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two men of high genius, each treading the same broad path to fame and fortune, yet each with a character so peculiarly his own, that he might attain his object without wounding the pride or invading the interests of the other. It has been generally believed that the intellectual superiority of Shakspeare excited the envy and the consequent enmity of Jonson. It is well that of these asserted facts no evidences can be adduced. The friendship of these great men seems to have been unbroken during the life of Shakspeare; and, on his death, Jonson made an offering to his memory of high, just, and appropriate panegyric. He places him above not only the modern but the Greek dramatists; and he professes for him admiration short only of idolatry. They who can discover any penuriousness of praise in the surviving poet, must be gifted with a very peculiar vision of mind. With the flowers which he strewed upon the grave of his friend, there certainly was not blended one poisonous or bitter leaf. If, therefore, he was, as he is represented to have been by an impartial and able judge (Drummond of Hawthornden),

a great lover and praiser of himself; a contemner and scorner of others; jealous of every word and action of those about him," &c. &c., how can we otherwise account for the uninterrupted harmony of his intercourse with our Bard, than by supposing that the frailties of his nature were overruled by that preëminence of mental power in his friend which precluded competition; and by his friend's sweetness of temper and gentleness of manners, which repressed every feeling of hostility. Between Shakspeare and Thomas Wriothesly, the munificent and the noble Earl of Southampton, distinguished in history by his inviolable attachment to the rash and the unfortunate Essex, the friendship was permanent and ardent. At its commencement, in 1593, when Shakspeare was twenty-nine years of age, Southampton was not more than nineteen; and, with the love of general literature, he was particularly attached to the exhibitions of the theatre. His attention was first drawn to Shakspeare by the Poet's dedication to him of the “Venus and Adonis," that “first heir," as the dedicator calls it, “ of his invention;" and the acquaintance, once begun between characters and hearts like theirs, would soon mature into intimacy and friendship. In the following year (1594), Shakspeare's second poem, “The Rape of Lucrece,” was addressed by him to his noble patron in a strain of

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less distant timidity; and we may infer from it that the Poet had then obtained a portion of the favor which he sought. That his fortunes were essentially promoted by the munificent patronage of Southampton cannot reasonably be doubted. We are told by Sir William Davenant, who surely possessed the means of knowing the fact, that the peer gave at one time to his favored Dramatist the magnificent present of a thousand pounds. This is rejected by Malone as an extravagant exaggeration ; and because the donation is said to have been made for the purpose of enabling the Poet to complete a purchase which he had then in contemplation, and because no purchase of an adequate magnitude seems to have been accomplished by him, the critic treats the whole story with contempt, and is desirous of substituting a dedication fee of one hundred pounds for the more princely liberality which is attested by Dave

But surely a purchase might be within the view of Shakspeare, and eventually not be effected; and then of course the thousand pounds in question would be added to his personal property; where it would just complete the income on which he is reported to have retired from the stage. As to the incredibility of the gift in consequence of its value, have we not witnessed a gift, made in the present day, by a noble of the land to a mere actor, of ten times the nominal and twice the effective value of this proud bounty of the great Earl of Southampton's * to one of the masterspirits of the human race? +

Of the degree of patronage and kindness extended to Shakspeare by the Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery, we are altogether igno

* As the patron and the friend of Shakspeare, Thomas Wriothesly, Earl of Southampton, is entitled to our especial attention and respect. But I cannot admit his eventful history into the text, without breaking the unity of my biographical narrative ; and to speak of him within the compass of a note will be only to inform my readers, that he was born on the 6th of October, 1573; that he was engaged in the mad attempts of his friend, the Earl of Essex, against the government of Elizabeth ; that, in consequence, he was confined during her life by that queen, who was so lenient as to be satisfied with the blood of one of the friends; thal, immediately on her death, he was liberated by her successor, not disposed to adopt the enmities of the murderess of his mother; that he was promoted to honors by the new sovereign ; and that, finally, being sent with a military command to the Low Countries, he caught a fever from his son, Lord Wriothesly; and, surviving him only five days, concluded his active and honorable career of life, at Bergen-op-zoom, on the 10th of November, 1024. It may be added, that, impoverished by his liberalities, he left his widow in such circumstances as to call for the assistance of the crown.

† The late Duke of Northumberland made a present to John Kemble of 10,0001.

rant; but we know, from the dedication of his works to them by Heminge and Condell, that they had distinguished themselves as his admirers and friends. That he numbered many more of the nobility of his day among the admirers of his transcendent genius, we may consider as a specious probability. But we must not indulge in conjectures, when we can gratify ourselves with the reports of tradition, approaching very nearly to certainties. Elizabeth, as it is confidently said, honored our illustrious dramatist with her especial notice and regard. She was unquestionably fond of theatric exhibitions; and, with her literary mind and her discriminating eye, it is impossible that she should overlook—and that, not overlooking, she should not appreciate—the man whose genius formed the prime glory of her reign. It is affirmed that, delighted with the character of Falstaff as drawn in the two parts of Henry IV., she expressed a wish to see the gross and dissolute knight under the influence of love ; and that the result of our Poet's compliance with the desire of his royal mistress, was “The Merry Wives of Windsor."* Favored, however, as our Poet seems to have been by Elizabeth, and notwithstanding the fine incense which he offered to her vanity, it does not appear that he profited in any degree by her bounty. She could distinguish and could smile upon genius; but unless it were immediately serviceable to her personal or her political interests, she had not the soul to reward it. However inferior to her in the arts of government, and in some of the great characters of mind, might be her Scottish successor, he resembled her in his love of letters, and in his own cultivation of learning. He was a scholar, and even a poet : his attachment to the general cause of literature was strong; and his love of the drama and the theatre was particularly warm. Before his accession to the English throne, he had written, as we have before noticed, a letter, with his own hand, to

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* Animated as this comedy is with much distinct delineation of character, it cannot be pronounced to be unworthy of its great author. But it evinces the difficulty of writing upon a prescribed subject, and of working with effect under the control of another mind. As he sported in the scenes of Henry IV., Falstaff was insusceptible of love; and the egregious dupe of Windsor, ducked and cudgelled as he was, cannot be the wit of Eastcheap, or the guest of Shallow, or the military commander on the field Shrewsbury. But even the genius of Shakspeare could not effect impossibilities. He did what he could to revive his own Falstaff; but the life which he reinfused into his creature was not the vigorous vitality of Nature; and he placed him in a scene where he could not subsist.

Shakspeare, acknowledging, as it is supposed, the compliment paid to him in the noble scenes of Macbeth; and scarcely had the crown of England fallen upon his head, when he granted his royal patent to our Poet and his company of the Globe; and thus raised them from being the lord chamberlain's servants to be the servants of the king. The patent is dated on the 19th of May, 1603, and the name of William Shakspeare stands second on the list of the patentees. As the demise of Elizabeth had occurred on the 24th of the preceding March, this early attention of James to the company of the Globe may be regarded as highly complimentary to Shakspeare's theatre, and as strongly demonstrative of the new sovereign's partiality for the drama. But James's patronage of our Poet was not in any other way beneficial to his fortunes. If Elizabeth were too parsimonious for an effective patron, by his profusion on his pleasures and his favorites, James soon became too needy to possess the means of bounty for the reward of talents and of learning. Honor, in short, was all that Shakspeare gained by the favor of two successive sovereigns, each of them versed in literature, each of them fond of the drama, and each of them capable of appreciating the transcendency of his genius.

It would be especially gratifying to us to exhibit to our readers some portion at least of the personal history of this illustrious man during his long residence in the capital ;—to announce the names and characters of his associates, a few of which only we can obtain from Fuller ; to delineate his habits of life; to record his convivial wit; to commemorate the books which he read; and to number his compositions as they dropped in succession from his pen. But no power of this nature is indulged to us. All that active and efficient portion of his mortal existence, which constituted considerably more than a third part of it, is an unknown region, not to be penetrated by our most zealous and intelligent researches. It may be regard

. ed by us as a kind of central Africa, which our reason assures us to be glowing with fertility and alive with population ; but which is abandoned in our maps, from the ignorance of our geographers, to the death of barrenness, and the silence of sandy desolation. By the Stratford register we can ascertain that his only son, Hamnet, was buried, in the twelfth year of his age, on the 11th of August, 1596; and that, after an interval of nearly eleven years, his eldest daughter, Susannah, was married to John Hall, a physician, on the 5th of June, 1607. With the exception of two or three purchases made by him at Stratford, one of them being that of New Place, which he repaired and ornamented for his future residence, the two entries which we have now extracted from the register, are positively all that we can relate with confidence of our great Poet and his family, during the long term of his connection with the theatre and the metropolis. We may fairly conclude, indeed, that he was present at each of the domestic events recorded by the register; that he attended his son to the grave, and his daughter to the altar. We may believe also, from its great probability, even on the testimony of Aubrey, that he paid an annual visit to his native town; whence his family were never removed, and which he seems always to have contemplated as the resting-place of his declining age. He probably had nothing more than a lodging in London, and this he might occasionally change ; but in 1596, he is said to have lived somewhere near to the Bear-Garden, in Southwark.

In 1606, James procured from the continent a large importation of mulberry-trees, with a view to the establishment of the silk manufacture in his dominions; and, either in this year or in the following, Shakspeare enriched his garden at New Place with one of these exotic, and, at that time, very rare trees. This plant of his hand took root, and flourished till the year 1752, when it was destroyed by the barbarous axe of one Francis Gastrell, a clergyman, into whose worse than Gothic hands New Place had most unfortunately fallen.

As we are not told the precise time when Shakspeare retired from the stage and the metropolis to enjoy the tranquillity of life in his native town, we cannot pretend to determine it. As he is said, however, to have passed some years in his establishment at New Place, we may conclude that his removal took place either in 1612 or in 1613, when he was yet in the vigor of life, being not more than forty-eight or forty-nine years old. He had ceased, as it is probable, to tread the stage as an actor at an earlier period; for in the list of actors, prefixed to the Volpone of B. Jonson, performed at the Globe theatre, and published in 1605, the name of William Shakspeare is not to be found. However versed he might be in the science of acting (and that he was versed in it we are assured by

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