the mayor and corporation, who presented him with a complimentary address, and a medallion of Shakspeare, carved on a piece of the poet's famous mulberry-tree, and richly set in gold. Then began the breakfasting, during which the company wer entertained with martial music. About eleven Dr. Arne's oratorio of Judith was performed at the church; at the conclusion of which the company retired to the grand booth to dinner, which was served with the utmost order to more than 1,000 persons. The evening concluded with a ball. On Thursday morning, the 7th, a public breakfast was given, similar to that of the previous day; after which the company repaired from the Town-Hall to the amphitheatre, where the dedication-ode was performed under the direction of Dr. Arne. The recitative parts were spoken by Garrick; and it was thought that in all the characters he ever played, he never evinced more power or judgment, or made a stronger impression on the minds of his audience. At the conclusion of the ode, Mr. King got up in the character of a macaroni, wholly unlooked for by the auditors, and with great apparent earnestness attacked Shakspeare, whom he censured as a very ill-bred fellow, for making people laugh or cry as he thought proper. Mr. King acted admirably, and occasioned much mirth. It was intended to make a procession to
the amphitheatre of all the characters in Shakspeare's plays, but the weather being unfavourable, it was postponed to the next day, as were also the grand fireworks prepared by Mr. Angelo. During the performance, the prodigious pressure of the company occasioned some of the benches to give way, but fortunately no serious injury ensued.”
The birthplace of Shakspeare has long been an object of curiosity and interest. Of those who have visited the celebrated spot, and left on record the impressions made on their minds, there is not one who has given to the world a more touching and eloquent description of his feelings than Washington Irving, the author of the "Sketch Book," and several other interesting works. He is an American writer of the highest literary reputation ; and in the ease, polish, and chaste elegance of his prose compositions, has been compared with Addison In describing his visit to Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakspeare was born, and the reflections which crowded upon his mind while standing at the spot where the remains of the poet are interred, he says:-"From the birthplace of Shakspeare a few paces brought me to his grave. He lies buried in the chancel of the parish church, a large and venerable pile, mouldering with age, but richly ornamented. It stands on the banks of the Avon, on an embowered point, and separatea by adjoining gardens from the suburbs of the town. Its situation is quiet and retired; the river runs murmuring at the foot of the churchyard, and the elms which grow upon its banks droop their branches into its clear bosom. An avenue of limes, the boughs of which are curiously interlaced, so as to form in summer an arched way of foliage, leads up from the gate of the yard to the church porch. The graves are overgrown with grass. The gray tombstones, some of them nearly sunk into the earth, are half covered with moss, which has likewise tinted the old reverend building. Small birds have built their nests among the cornices and fissures of the walls, and keep up a continual flutter and chirping; and rooks are sailing and cawing about its lofty gray spire.