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Returning to the important list of twelve plays furnished by Meres, we may add, that although he does not mention them, there can be no doubt that the three parts of “Henry VI.” had been repeatedly acted before 1598: we may possibly infer, that they were not inserted by Meres because they were then well known not to be the sole work of Shakespeare. By “Henry IV.” it is most probable that Meres intended both parts of that "history." “Love's Labour's Won” has been supposed, since the time of Dr. Farmer, to be “All's Well that ends Well,” under a different title: our notion is (see Vol. ii. p. 530) that the original name given to the play was “Love's Labour's Won;" and that, when it was revived with additions and alterations, in 1605 or 1606, it received a new appellation.
It has been hitherto imagined that in 1599 W. Jaggard (who was one of the adventurers in the publication of the folio of 1623) was guilty of a gross fraud, by making it appear that Shakespeare was the author of some poems, which belonged to Richard Barnfield, and which in the preceding year had been put forth under his name. The facts are these: in 1598 came out Barnfield's “Encomion of Lady Pecunia, or the Praise of Money :" under what particular circumstances it was published, and how far Barnfield was instrumental in the matter, we are not precisely informed; but it comprises several short productions which in 1599 found their way into “The Passionate Pilgrim," attributed by the printer and stationer to W. Shakespeare. Hence it has been concluded that Barnfield was the real author of the poems, and that W.Jaggard took them from “The Encomion of Lady Pecunia” in 1598, and printed them as the productions of Shakespeare in 1599, because the popularity of our great poet's name would procure the work a better sale. It turns out, however, that there is every reason to believe that the pieces in question were properly ascribed to Shakespeare by W. Jaggard, because, when Barnfield reprinted his “Encomion of Lady Pecunia” (under the title of “ Lady Pecunia, or the Praise of Money") in 1605, he excluded all of them, as if, being the work of another author, whom he much ad
Other dramatists make the same complaint; and there can be no doubt that it was the practice so to defraud authors and actors, and to palm wretchedly disfigured pieces upon the public as genuine and authentic works. It was, we are satisfied, in this way that Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet,” “Henry V.,” and “Ham let,” first got out into the world.
mired, he did not wish them to be imputed to himself”. We have entered into this point more at large in the proper place (Vol. vi. p. 674), but we mention it here, not only because it frees W. Jaggard from an unjust accusation, but because, what is much more important, it enables us to receive with confidence certain pieces as the authorship of Shakespeare, which, until the discovery of the edition of Barnfield's Poems in 1605, were generally believed to have proceeded from the pen of the latter.
A fraud was thought more likely to have been committed, because another distinguished poet of that day had good ground to complain of the conduct of W. Jaggard in relation to a subsequent edition of “The Passionate Pilgrim” in 1612. In it, probably to swell the bulk of the little volume, the publisher inserted some translations from Ovid, which had been printed by Thomas Heywood as his own in 1609 : these also were assigned to Shakespeare, and against this act Heywood seems to have remonstrated, and to have compelled the publisher to reprint the title-page of “The Passionate Pilgrim,” omitting the name of our great dramatist.
It is singular, if we rely upon several coeval authorities, 7 Barnfield's admiration is evident from what he says of Shakespeare under the title of “ A Remembrance of some English Poets,” in which he includes also applauses of Spenser, Daniel, and Drayton: we copy the poem from the unique copy of the edition of 1605 in the library of the Earl of Ellesmere :
“Live, Spenser, ever in thy Fairy Queene,
For that rare worke, the White Rose and the Red.
(Pleasing the World) thy Praises doth containe ;
Live ever you, at least in Fame live ever :
Well may the Body die, but Fame die never." The differences between the above and the same poem in the edition of 1598 are merely literal, and it deserves remark that it is the only one of the smaller pieces that Barnfield allowed to remain, when he reprinted his “Encomion of Lady Pecunia" in 1605. The rest were, therefore, clearly not his own.
how little, even at this period, Shakespeare was known and admired for his dramas. Barnfield, as we have seen, only applauds his “Venus and Adonis" and" Lucrece,” although Francis Meres in 1598 had published the names of no fewer than twelve of his plays; and in 1605 nothing was added to the praises of Barnfield, although Shakespeare had added so prodigiously to his reputation as the author of theatrical productions, not only of the loftiest rank, but of the highest popularity.
Shakespeare's celebrity as “ pleasing the world,” is noticed by Barnfield; but the proofs of it are not derived from the stage, where his dramas were in daily performance before crowded audiences, but from the success of his “Venus and Adonis” and “ Lucrece," which had gone through various editions. Precisely to the same effect, but as a still stronger instance, we may refer to a play in which both Burbadge and Kempe are introduced as characters, the one of whom had obtained such celebrity in the tragic, and the other in the comic parts in Shakespeare's dramas: we allude to “The Return from Parnassus," which was acted not long before the death of Queen Elizabeth 8. In a scene where two young students are discussing the merits of particular poets, one of them speaks thus of Shakespeare :
“Who loves Adonis love or Lucrece rape,
Without love's foolish, lazy languishment.” Not the most distant allusion is made to any of his dramatic productions, although the poet criticised by the young students immediately before Shakespeare was Ben Jonson, who was declared to be “ the wittiest fellow, of a bricklayer, in England,” but “á slow inventor.” Hence we might be led to imagine that, even down to as late a period as the commencement of the seventeenth century, the reputation of Shakespeare depended rather upon his poems than upon his plays ; almost as if productions for the stage were not looked upon, at that date, as part of the recognised literature of the country.
8 It was not printed until 1606; and it had probably been preceded by a lost comedy called “ The Pilgrimage to Parnassus." See the conclusion of the Prologue to “The Return from Parnassus."
New Place, or “the great house,” in Stratford, bought by Shakespeare in 1597.
Removal of the Lord Admiral's players from the Bankside to the Fortune theatre in Cripplegate. Rivalry of the Lord Chamberlain's and Lord Admiral's company. Order in 1600 confining the acting of plays to the Globe and Fortune: the influence of the two associations occupying those theatres. Disobedience of various companies to the order of 1600. Plays by Shakespeare published in 1600. The “ First Part of the Life of Sir John Oldcastle," printed in 1600, falsely imputed to Shakespeare, and the cancelling of the titlepage. The partisans of Lord Essex, and the players at the Globe.
It will have been observed, that, in the document we have produced, relating to the quantity of corn and malt in Stratford, it is stated that William Shakespeare's residence was in that division of the borough called Chapel-street ward. This is an important circumstance, because we think it may be said to settle decisively the disputed question, whether our great dramatist purchased what was known as “the great house,” or “New Place," before, in, or after 1597. It was situated in Chapel-street ward, close to the chapel of the Holy Trinity. We are now, therefore, certain that he had a house in the ward in February, 1597-8, and that he had ten quarters of corn there; and we need not doubt that it was the dwelling which had been built by Sir Hugh Clopton in the reign of Henry VII. : the Cloptons subsequently sold it to a person of the name of Botte", and he to Hercules Underhill, who disposed of it to Shakespeare. We thus find him, in the beginning of 1598, occupying one of the best houses, in one of the best parts of Stratford : he who had quitted his native town, about twelve years before, poor and comparatively friendless, was able, by the profits of his own exertions, and the exercise of his own genius and talents, to return to it, and to establish his family in more comfort and opulence than, as far as is known, they had ever before enjoyed ". We consider the point that Shakespeare had become owner of New Place in or before 1597 as completely made out, as, at such a distance of time, and with such imperfect information upon nearly all matters connected with his history, could be at all expected".
9 Botte probably lived in it in 1564, when he contributed 4s. to the poor who were afflicted with the plague: this was the highest amount subscribed, the bailiff only giving 3s. 4d., and the head alderman 2s. 8d. See p. 50].
10 That Shakespeare was considered a man who was in a condition to lend a considerable sum, in the autumn of 1598, we have upon the evidence of Richard Quyney (father to Thomas Quyney, who subsequently married Shakespeare's
youngest daughter Judith), who then applied to him for a loan of 301., equal to about 1501. of our present money, and in terms which do not indicate any doubt that our poet would be able to make the advance. This application is contained in a letter which must have been sent by hand, as it unluckily contains no direction: it is the only letter yet discovered addressed to Shakespeare, and it was tirst printed by Boswell from Malone's Papers, Vol. ii. p. 485.
“ Loving Contryman, I am bolde of yow, as of a frende, craveing yowr helpe wth xxxlb, uppon Mr Bushell & my securytee, or Mr Myttens with me. Mr Rosswell is not come to London as yeate, & I have especiall cawse. Yow shall frende me muche in helpeing me out of all the debeits I owe in London, I thanck god, and muche quiet to my mynde wch wolde not be indebited. I am now towards the Cowrte, in hope yr answer for the dispatche of my Buysenes. Yow shall nether loose creddytt nor monney by me, the Lorde wyllinge; & nowe butt pswade your selfe soe as I hope & yow shall nott need to feare ; but with all hartie thanckfullness I wyll holde my tyme & content yowr frend, & yf we Bargaine farther, yow shall be the paie mr your selfe. My tyme bidds me to hasten to an ende, & soe I comitt thys [to] yowr care & hope of yowr helpe. I feare I shall nott be backe this night from the Cowrte. haste. the Lorde be wth yow & wth us all. From the Bell in Carter Lane, the 25 october 1598.
• Yowrs in all kyndenes,
“ Ryc. QUYNEY. “ To my Loveing good frend & contryman Mr Wm
Shackespe thees.” The deficiency as regards the direction of the letter, lamented by Malone, is not of so much importance, because we have proved that Shakespeare was resident in Southwark in 1596; and he probably was so in 1598, because the reasons which, we have supposed, induced him to take up his abode there, would still be in operation, in as much force as ever.
11 In the garden of this house it is believed that Shakespeare planted a mul. berry tree, about the year 1609 : such is the tradition, and we are disposed to think that it is founded in truth. In 1609, King James was anxious to introduce the mulberry (which had been imported about half a century earlier) into general cultivation, and the records in the State Paper Office show that in that year letters were written upon the subject to most of the justices of peace and deputy lieutenants in the kingdom : the plants were sold by the State at hs. the hundred. On the 25th November, 1609, 9351. were paid out of the public purse for the planting of mulberry trees “near the palace of Westminster.” The mulberry tree, said to have been planted by Shakespeare, was in existence up to about the year 1755; and in the spring of 1742, Garrick, Macklin, and Delane the actor (not Mr. Delany, the friend of Swift, as Mr. Dyce, in his “Memoir,” in the Aldine Poets, p. lix, incautiously states) were entertained under it by Sir Hugh Clopton. New Place remained in possession of Shakespeare's successors until the Restoration ; it was then re-purchased by the Clopton family : about 1752 it was sold by the executor of Sir Hugh Clopton to a clergyman of the name of Gastrell, who, on some offence taken at the authorities of the borough of Stratford on the subject of rating the house, pulled it down, and cut down the mulberry tree. According to a letter in the Annual Register of 1760, the wood was bought by a silversmith, who “made many odd things of it for the curious."