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it was “Henry the Eighth !.” It is very possible that both may be right, and that Shakespeare's historical drama was that night revived under a new name, and therefore mistakenly called “a new play” by Sir Henry Wotton, although it had been nearly ten years on the stage. The Globe was rebuilt in the next year, as we are told on what may sidered good authority, at the cost of King James and of many noblemen and gentlemen, who seem to have contributed sums of money for the purpose. If James I. lent any pecuniary aid on the occasion, it affords another out of many proofs of his disposition to encourage the drama, and to assist the players who acted under the royal name?. Although
own wherry), and thus celebrated it in an epigram, which he printed in 1614, in his “Nipping and Snipping of Abuses,” &c. 4to.
“ UPON THE BURNING OF THE GLOBE,
Misguiding Phoebus carre, the world he firde;
And I in action saw the Globe to burne." 1 See Vol. iv. p. 356, and “Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage," Vol. i. p. 386 ; and Vol. iii. p. 298.
2 This fact, with several other new and curious particulars respecting the fate of the Blackfriars theatre, the Whitefriars (called the Salisbury Court) theatre, the Phønix, the Fortune, and the Hope (which was also at times used for bearbaiting) is contained in some MS. notes to a copy of Stowe's Annales, by Howes, folio, 1631, formerly in the possession of Mr. Pickering : they appear to have been made just after the last event mentioned in them. The burning of the Globe is there erroneously fixed in 1612. When, too, it is said that the Hope was built in 1610, the meaning must be that it was then reconstructed, so as to be adapted to both purposes, stage-plays and bear-baiting. The memoranda are thus headed : “A note of such passages as have beene omitted, and as I have seene, since the printing of Stowe's Survey of London in 4to, 1618, and this Chronicle at large, 1631.
“Play Houses.-- The Globe play house, on the Bank side in Southwarke, was burnt downe to the ground in the yeare 1612. And new built up againe in the yeare 1613, at the great charge of King James, and many
and others. And now pulled downe to the ground by Sir Mathew Brand on Munday, the 15 of April, 1644, to make tenements in the rome of it.
“ The Black Friers play house, in Black Friers London, which had stood many yeares, was pulled down to the ground on Munday, the 6 day of August, 1655, and tenements built in the roome.
“The play house in Salisbury Court, in Fleete streete, was pulled down by a company of souldiers, set on by the Sectaries of these sad times, on Saturday, the 24th day of March, 1649.
“ The Phenix, in Druery Lane, was pulled down also this day, being Saturday the 24th day of March, 1619, by the same souldiers.
“The Fortune play house, between White Crosse streete and Golding Lane, was burned down to the ground in the year 1618. And built againe with bricke worke on the outside, in the year 1622; and now pulld downe on the inside by these souldiers, this 1649.
Shakespeare might not be in any way pecuniarily affected by the event, we may be sure that he would not be backward in using his influence, and perhaps in rendering assistance by a gift of money, for the reconstruction of a playhouse in which he had often acted, from which he had derived so much profit, and in the continuance of the performances at which so many of his friends and fellows were deeply interested '.
He must himself have had an escape from a similar disaster at Stratford in the very next year. Fires had broken out in the borough in 1594 and 1595, which had destroyed many of the houses, then built of wood, or of materials not calculated to resist combustion; but that which occurred on the 9th July, 1614, seems to have done more damage than both its predecessors. At the instance of various gentlemen in the neighbourhood, including Sir Fulk Greville, Sir Richard Verney, and Sir Thomas Lucy, King James issued a proclamation, or brief, dated 11th May, 1615, in favour of the inhabitants of Stratford, authorizing the collection of donations in the different churches of the kingdom for the restoration of the town; and alleging that within two hours the fire had consumed "fifty-four dwelling-houses, many of them being very fair houses, besides barns, stables, and other houses of office, together also with great store of corn, hay, straw, wood, and timber.” The amount of loss is stated, on the same authority, to be "eight thousand pounds and upwards *.' What was the issue of this charitable appeal to the whole kingdom we know not.
It is very certain that the dwelling of our great dramatist, called New Place, escaped the conflagration, and his property, as far as we can judge, seems to have been situated in a part of the town which fortunately did not suffer from the ravages of the fire.
“ The Hope, on the Banke side in Southwarke, commonly called the Beare Garden: a play house for stage playes on Mundays, Wednesdayes, Fridayes, and Saterdayes; and for the baiting of the beares on Tuesdays and Thursdayes—the stage being made to take up and downe when they please. It was built in the year 1610; and now pulled downe to make tenements by Thomas Walker, a peticoate maker in Cannon Streete, on Tuesday the 25 day of March, 1656. Seven of Mr. Godfries beares, by the command of Thomas Pride, then hie Sherefe of Surry, were shot to death on Saturday, the 9 day of February, 1655, by a company of souldiers.”
3 Shakespeare's old friends and fellows, Burbadge, Heminge, Condell, and · Tooley, are particularly named in the ballad as having escaped from the burning theatre. See a complete copy of this popular production, otherwise of little value, in Vol. iv. p. 357.
4 We take these particulars from a copy of the document “printed by Thomas Purfoot,” who then had a patent for all proclamations, &c. It has the royal arms, and the initials I. R. at the top of it, as usual. It was formerly in the editor's possession, but is now the property of the Society of Antiquaries. VOL. I.
The name of Shakespeare is not found among those of inhabitants whose certificate was stated to be the immediate ground for issuing the royal brief', but it is not at all unlikely that he was instrumental in obtaining it. We are sure that he was in London in November following the fire", and possibly was taking some steps in favour of his fellow-townsmen. However, his principal business seems to have related to the projected inclosure of certain common lands in the neighbourhood of Stratford, in which he had an interest. Some inquiries as to the rights of various parties were instituted in September, 1614, as we gather from a document yet preserved: the individuals whose claims are set out are, “Mr. Shakespeare,” Thomas Parker, Mr. Lane, Sir Francis Smith, Mace, Arthur Cawdrey, and “Mr. Wright, vicar of Bishopton.” All that it is necessary to quote is the following, which refers to Shakespeare, and which, like the rest, is placed under the head of " Auncient Freeholders in the fields of Old Stratford and Welcome."
“Mr. Shakspeare, 4 yard land ?: noe common, nor ground beyond Gospell bushe : noe ground in Sandfield, nor none in Slow Hill field beyond Bishopton, nor none in the enclosures beyond Bishopton.”
The date of this paper is 5th September, 1614, and as we have said, we may presume that it was chiefly upon this business that Shakespeare came to London on the 16th November. It should appear that Thomas Greene, of Stratford, was officially opposing the inclosure on the part of the corporation; and it is probable that Shakespeare's wishes were accordant with those of the majority of the inhabitants : however this might be, (and it is liable to dispute which party Shakespeare favoured) the members of the municipal body of the borough were nearly unanimous, and, as far as we can learn from the imperfect particulars remaining upon this subject, they wished our poet to use his influence to resist the project, which seems to have been supported by Mr. Arthur Mainwaring, then resident in the family of Lord Ellesmere as auditor of his domestic expenditure.
$ The name of his friend William Combe is found among the esquires " enumerated in the body of the instrument.
6 This fact appears in a letter, before alluded to, written by Thomas Greene, on 17th November, 1614, in which he tells some person in Stratford, that he had been to see “his cousin Shakespeare,” who had reached town the day before.
? Malone informs us, without mentioning his authority, that “in the fields of Old Stratford, where our poet's estate lay, a 'yard land' contained only about twenty-seven acres,” but that it varied much in different places : he derives the term from the Saxon gyrd land, virgata terræ. - Shakspeare, by Boswell, Vol. ii. p. 25. According to the same authority, a yard land in Wilmecote consisted of more than fifty acres.
It is very likely that Shakespeare saw Mainwaring; and, as it was only five or six years since his name had been especially brought under the notice of the Lord Chancellor, in relation to the claim of the city authorities to jurisdiction in the Blackfriars, it is not impossible that Shakespeare may have had an interview with Lord Ellesmere, who seems at all times to have been of a very accessible and kindly disposition. Greene was in London on the 17th November, and sent to Stratford a short account of his proceedings on the question of the inclosure, in which he mentioned that he had seen Shakespeare and Mr. Hall (probably meaning Shakespeare's son-in-law) on the preceding day, who told him that they thought nothing would be done 8. Greene returned to Stratford soon afterwards, and, having left our poet in London, he subsequently wrote two letters, at the instance of the corporation, one to Shakespeare, and the other to Mainwaring, (the latter only has been preserved) setting forth in strong terms the injury the inclosure would do to Stratford, and the heavy loss the inhabitants had not long before sustained from the fire. A petition was also prepared and presented to the privy council, and that the opposition was effectual we know, because in 1618 an order was issued by authority against the inclosure. The common fields of Welcombe remained open for pasture as before.
How soon after the matter relating to the inclosure had been settled Shakespeare returned to Stratford,-how long he remained there, or whether he ever came to London again, we are without information. He was very possibly in the
8 The memorandum of the contents of his letter (already referred to) is in these terms, avoiding abbreviations:
•Jovis, 17 No. My cosen Shakespeare comyng yesterday, I went to see him, how he did. He told me that they assured him they ment to inclose no further than to Gospel bush, and so upp straight (leaving out part of the Dyngles to the field) to the gate in Clopton hedg, and take in Salisburys peece; and that they mean in Aprill to survey the land, and then to gyve satisfaction, and not before : and he and Mr. Hall say, they think there will be nothyng done at all.”
Whether Thomas Greene, the solicitor, was any, and what relation to Thomas Greene, the actor, we have no means of ascertaining.
metropolis at the time when a narrative poem, founded in part upon his historical play of “Richard III.,” was published, and which until now has escaped observation, although it contains the clearest allusion, not indeed by name, to our author and to his tragedy. It is called “The Ghost of Richard the Third,” and it bears date in 1614; but the writer, C. B., only gives his initials'. We know of no poets of that day to whom they would apply, excepting Christopher Brooke and Charles Best; the former was a writer of considerable reputation, who subsequently became a lawyer of eminence; and the latter has several pieces in Davison's “Poetical Rhapsody,” 1602, but he has left nothing behind him to indicate that he would be capable of a work of such power and variety: we therefore now, as in 1844, assign “ The Ghost of Richard the Third ” without hesitation to Christopher Brooke. It is divided into three portions, the “ Character,” the “Legend,” and the “Tragedy” of Richard III. ; and the second part opens with the following stanzas, which show the high estimate the writer had formed of the genius of Shakespeare : they are extremely interesting as a contemporaneous tribute. Richard, narrating his own history, thus speaks :
" To him that impt my fame with Clio's quill,
Crown'd be his stile with fame, his head with bayes,
And none detract, but gratulate his praise.
Nor wits nor chronicles could ere containe
9 And these not on the title-page, but at the end of the prefatory matter: the whole title runs thus:
“ The Ghost of Richard the Third. Expressing himselfe in these three Parts. 1. His Character. 2. His Legend. 3. His Tragedie. Containing more of him then hath been heretofore shewed, either in Chronicles, Playes, or Poems. Laurea Desidiæ præbetur nulla. Printed by G. Eld: for L. Lisle : and are to be sold in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Tygers head. 1614.” 4to.
It was reprinted, from the only known copy, by the Shakespeare Society in 1841. 10 We may suspect, in the last line but one, that the word “ wits” has been