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And curft be he that moves my bones.] It is uncertain whether this epitaph was written by Shakspeare himself, or by one of his friends after his death. The imprecation contained in this laft line, was perhaps fuggefted by an apprehenfion that our author's remains might share the fame fate with those of the reft of his countrymen, and be added to the immenfe pile of human bones depofited in the charnel-house at Stratford. This, however, is mere conjecture; for fimilar execrations are found in many ancient Latin epitaphs.
Mr. Steevens has justly mentioned it as a fingular circumftance, that Shakspeare does not appear to have written any verses on his contemporaries, either in praife of the living, or in honour of the dead. I once imagined that he had mentioned Spenfer with kindness in one of his Sonnets; but have lately difcovered that the Sonnet to which I allude, was written by Richard Barnefield. If, however, the following epitaphs be genuine, (and indeed the latter is much in Shakspeare's manner,) he in two inftances overcame that modeft diffidence, which feems to have fuppofed the elogium of his humble muse of no value. In a Manufcript volume of poems by William Herrick and others, in the hand-writing of the time of Charles I. which is among Rawlinfon's Collections in the Bodleian Library, is the following epitaph, afcribed to our poet:
66 AN EPITAPH.
"When God was pleas'd, the world unwilling yet,
"Elias James to nature payd his debt,
"And here repofeth: as he liv'd, he dyde;
"The faying in him ftrongly verifide,
"Such life, fuch death: then, the known truth to tell,
"He liv'd a godly life, and dyde as well.
There was formerly a family of the furname of James at Stratford. Anne, the wife of Richard James, was buried there on the fame day with our poet's widow; and Margaret, the daughter of John James, died there in April, 1616.
A monumental infcription" of a better leer," and faid to be written by our author, is preferved in a collection of Epitaphs, at the end of the Vifitation of Salop, taken by Sir William Dugdale in the year 1664, now remaining in the College of Arms, C. 35, fol. 20; a tranfcript of which Sir Ifaac Heard, Garter, Principal King at Arms, has obligingly tranfmitted to me.
Among the monuments in Tongue church, in the county of Salop, is one erected in remembrance of Sir Thomas Stanley, Knight, who died, as I imagine, about the year 1600. In the Vifitation-book it is thus defcribed by Sir William Dugdale :
"On the north fide of the chancell ftands a very stately tombe, fupported with Corinthian columnes. It hath two figures of men in armour, thereon lying, the one below the arches and columnes, and the other above them, and this epitaph upon it.
"Thomas Stanley, Knight, fecond fon of Edward Earle of Derby, Lord Stanley and Strange, defcended from the famielie of the Stanleys, married Margaret Vernon, one of the daughters and co-heires of Sir George Vernon of Nether Haddon, in the county of Derby, Knight, by whom he had iffue two fons, Henry and Edward. Henry died an infant; Edward furvived, to whom those lordships defcended; and married the lady Lucie Percie, fecond daughter of the Earle of Northumberland: by her he had iffue feaven daughters. She and her foure daughters, Arabella, Marie, Alice, and Prifcilla, are interred under a monument in the church of Waltham in the county of Effex. Thomas, her fon, died in his infancy, and is buried in the parish church of Winwich in the county of Lancafter. The other three, Petronilla, Frances, and Venefia, are yet living.
These following verfes were made by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, the late famous tragedian:
"Written upon the east end of this tombe.
"His fame is more perpetual than these ftones :
"Written upon the weft end thereof.
"When all to time's confumption fhall be given,
Stanley, for whom this ftands, fhall ftand in heaven." The last line of this epitaph, though the worst, bears very ftrong marks of the hand of Shakspeare. The beginning of the first line," Afke who lyes here," reminds us of that which we have been just examining: If any man afk, who lies in this tomb," &c.—And in the fifth line we find a thought which our poet has also introduced in King Henry VIII:
"Ever belov'd and loving may his rule be!
"And, when old time shall lead him to his grave,
Goodness and he fill up one monument l'
He had three daughters,5 of which two lived to be married; Judith, the elder, to one Mr. Thomas Quiney, by whom fhe had three fons, who all died
This epitaph must have been written after the year 1600, for Venetia Stanley, who afterwards was the wife of Sir Kenelm Digby, was born in that year. With a view to ascertain its date more precifely, the churches of Great and Little Waltham have been examined for the monument said to have been erected to Lady Lucy Stanley and her four daughters, but in vain; for no trace of it remains: nor could the time of their respective deaths be ascertained, the registers of thofe parifhes being loft.Sir William Dugdale was born in Warwickshire, was bred at the free-fchool of Coventry, and in the year 1625 purchased the manor of Blythe in that county, where he then fettled and afterwards spent a great part of his life: fo that his teftimony respecting this epitaph is sufficient to ascertain its authenticity.
He had three daughters,] In this circumftance Mr. Rowe must have been mis-informed. In the Register of Stratford, no mention is made of any daughter of our author's but Sufanna and Judith. He had indeed three children; the two already mentioned, and a son, named Hamnet, of whom Mr. Rowe takes no notice. He was a twin child, born at the fame time with Judith. Hence probably the mistake. He died in the twelfth year of his age, in 1596. MALONE.
-Judith, the elder, to one Mr. Thomas Quiney,] This alfo is a niftake. Judith was Shakspeare's youngest daughter. She died at Stratford-upon-Avon a few days after the had completed her feventy-feventh year, and was buried there, Feb. 9, 1661-62. She was married to Mr. Quiney, who was four years younger than herself, on the 10th of February, 1615-16, and not as Mr. Weft fuppofed, in the year 1616-17. He was led into the mistake by the figures 1616 ftanding nearly oppofite to the entry concerning her marriage; but thofe figures relate to the firft entry in the fubfequent month of April. The Register appears thus:
3. Francis Bufhill to Ifabel Whood.
14. Will. Borowes to Margaret Davies.
and all the following entries in that and a part of the enfuing page
without children; and Susanna, who was his favourite, to Dr. John Hall, a physician of good reputation in that country. She left one child only,
are of 1616; the year then beginning on the 25th of March. Whether the above 10 relates to the month of February or April, Judith was certainly married before her father's death: if it relates to February, fhe was married on February 10, 1615-16; if to April, on the 10th of April 1616. From Shakspeare's will it appears, that this match was a ftolen one; for he speaks of fuch future" husband as she shall be married to." It is ftrange that the ceremony fhould have been publickly celebrated in the church of Stratford without his knowledge; and the improbability of fuch a circumftance might lead us to fuppofe that fle was married on the 10th of April, about a fortnight after the execution of her father's will. But the entry of the baptifm of her first child, (Nov. 23, 1616,) as well as the entry of the marriage, afcertain it to have taken place in February.
Mr. Weft, without intending it, has impeached the character of this lady; for her first child, according to his representation, must be supposed to have been born fome months before her marriage; fince among the Baptifms I find this entry of the chriftening of her eldeft fon: "1616. Nov. 23. Shakspeare, filius Thomas Quiney, Gent." and according to Mr. Weft the was not married till the following February. This Shakspeare Quiney died in his infancy at Stratford, and was buried May 8th, 1617. Judith's fecond fon, Richard, was baptized on February 9th, 1617-18. He died at Stratford in Feb. 1638-9, in the 21st year of his age, and was buried there on the 26th of that month. Her third fon, Thomas, was baptized August 29, 1619, and was buried also at Stratford, January 28, 1638-9. There had been a plague in the town in the preceding fummer, that carried off about fifty perfons. MALONE.
7 Dr. John Hall, a phyfician of good reputation in that conntry.] Sufanna's husband, Dr. John Hall, died in Nov. 1635, and is interred in the chancel of the church of Stratford near his wife. He was buried on the 26th of November, as appears from the Regifter of burials at Stratford :
" November 26, 1635, Johannes Hall, medicus peritiffimus." The following is a transcript of his will, extracted from the Registry of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury:
"The laft Will and Teftament nuncupative of John Hall of Stratford-upon-Avon in the county of Warwick, Gent. made and declared the five and twentieth of November, 1635. Im
primis, I give unto my wife my houfe in London. Item, I give unto my daughter Nash my house in Acton. Item, I give unto my daughter Nash my meadow. Item, I give my goods and money unto my wife and my daughter Nath, to be equally divided betwixt them. Item, concerning my ftudy of books, I leave them, faid he, to you, my fon Nafh, to difpose of them as you fee good. As for my manufcripts, I would have given them to Mr. Boles, if he had been here; but forasmuch as he is not here prefent, you may, fon Nafh, burn them, or do with them what you please. Witneffes hereunto,
"Thomas Nash. "Simon Trapp."
The teftator not having appointed any executor, administration was granted to his widow, Nov. 23, 1636.
Some at least of Dr. Hall's manuscripts escaped the flames, one of them being yet extant. See p. 83, n. 1.
I could not, after a very careful search, find the will of Susanna Hall in the Prerogative-office, nor is it preserved in the Archives of the diocese of Worcester, the Registrar of which diocese at my requeft very obligingly examined the indexes of all the wills proved in his office between the years 1649 and 1670; but in vain. The town of Stratford-upon-Avon is in that diocese.
The infcriptions on the tomb-ftones of our poet's favourite daughter and her husband are as follows:
"Here lyeth the body of John Hall, Gent. he marr. Susanna, ye daughter and co-heire of Will. Shakspeare, Gent. he deceased Nov. 25, A°. 1635, aged 60."
"Hallius hic fitus eft, medica celeberrimus arte,
"Dignus erat meritis qui Neftora vinceret annis ;
"Ne tumulo quid defit, adeft fidiffima conjux,
Thefe verfes fhould feem, from the last two lines, not to have been infcribed on Dr. Hall's tomb-ftone till 1649.
deed the last distich only was then added.
"Here lyeth the body of Sufanna, wife to John Hall, Gent. ye daughter of William Shakspeare, Gent. She deceased the 11th of July, A°. 1649, aged 66."
Witty above her fexe, but that's not all,
"Wife to falvation was good Miftrifs Hall.
"Something of Shakspeare was in that, but this
Wholy of him with whom she's now in bliffe.