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lodge. Sir Hugh Evans also plays upon the word luce in the same manner as the ballad does upon Luy. Lucies are little fish, and the arms of the Lucy family “three lucies hariant.”
“Thomas Garrxe, alias Shakspeare, was buried 6th March, 1589-90.” (Strat. Regist.) What the alias, in the Register, means, I do not know. If the Greens were related to any family of the name of Shakspeare I believe they were the connections of John, the shoemaker. In 1565 Philip Greene married Ursula Burbadge. Ursula will be remembered as the name of one of the shoemaker's children. (Note D.) The shoemaker was security for Philip Greene in 1592. Though I express a doubt of the relationship of Green, the actor, to the Greens of Stratford, I am not ignorant of the four lines adduced as a proof of that relationship; they are quoted by Chetwood, from a play in which they do not exist. If the lines were genuine, they would certainly prove all that is required of them: but I am not so infatuated with Chetwood, as to assert the relationship between the Greens, in the text, on his authority alone, though I admit the extreme probability of the fact.
I believe the text to be a fair representation of the truth. My rejection of the tale of Shakspeare having held horses at the play-house door follows of course, it being impossible that of two stories, so inconsistent with each other, both should be true. The narrative in the text is natural and consistent; the other abounds with difficulty and improbability. There is yet another objection against it. Rowe knew the story, but omitted to insert it in his life of our author, which I agree with Steevens in believing he would not have done, had he thought it true. Its genealogy is respect— able: had it merely rested on the authority of Cibber's Lives of the Poets, it would not have merited the notice it has received.
The materials made use of in the account here given of the theatre and theatrical usages of Shakspeare's time, are principally those collected by Malone, whose Historical Account of the English Stage is an invaluable repository of facts on the subject. In their arrangement, however, he was particularly unfortunate; for no principle of the difference of the importance of his collections guided him in dividing them between text and notes. I have concerned myself with his facts alone, and from them I have deduced my own conclusions. They are frequently at variance with those of my predecessor: that our coincidences are numerous, is attributable to the circumstance, that some facts speak too plainly to admit of diversity of opinions. Many matters in the text are not Malone's; for in a long indulgence of a predilection for the subject of theatrical history, I have sometimes gleaned trifles which appeared to have escaped him.
The Globe was a hexagonal wooden building. Henslow and Allen's contract for the building of the Fortune playhouse in 1599, gives us a pretty accurate idea of its dimensions; for that “Inden— ture” again and again insists on the Fortune being built, though somewhat larger, yet like the Globe. The contract for the Fortune stipulates for the erection of a building of four equal external sides of eighty feet, reduced by necessary arrangements to an internal area of fifty-five feet square. The length of the stage from side to side was to be forty-three feet, and in depth it was to extend over half the space of the internal area.
Three tiers of galleries occupied three sides of the house. . The height of the first from the ground is not named. The second is stated at twelve feet above the lower tier; the third eleven feet from the second, and the height above the third, nine feet. There were four convenient rooms, or what are now called boxes, for the accommodation of gentlemen, partitioned off from the lower gallery; and other divisions, for company of an inferior order, in the upper. The lower galleries measured twelve feet and a half from the back to the front; the upper stories had an additional projection of ten inches.
The space between the outward wall of the theatre and the front of the galleries was completely roofed in with thatch, as was likewise all that part of the theatre occupied by the stage; so that the stage, galleries, passages, and stair-cases, were entirely protected from the weather, whilst the open area, or pit, was exposed.
I do not profess to understand this document. It is, in fact, inconsistent with itself. . A square of eighty feet every way, reduced on each side by galleries of twelve feet and a half, would certainly leave a square area of fifty-five on every side. But as the stage would necessarily occupy one side of the square, and the depth of the stage was to be exactly half of the remaining area, nothing like the area spoken of could be left open. Again, the length of the stage is expressly defined fortythree feet, which leaves it six feet too short at each side to form a junction with the ends of i. galleries next the stage. I have no doubt, therefore, of an error in the document, which I take to be the omission to calculate the space occupied by the passages and stair-cases. A passage of six feet wide behind the galleries, added to their width, would make a deduction of eighteen feet and a half from each side of the theatre, and leave a space between the front of one gallery to the front of the other of forty-three feet, which is the exact width assigned to the stage. ,
The description of the ground plot of the house would then run thus: a square of eighty feet reduced on three sides by a passage of six feet, and a gallery of twelve feet and a half in breadth, leaving an area of forty-three feet wide, and sixty-one feet and a half long: the width of the area the width of the stage; half the length of the area thirty feet and three quarters, the depth of the stage.
To make myself better understood, a plan of this conjecture is sketched below. The height of the theatre was probably thirty-eight feet, allowing six feet for the height of the stage and undermost gallery, or row of boxes, which would, I suppose, be on a level with each other.
A scrxe has been defined as
“a painting in perspective, on a cloth fastened to a wooden frame
or roller 1); ” and the want of this simple contrivance at the public theatres is singular, when the account books of the Revel office prove, even to satiety, that the use of such paintings was an every day occurrence when plays were performed at Court. - “One hundred and fifty ells of canvass for the houses and properties made for the players.” “A painted cloth and two frames.” “Wm. Lyzarde for syze, cullers, pottes, mayles, and pensills used and occupied upon the paynt
ing of vii cities, one villadge, one countrey-house, one battlement, etc.”
“One citty, and one battlement of canvas.”
“Wm. Lyzarde for paynting by greate ceX yards of canvas.”
Six plays “furnished, perfected and garnished necessarely and answerable to the matter, person and parte to be played; having apt howeses made of canvass, framed, fashioned, and paynted accordingly, as might best serve their several purposes.”
Rowe's testimony is positive, and corroborated by the fact adduced for its illustration. Oldys' fact yields a similar inference; and then follows the testimony of Wright, which is perfectly clear also “Shakspeare was a much better poet than player.” (Historia Histrionica.) I cannot extract from Aubrey's account that Shakspeare “did act exceedingly well,” any stronger meaning than that those parts which he did play he played well: in favour of his being a first-rate actor, which has been contended for, it testifies nothing. As for the contemporary evidence of Chettle, so much relied on in support of the latter position, it is enough to say, that his address “to the Gentlemen Readers,” is apologetical to Shakspeare; and apologies are so apt to be complimentary, that it will be long before
their literal meaning will be received as authentic historical testimony.
I Must here enter a protest against Malone's unwarrantable conjectures. Oldys' story is this: “One of Shakspeare's younger brothers, who lived to a good old age, even some years, as I compute, after the restoration of King Charles the Second, would, in his younger days, come to visit his brother Will, as he called him, and be a spectator of him as an actor in some of his own plays.” oldys then mentions circumstances which leave no doubt that As You Like It was one of the plays seen, and Adam the character represented by Shakspeare.
Now for Malone's remarks.
“Mr. Oldys seems to have studied the art of ‘marring a plain tale in the telling of it'. From shakpeare'. not taking notice of any of his brothers or sisters in his will, except Joan Hart, I think it highly probable that they were all dead in 1616, except her. The truth is, that this account came originally from Mr. Jones of Tarbrick, who related it from the information, not of one of Shakspeare's brothers, but of a relation of our poet, who lived to a good old age, and had seen him act in his youth. Mr. Jones' informer might have been Mr. Richard Quiney;” and a thousand other conjectures Malone adds. Now, every word of this is hypothesis, and most unwarrantable. Oldys says nothing about Jones; why then is the story referred to him, and, if justly to him, why is not his assertion, that it was a brother of Shakspeare who saw him play Adam, to be believed? It is well ascertained that all Shakspeare's brothers and sisters were dead previous to 1616, except Joan and Gilbert. Gilbert, therefore, was the brother alluded to by Oldys. And what has Malone to say to this? Why, “I shall, in its proper place, show that the anecdote of one of Shakspeare's brothers having lived till after the restoration, is utterly impossible to be true.” (Vol. ii. p. 141, note.) It is much to be regretted, that the “proper place” never occurred for the display of his overwhelming evidence. Till it is produced, let it be remembered that, as yet, nothing whatever is known of Gilbert Shakspeare, except that Oldys “computed” his existence to have extended to a period subsequent to the restoration.
A few additional particulars of the history of New Place will not, perhaps, be unacceptable to the reader. The house was originally built by Sir Hugh Clopton, in the time of Henry the Seventh, and was them “a fair house, built of brick and timber” (Dugdale), and continued in the Clopton family until 1563, when it was bought by William Bott, and re-sold in 1570 to William Underhill, Esq., of whom Shakspeare purchased it in 1597. On Shakspeare's death, New Place came to his daughter, Mrs. Hall; and then to her only child, Elizabeth Nash, afterwards Lady Barnard. In the house of Shakspeare, Mr. and Mrs. Nash enjoyed the remarkable distinction of entertaining Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles the First, who, during the civil war in 1643, kept her court for three weeks in New Place. After Lady Barnard's death, in 1670, by a variety of changes, it reverted to the possession of the Clopton family, and Sir Hugh Clopton so completely modernized it, by internal .# external alterations, as to confer on it the character of a new building altogether. In 1742, Macklin, Garrick, and Dr. Delaney, were entertained under Shakspeare's mulberry-tree by Sir Hugh. His son-in-law, Henry Talbot, Esq., sold New Place to the Rev. Francis Gastrell, vicar of Fordsham, in Cheshire. The mulberry-tree first became an object of dislike to its reverend posses-sor, because it subjected him to the frequent importunities of travellers, whose veneration for Shakspeare prompted them to visit it. In an evil hour he cut it down, and hewed it to pieces for firewood. The greater part, however, was purchased by Thomas Sharp, a watchmaker in Stratford, who turned it to wonderful advantage by converting every fragment into trifling articles of utility or ornament. A disagreement between Mr. Gastrell and the overseers of the parish, respecting an assess— ment for the maintenance of the poor, fixed the final fate of New Place. In the heat of his anger, he declared, that that house should never be assessed again : in 1759, he pulled it down, and sold the materials. Here it is, with pleasure, added, that Mr. Gastrell left Stratford amidst the rage and execrations of the inhabitants. (Wheeler's Guide to, and History of, Stratford.)
When Shakspeare made his will, his wife was, at first, forgotten altogether, and only became entitled to her legacy under the benefit of an interlineation. To those in search of subjects for controversy, the temptation was irresistible. Malone acknowledges the bard's contempt for his wife, and, thinking it derogatory to his penetration not to be able to account for it, makes him jealous of her. Steevens, rightly enough, defends the lady, but forgetting, for once, his knowledge of his life, appears quite unconscious that husbands, as well as wives, are occasionally false. The conversion of the bequest of an inferior piece of furniture into a mark of peculiar tenderness,
“The very bed that on his bridal night
is not much in the usual style of this very knowing commentator.
Sonnets 33, 34, 35.40-2. 120. It is matural that love and friendship should be the subjects of Shakspeare's Sonnets; and these Sonnets contain abundant evidence of the statements in the text. Perhaps other circumstances regarding the poet remain to be discovered; but hitherto most of the endeavours to trace the mind of Shakspeare in his Sonnets have been dreams and conjectures wilder and more absurd than the fancies of Warburton. The subject of the greater number of the Sonnets was, undoubtedly, a male friend of the poet, and Shakspeare's praise of the personal beauty and accomplishments of the favoured youth are far too ardent to be pleasing 1). The hundred and twentysixth is the last stanza to the “lovely boy,” and a transition is then made to the lady whose inconstancy to Shakspeare, and attachment to his bewitching friend, have been already noticed.
1) Sonnets 18, 19, 20–32, 39.43. 47.
to the Richt honounable HENRY W R J O THE SLY, Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Tichfield. Right Honoun Able,
I know not how I shall offend, in dedicating my unpolished lines to your lordship; nor how the world will censure me, for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a burden: only if your honour seem but pleased, I account myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you with some graver labour. But if the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be sorry it had so noble a godfather, and never after ear so barren a land, for fear it yield me still so bad a harvest. I leave it to your honourable survey, and your honour to your heart's content; which I wish may always answer your own wish, and the world's hopeful expectation.
Your Honour's in all duty,
Even as the sun, with purple-colour'd face,
“Thrice fairer than myself!” thus she began,
‘Wouchsafe, thon wonder! to alight thy steed,
And trembling in her passion calls it balm;
Earth's sovereign salve to do a goddess good. Being so enraged, desire doth lend her force, Courageously to pluck him from his horse.
Over one arm the lusty courser's rein,
The studded bridle on a ragged bough,
So soon was she along, as he was down,
He burns with bashful shame; she, with her tears,
Even as an empty eagle, sharp by fast,
Forced to consent, but never to obey,
Look how a bird lies tangled in a net,
Still she entreats, and prettily entreats;
Look how he can, she cannot choose but love; And by her fair immortal hand she swears, From his soft bosom never to remove,
The precedent of pith and livelihood,
Till he take truce with her contending tears;
Which long have rain'd, making her cheeks all wet, And one sweet kiss shall pay this countless debt.
Upon this promise did he raise his chin,
“Over my altars hath he hung his lance,
“Thus he, that over-ruled, I over-sway’d,
‘Touch but my lips with those fair lips of thine, (Though mine be not so fair, yet they are red) The kiss shall be thine own as well as mine, What seest thou on the ground? Hold up thy head: Look in mine eye-balls where thy beauty lies, Then why not lips on lips, since eyes on eyes?
“Art thou ashamed to kiss? Then wink again,
“The tender spring, upon thy tempting lip,
‘Were I hard favour'd, foul, or wrinkled old,
‘Thou canst not see one wrinkle in my brow,
‘Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear,
‘Torches are made to light, jewels to wear,
By this the love-sick queen began to sweat,
And now Adonis with a lazy spright,
“Ah me!’ quoth Venus, ‘young, and so unkind:
‘The snn that shines from heaven shines but warm,
“Art thou obdurate, flinty, hard as steel?
‘What am I, that thou shouldst contemn me thus?