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fourteen years, she died on the 11th of July, 1649 ; and the inscription on her tomb, preserved by Dugdale, commemorates her intellectual superiority, and the influence of religion upon her heart. This inscription, which we shall transcribe, bears witness also, as we must observe, to the piety of her illustrious father :
Witty above her sex-but that's not all
To weep with her, that wept with all ?
Them up with comforts cordial.
As Shakspeare's last will and testament will be printed at the end of this piography, we may refer our readers to that document for all the minor legacies which it bequeaths; and may pass immediately to an account of our great Poet's family, as far as it can be given from records which are authentic. Judith, his younger daughter, bore to her husband, Thomas Quiney, three sons--Shakspeare, who died in his infancy; Richard, and Thomas, who deceased, the first in his 21st year, the last in his 19th, unmarried, and before their mother; who, having reached her 77th year, expired in February, 1661-2, being buried on the 9th of that month. She appears either not to have received any education, or not to have profited by the lessons of her teachers; for, to a deed still in existence, she affixes her mark.
We have already mentioned the dates of the birth, marriage, and death of Susanna Hall. She left only one daughter, Elizabeth, who was baptized on the 21st of February, 1607–8, eight years before her grandfather's decease, and was married on the 22d of April, 1626, to Mr. Thomas Nash, a country gentleman, as it appears, of independent fortune. Two years after the death of Mr. Nash, who was buried on the 5th of April, 1647, she married, on the 5th of June, 1649, at Billesley in Warwickshire, Sir John Barnard, Knight, of Abington, a small village in the vicinity of Northampton. She died, and was buried at Abington, on the 17th of February, 1669–70; and, as she left no issue by either of her husbands, her death terminated the lineal descendants of Shakspeare. His collateral kindred have been indulged with a much longer period of duration ; the descendants of his sister, Joan, having continued in a regular succession of generations even to our days; whilst none of them, with a single exception, have broken from that rank in the community in which their ancestors, William Hart and Joan Shakspeare, united their unostentatious fortunes in the year 1599. The single exception to which we allude, is that of Charles Hart, believed, for good reasons, to be the son of William, the eldest son of William and Joan Hart, and consequently the grand-nephew of our Poet. At the early age of seventeen, Charles Hart, as lieutenant in Prince Rupert's regiment, fought at the battle of Edgehill; and, subsequently betaking himself to the stage, "he became the most renowned tragic actor of his time. “What Mr. Hart delivers,” says Rymer (I adopt the citation from the page of Malone), “every one takes upon content: their eyes are prepossessed and charmed by his action before aught of the poet's can approach their ears; and to the most wretched of characters he gives a lustre and brilliancy, which dazzles the sight that the deformities in the poetry cannot be perceived.” “Were I a poet” (says another contemporary writer), “nay, a Fletcher, or a Shakspeare, I would quit my own title to immortality so that one actor might never die. This I may modestly say of him (nor is it my particular opinion, but the sense of all mankind), that the best tragedies on the English stage have received their lustre from Mr. Hart's performance; that he has left such an impression behind him, that no less than the interval of an age can make them appear again with half their majesty from any second hand.” This was a brilliant eruption from the family of Shakspeare; but as it was the first, so it appears to have been the last ; and the Harts have ever since, as far at least as it is known to us, “pursued the noiseless tenor of their way," within the precints of their native town on the banks of the soft-flowing Avon.*
* By intelligence, on the accuracy of which I can rely, and which has only just reached me, from the birthplace of Shakspeare, I learn that the family of the Harts, after a course of lineal descents during the revolut on of two hundred and twenty-six years, is now on the verge of extinction ; an aged woman, who retains in single blessedness ber maiden name of Hart, being at this time (Nov. 1825) its sole surviving representative. For some years she occupied the house of her ancestors, in which Shakspeare is reported to have first seen the light; and here she obtained a comfortable subsistence by showing the antiquities of the venerated mansion to the numerous strangers who were attracted to it. Being dispossessed of this residence by the rapaciousness of its proprietor, she settled herself in a dwelling nearly opposite to it. Here she still lives; and continues to exhibit some relics, not repnted to be genuine, of the mighty Bard, with whom her materna) ancestor was nourished in the same womb. She regards herself also as a dramatic poet; and, in support of her pretensions, she produces the rude sketch of a play, uninspired, as it is said, with any of the vitality of genius. For this information I am indebted to Mr. Charles Fellows, of Nottingham; who, with the characteristic kindness of his most estimable family, sought for the intelligence which was required by me, and obtained it.
Whatever is in any degree associated with the personal history of Shakspeare is weighty with general interest. The circumstance of his birth can impart consequence even to a provincial town; and we are not unconcerned in the past or the present fortunes of the place over which hovers the glory of his name. But the house in which he passed the last three or four years of his life, and in which he terminated his mortal labors, is still more engaging to our imaginations, as it is more closely and personally connected with him. Its history, therefore, must not be omitted by us ; and if, in some respects, we should differ in it from the narrative of Malone, we shall not be without reasons sufficient to justify the deviations in which we indulge. New Place, then, which was not thus first named by Shakspeare, was built in the reign of Henry VII., by Sir Hugh Clopton, Kt., the younger son of an old family resident near Stratford, who had filled in succession the offices of sheriff and of lord mayor of London. In 1563, it was sold by one of the Clopton family to William Bott; and by him was again sold, in 1570, to William Underhill (the purchaser and the seller being both of the rank of esquires), from whom it was bought by our Poet in 1597. By him it was bequeathed to his daughter Susanna Hall; from whom it descended to her only child, Lady Barnard. In the June of 1643, this, lady, with her first husband, Mr. Nash, entertained, for nearly three weeks, at New Place, Henrietta Maria, the queen of Charles I., when, escorted by Prince Rupert and a large body of troops, she was on her progress to meet her royal consort, and to proceed with him to Oxford. On the death of Lady Barnard without children, New Place was sold, in 1675,* to Sir Edward
* Malone gives a different account of some of the transfers of New Place. According to him, it passed by sale, on the death of Lady Barnard, to Edward Nash, the cousin-german of that lady's first husband; and, by him, was bequeathed to his daughter Mary, the wife of Sir Reginald Foster; from whom it was bouglit by Sir John Clopton, who gave it by
Walker, Kt., Garter King at Arms; by whom it was left to his only child, Barbara, married to Sir John Clopton, Kt., of Clopton in the parish of Stratford. On his demise, it became the property of a younger son of his, Sir Hugh Clopton, Kt., (this family of the Cloptons seems to have been peculiarly prolific in the breed of knights,) by whom it was repaired and decorated at a very large expense. Malone affirms that it was pulled down by him, and its place supplied by a more sumptuous edifice. If this statement were correct, the crime of its subsequent destroyer would be greatly extenuated; and the hand which had wielded the axe against the hallowed mulberry-tree, would be absolved from the second act, imputed to it, of sacrilegious violence. But Malone's account is, unquestionably, erroneous. In the May of 1742, Sir Hugh entertained Garrick, Macklin, and Delany, under the shade of the Shakspearian mulberry. On the demise of Sir Hugh,* in the December of 1751, New Place was sold by his son-in-law and executor, Henry Talbot, the Lord Chancellor Talbot's brother, to the Rev. Francis Gastrell, vicar of Frodsham in Cheshire : by whom, on some quarrel with the magistrates, on the subject of the parochial assessments, it was razed to the ground, and its site abandoned to vacancy. On this completion of his outrages † against the memory of Shakspeare, which his unlucky possession of wealth enabled him to commit, Francis Gastrell departed from Stratford, hooted out of the town,
deed to his youngest son, Sir Hugh. But the deed which conveyed New Place to Sir Edward Walker, is still in existence; and has been published by R. B. Wheler, the historian of Stratford.
# Sir Hugh Clopton was knighted by George I. He was a barrister at law; and died in the December of 1751, at the advanced age of eighty.-- Malone.
t Our days, also, have witnessed a similar profanation of the relics of genius; not, indeed, of genius equally hallowed with that of which we have been speaking, for Nature has not yet produced a second Shakspeare ; but of genius which had conversed with the immortal Muses, which had once been the delight of the good and the terror of the bad. I allude to the violation of Pope's charming retreat, on the banks of the Thames, by a capricious and tasteless womani, who has endeavored to blot out every memorial of the great and moral poet from that spot, which his occupation had made classic, and dear to the hearts of his countrymen. In the mutability of all human things, and the inevitable shiftings of property, “ From you to me, from me to Peter Walter," these lamentable desecrations, which mortify our pride and wound our sensibilities, will of necessity sometimes occur. The site of the Tusculan of Cicero may become the haunt of banditti, or be disgraced with the walls of a monastery. The residences of a Shakspeare and a Pope may be devastated and defiled by a Parson Gastrell and a Baroness Howe. We can only sigh over the ruin when its deformity strikes upon our eyes, and execrate the hands by which it has been savagely accomplished.
and pursued by the execrations of its inhabitants. The fate of New Place has been rather remarkable. After the demolition of the house by Gastrell, the ground, which it had occupied, was thrown into the contiguous garden, and was sold by the widow of the clerical barbarian. Having remained, during a certain period, as a portion of a garden, a house was again erected on it; and, in consequence also of some dispute about the parish assessments, that house, like its predecessor, was pulled down; and its site was finally abandoned to Nature, for the production of her fruits and her flowers: and thither may we imagine the little Elves and Fairies frequently to resort, to trace the footsteps of their beloved Poet, now obliterated from the vision of man; to throw a finer perfume on the violet; to unfold the first rose of the year, and to tinge its cheek with a richer blush ; and, in their dances beneath the fullorbed moon, to chant their harmonies, too subtle for the gross ear of mortality, to the fondly-cherished memory of their darling, THE SWEET SWAN OF Avon.
of the personal history of William Shakspeare, as far as it can be drawn, even in shadowy existence, from the obscurity which invests it, and of whatever stands in immediate connection with it, we have now exhibited all that we can collect; and we are not conscious of having omitted a single circumstance of any moment, or worthy of the attention of our readers. We might, indeed, with old Fuller, speak of our Poet's wit-combats, as Fuller calls them, at the Mermaid, with Ben Jonson : but then we have not one anecdote on record, of either of these intellectual gladiators, to produce; for not a sparkle of our Shakspeare's convivial wit has travelled down to our eyes; and it would be neither instructive nor pleasant to see him represented as a light skiff, skirmishing with a huge galleon, and either evading or pressing attack, as prudence suggested, or the alertness of his movements emboldened him to attempt. The lover of heraldry may, perhaps, censure us for neglecting to give the blazon of Shakspeare's arms, for which, as it appears, two
patents were issued from the herald's office, one in 1569 or 1570, • and one in 1599; and by him who will insist on the transcription
of every word which has been imputed, on any authority, to the pen of Shakspeare, we may be blamed for passing over in silence two very indifferent epitaphs, which have been charged on him. We will now, therefore, give the arms which were accorded to him; and