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in all, that though he was his eldest son, he could give him no better education than his own employment. He had bred him, it is true, for some time at a free-school,' where, it is probable, he acquired what Latin he was master of: but the narrowness of his circumstances, and the want of his affistance at home, forced his father to withdraw himn from thence, and unhappily prevented his further proficiency in that language. It is without controversy, that in his works we scarce find any traces of any thing that looks like an imitation of the ancients. The delicacy of his taste, and the natural bent of his own great genius, (equal, if not superior, to some of the best of theirs, ). would certainly have led him to read and study them with so much pleasure, that some of their fine images would naturally have insinuated themselves into, and been mixed with his own writings; so that his not copying at least something from them, may be an arguinent of his never having read them. Whether his ignorance of the ancients were a disadvantage to him or no, may admit of a dispute : for though the knowledge of them might have made him more corred, yet it is notimprobable but that the regularity and deference p. 24, that he was a justice of the peace, and possessed of lands and tenements to the amount of 5ool.
Our poet's mother was the daughter and heir of Robert Arden of Wellingcote, in the county of Warwick, who, in the Mf. above referred to, is called so a gentleman of worship.9The family of Arden is a very ancient one ; Robert Arden of Bromwich, efq, being in the list of the gentry of this county, returned by the commissioners in the twelfth year of King Henry VI. A.D. 1433. Edward Arden was Sherif of the county in 1568. The woodland part of this county was anciently called Ardern ; afterwards foftened to Arden. Hence the name, MALONE.
3. He had bred him, it is true, for some time at a free-school.) The free-school, I prefume, founded at Stratford. THEOBALD.
for them, which would have attended thatcorrectness, might have restrained some of that fire, impetuosity, and even beautiful extravagance, which we admire in Shakspeare : and I believe we are better pleased with those thoughts, altogether new and uncommon, which his own imagination supplied him so abundartly with, than if he had given us the most beautiful passages out of the Greek and Latin poets, and that in the most agreeable manner that it was possible for a master of the English language to deliver them.
Upon his leaving school, he seems to have given entirely into that way of living which his father proposed to him ; * and in order to settle in the world after a family manner, he thought fit to marry while he was yet very young.' His wife was the daughter of one Hathaway,' said to have been a substantial
4 - into that way of living which his father proposed to him ; ) I believe, that on leaving school, Shakspeare was placed in the office of some country attorney, or the seneschal of some manor court. See the Esay on the order of his plays, Article, Hamlet. MALONE.
- he thought fit to marry while he was yet very young. ) It is certain he did fo; for by the monument in Stratford church erected to the memory of his daughter, Susanna, the wife of John Hall, gentleman, it appears, that she died on the ad of July, 1649, aged 66: so that she was born in 1583, when her father could not be full 19 years old. THEOBALD.
Sufanna, who was our poet's eldest child, was baptized, May 26, 1583. Shakspeare therefore, having been born in April 1564, was nineteen the month preceding her birth. Mr. Theobald was mistaken in supposing that a monument was erected to her in the church of Stratford. There is no memorial there in honor of either our poet's wife or daughter, except flat tomb-stones, by which, however, the time of their respective deaths is ascertained. - His daughter, Susanna, died, not on the second, but the eleventh of July, 1649. Theobald was led into this error by Dugdale. Malone.
6 His wife was the daughter of one Hathaway, ) She was eight years older than her husband, and died in 1623, at the age of 67 years. THEOBALD.
yeoman in the neighbourhood of Stratford. In this kind of settlement he continued for some time, till an extravagance that he was guilty of forced him both out of his country, and that way of living which he had taken up; and though it seemed at first to be a blemish upon his good manners, and a misfortune to him, yet it afterwards happily proved the occasion of exerting one of the greatest geniuses that ever was known in dramatick poetry. He had by a misfortune common enough to young fellows, fallen into ill company; and amongst them, fome that made a frequentpractice of deer-stealing, engaged him more than once in robbing a park that belonged to Sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote, near Stratford. For this he was prosecuted by that gentleman, as he thought, somewhat too severely ; and in order to revenge that ill usage, he made a ballad upon him.? And though this, probably the first essay of his poetry, be loft, yet it is said to have been so very bitter, that it redoubled
The following is the infcription on her tomb-ftone in the church of Stratford:
“ Here lyeth interred the body of Anne, wife of William Shakspeare, who departed this life the 6th day of August, 1623, being of the age of 67 yeares. »
After this inscription follow fix Latin verses, not worth preserving. MALONE.
7 – in order to revenge that ill usage, he made a balladupon him.) Mr. William Oldys, (Norroy King at Arms, and well known from the share he had in compiling the Biographia Britannica) among the collections which he left for a Life of Shakspeare, observes, that on~ there was a very aged gentleman living in the neighbourhood of Stratford, (where he died fifty years fince) who had not only heard, from several old people in that town, of Shakspeare's transgreffion, but could remember the first stanza of that bitter ballad, which, repeating to one of his acquaintance, he preserved it in writing; and here it is neither better nor worse, but faithfully transcribed from the copy which his relation very courteously communicated to me, "
the prosecution against him to that degree, that he was obliged to leave his business and family in 7ă. A parliamente member, a justice of peace,
' At bome a poor scare-crowe, at London an asse,
Iflawfie is Lucy, as some volke miscalle it, 6. Then Lucy is lowfie whatever befall it :
- He thinks himself greate ,
Yet an afse in his state
« Sing lowsie Lucy, whatever befall it.» Contemptible as this performance must now appear, at the time when it was written it might have had fufficient power to irritate a vain, weak, fand vindi&tive magistrate; especially as it was affixed to several of his park-gates, and consequently published among his neighbours. - It may be remarked likewise, that the jingle on which it turns, occurs in the first scene of The Merry Wives of Windsor.
I may add, that the veracity of the late Mr. Oldys has never yet been impeached, and it is not very probable that a ballad should be forged, from which an undiscovered wag could derive no triumph over antiquarian credulity. STEEVENS.
According to Mr. Capell, this ballad came originally from Mr. Thomas Jones, who lived at Tarbick, a village in Worcestershire, about 18 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon, and died in 1703, aged upwards of vinety. * He remembered to have heard from several old people at Stratford the story of Shakspeare's robbing Sir Thomas Lucy's park; and their account of it agreed with Mr. Rowe's, with this addition, that the ballad written against Sir Thomas Lucy by Shakspeare was stuck upon his park-gate, which exasperated the knight to apply to a lawyer at Warwick to proceed against him. Mr. Jones (it is added) put down in writing the firft stanza ofthis ballad, which was all he remembered of it. » In a note on the tranfcript with which Mr. Capell was furnished, it is said, that " the people of those parts pronounce low se like Lucy.” They do so at this day in Scotland. Mr. Wilkes, grandson of the gentleman to whom Mr. Jones repeated the stanza, appears to have been the person who gave a copy of it to Mr. Oldys, and Mr. Capell.
In a Manuscript History of the Stage, full of forgeries and falfe. hoods of various kinds, written (I suspect by William Chetwood the prompter) some time between April 1727 and Warwickshire, for some time, and shelter himself in London.
It is at this time, and upon this accident, that he is said to have made his first acquaintance in the playhouse. He was received into the company then in being, at first in a very mean rank, but his admirable wit, and the natural turn of it to the stage, soon distinguished him, if not as an extraordinary actor, yet as an excellent writer. His name is printed, as the custom was in those times, amongst those of the other players, before some oldplays, but without any particular account of what sort of parts he used to play ; and though I have inquired, I could never meet with any further account of him this way, than that the top of his performance was the Ghost in his October 1730, is the following passage, to which the reader will give just as much credit as he thinks fit :
6. Here we shall observe, that the learned Mr. Joshua Barnes, late Greek Profeffor of the University of Cambridge, baiting about forty years ago at an inn in Stratford, and hearing an old woman singing part of the above-faid fong, such was his respect for Mr. Shakspeare's genius, that he gave her a new gown for the two following stanzas in it; and, could she have faid it all, he would (as he often said in company, when any dif. course has casually arose about him) have given her ten guineas.
" Sir Thomas was too covetous,
«. To covet so much deer,
o. Most plainly did appear.
1 What tben? He had a wife
. Should last him during life.» MALONZ. 8. He was received into the company --- at first in a very mean rank;) There is a stage tradition, that his first office in the theatre was that of Call-boy, or prompter's attendant; whose employmeut it is to give the performers notice to be ready to enter, as often as the business of the play requires their appearance on the stage. MALONE.