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while Will. Shakspeare could be had. This was the firft dawn of better fortune. Shakspeare, finding more horfes put into his hand than he could hold, hired boys to wait under his inspection, who, when Will. Shakspeare was fummoned, were immediately to prefent themfelves, I am Shakspeare's boy, Sir. In time Shakspeare found higher employment: but as long as the practice of riding to the playhouse continued, the waiters that held the horfes retained the appellation of, Shakspeare's boys. JOHNSON.


idleft time of the day wherein men that are their own masters (as gentlemen of the court, the innes of the court, and a number of captains and foldiers about London) do wholly beftow themselves upon pleafure, and that plaafure they divide (how virtuously it skills not) either in gaming, following of harlots, drinking, or feeing a play, is it not better (fince of four extreames all the world cannot keepe them but they will choofe one) that they fhould betake them to the leaft, which is plaies?" Nath's Pierce Pennileffe his Supplication to the Devil, 1592. STEEVENS.

6 the waiters that held the horfes retained the appellation of Shakspeare's boys.] I cannot difmifs this anecdote without obferving that it feems to want every mark of probability. Though Shakspeare quitted Stratford on account of a juvenile irregularity, we have no reafon to fuppofe that he had forfeited the protection of his father who was engaged in a lucrative bulinefs, or the love of his wife who had already brought him two children, and was herfelf the daughter of a fubftantial yeoman. It is unlikely therefore, when he was beyond the reach of his profecutor, that he fhould conceal his plan of life, or place of refidence, from thofe who, if he found himfelf diftreffed, could not fail to afford him fuch fupplies as would have fet him above the neceflity of holding horfes for fubfiftence. Mr. Malone has remarked in his Attempt to afcertain the Order in which the Plays of ShakSpeare mere written, that he might have found an ealy introduction to the ftage; for Thomas Green, a celebrated

Mr. Rowe has told us that he derived the principal anecdotes in his account of Shakspeare, from

comedian of that period, was his townfman, and perhaps his relation. The genius of our author prompted him to write poetry; his connection with a player might have given his productions a dramatick turn; or his own fagacity might have taught him that fame was not incompatible with profit, and that the theatre was an avenue to both. That it was once the general custom to ride on horse-back to the play, I am likewife yet to learn. The most popular of the theatres were on the Bankfide; and we are told by the fatirical pamphleteers of the time, that the ufual mode of conveyance to thefe places of amufement, was by water; but not a fingle writer fo much as hints at the cuftom of riding to them, or at the practice of having horfes held during the hours of exhibition. Some allufion to this ufage (if it had existed) must, I think, have been difcovered in the courfe of our refearches after contemporary fashions. Let it be remembered too, that we receive this tale on no higher authority than that of Cibber's Lives of the Poets, Vol. I. p. 130. "Sir William Davenant told it to Mr. Betterton, who communicated it to Mr. Rowe," who (according to Dr. Johnfon) related it to Mr. Pope. Mr. Rowe (if this intelligence be authentick) feems to have concurred with me in opinion, as he forbore to introduce a circumftance fo incredible into his life of Shakfpeare. As to the book which furnishes this anecdote, not the fmalleft part of it was the compofition of Mr. Cibber, being entirely written by a Mr. Shiells, amanuenfis to Dr. Johnfon, when his Dictionary was preparing for the prefs. T. Cibber was in the King's Bench, and accepted of ten guineas from the bookfellers for leave to prefix his name to the work; and it was purpofely fo prefixed as to leave the reader in doubt whether himfelf or his father was the perfon defigned.

The foregoing anecdote relative to Cibber's Lives &c. I received from Dr. Johnfon. See, however, The Monthly Review for December 1781, p. 409. STEEVENS.

Mr. Steevens in one particular is certainly mistaken. To the theatre in Blackfriars I have no doubt that many gentlemen rode in the time of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. From the Strand, Holborn, Bishopfgate-freet, &c. where many of the nobility lived, they could indeed go no other

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Betterton the player, whofe zeal had induced him to vifit Stratford for the fake of procuring all poffible intelligence concerning a poet to whofe works he might justly think himself under the strongest obligations. Notwithstanding this affertion, in the manuscript papers of the late Mr. Oldys it is faid, that one Boman (according to Chetwood, p. 143, an actor more than half an age on the London theatres") was unwilling to allow that his affociate and contemporary Betterton had ever undertaken fuch a journey." Be this matter as it will, the

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way than on foot, or on horfeback, or in coaches; and coaches till after the death of Elizabeth were extremely rare. Many of the gentry therefore certainly went to that playhoufe on horfeback. See the proofs, in the Effay above referred to,

This however will not eftablish the tradition relative to our outhor's first employment at the playhouse, which ftands on a very flender foundation, MALONE.

7 it is faid, that one Boman -was unwilling to allow that his affociate and contemporary Betterton had ever undertaken fuch a journey. This affertion of Mr. Oldys is altogether unworthy of credit. Why any doubt fhould be entertained. concerning Mr. Betterton's having vifited Stratford, after Rowe's pofitive affertion that he did fo, it is not easy to conceive. Mr. Rowe did not go there himself, and how could he have collected the few circumftances relative to Shakfpeare and his family, which he has told, if he had not obtained information from fome friend who examined the Register of the parish of Stratford, and made perfonal inquiries on the fubject?


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Boman," we are told, was unwilling to believe," &c. But the fact difputed did not require any exercise of his belief. Mr. Boman was married to the daughter of Sir Francis Watson, Bart, the gentleman with whom Betterton joined in an adventure to the Eaft Indies, whofe name the writer of Betterton's Life in Biographia Britannica has fo ftudioufly concealed. By that unfortunate fcheme Betterton loft

following particulars, which I fhall give in the words of Oldys, are, for aught we know to the contrary, as well authenticated as any of the anecdotes delivered down to us by Rowe.

Mr. Oldys had covered feveral quires of paper with laborious collections for a regular life of our author. From thefe I have made the following extracts, which (however trivial) contain the only circumftances that wear the leaft appearance of novelty or information; the fong in p. 6, excepted.

"If tradition may be trufted, Shakspeare often baited at the Crown Inn or Tavern in Oxford, in his journey to and from London. The landlady was a woman of great beauty and fprightly wit; and her husband, Mr. John Davenant, fafterwards mayor of that city,) a grave melancholy man ; who, as well as his wife, ufed much to delight in Shakfpeare's pleasant company. Their fon young Will Davenant (afterwards Sir William) was then a little fchool-boy in the town, of about feven or eight years old, and fo fond alfo of Shakspeare, that whenever he heard of his arrival, he would fly from school to fee him. One day an old townf

above 2000l. Dr. Ratcliffe 6000l. and Sir Francis Watfon his whole fortune. On his death foon after the year 1692; Betterton generously took his daughter under his protection, and educated her in his house. Here Boman married her; from which period he continued to live in the most friendly correfpondence with Mr. Betterton, and muft have known whether he went to Stratford or not. MALONE.

8 of about feven or eight years old,] He was born at Oxford in February, 1605-6. MALONE.

man obferving the boy running homeward almost out of breath, afked him whither he was posting in that heat and hurry. He answered, to fee his god-father Shakspeare. There's a good boy, faid the other, but have a care that you don't take God's name in vain. This ftory Mr. Pope told me at the Earl of Oxford's table, upon occafion of fome difcourfe which arofe about Shakspeare's monument then newly erected in Weftminster Abbey;"

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9 Shakspeare's monument then newly erected at Westminfter-Abbey:] This monument," fays Mr. Granger, erected in 1741, by the direction of the Earl of Burlington, Dr. Mead, Mr. Pope, and Mr. Martyn. Mr. Fleetwood and Mr. Rich gave each of them a benefit towards it, from one of Shakspeare's own plays. It was executed by H. Sheemaker, after a defign of Kent.

"On the monument is infcribed- amor publicus pofuit. Dr. Mead objected to amor publicus, as not occurring in old claffical infcriptions; but Mr. Pope and the other gentlemen concerned infifting that it should fland, Dr. Mead yielded the point, faying,

Omnia vincit amor, nos & cedamus amori.'

"This anecdote was communicated by Dr. Lort, late Greek Profeffor of Cambridge, who had it from Dr. Mead himfelf."


It was recorded at the time in the Gentleman's Magazine for Feb. 1741, by a writer who objects to every part of the infcription, and fays it ought to have been, G. S. centum viginti & quatuor poft obitum annis populus plaudens [aut favens] pofuit."

The monument was opened Jan. 29; 1741. Scheemaker is faid to have got 3ool. for his work. The performers at each houfe, much to their honour, performed gratis; and the dean and chapter of Weliminfter took nothing for the ground. The money received by the performance at Drury-Lane, amounted to above 2001. the receipts at Covent-Garden to about 1ool, Thefe particulars I learn from Oldys's MS. notes on Langbaine,

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