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Item, My will and mind is, and I do hereby limit and appoint that the several legacies and sums of money by me herein before bequeathed to be paid in money, be raised and taken out of the yearly profit and benefit which shall arise or be made by my several parts and shares in the several playhouses called the Globe and Blackfriers, after my said debts shall be paid, with as much speed as the same conveniently may be; and I do hereby will, require, and charge my executor herein after named especially to take care that my debts, first, and then those legacies, be well and truly paid and discharged, as soon as the same may be so raised by the sale of my goods and by the yearly profits of my parts and shares; and that my estate may be so ordered to the best profit and advantage for the better payment of my debts and discharge of my legacies before mentioned with as much speed as the same conveniently may be, according as I have herein before in this will directed and appointed the same to be, without any lessening, diminishing, or undervaluing thereof, contrary to my true intent and meaning herein declared. And for the better performance thereof, my will, mind, and desire is, that my said parts in the said play-houses should be employed in playing, the better to raise profit thereby, as formerly the same have been, and have yielded good yearly profit, as by my books will in that behalf appear. And my will and mind is, and I do hereby ordain, limit, and appoint, that after my debts, funerals, and legacies shall be paid and satisfied out of my estate, that then the residue and remainder of my goods, chattels, and credits whatsoever shall be equally parted and divided to and amongst such of my children as at the time of my decease shall be unmarried or unadvanced, and shall
not have received from me any portion in marriage or otherwise, further than only for their education and breeding, part and part like; and I do hereby ordain and make my son William Heminge to be the executor of this my last will and testament, requiring him to see the same performed in and by all things, according to my true meaning herein declared. And I do desire and appoint my loving friends Mr. Burbage and Mr. Rice to be the overseers of this my last will and testament, praying them to be aiding and assisting to my said executor with their best advice and council in the execution thereof: and I do hereby utterly revoke all former wills by me heretofore made, and do pronounce, publish, and declare this to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand and seal the day and year first above written."
Probatum fuit testamentum suprascriptum apud London coram venerabili viro, magistro Willielmo James, legum doctore, Surrogato, undecimo die mensis Octobris, Anno Domini, 1630, juramento Willielmi Heminge filii naturalis et legitim. dicti defuncti, et executoris, cui, &c. de bene, &c. jurat.
This performer is likewise named in the licence granted by King James in 1603. It appears from Heywood's Apology for Actors, printed in 1612,that he was then dead. In an extraordinary exhibition,
9 Cuthbert Burbadge, brother to the actor. VOL. III.
entitled The Seven deadly Sins, written by Tarleton, of which the MS. plot or scheme is in my possession, he represented Sardanapalus. I have not been able to learn what parts he performed in our author's plays; but believe that he was in the same class as Kempe, and Armine; for he appears, like the former of these players, to have published a ludicrous metrical piece, which was entered on the Stationers' books in 1595. Philips's production was entitled The Jigg of the Slippers.
was the successor of Tarleton." Here I must needs remember Tarleton, (says Heywood, in his Apology for Actors,) in his time gracious with the queen his soveraigne, and in the people's general applause; whom succeeded Will. Kemp, as well in the favour of her majestie, as in the opinion and good thoughts of the general audience." From the quarto editions of some of our author's plays, we learn that he was the original performer of Dogberry in Much Ado about Nothing, and of Peter in Romeo and Juliet. From an old comedy called The Return from Parnassus, we may collect that he was the original Justice Shallow; and the contemporary writers inform us that he usually acted the part of a Clown; in which character, like Tarleton, he was celebrated for his extemporal wit.' Launcelot in The Merchant of Venice, Touchstone in As you like it, Launce in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and the Gravedigger in Hamlet, were probably also performed by this comedian. He was an author as well as an actor.2
1 See p. 138, n. 1.
* See The Returne from Parnassus, a comedy, 1606: "In
So early as in the year 1589 Kempe's comick talents appear to have been highly estimated; for an old pamphlet called An Almond for a Parrot, written, I think, by Thomas Nashe, and published about that time, is dedicated "to that most comicall and conceited Cavaleire Monsieur du Kempe, Jestmonger, and vice-gerent generall to the Ghost of Dicke Tarleton."
From a passage in one of Decker's tracts it may be presumed that this comedian was dead in the year 1609.3
deed, M. Kempe, you are very famous, but that is as well for workes in print as your part in cue." Kempe's New Jigg of the Kitchen-stuff Woman was entered on the books of the Stationers' Company in 1595; and in the same year was licensed to Thomas Gosson, "Kempes New Jigge betwixt a Souldier and a Miser and Sym the Clowne."
Sept. 7, 1593, was entered on the Stationers' books, by R. Jones, "A comedie entitled A Knack how to know a Knave, newly set forth, as it hath been sundrye times plaied by Ned Allen and his company, with Kempes applauded merryment of The Men of Gotham."
In the Bodleian Library, among the books given to it by Robert Burton, is the following tract, bound up with a few others of the same size, in a quarto volume marked L, 62d art.:
Kemps nine daies wonder performed in a daunce from London to Norwich. Containing the pleasure, paines and kind entertainment of William Kemp between London and that city, in his late morrice. Wherein is somewhat set downe worth note; to reprooue the slanders spred of him: many things merry, nothing hurtfull. Written by himselfe, to satisfie his friends." (Lond. E. A. for Nicholas Ling. 1600. b. 1.-With a wooden cut of Kempe as a morris-dancer, preceded by a fellow with a pipe and drum, whom he (in the book) calls Thomas Slye, his taberer. It is dedicated to "The true ennobled lady, and most bountifull mistris, mistris Anne Fitton, mayde of honour to the most sacred mayde royall queene Elizabeth."
"Tush, tush, Tarleton, Kempe, nor Singer, nor all the litter of fooles that now come drawling behind them, never played the clownes part more naturally than the arrantest sot of you all," Guls Hornebooke, 1609...
In Braithwaite's Remains, 1618, he is thus commemorated:
"UPON KEMPE AND HIS MORICE, WITH HIS EPITAPH.
"Welcome from Norwich, Kempe: all joy to see
"But out alas! how soone's thy morice done,
"Then all thy triumphs fraught with strains of mirth,
"Shall be? they are; thou hast danc'd thee out of breath;
This actor likewise performed the part of a Clown. He died before the year 1600."
I have not been able to gather any intelligence concerning this performer, except that in the exhibition of The Seven deadly Sins he represented the Earl of Warwick. He was, I believe, on the.
stage before the year 1588.
what meanes Singer then,
"And Pope, the clowne, to speak so borish, when
Heywood's Apology for Actors.