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increasing number of books. I do not know that it has ever been computed how many books have been published in all the world since the invention of printing, but the number must be many millions. The number of British publications at the present time is between four and five thousand annually, and it is calculated that upwards of fifty thousand volumes are published in all parts of the world every year, thus giving no less than a million of volumes every twenty years. How many of these five thousand volumes can any one of us read? Twenty, I should think, is a fair maximum, and to many a reader that number will dwindle down to five or six. And we may ask, also, would it be good for us if we could read more than twenty? Assuredly, not; for rapid reading is something like writing on the sand, which the returning tide washes completely away within a very few hours. But although we can read only a few books, we can read these few well, for three or four read carefully and thoroughly will do us far more good than a hundred read hastily and superficially.
Let us study English literature then, and let us above all study well a few of the standard works in each of its different departments; in the full assurance that he who does so will find-to quote the words of a modern author—that he “will neither be superficial nor vain, neither ignorant nor self-satisfied. He will not feel that he is already perfect, nor will he feel paralyzed in the endeavour to press forward; but rather, like the philosopher who thought of himself as a child playing with pebbles on the seashore, he will gird himself up to the task, and launch out into the ocean of intelligence which on every hand expands itself to his view." *
R. D., Jon.
ON THE SPIRIT OF FREE INQUIRY.- If any one would guard against error as far as his intellectual faculties will allow, he must make it not the second, but the first question in each case,—“ Is this true ?” It is not enough to believe what you maintain, you must maintain what you believe, and maintain it because you believe it, and that on the most careful review of the evidence on both sides. For any one may bring himself to believe almost anything he is inclined to believe, and thinks it becoming and expedient to maintain. It makes all the difference, therefore, whether we begin or end with an inquiry as to the truth of our doctrines. To express the same inaxim in other words, it is one thing to have truth on our side, and another thing to wish sincerely to be on the side of truth.- ARCHBISHOP WHATELY.
* British Controversialist, 1853.
An Historical Account of the New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, the
Last Residence of Shakspere. By JAMES O. HALLIWELL, Esq., F.R.S. Printed for Subscribers, by J. E. Adlard, London.
SHAKSPERE's birthday is one of the sacredest of secular dates to literary minds. On 23rd April we brought together and inspected our medals, busts, pictures, and books, connected with Shakspere. Among the latter we turned with delight over the pages of the mag. nificent folio which, by the goodness of the author, has been added, in an autographed presentation copy, to the library of the writer. It is a delicious specimen of typography, and contains many finely executed engravings; but it contains, besides, some new facts and some fair inferences concerning the closing years of England's dramatist. This gives the book its chief interest-in so far as regards its matter—to the writer; and this inclines him to notice the scarce, splendid, and costly volume in this Magazine. The writer trusts, from the reception given to his former papers on Shaksperian topics, that his readers will feel interested in any additional reliable information which can be furnished to them. No authority in English literature on Shakspere and his works is greater than that of James 0. Halliwell, who has made these subjects the main items of a life-study, and has worked and written more for the promotion of true Shaksperian criticism than any other author. Upwards of a quarter of a century ago his fame was high among men as a writer on Shakspere; and now we may readily venture to name him the highest in repute for genial love, for faithful study, and for trustworthy knowledge of Shakspere. The spirit in which he labours is finely expressed in the opening words of the preface to the present volume, as follows:
“The materials which exist for a biography of Shakspere are unfortunately so scanty, and reveal so little beyond some of the barren facts of his material life, [that] an admiration of his genius, however enthusiastic, would fail to invest them with a high degree of value. Another sentiment must be invoked if we would regard them with real interest—that indefinable affection which the sympathizing reader of bis works entertains for the writer, a kind of personal love, distinct from a reverence for bis intellectual greatness, resulting in a longing desire to know something, however trifling, of him as a man. They who cannot sympathize with this feeling, whose minds have not been attracted by Shakspere's inspirations of gentleness and lovingkindness to his race, to regard him as a friend and benefactor, the minutest relic respecting whom is of surpassing interest, may dismiss a book like this with a smile at my prosaic idolatry. Othors there will be, and these not few, who will approach the subject in a different spirit, and be thankful for the discovery of the slightest indications of the history of the poet's sojourn upon earth.”
We are of those who consider every element of a man's earthly life as entering into and affecting his character, influence, and thoughts, and
therefore as important if we wish to know him thoroughly. How precious, therefore, must we esteem any fact throwing light upon the outward history or inward affections of William Shakspere! The evidence which Mr. Halliwell produces is all documentary, and the inferences which he makes seem to be carefully limited to matter contained in the premises. Few as the facts are, they tell us more of the life-surroundings and outward circumstances of Shakspere than we had any means of knowing before. These documents, too, are quoted at full length, not in mere abstract; and though the entire quotations are not relevant to the subject of the book, it is much more satisfactory to see them in extenso, for then we can for ourselves gauge the value of the evidence laid down as the foundation of the several inferences which may be deduced from the facts.
Of course it is impossible-perhaps it would not even be just to quote here the elaborate legal papers which are now for the first time collected and printed; but we may usefully indicate the new facts, note their grounds, and occasionally make extract of a forcible or informing passage, referring to the work itself as the authority for the statements made, unless it be distinctly expressed that the inferences made are those
of the writer of this notice. The subject of this production of Mr. Halliwell's research, it must be recollected, is “New Place;” though our extracts and notices will in general be such as concern the eminent dramatist who breathed his last within its precincts.
Wm. Bott tenanted “New Place" from Wm. Clopton at first, but in 1563 he became its owner by purchase. _“Bott was at the time one of the wealthiest men in Stratford.” He was an alderman, but was "expulsyed of the councill,” and in his stead, on July 4th, 1565, “ John Shakspeyr ys appwyntyd an alderman' (p. 13). From this we infer that John Shakspere was looked on as a worthy and wealthy citizen, and one who could stand Bott's enmity without fear or flinching, for stepping into his shoes.
In 1567 Bott sold the estate of New Place to Wm. Underhill, gentleman. “Wm. Underhill, of Idlecote, died in July, 1597, a few weeks after the sale of New Place to Shakspere; and it appears, from a nuncupative will, made on his death-bed, that he had owing to him two thousand pounds, for which he had securities. It is not impossible that Shakspere gave a security for all or part of the purchase-money of New Place, by way of mortgage on the estate, instead of paying the money, and that this security was handed over by the executors to Hercules Underhill, in part payment of his legacy of £200. When Shakspere paid off the security in 1602,
the second fine, hereafter named, may have become necessary (p. 16). “In the absence of the deed which would explain the object of this fine, it can only be conjectured that after Shakspere had bought New Place, it was discovered that Hercules Underhill had some contingent interest in the property, which was conveyed to the poet by this second proceeding. William and Hercules were both probably married men, and so the fines might have been necessary in order to bar their wives' right to dower; or, as has been previously suggested, Shakspere may not have paid the whole of the purchase-money until 1602" (p. 19). “If the house was in great ruin and decay' in 1550, it may have been in a very ruinous state when Shakspere bought it in 1597 ; and, indeed, this circumstance may account for the moderate amount of the purchasemoney. It was probably altered or rebuilt by him in 1598, for in that year the corporation “paid to Mr. Shakespeare for on load of ston xa,' which stone was, perhaps, part of the old materials of the house, for there seems no other plausible explanation of his having such an article to dispose of” (p. 19).
“Did Sbakspere purchase New Place as a residence for himself ? The evidence seems to favour the supposition that he did, and that he was the occupier, with his family, however extended and numerous his absences from Stratford, for some time after the date of his obtaining it from Underhill. In Feb., 1597-8, there was a great scarcity of grain, so much so as to occasion fear of local disturbance, and on the fourth of that month a note was taken of all the corn and malt in the town. It appears from this list that Shakspere had at that time one of the largest quantities in Stratford; and his name occurs in the Chapel Street Ward, in which New Place is situated. He is there marked as having ten quarters of corn, two townsmen only of that ward having larger quantities; and the single fact is suggestive of comfortable circumstances; for be it remembered he had not at this time any landed property in the neighbourhood, so that the corn must either have been purchased in 1597, or included in the sale of the premises. This seems evidence sufficient to enable us to conclude that in Feb., 1598, Shakspere was the occupier of New Place. At the same time it does not follow that he was usually resident at Stratford at that time. On the contrary, it is ascertained that he was in London in Jan., 1598, and also in October of the same year, from the wellknown letters of Abraham Sturley in the Stratford archives, the language of which seems to make it clear that at that period his ordinary place of residence was in London. So, also, the letter of Quincey to Shakspere, dated Oct. 25th, 1598, the only letter ad. dressed to the poet known to exist, was evidently sent by hand from the 'Bell,' in Carter Lane, to some place in town” (p. 23).
It seems, therefore, as certain, that from the date of the purchase of New Place to the time of his death, Shakspere had a residence at Stratford, as that during the greater part of that period he was seldom living there. The strange part of the matter is, that, at some
time between the years 1598 and 1610, he left New Pluce, and did not reoccupy
it until after Sept., 1610. The evidence of this is contained in a paper in the handwriting of Thomas Greene, a connection of Shakspere's, and town clerk of Stratford, dated Sept. 9th, 1609. Thomas Green was at that time occupying New Place, and this paper has reference to the premises of one George Browne, to which le had then the intention of removing. Greene wished to have possession of Browne's premises at Lady Day, 1610, with a view to have sufficient time to prepare them for his own occupation by the following Michaelmas. It appears that arrangements had been in progress, during the summer of 1609, to settle matters on this basis, but Browne seems to have altered his mind on the subject, in consequence of which Greene drew up some memoranda, entitled,
Some reasons to prove that G. Browne ment before this to have bene gone, besydes others that I will reserve to myself to use, yf need be.' Amongst these reasons is the following: - He doubted whether he might save his garden untill about my going to the terme; I was content to permytt yt without contradiction, and the rather because I perceyved I might stay another yere at New Place.' -MS. dated Sept. 9, 1609. Greene, in fact, was indulgent to him, because he had not much idea of absolutely removing from New Place before Michaelmas, 1610, and was more anxious to have facilities for putting the new premises in order, than to turn Browne out of them. The house to which Greene removed was a large one adjoining the churchyard, near to its present entrance, at the bottom of Old Town. A modern house now stands on the site. He had certainly removed there before June 21st, 1611; for on that day an order was made that the town was to repare the churchyard wall at Mr. Green's dwelling-house, and to keep it sufficiently repared for the length of two hundred nintye and seaven foote of wallinge.' It is thus ascertained that Shakspere's final retirement to New Place occurred some time between Sept. 9th, 1609, and June 21st, 1611” (pp. 23-25). “From Michaelmas, 1610, to his death in 1616, we may safely conclude that Shakspere lived a great part of his time at Stratford, paying occasional visits to London, but interesting himself with local matters. Of this we have evidence in the remarkable entries respecting him in the diary of Thomas Greene, 1614 and 1615. Shakspere in his will speaks of New Place as the house wherein I now dwell' (1616). The entries above quoted do not, however, show that the poet had made an absolute retirement to New Place. On the contrary, it is ascertained that be arrived in London Nov. 16th, 1614, and that he was still in the metropolis on the following Dec. 23rd, not having at the latter date any intention of an immediate return to Stratford. It is not likely in those days of difficult travel that he returned to Stratford in the interval, but rather that he was spending the winter theatrical season of 1614-15 in town. It seems most probable that with Anne Shakspere, at New Place, resided at this period the Halls, and that during his stay at his native town the poet found a home sanctified by the