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İtem, I give unto my wife my fecond best bed,
with the furniture.9
Item, I give and bequeath to my faid daughter Judith my broad filver gilt bowl. All the rest of my goods, chattels, leafes, plate, jewels, and houfhold ftuff whatsoever, after my debts and legacies paid, and my funeral expences difcharged, I give devife, and bequeath to my fon-in-law, John Hall, gent. and my daughter Sufanna his wife, whom I ordain and make executors of this my laft will and teftament. And I do entreat and appoint the said Thomas Ruffel, efq. and Francis Collins, gent. to be overfeers hereof. And do revoke all former wills, and publish this to be my faft will and teftament. In witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand, the day and year first above written.
By me' William Shakspeare.
Witness to the publishing hereof,
fecond best bed, with the furniture.] Thus Sbakfpeare's original will. Mr. Theobald and the other modern editors have been more bountiful to Mrs. Shakspeare, having printed instead of these words, "—my brown belt bed, with the furniture." MALONE.
It appears, in the original will of Shakspeare, (now in the Prerogative-Office, Doctor's Commons,) that he had forgot his wife; the legacy to her being expreffed by an interlineation, as well as thofe to Heminge, Burbage, and Condell.
The will is written on three theets of paper, the two laft of which are undoubtedly fubfcribed with Shakspeare's own hand. The first indeed has his name in the margin, but it differs fomewhat in spelling as well as manner, from the two fignatures that M
Probatum fuit teftamentum fuprafcriptum apuď 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 thofe of the witneffes, oppofite this page. STEEVENS.
The name at the top of the margin of the first sheet was probably written by the scrivener who drew the will. This was the conftant practice in Shakspeare's time. MALONE.
By me William Shakspeare.] This was the mode of our poet's time. Thus the Register of Stratford is figned at the bottom of each page, in the year 1616: "Per me Richard Watts, Minifter." Thefe concluding words have hitherto been inaccurately exhibited thus: "the day and year firft 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
Earle of PEMBROKE, &c. Lord Chamberlaine to the Kings moft Excellent Majeftie;
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.
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 most diverse things that can be, feare, and rashnesse; 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 defcend to the reading of thefe 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 asked 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 observed 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 prefenters, to make the prefent worthy of your H. H. by the perfection. But, there we muft 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 moft, 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 incenfe to offer up to their gods, made shift 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.