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other instruments of loud music. Within the base-court was erected a stately bridge, twenty feet wide, and seventy feet long, over which the Queen was to pass; and on each side stood columns, with presents upon them to Her Majesty from the gods. Silvanus offered a cage of wild-fowl, and Pomona various sorts of fruits; Ceres gave corn, and Bacchus wine; Neptune presented sea-fish; Mars the habiliments of war; and Phoebus all kinds of musical instruments. During the rest of her stay, varieties of sports and shows were daily exhibited. In the chase was a savage-man clad in ivy accompanied by satyrs; there were bear-baitings and fire-works, Italian tumblers, and a country brideale, running at the Quintain, and Morrice-dancing. And, that no sort of diversion might be omitted, hither came the Coventry-men and acted the old play already mentioned, called Hock Tuesday, a kind of tilting match, representing, in dumb show, the defeat of the Danes by the English, in the reign of King Ethelred. There were besides on the pool, a Triton riding on a Mermaid eighteen feet long, and Arion upon a Dolphin. To grace the entertainment, the Queen here knighted Sir Thomas Cecil, eldest son to the lord treasurer; Sir Henry Cobham, brother to the Lord Cobham; Sir Francis Stanhope, and Sir Thomas Tresham. An estimate may be formed of the expense from the quantity of ordinary beer that was drank upon this occasion, which amounted to three hundred and twenty hogsheads.*
To the ardent and opening mind of our youthful Bard what exquisite delight must this grand festival have imparted, the splendour of which, as Bishop Hurd remarks, "claims a remembrance even in the annals of our country."† A considerable portion of the very mythology which he had just been studying at school, was here brought before his eyes, of which the costume and language were under the direction of the first poets of the age; and the dramatic cast of the whole pageantry, whether classical or Gothic, was such as probably to impress his glowing imagination with that bias for theatrical amusements, which afterwards proved the basis of his own glory, and of his country's poetic fame.
Here, could he revisit the glimpses of the day, how justly might he deplore, in his own inimitable language, the havoc of time, and the mutability of human grandeur; of this princely castle, once the seat of feudal hospitality, of revelry and song, and of which Laneham, in his quaint style and orthography, has observed,"Who that considers untoo the stately seat of Kenelworth Castl, the rare beauty of bilding that His Honor hath avaunced; all of the hard quarry-stone: every room so spacious, so well belighted, and so hy roofed within; so seemly too sight, by du proportion without; a day tyme, on every side so glittering by glasse; a night, by continuall brightnesse of candel, fyre, and torch-light, transparent thro the lyghtsome wyndow, as it wear the Egiptian Pharos relucent untoo all the Alexandrian coast: or els (too talke merily with my mery freend) thus radiant, as thoogh Phoebus for hiz eaz woold rest him in the Castl, and not every night so to travel doown untoo the Antipodes; heertoo so fully furnisht of rich apparell and ustensilez apted in all points to the best;" of this vast pile the very ruins are now so reduced, that the grand gateway, and the banquetting hall, eighty-six feet in length, and forty-five in width, are the only important remains. S
* Life of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, 1727. 8vo.
+ Hurd's Moral and Political Dialogues, vol. i. p. 148. Edit. of 1788.
Laneham's Account, p. 65. of the Original.
The following extract from Laneham's Letter, which immediately follows the passage given in the text, and in which I have dropped the author's singular orthography, will afford the reader a curious and very entertaining description of the costly and magnificent gardens of Kenelworth Castle, gardens in which it is probable the youthful Shakspeare had more than once wandered with delight :--
"Unto this, His Honour's exquisite appointment of a beautiful garden, an acre or more of quantity, that lieth on the north there: wherein hard all along the castle-wall is reared a pleasant terrace of a ten foot high, and a twelve broad: even under foot, and fresh of fine grass; as is also the side thereof toward the garden, in which, by sundry equal distances, with obelisks, spheres, and white bears, all of stone, upon their curious bases, by goodly shew were set: to these two fine arbours redolent by sweet trees and flowers, at each end one, the garden plot under that, with fair allies green by grass, even voided from the borders a both sides, and some (for change) with sand, not light or too soft or soily by dust, but smooth and firm, pleasant to walk on, as a sea-shore when the water is availd: then, much gracified by due proportion of four even quarters: in the midst of each, upon a base a two foot square, and high, seemly
If Shakspeare were taken as early from school as we have supposed, and his slender attainments in latinity strongly warrant the supposition, it is more than probable, building on the traditional hint in Rowe, of his aid being wanted at home, that he continued to assist his father in the wool-trade for some years; that is, in all likelihood, until his sixteenth or eighteenth year. Mr. Malone, however, not adverting to this tradition, has, in a note to Rowe's Life, declared his belief, "that, on leaving school, Shakspeare was placed in the office of some country attorney, or the seneschal of some manor court:" + a position which we think im
bordered of itself, a square pilaster rising pyramidally of a fifteeen foot high: simmetrically pierced through from a foot beneath, until a two foot of the top: whereupon for a capital, an orb of a ten inches thick: every of these (with his base) from the ground to the top, of one whole piece; hewn out of hard porphery, and with great art and heed (thinks me) thither conveyed and there erected. Where, further also, by great cast and cost, the sweetness of savour on all sides, made so repirant from the redolent plants and fragrant herbs and flowers, in form, colour, and quantity so deliciously variant; and fruit-trees bedecked with apples, pears, and ripe cherries.
"And unto these, in the midst against the terrace, a square cage, sumptuous and beautiful, joined hard to the north wall (that a that side gards the garden as the garden the castle), of a rare form and excellency, was raised: in height a twenty foot, thirty long, and a fourteen broad. From the ground strong and close, reared breast high, whereat a soil of a fair moulding was couched all about: from that upward, four great windows a front, and two at each end, every one a five foot wide, as many more even above them divided on all parts by a transome and architrave, so likewise ranging about the cage. Each window arched in the top, and parted from other in even distance by flat fair bolted columns, all in form and beauty like, that supported a comely cornish couched all along upon the bole square; which with a wire net, finely knit, of mashes six square, an inch wide (as it were for a flat roof) and likewise the space of every window with great cunning and comeliness, even and tight was all over-strained. Under the cornish again, every part beautified with great diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires; pointed, tabled, rok and round; garnished with their gold, by skilful head and hand, and by toil and pencil so lively expressed, as it mought be great marvel and pleasure to consider how near excellency of art could approach unto perfection of nature.
"Holes were there also and caverns in orderly distance and fashion, voided into the wall, as well for heat, for coolness, for roost a nights and refuge in weather, as also for breeding when time is. More, fair even and fresh holly-trees for pearching and proining, set within, toward each and one.
"Hereto, their diversity of meats, their fine several vessels for their water and sundry grains; and a man skilful and diligent to look to them and tend them.
"But (shall I tell you) the silver sounded lute, without the sweet touch of hand; the glorious golden cup, without the fresh fragrant wine; or the rich ring with gem, without the fair featured finger; is nothing indeed in his proper grace and use: even so His Honour accounted of this mansion, till he had placed their tenants according. Had it therefore replenished with lively birds, English, French, Spanish, Canarian, and (I am deceived if I saw not some) African. Whereby, whether it became more delightsome in change of tunes, and harmony to the ear; or else in difference of colours, kinds, and properties to the eye, I'll tell you if I can, when I have better bethought me.
In the centre (as it were) of this goodly garden, was there placed a very fair fountain, cast into an eight-square, reared a four foot high; from the midst whereof a column up set in shape of two Athlants joined together a back half; the one looking east, tother west, with their hands upholding a fair formed bowl of a three foot over; from whence sundry fine pipes did lively distill continual streams into the receipt of the fountain, maintained still two foot deep by the same fresh falling water: wherein pleasantly playing to and fro, and round about, carp, tench, bream, and for variety, perch, and eel, fish fair-liking all, and large: In the top, the ragged staff, which with the bowl, the pillar, and eight sides beneath, were all hewn out of rich and hard white marble. A one side Neptune with his tridental fuskin triumphing in his throne, trailed into the deep by his marine horses. On another, Thetis in her chariot drawn by her dolphins. Then Triton by his fishes. Here Proteus herding his sea-bulls. There Doris and her daughters solacing a sea and sands. The waves scourging with froth and foam, intermingled in place, with whales, whirlpools, sturgeons, tunnies, conchs, and wealks, all engraven by exquisite device and skill, so as I may think this not much inferior unto Phabus gates, which (Ovid says) and peradventure a pattern to this, that Vulcan himself did cut: whereof such was the excellency of art, that the work in value surmounted the stuff, and yet were the gates all of clean massy silver.
"Here were things, ye see, mought inflame any mind to long after looking; but whoso was found so hot in desire, with the wreast of a cok was sure of a cooler: water spurting upward with such vehemency, as they should by and by be moistened from top to toe; the he's to some laughing, but the she's to more sport. This some time was occupied to very good pastime.
"A garden then so appointed, as wherein aloft upon sweet shawdowed walk of terrace, in heat of summer, to feel the pleasant whisking wind above, or delectable coolness of the fountain spring beneath to taste of delicious strawberries, cherries and other fruits, even from their stalks: to smell such fragrancy of sweet odours, breathing from the plants, herbs, and flowers: to hear such natural melodious musick and tunes of birds: to have in eye, for mirth, some time these under springing streams; then, the woods, the waters (for both pool and chase were hard at hand in sight), the deer, the people (that out of the east arbour in the base court also at hand in view), the fruits trees, the plants, the herbs, the flowers. the change in colours, the birds flittering, the fountain streaming, the fish swimming, all in such delectable variety, order, dignity; whereby, at one moment, in one place, at hand, without travel, to have so full fruition of so many God's blessings, by entire delight unto all senses (if all can take) at once: for etymon of the word worthy to be called Paradise: and though not so goodly as Paradise for want of the fair rivers, yet better a great deal by the lack of so unhappy a tree." Pages 66-72,
Reed's Shakspeare, vol. i. p. 59.
Ibid. p. 60, note 7.
probable only in point of time; and in justice to Mr. Malone, it must be added, that in other places he has given a much wider latitude to the period of this engagement.
The circumstances on which this conjecture has been founded, are these:-that, in the first place, throughout the dramas of Shakspeare, there is interspersed such a vast variety of legal phrases and allusions, expressed with such technical accuracy, as to force upon the mind a conviction, that the person who had used them must have been intimately acquainted with the profession of the law; and, secondly, that at the close of Aubrey's manuscript anecdotes of Shakspeare, which are said to have been collected, at an early period, from the information of the neighbours of the poet, it is positively asserted, that our bard "understood Latin pretty well, for he had been in his younger years a schoolmaster in the country."
On the first of these data, it has been observed by Mr. Malone, in his "Attempt to ascertain the Order in which the Plays of Shakspeare were written," that the poet's "knowledge of legal terms is not merely such as might be acquired by the casual observation of even his all-comprehending mind; it has the appearance of technical skill; and he is so fond of displaying it on all occasions, that I suspect he was early initiated in at least the forms of law, and was employed, while he yet remained at Stratford, in the office of some country-attorney, who was at the same time a petty conveyancer, and perhaps also the seneschal of some manor-court."+ In confirmation of this opinion, various instances are given of his legal phraseology, which we have copied in the note below; and here we must remark that the
"Purchase is here used in its strict legal sense, in contradistinction to an acquisition by descent. Unless the devil have him in fee-simple, with fine and recovery.'
'He is 'rested on the case.'
Merry Wives of Windsor.
with bills on their necks, Be it known unto all men by these presents,' &c.
'Go with me to a notary, seal me there
Your single bond.'
'Say, for non-payment that the debt should double.'
As you like it.
Merry Wives of Windsor.
Merchant of Venice.
“On a conditional bond's becoming forfeited for non-payment of money borrowed, the whole penalty, which is usually the double of the principal sum lent by the obligee, was formerly recoverable at law. To this our poet here alludes.
But the defendant doth that plea deny ;]
To 'cide his title, is impanell'd
A quest of thoughts.'
In Much Ado about Nothing, Dogberry charges the watch to keep their fellow's counsel and their This Shakspeare transferred from the oath of a grand juryman.
As you like it. Love's Labour's lost.
K. Hen. IV. P. I. All's Well that ends Well. Twelfth Night.
He will seal the fee-simple of his salvation, and cut the entail from all remainders, and a perpetual succession for it perpetually.'
'Why, let her accept before excepted.'
- which is four terms or two actions;--and he shall laugh without intervallums.'
-keeps leets and law-days.' Pray in aid for kindness.'
K. Hen. IV. P. II. K. Richard II. Anthony and Cleopatra.
"No writer but one who had been conversant with the technical language of leases and other conveyances, would have used determination as synonymous to end. Shakspeare frequently uses the word in that sense. See vol. xii. (Reed's Shakspeare), p. 202, n. 2.; vol. xiii. p. 127, n. 4.; and (Mr Malone's edit.) vol. x. p. 202, n. 8. From and after the determination of such a term,' is the regular language of con
expression, while he yet remained at Stratford, leaves the period of his first application to the law, from the time at which he left school to the era of his visiting London, unfixed; a portion of time which we may fairly estimate as including the lapse of ten years.
With regard to the affirmation of Aubrey, that Shakspeare had been in his younger years a schoolmaster in the country, the same ingenious critic very justly remarks, that "many traditional anecdotes, though not perfectly accurate, contain an adumbration of the truth;" and then adds,
"I am strongly inclined to think that the assertion contains, though not the truth, yet something like it: I mean that Shakspeare had been employed for some time in his younger years as a teacher in the country; though Dr. Farmer as incontestably proved, that he could not have been a teacher of Latin. I have already suggested my opinion, that before his coming to London he had acquired some share of legal knowledge in the office of a petty country-conveyancer, or in that of the steward of some manorial court. If he began to apply to this study at the age of eighteen, two years afterwards he might have been sufficiently conversant with conveyances to have taught others the form of such legal assurances as are usually prepared by country-attorneys ; and perhaps spent two or three years in this employment before he removed from Stratford to London. Some uncertain rumour of this kind might have continued to the middle of the last century, and by the time it reached Mr. Aubrey, our poet's original occupation was changed from a scrivener to that of a schoolmaster."*
In this quotation it will be immediately perceived that the period of our author's application to the study of the law, is now supposed to have occurred at the age of eighteen, when he must have been long removed from school, and that he is also conceived to have been a teacher of what he had acquired in the profession.
These conjectures of Mr. Malone, which, in their latter and modified state, appear to me singularly happy, have met with a warm advocate in Mr. Whiter:
"The anecdotes," he remarks, "which have been delivered down to us respecting our poet, appear to me neither improbable nor, when duly examined, inconsistent with each other: even those which seem least allied to probability, contain in my opinion the adumbrata, if not expressa signa veritatis. Mr. Malone has admirably sifted the accounts of Aubrey; and there is no truth, that is obtained by a train of reasoning not reducible to demonstration, of which I am more convinced than the conjecture of Mr. Malone, who supposes that Shakspeare, before he quitted Stratford, was employed in such matters of business as belonged to the office of a country-attorney, or the steward of a manor-court. I have stated this conjecture in general terms, that the fact, as is relates to our poet's legal allusions, might be separated from any accidental circumstances of historical truth. I am astonished, however, that Mr. Malone has confirmed his conjecture by so few examples.
I can supply him with a very large accession.” †
Humbly complaining to Your Lordship, your orator,' etc. are the first words of every bill in chancery.
⚫ A kiss in fee farm! In witness whereof these parties interchangeably have set their hands and seals.'
'Art thou a feodary for this act?”
"See the note on that passage, vol. xviii. p. 508. n. 3. Reed's edit.
Troilus and Cressida.
Are those precepts served?' says Shallow to Davy, in K. Henry IV. 'Precept in this sense is a word only known in the office of a justice of peace.
'Tell me what state, what dignity, what honour,
K. Richard III.
hath demised, granted, and to farm let,' is the constant language of leases. What poet but Shakspeare has used the word demised in this sense?
"Perhaps it may be said, that our author in the same manner may be proved to have been equally conversant with the terms of divinity or physic. Whenever as large a number of instances of his ecclesiastical or medicinal knowledge shall be produced, what has now been stated will certainly not be entitled to any weight." Malone, Reed's Shakspeare, vol. ii. p. 276, n. 9.
Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iii. p. 222, 223.
Whiter's Specimen of a Commentary, p. 95, note. As Mr Whiter has not chosen to append these additional examples, I have thought it would be satisfactory to give the few which more immediately occur
to my memory.
"Immediately provided in that case."
Midsummer Night's Dream.
Mr. Chalmers, however, refuses his aid in the structure of this conjectural fabric, and asserts that Shakspeare might have derived all his technical knowledge of the law from a very few books. From "Totell's Presidents," 1572; from "Pulton's Statutes," 1578; and from the "Lawier's Logike," 1578."
That these books were read by Shakspeare, there can, we think, be little doubt; but this concession by no means militates against the idea of his having been employed for a short period in some profitable branch of the law. After weighing all the evidence which can now be adduced, either for or against the hypothesis, we shall probably make the nearest approximation to the truth in concluding, that the object of our research, having assisted his father for some years in the wooltrade, for which express purpose he had been early taken from school, might deem it necessary, on the prospect of approaching marriage, to acquire some additional means of supporting a domestic establishment, and, accordingly, annexed to his former occupation, or superseded it by a knowledge of an useful branch of the law, which, by being taught to others, might prove to himself a source of revenue. Thus combining the record of Rowe with the tradition of Aubrey, and with the evidence derived from our author's own works, an inference has been drawn which, though not amounting to certainty, approaches the confine of it with no small pretensions.
Of the events and circumstances which must have occurred to Shakspeare in the interval between his leaving the free-school of Stratford, and his marriage, scarcely any thing has transpired; the following anecdote, however, which is still preserved at Stratford and the neighbouring village of Bidford, may be ascribed with greater propriety to this than to any subsequent period of his life. We shall give it in the words of the author of the "Picturesque Views on the Avon," who professes to have received it on the spot, as one of the traditional treasures of the place. Speaking of Bidford, which is still equally notorious for the excellence of its ale, and the thirsty clay of its inhabitants, he adds, "there were anciently two societies of village-yeomanry in this place, who frequently met under the appellation of Bidford Topers. It was a custom with these heroes to challenge any of their neighbours, famed for the love of good ale, to a drunken combat: among others the people of Stratford were called out to a trial of strength, and in the number of their champions, as the traditional story runs, our Shakspeare, who forswore all thin potations, and addicted himself to ale as lustily as Falstaff to his sack, is said to have entered the lists. In confirmation of this tradition we find an epigram written by Sir Aston Cockayn, and published in his poems in 1658, p. 124: it runs thus
"TO MR CLement FishER, OF WINCOT.
"SHAKSPEARE, your Wincot ale hath much renown'd,
"That doth utter all men's ware-a."
"Thy title is affeer'd." (This is a law-term for confirmed.)
Keep leets, and law-days, and in sessions sit."
"Why should calamity be full of words?"
"He learn'd but, surety-like, to write for me,
Venus and Adonis.
• Chalmers's Apology, p. 554. The “Lawiers Logike” was written by Abraham Fraunce.