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THE Parish Register of Stratford is a tall, narrow book, of considerable thickness, the leaves formed of very fine vellum. This one book contains the entries of Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials. The Register commences with the record of a baptism, on the 25th of March, 1558. But it has not been previously stated (it ought to have been stated by Malone) that the entries, whether of Baptisms, Marriages, or Burials, are all, without exception, in the same handwriting, from the first entry, to September 14 in the year 1600. But although the Register is thus only a transcript for forty-two years, there is no reason to doubt its authenticity and perfect correctness; for each page is signed by Richard Bifield, the vicar, and four churchwardens, in attestation of its being a correct copy. Richard Bifield was vicar of Stratford from 1596 to 1610; and to him we are, in all probability, indebted for this transcript of the original Registers, which were most likely on loose leaves of paper. Subsequently, the Registers are not made at the time of the performance of the Church-office. They generally appear to be entered monthly; but sometimes the transcript seems to have been made at longer intervals. The signature of the churchwardens of the year is then affixed to each page as a testimonial of its accuracy.
The following List is transcribed verbatim from this Register Book. It includes all the entries which are important to the general reader.
1558 Septēber 15......
Jone Shakspere daughter to John Shakspere.
1573 [1573-4] March 11.. Richard sonne to Mr. John Shakspeer.
1580 May 3 ...
Edmund sonne to Mr. John Shakspere.
1583 May 26.
1584 [1584-5] February 2 Hamnet & Iudeth sonne & daughter to Willia
*** There are then entries of Ursula,
1607 Junii 5...........................
1588; Humphrey, 1590; Philippus, 1591;-children of John Shakspere (not Mr.).
John Hall gentlemā & Susanna Shaxspere.
1563 April 30....
1616 April 25
Margareta filia Johannis Shakspere.
Will: Shakspere, Gent.
Mrs. Susanna Hall, Widow.
It appears by the Register of Burials that Dr. Hall, one of the sons-in-law of William Shakspere, was buried on the 26th November, 1635. He is described in the entry as Medicus peritissimus." The Register contains no entry of the burial of Thomas Quiney. Elizabeth, the daughter of John and Susanna Hall, was baptized February 21, 1607 [1607-8]; and she is mentioned in her illustrious grandfather's will. The children of Judith, who was only married two months before the death of her father, appear to have been three sons, all of whom died before their mother.
NOTE ON THE ALLEGED POVERTY OF JOHN SHAKSPERE.
THE following are the principal documents upon which Malone's argument is established :—
Mr. Plymley, vs.
Mr. Shaxpeare, iijs. ivd.
John Walker, ijs. vid.
Robert Bratt, nothinge in this place.
Thomas Brogden, ijs. vid.
William Brace, ijs.
Anthony Tanner, ijs. vid.
Sum, vili. xiiijd.
The inhabitants of every ward are taxed at this hall,* as by notes to them delivered yt may appear."
2. “Ad aulam ibm tent. xixo. die Novembris ao regni dnæ Elizabeth, &c., xxio.
Itm. yt is ordeined that every alderman shall paye weekely towards the releif of the poore iiijd., saving John Shaxpeare and Robert Bratt, who shall not be taxed to pay anythinge. Mr. Lewes and Mr. Plimley are taxed to pay weekely, eyther of them iijd.,† and every burgesses are taxed weekeley at ijd. apece."
3. "Stratford Curia dnæ Reginæ ibm tent. xiii. die Januarii, anno regni, &c., vicesimo oc
Ad hunc diem Servien. ad Clavam burgi predict. retorn. pr. de distr. eis direct. versus Johem Shackspere ad sect. Johis Browne, qd predict. Johes Shackspere nihil habet unde distr. potest. Ideo fiat Ca. versus Johem Shackspere ad sect. Johis Browne, si petatur."
4. "Debtes which are owing unto me, Roger Sadler.
Imprimis, of Mr. John Combes, the elder, for a horse, 31.
Item, of the same J. C., due to me by bond at Christmas next, 201.
Item, of Richard Hathaway, alias Gardyner, of Shottery, 61. 8s. 4d.
Item, of Edmond Lambart, and Cornishe, for the debt of Mr. John Shacksper, 5."
* Malone has omitted, at this hall.
+ Malone here inserts, apece.
Here Malone has inserted, levari.
NOTE ON THE SCHOOL LIFE OF WILLIAM SHAKSPERE.
We have already referred to the two novelets of Tieck, in which he sketches out the early career of the poet. The following extract may be interesting to our readers. It is scarcely necessary to say that we do not take the same view as the German critic-that we do not think the school-progress of William Shakspere was slow; that he suffered from the strict temper of his father, and was the witness of family misfortunes. The evidence of all the early writings of Shakspere goes far to prove that he had looked upon existence with an eye of untroubled cheerfulness. Never did any young poet possess his soul more undisturbed with fears of
"Poverty's unconquerable bar."
The narrative which we subjoin professes to be a relation by the poet himself to the Earl of Southampton. We give it from a translation which appeared some years ago in 'The Academic Chronicle,' a literary journal of considerable merit, but of short vitality
"It was in a season of religious and political commotion,' resumed the poet, that I myself was born. It happened, too, that at that very period there came to Warwickshire and the neighbouring counties a man of superior ability and learning, who in the course of his travels had gained over numerous converts to the Catholic Church,-William Allen, who was afterwards made a cardinal. Among other places he visited Stratford, and excited much disquiet both in that little town and in our family. He entirely worked himself into the affections of my uncle, my father's brother; and even my father himself was for some time wavering in doubt, and greatly troubled in mind. The latter, who was of a gloomy disposition, was always melancholy, and this agitation of religious opinions led him into many disputes both with his own relations and with his neighbours. Besides this, it was a matter of peril to hold any intercourse with foreign priests, while, at the same time, those who were either evil-disposed, or were zealous Protestants, caught at every suspicious report. My earliest impressions were of a gloomy cast; my mother alone, who made much of me, was of a cheerful temper. She was of a clever turn, and her memory was stored with many a tale of marvel and mystery which she was wont to relate to me. On the intelligence of the dreadful tragedy of St. Bartholomew's eve reaching England, many proselytes—at least those who had begun to lean towards the ancient faith-again changed their sentiments.
"My father, however, still continued dissatisfied with me, for my progress at school was exceedingly slow. Never shall I forget that free-school in the Guildhall, where I used to sit at the old worm-eaten oaken desk, poring over my task, till what sense and comprehension I had seemed ready to leave me, and I often feared that I should become quite stupid? Would not one be tempted to think such schools had been purposely contrived to terrify children altogether from study and learning, lest too much thinking should disturb society? This eternal going over the same thing, this useless repetition of what has already been learned, calculated only for such as are slow of comprehension, while no regard is had to him who is more apt in his studies, often drove me to distraction. Even this very repetition of what was already familiar to me prevented me from retaining it in my memory, and my disgust at this mode of teaching increased to such a degree, that I felt a horror of mind whenever I thought of this school and my instructors there.
"My poor father, whose business was altered materially for the worse, wished to have as soon as possible some assistance in the management of it and in keeping his accounts; nor was I by any means sorry that he took me away earlier than usual from school, and gave me a private teacher at home, while I was employed by him in his own affairs. It was natural that I should form acquaintances with lads of my own age, who would frequently take me along with them in their little excur
sions and rambles, or invite me to join their meetings. My father, however, who entertained very strict and singular notions of morality, accounted all such recreations sinful indulgence, nor could he easily be brought to consent that I should partake in them. In the family of the Hathaways I used to spend much of my time: the son was a brisk, lively fellow-a jolly boon-companion; and the daughter, Anne, who was my senior by some ten years,* treated me as if I had been her younger brother. Like many other persons in our town and its neighbourhood, the Hathaways showed me friendliness and kindness, but I perceived they considered me a lad fit for very little, and one who would never turn out to be anything extraordinary.'"
* An error. Anne Hathaway (Tieck calls her Johanne) died in 1623, aged 67. She was thus about seven years older than her husband.