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him very near the fame Coat of Arms, which Dugdale, in his Antiquities of that County, describes for a Family there. There are two Coats, I obferve, in Dugdale, where three Silver Fishes are borne in the Name of Lucy; and, another Coat, to the Monument of Thomas Lucy, Son of Sir William Lucy, in which are quarter'd in four feveral Divifions, twelve little Fishes, three in each Division, probably Luces. This very Coat, indeed, feems alluded to in Shallow's giving the dozen White Luces, and in Slender faying he may quarter. When I confider the exceeding Candour and Good-nature of our Author, (which inclin'd all the gentler Part of the World to love him; as the Power of his Wit obliged the Men of the most delicate Knowledge and polite Learning to admire him ;) and that he fhould throw this humorous Piece of Satire at his Profecutor, at least twenty Years after the Provocation given; I am confidently purfuaded it muft be owing to an unforgiving Rancour on the Profecutor's Side and if This was the Cafe, it were Pity but the Difgrace of fuch an Inveteracy fhould remain as a lafting Reproach, and Shallow ftand as a Mark of Ridicule to ftigmatize his Malice,
It is faid, our Author spent fome Years before his Death, in Eafe, Retirement, and the Converfation of his Friends, at his Native Stratford. I could never pick up any certain Intelligence, when He relinquifh'd the Stage. I know, it has been mistakenly thought by fome, that Spenfer's Thalia, in his Tears of his Mufes, where he laments the Lots of her Willy in the Comic Scene, has been apply'd to our Author's quitting the Stage. But Spenfer himself, 'tis well known, quitted the Stage of Life in the Year 1598; and, five Years after this, we find Shakespear's Name among the Actors in Ben Johnson's Sejanus, which first made its Appearance in the Year 1603. Nor, furely, could he then have any Thoughts of retiring, since, that very Year, a Licence under the Privy-Seal f 2
was granted by K. James I. to him and Fletcher, Burbage, Phillippes, Hemings, Condel, &c. authorizing them to exercife the Art of playing Comedies, Tragedies, &c. as well at their ufual Houfe call'd the Globe on the other Side of the Water, as in any other Parts of the Kingdom, during his Majesty's Pleasure : (A Copy of which Licence is preferv'd in Rymer's Fadera.) Again, 'tis certain, that Shakespear did not exhibit his Macbeth, till after the Union was brought about, and till after King James I. had begun to touch for the Evil: for 'tis plain, he has inferted Compliments, on both thofe Accounts, upon his Royal Mafter in that Tragedy. Nor, indeed, could the Number of the Dramatic Pieces, he produced, admit of his retiring near fo early as that Period. So that what Spenfer there fays, if it relate at all to Shakespear, muft hint at fome occafional Recefs he made for a time upon a Difgust taken or the Willy, there mention'd, muft relate to fome other favourite Poet. I believe, we may fafely determine that he had not quitted in the Year 1610. For in his Tempeft, our Author makes mention of the Bermuda Inlands, which were unknown to the English, till, in 1609, Sir John Summers made a Voyage to North-America, and difcover'd them: and afterwards invited fome of his Countrymen tot settle a Plantation there. That he became the private Gentleman, at least three Years before his Deceafe, is pretty obvious from another Circumftance: I mean, from that remarkable and well-known Story, which Mr. Rowe has given us of our Author's Intimacy with Mr. John Combe, an old Gentleman noted thereabouts for his Wealth and Ufury: and upon whom Shake- . Spear made the following facetious Epitaph.
Ten in the hundred lies here ingrav'd,
This farcaftical Piece of Wit was, at the Gentleman's own Requeft, thrown out extemporally in his Company. And this Mr. John Combe I take to be the fame, who; by Dugdale in his Antiquities of Warwickshire, is faid to have dy'd in the Year 1614, and for whom at the upper end of the Quire, of the Guild of the Holy Crofs at Stratford, a fair Monument is erected, having a Statue thereon cut in Alabaster, and in a Gown, with this Epitaph. "Here lyeth interr'd "the Body of John Combe Efq; who dy'd the 10th “of July, 1614, who bequeathed several Annual "Charities to the Parish of Stratford, and 100 /. to "be lent to fifteen poor Tradesmen from three years
to three years, changing the Parties every third "Year, at the Rate of fifty Shillings per Annum, the "Increafe to be diftributed to the Almes-poor there." The Donation has all the Air of a rich and fagacious Ufurer.
Shakespear, himself 'did not furvive Mr. Combe long, for he dy'd in the Year 1616, the 53d of his Age. He lies buried on the North Side of the Chancel in the great Church at Stratford; where a Monument, decent enough for the Time, is erected to him, and plac'd against the Wall. He is reprefented under an Arch in a fitting Posture, a Cushion spread before him, with a Pen in his Right Hand, and his Left refted on a Scrowl of Paper. The Latin Dittich, which is placed under the Cufhion, has been given us by Mr. Pope, or his Graver, in this Manner.
INGENIO Pylium, Genio Socratem, Arte Maronem,
Terra tegit, Populus mæret, Olympus habet.
I confefs, I don't conceive the Difference betwixt Ingenio and Genio in the firft Verfe. They seem to me intirely fynonymous Terms; nor was the Pylian Sage Neftor celebrated for his Ingenuity, but for an Ex
perience and Judgment owing to his long Age. Dug-
JUDICIO Pylium, Genio Socratem, &c.
In 1614, the greater Part of the Town of Stratford was confumed by Fire; but our Shakespear's House, among fome others, efcap'd the Flames. This House was first built by Sir Hugh Clopton, a younger Brother of an ancient Family in that Neighbourhood, who took their Name from the Manor of Clopton. Sir Hugh was Sheriff of London in the Reign of Richard III. and Lord Mayor in the Reign of King Henry VII. To this Gentleman the Town of Stratford is indebted for the fine Stone-bridge, confifting of fourteen Arches, which at an extraordinary Expence he built over the Avon, together with a Caufe-way running at the Weftend thereof; as alfo for rebuilding the Chapel adjoining to his Houfe, and the Crofs-Ifle in the Church there. It is remarkable of him, that, tho' he liv'd and dy'd a Bachelor, among the other extenfive Charities which he left both to the City of London and Town of Stratford, he bequeath'd confiderable Legacies for the Marriage of poor Maidens of good Name. and Fame both in London and at Stretford. Notwithftanding which large Donations in his Life, and Bequefts at his Death, as he had purchased the Manor of Clopton, and all the Estate of the Family, fo he left the fame again to his elder Brother's Son with a very great Addition: (a Proof, how well Beneficence and Economy may walk hand in hand in wife Families) Good Part of which Eftate is yet in the Poffeffion of Edward Clopton, Efq; and Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. lineally defcended from the elder Brother of the first Sir Hugh: Who particularly bequeathed to his Nephew,
Nephew, by his Will, his Houfe, by the Name of his Great Houfe in Siratferd.
The Eftate had now been fold out of the Clopton Family for above a Century, at the time when Shake[pear became the Purchaser: who, having repair'd and modell'd it to his own Mind, chang'd the Name to New-place; which the Manfion-house, fince erected upon the fame Spot, at this day retains. The Houfe and Lands, which attended it, continued in ShakeSpear's Defcendants to the Time of the Restoration: when they were repurchafed by the Clopton Family, and the Manfion now belongs to Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. To the Favour of this worthy Gentleman I owe the Knowledge of one Particular, in Honour of our Poet's once Dwelling-houfe, of which, I prefume, Mr. Rowe never was appriz'd. When the Civil War raged in England, and K. Charles the First's Queen was driven by the Neceffity of Affairs to make a Recefs in Warwickshire, fhe kept her Court for three Weeks in Newplace. We may reasonably fuppofe it then the best private House in the Town; and her Majefty preferr'd it to the College, which was in the Poffeffion of the Combe Family, who did not so strongly favour the King's Party.
How much our Author employ'd himself in Poetry, after his Retirement from the Stage, does not fo evidently appear: Very few pofthumous Sketches of his
Pen have been recover'd to afcertain that Point. We have been told, indeed, in Print, but not till very lately, That two large Chefts full of this Great Man's loofe Papers and Manufcripts, in the Hands of an ignorant Baker of Warwick, (who married one of the Defcendants from our Shakespear) were carelesly scatter'd and thrown about, as Garret-Lumber, and Litter, to the particular Knowledge of the late Sir William Bishop, till they were all confumed in the general Fire and Destruction of that Town. I cannot help being a little apt to diftruit the Authority of this Tradition; £ 4 becauf