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No. 469









A new Index, forming Volume CCXXII., comprising the volumes from CCII. to CCXXI., of the QUARTERLY REVIEW, has been published, and is obtainable through any bookseller (Price 6/- net).

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1. A Life of William Shakespeare. New edition. By

Sidney Lee. Murray, 1915. 2. The Oxford Shakespeare. By W. J. Craig. Clarendon

Press, N.d. (1902). 3. Shakespear, Himself and His Work. By W. Carew

Hazlitt. Second edition. Quaritch, 1903. 4. William Shakespeare, His Family and Friends. By

C. I. Elton. Murray, 1904. 5. Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare. By J. O. Halliwell

Phillipps. 7th edition. Two vols. Longmans, 1887. 6. Shakespeare's Life and Work. By F. J. Furnivall and John Munro. Cassell, 1908.

And other works. The first folio had been published fifty years before the advent of any true or adequate criticism of Shakespeare's work, and he had been dead nearly a hundred years when Rowe compiled the first detailed biography of the Poet. It is from the publication of Rowe's edition in 1709 that we must date the gradual accumulation of material illustrating his life and character. Some of the most important of Rowe's new facts were got from the actor, Betterton, who knew Davenant,* Shakespeare's godson, and made an expedition to Stratford on purpose to pick up any traditions he could of its famous citizen. From this source must have come the maiden-name of Shakespeare's wife, which was not verified till long afterwards, and further details which would otherwise

* Betterton was born about 1635, and Davenant lived till 1668. The actor just survived the issue of Rowe's work.

Vol. 236, No. 469,

have been lost. It has been generally assumed that Rowe was mistaken in accrediting John and Mary Shakespeare with ten children, as only seven are known from the Stratford registers. But these only begin in 1558, in which year Joan Shakespeare was baptised. The statement that John Shakespeare and Mary Arden were married in 1557 appears to rest merely on an inference from the date of Joan's baptism. Other children may have been born and died before the records begin.

An advertisement in the London Gazette' of March 14, 1709, shows that it was intended to prefix to Rowe's edition as exact an account of Shakespeare's life and writings as could be compiled. Much more which it is impossible now to recover might have been gleaned even then, if any systematic and scientific search for information had been made at that time. It is not generally known even by Americans, quick as they are on the track of everything Shakespearean, that a Stratford man, Francis Aynge, baptised there on Aug. 23, 1629, only thirteen years after Shakespeare's death, left England after King Charles's execution, settled in Maryland, and did not die till 1763, aged 134, thus linking Shakespeare's generation with the Shakespearean revival towards the end of the 18th century.*

Writers who followed Rowe, such as Dennis, Pope, and Johnson, added an anecdote here and a tradition there. In 1747 the Poet's will was first brought to notice and published, apparently from a probate copy found at Stratford by Joseph Greene. As for any light it threw upon the testator's personality, it proved a great disappointment. Like almost everything else connected with Shakespeare, it creates more difficulties than it solves. Full of erasures and interlineations, it is clearly a draft will. Nor does it appear to have been all written at the same time, for the writing of the last part of the first sheet is smaller than that of the second and third. What seem to have been the first three lines of the second sheet have been struck out; and the two lines now above them, which continue the sense from the previous page, appear to have been substituted. But the

* The case is recorded in Bailey's ‘Records of Longevity,' and I found the entry of his baptism in the Stratford Registers,


cancelled lines do not belong in sense to the words that precede either on this or the previous sheet. Possibly a page was discarded when the will came to be executed, and the two lines now at the head of

ne second page were added to complete a previous sentence. In these added lines occurs the blank left for the Christian name of Shakespeare's nephew, Thomas Hart. So none of his family could have been with Shakespeare when the will was corrected, nor (one would think) when it was executed. Nor is this the only peculiarity: the original draft was written on Jan. 25,* but, before the execution of the will, March was substituted for January. Either, then, it happened to be on both occasions the 25th of the month-and Lady Day, being the beginning of the New Year, was a probable day for concluding such businessor the day of the month was allowed to stand when the month itself was altered. Does not Shakespeare himself prophetically say in Troilus and Cressida' (v, 10, 53): "Some two months hence my will shall be made: it should be now'?

As a lawyer's draft the will is not a creditable performance, for, drawn up as it was in January, the regnal year is wrongly given as 14th James I, which did not begin till March 24, 1616. It therefore became just correct for the altered date. Shakespeare certainly did not write his own will. Sir Sidney Lee says that Collins, the Warwick solicitor who witnesses the will, wrote it; but there is no resemblance between his signature and the writing of the will.f Shakespeare's legal acquirements have been greatly exaggerated; and there is no reason to think he could have drawn up a will som technical and legal, especially in the matter of the entail. It is a strictly business document, in which, apart from some friendly bequests, the human element is not conspicuous. His elder daughter Susannah and her puritan husband, Dr John Hall, came in for a far greater share of his confidence and affection than his daughter Judith and her husband, Thomas Quiney, whom she married between the two dates of the will. Shakespeare had a

* Mrs Stopes is certainly wrong when she takes the erased word to be February.

+ Sir Sidney Lee, however, says that a comparison of Collins' undoubted script in the Stratford records establishes the identity.

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