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former who had two shares on the representation of each play, received, when the theatre was thus successful, twenty shillings. But supposing the average nightly receipt (after deducting the nightly expences) to be about nine pounds, which we have seen to be the case, then his nightly dividend would be but nine shillings, and his weekly profit, if they played five times a week, two pounds five shillings. The acting season, I believe, at that time lasted forty weeks. In each of the companies then subsisting there were about twenty persons, six of whom probably were principal, and the others sub ordinate; so that we may suppose two shares to have been the reward of a principal actor; six of the second class perhaps enjoyed a whole share each; and each of the remaining eight half a share. On all these data, I think it may be safely concluded, that the performers of the first class did not derive from their profession more than ninety pounds a year at the utmost. Shakspeare, Heminge, Condell, Burbadge, Lowin, and Taylor had without doubt other shares as proprietors or leaseholders; but what the different proportions were which each of them possessed in that right, it is now impossible to ascertain. According to the supposition already stated,
The verye hyerlings of some of our plaiers, [i. e. men occasionally hired by the night] says Stephen Gosson in the year 1579, which stand at reversion of vi s. by the weeke, jet under gentlemen's noses in sutes of silke." Schoole of Abuse, p. 22.
Hart, the celebrated tragedian, after the Restoration had but three pounds a week as an actor, that is, about ninety pounds a year; for the acting season did not, I believe, at that time exceed thirty weeks; but he had besides, as a proprietor, six shillings and three pence every day on which there was any performance at the king's theatre, which produced about £56. 5. 0. more. Betterton even at the beginning of the present century had not more than five pounds a week.
that fifteen shares out of forty were appropriated to the proprietors, then was there on this account a sum of six hundred and seventy-five pounds annually to be divided among them. Our poet, as author, actor, and proprietor, probably received from the theatre about two hundred pounds a year. -Having after a very long search lately discovered the will of Mr. Heminge, I hoped to have derived from it some information on this subject; but I was disappointed. He indeed more than once men tions his several parts or shares held by lease in the Globe and Blackfriars playhouses; but uses no expression by which the value of each of those shares can be ascertained. His books of account, which he appears to have regularly kept, and which, he says, will show that his shares yielded him "a good yearly profit," will probably, if they shall ever be found, throw much light on our early stage his
Thus scanty and meagre were the apparatus and accommodations of our ancient theatres, on which those dramas were first exhibited, that have since engaged the attention of so many learned men, and delighted so many thousand spectators. Yet even then, we are told by a writer of that age, 6 dra
See his Will in a subsequent page.
"Sir George Buc. This writer, as I have already observed, wrote an express treatise concerning the English stage, which was never printed, and, I fear, is now irrecoverably lost. As he was a friend of Sir Robert Cotton, I hoped to have found the Manuscript in the Cottonian library, but was disappointed. "Of this art," [the dramatick] says Sir George, have written largely Petrus Victorius, &c. as it were in vaine for me to say any thing of the art, besides that I have written thereof a particular treatise." The Third University of England, printed originally in 1615, and re-printed at the end of Howes's edition of Stowe's Annals, folio, 1631, p. 1082. It is singular that a
matick poesy was so lively expressed and represented on the publick stages and theatres of this city, as Rome in the auge of her pomp and glory, never saw it better performed; in respect of the action and art, not of the cost and sumptuousness."
Of the actors on whom this high encomium is pronounced, the original performers in our author's plays were undoubtedly the most eminent. The following is the only information that I have obtained concerning them.
similar work on the Roman stage, written by Suetonius, (De Spectaculis et Certaminibus Romanorum,) has also perished. Some little account of their scenery, and of the separation of the mimes and pantomimes from comedies, in which they were originally introduced, are the only particulars of this treatise that have been preserved; for which we are indebted to Servius, and Diomedes the grammarian. The latter fragment is curious, as it exhibits an early proof of that competition and jealousy, which, from the first rise of the stage to the present time, has disturbed the peace of the theatres :
"Latinæ vero comœdiæ chorum non habent, sed duobus tantum membris constant, diverbio, et cantico. Primis autem temporibus, ut asserit Tranquillus, omnia quæ in scena versantur, in comoedia agebantur. Nam Pantomimus et Pithaules et Choraules in comœdia canebant. Sed quia non poterant omnia simul apud omnes artifices pariter excellere, si qui erant inter actores comodiarum pro facultate et arte potiores, principatum sibi artificii vindicabant. Sic factum est, ut nolentibus cedere Mimis in artificio suo cæteris, separatio fierit reliquorum. Nam dum potiores inferioribus, qui in omni ergasterio erant, servire dedignabantur, seipsos a comœdia separaverunt: ac sic factum est, ut, exemplo semel sumpto, unusquisque artis suæ rem exequi cæperit, neque in comoediam venire."
Grammaticæ linguæ Auctores Antiqui, Putschii, p. 489,
I have said in a former page (60) that I believed Sir George Buc died soon after the year 1622, and I have since found my conjecture confirmed. He died, as I learn from one of Sir Henry Herbert's papers, on the 20th of September, 1623.
NAMES OF THE ORIGINAL ACTORS
THE PLAYS OF SHAKSPEARE. MG HE
FROM THE FOLIO, 1623.19
HAVING now once more occasion to mention our poet, I shall take this opportunity to correct an error into which I suspect I have fallen, in a note on the Account of his Life; and to add such notices as I have obtained relative either to him or his friends since that Account was printed off; to which the present article is intended as a supple
The words in our poet's will," Provided that if such husband as she shall at the end of the said three years be married unto," &c. seemed to me to afford a presumptive proof that Shakspeare, when he made his will, did not know of the marriage of his daughter Judith, (the person there spoken of,) which had been celebrated about a month before: a circumstance, however, which even when I stated it, appeared to me very extraordinary, and highly improbable. On further consideration I am convinced that I was mistaken, and that the words above-cited were intended to comprehend her then husband, and any other to whom within three years she might be married. The word discharge in the
bequest to Judith, which had escaped my notice,"One hundred pounds in discharge of her marriage portion," shows that he must have been apprized of this marriage, and that he had previously covenanted to give her that sum.
In the transcript of the instrument by which a coat of arms was granted in 1599 to John Shakspeare, our poet's father," the original has been followed with a scrupulous fidelity; but on perusing the rough draughts of the former grant of arms in 1596, I am satisfied that there is an error in the later grant, in which the following unintelligible paragraph is found:
"Wherefore being solicited, and by credible report informed, that John Shakspeare, now of Stratford-upon-Avon in the counte of Warwick, great grandfather
gent. whose parent a and A antecessor for his faithefull and approved service to the late most prudent prince, king Henry VII. of famous memorie, was advaunced with lands and tenements, geven to him in those parts of Warwickshere, where they have continewed by some descents in good reputation and credit," &c.
On reviewing this instrument, it appeared not very easy to ascertain who the person here alluded to was, if only one was meant ; nor is it at all probable that the great grandfather of John Shakspeare should have been his late or immediate predecessor; to say nothing of the word parent, which, unless it means a relation in general, is as unintelligible as
7 See Shakspeare's Coat of Arms, Vol. I.