« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
nant is highly probable ; but it is much more likely to have been purchased by him from some of the players after the theatres were shut up by authority, and the veterans of the stage were reduced to great distress, than to have been bequeathed to him by the person who painted it; in whose custody it is improbable that it should have remained. Sir William D'Avenant appears to have died insolvent. There is no Will of his in the Prerogative-Office; but administration of his effects was granted to John Otway, his principal creditor, in May 1668. After his death, Betterton the actor boughtit, probably at a publick sale of his effects. While it was in Betterton's possession, it was engraved by Vandergucht, for Mr. Rowe's edition of Shakspeare, in 1709. Betterton made no will, and died very indigent. He had a large collection of portraits of actors in crayons, which were bought at the sale of his goods, by Bullfinch the Printseller, who fold them to one Mr. Sykes. The portrait of Shakspeare was purchased by Mrs. Barry the actress, who fold it afterwards for 40 guineas to Mr. Robert Keck. In 1719, while it was in Mr. Řeck's possession, an engraving was made from it by Vertue : a large half-sheet. Mr. Nicoll of Colney-Hatch, Middlesex, marrying the heiress of the Keck family, this picture devolved to him ; and while in his possession, it was, in 1747, engraved by Houbraken for Birch's Illustrious Heads. By the marriage of the Duke of Chandos with the daughter of Mr. Nicoll, it be. came his Grace's property.
Sir Godfrey Kneller painted a pi&ture of our author, which he presented to Dryden, but from what pi&ure he copied, I am unable to ascertain, as I have never seen Kneller's pi&ture. The poet repaid him by an elegant copy of Verses.--See his Poems, Vol. II. p. 231, edit. 1743 :
“ Shakspeare, thy gift, I place before my fight,
“ When most they rail, know then, they envy most.”. It
appears from a circumstance mentioned by Dryden, that these verses were written after the year 1683 : probably after Rymer's book had appeared in 1693. Dryden having made no will, and his wife Lady Elizabeth renouncing, administration was granted on the 10th of June, 1700, to his son Charles, who was drowned in the Thames near Windsor in 1704. His younger brother, Erasmus, succeeded to the title of Baronet, and died without iffue in 1711; but I know not what became of his effects, or where this pi&ure is now to be found.
About the year 1725 a mezzotinto of Shakspeare was scraped by Simon, raid to be done from an original picture painted by Zouft or Soeft, then in the poffeflion of T. Wright, painter, in Covent Garden. The earliest known picture painted by Zouft in England, was done in 1657; so that if he ever painted a picture of Shakspeare, it must have been a copy. 'It could not however have been made from D'Avenant's piáure, (unless the painter took very great liberties,) for the whole air, dress, disposition of the hair, &c. are different. I have lately seen a pi&ture in the poffeffion of — Douglas, Esq. at Teddington near Twickenham, which is, I believe, the very pi&ture from which Simon's mezzotinto was made. It is on canvas, (about 24 inches by 20,) and somewhat smaller than the life.
The earliest print of our poet that appeared, is that in the titlepage of the firit folio edition of his works, 1623, engraved by Martin Droeshout. On this print the following lines, addressed TO THE READER, were written by Ben Jonson :
“ This figure that thou here leest put,
All that was ever writ in brass ;
“ Not on his picture, but his book.” Droelhout engraved also the heads of John Fox the martyrologist, Montjoy Blount, son of Charles Blount Earl of Devonshire, William Fairfax, who fell at the fiege of Frankendale in 162), and John Howson, Bishop of Durham. The portrait of Bishop Howson is at Christ Church, Oxford. By comparing any of these prints (the two latter of which are well executed) with the original pictures from whence the engravings were made, a better judgment might be formed of the fidelity of our author's portrait, as exhibited by this engraver, than from Jonson's assertion, that “in this figure
the graver had a ftrife " With nature to out-do the life;" compliment which in the books of that age was paid to fo many engravers, that nothing decisive can be inferred from it. It does not appear from what picture this engraving was made : þut from the dress, and the fingular disposition of the hair, &c.
it undoubtedly was engraved from a pi&ture, and probably a very ordinary one. There is no other way of accounting for the great difference between this print of Droethout's, and his spirited portraits of Fairfax and Bishop Howson, but by supposing that the picture of Shakspeare from which he copied was a very coarse performance.
The next print in point of time is, according to Mr. Walpole and Mr. Granger, that executed by J. Payne, a scholar of Simon Pass, in 1634; with a laurel-branch in the poet's left-hand. A print of Shakspeare by fo excellent an engraver as Payne, would probably exhibit a more perfe&t representation of him than any other of those times ; but I much doubt whether
such ever existed. Mr. Granger, I apprehend, has erroneously attributed to Payne the head done by Marshall in 1640, (apparently from Droeshout's larger print,) which is pretixed to a fpurious edition of Shakspeare's Poems published in that year. In Marshall's print the poet has a laurel branch in his left hand. Neither Mr. Walpole, nor any of the other great collectors of prints, are poffeffed of, or ever saw, any print of Shakspeare by Payne, as far as I can learn.
Two other prints only remain to be mentioned ; one engraved by Vertue in 1721, for Mr. Pope's edition of our author's plays in quarto; said to be engraved from an original picture in the poffesfion of the Earl of Oxford ; and another, a mezzotinto, by Earlom, prefixed to an edition of King Lear, in 1770; said to be done from an original by Cornelius Jansen, in the collection of Charles Jennens, Esq. but Mr. Granger justly observes, it is dated in 1610, before Jansen was in England, it is highly probable that it was not painted by him, at least, that he did not paint it as a portrait of Shakspeare."
Most of the other prints of Shakspeare that have appeared, were copied from some or other of those which I have mentioned.
MALONE. “ The portrait palmed upon Mr. Pope" (I use the words of the late Mr. Oldys, in a MS. note to his copy of Langbaine,) “ for an original of Shakspeare, from which he had his fine plate engraven, is evidently a juvenile portrait of King James I." I am no judge in these matters, but only deliver an opinion, which if ill-grounded may be easily overthrown. The portrait, to me at least, has no traits of Shakspeare. Steevens.
2 On his grave-stone underneath is, Good friend, &c.] This epitaph is expressed in the following uncouth mixture of small and capital letters :
or Good Frend for Iesus SAKE forbeare
* And curft be he that moves my bones.] It is uncertain whether this epitaph was written by Shakspeare himself, or by one of his friends after his death. The imprecation contained in this last line, was perhaps suggested by an apprehenfion that our author's remains might share the same fate with those of the rest of his countrymen, and be added to the immense pile of human bones deposited in the charnel-house at Stratford. This, however, is mere conjecture; for similar execrations are found in many ancient Latin epitaphs.
Mr. Steevens has justly mentioned it as a singular circumstance, that Shakspeare does not appear to have written any verses on his contemporaries, either in praise of the living, or in honour of the dead. I once imagined that he had mentioned Spenser with kindness in one of his Sonnets; but have lately discovered that the Sonnet to which I allude, was written by Richard Barnefield. If, however, the following epitaphs be genuine, (and indeed the latter is much in Shakspeare's manner,) he in two instances overcame that modeft diffidence, which seems to have supposed the elogium of his humble muse of no value.,
In a Manuscript volume of poems by William Herrick and others, in the hand-writing of the time of Charles I. which is among Rawlinson's Collectiops in the Bodleian Library, is the following epitaph, ascribed to our poet:
“ When God was pleas'd, the world unwilling yet,
« WM, SHAKSPEARE." There was formerly a family of the surname of James at Stratford. Anne, the wife of Richard James, was buried there on the same day with our poet's widow ; and Margaret, the daughter of John James, died there in April, 1616.
A monumental inscription “ of a better leer,” and said to be written by our author, is preserved in a collection of Epitaphs, at the end of the Visitation of Salop, taken by Sir William Dugdale in the year 1664, now remaining in the College of Arms, C. 35, fol. 20; a transcript of which Sir Isaac Heard, Garter, Principal King at Arms, has obligingly transmitted to me.
Among the monuments in Tongue church, in the county of Salop, is one erected in remembrance of Sir Thomas Stanley, Knight, who died, as I imagine, about the year 1600. In the Visitation-book it is thus described by Sir William Dugdale :
« On the north side of the chancell stands a very stately tombe, supported with Corinthian columnes. It hath two figures of men in armour, thereon lying, the one below the arches and columnes, and the other above them, and this epitaph upon it.
“ Thomas Stanley, Knight, second son of Edward Earle of Derby, Lord Stanley and Strange, defcended from the famielie of the Stanleys, married Margaret Vernon, one of the daughters and co-heires of Sir George Vernon of Nether. Haddon, in the county of Derby, Knight, by whom he had issue two sons, Henry and Edward. Henry died an infant; Edward survived, to whom those lordships descended ; and married the lady Lucie Percie, second daughter of the Earle of Northumberland : by her he had issue seaven daughters. She and her foure daughters, Arabella, Marie, Alice, and Priscilla, are interred under a monument in the church of Waltham in the county of Essex. Thomas, her son, died in his infancy, and is buried in the parish church of Winwich in the county of Lancaster. The other three, Petronilla, Frances, and Venesia, are yet living. These following verses were made by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE,
the late famous tragedian :
“ Written upon the west end thereof.
“ Stanley, for whom this stands, shall stand in heaven." The last line of this epitaph, though the worst, bears very strong marks of the hand of Shakspeare. The beginning of the first line, “ Alke who lyes here," reminds us of that which we have been just exa
xamining : If any man ask, who lies in this tomb," &c.-And in the fifth line we find a thought which our poet has also introduced in King Henry VIII:
“ Ever belov'd and loving may his rule be!
Goodness and he fill up one monument !"