« FöregåendeFortsätt »
fruits of obfervation he has prefented us in his preface to the edition he had published of our poet's works. He replied "There might be in the garden of mankind fuch plants as would seem to pride themselves more in a regular production of their own native fruits, than in having the repute of bearing a richer kind by grafting; and this was the reafon he omitted it."8"
The fame ftory, without the names of the perfons, is printed among the jefts of John Taylor the Water-poet, in his works, folio, 1630, p. 184, No 39: and, with fome variations, may be found in one of Hearne's pocket books.9
and this was the reafon he omitted it.] Mr. Oldys might have added, that he was the perfon who fuggefted to Mr. Pope the fingular courfe which he purfued in his edition of Shakfpeare. "Remember," fays Oldys in a MS. note to his copy of Langbaine, Article, Shakspeare," what I obferved to my Lord Oxford for Mr. Pope's ufe, out of Cowley's preface." The obfervation here alluded to, I believe, is one made by Cowley in his preface, p. 53, edit. 1710, 8vo: "This has been the cafe with Shakspeare, Fletcher, Jonfon, and many others, part of whose poems I should prefume to take the boldness to prune and lop away, if the care of replanting them in print did belong to me; neither would I make any fcruple to cut off from fome the unneceffary young fuckers, and from others the old withered branches; for a great wit is no more tied to live in a vast volume, than in a gigantick body; on the contrary it is commonly more vigorous the less space it animates, and as Statius fays of little Tydeus,
totos infufa per artus,
"Major in exiguo regnabat corpore virtus."
Pope adopted this very unwarrantable idea; ftriking out from the text of his author whatever he did not like: and Cowley himself has fuffered a fort of poetical punishment for having fuggefted it, the learned Bishop of Worcester [Dr. Hurd] having pruned and lopped away his beautiful luxuriances, as Pope, on Cowley's fuggeftion, did those of Shakspeare. MALONE.
9 The fame Story-may be found in one of Hearne's pocket books.] Antony Wood is the first and original author of the anec
"One of Shakspeare's younger brothers,' who
dote that Shakspeare, in his journies from Warwickshire to London, used to bait at the Crown-Inn on the weft fide of the corn market in Oxford. He fays, that D'Avenant the poet was born in that houfe in 1606. "His father (he adds) John Davenant, was a fufficient vintner, kept the tavern now known by the fign of the Crown, and was mayor of the faid city in 1621. His mother was a very beautiful woman, of a good wit and converfation, in which the was imitated by none of her children but by this William [the poet]. The father, who was a very grave and difcreet citizen, (yet an admirer and lover of plays and play-makers, efpecially Shakspeare, who frequented his house in his journies between Warwickshire and London,) was of a melancholick difpofition, and was feldom or never feen to laugh, in which he was imitated by none of his children but by Robert his eldest son, afterwards fellow of St. John's College, and a venerable Doctor of Divinity." Wood's Ath. Oxon. Vol. II. p. 292, edit. 1692. I will not fuppofe that Shakspeare could have been the father of a Doctor of Divinity who never laughed; but it was always a conftant tradition in Oxford that Shakspeare was the father of Davenant the poet. And I have feen this circumftance expressly mentioned in fome of Wood's papers. Wood was well qualified to know these particulars; for he was a townsman of Oxford, where he was born in 1632. Wood fays, that Davenant went to school in Oxford. Ubi jupr.
As to the Crown Inn, it still remains as an inn, and is an old decayed houfe, but probably was once a principal inn in Oxford. It is directly in the road from Stratford to London. In a large upper room, which feems to have been a fort of Hall for entertaining a large company, or for accommodating (as was the cuftom) different parties at once, there was a bow-window, with three pieces of excellent painted glafs. About eight years ago, I remember vifiting this room, and propofing to purchase of the landlord the painted glafs, which would have been a curiofity as coming from Shakspeare's inn. But going thither foon after, I found it was removed; the inn-keeper having communicated my intended bargain to the owner of the houfe, who began to fufpect that he was poffeffed of a curiofity too valuable to be parted with, or to remain in fuch a place and I never could hear of it afterwards. If I remember right, the painted glas confifted of three armorial fhields beautifully ftained. I have faid fo much on this fubject, because I think that Shakspeare's old hoftelry at Oxford deferves no lefs refpect than Chaucer's Tabarde in Southwark. T. WARTON,
lived to a good old age, even fome years as I compute, after the restoration of King Charles II. would in his younger days come to London to vifit his brother Will, as he called him, and be a spectator of him as an actor in fome of his own plays. This cuftom, as his brother's fame enlarged, and
One of Shakspeare's younger brothers, &c.] Mr. Oldys feems to have studied the art of "marring a plain tale in the telling of it;" for he has in this ftory introduced circumftances which tend to diminifh, inftead of adding to, its credibility. Male dum recitas, incipit effe tuus. From Shakspeare's not taking notice of any of his brothers or fifters in his will, except Joan Hart, I think it highly probable that they were all dead in 1616, except her, at least all those of the whole blood; though in the Regifter there is no entry of the burial of either his brother Gilbert, or Edmund, antecedent to the death of Shakspeare, or at any fubfequent period.
The truth is, that this account of our poet's having performed the part of an old man in one of his own comedies, came originally from Mr. Thomas Jones, of Tarbick, in Worcestershire, who has been already mentioned, (fee p. 62, n. 1,) and 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 who had seen him act in his youth. Mr. Jones's informer might have been Mr. Richard Quiney, who lived in London, and died at Stratford in 1656, at the age of 69; or Mr. Thomas Quiney, our poet's fon-in-law, who lived, I believe, till 1663, and was twenty-feven years old when his father-in-law died; or fome one of the family of Hathaway. Mr. Thomas Hathaway, I believe Shakspeare's brother-in-law, died at Stratford in 1654-5, at the age of 85.
There was a Thomas Jones, an inhabitant of Stratford, who between the years 1581 and 1590 had four fons, Henry, James, Edmund, and Ifaac: fome one of thefe, it is probable, fettled at Tarbick, and was the father of Thomas Jones, the relater of this anecdote, who was born about the year 1613.
If any of Shakspeare's brothers lived till after the Restoration, and vifited the players, why were we not informed to what player he related it, and from what player Mr. Oldys had his account? The fact, I believe, is, he had it not from a player, but from the above-mentioned Mr. Jones, who likewife communicated the ftanza of the ballad on Sir Thomas Lucy, which has been printed in a former page. MALONE.
his dramatick entertainments grew the greatest fupport of our principal, if not of all our theatres, he continued it feems fo long after his brother's death, as even to the latter end of his own life. The curiofity at this time of the most noted actors [exciting them] to learn fomething from him of his brother, &c. they juftly held him in the highest veneration. And it may be well believed, as there was befides a kinfman and defcendant of the family, who was then a celebrated actor among them, [Charles Hart. See Shakspeare's Will.] this opportunity made them greedily inquifitive into every little circumftance, more especially in his dramatick character, which his brother could relate of him. But he, it feems, was fo ftricken in years, and poffibly his memory fo weakened with infirmities, (which might make him the easier pafs for a man of weak intellects,) that he could give them but little light into their enquiries; and all that could be recollected from him of his brother Will. in that ftation was, the faint, general, and almost loft ideas he had of having once feen him act a part in one of his own comedies, wherein being to perfonate a decrepit old man, he wore a long beard, and appeared fo weak and drooping and unable to walk, that he was forced to be fupported and carried by another perfon to a table, at which
Charles Hart.] Mr. Charles Hart the player was born, I believe, about the year 1630, and died in or about 1682. If he was a grandfon of Shakspeare's fifter, he was probably the fon of Michael Hart, her youngest fon, of whofe marriage or death there is no account in the parish Register of Stratford, and therefore I fufpect he fettled in London. MALONE.
Charles Hart died in Auguft, 1683, and was buried at Stanmore the 20th of that month. Lyfon's Environs of London, Vol. III. p. 400. REED.
he was feated among fome company, who were eating, and one of them fung a fong." See the character of Adam, in As you like it, Act II. fc.
Verfes by Ben Jonfon and Shakspeare, occafioned by the motto to the Globe Theatre-Totus mundus agit hiftrionem.
If, but stage actors, all the world difplays,
Poetical Characteristicks, 8vo. MS. Vol. I. fome
time in the Harleian Library; which volume was returned to its owner."
"Old Mr. Bowman the player reported from Sir William Bishop, that fome part of Sir John Falftaff's character was drawn from a townfman of Stratford, who either faithlessly broke a contract, or fpitefully refused to part with some land for a valuable confideration, adjoining to Shakspeare's, in or near that town."
To these anecdotes I can only add the following.
At the conclufion of the advertisement prefixed to Lintot's edition of Shakspeare's Poems, it is faid, "That most learned prince and great patron of learning, King James the First, was pleafed with