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Probatum fuit teftamentum fuprafcriptum apud London, coram Magiftro William Byrde, Legum Doctore, &c. vicefimo fecundo die menfis Junii, Anno Domini 1616; juramento Johannis Hall unius ex. cui, &c. de bene, &c. jurat. refervata poteftate, &c. Sufanna Hall, alt ex. &c. eam cum venerit, &c. petitur. &c.
follow. The reader will find a fac-fimile of all the three, as well as those of the witneffes, oppofite this page. STEEVENS.
The name at the top of the margin of the first fheet was probably written by the fcrivener who drew the will. This was the conftant practice in Shakspeare's time. MALONE.
I By me William Shakspeare.] This was the mode of our poet's time. Thus the Regifter of Stratford is figned at the bottom of each page, in the year 1616: "Per me Richard Watts, Minister." Thefe coneluding words have hitherto been inaccurately exhibited thus: "the day and year first above-written by me, William Shakspeare." Neither the day, nor year, nor any preceding part of this will, was written by our poet. By me," &c. only means-The above is the will of me William Shakspeare. MALONE.
Fra. Collins,] See p. 157. MALONE.
Julius Shaw,] was born in Sept. 1571. He married Anne Boyes, May 5, 1594; and died at Stratford in June 1629.
John Robinfon,] John, fon of Thomas Robinson, was baptized at Stratford, Nov, 30, 1589. I know not when he died.
DEDICATION OF THE PLAYERS.
MOST NOBLE AND INCOMPARABLE PAIRE OF BRETHREN,
Earle of PEMBROKE, &c. Lord Chamberlaine to the Kings most Excellent Majestie;
Earle of MONTGOMERY, &c. Gentleman of his Majefties Bed-chamber.
Both Knights of the Moft Noble Order of the Garter, and our fingular good LORDS.
HILST we ftudie to be thankfull in our particular, for the many favors we have received from your L. L. we are falne upon the ill fortune, to mingle two the moft diverfe things that can be, feare, and rafhneffe; rafhneffe in the enterprize, and feare of the fucceffe. For, when we value the places your H. H. fuftaine, wee cannot but know the dignity greater, than to descend to the reading of these trifles: and, while we name them trifles, we have deprived ourselves of the de
fence of our dedication. But fince your L. L. have been pleased to thinke these trifles fomething, heretofore; and have profequuted both them, and their authour living, with fo much favour; we hope that (they out-living him, and he not having the fate, common with fome, to be exequutor to his owne writings) you will use the fame indulgence toward them, you have done unto their parent. There is a great difference, whether any booke choose his patrones, or find them: this hath done both. For fo much were your L. L. likings of the feveral parts, when they were acted, as before they were published, the volume afked to be yours. We have but collected them, and done an office to the dead, to procure his orphanes, guardians; without ambition either of felfe-profit, or fame: onely to keepe the memory of fo worthy a friend, and fellow alive, as was our SHAKSPEARE, by humble offer of his playes, to your most noble patronage. Wherein, as we have juftly obferved no man to come neere your L. L. but with a kind of religious addreffe, it hath bin the height of our care, who are the presenters, to make the present worthy of your H. H. by the perfection. But, there we must alfo crave our abilities to be confidered, my lords. We cannot goe beyond our owne powers. Country hands reach forth milke, creame, fruits, or what they have: and many nations (we have heard) that had not gummes and incenfe, obtained their requests with a leavened cake. It was no fault to approach their
Country hands reach forth milk, &c. and many nationsthat had not gummes and incenfe, obtained their requests with a leavened cake.] This feems to have been one of the commonplaces of dedication in Shakspeare's age. We find it in Morley's Dedication of a Book of Songs to Sir Robert Cecil, 1595: "I have prefumed (fays he) to make offer of thefe fimple compofi
gods by what meanes they could: and the most, though meaneft, of things are made more precious, when they are dedicated to temples. In that name therefore, we moft humbly confecrate to your H. H. these remaines of your fervant SHAKSPEARE; that what delight is in them may be ever your L. L. the reputation his, and the faults ours, if any be committed, by a paire fo carefull to fhew their gratitude both to the living, and the dead, as is
Your Lordfhippes moft bounden,
tions of mine, imitating (right honourable) in this the customs of the old world, who wanting incense to offer up to their gods, made fhift infteade thereof to honour them with milk." The fame thought (if I recollect right) is again employed by the players in their dedication of Fletcher's plays, folio 1647.
TO THE GREAT VARIETY OF READERS,
FROM the most able, to him that can but spell: are you numbered, we had rather you were weighed. Efpecially, when the fate of all bookes depends upon your capacities: and not of your heads alone, but of your purfes. Well! it is now publique, and you will ftand for your priviledges, wee know: to read, and cenfure. Doe fo, but buy it first. That doth beft commend a booke, the stationer faies. Then, how odde foever your braines be, or your wifdomes, make your licence the fame, and spare not. Judge your fixe-pen'orth,'
7 Judge your fixe-pen'orth, &c.] So, in the Induction to Ben Jonfon's Bartholomew Fair: " -it fhall be lawful for any man to judge his fix-pen'worth, his twelve-pen'worth, fo to his eighteen pence, two fhillings, half a crown, to the value of his place; provided always his place get not above his wit. And if he pay for half a dozen, he may cenfure for all them too, fo that he will undertake that they fhall be filent. He fhall put in for cenfurers here, as they do for lots at the lottery: marry, if he drop but fix-pence at the door, and will cenfure a crowns worth, it is thought there is no conscience or justice in that."
Perhaps Old Ben was author of the Players' Preface, and, in the inftance before us, has borrowed from himself. STEEVENS.