William Shakespeare.

The works of William Shakespeare : life, glossary, &c : reprinted from the early editions and compared with recent commentators online

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THE "CHAN DOS POETS.'



THE WORKS



WILLIAM
SHAKSPEARE



REPRINTED FROM THE EARLY EDITIONS,

AND . .

COMPARED WITH RECENT COMMENTATORS.



tVIT/r A STtJ.L PORTRAIT.

Fhederick Warne and Co.,

BEDFORD STREET, STRAND.
NEW YORK : SCRIBNER, WELFORD, AND ARMSTRONG.

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JOHN CHILDS AND SON, PRINTERS.



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PREFACE.



This Edition of Shakspeare has been carefully prepared from
the earliest and more modem Editions. Where Commentators
have differed as to the sense of obscure or doubtful passages,
we have selected those readings which we believed to be most
Shakspearian and best suited to a popular Edition.



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CONTENTS.



MEMOIR OF SHAKSPEARE

SHAKSPEARE'S WILL

THE TEMPEST

THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA ...

MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR

MEASURE FOR MEASURE

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

love's labour's LOST

MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM

MERCHANT OF VENICE

AS YOU LIKE IT

TAMING OF THE SHREW

ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
TWELFTH-NIGHT : OR, WHAT YOU WILL

THE winter's tale

KING JOHN

KING RICHARD IL

FIRST PART OF KING HENRY IV.
SECOND PART OF KING HENRY IV. ...

KING HENRY V

FIRST PART OF KING HENRY VI.
SECOND PART OF KING HENRY VI. ...
THIRD PART OF KING HENRY VL ...



1
22

44
71
98
116
141
z68
189
214
240
266
295
319
350
376
403
432
464

495



LIFE AND DEATH OF KING RICHARD

III.

KING HENRY VIII.

TROILUS AND CRESSIDA

TIMON OF ATHENS

CORIOLANUS

JULIUS CiESAR

ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA

KING LEAR

CYMBELINE

MACBETH

HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK

ROMEO AND JULIET

OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE ...

TITUS ANDRONICUS

PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE

VENUS AND ADONIS

LUCRECE

SONNETS

A LOVER'S COMPLAINT

THE PASSIONATE PILGRIM

THE PHCENIX AND TURTLE



586
633

654
687
711



554 I GLOSSARY



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MEMOIR OF SHAKSPEARE.




LI FE of peace and prosperity furnishes but little matter for a chro-
nicle. Such, doubtless, with but a brief interval, was that of Eng-
land's greatest poet, for the record of it is brief and jejune in the
extreme ; only to be traced in registers and occasional notices. Un-
happily for us, Shakspeare did not find, amongst the manifold characters which
surrounded him, a Boswell, to note down the witty utterances with which his
' contemporaries were charmed ; we have no authentic anecdotes of the " my-
riad-mindedi man," as Coleridge terms him, only imperfect and apocryphal
traditions. But everything that is known of him is of value in the eyes of Eng-
lishmen; we subjoin, therefore, a short notice of his life, from the few records
that remain.

William Shakspeare was bom at Stratford-on-Avon, on St. George's Day,
April 23, 1564. He was the eldest son of John Shakspeare and his wife, Mary
Arden.

His family were " gentle " upon both sides. His paternal ancestor is believed
to have fought at Bosworth Field on the side of Richmond, for he received from
Henry VII., in reward for ** vaUant and faithful " services, tenements and lands
in Warwickshire, on which his descendants dwelt till the birth of him who was
destined to immortalize their name. Shakspeare's mother was the daughter
and heiress of Robert Arden, of Wylmcote, (or Wellingcote,} in Warwickshire,
a gentleman of ancient and honourable family, deriving its name probably
from the forest land on which its possessions stood.

The year of Shakspeare's birth was marked by the outbreak of the plague in
Stratford ; but the spotted curse passed harmlessly by the cradle of the glorious
infant ; whilst his then well-to-do father contributed of his means to the relief
of the poor who had suffered by its ravages. The boyhood of Shakspeare, till
he was ten years old, was spent, probably, in a manner well adapted to foster
his genius. On his mother's heritage of Asbyes — in his father's nearer mea-
dows — the young poet must have revelled in the greenwood shades, and amid
the daisied meads, of which he afterwards painted such sweet sylvan pictures.
The forest of Arden, the sheep-shearing of Perdita, the fairy-haunted woods,
Slc^ were doubtless memories of his boyhood.

From about the time Shakspeare completed his eleventh year, the prosperity
of his family waned ; the shadow of evil days gathered over the hitherto pros-
perous yeoman. In 1578, John Shakspeare was unable to pay poor-rates ; and
—happy and considerate must the age have been ! — he " was left untaxed."

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MEMOIR OF SHAKSPEARE.



During these eleven years his gifted eldest son was receiving his early educa-
tion at the free grammar school of Stratford ; the nidbters being at that time
Walter Roche, Thomas Hunt, and Thomas Jenkins. Of the where or how
that education was completed we have no record. That his days of youthful
study ended early, we may, however, conjecture, as he married at the age of
eighteen Anne Hathaway, the daughter of Richard Hathaway, of Shottery, a
substantial yeoman. The bride was eight years older than her husband. Be-
fore Shakspeare was twenty-one, he was the father of three children, a daughter
— Susanna, the darling of his after life, — and a twin son and daughter, Hamnet
(or Hamlet) and Judith.

It is probable that this rapid increase of family and his father's decaying
circumstances, led to the resolve of the poet to seek a fortune in London. He
had in the great city — which was an El Dorado to the imaginations of country
folks in those days — a relative and townsman named Thomas Green, a cele-
brated comedian, who, in company with the actors Burbage, Slye, Hemynge,
and Tooley, had very recently performed at Stratford — /.c?., in 1 584. Without
giving much credence to the traditionary scandal of Shakspeare stealing deer
from Sir Thomas Lucy's grounds at Charlecote, we may believe he had by
some wild boyish freak given annoyance to the " Justice," and thus added
another motive to those which already disposed him to leave his fair Warwick-
shire home. Doubtless but little inducement was, however, required to lure
him into the world of famous men whose renown then filled the length and
breadth of the land ; and whose grand memories surround his own, lighting
the age of Elizabeth with a galaxy of statesmen and heroes. He himself early
declared that —

" Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits.**

And with his consciousness of mental power, he would naturally seek the widest
field for its exercise.

He went to London in 1586, and, as it is supposed, became an actor and
adapter of plays for the Blackfriars' Theatre. In 1 589 he was able to purchase
X a share in it, and from that time his fame and good fortune grew rapidly. His
dramas became known and appreciated, and in the following year he was hon-
oured by the generous praise of Spenser, in the " Tears of the Muses.**

In 1593 appeared his first poem, " Venus and Adonis," written probably dur-
ing the suspension of theatrical performances in London, caused by the plague
of 1 592. It was published by himself ; the printer being a Stratford man (pro-
bably an old acquaintance) named Richard Field. That it was successful we
cannot doubt, as the next year his " Tarquin and Lucrece " issued from the
same press. Another poetical laurel was bestowed on him by Spenser ; and
common tradition ascribes to this period a gift made to him by Lord South-
ampton (the friend of Essex), of a thousand pounds, in order that he might
complete a meditated purchase.

The full tide of prosperity, which he had indeed " taken at the flood," now
bore the great dramatist of all ages swiftly on its waters. The Queen — whose



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MEMOIR OF SHAKSPEARE,



grand character he could so well appreciate— smiled on him, and deigned to
direct and call forth his genius ; while England's most chivalrous nobles were
his friends. " Probably," says Lord Lytton, in his delightful " Caxtoniana,"
**his (Shakspeare's) personal intimacies assi3ted to the perfection of his deli-
neations of the manners and mind of the being we call gentleman— of a Bas-
sanio, a Gratiano, a Benedick, an Orlando, a Mercutio, &c., not to speak of
the incomparable art with which he retains to Falstaff, in despite of all the fat
knight's rogueries, the character of the wit who has equality with princes."

The date at which Shakspeare's first drama appeared is uncertain. That he
was a renowned dramatist in 1591, Spenser's praise of him, published in that
year, proves. Rowe was not able to discover any character in which he was
remembered, as an actor, except that of the Ghost in " Hamlet ; " nevertheless,
the instructions to the players in that tragedy show, how perfect was his know-
ledge of the histrionic art, and how perfect the taste which would have guided
his own performance — probably too good for such rude spectators as those who
assembled at the Globe, and who had hitherto been used to tragedies in King
Cambyses' vein — all rant, murder, and horrors. In 1596 a great sorrow fell
upon the poet ; his only son Hamnet died, at the age of eleven years ; — a bitter
grief must it have been to one whose tenderness and warmth of affection ap-
pear from the concurrent testimony of his age to have been equal to his genius.
Shakspeare was a good son, as well as a genial and generous friend. His
parents shared his prosperity. He helped them with his influence and his
purse ; redeemed his mother's mortgaged property in " Green Arden," and—
purchasing a large and pleasant dwelling in his native place — brought his
parents home to dwell there.

He did not yet, however, retire from the stage. He liad a house in South-
wark, which was his London home ; his visits to Stratford were periods of rest
and recreation, probably also of quiet literary labour. He continued purchas-
ing property near his country home ; manifesting prudence and common sense
in aflEsurs of the world ; and a sound discretion in ^11 things.

It is supposed that Shakspeare quitted the stage finally in 1604, as his name
Joes not appear on the list of players after the production of Ben Jonson's
** Sejanus," in 1603. He had made a comfortable fortune, estimated by Gildon
(in his Letters and Essays) at 300/. a year, ^qual to rather more than a thou-
sand a year at the present day, and had then only attained the age of forty
years.

And now, happy in cherishing the age of his parents, in seeing his daughter
Susanna a happy wife and mother, and in entertaming his friends, Shakspeare
passed twelve years of well-earned repose ; the darling alike of Nature and of
Fortune.

He cultivated his land, planted the famous mulberry tree, and at this time
published bis exquisite Sonnets, which had, probably, been written in his youth.
Such, at least, was the opinion of Coleridge, who says :— " These extraordinary
sonnets form, in fact, a poem of fourteen lines each ; and, like the passion
which inspired them, the sonnets are always the same, with a variety of ex-

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MEMOIR OF SHAKSPEARE,



pression,— -continuous, if you regard the lover's soul, — distinct, if you listen to
them, as he heaves them sigh after sigh. These sonnets, like the * Venus and
Adonis,' and the * Rape of Lucrece,' are characterised by boundless fertility and
laboured condensation of thought, with perfection of sweetness in rhythm and
metre. These are the essentials in the budding of a great poet. Afterwards
habit and consciousness of power teach more ease." He returned occasionally,
however, to London, and was never forgotten by the noble friends his genius
had secured. Lord Southampton —great from his personal qualities — styles
him in a letter " my especial friend." Queen Elizabeth had honoured him with
personal notice and favour ; James I. " was pleased with his own hand to.
write an amicable letter to Mister Shakspeare," and the testimony of his fel-
low-actors,— of his rivals,— and of the poets of the age, all tell how worthy
Shakspeare was of love as well as of renown.

He who was "for all Time" did not fail, as we have seen, of winning the
golden opinions of his own ; and at the distance of nearly three hundred years
from that grand period of our national story, we can still find no better words
to eulogize him than his own : —

" His life was gentle ; and the elements
So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up,
And say to all the world — This was a nuin I "

There is a tradition that Shakspeare's death was hastened by the hospitable
entertainment he bestowed on Ben Jonson and Drayton, who visited him
shortly before his last illness ; but it seems probable that he had been ill for
some short time previously, as in the January of the year in which he " rested
from his labours" his will was prepared; it was signed by him in the March
preceding his death. He expired on his birth-day, April 23rd, 1616, aged
52, having secured, during his comparatively short life, an eternity of fame.

" He was," says Aubrey, who lived only twenty-six years after his death, "a
handsome, well-shaped man, verie good company, and of a verie ready, plea-
sant, and smooth wit."

Shakspeare was buried with his ancestors on the north side of the chancel in
the great Church of Stratford, and a monument was erected to his memory
bearing the following Latin distich :—

" Judicio Pylium, genio Socratem, arte Maronem,
Terra tegit, populus moeret, Olympus habet."

On the gravestone in the pavement is the well-known inscription which ap-
pears (in conjunction with certain modern notions of making a show of all
belonging to the poet) to have been a prophetic injunction,—

" Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear
To dig the dust inclosed here :
Blest be the man that spares these stones.
And curst be he that moves my boues.**

In the year 1741 another monument was erected to his memory in West-
minster Abbey (near the south door in Poets' Comer), under the direction of



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MEMOIR OF SHAKSPEARE.



Pope, Lord Burlington, Dr. Mead, and Mr. Martyn. It was the work ol
Scheemaiker after a design of Kent's.

The actors at each of the London theatres gave a benefit to help defray the
expenses of it, (which were paid by the public,) and the Dean and Chapter of
Westminster gave the ground.

** Anne Hathaway ^ survived her husband eight years. His favourite daugh*
ter, Susanna, married a physician. Dr. Hall, and left an only child, Elizabeth,
who was married first to Mr. Nashe, and afterwards to Sir John Barnard, of
Abingdon, Northamptonshire ; she died childless. His younger daughter,
Judith, married a Mr. Quiney,and had three children, all of whom died before
they had reached the age of twenty. Consequently, with Lady Barnard ex-
pired the last descendant of Shakspeare.

To his country has descended the rich inheritance of his fame ; we should
rather say, to the world ; for wherever the tongfue of England shall hereafter
be spoken, the works of him who enriched and preserved it will descend, a
fount of wisdom, wit, and poetry, of teaching and of pleasure, for all ages.

No writer ever so perfectly represented the entire genius of his country ;
hence probably he is so especially the idol of the people ; so completely identi-
fied with their modes of thought and feeling. He is an authority in all cir-
cumstances and events of life ; and they are fond of believing that things old
and new, from the discoveries of his own day to those of the present, were
dreamed of in the " philosophy " of Shakspeare. The national pride in its
great dramatist is well expressed in the sonorous and not inelegant compli-
ment of Dr. Johnson : —

" When Learning's trinmph o'er his barb'rou« foes,
Ftrec rear'd the stage, trnmortal Shakxpeare rose ;
Each change of raany-colour'd life he drew.
Exhausted worlds, and then imagin'd new :
Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign.
And panting Time toil'd after him in vain."



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SHAKSPEARE'S WILL.

FROM THE ORIGINAL IN THE OFFICE OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT
OF CANTERBURY.



Vicesimo quinto die Martii, Anno Regni Domini nostri Jacobi, nunc Regis 'Angiitr, 6*<'.,
decimo quarto^ et Scotia quadragesimo nono. Anno Domini x6x6.

In the name of God, Amen. I, William Shakspeare, of Stratford-upon-Avon
in the county of Warwick, Gent, in perfect health and memorj', (God be
praised,) do make and ordain this my last will and testament, in manner and
form following ;— that is to say :

First J I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping, and
assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, to be
made partaker of life everlasting ; and my body to the earth, whereof it is made.

Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Judith one hundred and fifty-
pounds of lawful English money, to be paid unto her in maimer and form fol-
lowing : that is to say, one hundred pounds in discharge of her marriage por-
tion, within one year after my decease, with consideration after the rate of two
shillings in the pound for so long time as the same shall be unpaid to her after
my decease ; and the fifty pounds residue thereof, upon her surrendering of, or
giving of such sufficient security as the overseers of this my will shall like of,
to surrender or grant all her estate and right that shall descend or come unto
her after my decease, or that she now hath of, in, or to, one copyhold tenement,
with the appurtenances, lying and being in Stratford-upon-Avon aforesaid, in
the said county of Warwick, being parcel or holden of the manor of Rowington,
unto my daughter Susannah Hall, and her heirs for ever.

Item, I give and bequeath unto my said daughter Judith one hundred and
fifty pounds more, if she, or any issue of her body, be living at the end of three
years next ensuing the day of the date of this my will, during which time my
executors to pay her consideration from my decease according to the rate afore-
said : and, if she die within the said term, without issue of her body, then my
will is, and I do give and bequeath one hundred pounds thereof to my niece,
Elizabeth Hall ; and the fifty pounds to be set forth by my executors during
the life of my sister, Joan Hart, and the use and profit thereof coming, shall be
paid to my said sister Joan, and after her decease the said fifty pounds shall
remain amongst the children of my said sister, equally to be divided amongst
them ; but if my said daughter Judith be living at the end of the said three
years, or any issue of her body, then my will is, and so I devise and bequeath
the said hundred and fifty pounds to be set out by my executors and over-



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SHAKSPEARE'S WILL.



seers for the best benefit of her and her issue, and the stock not to be paid unto
her so long as she shall be married and covert baron ; but my will is, that she
shall have the consideration yearly paid unto her during her life ; and after her
decease the said stock and consideration to be paid to her children, if she have
any, and if not, to her executors or assigns, she living the said term after my
decease ; provided that if such husband as she shall at the end of the said three
years be married unto, or at any [time] after, do sufficiently assure unto her,
and the issue of her body, lands answerable to the portion by this my will
given unto her, and to be adjudged so by my executors and overseers, then my
will is, that the said hundred and fifty pounds shall be paid to such husband
as shall make such assurance, to his own use.

Item, I give and bequeath unto my said sister Joan twenty pounds, and all
my wearing apparel, to be paid and delivered within one year after my decease ;
and I do will and devise unto her the house, with the appurtenances, in Stratford,
wherein she dwelleth, for her natural life, under the yearly rent of twelve pence.

Item J I give and bequeath unto her three sons, William Hart, Hart, and

Michael Hart, five pounds a-piece, to be paid within one year after my decease.

Item, I give and bequeath unto the said Elizabeth Hall, all my plate that I
now have (except my broad silver and gilt bowl), at the date of this my will.

Item, 1 give and bequeath unto the poor of Stratford, aforesaid, ten pounds ;
to Mr. Thomas Combe, my sword j to Thomas Russell, Esq., five pounds ; and
to Francis Collins, of the borough of Warwick, in the county of Warwick, Gent.,
thirteen pounds six shillings and eightpence, to be paid within one year after
my decease.

Item, I give and bequeath to Hamlet [Hamnet] Sadler twenty-six shillings
eightpence, to buy him a ring ; to William Reynolds, Gent., twenty-six shil-
lings eightpence, to buy him a ring ; to my godson William Walker, twenty
shillings in gold ; to Anthony Nash, Gent., twenty-six shillings eightpence ;
and to Mr. John Nash, twenty-six shillings eightpence ; and to my fellows, John
Hemynge, Richard Burbage, and Henry Cundell, twenty-six shillings eight-
pence a-piece, to buy them rings.

Item, I give, will, bequeath, and devise unto my daughter Susanna Hall, for
the better enabling her to perform this my will, and towards the performance
thereof, all that capital messuage or tenement, with the appurtenances, in Strat-
ford aforesaid, called the New Place, wherein I now dwell, and two messuages
or tenements with the appurtenances, situate, lying, and being in Henley Street,



Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe works of William Shakespeare : life, glossary, &c : reprinted from the early editions and compared with recent commentators → online text (page 1 of 217)