without the advance of a penny, except a mere trifle of a ring or so by way of
present to the great lady who is to procure the patent. But let the projector speak
for himself :
" He shall not draw
A string of 's purse ; I '11 drive his patent for him.
We '11 take in citizens, commoners, and aldermen,
To bear the charge, and blow them off again,
Like so many dead flies, when it is carried.
The thing is for recovery of drown'd land,
Whereof the crown 's to have a moiety,
If it be owner ; else the crown and owners
To share that moiety, and the recoverers
To enjoy the t'other moiety for their charge.
JEng. Throughout England ]
Meer. Yes ; which will arise
To eighteen millions seven the first year :
I have computed all, and made my survey
Unto an acre."
The dupe thus recounts his great fortunes to his wife :
" Wife, such a man, wife !
He has such plots ! he will make me a duke !
No less, by heaven ! six mares to your coach, wife !
That 's your proportion ! and your coachman bald,
Because he shall be bare enough. Do not you laugh ;
We are looking for a place, and all, in the map,
What to be of. Have faith be not an infidel.
You know I am not easy to be gull'd.
I swear, when I have my millions, else, I '11 make
Another duchess, if you have not faith.
Mrs. Fitz. You'll have too much, I fear, in these false spirits.
Fitz. Spirits ! 0, no such thing, wife ; wit, mere wit.
This man defies the devil and all his works ;
He does 't by engine, and devices, he !
He has his winged ploughs, that go with sails,
Will plough you forty acres at once ! and mills
Will spout you water ten miles off" ! All Crowland
Is ours, wife : and the fens, from us, in Norfolk,
To the utmost bounds in Lincolnshire ! we have view'd it,
And measur'd it within all, by the scale :
The richest tract of land, love, in the kingdom !
There will be made seventeen or eighteen millions,
Or more, as 't may be handled ! so therefore think,
Sweet-heart, if thou hast a fancy to one place
More than another, to be duchess of,
Now name it ; I will have 't, whate'er it cost,
(If 't will be had for money,) either here,
Or in France, or Italy.
Mrs. Fitz. You have strange phantasies ! "
Is this satire obsolete ?
CHAP. I.] GLIMPSES OF SOCIETY. 263
But there is another form of the passion whose permanency and universality
cannot be denied. What the victims of gaming propose to themselves Jonson has
delineated with inimitable humour :
" There 's a young gentleman
Is born to nothing forty marks a year,
Which I count nothing : he is to be initiated,
And have a fly of the doctor. He will win you,
By unresistible luck, within this fortnight,
Enough to buy a barony. They will set him
Upmost, at the groom-porters, all the Christmas :
And for the whole year through, at every place
Where there is play, present him with the chair ;
The best attendance, the best drink ; sometimes
Two glasses of Canary, and pay nothing ;
The purest linen, and the sharpest knife ;
The partridge next his trencher.
You shall have your ordinaries bid for him,
As playhouses for a poet ; and the master
Pray him aloud what dish he affects,
Which must be butter'd shrimps : and those that drink
To no mouth else will drink to his as being
The goodly president mouth of all the board."
A general appetite for luxurious fare appears to have been one of the most pre-
vailing vices, both in the Court and in the City in these days. In the beginning of
the reign of James I. London was one universal academy for gourmands and gourmets.
The cooks, according to Jonson, were infected with principles that in an earlier age
of the Reformation would have consigned them to the stake :
" Where have you greater atheists than your cooks 1 "
But in the more tolerant age of James, the master-cooks, whose atheism (if this
quality be not a mere scandal of the poet) was derived with their professional
knowledge from " the world abroad " for travel was then necessary to make an
accomplished cook cooks were then personages that the great delighted to
" A master-cook ! why he 's the man of men,
For a professor ! he designs, he draws,
He paints, he carves, he builds, he fortifies,
Makes citadels of curious fowl and fish :
Some he dry-ditches, some moats round with broths ;
Mounts marrow-bones ; cuts fifty-angled custards ;
Rears bulwark pies ; and, for his outer works,
He raiseth ramparts of immortal crust ;
And teacheth all the tactics at one dinner.
He is an architect, an engineer,
A soldier, a physician, a philosopher,
A general mathematician ! "
The passage in the " Alchymist " in which Jonson pours out his learning in
describing the rare but somewhat nasty dishes of ancient cookery, is a gorgeous
piece of verse. We doubt whether " dormice," and " camels' heels," and the " beards
of barbels," and " oiled mushrooms," would really be so successful as the perform-
ances of the maltre de cuisine to the Mar6chal Strozzi, who, at the seige of Leith,
according to Monsieur Beaujeu, " made out of the hind quarter of one salted horse
forty-five converts, that the English and Scottish officers and nobility, who had the
264 WILLIAM SHAKSPERE : A BIOGRAPHY. [BOOK IV.
honour to dine with Monseigneur upon the rendition, could not tell what the devil
any one of them were made upon at all." The real professors of that day, according
to the recommendation which Ho well gives of one of them in 1630, could " mari-
nate fish," " make jellies," were " excellent for piquant sauce and the haugou,"
were " passing good for an olla," understood " larding of meat after the mode of
France," and decorated their victims with "chains of sausages." With these
refinements prevailing amongst us two centuries ago, it is lamentable to think how
we retrograded to the Saxon barbarism of sirloins and suet-dumplings in the days
of George III.
Gifford has remarked that " Shakspere is the only one of the dramatic writers of
the age of James who does not condescend to notice tobacco ; all the others abound
in allusions to it." In Jonson we find tobacco in every place in Cob the water-
man's house, and in the Apollo Club-room on the stage, and at the ordinary. The
world of London was then divided into two classes the tobacco-lovers and the
tobacco-haters. Jonson has made Bobadill speak the exaggerated praise of the one
class : " I have been in the Indies, where this herb grows, where neither myself nor
a dozen gentlemen more of my knowledge have received the taste of any other
nutriment in the world for the space of one-and-twenty weeks, but the fume of
this simple only : therefore, it cannot be but 't is most divine." Cob the waterman,
on the other hand, represents the denouncers of the weed : " Odds me, I marie
what pleasure or felicity they have in taking this roguish tobacco ! It 's good for
nothing but to choke a man, and fill him full of smoke and embers : there were
four died out of one house last week with taking of it, and two more the bell
went for yesternight." King James I., in his celebrated " Counterblast to Tobacco,"
is an imitator of Master Cob, for he raises a bugbear of " an unctuous and oily
kind of soot found in some great tobacco-takers that after their death were
opened." The Bang could not write down tobacco, even with Joshua Sylvester for
an ally ; who in his poem entitled " Tobacco Battered, and the Pipes Shattered,"
informs us that
" Of all the plants that Tellus' bosom yields,
In groves, glades, gardens, marshes, mountains, fields,
None so pernicious to man's life is known
As is tobacco, saving hemp alone."
In the old play called " Jack Drum's Entertainment," one of the characters says,
" I have followed ordinaries this twelvemonths, only to find a fool that had lands, or
a fellow that would talk treason, that I might beg him." Garrard, in his letters to
Lord Strafford, communicates a bit of news to his patron, which not only illustrates
the unprincipled avarice of the courtiers down almost to the time when a national
convulsion swept this and other abominations away with much that was good and
graceful but which story is full of a deep tragic interest. An old usurer dies in
Westminster ; his will is opened, and all the property the coin, the plate, the
jewels, and the bonds all is left to his man-servant. The unhappy creature goes
mad amidst his riches ; and there is but one thing thought of at court for a week
who is to be successful in begging him. Elizabeth had the merit of abolishing
the more hateful practice of begging concealed lands, that is such lands as at the
dissolution of the monasteries had privily got into the possession of private persons.
There was not a title in the kingdom that was thus safe from the rapacity of the
begging courtiers. But, having lost this prey, they displayed a new ability for the
discovery of treason and treasonable talk. In the "Poetaster," written in 1601,
Jonson does not hesitate to speak out boldly against this abominable practice. The
characters in the following dialogue are Lupus, Caesar, Tucca, and Horace ; and,
CHAP. I.] GLIMPSES OF SOCIETY. 265
as wo have already mentioned, Jonson himself was designated under the name of
" Lup. A libel, Caesar ; a dangerous, seditious libel ; a libel in picture.
Ccesar. A libel !
Lup. Ay ; I found it in this Horace his study, in Mecaenas his house
here ; I challenge the penalty of the laws against them.
Tuc. Ay, and remember to beg their land betimes ; before some of these
hungry court-hounds scent it out.
Ccesar. Show it to Horace : ask him if he know it.
Lup. Know it ! his hand is at it, Caesar.
Ccesar. Then 't is no libel.
HOT. It is the imperfect body of an emblem, Caesar, I began for Mecaenas.
Lup. An emblem ! right : that 's Greek for a libel. Do but mark how
confident he is.
HOT. A just man cannot fear, thou foolish tribune ;
Not, though the malice of traducing tongues,
The open vastness of a tyrant's ear,
The senseless rigour of the wrested laws,
Or the red eyes of strain'd authority,
Should, in a point, meet all to take his life :
His innocence is armour 'gainst all these."
Soon after the accession of James, Jonson himself went to prison for a supposed
libel against the Scots in " Eastward Ho ; " in the composition of which comedy he
assisted Chapman and Marston. They were soon pardoned : but it was previously
reported that their ears and noses were to be slit. Jonson's mother, at an entertain-
ment which he made on his liberation, "drank to him, and showed him a paper
which she designed, if the sentence had taken effect, to have mixed with his drink,
and it was strong and hasty poison." Jonson, who tells this story himself, says,
" to show that she was no churl, she designed to have first drunk of it herself." This
is a terrible illustration of the ways of despotism. Jonson was pardoned, probably
through some favouritism. Had it been otherwise, the future laureat of James would
have died by poison in a wretched prison, and that poison given by his mother.
Did the bricklayer's wife learn this terrible stoicism from her classical son ? Fortu-
nately there was in the world at that day, as there is now, a higher spirit to make
calamity endurable than that of mere philosophy ; and Jonson learnt this in sickness
and old age. After he had become a favourite at court he still lost no proper
occasion of lashing the rapacious courtiers. If a riot took place in a house, and
manslaughter was committed, the house became a deodand to the Crown, and was
begged as usual. In " The Silent Woman," first acted in 1609, one of the characters
says, " 0, sir, here hath like to have been murder since you went ; a couple of
knights fallen out about the bride's favours : we were fain to take away their
weapons ; your house had been begged by this time else." To the question, " For
what ? " comes the sarcastic answer, " For manslaughter, sir, as being accessary"
The universal example of his age made Jonson what we should now call a court
flatterer. Elizabeth old, wrinkled, capricious, revengeful was "the divine Cynthia."
But Jonson compounded with his conscience for flattering the Queen, by satirizing
her court with sufficient earnestness ; and this, we dare say, was not in the least
disagreeable to the Queen herself. In " Cynthia's Revels " we have a very bizarre
exhibition of the fantastic gallantry, the absurd coxcombities, the pretences to wit,
which belonged to lords in waiting and maids of honour. Affectation here wears
her insolent as well as her " sickly mien." Euphuism was not yet extinct ; and so
the gallant calls his mistress "my Honour," and she calls him "her Ambition."
But this is small work for a satirist of Jonson's turn ; and he boldly denounces
"pride and ignorance " as "the two essential parts of the courtier." "The ladies and
266 WILLIAM SHAKSPERE : A BIOGBAPHY. [BOOK IV.
gallants lie languishing upon the rushes ; " and this is a picture of the scenes in the
" There stands a neophyte glazing of his face,
Preening his clothes, perfuming of his hair,
Against his idol enters ; and repeats,
Like an imperfect prologue, at third music,
His parts of speeches, and confederate jests,
In passion to himself. Another swears
His scene of courtship over ; bids, believe him,
Twenty times ere they will ; anon, doth seem
As he would kiss away his hand in kindness ;
Then walks off melancholic, and stands wreath'd
As he were pinn'd up to the arras, thus.
Then fall they in discourse
Of tires and fashions ; how they must take place ;
Where they may kiss, and whom; when to sit down,
And with what grace to rise : if they salute,
What court 'sy they must use : such cobweb stuff
As would enforce the common'st sense abhor
Th' Arachnean workers."
The dramatist has bolder delineations of profligacy and ambition portraits in which
the family likeness of two centuries and a half ago may yet be traced, if we make
due allowances for the differences between the antique ruff and the costume of our
unpicturesque days :
" Here stalks me by a proud and spangled sir,
That looks three handfuls higher than his foretop ;
Savours himself alone, is only kind
And loving to himself ; one that will speak
More dark and doubtful than six oracles ;
Salutes a friend as if he had a stitch ;
Is his own chronicle, and scarce can eat
For registering himself ; is waited on
By ninnies, jesters, panders, parasites,
And other such-like prodigies of men.
He pass'd, appears some mincing marmoset
Made all of clothes and face ; his limbs so set
As if they had some voluntary act
Without man's motion, and must move just so
In spite of their creation : one that weighs
His breath between his teeth, and dares not smile
Beyond a point, for fear t' unstarch his look ;
Hath travell'd to make legs, and seen the cringe
Of several courts and courtiers ; knows the time
Of giving titles, and of taking walls ;
Hath read court commonplaces ; made them his :
Studied the grammar of state, and all the rules
Each formal usher in that politic school
Can teach a man. A third comes, giving nods
To his repenting creditors, protests
To weeping suitors, takes the coming gold
Of insolent and base ambition,
That hourly rubs his dry and itchy palms ;
Which grip'd, like burning coals, he hurls away
Into the laps of bawds and buffoons' mouths.
With him there meets some subtle Proteus, one
Can change and vary with all forms he sees ;
Be anything but honest ; serves the time ;
Hovers betwixt two factions, and explores
GLIMPSES OF SOCIETY.
The drifts of both, which, with cross face, he bears
To the divided heads, and is receiv'd
With mutual grace of either."
It was in such a state of society as this a transition state, in which the contests
of classes had ceased to be a contest of physical power a condition in which " the
age is grown so piiked that the toe of the peasant conies so near the heel of the
courtier, he galls his kibe," an age of separation, when tyranny had lost much of
its force, and the weak had also surrendered its partial protection, that Shakspere
lived in his later years. They were his years of philosophy. He had seen the
hollowness of " the ignorant present " and threw himself into the universal.
WILLIAM SHAKSPERE : A BIOGRAPHY.
[Hall of the Middle Temple. 1
LABOURS AND REWARDS.
"AT our feast we had a play called ' Twelve Night; or, What you Will,' much like
the 'Comedy of Errors,' or 'Menechmus' in Plautus, but most like and neere to
that in Italian called ' Inganni.' A good practise in it to make the steward believe
biis lady widdowe was in love with him, by counterfayting a letter, as from a lady,
in geiierall termes telling him what shee liked best in him, and prescribing his
gestures, inscribing his apparaile, &c., and then when he came to practise, making
him beleeve they tooke him to be mad." The student of the Middle Temple, whose
little diary, after snugly lying amongst the Harleian Manuscripts, now in the British
CHAP. II.] LABOURS AND REWARDS. 269
Musueni, unnoticed for two centuries and a quarter, luckily turned up to give us
one authentic memorial of a play of Shakspere's, is a facetious and gossiping young
gentleman, who appears to have mixed with actors and authors, recording the scandal
which met his ear with a diligent credulity. The 2nd of February, 1602, was the
Feast of the Purification, which feast and AU-Hallown Day, according to Dugdale,
" are the only feasts in the whole year made purposely for the Judges and Serjeants
of this Society, but of later time divers noblemen have been mixed with them."
The order of entertainment on these occasions is carefully recorded by the same
learned antiquary.* The scarlet robes of the Judges and Serjeants, the meat carried
to the table by gentlemen of the house under the bar, the solemn courtesies, the
measures led by the Ancient with his white staff, the call by the reader at the cup-
board " to one of the gentlemen of the bar, as he is walking or dancing with the
rest, to give the Judges a song," the bowls of hypocras presented to the Judges
with solemn congees by gentlemen under the bar, all these ceremonials were matter
of grave arrangement according to the most exact precedents. But Dugdale also
tells us of " Post Revels performed by the better sort of the young gentlemen of the
Society, with galliards, corantos, and other dances ; or else with stage plays." The
historian does not tell us whether the stage plays were performed by the young
gentlemen of the Society, or by the professional players. The exact description
which the student gives of the play of " Twelfth Night" would lead us to believe
that it had not been previously familiar to him. It was not printed. The probabi-
lity therefore is that it was performed by the players, and by Shakspere's company.
The vicinity of the Blackfriars would necessarily render the members of the two
Societies well acquainted with the dramas of Shakspere, and with the poet himself.
There would be other occasions than the feast days of the Society that Shakspere
would be found amidst those Courts. Amongst "the solemn temples" which
London contained, no one would present a greater interest than that ancient edifice
in which he might have listened, when a young man, to the ablest defender of the
Church which had been founded upon the earlier religion of England ; one who did
not see the wisdom of wholly rejecting all ceremonials consecrated by habit and
tradition ; who eloquently wrote " Of Law there can be no less acknowledged than
that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world : all things
in heaven and earth do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest
as not exempted from her power." t It was in the spirit of this doctrine that Shak-
spere himself wrote
" The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre,
Observe degree, priority, and place,
Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
Office, and custom, in all line of order." J
Dugdale's " Origines" was published six years after the Restoration. He speaks of
the solemn revels of Inns of Court, with reference to their past and to their existing
state. They had wont to be entertained with Post Revels, which had their dances
and their stage plays. This was before the domination of the Puritans, when stage
plays and dancing were equally denounced as " the very works, the pomps, inven-
tions, and chief delights of the devil." There is a passage in Dugdale which shows
how the revels at the Inns of Court gradually changed their character according to
the prevailing opinions: "When the last measure is dancing, the Reader at the
Cupboard calls to one of the Gentlemen of the Bar, as he is walking or dancing with
* " Origines Juridiciales," p. 205. f Hooker's u Eccclesiastical Polity," Book I.
J " Troilus and Cressida," Act I., Scene in. Prynne's " Histrio-Mastix."
WILLIAM SHAKSPERE : A BIOGRAPHY.
[Interior of the Temple Church.]
the rest, to give the Judges a song : who forthwith begins the first line of any psalm
as he thinks fittest ; after which all the rest of the company follow, and sing with
him." This is very like the edifying practice of the Court of Francis I., where the
psalms of Clement Marot were sung to a fashionable jig, or a dance of Poitou.*
Shakspere had good authority when he made the clown say of his three-man song-
men, " They are most of them means and basses : but one Puritan amongst them,
and he sings psalms to hornpipes, "t This is one of the few allusions which Shak-
spere has to that rising sect, which in a few years was to become the dominant
power in the state. Ben Jonson attacks them again and again with the most bitter
indignation, and the coarsest satire.J The very hardest gird which Shakspere has
at them is contained in the gentle reproof of Sir Toby to the Steward, " Dost thou
think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale V In this
very scene of "Twelfth Night" he ridicules the unreasoning hostility with which
the Puritans themselves were assailed by the ignorant multitude. Sir Toby asks to
be told something of the Steward :
" Mar. Marry, sir, sometimes he is a kind of Puritan.
Sir And. 0, if I thought that, I 'd beat him like a dog.
Sir Toby. What, for being a Puritan ? thy exquisite reason, dear knight 1
Sir And. I have no exquisite reason for 't, but I have reason good enough."
* See Warton's " History of English Poetry," Section xlv.
f " Winter's Tale," Act iv., Scene n. J See " The Alchymist," and " Bartholomew Fair."
CHAP. II.] LABOURS AND REWARDS. 271
This is iii the best spirit of toleration, which cannot endure that any body of men
should be persecuted for their opinions, and especially by those who will show no
reason for their persecution but that they " have reason good enough."
In May, 1602, Shakspere made a large addition to his property at Stratford by
the purchase, from W*illiam and John Combe, for the sum of three hundred and
twenty pounds, of one hundred and seven acres of arable land in the town of Old
Stratford. The indenture, which is in the possession of Mr. Wheler of Stratford,
is dated the 1st of May, 1602.* The conveyance bears the signatures of the vendors
of the property. But although it concludes in the usual form, " The parties to these
presents having interchangeably set to their hands and seals," the counterpart (also
in the possession of Mr. Wheler) has not the hand and seal of the purchaser of the
property described in the deed as " William Shakespere, of Stratford-upon-Avon, in
the conn tie aforesaide, Gentleman." The counterpart is not signed, and the piece
of wax which is affixed to it is unimpressed with any seal. The property was delivered
to Gilbert Shakspere to the use of William. Gilbert was two years and a half
younger than William, and in all likelihood was the cultivator of the land which the
poet thus bought, or assisted their father in the cultivation.
We collect from this document that William Shakspere was not at Stratford on
the 1st of May, 1602, and that his brother Gilbert was his agent for the payment of
the three hundred and twenty pounds paid "at and before the sealing" of the con-
veyance. In the following August the Lord Chamberlain's company performed
" Othello " in the house of the Lord Keeper at Harefield. The accounts of the large
expenditure on this occasion, in the handwriting of Sir Arthur Mainwaring, were
discovered by Mr. Collier amongst the " Egertou Papers," and they contain the
"6 August, 1602. Rewardcs to the vaultcrs, players, and dauncers. Of