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LIFE OF SHAKSPEARE.
BY WILLIAM HAZLITT.
“ALL that is known with any degree of certainty con. cerning Shakspeare, is that he was born at Stratfordupon-Avon-married and had children there went to London, where he commenced actor, and wrote poems and plays-returned to Stratford, made his will, died, and was buried.”. Such is the 'summary or brief chronicle of William Shakspeare,' by one of his most crushing commentators, Mr. George Steevens. Later and more painstaking biographers, Messrs. Collier, Charles Knight, Halliwell,-have, however, collected together, from all sorts of sources, materials with which they have severally constructed Lives of Shakspeare, ample as those of any contemporary poets, ampler than those of any contemporary dramatists. I will endeavour to compress into the present sketch the leading facts, which the labours of these gentlemen have been
so laudably applied to gather. The family of Shakspeare appears to have been diffused throughout Warwickshire long before the birth of him by whom that family has been rendered illustrious for all time. Who the soldier was upon whom the surname was first imposed for “valour and feats of arms,” or when he lived, we know not; but this we learn from the grant of arms to John Shakspeare, the poet's father, that "his parent and great-grandfather, late antecessor, for his faithful and approved service to the late most prudent prince, King Henry VII. of famous mer pry, was advanced and rewarded with lands and tenements, given to him in those