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The Stratford Bust 

The Droeshout Engraving 

The Presentment of the Two Discrepant (hemispherric) 










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"Shakespeare" "Shake-Speare" "Shak- 
spere" "Shaksper." The name is spelled sev- 
eral ways. In this work I find it convenient 
to write the name Shakspere where I am writ- 
ing about authenticated matter of fact, in no 
way connected with Plays or Poems, and 
"Shakespeare" where I am speaking of the su- 
preme dramatist and poet of our modern 
world, whomsoever he was. 

The spelling of the name involves no as- 
sumption as to authorship. 

In quotations I follow the originals. 

I have employed the descriptive term 
"Stratfordian" merely to point out to those 
who hold that William Shakspere of Strat- 
ford, was the author of the Plays and Poems, 
without disparagement to any or all of those 
who hold such belief. 

I have also given some account of the con- 
spicuous events connected with the literary 
history of England, which took place in the 
Elizabethan age; and likewise considerable 
prominence to the resourceful and irrepress- 



ible personalities of Ben Jonson, Robert 
Greene and George Chapman, the three Eliz- 
abethan poets now most conspicuously in the 
midst of Shakespearean criticism, showing 
their traits of mind and personal phase. 

Personality is the only thing about William 
Shakspere of Stratford, which the researches 
of inquirers have not exhausted, as is shown 
by the discovery of new things about him 
which the inquirers are unearthing, but which 
his conventional biographers do not care to 
disclose unless the fresh views of things ac- 
cord with their bias or prejudice. 

You have never really known a man until 
you have seen all sides of him; in fact, the 
most engaging inquiry for the human race is 
the particular man. 

The writer has endeavored to perform his 
task with freedom from bias, both in the nar- 
rative and criticism, and does not hesitate to 
affirm that a detailed statement of the precise 
circumstances under which the "cursed- 
blessed" epitaph was chiseled on William 
Shakspere's tomb is essential in order to pre- 
sent the man as he is disclosed by the results 
of the long struggle, from the autumn of 1614 
to the winter of 1618, with the corporation of 


Stratford-on-Avon, over the enclosure of the 
common fields on the outskirts of the town. 

Nothing is included in the volume which 
cannot be readily traced by reference to the 
Miscellaneous Documents in the Archives of 
the Stratford Corporation, (Wheler Collec- 
tion Stratford-on-Avon), "Camden Society 
Papers." The new documentary information 
lately discovered among the Belvoir papers 
and in the Public Record Office, also the 
standard works on the drama and obvious 
sources in literature and history of the Eliza- 
bethan Age. 

It is possible that through inadvertency I 
have not marked all passages which are not 
original or new, by inverted commas. 

The present writer has endeavored to keep 
out of the old rutted pathway of conventional 
biography, based upon Spurious tradition, 
and has sought to blend interest with instruc- 
tion. And in giving to his account a fresh 
and pleasing arrangement. W. H. C. 

Los Angeles, California 



Prefatory Note -------- xiii 

I. Facts About Shakespeare and Their Significance - 3 


II. An Account of the True Personality of the Man 

William Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon, as 
Shown by the Recorded Facts of His Life - - 101 


III. Shake-speare Shakespeare The Literary Aspect - 179 


IV. Shakespeare the Master-Mind with Some Account 

of Several Elizabethan Authors - 241 

Ben Jonson and Shakespeare ------- 941 

Who Was Shake-Scene? (the object of Robert Greene's 

censure) ---------- 281 

"That Old Man Eloquent" (George Chapman) "A bet- 
ter spirit" 372 

INDEX 395 





ENGRAVING ----- Frontispiece 



DECEMBER, 1614 ------- 48a 




LET --------- I76a 

SHAKESPEARE IN UMBRA - * - - - - 1766 

TURE - - ----- 

BEN JONSON -------- 


AND BEN JONSON ----- 280a 


CENTURY - 2806 






"Pray thee, take care, that tak'st my book in 

To read it well, that is to understand." 

Ben Jonson 





E believe that if "the greatest genius of 
our world" were now living he would 
wish to be known as he was, so as to qualify for 
identification with the person who wrote the 
immortal "Plays." There is only one cele- 
brated man in history called Homer, about 
whom, in connection with his reputed literary 
work there is so little known, or concerning 
whom there is so great diversity of opinion 
among persons eminent in many walks of life. 
"Paint me as I am," said Oliver Cromwell, 
shaking Sir Peter Lely, the artist, roughly by 
the shoulder. "If you leave out the scars and 
wrinkles I will not pay you a shilling." And 
there on canvas in the Pitti Gallery it is, a 
present from the many-sided and wondrous 
Cromwell to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. 
The stern, rough face is marked with every 
scar, wart and seam with nature, civil strife 
or anxiety, public care or authority, had fea- 
tured in the king uncrowned. 


But have we adequate materials which 
show Shakespeare as he was? We cannot 
build a biography of the person who wrote 
the "Plays" without literary material. Hith- 
erto the antiquarians have failed to unearth 
facts which contribute to our understanding 
or appreciation of Shakespeare. The ma- 
terial in the Public Record Office and Munic- 
ipal Archives involve no assumption whatever 
as to authorship, except in so far as the ab- 
sence of literary facts tend to disprove the 
claim set up for the Stratford player. They 
are the primitive and authoritative docu- 
ments and may be always relied upon as an 
unbiased record of fact unmixed with the 
chaff of fiction, legend and spurious tradition. 

William Shakepere of Stratford is indeed 
an anomaly for there is no other person asso- 
ciated with literature whose biography is so 
completely devoid of authenticated literary 
facts ; whose activities, so far as known, if not 
mean are surely not creditable, to a man of 
letters. Partly from idolatry of the author of 
the "Plays" facts are omitted or distorted by 
the conventional biographers of Shake- 
speare, which in any way reflect on their 
idol, except where the advantage to the sub- 


ject of their memoir seems to outweigh the 

We have adequate material which shows 
Ben Jonson, Beaumont, Chapman, Spencer, 
Drayton and other Elizabethan poet as they 
were. And the immortal author of the "Plays" 
had the same opportunity but did not choose 
to make himself known as he was. 

Unfortunately for the biographers who had 
not enough material on which to build a biog- 
raphy of Shakespeare, the author of "Rich- 
ard II" was not discovered at the time of the 
Essex-Southampton Conspiracy. In 1601, on 
the afternoon of the day preceding the insur- 
rection, Sir Gilly Merrick, one of the conspir- 
ators, had procured to be played as an encour- 
agement to rebellion, the play of the deposing 
of "Richard the Second." The actor who 
provided the play was Augustine Phillips, a 
member of the Globe Theatre, the same per- 
son who bequeathed by his Will in 1605, "to 
my fellow William Shakespere a thirty shil- 
ling piece of gould." He was also one of 
twenty-three persons who, with William 
Shakespere of Stratford, was charged with ob- 
taining "heraldic honours by fradulent rep- 


It is abundantly evident that the "Age of 
Shakespeare" was the age of craft, of crime, 
of grief and judicial cruelties. The Court of 
High Commission, the Star Chamber and the 
Privy Council, were names of fear and terror. 
The simplest expression was liable to be re- 
garded as seditious and treasonable, subject- 
ing the writer before conviction, to imprison- 
ment and torture. 

In 1599, Sir John Heywood was impris- 
oned and threatened with torture for the dedi- 
cation to Essex of a history of the First Part 
of the Life and Reign of "King Henry IV," 
which contained an account of the deposition 
of "Richard II." Ben Jonson and Samuel 
Daniel were severely censured by authority 
for supposed expressions of sympathy with 
Essex, contained in "Sejanus" and "Philatas." 
Queen Elizabeth denounced the performance 
of the play "Richard II," as an "act of trea- 
son." The Queen's fears were well grounded 
for not long before the Essex rebellion, an 
edict (1570) was issued by a foreign potentate 
inciting her subjects to rebellion. When Peter 
Lombard, the Keeper of the Records in the 
Tower, was showing Her Majesty his rolls, on 
coming to the reign of "Richard II," the 


Queen suddenly exclaimed: "I am 'Richard 
II,' known ye not that?" She told Lombard 
how the tragedy "was played forty times in 
open streets and houses" at the time of the Es- 
sex insurrection. Loyalty was intentionally 
undermined and the assassination of the 
Queen was countenaced. If the fiery, pas- 
sionate daughter o f "the pontiff-king." 
(Henry VIII) "the untamed heifer" as the 
Puritans called her, had discovered the 
author of Richard II she would have laid 
him by the heels. For as things were in Tudor 
English days if the rebellion had gathered 
force, and Eseex lost control of his followers 
(the London mob), the Queen would in all 
probability have been deposed and murdered. 

The players were interrogated and it was 
proved that the performance of "Richard II" 
was by request. Nevertheless students of 
Elizabethan literature, when they take up 
Shakespearean criticism, find it difficult to un- 
derstand why the author of the play "Richard 
II" escaped punishment for committing an of- 
fense much more serious than any of the au- 
thor's literary contemporaries, and for which 
they were imprisoned. 

Nash declares that for a twelvemonth he 


published nothing for fear of (literary) cen- 
sure; he had been imprisoned and banished 
from London, the only place where a profes- 
sional writer could hope to keep soul and 
body together. "In 1599, when John Stubbs 
and the publisher, Page, brought out a pam- 
phlet against the French marriage they were 
condemned to have the right hand struck off, 
according to the barbaric Tudor practice, by 
a blow from a butcher's knife." 

No wonder with the dread of authority be- 
fore him, the author of "Richard II" should 
have remained in seclusion after his "report 
what toucheth the deposing of a king." 

But there is not a grain of fact which tends 
to prove that the principal person the au- 
thor, (whatever his name), of "Richard II" 
suffered for his rashness, or was made 
known to a distrustful government by the pro- 
fessional informers, called "State Deciphers" 
vampires gorged with perjury and sottish 
with crime. 

Yet at or before this time (1601), is the 
supposed date of twenty-three plays and three 
poems, which now issue under the name 
"Shakespeare." The list is inclusive of 
"Richard II" (1593). 


Before or during the year 1603, there was 
conferred upon the author of the immortal 
"Plays" (known or unknown), an unusual 
distinction, when the play "Hamlet" was 
acetd in the two Universities. We also know 
that "Volpone" received the same distinction 
by the grateful acknowledgment of the au- 
thor, Ben Jonson : "To the most noble and 
equal Sisters, the two famous Universities, for 
their love and acceptance shown to his po- 
em (play) in the presentation." Thus ac- 
knowledging the authorship of "Volpone" in 
the dedication of it and himself. 

Surely this would have been the time of 
the Stratford Player's life had he written 
"Hamlet," for the opportunity it gave him to 
show himself without jeopardy, as he was, 
and link his name and fame indissolubly as 
the author of the immortal work, with the two 
famous Universities. But most unfortunately 
for the biographers and critics, the author- 
poet's silence is prima facie evidence of con- 
cealed authorship. The fact of the matter is 
the pseudonymous author could not dedicate 
both "Hamlet" and himself without disclos- 
ing his identity. However, the manner of 
man he was cannot be discovered by an en- 


deavor to identify the author with any of his 
dramatic personages, although to the present 
writer the name "Shakespeare denotes those 
ageless and immortal "Plays" and almost 
nothing else. 

But we may pursue the examination of the 
particulars of the life of one William Shaks- 
pere of Stratford-on-Avon, for the reason 
that many persons still believe that these par- 
ticulars of the life of the Stratford Player 
were identical with the author of "Hamlet" 
and "King Lear," who in their opinion is still 
one of the great personalities of the past. 

Nevertheless there are many distinguished 
persons who question the claim set up for the 
Stratford Player to the personal authorship 
of the "Plays" and poems associated with his 
name, and who assert that critical acuteness 
and antiquarian research have ousted him 
from possession of the works called "Shake- 

As the Greeks of the olden times failed to 
establish the identity of the one Homer, au- 
thor of our "Iliad" and "Odyssy" (according 
to the traditional view), so the moderns are 
having no better success in establishing the 
identity of the one "Shakespeare" as author 


of the "Plays" and whether or not the poems 
and plays imputed to William Shakespeare 
were really written by a person of that name. 

The late Mr. Andrew Lang says, "I can- 
not believe that the actual author "Shake- 
speare" lived and died and left no trace of his 
existence except his share in the "Works" 
called "Shakespeare". But we know as in 
the case of "Junius" it did happen, and who 
Martin Mar, prelate, positively was has nev- 
er been ascertained. Nor is the mystery likely 
to be solved as to the authorship of the "Sibyl- 
line Oracles". However, we reserve what is 
to be said about pseudonymous authorship 
for another place, but it may be noted in pas- 
sing, that if a trace of the actual author of 
the Plays is ever found it will bear the literary 
mark or impress like the tracings of all lit- 
erary men of the time, instead of the litigious 
trace of the usurer. 

William Shakspere of Stratford has been 
traced, and it is this very tracing of him 
deed by deed now here, now there, his ac- 
tions and his ways, which prove the utter un- 
doing of his reputation as the author of the 
works called "Shakespeare". It is a very easy 
matter to trace him in his endeavor to sieze 


the common fields ; in his falseness and venal- 
ity in bribing the officers of Herald College to 
issue a grant to his father, but do the notices 
and particulars of the Stratford Player's 
match-making intermediations, litigious and 
common-field grabbing proclivity compli- 
ment the works called "Shakespeare", as the 
appurtenances of author-craft. 

By way of contrast, see how in Beaumont, 
Chapman, Drayton and Ben Jonson, individ- 
uality and work are linked together; supply- 
ing the consummation for their history is the 
complement of poetry and author-craft, while 
the converse instances in the history of the 
Stratford actor are the complement of stroll- 
ing player, money lender, speculator and the 
like. "To be told that he played a deception 
on a fellowplayer," the narration of which 
would sully these pages, or that he died of a 
drunken carousal, does not, says Hallam, "ex- 
actly inform us of the man who wrote 'Lear'." 

Emerson could not marry the Stratford 
player's life to "Shakespeare's Verse," for the 
actual facts of the Stratford Player's life add 
opprobrium to his character the comple- 
ment of what is called low activities. 

"Into the dark," says Mr. Lang, "go one 


and all, Shakespeare and the others." The 
strictest scrutiny, however, fails to disclose the 
truth of this statement. "Into the dark go one 
and all" that is taking Spencer, Fletcher, 
Drayton, Chapman, Beaumont, Ben Jonson 
and several others; for in the literary particu- 
lars of their lives they are most manifest. It 
is not the fewness in the number of notices, 
which must necessarily be small, that should 
awaken comment, so long as the notices are 
native and complemental to the character of 
literary men. 

The late Mr. Andrew Lang is a writer who 
was possessed of much more than miscellane- 
ous and general erudition, and not so amateur- 
ish in the matter of Elizabethan literary his- 
tory as he would have his readers believe. For 
we find him taking part in the scrimmage go- 
ing on in the camp of the Stratfordians cudg- 
eling professionally trained students of liter- 
ary history, like Sir Sidney Lee and Mr. 
Churton Collins of his own fellowship, on 
points concerning "quartos," "The First Fo- 
lio," and on "Shakespeare's" learning, al- 
though his thrashing over the old straw in 
connection with the illustrious "Verulam" 
seems inconsequential. 


It is fine sport, however, to witness the 
Stratfordians at odds among themselves, for 
their divarication is plainly specified in the 
use made of their knowledge, as professional- 
ly trained students of Elizabethan literature, 
in proving that the camp of the Stratfordians 
divided against itself can stand almost any 
amount of derisive laughter, on account of the 
divergences of opinion touching Shake- 
speare's learning. As as exemplification, Sir 
Sidney Lee holding the opinion that "Shake- 
speare" had no claim to rank as a classical 
scholar, Mr. Andrew Lang and J. M. Rob- 
ertson concurring. At the same time, that ir- 
respressible Stratfordian, Mr. Churton Col- 
lins, points out that the works of Shake- 
speare evince the ripest scholarship, and Pro- 
fessor Byness is of the opinion that he (Shake- 
speare) was a trained classical scholar. 
"Shakespeare's vocabulary," says Sidney La- 
nier, "is wonderfully large. It does not seem 
to have occurred to those who have thought 
him an unlearned man that whatever words 
he uses he must have read, for words are whol- 
ly artificial products and cannot come by in- 
tuition, no matter how divine may be our gen- 
ius." The late Dr. Furness says of Shake- 


speare, that he must have been an "omnivor- 
ous reader." 

The "Shakespeare" Plays, according to 
Walter Bagehot (1826-1877), "show not only 
a very powerful but also a very cultivated 

The upholders of the Stratfordian faith 
feel the pressure and force of the evidence in 
striving to off-set the obvious inference of il- 
literacy in the Stratford Player by harping on 
the inexact scholarship of the author of the 
"Plays." However, very many students of 
literary history assert that Shakespeare was 
abundantly lettered. 

We cannot resist a shaking of the sides with 
laughter in seeing the ardent J. M. Robertson 
pitted against the members of his own school 
(Stratfordians), "as cocks in a pit," over the 
proposition as to the legal knowledge shown 
in the Plays, and who, like the parson in 
"Hudibras," strives to "prove his doctrine 
orthodox by Apostolic (forensic) blows and 

Happy thought! Why are the Shake- 
speare classical scholars so irreconcilably at 
variance in opinions of Shakespeare's learn- 
ing if they are to be regarded as professional- 


ly trained students of literary history? How 
delighted we all would be if Shakespeare 
whomsoever the dramatist might be 
could have collaborated in "Eastward Hoe" 
with Chapman and Ben Jonson, and with 
them committed to a vile prison and been in 
danger of having his nostrils split, or at least 
his ears clipped, for this would have disclosed 
Shakespeare's identity. As one of the im- 
prisoned poets he would doubtless have writ- 
ten one or more of the Letters of Chapman 
and Jonson concerning "Eastward Hoe," seek- 
ing their release. George Chapman wrote to 
His Majesty, King James I, also two letters 
to the Lord Chamberlain. Ben Jonson wrote 
to the Earl of Pembroke, to the Countess of 
Rutland and the Earl of Salisbury. 

The supposed date of "Eastward Hoe" is 
1604, but the first quarto version of the play 
the only one which contains the passage in 
which the authors poke fun at the Scots ap- 
peared in 1605, and for which George Chap- 
man and Ben Jonson were cast into prison. 
Those years also contained the supposed date 
of "Othello," "Macbeth" and "Lear." 

However, there is no ground for belief that 
the author of the "Plays" (Shakespeare) al- 


ways a recluse from public notice would col- 
laborate, for the conditions of anonymity are 
irreconcilable with the certified authorship of 
Chapman, Marston and Ben Jonson in "East- 
ward Hoe." 

The author of the immortal "Works" hid 
his fame in silence, as if conspiring against an 
illustrious name and wondrous renown. 
"Shakespeare" is as impersonal and descrip- 
tive as is Homer, and as misty and mythical 
as is the name and personality of William 

When the claim to authorship is chal- 
lenged, as in the case of the Stratford Player, 
the smaller the number of notices non-literary 
the better for the one taken to be claimant. 
But instead we find the notices of William 
Shakspere, the Stratford Player, unconnected 
with literary work, superabundant; traits and 
actions not literary, by their excess and pre- 
dominance tend to prove the literary delusion 
associated with the Stratford actor's name, for 
we have practically no authenticated literary 
facts but are swamped with notices of him not 
associated with literary work, such as we find 
recorded by Shakespeare's biographers. 

Degrading as many of them are, instancing 


the new discoveries unearthed by the anti- 
quarians, they have placed the reflective Strat- 
fordians in a quandary. For as late as 1613, 
after all the immortal plays were written, 
when the Stratford actor (whom many read- 
ers still identify with The Great Unknown 
p 1 a y w r i g h t the pseudonymous "Shake- 
speare") was supposed to have returned to 
Stratford, instead a Mr. Shakspeare" is dis- 
covered at Belvoir Castle with Richard Bur- 
bage, his yoke-mate and fellow-worker in and 
about "My Lord's Impreso" or device. 

In 1905 was discovered the Earl of Rut- 
land's account book of household expenses in- 
curred at Belvoir Castle, for the year begin- 
ning August, 1612, and ending August, 1613. 
It had lain concealed for more than three cen- 
turies and contained an entry showing in the 
year 1613 "Mr. Shakespeare" was engaged 
with Richard Burbage to work at the Earl of 
Rutland's new device or emblem, and that 
each received a sum of forty-four shillings in 
payment of their services. 

Mrs. C. C. Stopes is unwilling to believe 
that the Stratford actor, who in her opinion 
was the author, was in 1613 engaged in work 
in no way related to literature, and with Dr. 


C. W. Wallace is struggling to relieve "Shake- 
speare of the mingling of petty business with 
the production of the noblest dramas of hu- 
man life ever written." 

Contrast "Mr. Shakspeare's" non-literary 
employment at Belvoir Castle, the seat of the 
Earl of Rutland, "about my Lord's 'Impreso,' 
with that of George Peek, poet and drama- 
tist, at Theobald, the seat of Lord Burleigh. 
"Peele was employed to compose certain 
speeches addressed to the Queen, for payment. 
Also when the Earl of Northumberland pre- 
sented him with a fee of three pounds for ad- 
dressing literary tributes." Is it not wonder- 
ful that the Shakespeare of the Plays, if 
well known to such men as the Earl of Essex, 
the Earl of Pembroke, the Earl of Rutland, 
persons of aristocratic birth, with a position in 
court circles as some Stratfordians assert 
(without proof), that he did not mention the 
name of any one of them, or the name of any 
poet or author of his time? 

William Shakspere of Stratford, we know 
left behind him no literary correspondence, 
his life history is non-literary; as an humble 
actor his acts, and all that he did histrionical- 
ly considered are compressed into scantiest 


record. There were three hundred and thir- 
ty-two contemporary poets, enumerating those 
only whose works were published. Of all 
these but five or six obscure writers refer to 
"Shakespeare" as a personality, more or less 
vaguely in the lifetime of the Stratford actor. 
All other reference is to the "Shakespeare 
Works," author unknown. 

While Shakspere of the stage was living, 
Ben Jonson maintained silence be it remem- 
bered, not so much as the least commentary 
upon him until he had lain for years in the 
grave. But when Ben died in 1637 he left in 
manuscript the statement that he "loved the 
man" (Shakspere). Why not say so while 
both are in the flesh if in the opinion of Ben 
Will was the author. 

However, Ben Jonson's panegyrics hyper- 
bolizing Shakespeare in prose and verse are 
to a great degree what the Stratfordians rely 

"Though merely writ at first for fill- 

To raise the volume's price a shill- 

The plain, unvarnished truth of the matter is 
the "Shakespeare" Plays were not thought 


wonderful in the time of Queen Elizabeth and 
King James I, and almost any perso'n in that 
age could have been set up as claimant and 
passed unchallenged, so little were dramatic 
productions regarded. Plays were referred 
to as "riff-raff" "lewd and lascivious plays." 

However, the Stratford actor was not seri- 
ously suspected during his lifetime of any 
authorship whatever, so far as anyone knows 
and can prove, but seemed always cherishing 
the lust of gain. All the conventional writers 
on the subject of Shakespeare have been put 
into a quandary or puzzling predicament, by 
the mean biographical facts and non-literary 
environment during the entire life of the re- 
puted author, disclosed by an unbiased view 
of his whole career. As an instance, when he 
as marriage-broker or intermediary, gave sup- 
port to an old wig-maker in bilking his ap- 
prentice; and when he, a pitiless money- 
lender and usurer, without any tenderness for 
his debtors, had the borrower sent to prison 
for a picayunish sum of money; and when he, 
with two other common field-land sharks, 
strove to dispossess the poor people of their 
rights in the tithe-paying land rights dear to 
many a poor widow and her fatherless chil- 


dren, struggling in their distress and need 
against the buffeting of a pitiless world. 

The reader's discernment perceives the for- 
midable difficulties in, the way of the "Strat- 
fordians," who believe the author of the 
"Plays" to be the young man who came hik- 
ing up from Stratford, who was thereafter a 
shareholding actor in a London Playhouse, 
and returned to Stratford in the very prime of 
manhood; who never claimed to be the author 
of the "Plays" or gave any directions for their 

The Shakespeare Plays owe their per- 
petuity chiefly to the student reader in the 
closet and not to the stage, where the Plays 
were mutilated and still bear the tracings of 
histrionic savagery, perpetrated before and af- 
ter the publication of the folio of 1623. 

For eight and twenty years within the pre- 
cincts of the Inner and Middle Temple, the 
name and writings of Shakespeare were un- 
known. "Whatever the cause," writes H. H. 
L. Bellot, The Inner and Middle Temple, p. 
196, "the fact remains that out of the twenty 
plays produced in our Hall from the acces- 
sion of Charles II to the flight of his brother 
(James II), not one can claim Shakespeare 


as its author. Beaumont and Fletcher are re- 
sponsible for six." "The Twin" dramatic 
stars were very distinctly marked in Jacobean 

What have the legal craftsmen of the Inns 
of Court found wanting in "Shakespeare?" 
He touches all there is within the scope of hu- 
man thought. 

"For his bounty there was no winter in't, an 
autumn 'twas that grew the more by reaping." 

Whatever the efficient cause the truth re- 
mains, that the members of this great legal 
University, successors to the illustrious Order 
of the Knights Templar, knew little of the 
Plays called "Shakespeare." And that little 
is made manifest by the discovery in 1828, 
among the Harlian manuscripts at the British 
Museum, of the diary of a student of the Inn. 

John Manningham, barrister-at-law and a 
cultured man, on the 2nd of February, 1602, 
writes: "At our feast we had a play called 
Twelve Nights, or What You Will.' This 
performance formed part of the revels which 
immediately followed the Christmas revels." 
There is contained in the diary or note book 
the sole anecdote of Shakespeare (Shakspere) 
known to have been recorded in the Stratford 


actor's liftime. But like all other authenti- 
cated notices of him it is non-literary. "How- 
ever, the 'Wine and Woman' story contained 
in the student's note book is very good evi- 
dence of reputation," writes Sir George G. 
Greenwood. About the authorship, Man- 
ningham says nothing, which proves that the 
Plays were not then conspicuously associated, 
if at all, with the Stratford actor's name. 

Among the fellow students of John Man- 
ningham was John Pym, the celebrated states- 
man and orator. "He is of a sweet behavior, 
a good spirit and a pleasing discourse," writes 
the diarist. Another fellow student, John 
Ford the playwright, was admitted a fellow 
of the Middle Temple in 1602; also the famed 
poet, Dr. John Donne, educated at both Uni- 
versities and at Lincoln's Inn; Francis Beau- 
mont, the eminent dramatist, was admitted to 
the law society on November 3, 1600, and 
might have been present also when 'Twelfth 
Night' was produced. Thomas Campion, 
masque writer, was educated at Gray's Inn; 
William Camden and William Dugdale, the 
great and learned antiquaries, were both mem- 
bers of Gray's Inn; Sir Philip Sidney was a 
member of Gray's Inn; so were John Hamp- 


den, Sir Francis Bacon and Thomas Middle- 
ton, playwright. Sir Walter Raleigh, who 
was admitted to membership of the Inn in 
1575 ; James Shirley, the poet and play maker, 
was a member of the Legal Inn. 

Is it not very extraordinary that in an age 
of great men and great deeds, and much epis- 
tolary correspondence, there is no mention of 
the actual author of the immortal Works, by 
way of commentation, exposition or observa- 
tion? While the Plays of Shakespeare 
were subjects for stage representation in the 
lifetime of the Stratford actor by illustrious 
men, no effort was made to illustrate the indi- 
vidual life by the eminent persons who may 
well have been present to witness the plays 
produced in this stately Hall of the honorable 
societies of the "Inns of Court," and where for 
many generations they lived and wrought in 
literature, law and history within the pre- 
cincts of this historic spot. 

Is it possible that the great advocate, John 
Seldon, Thomas Shackvill, Chancellor of Ox- 
ford, the indomitable Sir Walter Raleigh, 
Lord Chancellor Hatton, Sir Thomas Over- 
bury, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Edward Coke, 
Sir Francis Walsingham, or Henry Wriothes- 


ley, third Earl of Southampton, would not if 
they had witnessed the presentation of Shake- 
speare's Play as it left the author's hand un- 
abridged, glorified him and it? 

However, it is impossible not to recognize 
the fact that Shakespeare was above the ca- 
pacity of the playhouse loving, bear-baiting, 
beer guzzling, rough-and-tumble, fighting 
public of that day, of whom it was said "they 
will eat like wolves and fight like devils." All 
of which is to the meditative student, painful 
and disgusting. 

With the play-reader, however, Shake- 
speare is always at his best, for he gives his 
readers all the delight which the music of his 
words contained, and in his unaltered works 
convey all the poetry of it. Every kind of 
eloquence, ancient and modern, is present to 
our mind in the reading. 

But with the play-goer Shakespeare is at 
his very worst for there is so much in him 
which comes not within the sphere of acting 
but may come under the province of histrion- 
ical savigism, in the stage representation so 
pawed over, abbreviated and bemuddled by 
declamatory actors to please the general audi- 


The fact is they cut him then as they cut 
him now, by the omission of many of the most 
striking passages in the plays, but with this 
difference, that in the olden time they ex- 
punged the parts more frequently which alone 
will be treasured to the latest ages. Such as 
the Roman orations, Clarence's dream, Por- 
tia's beautiful tribute to the quality of mercy, 
and the many lines so richly jeweled by the 
poet's "vision and faculty divine." Proof of 
which is the omission in all acting editions of 
the great speech in "Hamlet," Act IV, Scene 
4, "the one especial speech," as Swinburne 
phrased it, "in which the personal genius of 
Shakespeare soars up to the very highest of its 
height, and strikes down to the very deepest 
of its depth." It was written, he says, not for 
"the stage but for the study." 

Shakespeare is very beautiful in the read- 
ing but no dramatist-actor would cast such 
pearls before the Tudor and Jacobin public 
playhouse swine. We infer this from the fact 
that no person in that age did set forth the 
majesty and loftiness of Shakespeare's 
thought. In fact, the "Shakespeare" Plays 
were above the intelligence of the frequenters 
of the public playhouse. No play was given 


as Shakespeare wrote it, but a good deal ab- 
breviated for stage production, and an 
abridged version made for the stage retains all 
the slang expressions and wanton interpola- 
tions of the actors, who delight in the non- 
sensical jargon of the punster. Much of this 
"sad stuff" was placed under the immortal 
author's nom de plume, "Shakespeare." 

Is it not strange that there should be extant 
the record of but two persons who ever wit- 
nessed a presentation of a probable Shake- 
speare Play? An astrologer, one Dr. Simon 
Forman, noticed three, namely: "The Win- 
ter's Tale" at the Globe Theatre, May 15th, 
1611, "Cymbeline" (time and place not given) 
and "Macbeth" at the Globe, April 20th, 
1610; and "Twelfth Night" noticed by John 
Manningham, a member of the Middle Tem- 
ple, February 2nd, 1602. The name "Shake- 
speare" is not contained in either of their note 
books in connection with plays or poems. 

Are we to infer that a well educated bar- 
rister-at-law, a member of the Inns of Court, 
would have been indifferent to its authorship 
had he known that the writer of this mirth- 
producing play, "Twelfth Night," was the 
author who speaks from the mouth of An- 


tony above the body of Caesar? Are we to 
understand that if the Roman play, "Julius 
Caesar" a play which contains those splen- 
did monuments of genius and eloquence, the 
speeches of Brutus and Antony had been 
presented on a stage at that time, or at any 
time in the Hall of this ancient legal univer- 
sity, that the benchers, barriers and students 
of these law societies, would not have given in 
their note books a more ample commentary? 

" You all do know this mantel : I re- 

The first time ever Caesar put it on 

'Twas on a summer's evening, in his 

That day he overcame the Nervii : 

Look! In this place ran Cassius' 
dagger through; 

See what a rent the envious Casca 

Through this the well-beloved Bru- 
tus stabbed, 

And as he plucked his cursed steel 

Mark how the blood of Caesar fol- 
lowed it." 

When reading these immortal lines Emer- 
son cast no beam on the "jovial actor and 
Sharer." He says, "other admirable men have 


led lives in some sort of keeping with their 
thought, but this man in wide contrast. I can- 
not marry this fact to his verse." 

Shakspere the Stratford man is not in har- 
many with "Shakespeare" the poet. The 
player's life was never reflected in the poet's 
works, as he led a life in wide contrast to the 
poet's thought. Identifying the Stratford 
player with the author of "Hamlet" is to give 
the poet a character made up of incongruities 
manifestly incompatible. It is the work that 
is immortal, the personality of the author is 
as mythical as is Homer. 


Our belief in the pseudonymity of the auth- 
or of the poems and plays called "Shakespear- 
ean" is strengthened by the absence of verse 
commemorative of concurrent events, such as 
the strivings of his boldest countrymen in the 
great Elizabethan age. There is from his pen 
neither word of cheer nor sympathy with the 
daring and suffering warriors and adventur- 
ers of that time, although his contemporaries 
versified eulogies to the heroes of those days 
for their stirring deeds. There is in the poems 
and plays no elegiac lay in memory of Eliza- 


beth "The glorious daughter of the illustri- 
ous Henry," as Robert Greene called her, "and 
that great queen of famous memory" is the 
more exalted praise of Oliver Cromwell. Nor 
is there one line of mourning verse at the 
death of Prince Henry, the noblest among the 
children of the king, by a writer who was al- 
ways a generous and consistent supporter of 
prerogative against the apprehension of free- 

This is another evidence of the secrecy 
maintained as to the authorship of the poems 
and plays. We cannot discover a single laud- 
atory poem or commendatory verse, or a linj 
of praise, of any publication or writer of his 

All this is in contrast with his contempor- 
aries whose personalities are identified with 
their literary work, and so liberal of commen- 
dation were they that they literally showered 
commendatory verses on literary works of 
merit, or those thought to have merit. Of 
these, thirty-five were bestowed on John 
Fletcher, a score or more on Beaumont, Chap- 
man and Ford, while Massinger received 

Ben Jonson's published works contain thir- 


ty-seven pieces of commendation. His Ro- 
man tragedy, "Sejanus, His Fall/' was ac- 
claimed by ten contemporary poets. In praise 
of his comedy "Volpone" there are seven 
poems. The versified compliments bestowed 
on him by his contemporaries embrace many 
of the most celebrated names antecedent to his 
death, which occurred in 1637. 

Early in 1638 a collection of some thirty 
elegies were published under the title of 
"Jonsonus Virbius" or u The Memory of Ben 
Jonson," in which nearly all the leading poets 
of the day except Milton, were represented. 
"How different," wrote Mr. J. A. Symonds, 
"was the case of Shakespeare." 

It must appear strange to the votaries of 
Shakespeare, who make the player one with 
the playwright, that Ben Jonson should have 
received so many crowns of mourning verse 
while for Shakspere of Stratford, the now re- 
puted author of "Hamlet," "Lear," and 
"Macbeth," there wailed no dirge. Not a sin- 
gle elegaic poem written of him in the year 
of his death, 1616. Already in that fatal year 
there had been mourning for Francis Beau- 
mont. Eight and forty days after the death of 
Francis Beaumont all that was mortal of Wil- 


liam Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon was 
buried in the chancel of his parish church, in 
which as part owner of the tithes, and conse 
quently one of the lay rectors, he had the right 
of interment. Over the spot where his body 
was laid there was placed a slab with the in- 
scription in an odd and strange mixture of 
small and capital letters, imprecating a curse 
on the man who should disturb his bones: 




Shakspere's Epitaph. 

At any rate the words contained in this epi- 
taph clearly identify Shakspere the player, 
but manifestly not in the manner of "Shake- 
speare" the playwright. For we know that 
had the author of "Hamlet" written his own 
epitaph it would have been as deathless as the 
one over the Countess of Pembroke : 
"Underneath this sable hearse 
Lies the subject of all verse; 
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother, 
Death ere thou has slain another 
Learned and fair and good as she, 
Time shall throw a dart at thee." 


There was not the least danger that the ac- 
tor's grave would be violated by the Puritans, 
for Dr. John Hall, Shakspere's son-in-law, 
was a Puritan. If he had had this warning 
epitaph cut on the tomb it would have been 
written in scholarly English. The doggerel 
lines, rude as they are, satisfied doubtless the 
widow and daughters as expressing a known 
wish of their "dear departed." Themselves 
ignorant they could not read the absurd and 
ignorant epitaph on his tomb, so their hearts 
were not saddened as they gazed upon an in- 
scription of barbaric rudeness. 

The tradition that William Shakspere of 
Stratford wrote his own epitaph and com- 
manded that it be engraved upon his tomb- 
stone stands undisputed, for the very good rea- 
son that his son-in-law, Dr. John Hall, a 
Christian gentleman and scholar, consented to 
the profanation of a sanctuary in having this 
mean, ignorant and disgusting epitaph chis- 
eled in the pavement of "that temple of silence 
and reconciliation." 

In the olden time the parochial authorities 
of Trinity Church had no rights which the 
wealthy tithe owner and lay rector, William 
Shakspere, was "bound to respect." 


In reading the four protective lines cut on 
the tomb, which contain a warning, a bless- 
ing and a curse, it is impossible to avoid see- 
ing that the maledictory words point at the ex- 
humationist of his own generation. Herein 
the Stratford actor manifests h i s usual 
shrewdness, for he had offended the good peo- 
ple of Stratford in an endeavor to rob them of 
their ancient rights in "the common fields." 
In striving to snatch bread from the children 
of the poor doubtless gave William Shakspere 
an opprobrious name among the towns-people 
of Stratford and he felt that his bones should 
have all the protection that a malediction 
could give. He was shrewd enough to pro- 
vide, as he imagined, for any contingency, 
hence he had his blessing for "the man that 
spares these stones" and a curse for "he who 
moves my bones." 

Who wrote Shakspere's epitaph? We don't 
know positively, but who should wish, or 
would dare, or be permitted to imprint upon 
Shakspere's tombstone a curse without his au- 
thority "Aye There's the Rub?" 

Mr. Holliwell-Phillipps tells us that these 
lines "according to an early tradition were se- 
lected by the poet himself for his epitaph." 


He adds that "there is another early but less 
probable statement that they were the poet's 
own composition." 

If this "mean and vulgar curse" had been 
traditionally handed down instead of having 
been cut in stone and laid upon Shakspere's 
grave it would have been rejected as spurious 
by the Stratfordolaters. But there the curse- 
inscribed stone rests and has apparently rested 
on Shakspere's grave for more than three hun- 
dred years. 

Seventy-eight years after Shakspcre's inter- 
ment, William Hall an Oxford graduate, in 
1694 stood beside the grave and after he had 
read the rude, absurd, and ignorant epitaph, 
wrote his Commentary contained in a letter 
to his friend, Edward Thwaites, preserved in 
the Bodleian Library. The letter has brought 
to light the significant fact concerning the 
depth of Shakspere's grave, "they have laid 
him full seventeen feet deep, deep enough to 
secure him." 

The execrative epitaph cut on his tomb is a 
criminating memorial of his attempt to gain 
possession of the Stratford Common lands. 

No wonder Shakspere and family were 
scared, for the years 1615-16 saw insurrection 


and pitched battles. The townsmen were 
struggling with the rioters to prevent the en- 
closure of the Corporation tithing-lands, 
while the riotous henchmen of the Combe 
Shakspere land-grabbing Combination were 
digging ditch-fences around the land they in- 
tended to enclose, in defiance of the public 
weal and "the law of the realm." Shakspere 
knew how extremely bitter had been his fel- 
low townsmen's state of mind, whom he had 
oflended during the two years' struggle, he 
was not "one of them," and of course loved 
by few. 

The people of his day were superstitious; 
the epitaph was to them the voice of the dead. 
Mr. Holliwell-Phillipps writes, "whatever 
opinion may be formed respecting the author- 
ship of the lines upon the stone there can 
scarcely be a reasonable doubt that they are a 
record of the poet's (actor's) own wishes." 
However, there is much that is inexplicable 
about Shakspere's interment. His name does 
not appear upon the grave-stone pointed out 
as his; there is no distinguishing inscription 
on it nothing in fact but those execrative 

The Countess de Chambrun writes "person- 


ally, I consider these lines (epitaph) almost 
as much an exemplification of their author s 
genius as more poetic works." When reading 
these sentences of the talented lady, I feel con- 
strained in Socratic phrase to address her 
thus: "Best of Women, pardon me for asking 
you to examine the miscellaneous documents 
extant among the Stratford archives where are 
disclosed the fact that these dreadful lines are 
not an exemplification of their author's gen- 
ius, but of their author's shrewdness in hav- 
ing his grave guarded by a malediction after 
having tried to rob his home town of its com- 
mon field rights. In Stratford's dusty rec- 
ords we may read about things done, deeds 
that fit into the known facts of the life of Wil- 
liam Shakspere of Stratford when and 
where was Poet's bones." 

"Spurned from hallowed ground 
Flung like base carrion to the hound." 
The Poets' tomb in every age are the object 
of veneration. 

How does this jibe with or exemplify, 

Shakspere's traditional reputation so-called 

for gentleness of spirit and good-will? With 

his sympathies and winning disposition? That 

it should have been found necessary to exert 


a protecting influence in the village where he 
was born and where he had lived all the time 
of his youth, where his children were born, 
where his father, mother and son were buried, 
and where after life's short eventide they bore 
him to that quiet resting-place in the chancel 
of his parish church. That there should have 
been so little respect shown, much less honor 
and reverence, to those bones that were Shak- 
spere's, if the immortalities were really writ- 
ten by the Stratford actor. 

Be the cause what it may, not one of the 
three hundred and thirty-two contemporary 
English poets sought shelter for his ashes un- 
der the aegis of malediction. 

If in pressing his claim the money lender 
elects to be a tormentor and a common-field 
vandal (1614-1616), his name will be exe- 
crated while living and a hateful memory 
when dead, so the curse-inscribed slab was 
placed over Shakspere's grave as a shield to 
protect his ashes from those who would not 
hesitate to invade the tomb of one whose mem- 
ory had become hateful to them. 

One thing is evidenced by the maledictory 
epitaph, that the one who wrote it was afraid 


the tomb might be vialoted by the removal of 
the bones. 

Who were they that would most likely in- 
vade Shakspere's tomb? Obviously the poor 
people who regarded the Stratford actor as a 
grasping usurer, a hard-hearted man who 
pressed poor debtors with all the rigor of the 
law, to enforce the payment of petty sums, the 
man who had shown himself supremely selfish 
in an attempt to enclose the Stratford common 
lands, the man who would be made a gentle- 
man by misrepresentation, fraud and false- 
hood. However, the awful malediction 
makes this fact known that the desecration of 
Shakspere's grave was thought more than 
probable, for he threatens his fellow-towns- 
men with a curse should they disturb his bones 
"you will be blest if you do not, but ac- 
cursed if you do." 

It seems an extraordinary anomaly to many 
persons, who believe that the Stratford actor 
was the author of the only instance of a poet 
or author having his grave guarded by a mal- 
ediction. "Lines which have in them," writes 
Washington Irving, "something extremely 

Go visit the sacred spots, "temples of silence 


and reconciliation," where lie or are com- 
memorated the poets in every land of song. 
Some there were who mingled too strenuously 
in the strifes of the day, like Dante and Mil- 
ton, who might have thought that their ene- 
mies would not let their bones rest in peace, 
but nowhere do we find their dreamless dust 
resting beneath a "stony register" imprecating 
a curse on the man who should molest his 

Away with all this nonsense about Puritans, 
clerks and sextons snatching Shakspere's bones 
out of his grave in the chancel and flinging 
them into the bone yard! Why then, was 
Shakspere haunted with the thought that the 
exhumationist w r ould disturb his bones? 

The reason why is disclosed in the "Cor- 
poration Records," "Green's Diary," "Wheler 
Collection Stratford-on-Avon." For here 
may be found in dusty records the facts which 
the biographers of Shakspere are striving to 
shun, in order to keep "Shakespeare" as they 
imagine, from going into the limbo of ex- 
ploded myths. 

As a matter of fact, if William Shakspere 
had died in the early months of the year 1614, 
before the great excitement and riot at Strat- 


ford, respecting an attempted enclosure of the 
neighboring common fields, the guardian lines 
would never have been cut on his tomb, for 
Shakspere could then have had no fear that 
his tomb would be disturbed. But in the aut- 
umn of the year Shakspere became implicated 
and disgracefully involved with Combe and 
Mainwaring in an attempt to enclose the com- 
mon fields, which belonged to the Corporation 
of Stratford. At the time of Shakspere's death 
the strife was extremely bitter. Thirty-four 
days before he closed his eyes, a petition was 
sent up by the Corporation of Stratford to the 
Lord Chief Justice, Sir Edward Coke, who 
was on the Warwickshire Assize and a cham- 
pion of popular rights, standing like a stone 
wall against the contumacious resistance 
which William Combe, William Shakspere 
and Arthur Mainwaring were offering to the 
authority of the Corporation. And in reply 
the Chief Justice declared from the bench at 
Warwick that no enclosure should be made 
within the parish of Stratford for it was 
against the law of the realm. 

This order was confirmed on the same cir- 
cuit two years afterwards. "By whose Char- 
ter of Incorporation (Edward VI), the Coun- 


cillors and the Bailiff, Francis Smyth Sr., say 
the common fields passed to the town for the 
benefit of the poor, wherein live above seven 
hundred poor which receive almes, whose cur- 
ses and clamours will be poured out to God 
against the enterprise of such a thing." 

Nevertheless, the three land cormorants, 
Combe, Shakespere and Mainwaring, were in 
no complying mood and they proceeded in 
defiance of their orders, to throw down the 
banks and to cut up the four hundred acres 
of corn land into pasture fields. 

The Stratford common fields, known as 
Stratford field, Bishopton field and Wilcombe 
field, contained altogether about 1600 acres; 
Wilcombe field contained about 400 acres. 

Against the threatened invasion of the land 
sharks the Corporation showed a splendid re- 
sistance. "The town councillors of Stratford 
were determined to preserve their inheritance, 
they would not have it said in future times 
they were the men who gave way to the un- 
doing of the town all three fires were not so 
great a loss to the town as the enclosure would 
be as an injury to the town charities and 

On December 23rd the Council drew up 


two letters to be delivered in London, one ad- 
dressed to Mainwaring, who resided in Lon- 
don and was represented in Stratford by one 
Replingham, and who like Combe and Shak- 
spere knew all about the state of high excite- 
ment and valiant commotion at Stratford; and 
the other to Shakspere, who resided in Strat- 
ford but was now in London part of the time. 
But instead of assuming a protective attitude 
toward the people Shakspere gave his fellow- 
townsmen a stout resistance. It is recorded of 
him that the latest moments of his life were 
dedicated to the pursuit of the nefarious 
scheme known as the enclosure of the Strat- 
ford common fields in defiance of the public 

In all that stands for the repression of pop- 
ular rights William Shakspere of Stratford 
showed himself to be as perverse as was his 
confederate, William Combe, the new Squire 
of Welcombe, who proclaimed his succession 
to his father's lands and his power as a petty 
magistrate by arbitrarily sending a person 
(one Hicox) to Warwick jail, and refused 
bail merely because he "did not behave him- 
self with such respect in his presence it seem- 
eth he looked for." 


The matter contained in the subject of the 
enclosure at Wilcombe set forth in the details 
of the hard struggle, is preserved in the Strat- 
ford Records, where it is represented in its 
proper color. 

Notwithstanding the dark ways and vain 
shuffling by conventional writers of "Shake- 
speare's" so-called "Lives," the true personal- 
ity of the Stratford man, Shakspere, is best 
shown by the recorded facts of his life more 
especially contained in the subject matter of 
the attempted enclosures at Wilcombe, 1614- 
1618 (Wheler Papers) Corporation Records. 

The Charter granted by Edward VI to the 
Corporation of Stratford-on-Avon settled on 
it the tithes for the support of the refounded 
school and almshouses. The year 1614 was 
as direful as any in the history of the old, 
thatched-roof town. For the third time in 
twenty years Stratford had been "greatly ruin- 
ated by fire." 

There died in July that year (1614), just 
about the time of the Great Fire July 9th 
John Combe, the usurious money-lender and 
notorious litigant, who for thirty years kept 
the local court of record busy with suits to re- 
cover small debts, who was Shakspere's espec- 


ial friend and to whom he left a legacy of five 

The passing of a usurious money-lender in 
"spacious time" when the law gave a gener- 
ous advantage to the creditor and its vile pris- 
on to the breadwinner of the poor man's fam- 
ily, was very good cause for rejoicing, for then 
life for the lowly became more nearly worth 
living, for there was one tormentor the less. 

Notwithstanding his litigious course John 
Combe, a confirmed bachelor, was probably 
the best member of a family of hard creditors. 
Two brothers, a sister, many nephews, nieces, 
cousins, uncles and aunts, were all bountifully 
remembered in his will. However, the peo- 
ple of Stratford derisively condemned his 
then un-Christian practice of lending at the 
rate of ten per cent, and his rigorism in the 
pursuit of defaulting debtors. 

"Here lyes ten in the hundred 
In the ground fast ramn'd, 
'Tis a hundred to ten 
But his soul is damn'd." 

(Camden's Remains 1614) 

But it was John Combe's testamentary be- 
quests which proved so trying to the souls of 
the good people of Stratford. His nephew, 


Thomas Combe, was his heir and residuary 
legatee and he succeeded to a large part of his 
uncle's vast property, and in connection with 
his rantankerous brother, William Combe, 
forthwith started enclosures at Welcombe. 
The fours years' struggle that followed was 
the bane of Stratford and the opprobrium of 
Warwickshire, from the autumn of 1614 until 
squelched by the Court's order in 1618. But 
before starting these nefarious schemes of en- 
closures, two months after their uncle's death 
they had their henchmen inquire who were 
most likely to be tempted (bribed). 

Thomas Greene drew up a list of the "An- 
cient freeholders" in Old Stratford and Wel- 
combe. Shakspere heads the list and was one 
of the chief holders of the tithes; his share was 
worth sixty pounds a year. Shakspere, pre- 
vious to the attempted enclosures at Wel- 
combe, had purchased of the elder Combes 
127 acres which joined the coveted common 
fields, and in approving of the scheme of en- 
closures and giving it a lift, Shakspere was 
like the farmer who asserted, "I ain't greedy 
'bout land, I only just want what j'ines mine." 

The Corporation, depending on the com- 
mon lands of Welcombe which were tithe 


producing, for the maintenance of its seven 
hundred poor who received alms, saw in this 
scheme (the threatened enclosure), a reduc- 
tion of tithes from which were endowed their 
school and almshouses. No wonder the inva- 
sion of popular rights was fervently resented 
by the Corporation. It would only be through 
the tithes that Shakspere might sustain loss as 
his interest in the tithes may be depreciated. 
So then, at the outset of the common land 
grabbing scheme, William Combe, through 
his "man Friday" one Replingham on Oc- 
tober 28, 1614, drafted "Articles" guarantee- 
ing Shakspere from prospective loss, and at 
Shakspere's suggestion the terms were to in- 
clude his cousin, Thomas Greene, Town 
Clerk, although not told at the time but sub- 
sequently he records in his Diary: 

9 Ja (1614) Mr. Replyngham 28 
October articled with Mr. Shak- 
spear I was put in by T Lucas. 

"The Miscellaneous Documents" and report 
of the Council meetings at the Town Hall 
give details of their actions (Wheler Papers 
at Stratford, 1806). 

Thomas Greene, Town Clerk, makes an en- 
try in his Diary on the 23rd December, 1614: 



"A (at the town) Hall Letters wryt- 
ten one to Mr. Maneryng annother 
to Mr. Shakspeare with about all the 
Companys hands to either. I also 
wryte of myself to my cosen Shak- 
speare the coppyes of all our oathes 
made then also a note of the incon- 
veniences wold grow by the Inclos- 

See insert page for the exact reproduction 
of the entry in Thomas Greene's Diary on the 
23rd December, 1614. ~h <f <* 

"The inconveniences" about which Greene 
wrote may be anything that disturbs comfort, 
impedes progress, giving trouble or entailing 
suffering. For enclosure would have caused 
decay of tillage, penury, depopulation and the 
subversion of homes. Both of the letters to 
Shakspere have disappeared, that to Main- 
waring has been preserved, for there is a con- 
temporary copy in Thomas Greene's hand- 
writing of the letter to Manwaring, doubtless 
the counterpart of that to Shakspere is extant 
among the Stratford archives. (Wheler Pa- 

Thomas Greene was appointed steward of 
the Court of Record, Stratford-on-Avon on 


September 7th, 1603. There was no town 
clerk then, the steward did the duties until 
the office of town clerk was created in 1610. 
He conducted the Addenbroke prosecution, 
1608-9, at which time he was living in Shak- 
spere's house New Palace. He was a Coun- 
cillor of Middle Temple and a solicitor in 
whose diary and correspondence we find allu- 
sions to his cousin Shakspere, but nothing in 
regard to Poets, Play-wrights, Poems o r 

In November (1614), Thomas Greene, 
Clerk of the Council, proceeded to London to 
present a petition to the Privy Council. With- 
in twenty-four hours of his arrival he called 
upon "Cosin Shakspeare" and writes in his 

"Jovis 17 Nov (1614) My Cosin 
Shakspeare comyng yesterday to 
town I went see him how he did He 
told me that they assured him they 
ment to enclose noe further then to 
Gospell Bushe and soe upp straight 
(leavyng out part of the Dyngles to 
the Field) to the Gate in Clapton 
hedge and take in Salisburyes piece 
and that they mean in Aprill to sur- 
vey the land and then to gyve satis- 


faction and not before and he and 
Mr. Hall say they think ther will be 
nothyng done at all." 

The entry shows that Shakspere had a talk 
about the enclosure with his son-in-law, Dr. 
Hall, and the upshot of the matter was that 
they had reached the conclusion that "ther 
will be nothyng done at all." 

Those who have read as many books as my- 
self, called A Life of "Shakespeare," will not 
be surprised to find this entry perverted by 
the garbler of quotations by means of the con- 
venient expedient of substituting "should" for 

And then as though it were the correct read- 
ing say that Shakespeare (Shakspere), "is tak- 
ing things easy." 

However, the Corporation had no such as- 
surance for they were not permitted by the 
Combe-Shakspere Camp "to take things easy" 
as the attempted design of enclosure not only 
incites public disturbance at home but stirs 
the nation. 

What a time for "taking things easy!" 
Eighty-five houses and many huts had of late 
been burned and were still smoldering. In 
the midst of extremest desolation hundreds of 


people in his native village were without shel- 
ter, depressed by the sickening sense of home- 
lessness and children's cries, pinched with 
want of food; fathers and mothers who had 
shared the sports of his childhood evoking the 
memories of home which years have no power 
to stifle. Surely their cry of distress and need 
should have been a check upon Shakspere's 
greediness, whether or not he was the poet and 

There is no reason to suppose that Shak- 
spere was much of the time in Stratford while 
its inhabitants were in a state of high excite- 
ment, although he is supposed to have severed 
all connection with the company at the Globe 
(Theatre). But it seems probable that Shak- 
spere, according to Dr. C. W. Wallace, retains 
his lodging at the wig-maker's, one Mount- 
joy, who lived at the corner of Silver and 
Mugwell Streets, London. Although living 
idly with the wig-maker in Silver Street "the 
region of money," Shakspere had little incli- 
nation to slip out of London and mingle with 
his tumultuous and riotous confederates. He 
is too prudent a man to do such a thing as 
that; he means to deprive the people of their 


rights in the common fields in such a way as 
to keep his own person in perfect safety. 

During the struggle a brave fearlessness 
distinguished the faithful town clerk, Thomas 
Greene, as a champion of popular rights who 
records in his Diary how the one who drew up 
the "Articls" tempted him: 

"On Wednesday being the llth day 
(January) At night Mr. Repling- 
ham supped with me and Mr. W. 
Barnes was to beare him company 
when he assured me before Mr. 
Barnes that I should be well dealt 
withall confessing former promesses 
by himself Mr. Manynyng and his 
agreement for me with my Cosen 

Mr. Mainwaring referred to, like Shak- 
spere, co-operated with Combe Brothers, and 
writes Halliwell-Phillips, "had been practi- 
cally bribed by some land arrangement at 
Welcombe." How about Shakspere? 

Inasmuch as the Aldermen in those letters 
to Mainwaring, which is doubtless a coun- 
terpart of the one to Shakspere under date De- 
cember 23, 1614, say: "We here that some 
land is conveyed to you in Welcombe and that 
you intend enclosure." 


Bribed or not Combe, Mainwaring and 
Shakspere "were acting in unison when re- 
strained by the Court's order against them." 
In such a juncture had Shakspere been a man 
of the people "one of them" it is certain 
the Corporation would never have addressed 
a letter of remonstrance to him on the subject 
of enclosures, for he would not have counte- 
nanced an attempted enclosure of the common 
fields; but instead should have brought an ac- 
tion on his own account against Combe broth- 
ers, not only for trespass but for the deprecia- 
tion of his profits as tithe-owner legally due 
him, for he had bought the 32-years lease of 
part of Stratford tithes, and also a suit against 
them in the Star Chamber for riots. But in- 
stead Shakspere showed a stubborn resistance 
in his opposition to his fellow-townsmen in 
their struggle to preserve their inheritance, 
and a determination to "feather his own nest" 
by making conditions with Mainwaring and 
Replingham (who were acting for Combe), 
which secured himself from all possible loss 
by approving of, and helping forward a 
scheme to fleece poor people of Stratford of 
their ancient common fields. 

Shakspere and Mainwaring it seems, were 


fighting the Corporation on a contingent fee, 
but Combe and his coterie having lost the case 
they got nothing for the land arrangements 
at Welcombe, if any were promised, were 
never fulfilled. But nevertheless, had it not 
been for their great wealth the four rapacious 
disturbers of the public tranquility, William 
and Thomas Combe, William Shakspere and 
Arthur Mainwaring, would have received in 
all probability a good sousing in the Avon 
for their attempt to strip the town of its rights 
in the common fields by starting an insurrec- 
tion, and a jail sentence to boot. 

In the time of Elizabeth the Great and 
James the little they had a summary and cruel 
way of dealing with poor men, and a pro- 
tracted and tender way of dealing with rich 
men. The bailiff, Francis Smyth, Senior, and 
the Counselors, in the letter on December 23, 
1614, to Mainwaring, which is say writers 
in no wise partial to heresy the counterpart 
of that to Shakspere. 

"We here that some land is conveyed to you 
in Welcombe and that you intend enclosure. 
We entreat you to call to mind the manifold 
great and often miseries the B rough hath sus- 
tained by casualties of fires fresh in memory 


and now of late one dying in the ashes of deso- 
lation" (and beseech you Mr. Mainwaring) 
"in your Christian meditation to bethink you 
that such inclosure will tend to the great dis- 
abling of performence of those good meanings 
of that godly King (Edward VI) to the ruyn 
of this brough wherein live above seven hun- 
dred poor which receive almes whose curses 
and clamours will be poured out to God 
against the enterprise of such a thing." (Whe- 
ler Papers). 

When the dreadful fire took place in 1614, 
Shakspere was fifty years of age, and his 
memory unfolded the succession of frightful 
fires, 1594-1598-1614, all within the short time 
of twenty years. His kinsman, Thomas 
Greene, Clerk to the Aldermen, amidst these 
distressful scenes of desolation wrote a private 
letter to "my Cosen Shakspere." The cold, 
raw wind w r ailed mournfully on that drear 
Christmas morning of 1614, when amid pres- 
ent gloom he kindled Shakspere's mind with 
the memories of a terrible past. How that for 
the third time the Corporation was forced to 
petition the Queen for the remission of taxes, 
the homeless people calling for shelter and 
food. And now the Corporation is asking to 


be relieved of the care of their seven hundred 
poor which received alms, and if the riotous 
Combe, Mainwaring and Shakspere are not 
restrained by order of Court the Corporation 
will be forced to petition the Queen for per- 
mission to collect for their poor in the neigh- 
boring towns and counties. For enclosures at 
Welcombe meant decay of tillage in the com- 
mon fields, a reduction of tithes from which 
were endowed their school and almshouses 
and repair of bridge. 

The year 1615 saw the storm of battle rise 
with pitiless fury. Just at that time the leader 
of the band of rioters, Mr. William Combe, 
had been made High Sheriff of the County, 
charged with the conservation of the peace 
and the execution of the mandates of the 
courts. But instead, the very officer commis- 
sioned by the Crown to prevent riots, was him- 
self engaged in a riot and had the audacity to 
question my Lord Chief Justice's authority. 
No wonder that in the petition of the 27th of 
March, 1615, the Corporation asked that the 
High Sheriff should be restrained. Thomas 
Greene says in his Diary on the 5th Decem- 
ber, that six of the company (himself among 
them) were to "go to Mr. Combe and present 


their loves and desire he would be pleased to 
forbeare the enclosing. They went on the 9th. 
Mr. Thomas Combe said 'they were all currs' 
and spoke of spitting one of the dogs." 

Thomas Greene writes "that on 7th Janu- 
ary William Combe had told Baylis that some 
of the better sort ment to go and throw down 
the ditches," (ditch fences), round the land 
Combe, Mainwaring and Shakspere attempt- 
ed to enclose, and added, "I would they 
durst in a threatening manner with very great 
passion and anger." Nevertheless, some of 
the corporation went themselves to prevent a 
breach of the peace and filled in the ditches. 
They were personally maltreated by the gang 
of rioters, Stephen Sly, a servile assistant 
among them, said that "if the best in Stratford 
were to go there to throw the ditch down he 
would bury his head at the bottom." William 
Combe said, "They were a company of fac- 
tious knaves they were puritan knaves and un- 
derlings in the colour and he will do them all 
the harm he can." However, while the battle 
raged the remainder of the ditches were being 
filled in by women and children. 

On the 12th of January (1614-15) Mr. 
Replingham, spokesman for Combe, Main- 


waring and Shakspere, came to the hall hop- 
ing to bring over the company to give consent 
to their wicked scheme, but the bailiff said he 
would never agree to their nefarious scheme 
as long as he lived. Then Mr. Replingham 
wanted him to bind some of the inhabitants 
over to good behaviour. Thomas Greene said 
he would not bind them for all his Clerk's 
fees. The sturdy honesty of the Town Clerk 
is here manifest. 

On the 25th of January Mr. Chandler and 
Mr. Daniel Baker went to London for the 
Corporation to take an attorney's opinion as 
to legal action, and on the 24th of February 
they took Chief Justice Coke's opinion. On 
the 22nd of March Mr. Chandler, for the 
Corporation, did present a petition to the Lord 
Chief Justice at Coventry and William 
Combe, leader of these disturbers of the pub- 
lic peace, called him (Chandler) a knave and 
a liar to his face. 

The Lord Chief Justice bade Chandler re- 
mind him of the case when he came to War- 
wick on the 27th (1615). When reminded by 
Chandler, and in reply to a petition from the 
Town Council on March 27, 1615, the Chief 
Justice, Sir Edward Coke, declared from the 


bench at Warwick that the enclosures set at de- 
fiance the law of the realm: "that noe enclos- 
ure shall be made within the parish of Strat- 
ford for that yt is agynst the Lawes of the 
Realme neither by Mr. Combes nor any 

On the 12th April Mr. Alderman Parsons 
reported that he had been beaten by Mr. 
Combe's men and the tenants complained that 
they had been railed at by Mr. Combe for 
plowing on their own land within the intended 
enclosure. The Corporation told Mr. Combe 
that they desired his good-will but they would 
ever withstand the inclosure for, said they, 
"We are all sworn men for the good of the 
Borough and to preserve their inheritance 
therefor they would not have it said in future 
time they were the men which gave way to the 
undoing of the town and that all three fires 
were not so great a loss to the town as the en- 
closures would be." 

On 21 February, 1615-16, the Corporation 
agreed that the charges to preserve their in- 
heritance should be defrayed out of the reve- 
nue. The Corporation had been forced into 
great expense? They sent the Town Clerk, 
Thomas Greene, often to Warwick and to 


London and all because of William Combe 
and William Shakspere's rapacious greed and 
insatiate money-hunger. William Shakspere 
was the only one of the four persons conspicu- 
ously engaged in the struggle to wrongfully 
dispossess the Corporation of its rights in the 
common fields, in defiance of the Court's or- 
ders who was a native of Stratford-on-Avon. 
Mainwaring resided in London, the Combes 
came to Stratford from North Warwickshire. 

There were as many as thirty tithe owners, 
the largest, Richard 'Lane, having an interest 
worth eighty pounds to Shakepere's sixty 
pounds Shakspere having the next largest 
share. But unlike Shakspere, Lane was 
friendly to the cause of popular rights; this 
may be inferred inasmuch as the Corporation 
addressed no letter of remonstrance to him on 
the subject of enclosures. 

Thomas Greene, Town Clerk, says in his 
Diary that the "Company had written through 
him to Mr. Mainwaring and to Mr. Shak- 
spere." Unlike "my cousin Shakspere," the 
Town Clerk, Thomas Greene, took prompt 
and effective action in behalf of the townsmen 
who had reposed trust in him, in refusing to 
approve or help the land-grabbing scheme 


forward, "and <was much excepted to for his 

The exceptioners were the disturbers of the 
public peace, Combe, Mainwaring and Shak- 
spere, for they defied the law of the realm in 
their nefarious attempt to enclose the common 
fields "within the parish of Stratford." The 
faithful Town Clerk's "opposition" may ac- 
count for the fact that his lawyer cousin, 
Thomas Greene, was not remembered i n 
Shakspere's Will. 

It should be noted 'when Shakepere set 
about making his Will his kinsman, Thomas 
Greene, a well-informed lawyer who held the 
office of Town Clerk, and who acted as solic- 
itor and counselor for the Corporation, be- 
came Judge of the Stratford Court of Record 
and Clerk to the aldermen who had recently 
acted as his (Shakspere's) legal adviser in the 
matter of the Stratford enclosures at Wei- 
combe. Advice which Shakspere we know did 
not accept. He was manifestly wrathful and 
sought the services of Francis Collins who 
was practicing at Warwick, and was much in 
the esteem of the Combe family. Note the 
fact that Thomas Greene, who gave Shak- 
spere legal assistance in the Addenbroke and 



iarker suits was still residing in Stratford at 
the time of the making of Shakspere's Will, 
but his services were not sought in the draft- 
ing and he was not a legatee under Shak- 
spere's Will as was Francis Collins. 

Thomas Greene. 

Thomas Greene, Shakspere's lawyer cousin, 
was counselor at law of the Middle Temple, 
was admitted to that Inn on November 20, 
1595, and was called to the bar on October 29, 
1600, but did not quit Stratford till 1617, a 
year after his kinsman William Shakspere's 
death, when he became identified with Lon- 
don and attained considerable eminence at the 
metropolitan bar, becoming autumn reader of 


his Inn in 1621 and treasurer in 1629. (Mid- 
dle Temple Branch Book). 

We are not surprised that no mention was 
made in his will of his cousin Thomas Greene, 
who was still vigorously opposing Shakspere's 
attempt to enclose the common land of the 
town, at the very time the document was 
signed, March 25, 1616, by William Shak- 
spere of Stratford in the presence of five 

Nor is it a matter of surprise that Thomas 
Combe, hot from the field of strife at Wei 
combe, enraged at the resistance shown by the 
townsmen, was commemorated by Shakspere 
in his Will: "To Mr. Thomas Combe, my 
sword." With energy he was still pressing 
his own and Shakspere's pretended right to 
enclose the borough's common lands adjoin- 
ing the town. The Thomas Combe who was 
William Shakspere's especial friend and con- 
federate, the domineering adversary of the 
townsmen, who when asked by the aldermen 
and the Town Clerk "to for bear the enclos- 
ing", said "they were all curs" (cowardly 

What became of Shakspere's sword? Its 
legatee, Mr. Thomas Combe, directed his ex- 



ecutor by his Will, dated June 20, 1656, to 
convert all his personal property into money 
and to lay it out in the purchase of land. 

It has never been a matter of surprise to me 
that Thomas Combe, an old brother in arms, 
should have received Shakspere's trenchant 
blade, for it is not strange that Shakspere 
should not recall the history of trials, priva- 
tions, sacrifices and bloodless scenes, through 
which he knew Thomas Combe, the younger 
nephew of his old friend John Combe, the no- 
torious usurer and litigant, had passed at Wei- 

There was still room for the execution of 
heroic deeds for there was hope that the wo- 
men and children, who were then busy with 
shovel and hoe filling in the ditches, might be 
made to falter and blench, while they on the 
contrary, quailed not but laughed at the shak- 
ing of Shakspere's sheeny sword. 

However, Thomas Combe's Will shows 
that the legatee, forty years after his benefi- 
cent friend's death did not highly regard 
Shakspere's bequest. Why? Surely no con- 
firmation here of the identification of the 
Stratford man's non-literary personality with 
the supreme poet of our modern world. 


William Shakspere bequeathed sums of 
money wherewith to buy memorial rings for 
four townsmen and three "fellows" or play- 
ers, but did not extend his testamentary 
benefactions to his wife's relations, the 
Hathaways. The slightness of his regard 
for his wife's family is marked by his con- 
temptible remembrance a paltry legacy to 
her by an interlineation of his second-best 
bed, with the furniture. No Will except 
Shakspere's is known in which a bed forms 
the wife's sole bequest. He had also barred 
her dower under the terms of the Will, he 
had excluded her from the enjoyment of 
ownership after his death of her home. 

Although Shakspere scattered pieces of 
money pretty freely by his Will among his 
friends and acquaintances, only one ungen- 
erous bequest, the rich man's mite, the sum 
of ten pounds "unto the poor of Stratford." 
But not a single bequest to poet or play- 
maker under the Will. This fact taken in 
connection with many other pregnant facts 
in which more is implied than penned, speak 
negatively of Shakspere's association with 
the poets. 

Thomas Greene, Town Clerk, notes in his 



Diary, (September, 1615): "Mr. Shaks- 
peare telling J. Greene that I was not able 
to beare the enclosing of Welcombe." 

J. Greene was the Town Clerk's brother 
John, to whom were spoken the latest re- 
corded words which Shakspere gave expres- 
sion to in September, 1615, a little while be- 
fore he went down to the grave. 

There is a class of writers who read into 
this entry in Greene's Diary in, "I was not 
able" as, "he," to suit their predetermination 
to read Shakspere into the record as a cham- 
pion of popular rights. They read into 
Shakspere not the things he really did but 
the things they thought should fit into a 
poet's life, assuming the thing they vainly 
endeavored to prove. 

Why the September entry should have 
been chronicled at all, writes Halliwell- 
Phillips, is a mystery. We see nothing puz- 
zling or hard to understand in the last ob- 
servation September, 1615. The wording 
of the entry implies that Shakspere told John 
Greene that his brother, Thomas Greene, the 
writer of the Diary, was against the enclos- 
ures. Shakspere had learned of the Town 
Clerk's continued hostility to the nefarious 


scheme from Mr. Replingham, the agent of 
the combine, who could doubtless have been 
heard telling Shakespere, Mainwaring and 
the Combes parties to an association of four 
persons to commit an unlawful act, all 
about Thomas Greene's continued opposition 
to the scheme of enclosure and how he was 
schemingly tempted; how much excepted to 
for his opposition to the scheme of enclosure 
by the land vandals (1614-18) ; and how he 
spurned the price of corruption. 

Nevertheless, the Town Clerk could not 
be swerved the breadth of a hair from the 
line of his defense of the town. The alder- 
men had reposed trust in him, surely the Cor- 
poration must have been proud of their 
bribe-less Clerk, who notes in his Diary: 

a At Warwick Assisses in Lent 1615- 
1616 my Lord Justice willed him 
(W Combe) to sett his heart at rest 
he should neyther enclose nor lay 
down any earrable nor plow any an- 
cient greensward." 

Rowe, Shakspere's first biographer, who 
had not read the Miscellaneous Documents 
at Stratford-on-Avon, and, of course, knew 
very little about the subject of his memoir, 



observes that "His pleasurable Wit and 
Good-nature engaged him in the acquaint- 
ance and entitled him to the friendship of the 
Gentlemen of the neighborhood amongst 
them it is a story almost still remembered in 
that Country that he had a particular Inti- 
macy with a Mr. Combe, an Old Gentleman 
noted thereabouts for his Wealth and 

We learn from the Records at Stratford 
that Shakspere had a particular intimacy also 
with two of the old gentleman's nephews, 
William and Thomas Combe, disturbers of 
the local peace; who play the autocrat, who 
torment and bully the poor and who flatter 
and bribe the rich. The nature of which dis- 
closed by the entries in Greene's Diary and 
the Corporation Records: 

"7th April, 1615, being Goodfryday 
Mr. Barber comyng to Colledge to 
Mr. T. Combe about a debt he stood 
surety for Miss Quyny, W Combe 
willed his brother to shew Mr. Bar- 
ber noe favour and threatened him 
that he should be served upp to Lon- 
don within a fortnight (and so yt fell 


Mrs. Quinley failed to meet the obligation. 
Thomas Barber had become surety for the 
loan and asked for some time in order to meet 
the liability. Combe Brothers, however, 
would show Mr. Barber no favour but 
threatened to send him to jail. The cruel 
prosecution here noted by the Town Clerk 
crushed Mr. Barber's fortunes, his health was 
shattered and his wife was buried August 10, 
1615.. Broken-hearted he followed her to the 
grave five days later. 

On September Sth, Green's Diary shows 
that Shakspere sent for the executors of Mr. 
Barker (Barber), "to agree as ye said with 
them for Mr. Barber's interest." 

I fail to see in Shakspere's action a philan- 
thropic intent, "but instead a Speculator's in- 
tent," and not, as Sir Sidney Lee puts it, 
"benevolently desirous of relieving Barber's 
estate." But more especially to help his 
friend and militant associate, Thomas Combe, 
secure the repayment of the loan which he 
had made Mrs. Quiney and which Barber be- 
came surety for, expediting with the least pos- 
sible loss in time and money. 

Thomas Greene notes in his Diary, 
"Charges of Mr. Barber and Mr. Jeffrey in 


riding to London for search in the rolles for 
my Lord of Essex's patent." The Town 
Clerk's entry notes the fact that Thomas Bar- 
ber, who was described as a gentleman of 
Shattery and was thrice bailiff of Stratford, 
in 1578, 1586 and 1594, had done work of im- 
portance for the Corporation. 

The eminent and indefatigable Mrs. C. C. 
Stopes writes, "It had always been a matter 
of surprise to me that Thomas Greene, who 
mentioned the death of Mr. Barber, did not 
mention the death of Shakespeare." (Shaks- 
pere). It is a matter of surprise indeed, see- 
ing that his kinsman, Thomas Greene, had 
been his legal advisor for so many years, 
whether "cousin Shakspere" was or was not 
the poet in question. 

Is it not also a matter of surprise that 
Thomas Greene Shakspere's cousin never 
alludes to him as poet or dramatist. In fact, 
no one among his many Stratford friends, 
neighbors and relations ever did. The omis- 
sion of Shakspere's name in his son-in-law's 
(Dr. Hall) book of "Cures" is a matter of 
surprise. "This was the one great failure of 
his life," says Mrs. Stopes (Shakspere's Fam- 
ily p. 82). Dr. Hall never alludes to his 


wife's father as poet or dramatist. 

Mr. Stevenson's discovery of the Steward's 
book of the household expenses incurred at 
Belvoir, by Earl of Rutland, from Aug., 1612, 
to Aug., 1613, is also matter of surprise and 
disappointment to the scholarly Mrs. Stopes, 
because "Mr. Shakspeare" is discovered in a 
situation inconsistent with the activities of a 
poet, who instead of writing sublimest songs 
and immortal plays was engaged with Dick 
Burbage working at the Earl of Rutland's 
new device a mere triviality for a paltry 
sum of forty-four shillings. 

"It did not quite fit into the known facts 
of the poet's career," says Mrs. Stopes, when 
the fact is it fitted to a Tee into "the known 
facts" of the life of "him who sleeps by 
Avon." There is nothing puzzling in the en- 
try when read as written in the Account of 
Thomas Screven, the Earl of Rutland's clerk: 

"1613, Item 31 Mortii, to Mr. Shak- 
speare in gold about my Lord's im- 
press XLIII JS; to Richard Bur- 
bage for paynting and making yt in 

The practice of substituting "poet" for the 
name Shakspere of Stratford by the Strat- 


fordians in their writings when referring to 
the Stratford "Miscellaneous Documents," 
Greene's Diary, Wheler Papers, contained in 
the Stratford Archives, is as reprehensible 
as was the amplifications of Jordan and the 
fabrications of Steevens in a vain attempt to 
prove a Stratfordian authorship. No Strat- 
ford record contemporaneous with him con- 
tains a reference to Shakspere as a poet or 

When the Greeks of the olden time spoke 
of Homer they did not at all times call him 
by name. They said the poet. We might 
thus speak with as much assurance when the 
author of the immortal plays, "Shakespeare," 
and the author of the great Greek epics, 
"Homer" who are about equally shadowy 
and about equally pre-eminent are allowed 
to take rank under pseudonymous names. 

William Combe, the chief rioter, continued 
to live a long time. He died at Stratford on 
January 30, 1666-7, at the age of eighty, nearly 
fifty years after his defeat, and was buried in 
the Parish Church where his co-militant 
friend, William Shakspere, lies buried; where 
a monument commemorates him also, but not 
fearfully guarded by the calling down of 


curses. However, William Combe was for- 
tunate in the time of his death, half a century 
after he sued for pardon, but withal most 
fortunate in making money, which enabled 
him to keep out of prison on paying a fine of 
four pounds and the expense of restoring the 
lands to the condition in which they were in 
the summer of 1614. 

If William Combe was fortunate in the 
time of his death when his warfare with his 
neighbors was over, then his friend and con- 
federate, William Shakspere, was unfortunate 
in the time of his death in the midst of the 
struggle. It is true that Shakspere dying in 
1616, was spared the humiliation of a sum- 
mons to appear before the Privy Council for 
contumacy. On the other hand, Combe's fam- 
ily and friends were spared the necessity of 
having to chisel an opprobrious epitaph on 
the tomb to prevent distinterment. For had 
William Combe made his exit from this 
world when William Shakspere did in 1616, 
or at any time during the struggle from the 
autumn of 1614 to the beginning of 1619, in 
order to preserve his tomb from desecration, 
his family like the Shakspere family, would 
probably have inscribed on it a maledictory 


epitaph though not in the Stratford-Shakspere 
doggerel. For unlike the Shakspere family 
the Combe family was versed in scholastic 
learning. William Combe had entered the 
Middle Temple on October 17, 1602, though 
not called to the bar. 

Unlike William Combe, who journeyed all 
the length of life's long eventide, taking the 
last slow steps with staff and crutch, William 
Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon, when the 
end came had passed but a little way beyond 
the noon-time of life. Yet he had lived too 
long. Had he died in the early months of the 
year 1614, before the riot, the opprobrious 
doggerel epitaph would never have been cut 
on Shakspere's tomb. 

This was the life Shakspere chose to live 
when he strove to deprive the little thatched- 
roofed town were he was born, of rights 
reaching back beyond the memory of tradi- 

In the autumn of the year 1615, when the 
end was near at hand, Thomas Greene, 
Shakspere's attorney and kinsman, penned his 
last note in connection with the subject of en- 
closures. Shakspere then had but seven 
months to live before he saw the last of earth 


on April 23, 1616, a few months after the 
Lord Chief Justice, Sir Edward Coke, had 
reiterated his warning. 

The contemptuous expressions of the people 
may have been audible in the death chamber 
at New Place, since William Shakspere of 
Stratford chose to live in a way that gave of- 
fense to the poor of his native village, so that 
they manifested hatred towards him. We are 
warranted in believing that his remains were 
followed to the grave by some persons having 
a desire for revenge, and it must needs be that 
his bones should have all the protection that 
a mean and coarse epitaph in a superstitious 
age could give. 

So then, in order to preserve Shakspere's 
grave from desecration, the Church Wardens 
permitted the profanation of his parish church 
by a malediction. And for the same reason 
Shakspere's scholarly, Puritanical son-in-law, 
Dr. John Hall, permitted this rude, ignorant 
and boorish epitaph to be engraved on the 
tomb, said by certain persons of the "Strat- 
fordian faith" to have been written by Shaks- 
pere himself. 

Surely Shakspere could have no fear that 
his grave would be violated by the Puritans, 




or by clerks and sextons. But that this haunt- 
ing fear shown in his epitaph was imparted by 
the lowly dwellers in hovels, who although 
heavily burdened with poverty, show a con- 
stant determination to resist Shakspere's inva- 
sion of their rights. 

In Mr. M. R. B. Wheler's "History and 
Antiquities of Stratford, 1806," "The Strat- 
ford Corporation Records" and "Green's 
Diary," are contained the salient particulars 
of the life of William Shakspere of Stratford, 
which his biographers dare not relate or his 
votaries chisel on Shakspere's stone. How the 
months of that f atal* year was spent, how he 
and his confederates spared no effort to despoil 
the dwellers in huts where the ills of life upon 
the poor are heaviest, 

"A shattered roof a naked floor, 
A table a broken chair, 
And a wall so blank, their shadow 
- they thank 
For sometimes falling there." 


I call to remembrance my first introduction 
to "Shakespeare," in my earlier days "a long 
time gone." It seems but a little while ago 


when at a book-stall I exchanged a piece of 
money for a volume containing all the Plays 
usually published under the name "Shakes- 
peare." Beginning with Hamlet, I read 
the Plays for the first time and marveled at 
the wealth of literature contained in them, the 
author's singular mastery of general erudi- 
tion, prodigious intellect and transcendent in- 
telligence, and felt constrained to read the 
Life of the supreme poet of our modern world 
and learn the facts of his career recorded by 
his supposed biographers. These should 
clearly interpret his character to us and make 
Shakspere's life harmonize with "Shakes- 
peare's" Works, and in this manner establish 
the identity of the Stratford Player with the 
Playwright. So I began the search in the 
pages of his earliest narrator, Nicholas Rowe, 
who tells us out of the mouth of Thomas Bet- 
terton, the actor, all that he knew about 
Shakspere personally, in less than five thous- 
and words mere prattlement of no bio- 
graphic interest of a literary kind, unless the 
mean doggerels about a usurious person, one 
Combe, be regarded as such. 

The seventeenth century biographer, who 
was himself a dramatist and poet-laureate to 


Queen Anne says "I must owe a Particular 
Obligation to him (Betterton) for the most 
considerable part of the passages relating to 
his (Shakspere's) Life, which I have here 
transmitted to the Public, his veneration for 
the memory of Shakespear having engaged 
him to make a journey into Warwickshire on 
purpose to gather up what remains he could, 
of a Name for which he had so great a Value." 
In the latter years of Queen Anne, Thomas 
Betterton "is the chief glory of the stage." 

Now what were the gleanings gathered 
from the sheaves of the actor which places 
Rowe under "particular obligation"? Rowe, 
the mouthpiece of Betterton, told the after- 
date tattle of his day more than a century of 
years after date. That "He (Shakspere) 
had by a misfortune common enough to young 
fellows, fallen into ill company, and amongst 
them some that made a frequent practice of 
Deer-Stealing engaged him with them more 
than once in robbing a park that belonged to 
Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, near Strat- 

"For this he was prosecuted by that gentle- 
man, to that degree that he was obliged to 


leave his business and family in Warwick- 
shire and shelter himself in London." 

Notwithstanding young Shakspere seemed 
to be struggling with the meanest necessities 
of life, still I cannot agree with his first bio- 
grapher that Will was a game thief, or as 
Archdeacon Davies says, was "much given to 
all unluckiness in stealing venison and rab- 
bits, particularly from Sir Thomas Lucy, who 
had him oft whipped and sometimes im- 

Now is it a fact that getting into scrapes 
is common enough to young fellows like 
Shakspere that had been three years married, 
who was about twenty-one years old and the 
father of three children? However, the 
abandonment of wife and children should 
have been more bitter and grievous to him 
than the accusation of game thief. 

That the deer-stealing yarn has a solid basis 
of fact, or that it accords with attendant con- 
ditions, is I think groundless. 

However, we realize the seriousness in the 
position of one who finds himself the father 
of three children, the two youngest twin-born, 
he himself still a minor (under age), and des- 
titute of money. Withal, his father in danger 


of arrest for debt, no mistake whatever the 
cause. Will was in a desperate situation when 
he went hiking up to London shortly after the 
baptism of the twins. In connection with, and 
apart from Shakspere's improvident marriage, 
we gather from subsequent events the facts 
which clearly interpret his character to us; 
facts however, which do not embrace the deer- 
stealing story and which is now with many 
writers on the subject of Shakespeare an ad- 
junct of Shakespeare's biography, a settled be- 
lief with them which does not they say, ad- 
mit of a reasonable doubt. But does it make, 
or help to make an obscure and profane life, 
to harmonize with the immortal verse? The 
passage in "The Merry Wives of Windsor" 
was probably the source of the fiction instead 
of a reference to the fact. Getting into scrapes 
by robbing a deer park, an orchard, a melon- 
patch or hen-roost, does not furnish a motive 
strong enough to induce young Shakspere to 
forsake his wife and children, and all this un- 
der no severer penalty than three months' im- 

Most all the biographers of Shakspere con- 
done the game stealing of his younger days, 
but several of them fail to see anything that 


imparts a moral obliquity when Shakspere in 
his elder days strove to practice land-grabbing 
in the enclosures of the Common fields. 

U V 

'Tis bad enough in man or woman, 
To steal a goose from off a Common 


But surely he's without excuse 
Who steals the Common (field) 

from the goose." 

Sir George G. Greenwood however, tells us 
that "Deer were animals ferae naturae, and as 
such were not the subjects of larceny at the 
Common law. It was criminal to take them 
in a royal forest, but of that there is no ques- 
tion here. Further there were statutes which 
made it an offense to kill deer in a park im- 
paled." (See 5 Eliz. C. 21). We know that 
for many generations the students of Oxford 
had been the most notorious game-thieves in 
all Britain. Sir Philip Sydney's MAY LADY 
terms deer-stealing, "a pretty service," and 
B aeon says, "It is a sport proper to the no- 
bility and men of better rank, and it is to keep 
a difference between the gentry and the com- 

mon sort." 

The law of Shakspere's day (5 Eliz. C 21), 
punished deer-stealers with three months' im~ 


prisonment and a payment of thrice the 
amount of the damage done. 

About forty years after Rowe's first effort 
to illustrate Shakspere's individual life was 
given to the public in 1709, George Steevens, 
the game-cock of commentators, plunged into 
Shakespearean criticism and gave the public 
that digest of biography, his wee-little life of 
Shakspere, which was the second attempt, if 
so it may be called. Notwithstanding Steevens 
erudite accomplishments and antiquarian 
knowledge, he was not inquisitive in the mat- 
ter of Shakespeare's personal history, so the 
material for its composition (Shakspere 
memoir), was drawn from facts in the main 
recorded by Rowe, and it consists of the fol- 
lowing forty-five words: 

"All that is known with any degree of cer- 
tainty concerning Shakspere is that he was 
born at Stratford-on-Avon, married and had 
children, then went to London where he com- 
menced actor and wrote poems and plays, re- 
turned to Stratford, made his will, died and 
was buried." 

On the other hand later biographers require 
hulky bulky volumes to record their spurious 
traditions and idle conjectures. 


Steevens does not repeat the so-called poach- 
ing story, which is said to have occasioned 
Will's flight to London, or the satirizing tom- 
foolishness about a "Mr. Combe, an old gen- 
tleman noted for his wealth and usury"; nor 
is there any allusion to that old chestnut (the 
thousand pound tale) , which has become fishy ; 
no bolstering up the Southampton-Shakes- 
peare fellowship, although now a feature in 
all fanciful Shakespearean biography. 

But whenever this irrepressible literary "er- 
rant-knight" found the antiquaries and profes- 
sionally trained students of literary history 
priding themselves on unusual discernment or 
critical acumen he hoaxed them unmerci- 

And furthermore, it is creditable to 
Steevens that he strove to facilitate the atten- 
tion of Shakspere's biography by cutting out 
much of the guess-work and such stuff as the 
manufactured biographic legends, although 
his effort in this direction was offset in part by 
his own hoaxings. 

Rowe says: "The later part of his 
('Shakespeare's') life was spent as all men of 
sense will wish theirs may be, in ease, retire- 
ment and the conversation of his friends." 


Now the fact is Rowe knew nothing about the 
way the latter part of Shakespeare's life was 
spent and who his friends really were. How- 
ever, in recent years the antiquarians have got- 
ten in their work on the subject of Rowe's 
memoir by unearthing facts which show how 
"the latter part of Shakspere's (the Stratford 
actor's) life was spent" and who his associates 
were, and show the texture of character the 
stuff Shakspere's life was made of, and have 
made us see that the life he chose to live a 
man of letters would not care to live. Rowe 
did not know that two of Shakspere's friends 
were the brothers Combe, notorious disturbers 
of the public peace. And yet these were the 
very men with whom Shakspere in retirement 
held conversation, during the latter part of 
his life, which resulted in a combination to 
take possession of the Stratford Common 
Fields by trespassers and land-grabbers, called 
the "Vendals of 1615," composed of William 
Combe, William Shakspere and Arthur 
Mainwaring. This invasion of popular rights 
was resented. The struggle at Stratford 
waged and the townsmen were still in a riotous 
state of resistance at the time of Shakspere's 


When Rowe wrote "Some Account of the 
life of Mr. William Shakspere" in 1709, the 
Shakespeare deposition and attached signature 
"Willm Shaks," or Shak'p in the Public Rec- 
ord Office had not been the subject-matter of 
antiquarian research. No one prior to Pro- 
fessor Charles William Wallace' researches 
before 1904, "had ever examined them in the 
course of three centuries," which, according 
to Dr. Wallace bring to view. The family 
with whom Shakspere lived, one Mountjoy- 
Wigmaker, consisted of the head of the house, 
Christopher Mountjoy; Madame Mountjoy 
and their daughter, Mary; also Stephen Bel- 
lott and William Eaton, who were boarding 
there as apprentices to learn the trade of wig- 
making; also Joan Johnson, servant, who 
speaks of him as "one Mr. Shakespeare that 
lay in the house" (he had lodgings there). 

So then we are made acquainted with six 
more of Shakspere's friends in the latter part 
of his life, with whom Shakspere must have 
had almost daily conversation, for they were 
all living under the same roof with him when 
he dwelt there with a wig-maker in Silver 
Street, London, from 1598 to 1604, and had 


known the wig-maker and family about thir- 
teen years. 

Nevertheless in regard to the matter of au- 
thorship, Dr. Wallace struggles to satisfy a 
non-literary situation which his own re- 
searches had disclosed by conjecturing that 
here in these illiterate, rude and base sur- 
roundings the supreme poet wrote ten of his 
deathless Plays, including "Hamlet," "Julius 
Caesar," "As You Like It," "Macbeth" and 
"Othello," etc. A mere supposition that has 
no basis in recorded fact. This is another of 
the many baits cast to lure the reader. 

The partisans of the Stratfordian faith 
manifest an irrepressible desire to represent 
Shakspere as a champion of popular rights, 
but the evidences show that Shakspere in the 
latter part of his life was dead set against the 
popular side and during the last months of his 
life set at defiance the rights of the people. 

Shakspere's federation with Combe and 
Mainwaring in the land-grabbing scheme, the 
inclosure of Stratford Common-fields, was due 
to his avidity for wealth, to an intense money- 
hunger and not to aristocratic pretensions. 
This is shown by his long sojourn with the 
wig-maker, whose house and shop were under 


one roof. However, Shakspere was not like 
Combe, arogant in temper; nevertheless we 
are pretty certain of one thing that William 
Shakspere's (of Stratford) personal history 
cannot be brought within the scope of literary 

Why press the pursuit further when all 
their researches have failed to unearth the 
grains of literary fact, when the caviling crit- 
ics seeks to mingle authenticated non-literary 
facts with the chaff of fiction. 

The two greatest names of all the forepast 
centuries, called Homer and Shakespeare, 
should be placed side by side inasmuch as the 
authorship of the immortal Plays and the au- 
thorship of the great Greek Epics, the "Iliad" 
and the "Odyssey" are about equally in doubt, 
and the great unknown authors about equally 
pre-eminent. Shelley in speaking of them 
says, "As a poet Homer must be acknowledged 
to excel 'Shakespeare,' in the truth, the har- 
mony, the sustained grandeur and the satisfy- 
ing completeness of his images." 

There is a school of critics who have a very 
convenient practice of writing biography to 
suit their whimsical impressions, and who read 
into Shakespeare manufactured tradition 


merely "for filling", or whatever else is grati- 
fying according to their desire; that is, it rep- 
resents William Shakspere of Stratford, not as 
he was but as they thought "Shakespeare" the 
immortal poet, should be, a practice inconsis- 
tent with rectitude. They are guilty of falsi- 
fying the subject of their biography. 

However, with a divided personality there 
is nothing to restrain, but in the opinion of 
very many critics the Stratford player and the 
immortal poet are under the same hood an 
undivided personality. 

We are enjoined by critics of Stratfordian 
faith to read the story of Shakespeare's life 
in Shakespeare's Works. Although the Plays 
have been interpolated by others, the alloy is 
considerable running through all Shakes- 
peare's Plays, so that the genuine fiber of the 
poet's life cannot be extracted. And supposing 
the Works contained the story of the poet's 
life it would be found incongruous to the ma- 
terial we know the Stratford player's life was 
made of. 

Nevertheless, some critics amuse themselves 
in seeking vainly to deduce the story of the 
poet ("Shakespeare") life from his Works, 
They give us the suppositions they themselves 


receive from specific sentences in the Plays un- 
til there are as many "Shakespeares" as there 
are commentators. 

"The life of Shakspere is a fine mystery and 
I tremble every day lest something should 
turn up." Charles Dickens. 

Since the great novelist journeyed on into 
the other life in 1870, the diligent antiquaries 
have turned up something that should jar him 
were he now living, and make all things Strat- 
fordian quaky. That matter I later refer to. 

Nevertheless, the critics and commentators 
read into "Shakespeare" their guesses fan- 
tastic tricks of the imagination. 

In no other biography but "Shakespeare" 
so-called, do we find writers indulging so often 
in reveries and guess-work, which unfortun- 
ately have seduced the historian and misled 
the reader, by their statement of them as 
proven facts. I hold in my hand a copy of the 
more recent of these books of fictitious bio- 
graphy called "A Life of William Shakes- 
peare. v: We are not surprised at anything in 
Shakespearian biography but we receive a 
sudden, violent shock from the historian of 
"A Short History of the English People" (p. 
431) when he jolts the reader, saying, "Rob- 


ert Greene speaks bitterly of him (Shakes- 
peare), under the name of "Shakescene." 
And that a fellow-playwright, Chettle, ans- 
wered Greene's attack on him in words of hon- 
est affection." Rather queer that a grave, and 
in the main reliable historian, should have 
been fooled by the Stratfordians into stating 
their worthless conjectures as proven facts. 

The critics and commentators having 
sneaked "Shakespeare's" name into the 
"Shakescene" passage, endeavor vainly to 
fool the reader. But as a matter of fact 
neither Greene nor Chettle ever named Shake- 
speare or any of his Plays. Nevertheless the 
Stratfordians are leading the reader to believe 
that Greene and Chettle in authenticated rec- 
ord make mention of "Shakespeare." 

Not perceiving the difference between proof 
and opinion, Sir Sidney Lee audaciously as- 
sumes the point he endeavors vainly to prove. 
It signifies little or nothing how the Stratford 
actor spelled his name, although as a matter 
of fact he never adopted the literary form 
"Shakespeare", but always spelled his name 
after the rustic fashion "Shakspere" or "Shaks- 
per." "The vulgar pronunciation," according 
to Mr. Malone and Mr. Garnett, says William 


Shakespeare or (Shakspere) of Stratford, was 
a rustic. Mr. Garnett, by the way, is thor- 
oughly orthodox. And now if a Stratford 
rustic is to be advanced as possessing this pro- 
digious intellect and mastery of general erudi- 
tion, which in five short years is to begin the 
authorship of Plays which belong to the su- 
preme rank of literature, there should be some 
indication of his activity on or before 1592, for 
he should by this time be cramming his life 
with the stuff which the life of a maker of 
plays is made of. Therefore in order to iden- 
tify the Stratford actor, William Shakspere 
with the pseudonymous author "Shakespeare," 
whose Plays were coming out anonymously, 
Green's Groatworth Shakes-scene letter is 
pressed into service in the hope that the Strat- 
ford actor (young Shakspere) may be divined 
as the author of the Poems and Plays. And 
furthermore no account of William Shakspere 
has ever been printed since Thomas Trywhitt's 
time (1730-85), of which the Groatworth 
Shake-scene allusion of Robert Greene is not a 
feature. That Shake-scene is meant for 
"Shakespeare", or if you like "Shakspere", is 
the contention of almost all who hold the 


opinion that William Shakspere of Stratford 
was the author of the Plays and Poems. 

That position I later contend against. The 
attribution was primarily the tentative conjec- 
ture of Thomas f werhitt but has now become 
the banner-cry of the Stratfordians. The 
bulk of all recent biography called "A Life 
of William Shakespeare", consists chiefly of 
by-gone guess-work stated conjecturally by old 
time writers. But when stated as proven fact, 
as is usually the case by modern biographers, 
is clearly a willful perversion of history, and 
in several instances disclose the biographers' 
falsification of ancient documents so as to give 
them a meaning unlike to that which they bore. 
A sample of arrogant Stratfordian audacity is 
the substitution of "he" for "I", when read into 
the diary of Thomas Green, clerk of the Strat- 
ford Corporation. 

That Shakespeare was the object and reci- 
pient of Robert Greene's censure (an aver- 
ment that has no foundation in fact, a mere as- 
sumption without proof). And Chettle's sup- 
posed allusion to "Shakespeare" is also mere 
guess work. For George Peele "was excellent 
in the quality he professes" and surely did pos- 
sess "facetious grace in writing." And there 


were also several other persons having actorial 
repute who wrote for the stage. 

It matters little at whom Greene aimed so 
long as "Shakespeare" was not the object of 
the aimer. However, the "only Shake-scene" 
allusion contained in Greene's letter written to 
three poets of his own fellowship, is an earn- 
est, heartfelt dissuasive from the practice of 
making Plays, which many writers who hold 
the Stratfordian faith regard as "A pruning 
attack on Shakespeare," and forthwith attack 
Greene by foul aspersions, extremely bitter in 
tone, bespattering his memory with abuse. 

This it seems to me is setting a high value 
on mere guess-work. But then we should keep 
in mind that the Stratfordians are in desperate 
straits. At the time Greene wrote his cele- 
brated letter the Plays were anonymous, not 
one of the Shakespeare Plays of the period are 
of certified authorship. No poem was pub- 
lished under the name of "Shakespeare" or un- 
der any similar name till 1593; no Play till 
1598; no edition of the Sonnets till 1609. 

The votaries of "Shakespeare" posing as his 
biographers, in the urgency of their desire to 
remove doubts which had existed respecting 
Shakspere's early London career, prior to the 


year 1592, crave some notation of literary ac- 
tivity in the young man who went up from 
Stratford to London in 1587 (probably). As 
the immortal Plays were coming out anony- 
mously and surreptitiously there is a very 
strong desire to appropriate "the only Shake- 
scene" (dance-scene) reference. For in the 
similarity and sound of the compound word 
"Shake-scene," consisting of two monosyllabic 
words joined so as to be one word, in one of 
its elements there is that which fits it to re- 
ceive a Shakespearean connotation, thus catch- 
ing the popular fancy of the critics and aca- 
demic commentator. The use of the compound 
word "Shake-rags" by William Kemp, the 
great comic actor and jig-dancer, which he 
used derisively and as tauntingly as Greene 
had used "Shake-scene." The first syllable in 
the compound word "Shake-scene" and 
"Shake-rags" is as a term of reproach about 
equally derisive. 

Not all Stratfordians hold with Sir Sidney 
Lee that the allusion to "Shake-scene" in 
Greene's Groatworth of wit is meant for 
"Shakespeare". Professor Churton Collins 
says, "it is at least doubtful whether this sup- 
posed allusion to Shakespeare has any refer- 


ence to him at all". However, the coupling 
of the only "Shake-scene" allusion in Greene's 
"Groatsworth of Wit" with the "facetious 
grace in writing" intimation in Chittle Preface 
to the "Kind-Hart's Dreame" is still the idle 
fancy of some critics. Here again there are 
divergencies of opinion among themselves. 
All writers who hold the "Stratfordian faith" 
do not hold that the person reported to have 
"facetious grace in writing" can be identified 
with Shakespeare." The distinguished Strat- 
fordian critics who maintain that the identifi- 
cation is impossible are Mr. Castle, K. C., Mr. 
E. K. Chambers, Mr. Fleay, Mr. Howard 
Staunton, and Professor George Saintsbury 
writes, "Chettle's supposed apology is abso- 
lutely, and it would seem studiously anony- 

The gentle Andrew Lang not relying on 
Chittle's remarks relating to Greene's letter 
written to "divers play-makers," proceeds 
summarily to throw Chittle's apology so- 
called, to "Shakespeare," out through the back 
door into the appendix. 

However, the critics who are of the Strat- 
fordian faith manifest a strong desire to cut 
out certain recorded facts which the Stratford 


actor had put into his life of fifty-two years. 
And no wonder the brain of the plucky Mrs. 
Stopes reels when she struggles to identify 
"Mr. Shakespeare" with one John Shake- 
speare, bit-maker. She is balked at the do- 
ings of Belvoir Castle in 1613, which disclose 
the employment of a supposed great dramatist, 
an immortal poet ("Shakespeare"), when at 
the utmost height of his fame engaged with 
Dick Burbage, "about my Lord's impreso," a 
thing (device) of little value or consequence. 
Will and Dick each received the picayunish 
sum of forty-four shillings, an unlikely kind 
of activity to say the least, if Will was the au- 
thor of the immortal Plays. 

Sylvester, Selden, Beaumont (standing) 
Camden, Earl of Dorset, Fletcher, Sir Francis Bacon (seated) 





HPILL about the middle of the 19th century 
it was the current belief that it is as cer- 
tain as any truth of physical science, that the 
most intellectual of the human race was born 
at or near Stratford-on-Avon. Till then nc 
person is known to have said that the "War- 
wickshire provincial" could not have been the 
author of "Hamlet", "Lear" and "Othello". 
And notwithstanding all that has been written 
there is a feeling of unrest as to "Shakespeare" 
in the public mind. This restlessness is due in 
the main to antiquarian research resulting in 
an assemblage of things, such as the unearth- 
ing of non-literary facts in the Municipal 
Archives, which Mr. Hallowell Phillips has 
given in part in his "Outlines." The new, 
non-literary discoveries by Charles William 
Wallace, in the Public Record Office, also the 



brand new discoveries in 1905, among the 
Belvoir papers about trivial fancy work 

The absence of any reference to the Shakes- 
peare Plays by Sir Thomas Bodley, in a letter 
to the librarian of the Bodleian Library. Note 
the fact the founder of the Library is writing 
about plays, play-books and baggage-books 
when Shakespeare was at the meridian splen- 
dor of his fame (1600). The fact that the 
plays of Shakespeare were unnoticed by this 
eminent man of letters (Sir Thomas Bodley), 
is due probably, to their anonymity, and to 
what Professor Masson designates as the as- 
tonishing characterization of Shakespeare ex- 
pressed by the words "reticence", "non-con- 
cern" and "non-participation". 

Whomsoever, the great dramatist was 
"whose definition or use of a word, all the Dic- 
tionaries, all the Scholars in the world regard 
as final", could not have been a provincial rus- 
tic. However, we are again reminded of Dr. 
Ingleby saying that "the bard of our admira- 
tion was unknown to the men of that age". It 
was this saying that woke up my thoughts 
when reading again the Table Talk of John 
Selden (1584-1654), antiquarian, scholar and 


jurist, a contemporary of the world's very 
greatest poet should not he have left records 
>f him contained in his Table Talk, which was 
recorded and published by his amanuensis, 
Richard Milward, who lived with him for 
twenty years? 

When the Stratford actor, William Shaks- 
pere died in 1616, John Selden was 32 years 
of age. The Folio of 1623, the first collected 
edition of the "Shakspeare" Plays, gave Sel- 
den a fine opportunity of studying this prodi- 
gious intellect in his greatness, for when Sel- 
den died on the 30th of November, 1654, the 
Folio of 1623 had been in print thirty-one 
years. He had a very choice library of books, 
as well in M. S. as printed, but not a single 
one from Shakespeare, as the eight thousand 
volume gift to the Bodleian Library attest. He 
wrote in his books "Above all things Liberty". 
But this great man who was usually styled the 
great dictator of learning of the English na- 
tion, is silent about "Shakespeare" in his cele- 
brated Table Talk. There are a great variety 
of subjects discussed, including "Authors," 
"Books", "Philosophy", and under the head of 
poetry we read, "Ovid was not only a fine 
poet but as a man may speak, a great canon 


lawyer, as appears in his 'Fasti', where we 
have more of the festivals of the old Romans 
than anywhere else ; Tis pity the rest are lost". 

To the famous John Selden's legal mind 
it seems that Ovid was not only a fine poet but 
a great lawyer. It is to be regretted that the 
great scholar and jurist had never read in all 
probability the immortal Plays, and, of course 
could not deal with Shakespeare's legal attain- 
ments, if any such there were. 

The Table Talk of John Selden contains, 
according to Coleridge, "more weighty bul- 
lion sense" than he had ever found in the same 
number of pages of any uninspired writer". 
Selden not only bearded tyranny but he kept, 
says Aubry, a plentiful table and was never 
without learned company, frequently that of 
Jonson, Drayton, Chapman and Camden. 

Drayton's first edition of the "Poly-olbion" 
was enriched by the notes and illustrations of 
the poet's "learned friend", John Selden. Sel- 
den was introduced to King James I by Ben 
Jonson. Selden, with Camden, attended the 
banquet given by Ben after his and Chapman's 
release from prison. 

William Shakspere or Shaksper, the first 
son and third child of John Shakspere, is sup- 


posed to have been born at a place on the chief 
highway or road leading from London to Ire- 
land, where the road crosses the river Avon. 
This crossing was called Street-ford or Strat- 
ford. This at any rate was the place of his 
baptism in 1564, as is evidenced by the Parish 
register, where the name is writen Jonnis 
Shags per. 

The name was not made up of Shake and 
Speare, there is no E in the first syllable and 
no A in the last, according to the way the 
Stratford actor spelled his name, when he 
signs himself "Shakspere" there are no excep- 
tions in his autographs. Arranged in chrono- 
logical order, they are, (1) the abbreviated 
signature Shak'p to the deposition in the Bel- 
lott-Mountjoy suit, 11 May 1612. (2) Signa- 
ture to the purchase deed of a house in the 
Blackfriars, 10 March 1613. (3) Signature 
to the mortgage deed of same March, 1613, 
and the three autograph signatures severally 
written on three sheets of the Will, March 
25, 1616. 

The next proven fact is that of his marriage 
in 1582, when he was little more than eigh- 
teen years old. Before this event nothing is 
known in regard to him. 


John Shakspere, the father, apparently, of 
William Shakspere, is first discovered and de- 
scribed as a resident of Henley Street, Strat- 
ford, where our first glimpse is had of him in 
April, 1SS2. In that year he was fined the sum 
of twelve pence for violation of sanitary regu- 
lations. The number of petty suits for debt in 
which he was implicated, show a litigious dis- 
position. Nothing is known in regard to the 
place of his birth and nurture, nor in regard 
to his ancestry. John Shakspere seems to have 
been a chapman, trading in farm produce. 

In 1557 he married Mary Arden, the sev- 
enth and youngest daughter of Robert Ar- 
den, who had left to her fifty-three acres and 
a house called Asbies at Wilmcote. She also 
acquired an interest in two messuages at Smit- 
terfield. This step gave John Shakspere a 
reputation among his neighbors of having 
married an heiress, and he was not slow to take 
advantage of it. His official career com- 
menced at once by his election, in 1557, as an 
ale taster, "to see to the quality of bread and 
ale". He was amerced as a punishment the 
same year for not keeping his gutters clean. 

In 1568 he was elected High Bailiff of 
Stratford. John Shakspere was the only mem- 


:r of the Shakspere family that was honored 
r ith civic preferment and confidence, serving 
ic corporation for the ninth time in several 
functions. However, the time of his declina- 
tion was at hand, for in the autumn of 1577, 
'the wife's property at Asbies was mortgaged 
for forty pounds. The money subsequently 
tendered in repayment of the loan was refused 
until other sums due to the same creditor were 

John Shakspere was deprived of his alder- 
manship, September 6th, 1586, because he did 
not come to the hall when notified. On March 
29th, 1577, he produced a writ of habeas cor- 
pus which shows he had been in prison for 
debt. Notwithstanding his inability to write, 
he had more or less capacity for official busi- 
ness, but so managed his private affairs as to 
wreck his own and his wife's fortune. At the 
time of the habeas corpus matter, William 
Shakspere was thirteen years old. "In all 
probability", says his biographer, "the lad was 
removed from school, his father requiring his 
assistance". There was a grammar school in 
Stratford which was reconstructed on a pre- 
Reformation foundation by Edward VI. No 
Stratford record nor Stratford tradition says 


that Shakspere attended the Stratford gram- 
mar school. But had the waning fortune of 
his father made it possible, he might have been 
a student there from his seventh year the 
probable age of admission until his improvi- 
dent marriage when little more than eigh- 
teen years old. However, a provincial gram- 
mar school is a convenient place for the lad 
about whose activities we know nothing, and 
whose education is made to impinge on con- 
jecture and fanciful might-have-been. 

We are told that William Shakspere must 
have been sent to the grammar school at Strat- 
ford, as his parents and all the relatives were 
unlearned persons, and there was no other pub- 
lic education available ; nevertheless it was the 
practice of that age to teach the boy no more 
than his father knew. 

One thing is certain, that the scholastic 
awakening in the Shakspere family was of 
short duration, for it began and ended with 
William Shokspere, whose youngest daughter 
Judith, was as illiterate as were her grand- 
parents. She could not even write her name, 
although her father, the now putative author, 
at the time of her school age, had become 
wealthy. When Judith Shakspere was invited 



in December, 161 1, to be a subscribing witness 
to two instruments, in both instances her at- 
testation was executed with marks. Judith 
had then attained the age of twenty-six years, 
and his eldest daughter, "the little premature 
Susanna" as De Quincy calls her, could barely 
scrawl her name, being unable to identify her 
husband's (Dr. John Hall's) handwriting, 
which no one but an illiterate could mistake. 
Her contention with the army surgeon, Dr. 
James Cook, respecting her husband's manu- 
'scripts, is proof that William Shakspere was 
true to his antecedents by conferring illiteracy 
upon his daughters. 

William Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon 
was not exceptionally liberal and broad- 
minded in the matter of education in contrast 
with many of his contemporaries, notably 
Richard Mulcaster (1531-1611) who says that 
"the girl should be as well educated as her 

While the real author of the immortal plays 
had written, "There is no darkness but ignor- 
ance". "This house is as dark as ignorance, 
though ignorance were as dark as hell" 
(Twelfth Night) "seeing ignorance is the 
curse of God" (2 Henry VI) "O, thou monster 


ignorance, how deformed dost thou look". 
(Love's Labor Lost). 

William Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon 
we know, was born to ignorant parents, nur- 
tured in a bookless home which his unlettered 
father gave him from necessity, and not from 
choice. But why should the home of this 
wealthy son be as illiterate and as bookless as 
that which he had provided for his own chil- 
dren? "Dull unfeeling barren ignorance" 
(Richard II). 

Wealth had brought no change in the en- 
vironment of the Shaksperes of Stratford in 
the matter of education. However, it was not 
the least of John Shakspere's misfortunes that 
in November, 1582, his oldest son, William, 
added to his embarrassment by premature and 
forced marriage. It is the practice of Shaks- 
pere's biographers to pass hurriedly over this 
event in the young man's life, for there is noth- 
ing commendable in his marital relations. 
There is expressed in it, irregularity of con- 
duct and probable desertion on his part. Pres- 
sure was brought to bear on the young man 
by his wife's relations, and he was forced to 
marry the woman whom he had wronged. 
Who can believe that this marriage was a 


happy one, when the only written words con- 
tained in his will are not words expressive of 
connubial endearment such as "Dear wife" or 
"Sweet wife 1 ' but "My wife". He had for- 
gotten her, but, by an interlineation, in the 
final draft of his Will, she received his second 
best bed with its furniture. This was the sole 
bequest made to her. 

Mr. Charles Elton, Q. C., informs us 
through Sir Sidney Lee (p. 274) that "Shaks- 
pere barred the dower". We agree with Sir 
Sidney Lee "that the bar was for practical pur- 
poses, perpetual, and disposes of Mr. Halli- 
well-Phillipp's assertion that Shakespeare 
(Shakspere's) wife was entitled to dower from 
all his real estate". 

We are by no means sure of the identity of 
lis wife in the absence of any entry of the mar- 
riage. We do not know that she and Shaks- 
)ere ever went through the. actual ceremony, 
inless her identity is traceable through Anne 
Vhately, as a regular license was issued for 
he marriage of William Shakspere and Anne 
Vhately of Temple Grafton, November 27th, 
582, the day preceding that of William 
lhagspere and Anna Hathaway, according to 
he marriage bond of November 28th, 1582. 


Richard Hathaway of Shottery, the reputed 
father of Shakspere's wife, Anne, in his will 
dated September 1st, 1581, bequeathed his 
property to seven children, his daughters be- 
ing Catherine, Margaret and Agnes. No 
Anna was mentioned. The first published 
notice of the name of William Shakspere's 
(supposed) wife appears in Rowe's Life of 
Shakspere (1709) wherein it is stated that she 
"was the daughter of one Hathaway, said to 
have been a substantial yeoman in the neigh- 
borhood of Stratford." 

This was all that Thomas Betterton, the ac- 
tor, "Rowe's informant, could learn at the time 
of his visit to Stratford-on-Avon. The exact 
time of this visit is unknown, but it was prob- 
ably about the year 1690. This lack of knowl- 
edge in regard to the Hathaways shows that 
the locality of Anne Hathaway's residence or 
that of her parents was not known at Strat- 
ford. The house at Shottery, now known as 
Anne Hathaway's cottage, may have been the 
home of Anne Hathaway (supposed) w r ife of 
William Shakspere, before her marriage, but 
of this there is no proof. Shakspere was mar- 
ried under the name "Willm Shagsper" but 
the place of marriage is unknown as his place 


of residence is not mentioned in the bond. Al- 
though Shottery is in the parish of Stratford, 
no record of Shakspere's marriage to Anne or 
Agnes, the supposed daughter of Richard 
Hathaway has been found in the parish regis- 
ter. However, "in the registry of the bishop 
of the diocese (Worcester) in the Edgar 

Cower is contained a deed wherein Sandells 
id Richardson, husbandmen of Shottery, 
make themselves responsible in the sum of 
forty pounds on November 28th, 1582, to free 
the bishop of all liability should any lawful 
impediment by reason of any pre-contract 
or consanguinity be disclosed subsequently. 
"Provided that Anne obtained the consent of 
her friends the marriage might proceed with 
nee asking of the bannes of matrimony be- 
ween them". 

The wording of the bond shows that 
despite the fact that the bridegroom was a 
ninor by nearly three years", the consent of 
lis parents was neither called for nor obtained 
'though necessary for strictly legalized pro- 
:edure". The bondsmen, Sandells and Rich- 
irdson, representing the lady's family, ignored 
he bridegroom's family completely. In hav- 
ng received the deed they forced Shakspere 


to marry their friend's daughter in order to 
save her reputation, "having apparently done 
his best to desert her before his marriage." 
Soon afterwards within six months, a 
daughter was born. Moreover, the whole 
circumstances of the case render it highly 
probable that Shakspere had no present 
thought of marriage, for the waning fortune 
of his father made him acquainted with the 
"cares of bread". He was a penniless youth, 
not yet of age, having neither craftsmanship 
nor means of livlihood, and was forced by her 
friends into marrying her, a woman eight 
years older than himself. But bye and bye, he 
will have his revenge upon his wife's relations 
by not remembering any of them in his last 
will and testament. Even the mother of his 
children is forgotten "for Shakspere barred 
the dower". 

In 1585 she presented him with twins, when 
he left Stratford for London. We do not know 
positively, but the advent of the twins is the 
approximate date. of the young man's flight. 
He lived apart from his wife many years, ap- 
parently from the time he left Stratford (date 
not positively known) until probably 1596, the 
death year of his son, Hamnet. The breath 



of slander never touched the good name of 
Anne (or Agnes) the neglected wife of Wil- 
liam Shakspere. "There is prima facie evi- 
dence that the player wife fared in his absence 
no better than his father and mother", who, 
dying intestate in 1601 and 1608 respectively, 
were buried somewhere by the Stratford 
church, but there is no trace of any sepulchral 
monument or memorial. If anything of the 
kind had been set up by their wealthy son, 
William Shakspere, it would certainly have 
been found by some one. "The only contem- 
porary mention, writes Sir Sidney Lee, made 
of the wife of Shakspere between her marriage 
in 1582 and her husband's death in 1616, was 
as the borrower, at an unascertained date of 
forty shillings from Thomas Whittington, who 
had formerly been her father's shepherd. The 
money was unpaid when Whittington died in 
1601, and his executor was directed to recover 
the sum from Shakspere and distribute it 
among the poor of Stratford". As though in 
mockery of what might have been looked for 
in the wealthy husband. 

There is disclosed in this pecuniary transac- 
tion, coupled with the slight mention of her 
in the will, and the barring of the dower, 


prima facie evidence of William Shakspere's 
indifference to and neglect of, if not dislike 
for his wife. How often in the long years of 
her loneliness, there came to her in memory, 
the ill-boding words from the lips of "Suf- 
olk" (1 Henry VI). 

"For what is wedlock forced but 

a hell, 
An age of discord and continual 

Whereas that the contrary bringeth 

And is a pattern of celestial peace." 

All this is in striking contrast with the con- 
duct of Sir Thomas Lucy, whom the uphold- 
ers of the "Stratfordian faith" have attempted 
to disparage, and whose endearment for his 
wife is so feelingly expressed in the inscrip- 
tion on her tomb: 

"All the time of her lyfe a true 
and faithful servant of her good God, 
never detected of any crime or vice, 
in religion most sound, in love to her 
husband most faithfull and true. In 
friendship most constant To what in 
trust was committed to her most 
secret in wisdom excelling in gov- 
erning her house and bringing up 


youth in the fcare of God that did 
converse with her most rare and 
singular, a great maintainer of hos- 
pitality, greatly esteemed of her bet- 
ters, misliked of none unless the envi- 
ous. When all is spoken that can be 
said a woman so furnished and gar- 
nished with Virtue as not to be bet- 
tered and hardly to be equalled of 
any, as she lived most virtuously, so 
she dyed most godly. Set down by 
him that best did know what hath 
been written to be true". 


In order to shield Shakspere from the 
charge of having deserted his family, his biog- 
raphers find it convenient to set the young 
man to deer stealing so that he may make his 
flight to London in order to escape from the 
grasp of his reputed prosecutor, Sir Thomas 
Lucy, leaving wife and children a burden 
upon his poverty-stricken father. 

The probable source of the fiction is the 
supposed reference contained in "The Merry 
Wives of Windsor". The malicious libel was 
worked after the opening scene, a fictitious 
narrative of an event that never happened, 
and first made current about one hundred 


years after the death of William Shakspere of 

The fabricator of the story could not have 
been a native of Warwickshire for he would 
have known the arms borne by the Charlicote 
Lucys were three luces, and could not have 
been mistaken for the dozen white luces on 
Justice Shallows' ancient coat. It shows how 
Sir Thomas Lucy, a very sagacious and good 
man, may be calumniated by perverse mytho- 
mania. Still the Lucys of a later day were 
not anxious to lose the reputation of having 
spanked Shakspere for poaching on the an- 
cestral preserves. 

There is very little likelihood that the 
young husband, with a wife and three babies 
to support, would voluntarily place himself 
in a position where he would have to flee from 
Sir Thomas Lucy's prosecution, thereby bring- 
ing disgrace upon himself, his wife and chil- 
dren, while his parents in straightened circum- 
stances were struggling to keep the wolf from 
the door. Moreover, deer were not subject 
to the crime of larceny at the common law. 
There were statutes which made it an offense 
to kill deer in a park impaled. The records 
show that Sir Thomas Lucy had no park im- 



paled. The poaching yarn, having no histori- 
cal basis, was not traditionally preserved by 
the descendants of Sir Thomas Lucy. Unfor- 
tunately, all the traditions about Shakespeare 
or however you spell the name, are non-liter- 
ary and of a degrading character. 

It was in company with Richard Burbage 
and William Kempe that William Shakspere 
is first introduced to our notice as an actor. 
The treasurer's account shows that "Will 
Kemp, Will Shakspere, and Rich Burbage" 
received payment for two comedies played at 
Court on 26th and 28th December, 1594. 
They were all share-holding actors. But we 
do not known that all or either of them ap- 
peared before the Queen in person at any 
rate, a matter of no importance, because first, 
second and third-rate actors often played be- 
fore the Queen. 

The last reference made by the Burbages to 
Shakspere is contained in a memorial address 
to the Lord Chamberlain of his Majesty's 
household by Cuthbert Burbage, who gave an 
account of the building of the Globe Theatre, 

In this letter reference is made to William 
Shakspere. "To ourselves", he says, "we 
joined those deserving men, Shakspere, Hem- 


ings, Condall, Philips and others, partners in 
the profits of that they call the House" and he 
adds, "that when he and his brother Richard 
took possession of the Blackfriars Theatre in 
1609, they placed in it men players which 
were Heming, Candall, Shakspere, etc., as 
successors to the children of the Chapel". 

This is the way the now reputed author of 
the immortal plays is described by the Bur- 
bages, the principal owners of the theatre, to 
whom the manscripts must have been sub- 
mitted. They surely must have known all 
'about player Shakspere of Stratford-on- 
Avon for they were in daily intercourse with 
him, "a man-player, a deserving man". This 
is all that has come down to us concerning 
Shakspere's long association with the Bur- 
bages after twenty-five years of intimacy. 

This reference was made in 1635, nineteen 
years after player Shakspere's death (1616) 
and twelve years after the publication of the 
first folio edition of 1623. This then is Bur- 
bage's appraisement of this yoke-fellow, Will 
Shakspere. The fact is the Burbages hadn't 
any literary history of their "man-player and 
deserving man" to record, and were not per- 
sonally responsible for the literary delusion as- 


sociated with his name, although without an 
intention of mischief. But the tangibility of 
William Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon is 
very much in evidence along pecuniary lines, 
especially as money lender, land owner, specu- 
lator, and litigant. In 1597 he bought New 
Place in Stratford for sixty pounds. Also 
mentioned in a letter of Abraham Sturley a 
purposing to buy the Stratford tithes. The 
following entry is in Chamberlain's account 
at Stratford, 1598: "Paid to Mr. Shaxpere 
for one lode of stone Xd". 

In the same year, Richard Quiney writes 
to William Shakspere, a letter for a loan of 
thirty or forty pounds. This letter is the only 

>ne addressed to Shakspere which is known to 
t. In 1599 Shakspere acquires shares in 

rlobe Theatre. "In May, 1602, Shakspere 
bought one hundred and seven acres of arable 
land at Stratford for three hundred two 
pounds (in his absence the conveyance was 
given to his brother Gilbert) in the same year 
he bought a house with barns, orchards and 
gardens from Hercules Underbill for sixty 
pounds, also a cottage close to his house at 
New Place. 

In 1605 he bought the thirty-two-year lease 


of half Stratford tithes for four hundred and 
forty pounds. 

The same year, Augustine Phillips, a 
brother "player" leaves Shakspere a thirty 
shilling piece of gold in his will. "In 1613 
Shakspere bought a house near Backfriars 
Theatre, London, for one hundred and forty 
pounds, and mortgaged it the next day for 
sixty pounds. In 1612, Shakspere is men- 
tioned in a law suit, brought before Lord El- 
lismere about Stratford tithes." 

There is no evidence to show that Shaks- 
pere ever visited Stratford from the time he 
left it (date not positively known, probably 
in 1 586) to the time he returned to it, the exact 
date unknown. We are constrained to be- 
lieve, however, that the father was in Strat- 
ford at the burial of his only son, Hamnet, 
claimed early by the covetous grave in his 
twelfth year, August llth, 1596, in whom for 
eleven years lay the hopes of primogenitive 
succession. The father set up no stone to tell 
where the boy lay. 

Stratford-on-Avon then contained about 
fourteen hundred inhabitants. "The most 
dirty, unseemly, ill-paved, wretched-looking 
town in all Britain", is David Garrick's un- 


sanitary description of Stratford at the time 
of the Jubilee, 1769. In Shakspere's day, cot- 
tages in Stratford consisted of rough walls and 
thatched roofs. Mr. Halliwell-Phillips says 
"at this period and for many generations aft- 
erwards, the sanitary conditions of Stratford- 
on-Avon were simply terrible. The streets 
were narrow, irregular and without crossways, 
full of refuse and lively with pigs, poultry 
and ravenous birds". 

I "From dirty illiterate Stratford", says Mr. 
ang, "we can expect nothing more and noth- 
ing better than we receive." 

But in Mr. Lang's statement, I find much 
to support my own opinion of the illiterate 
condition of Stratford in Shakspere's day. But 
I cannot share in his opinion in regard to the 
transmission of inherited traditions. For with 
notables it is by no means the case. The fact 
is, William Shakspere of Stratford did not at- 
tain to much histrionic eminence, and was al- 
ways a stranger to the avocations of political 
life. All those who were coetaneous did not 
regard him as a person of any consequence 
apart from his wealth. There is not the faint- 
est shadow of credited evidence to warrant the 
assumption that Shakspere at the time of his 


retirement to Stratford-on-Avon was received 
by his fellow townsmen as a poet or man of 
genius. But instead in the very year of his 
return (inferentially) to his native place in 
1611-1612, the Town Council had carried a 
resolution that no play should be presented 
in the Guild Hall. But what became of the 
family traditions? These surely would have 
been preserved by immemorial custom were 
he a person of note or distinction. Family 
tradition is fossil history. The amber in which 
the noblest achievements, the tenderest senti- 
ments have been securely embedded and pre- 

However, as a matter of fact, there were no 
inherited traditions of a literary kind to pre- 
serve; not a single particle of authenticated 
evidence to connect the family of the Stratford 
Shakspere with the author of the immortal 
plays and poems. 

But Mr. Lang is asking us to keep in mem- 
ory the fact that society in Stratford was not 
only not literary, but was terribly illiterate. 

Halliwell-Phillips says, "There were cer- 
tainly not more than two or three dozen books, 
if so many in the whole town". 

Reader, does it not jar you a little when 


made to understand that New Place, the 
largest house in the town, the home of the 
wealthy William Shakspere, who in the prime 
of life was living with his illiterate wife and 
daughter in a bookless home and they with 
the now reputed author of Hamlet, Lear and 

It seemed to Prince Bismarck incredible 
that a person "so intimate with all the social 
courtesies and refinements of thought who had 
written what was attributed to Shakespeare 
could of his own free will, whilst still in the 
prime of life, have retired to such a place as 
Stratford-on-Avon, and lived there for years, 
cut off from intellectual society and out of 
touch with the world". And, we may add, 
without leaving in Stratford history or society 
a single trace of his existence as a poet or 

From the absence of all reference to books 
in the will of 1616, it may be safely inferred 
that the Stratford Shakspere was not the owner 
>f books or manuscripts. But Warwickshire 
r as not altogether bookless, for we read that 
>ir Thomas Lucy in a will drawn up in the 
rear 1600, speaks of "all my French and 
talian books". In the will of John Florio, 


we find bequeathed his English books and all 
his other goods to his beloved wife, Rose 

We also find that poets who are not inti- 
mately acquainted with the "cares of bread" 
were book owners, although not so wealthy as 
William Shakspere of Stratford; for 1627 is 
the date of William Drummond of Haw- 
thornden 1585 1649 munificient gift of about 
five hundred volumes to the library of Edin- 
burg University, although particularly rich 
in the English poets, only one from Shaks- 
peare's works, "Love's Labor Lost." 

Robert Burton, a contemporary, was the 
owner of a large library which he bequeathed 
to the Bodleian Library. 

Ben Jonson was also a great book lover, and 
the possessor of one of the largest private li- 
braries in England, although often depleted by 
his necessities, having sold them for bread. 
But there are still many copies of his books 
extant, which he presented to his friends. But 
neither Burton nor Jonson seem to have been 
the owners of a single volume of Shakspeare. 

This much we know, that in Tudor and Ja- 
cobin times, John (father), Mary (mother), 
Joan (sister), Judith (daughter) of William 


Shakspere of illiterate Stratford-on-Avon, 
were all illiterate, and not a single fragment of 
his own letters, books or manuscripts have yet 
been discovered. Still, the upholders of the 
Stratford delusion claim for "him who sleeps 
by Avon" identification with the author of the 
immortal plays, although there is not a vestige 
of the literary remains of poet or author, nor 
has anything ever been discovered amongst the 
family effects of any of those who bore mari- 
tal relations. 

For instance, Shakspere's son-in-law, Dr. 
John Hall and Thomas Quiney, and there was 
also Thomas Nash and Sir John Barnard, first 
and second husband of his grand-daughter, 
Elizabeth Hall. All these were persons of 
education and property, and may be trusted 
to transmit Shakspere's letters, manuscripts, 
books and family literary traditions. But they 
have not done so, presumably because there 
was nothing of a literary character to preserve 
and transmit. How inexplicable if he was the 
author of the plays and poems. 

All through the seventeenth century, Joan 
Hart, the actor's sister and her descendants in- 
habited the birthplace, so-called from the time 
of his death (1616) to the year 1646, and his 


younger daughter lived at Stratford-on-Avon 
until her death in 1661. 

Then there were Hathaways, who were 
memhers (inferentially) of his wife's family, 
residing in Chapel Street from 1647 to 1696; 
also his godson, William Walker, who died in 
the same town in 1680. The whole period 
covered by Shakspere's life and that of his 
descendants was 105 years from 1564 to 1669, 
or to the death of his grand-daughter Eliza- 
heth Hall. In kinship, she was cognate to her 
mother's father, William Shakspere, whose 
reputed authorship of poems and plays was 
not traditionally handed down by those to 
whom he gave lineal descent, or by any person 
or persons coetaneous with him for that matter 
in the village where he had lived the half of 
his life time. 

It may be feared, says Mr. Lang, that 
Shakspere's daughter, Judith (twin with 
Hamnet) "brought up in that very illiterate 
town of Stratford under an illiterate mother, 
was neglected in her education." Why, may 
we ask, did this very wealthy husband and 
father compel his wife and daughter to re- 
side in that very illiterate town of Stratford, 
instead of bringing them to London and ab- 


seating himself for so many years, thereby 
shirking all responsibility in the matter of the 
education of his children, leaving the dis- 
charge of every parental and social duty to the 
lonely wife and illiterate mother of his off- 

Mr. Halliwell-Phillips, the most candid 
and therefore the most reliable orthodox 
Stratford relator has shown that "By the 
spring of 1602 at the latest, he had acquired a 
secure and definite competence, and yet eight 
years afterwards in 1610 he (Shakspere) is 
discovered playing in company with Burbage 
and Hammings at the Blackfriars Theatre, al- 
though very much ashamed of the actor's voca- 
tion, according to the upholders of the Strat- 
ford-Shakspere delusion. Then why not hike 
back to Stratford-on-Avon? Why longer re- 
main a "vagabond under the Act" which be- 
spoke for him an intense money-hunger, to say 
the least. 

"Shakspere's occupation", says Mr. Phil- 
lips, "debarred him from the possibility of his 
sustaining even an approach to a continu- 
ous domestic life" moonshine wherein did 
Shakspere's occupation differ from those of 
Alleyn, Hemming, Condall, Burbage and 


other players like himself, share-holding ac- 
tors, who under precisely the same or very 
similar conditions sustained family or domes- 
tic relations in London. 

The former, Edward Alleyn, famous as an 
actor, and the founder of Dulwich College, 
who lived with his wife in London and called 
her "sweet mouse". The latter, Burbage, in 
the same place with the wife whom he made 
his sole executrix. Shakspere's abandonment 
of his wife and children was from choice, not 
from necessity. 

And implies the assumption that he was not 
an affectionate husband, a kind and loving 
father; who could not have mourned for his 
child whom he had not seen since his in- 
fancy, the son who could have no remem- 
brance of his father. 

Are we to believe that the author of the 
"Winter's Tale" and "Midsummer Nights 
Dream" actually divorced his own daughters 
from the socialities and refinements of London 
life, from the pursuit of knowledge under his 
immediate direction, from access to that great 
store house of learning, the immortal plays 
which contain the treasures of the rarest in- 
telligence, the children of his own brain 




who wrote of Woman "tender as infancy and 
"Eyes that do mislead the morn". 

Hermione, Isabella, Juliet, Cordelia, Des- 
iemona, Perdita, Miranda, Helena, Imogen 
and Constance weeping for her lost son, Ar- 
thur, while grief "stuffs out his vacant gar- 
ments with his form". Glorious sisterhood 
e fairest, the sweetest bevy of women this 
orld of sadness, gladness, joy and tears has 
ver known in them; the true, the beautiful 
nd the good are born. 


Shakspere is thought to have been penurious 
:or his litigious striving point in that direc- 
tion, but this feature of his character was not 
iisclosed in 1596 and 1599 when he sought to 
lave his family enrolled among the gentry as 

lown by his extravagance in bribing the offi- 
:ers of the Herald College to issue a grant of 
.rms to his father, "a transaction which in- 
volved", says Dr. Farmer, "the falsehood and 
'/eriality of the father, the son and two Kings- 
it-arms, and did not escape protest, for if ever 

coat was cut from whole cloth, we may be 
jure that this coat-of-arms was the one". 


William Shakspere himself was not in a 
position to apply for a coat-of-arms, "a vaga- 
bond under the Act" stood far too low in the 
social scale for the notice of heraldry. Sir 
William Dethick Garter King-at-arms is 
charged with unlawfully conceding arms to 
Shakspere and twenty-three other "base and 
ignoble persons". We know that the Strat- 
ford Shaksperes did not belong to the armi- 
gerous part of the population, and that they 
stood somewhat lower in the social scale than 
the Halls, Nashs, Bernards or Quineys who 
bore marital relations with them. 

Sir Sidney Lee in commentation on two re- 
cently discovered manuscript books, written 
Circa, 1599, he states, "The censors general 
allegation is that men of low birth and un- 
dignified employment were corruptly suffered 
by the heralds to credit themselves with noble 
or highly aristicratic descent, and to bear in 
considerations of large money payments coat 
armour of respectable antiquity." 

(LEE, A Life of Shakespeare). 

A long list of the surnames of these pre- 
tenders are given. The fourth name in the 
list is that of Shakspere. 

On June 5th, 1607, Dr. John Hall was mar- 


led at Stratfordon-Avon to William Shaks- 
>ere's eldest daughter, Susanna. He was an 
linent physician of the French Court school 
id was opposed to the indiscriminate process 
of bleeding. He was summoned more than 
once to attend the Earl and the Countess of 
Northampton at Ludlow Castle. 

Dr. John Hall died on November 25th, 
1635. With the death of his only daughter, 
Elizabeth, in the year 1669-70-, terminated the 
lineal succession. 

On February 10th, 1616, Shakspere's 
ounger daughter, Judith, married Thomas 
Quiney, a liquor dealer of Stratford, four 
years her junior. They were married without 
a license, or proclaiming of the banns, an ir- 
regularity for which they were fined and 
threatened with excommunication by the ec- 
clesiastical court at Worcester. Quiney was 
fined in the year 1631 for "swearing and for 
encouraging tipplers in his shop" (groggery). 
In the year 1652, he removed to. London, 
having deserted his wife after the death of all 
their children. Judith survived her sister, 
sons and husband, although forsaken and 
alone, continued to live to the ripe age of 
seventy- seven. 


From the Quiney family is a letter, the only 
letter addressed to Shakspere, which is known 
to exist, and is one which asks for a loan of 
thirty pounds. Even his learned kinsman, 
the Quineys, like the illiterate Shaksperes, saw 
him only hoarding money instead of writing 

No wonder such eminent votarist of 
Shakespeare as Hallam Dyce and Emerson 
are disappointed and perplexed, for while the 
record concerning the life of the player, 
money lender, land owner speculator and liti- 
gant are ample, they disclose nothing of a lit- 
erary character, but the pecuniary litigation 
evidence, growing out of Shakspere's devotion 
to money getting in London and Stratford 
does unfold his true life and character, the 
records do not furnish a single instance of 
friendship, kindness or generousity, but upon 
the delinquent borrower of money, he rigidly 
evoked the law, which gave a generous ad- 
vantage to the creditor and its vile prison to 
the debtor. 

Shakspere with Shylock insistence in 1600 
brough action against John Clayton for seven 
pounds and got judgment in his favor. In 


.ugust, 1608, Shakspere prosecuted John Ad- 
inbroke to recover a debt of six pounds. 
Dr. Charles William Wallace is querying 
the fact, "Did Shakespeare sell malt?" It was 
in 1604 that William Sexpere sued Philip 
Rogers to recover a balance of 35s. lOd. due 
for malt. But there seems to have been at 
least six other William Shaksperes living in 
Stratford and vicinity. Dr. Wallace is anx- 
ious to relieve William Shakspere, the Strat- 
ford actor, in whose opinion was the dra- 
matist, of the stigma on his name from his 
supposed connection with the brewing busi- 
ness, a degrading kind of activity. And it is 
creditable to Dr. Wallace that he strives to 
disassociate the name and fame of the Author 
of the Plays, from the liquor traffic. Al- 
though the most deeply rooted of all the vices 
of mankind from primeval ages, still among 
the most advanced communities, it is now in 
the course of extinction. 

In the opinion of Dr. Wallace, the docu- 
ment in the Stratford Court of Record does 
not apply to Shakspere, but to some un- 
known petty brewer or malster of Stratford, 
who was prosecuting Rogers for these pica- 
yunish debts for malt; because Shakspere 


could not have been in both places, London 
and Stratford, at once. While Dr. Wallace 
sees exigency in Shakspere's affairs in the 
Rogers case, requiring his immediate personal 
attention, Halliwell-Phillips of the same 
school, sees nothing which required the pres- 
ence of the litigeous money lender or malster 
in Stratford. 

He says, "It must not be assumed that the 
great dramatist attended personally to these 
matters, although, of course, the proceedings 
were carried on under his instructions." 
Where we would write Shakspere (player), 
he uses "Shakespeare" and means the undi- 
vided personality of Author and Player. 

However, we are .not asked to believe 
Shakspere slipping out of London into Strat- 
ford, selling malt, then travel back to London 
to join the King's players, then shortly after- 
wards journey back again to Stratford in or- 
der to prosecute Rogers for these petty debts 
for malt. For the Addenbroke suit is actu- 
ally a presumption against such contention for 
"The precepts as appears from memoranda in 
the originals were issued by the poet's 
(player) cousin, Thomas Green, who was then 


residing under some unknown conditions at 
New Place." 

While Shakespeare, the Author of the 
Plays was according to supposed date, writing 
"Coriolanus," we know and can prove that 
William Shakspere, the Stratford player was 
a professional money-lender at Stratford and 
London; the same William Shakspere who 
sued one John Clayton in March, 1600, at 
London to recover a debt of 7L. But was he 
the same Shakspere who sued Philip Rogers 
to recover a balance due for malt? 

And as to the stigma on his name referred 
to, is there anything to show in Shakspere's 
Stratford life or during his whole sojourn with 
the wigmaker Mountjoy in Silver Street, Lon- 
don, that he would have regarded the busi- 
ness of a small brewer or malster as a stigma 
on his name? For we find his name associated 
with at least two whiskey soaked traditions 
(so-called) and that one of the thirty grog- 
shops in Stratford was run by Shakspere's own 
son-in-law, Thomas Quiney, "who was fined 
for swearing, and for keeping a disorderly 

Mr. J. M. Robertson, a stalwart Stratford- 
ian, chides Mr. Andrew Lang of his own fel- 


lowship, because he pronounced one William 
Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon, a "hard 
creditor" and to his thinking, "Shakspere's 
four law suits to recover small debts are very 
inadequate proof of such a charge." The pres- 
ent writer is of the opinion that one such law 
suit of the like kind that William Shakepere 
u ran with" his neighbor, John Addenbroke 
adequate proof of such a charge, for is it 
conceivable that a rascally debtor even would 
suffer imprisonment in one of those jacobin 
cess pools called a jail, in order to shun the 
payment of a paltry sum. But, by the way, 
there is no proof that Shakspere even found 
one of his debtors dishonest. Now the pre- 
sumption is that the poor man was poverty 
stricken, unable to make both ends meet, for 
his hard and relentless creditor Shakspere, 
kept up the pursuit for one year until he left 
the town. A professional money lender or 
usurer, he never misses an opportunity to pur- 
sue an impoverished debtor into prison, di- 
vesting him of the ability to maintain himself 
and his family. "The pursuit of an improver- 
ished man for the sake of imprisoning him and 
depriving him, both of the power of paying 
his debts and supporting his family, grate 


ipon our feelings," says Richard Grant White, 
ind adds this eminent orthodox Shakspearian 
;cholar, "We hunger and we receive these 
lusks; we open our mouths for food and we 
)reak our teeth against these stones." 

We may be sure that there was left in the 
mpoverished home of the debtor, little more 
palatable than husks and stones when the 
: ather fled to escape from the clutches of his 
nsistent creditor (Shakspere) while his chil- 
Iren are clamorous for bread, the wolf of 
lunger from every crevice glaring. 

Contrast these scenes in the life of William 
Shakspere with the restoration of the widow's 
on by Abraham Lincoln. Poorly clad 
ind weeping, she said to him, "Mr. President, 
[ had three sons and a husband in the army. 
Vly husband has just been killed and I come 
o ask back my oldest boy." He granted the 
equest. She took the order, went to the field, 
)nly to see that oldest son die from his wounds. 
She went again to the President with the state- 
nent of the facts by the surgeon. Mr. Lincoln 
ead the backing on the order, and said, "I 
enow what you want, you need not ask for it. 
[ will give you your next son," saying as he 
vrote, "you have one and I have one, that is 


about right." The poor woman standing by 
him smoothed his hair with her hands, saying, 
while her tears fell upon his head, "God bless 
you, Mr. President, may you live a thousand 
years and be the head of this great nation." 
Ever the same in the White House, as he had 
been in the log cabin, Abraham Lincoln's cal- 
loused palms never slipped from the poor 
man's hand. 

In contrast also, some letters to Edward Al- 
leyn, which have been preserved, prove that 
Thomas Dekker, playwright, was several 
times befriended by that open-handed actor, 
the "famous Ned Allen." He appears to have 
had no relations with Shakspere, the Strat- 
ford player. 

The paltry suits brought to recover debts 
do not tend to disclose this Shakspere's "radi- 
ant Temperament" or fit him to receive the 
adjective "gentle" except in contumely for his 
claim to coat-armour. It is not known that 
Shakspere ever gave hospitality to the neces- 
sities of the poor of his native shire, for whom 
it appears there beat no pulse of tenderness. 
A man of scanty sensibilities he must have 
been. The poor working people of Stratford, 
we may be sure, shed no tear at this Shaks- 


:re's departure from the world. We do not 
mvy the man who can regard these harsh pe- 
:uniary practices in Shakspere as commend- 
ible traits of his worldly wisdom, for he was 
hrewd in money matters, and could have in- 
Bested his money in London and Stratford, so 
is not to have brought sorrow and distress 
ipon his poor neighbors. 

These matters are small in appearance, but 
hey suggest a good deal for they bear witness 

sorrow stricken mothers, hungry children 
ind fathers in loathsome prisons, powerless to 
)rovide food, warmth and light for the home. 
>hakspere's loans became a matter of court 
ecord only when his debtors failed to pay. 
The diary or note book of Philip Henslowe, 
he theatrical manager and play broker, shows 
hat Henslowe was himself a very penurious 
md grasping man, who taking advantage of 
tarving play makers' necessities, became very 

William Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon as 

1 sharer "in the profits of that they call the 
^ouse" became rich also, but his note book 
las not been preserved, so nothing is known 
)f his business methods in dealing with the 
>oor play makers, but the antiquarians by ran- 


sacking corporations records and other public 
archives have proven that player Shakspere 
was very much such a man as the old pawn- 
broker and play broker, Philip Henslowe, of 
a rival house. 

The biographers should record these facts, 
and not strive to shun them for the literary 
antiquaries have unearthed and brought them 
forward, and they tell the true story of Shaks- 
pere's life, though we do not linger lovingly 
over them, for like Hallam, "We as little feel 
the power of identifying the young man who 
came up from Stratford, was afterward an 
indifferent player in a London theatre, and 
retired to his native place in middle life with 
the author of Macbeth and Lear/' For the 
Stratford records are as barren of literary mat- 
ter as the lodgings in Silver Street, London. 
Not a crumb for the literary biographer in 
either place. 

One of the results of Dr. Charles W. Wal- 
lace's research in the Public Record Office is 
the new Shakspere signature attached to his 
deposition in an abbreviated form, and shows 
how the Stratford player spelled the first 
syllable of his surname, "Willm Shaks" or 
"Shak'p" is not Shake Shakspere-Shaksper- 



lhaks, this is the spelling of his name and 
there are no exceptions in his autograph. 
Nevertheless the Stratfordians usually reject 
the spelling of the owner of the name and 
adopt the spelling printed on the title page 
of the plays and poems, "Shakespeare" (a 
pseudonym), to indicate that the Stratford 
player, in the opinion of the Stratfornians was 
the author of the plays. 

Furthermore, Dr. C. W. Wallace had the 
good fortune in his research to discover the 
whereabouts of this certain individual, who 
in 1612, signs himself "Willm Shaks" or 
Shak'p and has succeeded in locating his 
lodgings in 1604 at the house of one Mountjoy, 
a wigmaker, at the corner of Muggell and 
Silver Streets, London, as "one Mr. Shakes- 
peare that lay in the house," and who lodged 
there from 1598 to 1604. How much longer 
he continued to sojourn in Silver Street, "the 
region of money and a good seat for an 
usurer," as Ben Jonson describes it, is uncer- 
tain; but he seems to have known the wig- 
maker's family about thirteen years, exceeding 
in number the years he had lived with his own 
family. (See Dr. Charles William Wallace's 
article, "New Shakespeare Discoveries," 


Harper's Monthly Magazine for March, 

However, Dr. Wallace has brought forth 
from obsurity one "Mr. Shakespeare," who 
in 1604, succeeded in securing a husband for 
the daughter of a match-making mamma, but 
absolutely nothing whatever relating to liter- 
ary work. 

From the fact that he (Shakspere) is dis- 
covered at the corner of Muggell and Silver 
Streets, bringing about a marriage in 1604, 
the supposed date of "Othello," it cannot be 
assumed that he wrote the play here or else- 
where, as there is not a crumb of evidence 
in proof. 

Dr. C. W. Wallace has failed to discover 
Shakspere, the Stratford player as an author. 
The witnesses in their deposition speak of him 
as "one Mr. Shakespeare," never as poet or 
author. The witnesses were persons of various 
employments and varied accomplishments, 
from the scholarly Daniel Nicholas, son of a 
former Lord Mayor, to the illiterate Joan 
Johnson, who like the Stratford player's wife 
and daughter, could not write her name. All 
of them, near neighbors, saw nothing in one, 
"Mr. Shakespeare," who had lodgings in the 


wig-maker's house and shop in 1604-1612, 
which distinguished him from the throng. 
Prima-facie evidence that he never had any 
literary celebrity and one of many proofs also 
of his fictitious reputation. For when the 
twelve depositions were taken in the case of 
Bellott vs. Mountjoy, and signed by his neigh- 
bors of the parish of St. Olave in 1612, all of 
the "Shakespeare" plays were then written, 
according to supposed dates. 

The Stratford player had then protracted 
his sojourn in London to twenty-six years, dur- 
ing which time there came into his life, as the 
;sult of a quarrel, an incident of the com- 
lonest kind trifles which reveal the true 
:haracter of the Stratford player and pro- 
:laim him as one affiliated to insignificant men 
ind matters. 

These non-literary facts were unearthed by 
'rofessor Charles William Wallace in the 
tatter of Shakspere's deposition in the case 
>f Bellott vs. Mountjoy, and which he dis- 
:overed in the Public Record Office, but that 
in no way contributed to a literary biography. 
The truth is that with all their industry, the 
Antiquarians have in this regard, not brought 
to light a single proven fact to sustain the 


claim that this William Shakspere, the Strat- 
ford actor was the author of either poems or 

This wee bit of new knowledge gives us a 
glimpse of one William Shakspere as an eva- 
sive witness, having a conveniently short 
memory. The depositions disclose his inter- 
mediation in the matter of making two hearts 
happy, but not the faintest glimpse of the au- 
thor of poems or plays. When the claim of 
authorship is challenged, new particulars of 
the life of Shakspere, such as this and others 
which have been unearthed by antiquarians, 
whether in the Public Record Office or Cor- 
poration Archives are alike worthless as far 
as establishing the Author- Poet, Shakespeare's 
identity, or any connection between Player and 

There are no family traditions, no books 
or manuscripts; there are no letters addressed 
to him known to exist, but the letter in which 
Richard Quiney asked him for a loan of 
money, or by him to poet, peer or peasant. 

The credible evidence supplied by contem- 
poraneous and antiquarian research, does not 
identify player and householder of Stratford 

, t 



; Hamlet," "Lear" and 

with the author of 

While on this subject the reader's indul- 
gence is requested a little longer. Dr. Charles 
Wallace, in rummaging the Public Rec- 
archives, searching through musty docu- 
icnts which belong to the Court of Requests, 
found one case at court in which Shakspere is 
involved. "There are twenty-six documents 
in the case, nine mention Shakespeare by 
name. In the entire list his name occurs 
twenty-four times. One is his own deposition 
signed by his own hand" (in all probability). 
The body of the signed deposition is not in 
the hand writing of the deponent, who is 
described by the clerk as "William Shakes- 
peare of Stratford upon Avon in the Countye 
of Warwicke gentleman," who when required 
to "perfect and subscribe his deposition," does 
not recognize that form of the name but signs 
himself "Willm Shak'p." 

In these depositions, according to Dr. C. W. 
Wallace, "we have for the first time met 
Shakespeare (Shakspere) in the flesh and that 
the acquaintance is good." How so? Would 
you care to become acquainted with a man, 
who as intermediary, lured by persuasion a 


poor young man into marriage, and then when 
summoned to be his star witness played for- 
getter? Young Bellott swallowed the bait of 
promised dower "they (wear) made suer by 
Mr. Shakespeare and agreed to marrye." 

Furthermore, Dr. Wallace tells us, out of 
the new evidence on Shakspere now before us, 
that the family with whom Shakspere lived 
was named Mountjoy. They were French, 
doubtless refugee Hugenots. The Mountjoy 
home was situated at the corner of Silver and 
Mugwell Streets, London, where Christopher 
Mountjoy was engaged in the making of head- 
dresses and wigs, assisted by one Stephen Bel- 
lott, an apprentice; also by the master's daugh- 
ter and only child, Mary, who was a dabster 
in that art. 

From the records in the present case at 
court, in which Shakspere is involved, and 
which Dr. Wallace has unearthed in the Pub- 
lic Record Office, we read that "Madam 
Mountjoy told Shakespeare that if he could 
bring the young man, Stephen Bellott, to make 
a proposal of marriage, a dower should be 
settled upon them at marriage." This was 
the snug sum of fifty pounds in money of that 



r, or approximately four hundred pounds, 
icarly $2000, in money of today." 

Shakspere was then living in the Mountjoy 
lome house and shop under one roof. "So 
went to Stephen Bellott, then at the end 
if his sixth year of apprenticeship, and told 
tim if he would make the offer of marriage 
lere was good hope that Mary would accept 
>nd the old folks (shall promise to give) with 
the" daughter a dowry of fifty pounds on the 
[ay of marriage." Daniel Nicholas, a near 
neighbor, testifies: "]VJr. Shakespeare had 
told him they should have a sum of money for 
portion from the father. They were made 
iure of this by Mr. Shakespeare by giving 
their consent and agreeing to marry, so he 
(Bellott) and the membefs of the family had 
several conferences concerning the marriage. 
Shakspere was present at some of these con- 
ferences, according to his own testimony. All 
letails were arranged and the marriage was 
solemnized November 19th, 1604." 

But disputes in families are as common as 
California poppies in April. 

In 1612, trouble with Mountjoy and his son- 
in-law took Shakspere as witness into court, 
'here we are told by what acts Shakspere got 


into the case. No one would now have 
dreamed, as we shall see presently, of making 
such a shifty fellow as William Shakspere wit- 
ness in the further examination, after his 
answer to the fourth question in behalf of 
Bellott's set of interrogatories, when ex- 
amined in court May 7th, 1612. For the de- 
positions of the near neighbors as well as his 
own, prove how elusive and unreliable was his 
testimony. He cannot remember any of the 
important details concerning the dower 
promised, the talk had with Mountjoy, "that 
the defendant (Mountjoy) promised to give 
the said complainant (Bellott) a portion in 
money with Mary, his daughter, but what cer- 
tain portion, he (Shakspere) remembereth not 
nor when to be paid." 

On June 19th the court ordered the further 
examination. "The question of chief concern 
to the parties involved and to the court, was 
what promises of dower did Shakspere, as in- 
termediary, make. Witnesses were again sum- 
moned, chief of whom was Shakspere," who 
was summoned (inferentially) for the sole 
purpose of retrieving a lost memory. 

But notwithstanding, the plaintiff, who had 
Shakspere summoned to answer the first set 



if questions, May 7th, refused through his 
Lttorney, to have him summoned to answer the 

xond set of questions which had been pre- 
>ared for him on June 19th. "For the rec- 
irds show no summons issued to him and his 
lame does not appear in the court list of wit- 
lesses for Bellott on that day. But the plain- 
tiff (Bellott) was constrained to call in his 
>wn behalf other witnesses to prove what 
ihakspere had said to them concerning the 
lower promised and the talk had with Mount- 
|oy." "A fearful example of hearsay evi- 
lence," says Sir George G. Greenwood. 
Daniel Nicholas is again summoned as a 

itness to show that Shakspere harbored no 
:orgetfulness when he talked with him about 
the promised dower, for he had also in like 

lanner talked over the question of dower in 
the presence of Joan Johnson and William 

laton, as they both testify. 
In the third and fourth interrogatory the 

r itness shows unmistakably that Bellott was 
the victim of connubiality through the inter- 

lediation of one Mr. Shakespeare. This view 

:ems to have been entertained by the court. 

"or "on June 3rd, the court issued an unusual 
rder referring the whole matter at variance 


to the French Church (Hugenots) of London 
and making the decision there the final decree 
of the court." The Church (Hugenots) de- 
cided in Bellott's favor. 

Daniel Nicholas, a near neighbor, in his de- 
position, discloses the fact that Bellott was 
suspicious of Shakspere, fearful that he may 
be influenced by the old man's (wigmaker) 
money bags, for he asked Daniel Nicholas, 
son of Ambrose Nicholas, former Lor 
Mayor, "to go to Shakespeare (Shakspere), 
with his wife and find out what it was tha 
the defendant (Mountjoy) had promised t 
give his daughter if she married with th 
plaintiff (Bellott)". 

Bellott takes this precaution before he su 
his father-in-law for the recovery of the su 
promised at the time of marriage. Daniel 
Nicholas avers "that he did go to Shaksper 
and that Shakspere of Stratford, but sojourne 
with the wigmaker, told him that the defend- 
ant had promised the plaintiff fifty pounds 
or thereabouts with his daughter." But whe 
Shakspere was summoned he had forgotten 
or pretended to forget the sum which the de- 
fendant, Mountjoy, promised to give hi 


The first French Church in London was es- 
tablished in 1550. Churches were subse- 
quently founded by successive emigrations. 
The Edict of Nantes was revoked on the 22nd 
of October, 1685. It is estimated that nearly 
eighty thousand French Hugenots established 
themselves in England during the ten years 
which preceded and followed the Revocation, 
and about one-third of them settled in Lon- 
don. They carried with them the arts by 
which they had enriched their own country. 
These refugee people, having a strong feeling 
of fraternity, were disposed to cling together. 
They were forbidden to carry their fortunes 
abroad, but they came to uphold the suprem- 
acy of conscience and there was ultimately an 

ilmost absolute fusion, both of race and name. 
This disposes of the Reverend Richard 

'avis' assertion in 1708, ninety- two years after 

hakspere of Stratford's death, that he "dyed 
Papist." It is clear that the Stratford player 

:ould not have been a Catholic, but the ques- 
tion still remains what was the religious faith 

f the author of the Plays? 
Dr. Wallace says, "the fact that Shakspere 

ind Wilkins are associated as witnesses in this 

:ase is highly suggestive, and thinks 'Shakes- 


peare' as a pseudonym would be difficult t< 
explain how he and Wilkins were intereste< 
in this suit." Dr. Wallace means the undi- 
vided personality of player and playwright 
and always uses the word "Shakespeare." 

In looking the matter through we fin< 
nothing that is highly suggestive and difficult 
to explain, save to those only who stand fast 
in the Stratfordian faith, which identifies the 
Player with the Playwright. 

We fail to see why "one Mr. Shakespean 
tlrat lay in the house" boarded there an< 
George Wilkins, victualer, should not both be 
come interested in this suit in behalf of youn< 
Bellott. One George Wilkins, an inn-keeper, 
where Bellott and his wife "came to dwell ii 
one of his chambers," and "one Mr. Shakes- 
peare, as intermediary in making two hearl 
happy." Wilkins, in his deposition, gave hii 
occupation as an Inn-keeper. There is no dif- 
ficulty about the matter, and nothing to ex- 
plain, except that here the dispute about th< 
name involve? a dispute about the man. L 
there anything presumptuous in our conten- 
tion that when the author of "Venus an< 
Adonis" signed the dedication to the Earl o1 
Southampton with the name "Shakespeare/ h< 



adopted as a pseudonym the militant form of 
the name which the Stratford Player never 
made use of? 

Stephen Bellott in 1605, after having quar- 
relled with his father-in-law, who then com- 
pelled him to go in search of rooms to let, oc- 
cupied a chamber with one George Wilkins. 

That Shakspere, in his deposition, did not 
give his business is a matter of regret. What 
a pity! 

On May 7th, 1612, the court issued a 
peremptory summons to William Shakspere 
and George Wilkins, in behalf of Bellott, to 
answer questions prepared for them. The 
only question of importance before the court 
was what promise of dower did Shakspere, as 
intermediary, make. Shakspere failed to 
satisfy the court in his answer against the 
fourth question, the essential cause of action, 
the gist of the issue. The testimony of George 
Wilkins was not of importance, having ref- 
erence only to the value of a few household 
goods, "and to the fact that Bellott and wife, 
after leaving their father in 1605, came to 
dwell in one of his chambers." 

We have known nothing about Wilkins per- 
sonally before, and know nothing about him 


now, except that he was a victualer and inn- 
keeper, having a license to sell alcoholic 

The conjecture of Delius that 'Shak< 
peare" (the author's pen name), and Wilkins, 
a had-i writer for the stage, wrote two plays 
together is mere guesswork. For this state- 
ment we have no basis of proof. 

Granting the collaboration of the play- 
wrights does not connect the Stratford Player 
(Shakspere), "one Mr. Shakespeare," with 
literary works or with acts of dramatic com- 
position. Neither does it give so much as a 
basis for presumption, much less proof of 
identification of the Stratford player with the 
playwright, or any bearing with the pseudony- 
mous literature produced under a fictitious 
name "Shakespeare." 

Dr. Wallace holds our inquisitive attention 
when he asserts that these documents in the 
case of Bellott vs. Mountjoy, confirm him 
(Shakspere) as being the author of the Plays 
that bear the name "Shakespeare." The truth 
is that all the documentary evidence unearthed 
by Dr. Wallace tends to show that the Strat- 
ford player was unknown in literary circles. 
What fact or facts confirm him the Strat- 


ford actor, Shakspere, as being the author of 

[e Plays called "Shakespeare"? 
However, with the Professor, it would seem 
hen dealing with Shakespeare, no proposi- 
tion is too absurd to be believed, for he asserts 
that Shakespeare "honours his host by raising 
him in the play (Henry V) to the dignity of 
a French Herald under his own name of 

Whereas, in truth and in fact, the imper- 
sonal and official name of a French Herald 
"Mountjoy" is contained in Holinshed, where 

fe author of Henry V found it. 
The Chronicles were published in 1577, 
twenty-one years before "one Mr. Shakespeare 
that lay in the house" (lived there), with a 
French wig-maker, one Mountjoy in Silver 

The embarrassed Stratfordians have long 
been seeking for some explanation of the chief 
source of William Shakspere's wealth, and 
now after more than three hundred years, Dr. 
Charles W. Wallace discovers William 
Shakspere of Stratford in Silver Street, Lon- 
don, "the region of money, a good seat for an 
userer" as Ben Jonson described it in "The 
Staple of News." 


1604, the year of Shakspere's match-mak- 
ing intermediation, was also the year of the 
famous actor, Ned Alleyn's last recorded ap- 
pearance on the stage, he having secured the 
post of master of the rayol game of bears, 
bulls and mastiffs, of the bating house at Paris 
Garden in Southwark. This was doubtless 
the chief source of Alleyn's great wealth, as 
interest-mongering in Silver Street, London, 
one of the centers in which speculative en- 
terprises were conducted was in all proba- 
bility the chief source of the Stratford actor's 
(Shakspere's) wealth. (The usurious Shak- 
spere practicing usury when the lending at in- 
terest was accociated with cruelty and was 
branded as immoral). 

To link the interest-monger's name and pei 
sonality with that of the author of the Plays 
is to debase our conception of the writer of that 
fadeless and imperishable drama, "The Mer- 
chant of Venice." 

After reading all the evidence in the case 
submitted by Dr. Wallace, we are convinced 
that Shakspere's statement before the Court 
of Requests was evasive and shifty, for his own 
deposition is a strong confirmation of the truth 


of our assertion. "He gave himself so bad a 
character in it.' 

tDr. Charles William Wallace, by never-tir- 
ig industry and indomitable energy, assisted 
by the gracious Lady, his wife, has examined 
"some million" of documents in the Public 
Record Office, London. 

Although I cannot agree with Dr. Wallace 
n all his inferences with respect to Shakspere 
of Stratford, nevertheless I gladly accord him 
due praise. 

The foregoing facts, the legal and municipal 
evidence bound up in dusty records, a bogus 
coat-of-arms and a rude epitaph, tell the true 
story of the life of William Shakspere of Strat- 

There is no record of any pretended living 
likeness of Shakspere better representing him 
tan the Stratford bust. This bust is erected 
the north side of the wall of Holy Trinity 
'hurch at Stratford-on-Avon. On the floor 
)f the chancel, in front of the monument, are 
te graves of Shakspere and a portion of his 
lily his father, mother, youngest daughter 
id son lie in unmarked graves. We have no 
leans of ascertaining when the monument and 
>ust were erected. 


The first folio edition of his reputed works 
was published in 1623. It contained words 
from Leonard Diggs prefatory lines: "And 
time dissolves thy Stratford monument," 
monument being used interchangeably witl 
tomb, but these words do not prove that th< 
bust was set up before 1623. 

It is the bladder-like expression in the 
physiognomy of the image which drew the ex 
clamation, "that never wrote this," from 
great artist standing before it and looking u] 
at Shakspere's bust, with an open volume o1 
Shakespeare's works in hand. His image wa< 
rudely cut, sensual and clownish in appear- 

England was called in those days "Th< 
Toper's Paradise," and tradition (so-called) 
informs us that Shakspere was one of the Bed- 
ford topers. However, we should not info 
from this that William Shakspere, a shewc 
man of business, was a drunken sot, although 
from his retirement or withdrawal from the- 
aterian activity, he may have "drunk too 

Now we have no basis for proof, only a pre- 
sumption that this is the reason why Dr. John 
Hall, Shakspere's son-in-law, made no men- 


tion of his father-in-law's death in his book of 
"Cures" in the restrospect as in the case of 
his wife. 

In Shakspere's time Stratford contained 
thirty grog-shops. The diary of Thomas 
Greene, (Shakspere's cousin) contains nothing 
on the subject of his kinsman's death, per- 
haps he also was ashamed of the manner of it. 
But it may jar the reader when told that the 
diarist has nothing to say about cousin Shaks- 
pere's poems and plays. He did not seem to 
;gard him as an author or person of much 

The new information found in the Public 
.ecord Office by Dr. Wallace, suggests an 
lendment to the gossipy, commonplace book 
:ompiled in 1662 by the Rev. John Ward. He 
ills the story, forty-six years after date, of 
: the merrie meeting" at the carousing board 
>f Shakspere, Drayton and Ben Jonson, and 
it seems "drank too hard for Shakspere died 
f a fevor then contracted." 

Evidently the Vicar of Stratford did not 
;now enough about the external life of the 
idividual man, Shakspere, to amend the local 
jossip for the sake of credibility and the in- 
lerent likelihood of the alleged facts. It 


could not have been for the convenience and 
accommodation of Michael Drayton and Ben 
Jonson who must take a three days' journe] 
to Stratford, through mud and mire, ovei 
roads infested with highwaymen, merely ii 
order to sacrifice at the shrine of Bacchus 
when they could have had their swill in Lon- 
don at the public house kept by George Wil- 
kins, of the parish of St. Sepulchres. 

The Wilkins travern would have beei 
chosen doubtless by the bibacious Ben foi 
convenience and time saving, for he was han 
at work bringing forth the great folio 161' 
edition of his works. "We have known noth 
ing about Wilkins individually" before his 
deposition in the case of Bellott vs. Mountjo] 
was found by Dr. Wallace in the Public Rec- 
ord Office. But his vocation as inn-keeper, hav- 
ing a license to sell alcoholic liquors, mak< 
it highly probable that he was a votary oi 
Bacchus. However, the inventor of the yan 
could have known but very little of the ex- 
ternal life of Michael Drayton, always as 
"sober as a judge," decorous and undefiled, 
and could hardly have been a member of a 
Scottish party. There is not a hint from 
Ben Jonson, in conversation with Drummond 


Hawthornden in 1618-19, of his "having 
tad a merry meeting in 1616." So soon after 
the great fire of 1614 when a large part of 
Stratford lay in ashes. 

At this time, be it remembered, Silver 
Street and vicinity, the region Shakspere chose 
for residence, swarmed with French refu- 
gees, Hugenots. Some of them, perhaps, 
met Shakspere, the Stratford player, with his 
money bags, and found him holding with Shy- 
lock insistence to the letter of the law, "al- 
though the taking of interest was at that time 
regarded as forbidden to a Christian." , 

There is not a tittle of evidence adduced 
to show that a knowledge of Shakspere's puta- 
tive authorship of poems and plays was cur- 
rent at Stratford, when the first folio edition 
of his reputed works was published in 1623. 
The records attest that Shakspere's fame re- 
putatively as writer, is posterior to this event. 
How strange it must seem to those who claim 
for Shakspere an established reputation as poet 
and dramatist of repute, anterior to the first 
folio edition in 1623, that Dr. John Hall him- 
self an author, and most advantaged of all 
the heirs by Shakspere's death, should fail to 


mention his father-in-law in his "cure book" 
or "Observations." 

The earliest dated cure is 1617, the year fol- 
lowing Shakspere's death, but there are un- 
dated ones. In "Obs. XIX," Dr. Hall men- 
tions without date, an illness of his wife, Mrs. 
Hall, and we find him making a note long 
afterwards in reference to his only daughter, 
Elizabeth, who was saved by her father's skill 
and patience. "Thus was she delivered from 
death and deadly diseases, and was well for 
many years." 

The illness of Michael Drayton is recorded 
without date in "Obs. XXII" with its wee bit 
of a literary biography and he is referred to 
as "Mr. Drayton, an excellent poet." Had 
Shakspere received a like mention as a poet 
or writer by one who knew him so intimately, 
what a delicious morsel it would have been to 
all those who have followed the literary anti- 
quarian through the dreary barren waste of 
Shakespearean research. We have found 
nothing but husks, and these eulogists of 
Shakespeare Hallam and Emerson refuse 
to crounch. 

For more than three centuries, the Stratford 
archives have contained all matters concerning 


:spere's life and character, and have given 
full knowledge of the man. Nothing has 
Deen lost seemingly but of his alleged literary 
L ife, there is not a crumb; no family traditions, 
10 books, no manuscripts, no letters, no com- 
nendatory poems, plays, masques or antha- 

The biographers of William Shakspere of 
3tratford-on-Avon have none of the material 
)ut of which poets and dramatists are made, 
Dut only those facts which are congruous with 
noney lenders, land speculators, play brokers, 
ictors and public land sharks. Also a good 
assortment of apocryphal stories and gossipy 
farns, which have become traditional cur- 

Not having found the slightest trace of 
Shakespeare in 1592, as writer of plays, or as 
idapter or elabtorator of other men's work, 
except conjecturally, his advent into literature 
nust have been at a later date, if at all. In 
159.S " Venus and Adonis" appeared in print 
with a dedication to Lord Southampton and 
signed "William Shakespeare." Bear in mind 
hat the dedicator of a book need not in those 
days to be its author. 

In 1594 appeared another poem "Lucrece" 


also with a dedication to Lord Southampton. 
The poems bore no name of an author on the 
title page. Here is literary tangibility, but 
does it establish the identity of their author, 
or attest the responsibility of the young Strat- 
ford man for the poems which were published 
under the name of "Shakespeare?" This was 
the first mention of the now famous name. 
Was it a pseudonym or was it the true name 
of the author of the poems? Every person of 
fair erudition and common sense has a right 
to his own opinion, but the present writer can 
see no strong and valid evidence of any per- 
sonal connection with the Stratford Shakspere 
in the works called Shakspearean, which were 
produced in the main, under a fictitious name, 
and should be characterized as our greatest 
anonymous and pseudonymous literature. 

Furthermore, the enthusiastic reception of 
the poems awakens a suspicion when we learn 
that their popularity was due to a belief in 
their lasciviency, and that the dedicate" was 
the dissolute self-willed Henry Wriothesley, 
third Earle of Southampton, and that the 
name of the dedicator "Shakespeare" was one 
of a class of nick-names which in 1593 still re- 


ined in some measure that which was deri- 

r e in them. 

A student of Merton College, Oxford, 
:hanged his own name of Hugh Shakspere 
nto Saunders, because he considered it too 
expressive and distinctive of rough manners, 
md significant of degradation and as such was 
anwilling to aid in its hereditary trasmission, 
when all that is derisive in the name Shaks- 
pere vile reputation remained fixed and fos- 
silized in the old meaning. Primarily the 
lame has no militant signification. 

Sir Sidney Lee admits that the Earle of 
Southampton is the only patron of Shakes- 
peare that is known to biographical research 
(p. 126). By what fact or facts, may we ask, 
is the authenticity of the Earle' friendship or 
patronage attested? Southampton was the 
standing patron of all the poets, the stock dedi- 
catee of those days. It was the fashion of the 
times to pester him with dedications by poets, 
grave and gay. They were after a piece of 
money, five or six pounds which custom con- 
strained his Lordship to yield for having his 
name enshrined in poet's lines. 

Almost all the poets of that age were de- 
pendents, and there is, with few exceptions, 


the same display of Pharisaic sycopyhan< 
greediness, and on the part of dedicatee, an in- 
ordinate desire for adulation. Every student 
of Elizabethan literature and history should 
known that the so-called Southampton-Shakes- 
peare friendship cannot be traced biographi- 
'cally. The Earle of Southampton was a volu- 
minous correspondent, but did not bear wit- 
ness to his friendship for Shakespeare. 

A scrutinous inspection of Southampton 
papers contained in the archives of his family 
descendants and contemporaries, yields noth- 
ing in support of the contention that South- 
ampton's friendship or patronage is known to 
biographical research! and it is as attestative 
as that other apocryphal story out of the sup- 
posable mouth of Sir William D'Avenant and 
preserved by Nicholas Rowe, that my Lord 
Southampton at one time gave him (Shaks- 
pere) "a thousand pounds to enable him to 
go through with a purchase which he heard 
he had a mind to." D'Avenant gave out that 
he was a son of Shakspere. One thousand 
pounds in 1596 was equal to at least twenty 
thousand dollars today. The magnitude of 
the gift discredits the story, nevertheless, the 
startled Rowe is the first to make it current, 


3ut does not give his readers the ground for 
lis assurance. Be it what it may, he could 
lardly satisfy the modern reader that this man 
(D'Avenant) a son, who insinuatingly defiles 
:he name and fair fame of his own mother, 
s a credible witness, for in degrading his 
nother, "he did but annul the legitimacy of 
lis own birth." 

The truth is, the social rules of Tudor and 
facobin times did not permit peer and peasant 
o live on terms of mutual good feeling. In 
:hose times they had a summary way of deal- 
ng with humble citizens. A nobleman to 
/indicat; rank, brought an action in the Star 
Chamber against a person who had orally 
iddressed him as Goodman. Morley, Chap- 
nan and Jonson were imprisoned for having 
lispleased the King by a jest in a play "East- 
vard Ho," all on account of John Marston's 
ocularity, who was associated with them, and 
>f the arbitrary attitude of the crown. 

The literati of those days found in scholas- 
ic learning neither potency nor promise to 
abrogate class distinction by giving a passport 
o high attainment in literature, science, poetry 
md high art. Ben Jonson says, "The time was 
vlicn men were had in price for learning, now 


letters only make men vile. He is unbraid- 
ingly called a poet, as if it was a contemptible 

Edmund Spencer endeavored to propitiate 
Lord Burleigh, minister of state, by offering 
an apology for being a poet. Thus we are 
made acquainted with the socialities of every- 
day life in that "long gone time" and also how 
little some persons know who write books to 
uphold the Stratford delusion, more especially 
when they assert that such men as the Earl of 
Essex, the Earl of Southampton and Sir Wal- 
ter Raleigh were Shakspere's intimate ac- 

But we are on safe ground when we claim 
for him yoke fellowship with the actors, for 
Shakspere's will attests the fact that Burbage, 
Heming and Condell were his yoke mates. 

"I give and bequeath to my fellows, John 
Heming, Richard Burbage and Henry Cun- 
dell, twenty-six shillings, eight pense apiece 
to buy them rings." 

Ben Jonson and the poets were not remem- 
bered in Shakspere's will. Why? 

But according to the upholders of the Strat- 
ford Faith, Shakspere in his life time is made 
to associate with Drayton and Ben Jonson, by 


r hat Mr. Phillips calls "a late but appar- 
itly genuine tradition," who in the fullness 
>f their desire to discover Shakspere, the 
itratford actor in affiliation with poets, make 
the subject of their memoir die from the ef- 

fcts of a drunken carousal. 
Sir Henry Irving in his address at the Uni- 
versity of Oxford, says, "Richard Burbage was 
the first great actor that England ever saw, 
(and adds) unfortunately, we have no record 
of the intercourse between Shakspere and Bur- 
bage. But there must have existed a close 
friendship. We differ with the learned 
Thespian, for fortunately or unfortunately, we 
have a wee little record of the intercourse be- 
tween Shakspere and Burbage. The only story 
recorded during player Shakspere's life time 
and is contained in the note book of the Eng- 
lish Barrister, John Maningham, a student of 
the Legal Inn. It savors strongly of the 
tavern, criminating player Shakspere's morals 
the transcription of which would sully 
these pages. The barrister had made an entry 
in his note book. 2 February of the same year 
1601, giving a brief abstract of a play which 
he had witnessed, called "Twelve Night," 
ind in recording the story six weeks later, fails 


to confirm the players identification with the 
author of "Twelfth Night." 

"Love's Labor Lost" was performed at the 
house of the Earl of Southampton for the 
amusement of Anna of Denmark in 1604, but 
Burbage alone is mentioned. No coupling of 
the names of Southampton and Shakspere as 
a testimony of their friendship. Sir Walter 
Cope had spent a whole morning in hunting 
for "players, jugglers and such kind of crea- 
tures" as Sir Walter styles them in writing to 
Lord Cramborne. Sir Sidney Lee tells us that 
"the state papers and business correspondence 
of Southampton were enlivened by references 
to his literary interest and his sympathy with 
the birth of English drama." (p. 382). 

However, the Southampton papers and let- 
ters contain no reference to Shakespeare. 
There is nothing to show that he was ac- 
quainted with the author of the plays or the 
Stratford player, notwithstanding he was pres- 
ent at the performance of "The Comedy of Er- 
rors" at Grays Inn in 1594, when the Stratford 
player Shakspeare was an acting member of 
the "company of base and common fellows." 

Southampton zest for the drama is based 
on the statement contained in the "Sidney 


'apers" 1599. "My Lord Southampton and 
>rd Rutland come not to the court. The one 
>th but very seldom they pass away the tyme 
London merely in going to plays every 

"When a new library for his old college, St. 
ohns, was in course of construction, South- 
ampton collected books to the value of three 
hundred and sixty pounds wherewith to fur- 
nish it." However, Southampton's literary 
tastes and sympathy with the drama cannot be 
drawn from his gift to the library, for it con- 
sisted largely of legends of the saints and me- 
diaeval chronicles. Manifestly this is the way 
the Earl cherished his passion for literature 
during the closing years of his life. Had the 
benefaction contained but one Shakespeare 
play, it would now be more highly prized by 
the authorities of the University on the river 
Cam than all this mediaeval lore, which may 
still be seen on the shelves of the College li- 
brary. And, furthermore, this would be some 
proof of the fascination the drama had for 
Southampton, and serve in some slight meas- 
ure to rescue the reputed Southampton Shakes- 
peare friendship and patronage from limbo. 
When and where did Shakespeare acknowl- 


edge his obligations to the only patron of the 
dramatist, according to Sir Sidney Lee, who 
is known to biographical research, not one of 
the Shakespeare plays was dedicated to 
Southampton. The name Shakespeare is con- 
spicuously absent from among the distin- 
guished writers of his day. 

Who in panegyrical speech and song ac- 
claimed Southampton's release from prison in 
1603? Sir Sidney Lee says, "Every note in 
the scale of adulation was sounded in South- 
ampton's honor in contemporary prose and 
verse." That is true for every hungry 
weary Willy (poet) of the Muse is repre- 
sented in "the scale of adulation." And Sir 
Sidney Lee has excerpted many lines from the 
poets in proof of Southampton's literary pre- 
delictions. But not a single line from Shakes- 
peare. Why? Because there is nothing cap- 
able of being extracted. 

Still we find this earnest Stratfordian en- 
gaged in an effort to unmask Peer and Poet 
in (No. CVII) of the enigmatical "Shake- 
Speare Sonnets." Tom Nash makes a bid for 
the Earl's patronage in the hope of making 
money, as he admitted, in those days, literary 
men died of hunger. However, his note in the 


leak of adulation" is contained in a coarse 
love poem, dedicated to Southampton. "A 
lew brain he vociferates, a new soul will I get 
ne to canonize your name to posterity." In 
:he same absurd fashion, Nash adulated Sir 
Philip Sidney, "the least syllable of whose 
lame sounded in the ears of judgment is able 
:o give the meanest line he writes a dowry of 

In an adulatory sonnet, Barnabe Barns tells 
is that Southampton "hand is thrice sacred 
md his eyes, those heavenly lamps which give 
he Muses light that holy fire- 
But Gervase Markham sounded a blasphe- 
nous note when he asserted that Southamp- 
on's sweet voice hushed the music of the 
Spheres" and delighted the ear of Almighty 

The Tragicall Hiftorie of 


Prince of Denmarke. ' 


f tiffM tfiiiC i 

Enter two cntttlt. \ ^-^-, / r ,* < ( 5 

1 . O Tand : who is tfeat? 

2. OTn.1. 

1 . _O you-cotac raofl carefully vpon your watch, 

The partnersof my watch, bid them make hade, 
I. 1 will : Sec who goes there. 

Her. friends to this ground. 

M*r. And Icegemcn to the Dane, 

O farewell honcft fouldier, who hath releeued you? 

1 . B Amur do hath ray place, giue you good night. 
M&r* Holla^ Rtmardo. 

2. Say, is Heratie there? 
Hor. Apceccofhim. 

a. Welcome Hor*tio t welcome good MtrctUiu* 

M*r. What hath this thing appcar'd agaioc to night. 

2. I hauc fcene nothing. 

M*r. Horttie faycs tis but our fantafic, 

And wil not let bcliefctakc hold of him, 

Touching this drea Jed fight twice fccnc by vr, 


First page of Original Edition of "Hamlet" 






Let Schollers bee as thriftie as they may. 
They will be poore ere their last dying 


Learning and povertie 
Will ever kisse. 

Parnassus Trilogy (1597-1601). 




1RST literary form of Name A Pseudo- 
nym, nom de plume. The vocabulary of 
the Author of the Plays show what books he 
read and the company he kept. By the study 
of words he became a mine of thoughts and by 
constant 'reading accumulated his astonishing 
vocabulary, the storehouse of language which 
furnishes his characters with apt expressions 
in which his thoughts enshrine his genius. 
The sublime conceptions which are displayed 
in his dramatic writings confirm him to be the 
greatest writer the world ever saw. 

That there were two "Shakespeares" 
"Shake-speare" the Author and Shakespeare 
the Player, I would disabuse every reader of 
such an absurdity. My contention is that the 
immortal Plays were written by a man whose 
true name was not Shakespeare, however, the 
name is spelled Shake-speare, (a mask 
name nom de plume.} 



The name, we are told, was spelled soi 
twenty or thirty different ways, but the Playei 
himself uinformly w T rote "Shakspere," and tl 
form "Shakespeare" or "Shake-speare" was 
never recognized by him. However, I am not 
concerned about the variants of the Stratford 
Player's name, inasmuch as my contention is 
not buttressed by the spelling. Neverthele< 
as he wrote it "Shakspere" and as some un- 
known other wrote the Author's (pen-name) 
as "Shakespeare," must have been pronounced 
differently, as implied by the spelling, more 
especially when printed with a hyphen in thii 
form "Shake-speare," an excellent nom de 
plume. Possibly suggested to the Author of 
the Plays by the noted inventor of mask-names 
and signer of dedications, Edward Kirk, who 
was the editor and commentator of Spencer's 
earliest work, and who may have performed a 
like service for the Author of the Plays and 
poerns. The true name of the man who pub- 
lished under the pen-name of Shake-speare or 
Shakespeare was never revealed. 

Francis Meres, a student in Divinity, pre- 
tender to superior knowledge, author of God's 
Arithmetic, had his Palladis Tamia (Wit's 
Treasury) registered September 7th, 1598 


id published shortly after. Meres says: 
.s the Greek tongue is made famous and elo- 
tent by Homer, Hesiod, Euripides, Aeschy- 
is, Sophocles, Pindanus, Phocyledes, and Ar- 
jtophanes, and the Latin tongue by Virgil, 
Quid, Horace, Silius, Italicus, Lucanus, Lu- 
cretius, Ansonius and Claudianus, so the Eng- 
lish tongue is mightily enriched and gorgeous- 
ly invested in rare ornaments and resplend- 
ent abiliments by Sir Philip Sidney, Spenser, 
Daniel Drayton, Warner, Shakespeare, Mar- 
low and Chapman." Meres writes of the mel- 
lifluous and honey tongued Shakespeare of 
his "Venus and Adonis" his "Lucrece" and 
his sugared sonnets. Among his private 
friends, the "book called Shakespeare's Son- 
nets" was published in 1609, eleven years af- 
ter the Meres reference in 1598, and in the 
next year, two of them (138 and 144) were 
printed in "The Passionate Pilgrim." Mr. 
Hallam expressed a doubt whether these were 

fe sonnets mentioned by Meres. 
However, Meres enumerated twelve plays, 
seven of which had been published anony- 
mously; one only "Love's Labour Lost" has 
been published with Shakespeare's name. 
Nevertheless, Meres, Carew and Weever, 


hack writers all, write tritely of the hone 
tongued, the honey sweet and the "sugared" 

With Francis Meres everything written i 
mellifluent, but who this "Shakespeare" was 
he does not claim to know any more than his 
contemperories knew about the real name and 
personality of "Martin Mar-Prelate", whose 
identity was never revealed, and is still a mys- 
tery as deep as ever "Junius" was. In fact, n< 
contemporary made the slightest effort to il- 
lustrate "Shakespeare" the author-poet's indi- 
vidual life. 

As a chronicler, Meres is unreliable; all 
modern commentators reject his list of Shake- 
sperean plays. Meres asserted that Ben Jon- 
son was one of our best authors for tragedy, 
vwhen at that time, 1598, Jonson had not writ- 
ten a single tragedy, and but one corned] 
Meres mentions Chapman as one of the best 
of our poets for both tragedy and comedy, al- 
though at this period, Chapman had publish- 
ed but one drama. 

William Gager is also included in Men 
list of 1598 of the chief dramatist of the da 1 
among writers of comedy, when the fact 
with the exception of his single comedy "Ri- 
vals" no longer extant, they were Latin trage- 


dies. Before we transcribe in part "Palladis 
Tamia" by Francis Meres, we ask the reader's 
pardon for the abuse of their patience, for 
Meres merely repeats names of Greek, Latin 
and modern play makers. 

"As the tragic poets flourished in Greece, 
Aeschylus, Euripedes, Sophocles, Alexander, 
Aetolus, Achaens, Erithriaens, Astydama, 
Atheninsis, Apollodorus, Torsennis, Nico- 
machus, Phygius, Therpis, Atticans and 
Timon, Appolloniates; and then among the 
Latins, Accim, M. Attilius, Pomponiys, Se- 
cundus and Seneca. So these are our best for 
tragedy; the Lord Buckhurst, Doctor Legge 
of Cambridge, Doctor Edes of Oxford; 
Maister Edward Ferris the author of the 
Mirrour for Magistrates; Marlow, Peele, 
Watson, Kyd, Shakespeare, Drayton, Chap- 
man, Decker and Benjamin Johnson." 

The best poets for comedy (Meres pro- 
ceeds with his enumeration, naming sixteen 
Creeks and ten Latins, twenty-six in all). 
"So the best for comedy amongst us be Ed- 
ard Earle of Oxford, Doctor Gager of Ox- 
ford, Maister Rowley, once a rare Scholler of 
learned Pembrook Hall in Cambridge; Mais- 

:r Edwards, one of her Majesties Chappell 


eloquent and wittie John Lily, Lodge, Gas 
coyne, Greene, Shakespeare, Thomas Nash, 
Thomas Heywood, Anthony Munday. Our 
best ploters are Chapman, Porter, Wilson, 
Hathway and Henry Chettle." 

Francis Meres does not seem to have con- 
sidered it necessary to read before review- 
ing. Had he done so he would not have 
placed the name of Lord Buckhurst first in 
his list, giving primacy to this mediocrist and 
the author of Romeo and Juliet, whoever he 
was, ninth in his enumeration of dramatic 
poets which he considered best among the 
English for tragedy, nor would he have named 
for second place on the list, Dr. Legge of 
Cambridge instead of the author of "The 
Tragical History of Dr. Faustus" (Mar- 

What has Dr. Edwards of Oxford, whose 
name stands fourth in the Meres list, written 
that he should have been mentioned in the 
same connection with the author of "The 
White Devil" (Webster) or the author of 
that English classic, "The Conspiracy and 
The Tragedy of Charles Duke of Byron" 
(Chapman). Why this commingling of such 
insignificant writers as Edward, Earl, Thomas 


r otson and Lord Buckhurst with the giant 
irotherhood. The fact is so far as attesting 
the responsibility of anybody or anything, the 
Meres averments are as worthless as a musty 
nut. What was said of John Aubury is also 
true of Francis Meres: "His brain was like 
a hasty pudding, whose memory and judgment 
and fancy were all stirred together." Yet this 
is the writer that many Shakespearean com- 
mentators confidently appeal to in part, and 
whose testimony in part they with equal un- 
animity reject. The fact is the modern 
Shakespearean commentators have torn the 
Meres list into tatters. Andronicus is univer- 
sally rejected. Mr. Lowell denies the total 
authenticity of Richard III for Shakespeare, 
he says, "never wrote deliberate nonsense." 

Mr. Fleay finds in the Romeo and Juliet 
traces of George Peele and Samuel Daniel, 
and that there are grave doubts as to Shakes- 
peare's hand in "The Comedy of Errors." 
Most modern commentators doubt if the "Two 
Gentlemen of Verona" could have been writ- 
ten by Shakespeare. King John mentioned 
by Meres was doubtless the old play of "The 
Troublesome Reign of King John," first 
printed in 1591, and was three times published 


before the first printing of Shakespeare's 
King John in the folio of 1623, which was 
worked after the old play. There is no such 
play as "Love's Labour Won." 

Not finding Shakespeare in the anthology of 
his day, the most natural inference would be 
that all those who wrote under the name 
"Shakespeare," wrote "incognito " We know 
that many writers of that day wrote anony- 
mously for the stage. Many of the anony- 
mous and pseudonymous writings have been 
retrieved. Much remains still to be reclaimed 
from the siftings of what are named "Early 
Comedy," "Early History" and "Pre-Shakes- 
pearean Group of Plays." 

Mr. Spedding had the good fortune to be 
the first to demonstrate the theory of a divided 
authorship of "Henry VIII," to reclaim for 
John Fletcher Wolsley's Farewell to all his 
greatness. A majority of the best critics now 
agree with Miss Jane Lee in the assignment of 
the second and third part of Henry VI to Mar- 
low, Greene and perhaps Peele. 

Many writers of that age were communis- 
tic in the use of the "Shakespeare" as a 
descriptive title, standing for the collocuted 
works of not one but several playmakers. In 


the list before me there are twelve plays which 
were not included in the folio of the collected 
works of William Shakespeare in 1623. Al- 
though resting upon title page proprietorship 
and in the absence of certified authorship, The 
Yorkshire Tragedy and Hamlet, Prince of 
Denmark are equally tenable. So thought the 
printers as we learn by their frequent use of 
the pseudonymous name of the author of "Ve- 
nus and Adonis," a sensual poem which had 
been very popular. 

The plays referred to which bore the im- 
printed name of "Shakespeare" were these: 
Arthur of Eversham, The London Prodigal 
Loarine, Sir John Oldcastle, Thomas Lord 
Cromwell, Edward III, The Birth of Mer- 
lin, Mucedonis, Merry Devil of Edmonton, 
Yorkshire Tragedy, Arraignment of Paris, 
Puritan, Widow of Watling Street. 

The difficulty of identifying Shakespeare 
the author poet with the young man who came 
up from Stratford, has induced Shakespearean 
scholars to question the unity of authorship. 
Sir Sidney Lee admits that Shakespeare 
"drew largely" on the Hamlet, referred to 
by Nash in 1589, which he has ascribed to 
Kyd (p. 221). 


It is scarcely possible, says Mr. Marshall, 
"to maintain that the play referred to as well 
known in 1589 could have been by Shakes- 
peare (Shakspere) the "Stratforder." Surely 
not. We see the question of the unity of au- 
thorship involves the question of his identity, 
for according to Shakespearean scholarship, 
the "Works" in part at least are a batch of 
anonymous plays worked over and labeled 

There is strong presumptive proof that 
printers and publishers in Elizabethan and 
Jacobin times were in the habit of selecting 
names or titles that would best sell their books, 
and it mattered not to publishers if the name 
printed on the title page was a personal name 
or one impersonal. Title pages were not even 
presumptive proof of authorship in the time 
of Queen Elizabeth and King James. The 
printers chose to market their publications un- 
der the most favorable conditions and some 
writers and printers chose the incognizable 
name "Shakespeare" which had been at- 
tached to the voluptuous poem "Venus and 
Adonis," 1593, which had a wide popularity 
resting on its supposed dissoluteness. 

This was the first appearance of the name 


"Shakespeare" in literature, being the mask- 
name doubtless of the writer who gave this 
erotic poem to the world "the first heir of my 


Certified authorship in that age as to the 

great body of the works produced is the excep- 
tion, rather than the rule, for many writers 
of that age wrote anonymously and pseudony- 
mously. Edmund Spencer until the begin- 
ning of 1580 wrote and published under an 
assume name "Immerito" 

The authorship of the Shepherd's Calen- 
dar was not formally acknowledged or certi- 
fied to until after it had gone through several 
editions by "the unknown poet" as he is called 
by the old commentator. After the certifica- 
tion by the author of the work, after seven 
years, the critics referred to Spencer as "the 
late unknown poet or the person who wrote 
"The Shepherd's Calendar." 

In 1586 William Webbe published his "Dis- 
course of English Poetrie." In this the au- 
thor of "The Shepherd's Calendar" is spoken 
of by the mask name "Immerito," given by 
its editor E. K. (Edward Kirk) a friend and 
fellow student of the author at Pembroke, who 
r as the editor and commentator of Spencer's 


earliest work, the pseudonymous "Shepherd's 
Calendar." It was praised by a contemporary 
poet, George Whitstone, himsef a friend of 
Spencer, as the reputed work by Sir Philip 
Sidney. Raleigh, Lodge, Drayton, Nash and 
Sidney paid homage to Spencer. 

Spencer wrote nine comedies, but every 
trace has perished. Not one in fifty of the 
dramas of this period according to Holli- 
well-Phillipps having descended to modern 

The plays contained in the first and second 
folio, (1647-1679) of Beaumont and Fletch- 
er's comedies and tragedies number fifty- 
three; but only three were published in Beai 
mont's lifetime, and that on none of thei 
does Beaumont's name appear as authoi 
Fletcher survived his partner nine years. 

Robert Burton (1576-1649), author of the 
Anatomy of Melancholy, maintained his in- 
cognito for a time, he avers, because it gave 
him greater freedom. 

John Marston (1575-1634) applied his own 
mask-name "Kimayder" to his antagonist and 
purposely ridicules himself. 

Michael Drayton (1563-1631) also had 
written at this period under the pseudonym 


of Rowland. At about this time likewise in 
France, Jean Baptiste (Popuelin), (1622- 
73) preferred to be known as Moliere, whose 
original manuscripts are not to be found, but 
as one of the great identities of his age, are 
not essential to illustrate his individual life, 
He was the particular personal favorite of 
Louis XIV, who bestowed lavishly his benefits 
upon Moliere. He had given him a pension 
of seven thousand livres and a position near 
the King as groom-of-the-chamber. The great 
monarch had been delighted to stand god- 
father to one of his children, to whom the 
Duchess of Orleans was godmother. 

In consequence of failing health, his sad- 
dened friends on the 17th of February, 1673, 
entreated him not to have any play. "What 
would you have me do/' he replied, "there 
are fifty poor workmen who have but their 
day's pay to live upon. What will they do if 
we have no play? I should reproach myself 
with having neglected to give them bread for 
one single day if I could really help it." 

How beautifully Moliere's benevolent ac- 
tions blend with his sweet words. He was 
ever mindful of the pressure with which the 
common ills of life fall upon the poor. 


In more recent times, Francois Marie 
Aronet (1694-1778) won enduring fame as 
Voltaire. Montesquieu's Esprit des Lois was 
disguised on its appearance in 1748. 

The famous work "Eikon Basilike" which 
appearing soon after the execution of Charles 
First as his work, was a potent factor in that 
reaction which culminated in the Restoration 
of the House of Stuart. Burnet says it had 
"the greatest run in many impressions of any 
book of the age." 

Many years after its first appearance, John 
Gauden, Bishop of Exeter in 1660, laid claim 
to its authorship. Sir Walter Scott main- 
tained his incognito as the great unknown for 
years like "Junius" whose secret was intrusted 
to no one, and was never to be revealed. Sir 
Walter preserved his secret until driven to the 
brink of financial destruction. 

We believe that the author of "Hamlet," 
"Lear" and "Macbeth" chose to sheath his pri- 
vate life and personality as a man of letters 
in an impenetrable incognito the nothing- 
ness of a name. 

The author (Puttenham) of "The Arts of 
English Poesie," an anonymous work pub- 
lished in 1589, says, "I know very many 


notable gentlemen in the court that have writ- 
ten commendably, and suppressed it agayne, 
or else suffered it to be publisht without their 
owner's name to it, as if it were a discredit for 
a gentleman to seeme learned and to show 
himself amorous of any good Arte." 

As these things were so, does it jar you or 
you to discover a cultured nobleman, the Earl 
of Derby, writing plays for the common play- 
ers in the year 1599, the same year in which 
his Lordship or some unknown other wrote 
Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing. 
Mr. James Greenstreet had the good fortune 
to discover the intercepted dispatch written 
by a foreign ambassador to his home govern- 
ment. This piece of information was dis- 
covered by accident in the place in which the 
English Public Records are kept. The cour- 
tier's reason for concealment was to shun the 
presumption of living by his pen. For the 
Elizabethan notable gentleman-poet scorned 
the professional poet and considered publish- 
ing stage poetry a degradation. It is ridi- 
culous, says the great Advocate John Selden 
(1584-1654), "for a lord to print verses; 'tis 
well enough to make them to please himself, 
but to make them public is foolish." So we 


see that plain people were not the only on 
who wrote plays in this great poetic age. 

But the upper classes great folks, had 
taken a hand in writing plays "on the sly." 
Robert Greene in his introductory address to 
the gentlemen students of both universities, 
refers to certain devotional poets "which from 
their calling and gravities being loath to have 
any profane pamphlets pass under their hand, 
get some Batillus to set his name to their 
verses. Thus is the ass made proud by this 
underhand brokerie. And he that cannot 
write true English without the help of clerks 
of parish churches will needes make him 
selfe the father of interludes." 

What do we know about the individual life 
of the author of the plays, who among all the 
great men of his age was the greatest answer- 
nothing that can be authenicated. The 
Stratfordians deny the truth of this statement, 
and in their attempt at refutation, point to 
the Shakespeare-Southampton dedication of 
Venus and Adonis as a memorable poem 
which they allege is proof of certified author- 

But are we to accept it (Venus and Adonis) 
as a memorable poem? Surely not in an age 


when printers wrote dedications. When edi- 
tors invented and signed the mask name while 
the author maintained an impenetrable in- 
cognito as in the case of Edmond Spencer. 
When the Shepherd's Calendar was printed 
pseudonymously by the editor E. K., who in- 
vented and signed Spencer's pen name. 

No reputed play bore the name "Shakes- 
>eare" on the title page until 1598. Thomas 

>dge (1556-1625) in his prose satire "Wits 
Misery," dated 1596, enumerates the wits of 

I the time. Shakespeare is not mentioned. 
Peter Heylin was born in 1599 and died in 
1662, thus being seventeen years old when 
Shakspere, the Stratford player died in 1616. 
.n reckoning up the famous dramatic poets 
if England, he omits "Shakespeare." 

Philip Henslow, the old play broker, also 
in writing his note book from 1591 to 1609, 
loes not even mention "Shakespeare," al- 
though he records the title of no fewer than 
270 plays. Henslow was in theatrical part- 
nership with the famous "Ned Allen" in con- 
nection with the Rose and Fortune Theatres; 
Edward Alleyn personated in "Leir the 
Moore of Venis," "Romeo, Pericles and 
Henry VIII," "as appears from his inventory 


of his own theatrical wardrobe." Henslowe 
records in his Diary on June 9th, 1594, that 
Hamlet was performed by his company (p. 
180). Both Mr. Halliwell-Phillipps and Sir 
Sidney Lee say that Shakespeare began his 
career as a dramatist by writing plays for the 
manager, Philip Henslowe at the Rose The- 
atre. And yet Henslowe makes no mention 
of Shakespeare, (p. 24-8). 

According to Henslow's Diary (note book), 
Henry the Sixth was performed as a new play 
in March, 1591. This is conjectured to be 
the play referred to by Nash, acted by "Lord 
Strange's men" at the Rose in 1592. This was 
not the company to which Shakspere the Strat- 
ford player belonged. 

Milton's poem on Shakespeare (1630) was 
not published in his works in 1645. This 
eulogy was prefixed to the folio edition of 
Shakespeare (1632) but without Milton's $ 
name. It's pedigree was not at all satisfac- 
tory. Milton's acquaintance with Shakes- 
peare's verse must have been very slight, as 
shown by the lines, 

"Or sweetest Shakespere fancy's 

Warbles his native wood nttes wild," 


r had he read "Venus and Adonis," so clas- 
sical and formal, he would agree with Walter 
lavage Landor that no poet was ever less a 
rarbler of "wood.nttes wild." 

Now in fact, after the publication of the 
irst folio edition in 1623, all the later testi- 
tonies are repetitious, suggestions inspired by 
ten Jonson's famous ascription to Shakes- 
;are, which he wrote for the syndicate of 
irinters and publishers, with a view to the 
tie of the work in 1623. 
The slight mention of Shakespeare by the 
idicious Webster, as Hazelt calls him, com- 
prehends no more than that he mistook a 
pseudonymous author for one of the hack- 
writers of the day. "Detraction is the sworn 
friend to ignorance, for mine own part, I have 
ever truly cherished my good opinion of other 
mens' worthy labors, especially of that full and 
heightened style of Master Chapman, the la- 
bored and understanding works of Master 
Jonson, the no less worthy composures of the 
both worthily excellent masters Beaumont and 
Fletcher, and lastly (without wrong last to be 
named) the right happy and copious industry 
of Master Shakespeare, Master Dekker and 
[aster Heywood." 


These words written by the second greatest 
English tragic poets are very significant, for 
Shakespeare's distinctive characteristics are 
not individualized from those of Dekker and 
Heywood, while those of Chapman, Jonson, 
Beaumont and Fletcher are. 

In the last four named is perfect interlace- 
ment of personality with authorship, but not 
so in Shakespeare, for industry is the only dis- 
tinguishing mark which he must share with 
Dekker and Heywood, hack writers for the 
stage. Dekker's many plays attest his copious 
industry, when we remember that this writer 
spent seven years in prison, and Heywood's in- 
dustry cannot be doubted for he claimed to 
have had a hand or main finger in two hundred 
and twenty plays. Bear in mind when the 
preface to Webster's tragedy, "The White 
Devil," which contains this slight mention of 
Shakespeare was printed in 1612, after all the 
immortal plays were written and the now re- 
puted author had returned to Stratford, prob- 
ably in 1611-1612 in his forty-seventh year, 
where he lived in idleness for five years before 
his death from the effect of a drunken carou- 
sal, according to a so-called late tradition, 
which some Stratfordians employ, not as an 


jpersion, but merely to show that the Strat- 
actor lead a jolly life. 

John Webster possessed a critical faculty 

id an independent judgment, but the way he 
lakes mention of Shakespeare shows that he 

lew nothing about the individual man or 
the works called "Shakespeare." 

The generous reference to "the labored and 
understanding works of Master Jonson," gives 
a clear idea of the main characteristics of the 
work of Ben Jonson who, not having reached 
the fruition of his renown in 1612, but in the 
after time came into Dryden's view as "The 
greatest man of the last age, the most learned 
and judicious writer any theatre ever had." 
John Webster writes also of the "no less 
worthy composures of Beaumont and 
Fletcher." Thus in the morning of life they 
present an excellent type for purity of vocabu- 
lary and neatness of expression, and were of 
"loudest fame; Two of Beaumont and 
Fletcher's plays were acted to one of Shakes- 
peare's or Ben Jonson's" in Dryden's time 

John Webster's judgment of his fellow 
dramatist was just. "I have ever truly cher- 
ished my good opinion of other men's worthy 


labors." Webster never conceals or misrepre- 
sents the truth by giving evasive or equivocat- 
ing evidence. He reveals the judicial trait of 
his character in placing Chapman first among 
cognizant poets then living, assuming the 
name "Shakespeare" was used as an assumed 
name, masking the true name of the greatest 
English poet. Sidney Marlowe and Spencer 
had then descended to the tomb. 

The play actor, William Shakspere in his 
life time was not publicly credited with the 
personal authorship of the plays and poems 
called "Shakespeare," except possibly by three 
or four poeticules such as Freeman, Barnfield, 
Weever and Meres, who follow each other in 
the iteration and reiteration of the same in- 
sipid and affected compliments, not one of 
them implying a personal acquaintance with 
the author, but who erroneously take one per- 
son for another, thus identifying the wrong 
individuality. Some few persons may have 
believed that the player and playwright were 
one and the same person and were deceived 
into so believing. This much we do know 
that the Stratford actor never openly sanc- 
tioned the identification, although he may have 
been accessory to the deception and in this 


mnection, it should be borne in mind also 

iat no poet was remembered in Shakspere's 

r ill as were the actors. 

Of the thirty-six plays assigned by the folio 
1623, not one had received the acknowledg- 

tent of their reputed author (Shakespeare). 
Not a single line in verse or prose assented 
to for comparison and identification, and in 
the absence of credible evidence of (the auth- 
or's true name) his authorship of certain 
poems, there can be no authoritative sanction 
of the assignment. No person writing on the 
subject of "Shakespeare" can write a literary 
life of the individual man, for player Shak- 
spere of Stratford-on-Avon does not offer a 
single point of correspondence to the activities 

*f a literary man or scholar. 
The fantastical critics profess to read the 
story of the author's life in his works. This is 
an absurdity, for dramatic art is mainly char- 
acter creation and cannot be made to disclose 
a knowledge of his private life. 

Forty-six years after the death of William 
Shakspere of Stratford, "The gentle-hum- 
ored" Thomas Fuller in his "Worthies," pub- 
lished posthumously in 1662, wrote "Many 
were the wit combats betwixt him and Ben 


Jonson, which two I behold like a Spanis 
great galleon and an English man of 
Master Jonson, like the former, was built fai 
higher in learning solid, but slow in his pe: 
formance, Shakespere with the English mi 
of war, lesser in bulk, but lighter in sailing, 
could turn with all tides, tack about and take 
advantage of all winds by the quickness of his 
wit and invention." 

Fuller being born in 1608 was only eight 
years old when player Shakspere of Stratford 
died and but two years old when he quit Lon- 
don. If this precocious youngster beheld the 
"wit combats" of the two, he could only have 
beheld them as he lay "mewling and puking 
in his nurse's arms." 

The facts are when the quaint and witty 
Fuller was six years old, his father was rector 
of St. Peter's in Aldwinkle. The boy was 
sent to school in his native village and con- 
tinued at that school for four years. It's not 
likely that the lad was in London during 
player Shakspere's lifetime. 

Shakespeare's contemporaries had nothing 
to say, in fact, and in criticism of either au- 
thor or works of any consequence during the 
life time of the Stratford player. All the great 


ien of his time were strangers to him. No 

ige, no statesman, no orator, no man of lit- 
irary eminence whatever left any description 
>f "Shakespeare's" manner as a writer. Is it 

>ssible that the great men of that age, John 
n, Sir Walter Raleigh, Inigo Jones, 

>rayton, Hobbes, Spencer, Daniel, Chapman, 
(en Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher could 
lave read the immortal plays and not have 
(receded Mr. James Spedding in handing 
lown to posterity something about Shakes- 
peare. "Close packed expression, the same life 
ind reality and freshness, the same rapid and 
ibrupt turnings of thought, so quick that lan- 

lage can hardly follow fast enough." So 
transcendent was Shakespeare's genius for ex- 

No wonder Dr. Ingleby is led to say that "it 
is plain that the bard of our admiration was 
inknown to the men of that age." 
But Sir Sidney Lee boldly asserts (p. 586), 

lat at Shakespeare's death "no mark of honor 

r as denied his name." There is no intimation 
>f the truth of any such an assertion in the 
records of integrity. This is only one of the 
Stratfordian assertions without proof. 

However, the matter of fact to be accentu- 


ated is that the contemporaries of the writer 
of the immortal plays did not know positively 
*<who wrote them. We do not know positively 
who wrote them, and our latest posterity, when 
holy Trinity's monuments, turrets and towers 
shall have crumbled and commingled with the 
shrined dust of "him who sleeps by Avon," 
may not know who wrote them. 

Suppose now we go to Parnassus Hill for 
perfect vision above the mists of fabulation 
and spurious traditions, and examine the "Par- 
nassus Trilogy." We shall see that the aim 
of the Cambridge dramatist is to exhibit the 
trials and sufferings of poor scholars; the sel- 
fishness and haughty demeanor of the com- 
mon players who are made sport of in the 
later scene of Part III of The Return. The 
University writer introduces Burbage and 
Kemp, two actors of repute who are made to 
appear as professionals, tutoring candidates 
for the common stage, saying one thing and 
meaning the opposite. 

The Cambridge ironist seems to praise that 
which he really means to condemn and in 
mockery, conveys an insult in the form of a 
compliment, when Kemp the Morris dancer 
of the professional stage is made to observe 


jfore an academic audience, that university 
days imbibe too much odor of the schools. 
r e see the Morris-dancer (Kemp) brought 
irward as the type of ignorance in the pro- 
issional player who thinks that Metamorpho- 
is is a writer. When these words were spoken 
Clare Hall, St. John's College, Cambridge, 
the very headquarters of stagecraft, when 
e chronic clashing between town and gown 
s at its height, the gray old walls of the 

follege Hall must have resounded with a roar 
: derisive laughter. 
Still it is claimed by the Stratfordians that 
this play clearly identifies Shakespeare, the 
Poet and Shakspere the player. The point 
is, says Mr. Lang, "that Kemp recognizes 
Shakespeare as both actor and author." The 
point which Mr. Lang has missed is that the 
ironist is setting up Kemp, the clown, as the 
type of ignorance and Shakspere the actor as 
the type of imposition and pretention in the 
strolling player. 

The writer of the "Parnassus Trilogy" is 
unknown, but whomsoever he may have been 
was a very accurate and close observer of men 
and events ; who makes us see the scholars of 
those days after their graduation, struggling 



with the meanest necessities of life by the 
disclosure of their woeful experience and the 
miserable shifts to earn a livelihood leading 
the life of tramps at home and adventurers 
abroad, where they fare no better, convinced, 

That it's as good to starve 'mongst 
English swine, 

As in a forraine land to beg and 

In "Pierce Penilesse" (1592) Thomas 
Nash, the brilliant satirist and member of th< 
University, utters a wail of anguish becaus< 
of the wretchedness of the life of a man ol 
letters; and Ben Jonson embittered by th< 
woes of scholars, writes, "The time was whei 
men were had in price for learning, now let- 
ters only make men vile." 

"Better is it among fiddlers to be 

Than at a player's trench beg relief; 

But is it not strange those mimic apes 
should prize 

Unhappy scholars at a hireling's rate. 

Vile world that lifts them up to high 

But treads us down in grovelling mis- 

England affords those glorious vaga- 



'hat carried erst their fardels on 
their backs 

Coursers to ride on through the gaz- 
ing streets 

Icopping it in their glaring satin 

.nd pages to attend their master- 
ships. . 

r ith mouthing words that better 
wits have framed 

'hey purchase lands and now es- 
quiries are made." 

The reader should not lose sight of the fact 
that the aim of the Cambridge dramatist is to 
satirize the public taste for studies of amour- 
ous passion by setting up Gullio, the lascivious 
boaster, the pretender to learning, who com- 
missions his lacky to rehearse amorous speech- 
es, mainly variations on lines in "Venus and 
Adonis," holding up to scorn this lustful poem 
as the favorite of the lewd or unchaste class 
of the population. 

"Let this duncified world esteem of Spencer 
and Chaucer, I'll worship sweet Mr. Shakes- 
peare, and to honor him will lay his Venus 

id Adonis under my pillow." 


The Cambridge dramastist makes it plain 
enough that the poem "Venus and Adonis" 
was popular with the unchaste classes, but 
there is nothing from the mouth of Gullio, 
the braggadocio and professed libertine in the 
second part where the ironist is satirizing 
the public taste for amourous verse which re- 
flect the individual life of the great Eliza- 
bethan Junius (Shakespeare). 

Or in the latter scene of Part III of the 
Return where the Cambridge dramatist from 
the mouth of Kemp in mockery is conveying 
the opposite of what is said when Shakspere, 
a strolling stage player is made a laughing 
stock before the Gownsmen of the University. 
This is made manifest when the St. John's 
playwright in derision represents the common 
players so ignorant that they think that Meta- 
morphosis is a writer and that one Shakespeare 
(Shakspere) of their fellowship, "puts Ben 
Jonson and his fellow craftsmen all down, giv- 
ing "Rare Ben" a purge that made him bewray 
his credit." 

This passage so perplexing to the uphold- 
ers of the Stratford Shakespere delusion was 
well understood by the St. John's audience 


hich was polar opposite to that now held by 
ie Stratfordians. 

Will Kemp, the jig and morris-dancer is 
lade to exclaim "O, that Ben Jonson is a 
estilent fellow." No wonder the common 
[avers should consider Ben Jonson a trouble- 
me fellow, for they were still smarting from 
the severe chastisement he gave them in 

The play was brought out at the Black- 
friars a month or two before by the Children 
of the Chappie in 1601, and in it Ben Jonson 
undertook their castigation, for the players 
had long provoked him on the stage with their 
taunts, and in conjunction with his other ene- 
mies, endeavored to put him down. There is 
still another reason why the common player 
should regard Ben Jonson pestiferous from 
their point of view, and that is his taking the 
part of the Children of the Chappie Royal in 
their conflict with the adult actors of the pro- 
fessional stage in the "War of the Theatres." 
The Children of the Chappie were very popu- 
lar, due to their habit of cleanliness and his- 
trionic success. George Chapman and Ben 
Jonson, writing for their stage, gave them the 
upper hand in the fight that put the profes- 


sional players down and out of business for 
the popularity of the Children of the Chappie 
Royal drew from the common playhouse, the 
pleasure seeking public, who preferred them 
to any company of adult actors. So the pro- 
fessionals were compelled to close their play 
house, glad to turn tramps and stroll from 
town to town. 

For be it remembered that the Lord Cham- 
berlain's Company of which Shakspere was a 
member were forced to leave London on or 
before this time 1601-02 "with their fardels 
(blankets) on their backs." By reason of hav- 
ing been defeated in their conflict with the 
Children of the Chappie, a courtier in Ham- 
let has made us see that the children of the 
Chappie have superseded the adult actors in 
popular esteem. 

In answer to Hamlet's question, why the 
common players travel when it was better both 
for reputation and profit that they should stay 
in the city, Rosecrantz replies that the theatre 
going public were deserting the theatres in 
which adults held the stage, and that their 
itinerary has been caused by the "late innova- 

A person in "Jack Drum's Enterment" is 


tade to say of those who gave the Children 
of the Chappie audience: 

"I like the audience that frequenteth there, 
ith much applause a man shall not be 
;hocked to the barrny jacket of a beer brewer.'* 

But in spite of bitterness and class distinc- 
tion between the academic and professional 
jtage, "the latter was constantly being re- 
quited from graduates who had gained their 
:arliest dramatic experience as spectators, ac- 

irs and authors of college plays." 

The collection called Shakespearean usually 
ublished under the name "Shakespeare" are 

lemorials of the University stage, and the leg- 
it inns of court, many of them worked over by 
the great unknown a greater Junius, "the 

lagical hand which has never yet been suc- 
;essfully imitated." The Shakespeare plays 
.re academic (a part of them) in the sense 

lat they were originally written in part and 
tcted by University men within College walls, 
dthough remodelled and interpolated for the 
Tofessional stage. Still exhale the academic 
fragrance of ancient literature and ancient 
>hilosophy, all the classic odors from the land 
>f flowery meads and purple sky, were per- 
ceived by the great unknown, as all careful 


students will perceive. For the author of the 
Plays and Poems is saturated with the litera- 
ture of ancient Greece and Rome, and there is 
an ostentatious display of erudition in classi- 
cal lore. 

In an epistle by Thomas Nash, a gowns- 
man of the College, to the gentlemen students 
of both Universities, prefixed to Robert 
Green's novel "Menaphon," printed in 1589, 
there is an allusion to the "shifty play wright 
who from English Seneca, if you entreat him 
fair in a frostie morning, he will afford you 
whole Hamlets, I should say handfulls of 
tragical speeches." We know from the title 
page of the first quarto of Hamlet (1603) 
when the play is said to have been acted in 
the two Universities, we also know that "Vol- 
phone" received the same distinction by the 
grateful acknowledgment of the author, Ben 

However, the gownsmen would scarcely 
recognize their work after its passage from 
the academic to the professional stage, so 
pawed over by actors and bemuddled for the 
"gags" of the clowns. Of this we may be sure, 
that so long as Hamlet retained an academic 
environment, its scholar hero was not made 


grotesquely ridiculous as in the pathetic scene 
over the skull of Yorick, the gruesome relic 
if his playmate in childhood, or by the inter- 
polated slang expressions contained in Ham- 
let's soliloquoy on ending the sorrows of life 
in death. But we are safe in supposing that 
Burbage and his "men players" knew what the 
: requenters of the public play house wanted 
ind did not hesitate at the employment of 
slang phrases and sensational tricks, or the in- 
troduction of anachronisms. 

Philip Henslowe makes mention of a Ham- 
let presented June 9th, 1594, which was an 
>ld play (now lost), doubtless by Thomas 
Kyd, one of the University bred men who 
r rote stage plays which served for something 
lore than as the basis for the "Shakespeare" 
plays. It seems certain that the "great un- 
known" found much that he turned to his own 
account in remodelling Hamlet. 

The Stratford mythomanic disturbance is 
due to the fact that the plays were but little 
read or discussed in the life time of the Strat- 
ford player (Shakspere) or a considerable 
time thereafter, as only about half of those 
contained in the folio of 1623 were in print 


previous to the folio edition, and all of them 

When the folio of 1623 was published, the 
plays attributed to William Shakspere, the 
Stratford player, had been written many of 
them for more than thirty years, having in all 
this time attained no considerable repute or 
celebrity. The Shakespeare tragedies were 
very seldom played at court, only one during 
the long reign of James the First. Twenty 
plays were not even printed in quarto before 
the folio of 1623, seven years after player 
Shakspere's death. The name Shakespeare 
was placed on the title page by printers and 
publishers to mark the excess in producing 
studies of amorous passion, and not because of 
the popularity of any individual who may 
have borne the amorously inspired name, 
which derived nearly all of its commercial 
value in connection with the erotic poem 
"Venus and Adonis" of which before the end 
of 1630, several quarto editions had appeared. 

If the Shakespeare plays had been as popu- 
lar as the Poems, twenty of them would not 
have remained in manuscript, more especially 
if the author, as is alleged, was a "partner in 
the profits of what they call the house" for 


he would not have sold them (the plays). 
"In the strict sense, Ben Jonson managed to 
retain the control of his dramas," and that too, 
without property interest in the play house. 
Why not the play actor from Stratford if the 
author of the plays called "Shakespeare." 

The title, so called, which is now assumed, 
in favor of the Stratford Shakspere was not 
recognizable then. The play houses were the 
repository of the plays, the share holding ac- 
tors the custodians, and the illiterate fre- 
quenters of the public play house the critics, 
who never thought it worth while to discuss 
authorship. As for the literati, they would 
not soil their hands with such riff-raff as play 

The Poems which were most conspicuously 
associated with the name Shakespeare are ab- 
sent from the printed pages of the folio 
(1623). The syndicate of printers and pub- 
lishers seems to have known nothing of the 
personal and literary life of the author of the 
plays, as the folio of 1623 contains nothing 
of a biographical history; not the slightest ef- 
fort made to illustrate the individual life of 
the Stratfordian fraudulently set up by the two 
players Hemming and Condell, assuming, of 


course, that they were not so ignorant as to 
mistake the actor's copy for the original manu- 
script, and that they did not believe that all 
the preceding issues, the quarto texts upon 
which the 1623 folio text "was founded in part 
were stolen and surreptitious copies maimed 
and deformed." While they actually reprinted 
in part these deformed and stolen copies and 
practised a fraudulent deception when they 
announced that all the dramas were now pub- 
lish "according to the original copies." 

Many writers on the subject of Shakespeare 
assert that the dramatist of that day did not 
print and publish their plays because they had 
sold them to the play houses a mistaken no- 
tion. The authors could easily have secured 
permission from the play brokers as there was 
a new play coming out every eighteen days, 
according to Henslowe's Diary. Ben Jonson 
published his plays how we don't know, but 
the play brokers Henslowe and Burbage 
would (probably) have been glad to have 
parted with plays they called old, although 
of quite recent date, such as Richard II and 
the like. The reason why the great mass of 
dramatic literature was produced anony- 
mously was due, in part, to the prevalence of 


ie common informers, termed "State deci- 
herers," "a most lewde and detestable profes- 
ion," and the authors' desire to escape bodily 
ffliction and not because their works were 

For the play makers could in all probability 

ave secured permission to publish. "Many 

writers before there existed a reading public 

wore the mask of a fictitious name and were 



There is another stumbling block which 
sends the upholders of the Stratford Shakspere 
myth sprawling. We have reference to 
Thomas Heywood's epistle before his "Apo- 
logy for Actors" which contains his publicly 
printed protest against the filching of two 
poems from his Trioa Britannic a t which he 
found printed in an anthology, entitled "The 
Passionate Pilgrim," a collection of amourous 
songs, published by William Jaggard, a pirate 
publisher. The volume contained twenty 
pieces in all and but five assigned to the dis- 
guised author poet, whose mask name 
(Shakespeare) was on the title page until re- 
moved as the result of Heyw r ood protest. The 


bulk of the volume was by Marlow, Barnfield, 
Griffin, Heywood, Raleigh and various un- 
known authors, not one of whom, Heywood 
alone excepted, appear to have raised any pro- 
test, and surely "Shakespeare," the pseudony- 
mous poet, whose poems in the main they were 
not, would not and did not raise any. 

At the time the volume was issued in 1599, 
the Stratford player (Shakspere) was alive, 
living in London and could not have been 
ignorant of the publication, had a "manifest 
injury" been done him. It's an unwarrantable 
assumption on the part of Dr. Ingleby and 
other writers on the subject of Shakespeare to 
say that Heywood's dedicatory epistle before 
his "Apology for Actors" is a record of pro- 
test on Shakespeare's part, a thing taken for 
granted without proof, Heywood writes : "So 
the author I know much offended with M. 
Jaggard that altogether unknown to him pre- 
sumed to be so bold with his name." And yet 
the author whom Heywood claimed to have 
known, suffered three editions of this spurious 
work for twelve years to issue from the press, 
and says Sir Sidney Lee, "This is the only 
instance on record of a protest on Shakes- 
peare's part against the many injuries which 


suffered at the hands of contemporary pub- 
jhers." (p. 183). This earnest Stratfordian 
;s not perceive the difference between proof 
id opinion. Shakespeare raised no protest 
the fraud. Heywood merely says, "the au- 
ir I know much offended," whomsoever he 
ty have been. 

But Heywood did not know even this much, 
ior the volume is a mere compilement of 
imourous rhymes which had been drawn from 
various writers, a book without original re- 
search, an anthology, and, of course, not au- 
thored by Shakespeare, or any one of the vari- 
ous contributors of the material for the com- 

Had Heywood examined the Anthology, he 
could not have been so blunderingly stupid 
as to mistake compilation for authorism, more 
especially if the title page bore the pseudony- 
mous name "Shakespeare," and that notorious 
plunderer and pickpocket of literary prop- 

fty, William Jaggard. 
Heywood in no way connects the play actor, 
Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon with Shakes- 
peare the author poet. He also knew that the 
name "Shakespeare" on the title page is no 
proof of authorship. But as the complaining 


witness, Heywood himself has shown by the 
detection of the fraud, actually a presumption 
against it; for there are as many as fifteen 
plays which commentators now admit that 
Shakespeare the author poet did not write. 

This is but one of the many abortive at- 
tempts by the biographers and commentators 
to establish personal relationship with Shaks- 
pere or Shakespeare and his literary contem- 
poraries, disclosing an irrepressible desire to 
discover player and poet under the same hood. 

There is therefore no prima facie reason 
why we should not conceive a concealed author 
poet, an elder Junius having a large share in 
the work (Shakespeare). In an age of letter 
writing, there is nothing in its epistolary cor- 
respondence in regard to an author poet per- 
sonal to "Shakespeare;" no trace is found in 
its literary or social life of the individual man. 

The Stratfordians much prefer to have a 
definite name taken to be claimant as the au- 
thor of the plays and poems by all those who 
are against the "Stratforder" as the Stratford 
arsenal contains no weapon for defensive war- 
fare, and is therefore in a wretched state for 
defense, which the professionally trained 
students of literary history are unable to rem- 


ly; for this reason the Stratfordians are so- 

citious for a definite and famous name; a 

aimant having a conspicious personality, 

ore especially a character whom they regard 

vulnerable most to the darts of the criticas- 

, and one whose defense must necessitate 

ie withdrawal of the enemy's fire in some 

gree from Stratford. 

But the present writer would prefer the 
uch lighter task of bringing forward evi- 
nce tending to prove the pseudonymity of 
author. The obligation of furnishing evi- 
nce to prove who that somebody was does 
t lie upon those whose aim is to prove the 
eudonymity and anomalousness of the 
r orks. We know that the works called 
Shakespeare" and the well-known fables 
ailed ./Esopus, although, of course, not corn- 
ed by ^Esop, as every one knows, for their 
dernity is clearly established, are associated 
th definite names, the one with that of an 
glish actor, the other a Greek slave, whose 
ividuality, however, is not more fabulous 
d mythical than is the external life of the 
thor of the works called "Shakespeare." 
It is a very easy matter to show that people 
the elder time did not share our admiration 


for the Shakespeare plays, and there should be 
some abatement of the notion that a false or 
fictitious name may not baffle the most de- 
termined inquiries for the Junius letters an 
proof against any such assumption. For not- 
withstanding all the discussion and excitemeni 
caused by the publication, the writer was not 
discovered, nor do we know positively wh< 
wrote them. For the authorship of a junius," 
like the authorship of "Shakespeare" wj 
never acknowledged either publicly or pri- 
vately. The evidence for the authorship i< 
thus wholly circumstantial, and the questioi 
remains still undecided, and one of the most 
noted examples of concealed authorship. 

The first of the celebrated letters of Junii 
appeared on the 21st of January, 1769, in th< 
Public Advertiser, one of the leading news- 
papers of the time and made by far the great- 
est sensation in the political and literal 
world. For lucidity and force there is nothinj 
quite equal to them in our literature. Hii 
sentences cut and sparkled like diamonds. 
"King, Lords and commons are but the spoi 
of his fury; his searching eye penetrate< 
equally into the retired circles of domesti< 


the cabinets of ministers and the closet of 
King." (Burke). 

-iis supreme ambition has been realized in 
enmities, for he had, indeed, "preserved 
perishable infamy of their names and made 
m immortal." Sir Philip Francis has been 
nted at as the "Man in the Mask" but when 
letters of Junius were issuing from the 
;ss of the Public Advertiser, Edmund 
rke was thought by many distinguished per- 
s to be the writer of the letters. Now 
rybody knows that Burke did not write 

Die Franciscan theory of Junius, as it is 
led, is advanced by DeQuincy, Lord Ma- 
ilay, and others, although Francis was never 
ntioned in connection with the celebrated 
ters until 1814, forty-five years after the 
>t of the far-famed letters of Junius had ap- 
ired. He (Francis) died in 1818, failing to 
knowledge the identity of Junius with Fran- 
, thence forward and forever more insuring 
rpetual secrecy the immunity of dream- 

But in this connection, our purpose is not 
discover the author of the "Letters," but to 
int out one of the most conspicuous ex- 


amples of concealed authorship of the Eigh- 
teenth Century. The remarkable volume en- 
titled "Ecce Homo" is still more recent and 
one of the most noted of uncertified author- 
ship. Conditions were much more favorable 
to the maintenance of secrecy in the literary 
and political world in Shakespeare's time, 
when perversion and deception is not only sub- 
sidiary to Tudor and Jacobin philosophy, but 
part and parcel of it. There could have been 
no great mystery about the secrecy or pseu- 
donymity of authorship of works that were 
not even recognized by the Republic of Let- 
ters, nor at Court, as plays of special eminency, 
much less an epoch making work. There were 
several motives for concealed authorship dur- 
ing the struggle for constitutional freedom 
against prerogative in the turbulent reign of 
the Stuarts, which is one of the periods in Eng- 
lish history when the acknowledgment of au- 
thorship meant danger. In Tudor and Ja- 
cobin times, works were published under a 
false name with the distinct intention to in- 
duce people to believe them the works of those 
whose names they bore, or of works errone- 
ously attributed to a wrong person. 

Sir Thomas Brown complained that his 


name was being used to float books that he 
never wrote. We cannot agree with the up- 
holders of the Stratford Shakespere myth 
madness who say, "That the real authorship 
could have been kept a secret, would be a 
greater mystery, more inexplicable, than the 
Sphinx." Nonsense. 

The English speaking people are peculiarly 
liable to delusion or as the great American 
'showman and hoaxer, Phineas T. Barnum 
says, "The people like to be fooled" and some 
people seem to think gullibility a blessing 
Whether they love fooling or not, people are 
fooled by delusion and tabulation, and seem 
to favor hoaxing and have seldom been dis- 
appointed for there has been no limit to Brit- 
ish and American credulity, especially in the 
elder time when falsehood rather than truth 
determine the fate of mankind. When delu- 
sion, tabulation and mythomania, so affluent 
in the fruition of evil, had gained possession 
of the confidence of the people, even amongst 
the most progressive communities. English 
and American credulity is chiefly responsible 
for the perpetuity of the great literary hoax, 
associated with the Stratford player's name, 


giving support to later fabrication and nebul- 
ous traditions. 

The reality of witchcraft has been accepted 
without question. Not to believe in witch- 
craft in Shakespeare's time was the greatest 
of heresies. "Scarcely any human belief is 
supported by so vast a quantity of recorded 
testimony." Belief in that diabolical super- 
stition was entertained by the great jurist, Sir 
Matthew Hale, the famous physician; Sir 
Thomas Browne, the celebrated Divine; Dr. 
Bentley, and the great English advocate, John 

However, to Reginal Scot, 1538-1599, an 
English student and John Wier, 1515-1588, 
the learned Flemish physician, the modern 
world is indebted for the suppression of 
witchcraft, for that most malicious and tena- 
cious of all primeaval superstitions, for they 
set the joy bells of Christendom ringing. 

Myths, legends and fables have had an in- 
calculable effect upon the activities and destiny 
of mankind, and in some ways, some of them 
a good effect. For instance, that of the mytho- 
logical marksman, William Tell, whose stir- 
ring deeds were celebrated by one of the great- 
est poets and one of the most popular com- 


posers of modern times, thus giving the legend 
a world-wide fame. A Swiss writer calls the 
William Tell story pure fable, but neverthe- 
less proclaiming his belief in it because the 
legend is so popular. But it was reserved for 
Parson Uriel Frendenberge to show in an 
anonymous pamphlet (1760) that the legend 
of Tell had a Danish origin; the pamphlet 
was publicly burned by order of the Govern- 
ment of Uri. The legend, although localized 
in Uri is an old Aryan myth. But the beauti- 
ful story is a lesson of patriotism to the Swiss 
mountaineer, nerving his soul to avenge the 
wrongs of his country, the land of his fathers, 
the shield of his infancy, the inspiration of his 
children, who are to enshrine and celebrate 
its hallowed memories in Odes and battle 

Mankind seems to have practised, from the 
beginning, every form of artifice and deceit. 
This tendency to falsehood and fabulation so 
characteristic of the age of Shakespeare, but 
not peculiar to that or any period, for man- 
kind have been hoaxed and befooled many 
times before and since the age of Shakespeare. 
For example, the great collection known as 
the Collectio Pseudo-Isidoriana or "False De- 


cretals," published in Spain about (845). 
These false decretals consist of about one hun- 
dred spurious documents and contain also the 
pretended Donation of Constantinc. No 
suspicion attached to the Pseudo Isidore at 
the time of its first appearance nor for more 
than 500 years thereafter. "Not a whisper 
of doubt, not a murmur of surprise;" on the 
contrary, it was everywhere accepted without 
question. "They enjoyed an undisputed au- 
thority, an unsuspected title from their first 
appearance about the middle of the Ninth 
Century to the Fifteenth Century," when Car- 
dinal Nicholas de Cusa disclosed their ficti- 
tious character. 

The present writer's reference to the "Isi- 
dorian Decretals" is not to show that they be- 
came potent in their influence on the primitive 
system of Church polity for the establishment 
of a pure theoracy, but to call the reader's at- 
tention to an early and one of the most noted 
examples of concealed authorship and to the 
fact that the unknown writer had changed the 
course of human history, affecting the destinies 
of nations, imposing upon the credulity of 
mankind for more than five hundred years. 
And be it noted that the unknown writer of 


the "Decretals," like the unknown writer of 
the plays and poems called "Shakespeare," did 
live and die without leaving in history or so- 
ciety a single trace of his external life, except 
his share in the works. 

Believe or deny what you may in regard to 
the claim of the Stratford actor's authorship 
set up by the "Players," the open-minded 
reader knows full well that it is not on each 
particular fact or thing done taken separately, 
but on all the facts taken consecutively that the 
negative case must be judged. 

I will now endeavor to summarize the con- 
clusion of the subject matter which has grown 
under my hand month after month. In the 
view of those "spacious times" I have entered 
thoroughly into the spirit and fiber of the 
man Shakspere, (whether he was or was not 
the author in question). "What sort of man 
was he?"pithily put, is the subject of my in- 

The records do not establish the identity of 
the Supreme Poet, an assertion put in proof 
by the silence of his compeers, which is dis- 
closed by the irrepressible negative pregnants 
from the ensemble of the facts such as the 
striking example of the silence of Cuthbert 


Burbage, the brother of Richard, the famous 
actor. When Cuthbert petitioned the Earl of 
Pembroke in 1635, then Lord Chamberlain, in 
the matter about certain theatres, "To our- 
selves," he says, "we joined those deserving 
men, Shakespeare, Hemings, Condall, Philips 
and other partners, in the profits of that they 
call the House," and he adds, "that when he 
and his brother took possession of Blackfriars 
in 1609, they placed in it man players, which 
were Heming, Condall, Shakspeare, etc." 

In this address to the Lord Chamberlain 
came Cuthbert Burbage's opportunity to ad- 
vantage his associates and himself, as a busi- 
ness man and proprietor of the play houses. 
To remind the Earl of the fact if fact it 
was that "our fellow Shakspere," "a man 
player," and a "deserving man," had been a 
man of unsurpassed intelligence, whose works 
are the highest creations of genius, whose 
praise Ben Jonson in a panegyrical poem 
(1623), blew into the trumpet of fame. But 
in his memorial to Lord Pembroke, the house- 
holder of the Globe Theatre did not resound 
Shakspere's praise, but, instead, the reputed 
author twelve years after the publication of 
the Great Folio, is described to his Lordship 


as merely a "man player and a deserving man," 
and nothing more. 

The affirmative assertions, prefixed to the 
Folio editions, published in 1623, and signed 
by the players, "John Heminge" and "Henrie 
Condall," cannot outweigh the negative evi- 
dence of Cuthbert Burbage from silence in 
1635 ; for in our grasp of the situation if Shaks- 
pere is "Shakespeare," Cuthbert's silence is 
perfectly astonishing. 

The play houses were in need of all the sup- 
port the mighty genius that glorious name 
Shakespeare could give. This fact is made 
manifest for in "The Actor's Remonstrance" 
(1643), is contained the tarnishing evidence 
of the admission of the abuse of the players' 
vocation, and should be read when we are dis- 
posed to be severe upon our Puritan ancestors 
for their dislike of the common players. Why 
speak of the most intellectual of the human 
race, the wonder of mankind, in the same terms 
as of the other actors "when their social posi- 
tion was of the lowest." Would not Cuthbert 
have been eager to say in his petition to Lord 
Pembroke: We are called "the basest trade," 
vagabonds, under the Act, Eliz. xxxlx? 
Nevertheless, our fellow Shakspere was the 


author of the Plays contained in the Great Fo- 
lio edition, published in 1623. Is it conceivable 
that Cuthbert Burbage, if he positively knew 
the immortal Plays were written by the Strat- 
ford Player, that he would not have found 
tongue to say on this occasion, "with cackle 
and clatter," match him if you can. Why 
classed simply with a batch of players if 
Shakspere was "Shakespeare?" 

Was it not because he (Cuthbert) was 
aware that the Lord Chamberlain knew very 
well that none of the men players named in 
the petition, Hemings, Candall, Philips, 
Shakspere, etc. had any profession but that 
of actor? That Shakspere was a professional 
actor we know, but the inference from Cuth- 
bert's silence is, that Shakespeare was not a 
literary gentleman and dramatist. By the 
owner of the play houses, Shakspeare is placed 
on the same footing as the other players, and 
Cuthbert Burbage did not, in telling the his- 
tory of the play houses, give Lord Pembroke, 
the survivor of the "incomparable pair of 
brethren," to whom the Folio was dedicated, 
the slightest intimation that Shakspeare, a 
"man player," had ever been a dramatic au- 


thor, when the drama formed so important a 
part of the literature of England. 

The silence of Philip Henslowe is also very 
good proof of anonymity in authorship. The 
old householder's silence is due to the fact 
that the Plays were not of certified author- 
ship bearing no name. 

Not until the fourth edition did the name 
"Shakespeare" appear upon the title page of 
"Romeo and Juliet." It is plain, to say the 
least, that the anonymous aspect predominates 
in the dramatic literature of the period, but 
the reticence of the author of the Works now 
called "Shakespeare," was in this regard, pe- 
culiar among his contemporaries. 

Inasmuch as the same titles or names of so 
many plays found recorded in Henslowe's 
Diary are identical with those of the Heminge 
and Condall list in the Great Folio, they are 
the strongest testimonials we have that this 
author began his dramatic career by writing 
plays for Henslowe as an anonymous writer, 
and in all probability continued to write un- 
der his pseudonym "Shakespeare" to the end 
of his dramatic career. 

During the twelve years beginning in Feb- 
ruary, 1591, Henslowe's Diary records the 


titles of no fewer than 270 pieces or plays 
a new play about every eighteen days. How- 
ever, it would seem that Henslowe and Al- 
leyn at the Rose Theatre had knowledge of 
the "Works," for the Diary or notebook of the 
old manager, and the wardrobe of the famous 
actor, Edward Alleyn, attest. But of the au- 
thor, 'Shakespeare," they knew nothing ab- 
solutely nothing, about him the Shakespear- 
ian drama, and no shadow of a real name. 

Dr. Furness, expressing his disappointment, 
says: "Where the names of nearly all the 
dramatic poets of the age are to be frequently 
found we might certainly count on finding that 
of Shakespeare, but the shadows in which 
Shakespeare's early life was spent, envelop 
him here too, and his name, as Collier says, is 
not met with in any part of the manuscript." 

That Shakspere of Stratford had lived a 
literary life, whether early or late, and was en- 
veloped by shadows has no foundation in re- 
corded fact. 

The negative evidence from the silence of 
Philip Henslowe, I repeat, does prove that the 
early plays called "Shakespeare," bearing no 
name, were of unknown authorship, the works 
of a reticent writer "The Great Unknown." 


Silence in the matter of authorship is the 
course of "a concealed poet." 

The silence of Henslowe and Alleyn, house- 
holders of the Rose Theatre early in Shaks- 
pere's career, coupled with the silence of the 
Burbages, householders of the Globe Theatre, 
does evidence anonymity in authorship. 

The silence of John Manningham, barris- 
ter-at-law of the Middle Temple, is still an- 
other instance of the negative pregnant, who 
under date of February 2, 1601, records the 
story in his Diary criminating Shakspere's 
morals, but who is not personally remembered 
as a man of letters, a writer of plays, no hint of 
the undivided personality of player and au- 

Their never-ceasing silence and the author's 
never-ceasing reticence is a fatal breach in the 
claim set up for the player one William 
Shakspere of Stratford to the personal au- 
thorship of the Plays called by his name. 

One comfort is that great men taken 
up in any way are profitable company. 
\Ve cannot look, however imperfectly, 
upon a great man without gaining some- 
thing by it. He is the living fountain of 
life, which it is pleasant to be near. On 
any terms whatsoever you will not grudge 
to wander in his neighborhood for a 
while. Heroes and Hero-Worship. 



f <-*'. 
*-Z^J *-. /, 



Queen and huntress, chaste and fair, 
Now the sun is laid to sleep, 
Seated in thy silver chair, 
State in wonted manner keep: 
Hesperus entreats thy light, 
Goddess, excellently bright. 
Earth, let not thy envious shade 
Dare itself to interpose; 
Cynthia's shining orb was made 
Heav'n to clear, when day did close: 
Bless us, then, with wished sight, 
Goddess, excellency bright. 
Lay thy bow of pearl apart, 
And thy crystal shining quiver; 
Give unto the flying hart 
Space to breathe, how short soever: 
Thou that mak'st a day of night, 
Goddess, excellently bright. 

Ben Jonson. 



"HPHE Mermaid" "the Apollo" the 
* Club room of "the Devil" is here 
imaged before us. 

"Souls of Poets dead and gone, 
What Elysium have ye known, 

Happy field or mossy Cavern 
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?" 

The great men were there, Raleigh and 
Spencer, Drayton and Camden, Chapman and 
Shirley, Selden and Field, Webster and How- 
ell, Hobbes and Ford, Fletcher and the lion- 
in-chief, "Rare Ben." 
"I lye and dreamed of your full Mermaid 
Wine," Francis Beaumont writing from the 
country to Ben Jonson : 

"What things have we seen 

Done at the Mermaid: heard words 

that have been 

So nimble and so full of subtle flame, 
As if that every one from whence 

they came 



Had meant to put his whole wit in a 

And had resolved to live a fool the 

Of his dull life." 

In those stirring times rare times they 
were of indomitable energy. With such men 
for his contemporaries Ben Jonson was yet a 
power in their day, and in the age in which we 
live no mocking vision, but standing forth in 
sharpest outline after the literary records and 
personal history of even the greatest have 

This remarkable man, like his namesake of 
a later generation, was coarsely framed as his 
own verse tells us: "His mountain-belly- and 
his rocky face," seamed with scars of disease; 
combative and prone to strange imaginations 
and peculiar manifestations; his vast influence 
on his own generation; the superiority of rep- 
utation great as a writer in prose as well as 
'in verse; the deference shown the leader of 
this great literary club. No wonder Ben is 
exacting that full homage which he believed 
should be shown him, the acknowledged lit- 
erary monarch of his day and generation. 

Nevertheless, Ben Jonson is not one of the 


writers of those times whose works are the 
studies of the aftertime, notwithstanding Ben 
is more intimately known to posterity than any 
of the brotherhood of poets contemporaneous 
with him. Judged by the standard of con- 
temporaneous work Chapman's "Homer" had 
won a more enduring fame. In imagination 
I can see him walking up and down in the 
club room, his hands thrust into the two lateral 
pockets of an old coachman's coat, inflamed by 
strong drink and the recrimination of Dekker 
and Marston. Ben never would let "sleeping 
dogs rest." 

However, Ben Jonson would have been 
more thoroughly known to posterity had there 
been a Boswell at his elbow to report the 
Table-Talk. A similarity of conduct may be 
traced in Ben and his equally famous name- 
sake, the Lexicographer, but asking questions 
was not then all the rage. In fact, the only 
chronic interviewer in Ben Jonson's day was 
the Scotch poet, Drummond of Hawthornden, 
who lived in a handsome home set above the 
charming valley of Eskdale, far from the 
Mermaid Tavern. But then there was James 
Howell who lived in London, an inveterate 
note taker and letter writer, who was usually 


on the scent for suppers at the Apollo, and 
could have reported Ben's table talk but un- 
fortunately did not. In a letter dated from 
Westminster, April 5, 1636, James Howell 
describes a solemn supper given by Ben Jon- 
son, at which he and Thomas Carew were 
present. This letter to Thomas Hawkins is 
evidence of the fact that Ben's utterances were 
veraciously reported by the Scotch poet in his 
notes, "Conversations of Ben Jonson in 1619," 
where reference is made to Ben's display of 
self-worship and vilification of his brother 
poets, and also of the truth and justice of the 
criticism as resting on Ben's competency and 
credibility as a witness. 

Howell writes: "I was invited yesternight 
to a solemn supper by B. J. whom you deeply 
remember. There was good company excel- 
lent Cheer Choise wines and jovial welcome 
One thing intervened which almost Spoiled 
the relish of the rest Ben began to engross all 
the discourse to Vapour extremely of himself 
and by vilifying others to magnify his own 
muse Thomas Carew buzzed me in the ear 
that Ben had barreled up a great deal of 
Knowledge yet seeme he had not read the 
'Etheques' which among other precepts of 


morality forbid Self-commendation But for 
my part I am content to dispense with this 
Roman infirmity of B's now that time has 
snowed upon his pericranium." 

However, we know Ben pretty much as he 
was known to the men of his own generation. 
The remarkable record of his sayings, re- 
ported by William Drummond, the Laird of 
Hawthornden, in 1619, when honored with a 
visit from the great literary dictator of the 
time, "great lover and praiser of himself, 
contemner and scorner of others." 

The Drummond notes show Ben Jonson to 
be a person of rather doubtful veracity, one 
whose testimony we view with suspicion or re- 
ject altogether. And this is the witness whom 
the Stratfordians chiefly depend upon as the 
attestor for the works which are associated 
with the Stratford actor's name. The Strat- 
fordians say or one of them, a sylogizer, has 
said if Shakspere of Stratford was not the 
true author of the works of Shakespeare, then 
Jonson was a liar. Jonson could not have been 
a liar. Therefore, etc., the critics cannot per- 
cieve the difference between proof and opin- 
ion. By the way, the opinion of the most skil- 
ful critics is, that the great unknown writer 


(Junius), who for a hundred and fifty years 
has been the subject of the closest scrutiny, 
cannot be identified "Stat nominis umbra!' 

Edmund Burke was generally supposed to 
be Junius while the letters were issuing from 
the press. Dr. Kelly of Finsbury Square, 
published a tract in order to prove that Burke 
was the author of Junius. So may we not as 
glibly syllogize also without any real knowl- 
edge of the identity of Junius. Thus, if Burke 
was not the true author of the Junius letters 
then Dr. Kelly was a liar. Dr. Kelly could 
not have been a liar. Therefore, etc. 

However, we now know that Burke did not 
write the celebrated letters. Junius is no<w 
classed under a pseudonym. Lies framed un- 
consciously do not criminate the utterer of 

The present writer having read all Ben 
Jonson's hyperbolical utterances in prose, all 
Ben's panegyrics in verse, and the whole of 
his conversations with Drummond, is con- 
vinced that Ben is unreliable and is therefore 
not competent to confirm by his testimony the 
Stratfordian authorship (so-called). Persons 
who are unable to tell the truth, even when 
there is no reason for falsification, are, in the 


parlance of alienists, termed "mythomaniacs," 
"which in the adult is always the indication of 
a diseased condition, or at least of a certain 
amount of mental disturbance." The study of 
mythomania and of its various stages, shows 
us how untrustworthy Ben Jonson's testimony 
is. Mythomania in Ben usually takes the form 
of vain-glorious boasting or of self-glorifica- 
tion. But as the Drummond notes attest, Ben's 
mythomaniac activity appears in accusation of 
brother-poets as calumny detraction vilifi- 
cation and defamation, framed unconsciously, 
not wilful or perverse falsehood. Ben Jon- 
son is also overflowing and hearty in his com- 
mendation, shown in his readiness to congrat- 
ulate and of excess in sympathy. But Ben's 
compliments are to be regarded with suspic- 
ion; in their converse lie more nearly the true 
state of his mind, "especially after drink 
which is one of the elements in which he liv- 

Dr. Samuel Johnson's thoughts in reference 
to wine bibbing are not opprobious to his bi- 
bacious name-sake, at least not intentionally 
so. "The maxim in vino veritas, a man who is 
well warmed with wine will speak truth may 
be an argument for drinking if you suppose 


men in general to be liars Sir I would not keep 
company with a fellow who lies as long as he 
is sober and whom you must make drunk be- 
tore you can get a word of truth out of him." 

However, Ben Jonson was well received at 
Hawthornden. On his approach Drummond 
shouts: "Welcome, welcome, royal Ben!" to 
which he immediately replied: "Thank ye, 
thank ye, Hawthornden." Knowing what Ben 
was he must have had a Bacchic time, assum- 
ing, of course, that he brought his Tavern hab- 
its with him and that Scotchmen, like Ken- 
tuckians, take their whiskey straight. The 
sort which inspired Ben, according to one of 
Ben's "Sons" at the "Devil." With some al- 
teration we read: 

How could the conversations 

heat and vigour lack, 
When each sentence cost his host 

a cup of sack? 

Ben Jonson sojourned with Drummond 
about three weeks. He bade him a most af- 
fectionate farewell, but forthwith wrote, 
"Oppressed with phantasy which hath ever 
mastered his (Jonson's) reason a general dis- 
ease in many poets." 


Ben Jonson's panegyric verse and carping 
utterances in the opinion of the stalwart cham- 
pions of conventional errors, lies the cogency 
of the "Stratfordian" case, and assert that 
"Rare Ben" is the Colossus of their faith. 

We will now endeavor to concentrate the 
interest of the reader chiefly in the attestation 
of Ben Jonson for the works which are asso- 
ciated with the name of "Shakespeare." It is 
not pretended that the play actor, William 
Shakspere made any claim to the works called 
"Shakespeare" but is taken to be claimant by 
some persons, who in the fullness of their de- 
sire to sustain a fictitious character, have re- 
course to fictitious biography, well stocked 
with fanciful "maybes" and "might-have- 
beens" and "could-have beens" and "must- 
have-beens" and the conventional nonsense us- 
ually apropriated to a life of "Shakespeare." 

Ben Jonson was born in Westminster, Eng- 
land, in 1572 or 1573 and was the son of a 
clergyman. Regardless of poverty, he was 
educated at Westminster School. William 
Camden, antiquary and historian, was his in- 
structor and benefactor "most reverend head." 
Ben seems not to have gone to either univer- 
sity, notwithstanding he later received degrees 


from Oxford and Cambridge. He served as 
a soldier in Flanders, where he distinguished 
himself by killing one of the enemy in single 
combat, but had a narrow escape in 1598 from 
the gallows for killing an actor in a duel, one 
Gabriel Spencer belonging to Henslowe's 

John Aubrey of scandalmongery fame in 
whose brain everything is confusion, in re- 
cording the event, says, he (Ben Jonson) 
killed "Mr. Marlowe, the poet, on Bunhill, 
coming from the Green Curtain playhouse;" 
but the fact is, Marlowe, "whose memory Jon- 
son held in high esteem, met his untimely 
death in 1593 in a tavern quarrel at Deptford, 
five years before this period. Marlowe was 
slain by Francis Archer, a serving man. So 
Aubrey has muddled the whole affair as usual. 

Writers on the subject of Jonson and Shake- 
speare say that we have abundant tradition of 
their close friendship. There are no credible 
traditions of their close friendship. The man- 
ufactured traditions so conspicuous in books 
called "A Life of William Shakespeare" are 
the dreams of fancy, fraud and fiction. 

Notwithstanding it was the custom amongst 
literary men of the day to belaud their friends 


in verse or prose Shakespeare in the lifetime 
of the Stratford player, was honored with no 
mark. of Ben Jonson's admiration or friend- 
ship. Not a single line of commendatory 
verse was addressed to "Shakespeare" by Jon- 
son, although so lavishly bestowed as to in- 
clude almost every notable in literature and 
.public life, .In fact, what shrimp was there 
among hack writers who could not gain a 
panegyric from his generous tongue? 

The proven facts of the Stratford player's 
(Shakspere) life are facts unassociated with 
authorcraft; facts that prove the isolation and 
divorcement of player and poet. The proven 
facts of Ben Jonson's life are facts interlac- 
ing man and poet. Almost every incident in 
his life reveal his personal affection or bitter 
dislike for his fellow poets; always ready for 
a quarrel, arrogant, conceited, boastful and 
vulgar. There is much truth in Dekker's 
charge: "Tis thy fashion to flirt ink in every 
man's face and then crawl into his bosom. Jon- 
son maintained that he had liberty and license 
to commend himself and abuse his comrades, 
but if they commended themselves, this was 
inflation, or if they abused him, this was de- 


Nevertheless, there was community of 
friendship always. He was federated in a 
comedy "Eastward Ho" with Chapman and 
Marston, and was sent to prison with Chap- 
man. (Marston, the real offender, beat a re- 
treat), on complaint of Sir James Murray, a 
northern carpet bagger of Scottish birth, new- 
ly knighted. The satire on the needy Scots is 
contained in the words "Who indeed are dis- 
persed over the face of the earth" and the 
wish that a hundred thousand of them were in 
Virginia, where "we should find ten times 
more comfort of them there than we doe 

Ben Jonson's letter relating to the misfor- 
tunes of the poets in the matter of Eastward 
Excellentest of Ladies (Countess of Rutland), 

And most honard of the Graces, Muses, 
and me; if it be not a sinn to profane 
your free hand with prison polluted paper, I 
wolde entreate some little of youre ayde to the 
defence of my innocence which is as clean as 
this leaf was (before I stained it) of anything 
halfe-worthye of this violent infliction. I am 
commytted and with me a worthy Friend one 


Mr. (George) Chapman, a man I cannot say 
how known to your Ladishipp but I am sure 
known to me to honor you: and Our offence a 
Play so mistaken so misconstrued, as I do won- 
der whether this ignorance or impudence be 
most, who are our adversaries. It is now not 
disputable for we stand on uneven basis, and 
am course so unequally carried, as we are 
without examining, without hearing, or with- 
out any proofe but malicious Rumor, horried 
to bondage and fetters; The cause we un- 
derstand to be the King's indignation for 
which we are hartelye sorie, and the more by 
how much the less we have deserv'd it. What 
our Sute is, the worthy employd Soliciter and 
equall Adores of your Vertues can best inform 

After their release, unharmed, Ben Jonson 
"banqueted all his friends" among them Cam- 
den and Selden, also Ben's old Spartan moth- 
er, who it seems credited the report that her 
famous son was in imminent danger of hav- 
ing his nostrils slit or at least his ears lopped; 
"drank to him and shew him a paper which 
she had (if the sentence had taken execution) 
to have mixed in the prison among his drink, 
which was full of lustic strong poison, and 


that she was no churle, she told she minded -to 
have drunk of it herself." 

Ben Jonson's personality and literary work 
are inseparable. Drunk or sober, few have 
served learning with so much pertinacity, and 
fewer still have so successfully challenged ad- 
miration even from literary rivals, with whom 
at times he was most bitterly hostile, and at 
other times indisputably open-handed and 

Ben Jonson had a literary environment al- 
ways, for there is perfect interlacement of man 
and craft. He became one of the most pro- 
lific writers of his age, occupying among the 
lettered men of his day a position of literary 

'His was a commanding personality, affili- 
ated into courtly and public life. In the forty 
years of his literary career, he collected a li- 
brary so extensive that Gifford doubted wheth- 
er any library "in England was so rich in " 
scarce and valuable books." 

From the pages of Isaac Disraeli, we read 
"No poet has left behind him so many testi- 
monials of personal fondness by inscriptions 
and addresses in the copies of his works which 
he presented to his friends." 


Notwithstanding the depletion of his col- 
lection of books by forced sales, and the burn- 
ing of his library between the years 1621-22 
which also prove that poverty stricken Jonson 
had books and manuscripts to burn while the 
rich William Shakspere of Stratford is not 
known to have had anything of a literary des- 
cription to burn, give away or bequeath. 

But strange as it must seem to the votaries 
of "Shakespeare" not a single copy of Jon* 
son's works or testimonials is brought forward 
to bear witness to his personal regard and ad- 
miration, for Shakespeare before the Strat- 
ford player's death in 1616; and we may add 
that there is no testimonial by Shakespeare of 
his regard and personal fondness for Ben Jon- 
son, although many of the literary antiquari- 
ans have unearthed in their researches, facts 
and discoveries which they have brought for- 
ward as new particulars of the life of William 
Shakspere, the Stratford player. This, if not 
incompatible with authorship is surely divorc- 
ing Shakspere the actor from "Shakespeare" 
the author of the plays. They but deepen the 
mystery that surrounds the personality of the 
author, "The shadow of a mighty name." 

But at the same time they disclose the true 


character of Shakspere the actor, match mak- 
er, land owner, money lender and litigant, 
which is affirmative of John B right's opinion, 
that "any man who believes that William 
Shakspere of Stratford wrote Hamlet or Lear 
is a fool." The words of the great orator are 
not emulative of the highest civility, but in- 
stead the controversial "sweetmeats" such as 
liar, loony, and of the like kind of honey-ton- 
gued names of endearment then in vogue. 

The student reader will perceive that Jon- 
son's verse does not agree with his prose and 
that his "Ode to Shakespeare" which Dryden 
called "an insolent, sparing and invidious 
panegyric" was not the final word of com- 
ment, which is contained in Ben Jonson's 
"Discoveries" (manuscript book) a prose ref- 
erence in disparagement of the man whom he 
may have believed was identifiable with the 
playwright. We believe he was mistaken in 
so believing. 

When Ben is least variable and most con- 
stant as in the three references to Shakespeare, 
to Drummond of Hawthornden in 1619, in 
1623 in Commendatory verses to the folio; in 
his manuscript book "Discoveries" from 1630- 
1635, he seems to have had no information in 


the subject as by observance, by reading, by 
study or in conversation with lettered persons 
about the author of the plays "Shakespeare. 1 ' 

An overweening admiration and supreme 
regard for self made Ben an easy victim of 
dupery or gullery. Was he hoaxed by the 
players? Ben Jonson was vulnerable most in 
his character as a witness. The reader will 
therefore be indulgent if we make some re- 
mark upon the credibility and competency of 
this witness. The elder writers on the subject 
of Jonson and Shakespeare before Gifford's 
time (1757-1826) were always harping on 
Ben Jonson's envy and jealously of Shake- 

Since Gifford's day the antiquary has been 
abroad in the land without having discovered 
anything of a literary life of the play actor, 
Shakspere, and as if by general consent, all re- 
cent writers on the subject regard Ben Jon- 
son's attestation or his metrical tribute "To 
the memory of my beloved, the author, Mr. 
William Shakespeare, and what he hath left 
us," as an essential element in his biography 
the title deed of authorship. Having made 
him their star witness we should hear no more 
of Jonson's jealousy and envy of Shakespeare. 


However, Mr. Andrew Lang and Mr. J, 
M. Robertson follow the elder writers, whose 
pace was set by Ben Jonson's caveling words, 
"And though thou hadst small Latin and less 
Greek," are harping still upon Ben's jealous 
rage, for whenever the statements of Ben Jon- 
son upon whom the Stratfordians chiefly reply- 
are not suitable to their belief in the Stratford 
delusion, he is to be discredited, and therefore 
Ben is straightway denounced as an angry 
rival actuated by jealous spite. 

But remembering Ben Jonson's metrical 
panegyrics in the folio of 1623 which he wrote 
for the syndicate of publishers straws, which 
like drowning men they frantically catch at, 
which they imagine will buoy up. The up- 
holders of the Stratford delusion will surely 
cling to Ben, for they say he never varies from 
his identification of Shakspere the Stratford 
player with "Shakespeare" the author of the 
plays. Now we take all this for granted. 
What then are we constrained by this opinion 
from the settled belief that the moody Ben was 
deceived or mistaken? 

Abraham Lincoln says, "You can fool all 
the people some of the time," and Ben seems 
to have been among the number fooled, "and 


some of the people" (Stratfordians) "all of 
the time, but you cannot fool all of the people 
all of the time." 

Now we think that Ben Jonson really did 
not know enough about "Shakespeare" he 
having no settled judgment in regard to any 
point, mere deduction drawn from hearsay, 
tattle of gossiping players, themselves be- 
fooled as is disclosed by his conversations with 
Drummond of Hawthorndon in 1619, when 
he said that "Shakespeare" "Wanted art" and 
also in his posthumously published Discov- 
eries he writes "Many times he (Shake- 
speare) fell into those things, could not escape 
laughter, as when he said in the person of Cae- 
sar, one speaking to him, Caesar thou dost me 
wrong, he replied Caesar did never wrong but 
with just cause, which was ridiculous." 

Again in 1623 in commendatory verses to 
the folio which he wrote for the syndicate of 
printers and publishers with an eye to the sale 
of the book and, of course, will not repeat 
what he said to Drummond in 1619, that 
Shakespeare lacked art, and so Ben in his hy- 
perbolical poem gave Shakespeare plenty of 
it "well turned and true filled lines." But in 
cold, passionless prose at a later date, he is to 


express the wish "would he had blotted out a 
thousand (lines)." 

King George III gave concurrence to this 
opinion for His Majesty tells us that "a great 
deal of Shakespeare is sad stuff, only one must 
not say so." His Majesty, it seems, was not 
aware that the work of "Shakespeare" had 
been interpolated by wanton players and 
botched by collaborating authors, and that the 
work of others had been appropriated by 
Shakespeare. So then these intruders coupled 
With the older authors' inferior hand is held 
responsible for all of the "sad stuff" contained 
in the thousand lines referred to according to 
Shakespearean commentators. 

Mr. James R. Lowell in an address on 
Shakespeare's 'Richard III' which contained 
his doubts about the authorship of the drama, 
the result of his examination indicated that at 
least two different hands had been engaged in 
the making of 'Richard III,' a play he said, 
'which "Shakespeare" adapted to the stage, 
and proceeds to assign all the "sad stuff" as 
unblotted lines, lack of art to the older author, 
whoever he was, for said he "I believe it abso- 
lutely safe to say of Shakespeare that he never 
wrote deliberate nonsense." 


Ben Jonson in his remarks "Of Shake- 
speare, our fellow country-man" and his com- 
mendation by the actors wrote, "I remember 
the players have often mentioned it as an hon- 
or to Shakespeare that (whatsoever he pen- 
ned) he never blotted out a line. My answer 
hath been Would he had blotted a thousand' 
which they thought a malevolent speech. I 
had not told posterity this, but for their ignor- 
ance who choose that circumstance to com- 
mend their friend by (that) wherein he most 

We know that this statement by the players 
"that in his writings (whatsoever he penned) 
he, Shakespeare, never blotted a line," is 
moonshine and proves that the players had not 
access to the author's manuscript his orig- 
inal draft; what they received were merely 
fair copies in the handwriting of their yoke- 
fellow, Will Shakspere, play house copyist or 
transcriber, thus befooling the players with 
his gullish waggery. 

However, Ben Jonson could not have fore- 
seen that Shakespeare's self-constituted liter- 
ary executors of the nineteenth and twentieth 
centuries would have blotted out not only a 
thousand lines but many thousands, and would 


decree that only the best part of his reputed 
works should come down to the latest ages. 

In the early years of the seventeenth cen- 
tury the name "Shakespeare" was shadowy, 
the plays variable. No one laid any claim to 
\them on their first appearance, but in a subse- 
quent time by the mere fiction of a name, an 
actor (a vagabond under the Act) is taken to 
be claimant. "Shakespeare" in Ben Jonson's 
day held a title page proprietorship in as 
many as sixty-four plays and Ben did not 
know (doubtless) they were not wholly his 

"The Yorkshire Tragedy" to give as an in- 
stance, was in Ben Jonson's earlier years as 
well authenticated as was "Hamlet," "The 
Puritan," as was "Lear." 

The same is true of the unlisted plays which 
we now call "the doubtful plays" contained in 
the third folio edition of the Shakespeare 
plays in 1663-4. William Shakspere the Strat- 
ford player never used the hyphen Shak-Spere 
or an E in the first syllable of his name or an 
A in the last. Now as every one knows the 
only specimens of his handwriting that we 
possess are the six signatures. In none of them 
does the Stratford player recognize the liter- 


ary form of the name Shake-Speare and 
Shakespeare. So far as any one knows his yoke 
fellows never spelled their names on this wise : 
Burb age. Con dell. 

We find that the plays were issuing from 
the press anonymously; for example, the old 
edition of "Romeo and Juliet" do not bear the 
name "Shakespeare" until after 1609, and 
then in a way which strongly suggests its use 
as a pseudonym for the name is hyphenated 
thus, Shake-Speare on the title page. The copy 
in the British Museum is without Shake - 
Spere's name. It is found only in early copies 
of the edition, having been suppressed before 
the rest were printed. According to Halli- 
well-Phillipps the name "Shake-Speare" was 
so spelled on the title page of the earliest 
known edition of "Hamlet" also in the 1609 
edition of "The Sonnets." 

The early and frequent appearance of a sig- 
nature on the title page with a hyphen would 
be understood doubtless at once as a pseudo- 
nym, work thus produced under an assumed 
or fictitious name, for real genuine names 
were not spelled with a hyphen. But Shake- 
Speare a mask name often was so spelled, but 
so far as anybody knows, not one of the family 


of dramatic poets was a hyphen used in spell- 
ing his name. Who ever saw the like of this? 
Mar-lowe, Dray-ton, Jon-son and Web-ster. 
The word "Shakespeare" has been gradually 
formed during successive generations and ren- 
dered venerable by the act of adoration. 

But an ultimate reflection will make clear 
how little Ben Jonson is to be depended upon 
as attesting the liability of the Stratford play- 
er, for the works which were affiliated with 
his name seven years after his death. There 
is not a word or sentence in all Jonson's writ- 
ings which bear witness to Shakespeare as a 
writer of plays or poems anterior to the Strat- 
ford player's death in 1616, as all reference to 
Shakespeare in Jonson's verse and prose are 
posterior to this event. 

"Notes of Ben Jonson's conversations" re- 
corded by William Drummond of Hawthorn- 
den are of great literary and historical valu< 
and are important also as bearing on Ben Jon- 
son's competency and credibleness as a wit- 
ness. The Drummond notes were first printed 
by Mr. David Lang, who discovered them 
among the manuscripts of Sir Robert Sibbald, 
a well known antiquary. "Conversations" as 
we have it on the evidence of Drummond is in 


accord with almost. every contemporary refer- 
ence to Jonson and internally they chime with 
Ben's own manuscript book "Discoveries." 

There should be no controversy in regard 
to the justice of the Scottish poets' criticism as 
recorded by Drummond, we learn "He (Ben 
Jonson) is a great lover and praiser of him- 
self, a condemner and scorner of others, espec- 
ially after drink, which is one of the elements 
in which he liveth." 

The conversation noted by Drummond 
took place when Jonson visited him at Haw- 
thornden in 1618-19 and disclose the fact that 
"Rare Ben" was a vulgar, boastful, tipsy 
backbiter who blackguarded many of his fel- 

Conversations in part from the notes re- 
corded by William Drummond, Laird of 

"He, Ben Jonson, is passionately kind and 
angry, careless either to gain or keep vindica- 
tive, but if he be well answered at himself 
interprets best sayings and deeds often to the 
worst; a dissembler of the parts which reign 
in him, a bragger of some good that he 
wanted, thinketh nothing well done but what 
either he himself or some of his friends have 


said or done. He was for any religion as be- 
ing versed in both." 

"His (Ben Jonson) censure of the 'English 
poets was this: That Sidney did not keep a 
decorum in making every one speak as well 
as himself ; Spencer's stanza pleased him not 
nor his matter. Samuel Daniel was a good 
honest man, had no children, and was no poet 
and that he had wrote the "Civil Wars" and 
yet had not one battle in all his book and 
was jealous of him. 

That Michael Drayton's verses pleased 
'him not. Drayton feared ; him and he es- 
teemed not of 'him that Donne "Anniversary" 
was profane and full of blasphemies . . . 
that Donne for not keeping to accent deserved 

Day Ddkker and Minshew were all 
rogues; that Abram Francis in his English 
hexameters was a fool. He said Shakespeare 
wanted art, in one of his plays he brought in 
a number of men, saying they had suffered 
shipwreck in Bohemia where there is no sea 
near by a hundred miles. 

That Sir Walter Raleigh esteemed more 
fame than conscience. The best wits in Eng- 
land were employed in making his history; he 


himself had written a piece to him of the 
Punick War which he atlered and set in his 

That Chapman and Fletcher were loved of 
him. Sir Henry Watton's verses of a "Happy 
Life" he hath by heart and a piece of Chap- 
man's Translation of Homer's Iliad (Book 
XIII). That next to himself only Fletcher 
and Chapman could make a masque. He 
esteemeth John Donne the first poet in the 
world in some things; that Donne himself 
for not being understood would perish. 

That Francis Beaumont loved too much 
himself and his own verse. 

He had many quarrels with Marston, that 
Gervase Markham was not of the number of 
the faithful, and but a base fellow; that such 
were Day and Middleton; Spencer died for 
lack of bread in King Street. 

That the King said Sir Philip Sidney was 
no poet, neither did he see any verses in Eng- 
land to the scullers." 

According to Ben Jonson, His Sacred 
Majesty, James the First, did not enjoy the 
beauties of Sir Philip Sydney, contained in 
his "Flowers of Poetry," but was diverted 
with the "Scullers" (John Taylor, 1580- 


1654, water poeticule) which title he owes 
to his occupation on the river. So it was not 
"Shakespeare" "that so did take Eliza and 
our James" but instead a mere rhymester. 

However, Sir William Alexander (1567- 
1640) later Earl of Stirling, grumbled that 
James I prefers his own (poetic work) to all 

But, continues William Drummond, "the 
Father of interviewers," "sundry times he 
(Jonson) hath devoured his books, sold them 
all for necessity. Of all his plays he never 
gained 200 pounds; that the half of his come- 
dies were not in print. He dissuaded me 
(Drummond) from poetry, for that she had 
beggared him, when he might have been a 
rich lawyer, physician or merchant." 

"An Epigram" on the "Court Pucelle" was 
stolen out of his pocket by a gentleman who 
drank him drow r sy. He had many quarrels 
! with Marston, beat him and took his pistol 
from him. He said to Prince Charles of 
Inigo Jones that when he wanted words to 
express the greatest villian in the world, he 
would call him "Inigo." Jones having ac- 
cused him for naming him behind his back a 
fool. He denied it, but says he: I said he 


was an arrant knave, and I avouch it. This 
is the Ben who was trying to brow beat and 
'bully the British architect, who first intro- 
duced movable scenery and decorations for 
the masque entertainments at Court. They 
were not in use at the public playhouses at 
any time during the reign of Queen Eliza- 
beth and King James the First. 

How very unfortunate in his temper Ben 
Jonson must have been to war against his own 
bread and butter. When these bitter words 
were spoken, the great architect had personal 
connection with almost every distinguished 
person in literary and public life and had 
sufficient influence to deprive him of employ- 
ment at Court. Ben could have followed the 
example set by his dearest friend, George 
Chapman, who seems to have found it pos- 
sible to live permanently at peace with Inigo 
Jones under a similar connection (masque- 
writer) by acceding to the stage architect's 
desire of prefixing his own name before that 
of the poet on the title page. 

The great artificer showed extraordinary 
industry and skill in contriving the architec- 
tural decorations, and therefore thought him- 
self the "biggest toad in the puddle." So on 


the title-page of "The Mask of the Middle 
Temple and Lincoln's Inn" as it was per- 
formed before James VI and I at Whitehall, 
February 15th, 1613, at the celebration of the 
Toyal nuptial of the Elector Platine, called 
the "Winter King" and Elizabeth, Queen of 
Bohemia, we read "Invented and fashioned 
by our kingdomes most artful and ingenious 
architect Inigo Jones. Supplied, applied, di- 
gested and written by George Chapman." 

But "Rare Ben" would not yield his right 
to first place on the title-page. So two great 
men were actually quarrelling about a trivial 
matter. However, Jones seems to have had 
no acquaintance with "Shakespeare" the au- 
thor of the plays whose mask . was im- 

The reader is not unmindful that the lan- 
guage of Ben Jonson is sometimes grossly ap- 
probrious, sometimes basely adulatory, while 
his laudatory verses on Beaumont, Drayton, 
Silvester, "Shakespeare" and other contem- 
porary writers are in striking contrast to the 
'discrepancy of testimony disclosed by his 
; prose works and conversations. 

In the memorial verses Jonson tells us that 
the Shakespearian plays were "such that 


neither man nor muse could praise too much." 
The strictest scrutiny, however, into the life 
and works of Ben Jonson fails to denote his 
actual acquaintance with the works of "the 
greatest genius of our world." What be- 
comes of his enthusiastic eulogy of Shakes- 
peare when "From my house in the Black- 
Friars this llth day of February, 1607," Ben 
Jonson writes his dedication "Volpone." 
"To the most noble and most equal sisters, 
the two famous Universities" which should 
have disclosed his close friendship and ad- 
miration for Shakespeare for the great dra- 
matist was then at the zenith of his power. 

The dedication of it (Volpone) and him- 
self was written nine years before the death 
of William Shakspere the player, when Jon-, 
son declared, "I shall raise the despised head 
of poetry again and stripping her out of those 
rotten and base rags wherewith the times have 
adulterated her form." 

It should be remembered that at the time 
of this sweeping condemnation of what he 
terms dramatic or stage poetry, two-thirds of 
the "Shakespearean" plays were then written. 
All of the greatest, "Hamlet," "Macbeth," 
"Othello," "Lear," "Julius Ceasar," "Mer- 


chant of Venice," "Romeo and Juliet" and 
not less than twenty other Shakespearean 
plays were in Jonson's estimation in 1607, 
"rotten and base rags," while in 1623, six- 
teen years after date in the verses prefixed 
to the first folio edition published in 1623 
for the syndicate of printers, Jonson tells us 
that their author was "soul of the age." 

In view of Ben Jonson's tardy apostrophe 
to "Shakespeare," it is inconceivable that he 
could have known the Stratford player as the 
author of "Hamlet," "Lear" and "Othello" 
and not have extolled him in commendatory 
verse living and in death sighing mournful 
requiem to his name. 

Ben Jonson knew, doubtless, William 
Shakspere of Stratford-on-Avon as a share 
holding actor of no considerable repute who 
with other share holding actors purchased 
and mounted plays written by other men, also 
as a money lender, a very convenient man in 
time of need, doubtless though the needy Ben 
who had holes in his pockets. Therefore "of 
Shapespeare our fellow countryman," he 
says, "I loved the man and do honour his 
memory on this side idolatry as much as any," 
Personal and not literary appreciation. 


Keep in mind that Ben Jonson's celebrated 
note on Shakespeare was penned after his 
poetical eulogy and shows that Ben did not 
esteem Shakespeare very much. The cause 
H3f the upholders of the Stratford delusion 
must be desperate when they feel constrained 
to discredit their own witness, Ben Jonson, 
upon whose testimony the Shakspere delusion 
chiefly rests. 

Ben, they say, "on occasion spoke with two 
voices/' one in which he bristles with spite 
and envy against Shakespeare and then again 
he sounds a note of highest praise. Thus the 
Stratfordians discredit their own witness by 
impugning his general character for veracity, 
showing that "on occasion" he had made con- 
flicting statements. 

To give as an instance, Ben Jonson's two 
conflicting statements that Spencer "died for 
want of bread" and that he refused Essex 
gife of twenty pieces, saying he had no time 
to spend them. However, Essex bore the cost 
of Spencer's interment. 

Now that Ben Jonson, as a witness hav- 
ing been discredited by the party introducing 
him, why is his evidence not ruled out? 

Ben Jonson's egotism would, of course, pre- 


elude a just jugment of the work of his fel- 
low poets. He felt that his own writings 
were immeasurably superior. Did Ben ever 
read the Shakespeare plays? 

For the affirmative of the proposition 
there is not the faintest presumption of prob- 
able evidence. Jonson often became the gen- 
erous panegyrist of poets, whose writing in all 
probability he never had read. 

The Ode "To the Memory of my Beloved 
Master William Shakespeare and what he 
hath left us," is in Ben Jonson's hyperbolical 
style of adulation and he writes with an eye 
to the sale of the first folio edition (1623) by 
the syndicate of printers and publishers. Giv- 
ing send offs was the recreation and the de- 
light of Ben's life. He took pleasure in com- 
mending in verse the works of men not 
worthy of his notice and in lauding and 
patronizing poeticules like Filmer, Stephens, 
Wright and Warre, also Master Joseph Rut- 
ter Ben's dear son (in a lettered sense) and 
right learned friend. 

In his prefatory remarks to the reader in 
"Sejanus," there is the same display of ex- 
cess of commendation. Ben Jonson writes: 
"Lastly I would inform you that this book 


in all numbers is not the same with that which 
was acted on the public stage wherein a sec- 
ond pen had good share in place of which I 
have rather chosen to put weaker and no 
doubt less peasing of my own than to defraud 
so happy a genius of his right by my loathed 

According to Dryden, Ben Jonson's com- 
pliments were left handed. Nevertheless, the 
words "so happy a genius" have directed the 
thoughts of commentators to Chapman and 
Shakespeare. However, the person alluded 
to is not Chapman or Shakespeare, but a very 
inferior poet, Samuel Sheppard, who more 
than forty years later claimed for himself 
the honor of having collaborated in "Sejanus" 
with Ben Jonson. Compliments bestowed o.-i 
inferior men of the elder time are in later 
times the reprisal of Stratfordian buccaneers. 
While many of Jonson's versified paneygrics 
on contemporary poets were retrieved by his 
withering contempt for many of them orally 
expressed or contained in his prose works 
"Shakespeare," a pseudonymous author being 
included among them, still to the club room 
called "the Appollo of the Devil's Tavern," 
come many who were numbered amongst the 


most distinguished men of the day outside of 
literary circles as well as within who sought 
his fellowship and would gladly be "sealed of 
the tribe of Ben." 

Cin.rendon tells us that u his conversations 
were very good and with men of most note." 

The Countess of Rutland favored him with 
her friendship and patronage, but her hus- 
band, the loathsome Roger Manners, fifth 
Earl of Rutland, resented her encouragement 
of literary men, he rushing in upon her one 
day when Ben Jonson was dining with her 
and with violence "accused her that she kept 
table to poets." These harsh words were 
spoken to and of the daughter of Sir Philip 
Sidney by the Earl of Rutland, who in earlier 
days with the Earl of Southampton used to 
pass away the time "in London merely in go- 
ing to plays every day.' 

But for poets and playmakers Lord Rut- 
land did not share Lord Southampton's lik- 
ing for imaginative pleasure as "a dear lover 
and cherisher as well of the lovers of poets 
themselves." But instead thought it a de- 
gradation to his Countess "that she kept table- 
to poets." 

Elizabeth Sidney, Countess of Rutland, 


said Ben Jonson "was nothing inferior to her 
father in poesie." In Beaumont's ear "every 
word you speak is sweet and mild." 

But Sidney's peerless daughter, the Coun- 
tess of Rutland, was never discovered dining 
with the play actor of Stratford. Why? May 
they not then compare the Shakspere biogra- 
phical data with the facts known concerning 
Ben Jonson, whose name and personality is 
(inseparably connected with subjects of gen- 
eral literature, while more is known of the 
Stratford player's life than the lives of the 

But this availed not, because of the nihility 
of literary facts in the life of the Stratford 
Shakspere. What strikes the reader most is 
the poverty of the so-called literary events of 
the Stratford player's life. There is nothing 
to show in the events that he ever wrote 
poems or plays. All is mere supposition and 

While there is comparatively a superabund- 
ance of biographical material of the non-lit- 
erary sort which contrast strikingly with the 
activities of a poet, they do not compare with 
the well-known literary facts in the life of 
Ben Jonson, but denote a relation with land- 


holder, money lender and share-holding ac- 
tor, a relation which does not involve poet 
Shakespeare's identity. 

I am convinced that Ben Jonson must have 
had vast, native ability deeply rooted in classi- 
cal literature. He had vast definite help from 
the ancients. The best parts of what he wrote 
Shakespeare would have been glad to own. 

When Ben Jonson became inebrious he 
would "carouse and swill like a Dutchman." 
King James I, was also prone to such "belly 
cheer." In fact, it was a stock situation with 
His Majesty. We read, "When Christian IV 
of Denmark was at the Court of James I on a 
visit, there is extant an account of a court 
masque in which the actors were too drunk to 
continue their parts." But their Majesties 
were in blissful ignorance of the fact as they 
were both "half seas over," had drunk swin- 

His Majesty was again "three sheets in the 
wind" when Beaumont's masque which was 
to have been performed at Whitehall on Tues- 
day evening, February 16th, 1613, to celebrate 
the marriage of the Princess Elizabeth to the 
Elector Platine. The stage mechanism was 
invented by Inigo Jones, who was also stage 


architect for Chapman's rival masque, "The 
Middle Temple and Lincoln Inn," presented 
on February ISth, 1613. 

Sir Francis Bacon is called "the chief con- 
triver" of the Beaumont pageant, he permit- 
ting no one to share the tremendous expense 
with him. But the gentlemen masquers of 
"The Inner Temple and Grays Inn" went by 
water from Winchester House to Whitehall 
seated in the King's royal barge. The Royal 
family witnessed their approach. Chamber- 
lain says, "They were received at the privie 
stayres" but it seems got no further learning 
that the King was "sleepie" (laid under the 
table). They came home as they went with- 
out doing anything, much discouraged, "and 
our of countenance." 

Ben was coarsely featured and his enemies 
rudely insulted him. But the bulky English- 
man could have answered in words very like 
Woodrow Wilson's "favorite Limerick" that 
runs as follows : 

"For beauty I am not a star, 

There are others more handsome by 


But my face, I don't mind it, 
For I am behind it; 


It's the others in front that I jar." 

Ben Jonson's love of wine bidding cannot 
be denied, "drink was one of the elements in 
which he lived," although he was not like 
King James I, who often became what the 
Satirist, Thomas Nash, called swine drunk, 
heavy, lumpish and sleepy. Still this outer 
condition was much the same, "When each 
line oft cost Ben a cup of sack." 

"Fetch me Ben Jonson's scull and fill't with 
sack rich as the same he drank when the whole 
pack of jolly sisters pledged and did agree 
it was no sin to be as drunk as he." 

These occasional infractions of sobriety by 
Ben Jonson when he conversed with Drum- 
mond at Hawthornden in 1618-19, became 
habitual with him long before James Howell's 
invitation to a solemn supper by B. J. in 

It is truly lamentable to think on the last 
days of Ben Jonson, subject to the brutifying 
power of wine, forsaken by the great when 
he stood most in need of friendship and good 
will, stripped of all his honors, his place as 
masque writer for the Kings' entertainments 
at Court, "supplied by one Townsend." Con- 

Ben Johnson 






536 5 

ill r. 

Southey Boras 
Campbell O Mrs. Pritchard 

Pan Litlington Thomioa 

Cary OF Bcnsoa Row 

Samuel CmbtaBd 





fined by want and a fatal malady of a paraly- 
tic nature in a wretched lodging in an alley. 
The weariness of waning years seemed long 
and were dark and stormy. 

And it is with a keen sense of pain and sor- 
row, of pity and regret we read the mendicant 
epistles addressed to several noblemen. 

"He asked for bread" but when the sum- 
mons came they bore him to the quiet resting 
place under the shadow of the "Cloudcapt 
Towers" of Westminster Abby and he re- 
ceived a stone. "O Rare Ben Jonson." 



The prominence given to Robert Greene 
in the manuals of our literature, is not to make 
known the fact that he was one of the very 
few poets and dramatic writers who in a li- 
centious age, "left scarce a line that dying 
he need have wished to blot," but instead, his 
character as usually framed by the critic is 
intended merely to cast obloquy on his mem- 


ory, and to reveal by the hot breath of relent- 
less scorn the unfathomable bitterness an'd rag- 
ing hate of the commentators. 

Henry Chettle imagined the dead poet's 
hand guiding his own in writing the following 
sentence: "There is no glory gained by 
breaking a dead man skull." When Chettle 
wrote these words in 1592, Robert Greene was 
dead, and, of course, could not reply to Ga- 
brial Harvey's slurring aspersions. But his 
defender, Thomas Nash, with his satirizing 
pen, "possessed with Hercules furies," flamed 
with invective against the earliest calumina- 
tor of Greene's memory, and excruciated him 
with a trenchant irony which few have ever 
equalled, and probably no one has surpassed. 

Robert Greene, like Marlowe, Burns and 
Poe three among the "greatest inheritors of 
unfulfilled renown," died in the dawn of his 
manhood, distressed and neglected. Their 
lives became a tragedy in the sun-dawn of 
fame from habits of intoxication; they 
wrecked themselves by strong drink while 
the shadows still were inclining towards the 

Robert Greene, although not a great world- 
poet like Robert Burns and Edwin Markham 


who could rouse the thought of the people, 
still like them, he was the "poet of the com- 
mon man," whose writings notwithstanding 
the laxity of the age, are unusually clean. But 
having an overpowering thirst for alcohol, he 
seems never to have answered "NO" to his 
evil, winebibber associates, so he fell a prey 
to the brutifying power of strong drink. 

"He had faults, perhaps had many, 

But one fault above them all 
Lay like heavy lead upon him, 

Tryant of a patient thrall. 
Tryant seen, confessed and hated, 

Banished only to recall. 
At his birth an evil spirit, 

Charms and spells around him 

And with well concocted malice, 

Laid a curse upon his tongue ; 
Curse that daily made him wretched 

Earth's most wretched sons among. 
He could plead, expound and argue, 

Fire with wit with wisdom glow; 
But one word forever failed him, 

Sourse of all his pain and woe; 
Luckless man! he could not say it, 

Could not, dare not, answer No." 

In this connection, without mincing mat- 
ters, I wish to state a fact that you compre- 


hend a man better after you know the sort of 
things his enemies tell about him, and the 
sort of things his friends tell about him. 
There is always something divulging about 
the admixture. 

However, we would suggest that the critics 
and commentators with-hold their critical cen- 
sure until it is positively known who the per- 
son was with a tiger's heart wrapped up in 
the hide of a player, and who thought himself 
the only "Shake-Scene" (jig dancer), before 
they abuse young Greene on account of a fanc- 
iful conjecture, by making his reputation a 
prey for carrion literary crows to peck at. 

Our critics and commentators attempt to 
deduce his autobiography from passages 
taken from his novels, contained in the main 
in his reputed posthumous works. We know 
that Greene's last illness was sudden and of 
short duration, and he may have left a few 
it not "many papers," as Chettle avers, "in 
sundry booksellers hands." Among others, 
(probably) The Black Books Messenger, 
which was never finished as the death sum- 
mons came before he could complete the 
manuscript. However, a short time before 
his death he had published a part of it, 


The Life and Death of Ned Browne, the sup- 
posed confessions of one of the most notorious 
cut-purses and scoundrels that ever lived in 
England, a man of gentlemanlike appearance 
who alternated between London and Fland- 
ers. He was at last hanged for robbing a 
church in France. The Black Book com- 
pletely took in the public. Greene had planned 
the Confessions of another malefactor, which 
he intended to publish separately also but 
the second Confession never came into view 
though it seems to have been prepared. It 
was the first thing he said which he intended 
to publish after his recovery. 

Mr. J. Churton Collins says, "that the Re- 
pentance bears a suspiciously close resem- 
blance to The Confessions of Ned Browne, 
published by Greene a short time before and 
may have been interpolated with passages tak- 
en from that work," which Mr. Collins cites. 

Compare the following excerptions out of 
the Coney-Catching Pamphlets, Ned Browne 
and The Repentance, by J. Churton Collins. 
(The Plays and Poems, Vol. 1, p. 51). 

( 1 ) My parents who for their gravitie and 
honest life were well known and esteemed 
amongst their neighbors. Repentance. 


(2) Know therefore that my parents were 
honest of good reporte and no little esteem 
amongst their neighbors. Ned Browne. 

(3) But as out of one selfsame clod of clay 
there sprouts, boath stinking weeds and de- 
lightful flowers, so from honest parents often 
grow most dishonest children, for my father 
had a care to have me in my nonage brought 
up at school that I Repentance. 

(4) (My parents) Sought of good nature 
and education would have served to have me 
made an honest man but as one self same 
ground brings forth flowers and thistles, so of 
a sound stock proved an untoward syon and of 
a venturous father a most vicious sonne, it 
bootes little to rehearse the sinnes of my non- 
age. Ned Browne. 

(5) Young yet in yeares though old in 
wickedness, I began to resolve that there was 
nothing bad in that was profitable whereupon 
I grew rooted to all mischief that I had a 
great delight in wickedness as sundres, both in 
goodiness. Repentance. 

(6) For when I came to eighteen years old 
what sinne was it that I would not commit 
with greediness, why I held them excellent 
qualities and accounted him unworthy to live 


that could not or durst not live by such damn- 
able practises. Ned Browne. 

(7) So that by their foolish persuasion the 
good and wholesome lessons I had learnt went 
quite out of my remembrance and I fell again 
with the dog to my old vomite. Repentance. 

(8) So given over by God into a reprobate 
sense, I had no feeling of goodness but with 
the dog fell to my old vomit. Ned Browne. 

The Repentance is probably the forging, in 
part at least, of its publisher, Cuthbert Burby, 
at that time a young man striving for bread 
and prominence. For Greene's name at that 
date was a name to conjure with, but Burby 
is silent as to how it came into his possession. 
The young publisher is the sole sponsor for the 
work. Those who had no confidence in the 
authenticity of The Repentance were Hazlitt, 
Ulrici, Brodenstedit and Collier. 

The outcome of my scrutiny was a clear 
conviction that The Repentance^ as a whole, 
is a soddy piece of rude forgery, more especi- 
ally in passages where the pamphleteer in his 
own person, asserts his identification with 
Robert Greene by writing the name in full as 
in the sentence "Robert Greene thou art 
damned." It seems strange that so many of 


our critics should have been the victim of this 

Mr. Collier was not convinced of the gen- 
uineness of the Groatsivorth of IV it (Life of 
Shakespeare). We think these doubts well 
founded and the critics faked by daring fabri- 
cations. Accepting the very affecting letter 
to the playwrights addressed by Greene, with 
which the "Groats worth" concludes, we may 
infer also that "Groatsivorth of Wit" may have 
been compiled in part from certain papers, 
"The Confessions" of another malefactor, 
which Greene intended to publish upon re- 
covery from sickness. 

No wonder Burby and Chettle are in a 
hurry to bring out two such publications as 
The Repentance and Groatsworih of Wit, in 
their attempt to trade on Greene's name. For 
Greene was a very popular and many-sided 
author, beloved by the people. The most 
celebrated of the early pamphleteers, Francis 
Meres, ranks Robert Greene among "the poets 
who are the glory of England," also among 
the best comedians. If Meres may be trusted 
as a witness to the literary reputation of 
"Shakespeare," why not as a witness to the 
reputation of Greene's literary fame? 


All doubt about the authorship of The Re- 
pentance seems removed by an impartial com- 
parison with the Confessions contained in The 
Black Book. For the reputed deathbed pam- 
phlet (The Repentance) bears a very close 
analagy to the supposed Confessions of Dare- 
devil Ned Browne, whose villainy is read into 
Robert Greene's life by the fabricator of The 
Repentance, who had taken advantage of 
Greene's popularity with the reading public. 

The critics manifest a very strong desire to 
read into Greene's life the depraved and vil- 
lainous characters contained in the reputed 
autobiographical works, which are supposed 
to personate him in the opinion of his de- 
famers, and to characterize him under every 
name known to knavery. In spite of that the 
purity of his writings refute the slander, as 
doth his sincere desire to serve the cause of 
virtue in the interest of good citizenship by 
his democratic sympathies. 

He says: "Let thy children's nurture be 
their richest portion, for wisdom is more pre- 
cious than wealth." 

The pamphlets of Greene gave the London 
thieves and roughs a sudden scare and many 
were seized with a panic, for he was contin- 


ually threatening to make known their names 
and send them to the gallows. He often wrote 
their initials with vacant spaces for inserting 
names, with "I will not betray his name." 
Greene tells us that he was in familiar inter- 
course with the rascals whose ways and tricks 
he describes, not as a comrade but as a secret 
agent to detect their knavery. Greene tells us 
also in the introduction, that he had in view 
the confessions of still another coney-catcher 
who had lately been executed at Newgate, but 
on reconsidering changed his mind, "because 
the man had died penitent." He had hoped, 
he said, "to make out of the Newgate felon's 
Repentance an edifying work which would 
be worth the regard of every honest person, 
which parents might present to their children 
and masters to their servants." 

Robert Greene was not "Lip-holy" or base 
enough to sham, for he was utterly above pre- 
tending to be what he was not, and could not 
have been the monster of iniquity that his 
enemies, drenched in hate, set forth after 
Greene was dead and could not answer. 

Robert Greene was conspicuous among the 
writers of his day for versatility and quickness 
in composition, and the power of turning his 


mind with ease to various subjects exemplified 
by, "A quaint dispute between Velvet- 
breeches and Cloth-breeches." The dispute is 
as to whether the courtier (Velvet-breeches), 
or the tradesman (Cloth-breeches), is entitled 
to the greater respect, and a jury of tradesmen 
is summoned to make a decision. 

Now we may notice in this connection that 
the supposed Confessions of Browne and the 
supposed "Last Speech and Dying" words of 
Elliston, who was executed in 1722 for street 
robbery in Dublin, are strictly analagous. 
Dean Swift, in composing Elliston's pretended 
dying speech, gave it the flavor of genuine- 
ness. Scott says it was "received as genuine 
by the bandits who had been companions of 
his depredations. The threat which it held 
out of a list containing their names, crimes and 
places of rendezvous, operated for a long time 
in preventing a repetition of their villanies." 
Swift parallels Greene in his methods of war- 
fare with the criminal classes and had the same 
salutary effect in producing consternation 
among the members of other gangs of these 
desperadoes which infested the city of Dublin. 

Greene's writings disclose his partiality to 
"The Man with the Hoe," and reveal his 


democratic sympathies that breathed into the 
coney-catching series, the soul of brother- 
hood, the spirit of civil humanity; in extend- 
ing a brother's hand and a brother's heart to 
the poorer classes in their struggle against 
class distinction, social injustice; against the 
minions of tragic greed who believed in the 
"super-man" and against the doctrine of sel- 
fishness, pride, arrogance and self-conceit. 

The popularity of the pamphlet was re- 
markable, it went through several editions in 
English. In 1621 it was translated into Dutch 
and published at Leyden, where it went 
through several editions also. 

Greene made it the glorious opportunity 
when describing London's low-life to give 
flunkyism, as expressed by the names of Ga- 
briel and Richard Harvey, a sudden chill, the 
Harvey Brothers, who had snubbed Greene 
and always stood scornfully apart from him 
and his circle. The second brother, Richard, 
was well known, both as an astrologer and a 
divine, who, according to Nash was "a notable 
ruffan with his pen," and had furnished two 
pamphlets to the "Martin Marprelate" dis- 
cussion, as it was called, from the pen name. 
In them he had spoken disdainfully of Greene 


and his friends, calling them "peperly-make 
plays and make-bates." 

This it was which brought Greene into the 
field after the Harveys had raised a swarm of 
trouble for themselves unwittingly "to stir up 
a hornet's nest," and the prodding and stinging 
they got by 'hornet-like" Tom Nash was 
dreadful in its causticness. "Let sleeping dogs 

The Harvey Brothers were snobs. The 
eldest, Gabriel's, strong desire was to worm 
himself into favor among the aristocracy, to 
cover up his antecedents from the lower rank, 
and to treat his equals with derision and 
haunghty disrespect. Of this there can be no 
question, with all his faults there was noth- 
ing of this weakness or snobbishness in Robert 
Greene, who had himself sprung from the 
common people though born to good condi- 

Robert Burton, a contemporary, writing in 
"The Spacious time of Great Elizabeth," says 
that idleness was the mark of the nobility, and 
to earn money in any kind of trade was de- 
spicable. Gabriel Harvey flung in Greene's 
face the fact that he made a living by his pen. 

In one of these fanciful studies in Eliza- 


bethan literature, which I now hold in my 
hand, we may read that Greene has very vul- 
garly libeled Harvey's ancestry, but when we 
turn to Greene's book, we learn that the vul- 
garity consists in calling Gabriel Harvey's 
father a ropemaker. Only a snob would re- 
gard any honest employment as a degradation ; 
still the lines which so mortally offended Ga- 
briel were suppressed by Greene. "How is he 
(Gabriel's father) abused?" writes Nash. 
"Instead of his name, he is called by the craft 
he gets his living with." 

Harvey was ostentatiously courting noto- 
riety by the gorgeousness of his apparel, cur- 
rying favor with the great, and aping Venetian 
gentility after his return from Italy. His 
inordinate vanity is best shown by his publica- 
tion of everything spoken or written in com- 
mendation of himself by his obsequious friends 
and flatterers. Harvey writes, "Though Spen- 
ser me hath ofte Homer term'd," Spenser is 
here giving his college friend a send-off. But 
it seems strange that Spenser should have writ- 
ten the following line, "Ne fawnest for the 
favour of the great" who was in effect as 
flunkish as Spenser himself" "tarred with the 
same brush," as Mr. J. C. Collins puts it. 


Robert Greene's account of the repentance 
and reformation of a fallen woman is told in 
a way that discloses the poet's kindness of heart 
and fullness of humanitarian spirit and high 
ideal of womanhood. He assured his readers 
in the words of the woman herself, "that her y 
false step gradually led her on to complete 
ruin," so heavy burdened with grief and shame 
that death seemed to her a benefaction and the 
grave the only place for perfect rest. Not 
a few there may have been who on reading 
Greene's story of the reformation and redemp- 
tion of the unfortunate woman, were started 
on the path of regeneration. 

I know not where to look for a word picture 
more conducive to virtue and friendly to re- 
claimed womanhood than this one framed by 
Robert Greene. When the light of these lives 
had been extinguished, the poor, unfortunate, 
erring ones had found a friend and helper 
not in a "fish-blooded," pharisaical critic, but 
in a dissolute living man, he saved others, 
himself he failed to save. Of all sad words, 
the saddest to me are those from a fallen wom- 
an : "I had no mother and we were so young." 

In the manuals of our literature, great 
prominence is given to the fact that Greene 


led a dissolute or irregular life, as if the de- 
bauchment of the author was transmitted by 
his writings. There are no indecencies in his 
works to attest the passage of a debauchee. 
Like many persons born to, and nurtured by 
religious parents, Greene doubtless exag- 
gerated his own vices. It may truly be said 
of him that in regard to all that pertains to 
penitence and self-abasement, he spares not 
himself, but like John Bunyan, he was given 
to self-upbraiding. He (Bunyan) declares 
it is true that he let loose the rein on the neck 
of his lust, that he delighted in all transgres- 
sions against the divine law and that he was 
the ringleader of the youth of Elstow in all 
vice. But when those who wished him ill, ac- 
cused him of licentious amours, he called God 
and the angels to attest his purity. No wom- 
an, he said, in heaven, earth or hell could 
charge him with having ever made any im- 
proper advances to her. Blasphemy and Sab- 
bath breaking seem to have been Bunyan's 
onlv transgressions after all. 

In Greene's writings we have the reverse 
of "Herrick's shameful pleading, that if his 
verse was impure, his life was chaste." Un- 
like Herrick, Greene did not minister to the 


unchaste appetite of readers for tainted lit- 
erature, either in his day or in the after time. 
Powerless to condemn Greene's writings, de- 
famers would desecrate his ashes. 

Deplore as we must Robert Greene's disso- 
lute living, it was of short duration, for he 
went from earth at the age of two and thirty, 
and the evil effects have been lost in Time's 
abatement. His associates were probably as 
dissolute as himself. 

Nash wrote, "With any notorious crime I 
never knew him tainted and he inherited more 
virtues than vices." 

Whatever," writes Collins, "his life had 
been, he had never prostituted his pen to 
coarseness and licentiousness. His writings 
'had been Puritanic in their scrupulous ab- 

Robert Greene expired on the third day of 
September, 1592. When the dead genius was 
in his grave, Gabriel Harvey gloated and 
leered with ghoulish glee, and wrote of 
Greene's "most woeful and rascal estate, how 
the wretched fellow or shall I say the prince 
of beggars, laid all to gage for some few shill- 
ings and was attended by lice." This is one 
of Harvey's malignant, vitroilic discharges in 


his attempt to spatter the memory and dese- 
crate the poet's tomb. 

Francis Meres of Palladia Tamia fame, a 
contemporary and ardent admirer of Greene, 
thus alludes to the ghoulish instincts of Har- 
vey "As Achilles tortured the deade bodie 
of Hector and as Antonius and his wife Fulvia 
tormented the lifeless corps of Cicero, so Ga- 
briel Harvey hath shewed the same inhuman- 
itie to Greene that lies full low in his grave." 
(Palladius Tamia, 1598). 

But why should the modern reader linger 
over the irregularities of dissolute living au- 
thors like Greene and Poe, whose writings 
are exceptionally clean? The commentators 
and pharisaic critics who have written con- 
cerning Greene are mere computists of the 
poet's vices. When loud-mouthed detraction 
calls him bad-hearted, we should not forget 
that this dissolute man could and did keep in- 
violate the purity of his imagination. Few 
have left a wealthier legacy in feminine 
models of moral and physical beauty. Re- 
member Robert Burns' noble words, "What 
done we partly may compute but know not 
what resisted." 

In all the galleries of noble women, 


Greene's heroines deserve a foremost place, for 
all the gracious types of womanhood belonged 
to Greene before they became "Shakespeare." 
His writings have assauged the sorrow of the 
self-sacrificing mother who is always a queen 
uncrowned, long-suffering and faithful. 

There is no record extant of Robert 
Greene's living likeness. Chettle gives this 
pleasant description of his personal appear- 
ance: "A man of indifferent years, of face 
amiable, of body well proportioned, his attire 
after the habit of scholarlike gentlemen, only 
his hair was somewhat long, whom I supposed 
to be Robert Greene, Master of Arts." 

Nash notices his tawny beard, a jolly long 
red peak like the spire of a steeple which he 
cherished continually without cutting, where- 
at a man might hang a jewel, it was so sharp 
and pendant." 

Harvey, who "was altogether unacquainted 
with the man and never once saluted him by 
name," says that 'He wore such long hair as 
was only worn by thieves and cut-throats, and 
taunts Nash with wearing the same 'unseemly 
superfluity.' " 

The habit of wearing- the hair long is not 
unusual with poets. Milton and Tennyson 


cherished the same "superfluity," as did also 
the late Joaquin Miller. How dear to the 
"poet of the Sierras" were his tawny tresses 
resting on his shoulders, who could not be 
moved by persuasive words to part with them 
even from the lips of so worthy a friend as 
Ina Coolbrith, Poet Laureate of California. 

Very little is known with any degree of cer- 
tainty concerning the personal life of Robert 
Greene, and very little, if anything, in re- 
gard to his family or ancestry, although much 
prominence is given by imaginery writers to 
the history of his person in the hand-books of 
our literature. These writers attach an au- 
tobiographical realty to their dreams of fancy. 
They take advantage of Greene's unbounded 
sincerity and his own too candid confession in 
the address to the play writers, and of his own 
irrepressible desire to sermonize, whether in 
plays or pamphlets, with all the fervor of a 
devout Methodist having a license to exhort. 

Had young Greene lived a longer life with 
all its wealth of bud and bloom, we should 
now have in fruition a luxuriance of imagina- 
tion and versatility of diction possessed by few. 
With longer life he would probably have 
gained command of himself, for there was in 


the poet's strivings, during the last few years 
of his life, the promise and prophecy of a 
glorious future. His soul enlarged, he battled 
for the common weal ; his heart was with the 
lowly and his voice was for the right when 
freedom's friends were few. 

In his play, "Pinner of Wakefield," first 
printed in 1599, Robert Greene makes a hero 
and a very strenuous one, of a mere pound- 
keeper who proudly refuses Knighthood at the 
hands of the king. "In the first scene of the 
play when Sir Nicholas Mannering appears 
in Wakefield, with his commission from the 
rebel Earl of Kendal, and demands victuals 
for the rebel army, the stalwart pound- 
keeper steps forward, makes the Knight eat 
his words and then his seal. What, are you 
in choler? I will give you pills to cool your 
'stomach. Seest thou these seals? Now by my 
father's soul, which was a yeoman's wheir he 
was alive, eat them or eat my dagger's point, 
proud Squire.' The Earl of Kendal and other 
noblemen next appear in disguise and send 
their horses into the Pinner's corn to brave 
him. The pound-keeper approaches, and 
after altercation, strikes the Earl. Lord Bon- 
field says, 'Villain, what hast thou done? 


Thou hast struck an Earl.' Pinner answers, 
'Why, what care I? A poor man that is true 
is better than an Earl if he be false.' ' 

A yeoman boxing or cuffing the ear of an 
Earl! This has all the breezy freshness of 
American democracy. 

The voice of the yeoman is often heard in 
Greene's drama, not as buffoon and lackey, but 
as freeman, whose voice is echoed at Naseby 
and Marston's gory field of glory, where the 
sturdy yeomanry of England strove to do and 
to dare for the eternal right soldiers who 
never cowered from "sheen of spear" nor 
paled at flashing steel. 

With Greene rank is never the measure of 
merit. To peer and yeoman he gave equal 
hospitality, for Robert Greene was as friendly 
to the poor man's rags as to the purple robe 
of king. 

Greene in his popular sympathies is thor- 
oughly with the working classes "the great 
plain people of which Lincoln said that God 
must have loved them for he made so many 
of them." Greene never missed an opportun- 
ity to testify to the fact that "the souls of em- 
perors and cobblers are all cast in the same 
mould." His heroes and heroines are taken 


many of them from humble life. In the Pin- 
ner of Wakefield, there is a very clear discern- 
ment of democratic principle in the struggle 
against prerogatives. Half of those plays of 
Greene, which we still possess, are devoted 
to the representation of the life of the great 
plain people which gave lineage to Abraham 
Lincoln, John Bunyan and Ben Franklin. 


However, if we would understand the mat- 
ter in hand thoroughly we must opncentrate 
our attention and thought intently upon the 
celebrated letter written by the dying hand of 
Robert Greene, and addressed to three brother 
poets, to whom he administers a gentle reproof 
on account of their bygone and present 
"faults," of which play-writing was most to 
be shunned. This remarkable letter reveals 
Robert Greene as the most tragc figure of his 
time a sad witness of his ultimate penitence 
and absolute confession, a character of pathe- 
tic sincerity and weirdness, and charnel-like 
gloom that chills the soul. This letter, so often 
'referred to, and seemingly so little understood 
is one of the most extraordinary pieces of writ- 
ing in our literary annals. It has all the credi- 


bility that a dying statement can give, but it 
also evidences the fact that Robert Greene 
had previously drawn the fire of the improvis- 
ing actors who wrought the disfigurement of 
the poet's work. There is one in particular 
at whom he hurls a dart and hits the mark. 

"Yes, trust them not; for their is an upstart 
crow, beautified with our (poets) feathers, 
that, with his Tygers heart, wrapt in a Players 
hide, supposes he is well able to bombast out 
a blanke verse as the best of you; and being an 
absolute 'Johannes Factotum/ is in his own 
conceit, the onely Shaks-scene in a countrie." 

This sorrow-stricken man wrote these words 
of censure with the utmost sincerity. Earlier 
biographers made no attempt to read "Shakes- 
peare" into these lines of reproof, but those 
only of later times regard the allusion invalu- 
able as being the first literary notice of Shakes- 
peare and find pleasure in reading into 
Shakespeare's life the alleged fact of his hav- 
ing been satirized in 1592 under the name 
"Shake-scene" used by Greene contumeliously. 

The letter is contained in a little work en- 
titled "Greene's Groats Worth of Wit," 
"Bought with a Million of Repentance," orig- 
inally published in 1592, having been entered 


at Stationers Hall on the 20th of September 
in that year. "To those gentlemen his Quon- 
dam acquaintance, that spend their wits in 
making Plaies." 

"With thee (Marlowe) will I first begin, 
thou famous gracer of tragedians, that Greene, 
who hath said with thee, like the foole in his 
heart, there is no God, should now give glorie 
unto His greatnesse; for penetrating is His 
power, His hand lies heavy upon me, He hath 
spoken unto me with a voice of thunder and 
I have felt He is a God that can punish ene- 
mies. Why should thy excellent wit, His gift, 
be so blinded that thou shouldst give no glory 
to the giver?" * * * 

"With thee I enjoyne young Juvenall, 
'(Nash) that byting satyrist that lastlie with 
mee together writ a comedie. Sweete boy, 
might I advise thee, be advised, and get not 
many enemies by bitter words . . . Blame 
not schollers vexed with sharp lines, if they 
reprove thy too much libertie of reproofe." 

"And thou (Peele) no less deserving than 
the other two, in some things rarer, in nothing 
inferiour; driven (as myself e) to extreame 
shifts, a little have I to say to thee ; and were 
it not an idolatrous oath, I would swear by 


sweet S. George thou art unworthie better 
hap, sith thou dependest on so meane a stay, 
(theatre). Baseminded men, all three of you, 
if by my miseries ye be not warned; for unto 
none of you, like me, sought those burrs to 
cleave; those pupits, I meane, that speak from 
our mouths, those anticks garnish in our col- 
ours. Is it not strange that I, to whom they 
all have been beholding, is it not like that you 
to whom they all have beene beholding, shall, 
were ye in that case that I am now, be both 
at once of them forsaken? . . . 

"But now I return againe to you three, 
knowing my miserie is to you no news; and 
let me heartily intreate you to be warned by 
my harmes . . .For it is a pittie men of 
such rare wits should be subject to the pleas- 
ures of such rude groomes." (actors). 

Those biographers and critics who have 
written concerning Shakspere and Greene 
misapprehensively compound and integrate 
letter and pamphlet. It should be made clear 
that Greene's letter to his fellow poets is not 
an integral part of "Groats Worth of Wit," 
though appended towards the end of this 
pamphlet. The letter is strikingly personal 
and impressive, not a continuance of a pamph- 


let describing the folly of youth, but a mere 
appendage not properly constituting a portion 
of it. It was the classical commentator. 
Thomas Tyrwhitt (1730-85) we believe, who 
first made current the groundless opinion that 
purports to identify "Shakespeare" as the one 
pointed at, but most all recent biographers and 
commentators state as a proven fact that Rob- 
ert Greene was the first to bail Shapespeare 
out of obscurity by the "reprehensive refer- 
ence" to an "upstart crow," "Shake-scene." 
The effect of conjectural reading is to raise a 
tempest of depreciation by which "Shake- 
speare's" biographers and commentators have 
succeeded in handing down to posterity 
Greene's reputation as a preposterous combi- 
nation of infamy and envy, harping with 
fiendish delight on the irregularities and de- 
fects of Robert Greene's private life, which 
were not even shadowed in his writings. The 
writings of Greene "whose pen was pure" are 
exceptionally clean. Why then this unmerited 
abuse so malignant in disposition and passion? 
We answer that it is because the biographers 
of "Shakespeare" have been seduced from the 
truth by a vagrant conjecture into the belief 
that "Shakespeare" was the object and recipi- 


ent of Greene's censure. It is apparent that 
the statement which affirms this is false, and 
we shall endeavor to show that Robert 
Greene's detractors are on the wrong trail. 

Before Tyrwhitt's day it was wholly unsus- 
pected to Shakespeare's biographers, editors 
and commentators even by what Mr. George 
Saintsbury designates as "the most perilous 
process of conjecture" to what contemporary 
person Greene alludes, and now after the lapse 
of more than three hundred years after date, 
there is no real evidence guesswork, pure 
and undulterated. When Nicholas Rowe, the 
first seventeenth century biographer and edi- 
tor, gave his edition of Shakespeare to the 
public in 1709, Greene's letter to "the gentle- 
men, his quondam acquaintance" had been in 
print for 118 years. Nevertheless, Rowe does 
not find "Shakespeare" "satirized under the 
name Shake-scene." 

The poet Pope, (1688-1744) was Shake- 
speare's second editor, but does not find Shake- 
speare's "literary pretensions ridiculed" by 
Greene. Lewis Theobald, the third editor, 
said nothing about Greene's "rancorous at- 
tack" so called on Shakespere. 

Sir Thomas Hanmer, (1677-1746) the 


fourth editor also says nothing about Shake- 
scene as an allusion to Shakespeare, or that 
he had been railed at by Greene. 

In 1747, Bishop Warburton produced a re- 
vised version of Pope's edition. The Bishop 
failed to see in Greene's "only Shake-scene" a 
denunciation of Shakespeare. Dr. Johnson, 
(1709-83) the sixth editor is silent in regard 
to this tirade so styled against "Shakespeare." 
But Tyrwhitt, (1730-85) in guessing that 
Shake-scene is "Shakespeare," gave the Strat- 
ford delusion its highest flood, for his random 
opinion was accepted as a proven fact by many 
Stratfordians. We find the names of Malone, 
Dyce, and Halliwell-Phillipps among the 
dead; Sir Sidney Lee, Mr. Hamilton Wright 
Mabie and the Countess de Chambrun among 
the living. Not all Stratfordians hold that 
^Shakespeare was Shake-scene," for Mr. 
Fleay and Mr. Castle have shown that 
"Shakespeare" cannot be "Shake-scene." 

But Mr. Lang says "only one such success- 
ful practicising actor-playwright is known to 
us at this date (1592) and he is "Shakespeare." 
Unless another such existed, Greene in 1592 
alludes to William Shak (&c) as a player and 


My answer is that another such did exist in 
1592. In the list of names before me given by 
Miss Phoebe Sheavyn "The Literary Pro- 
fession in the Elizabethan Age" (p. 94) there 
are as many as nine persons who combined the 
two professions, the "equality" of player with 
authorship. Her list includes the names of 
Wilson, Munday, Rawley, Peele and Field. 

And it seems according to a letter (W. P. 
among Henslowe's papers at Dulwich Col- 
lege) that Peele occasionally trod the boards. 

Sir G. G. Greenwood writes, "As I have 
shown George Peele was one of the play- 
wrights addressed by Greene, and Peele was 
a successful player as well as playwright, and 
might quite truly have been alluded to, both as 
having 'facetious grace in writing' and being 
'excellent in the quality he professed' that is 
as a professional actor." 

And it is a very easy matter to prove that at 
least one such successful practising actor-play- 
wright is known to us at this date (1592) and 
; he is Robert Wilson, senior, who did unite the 
two professions as a player and playwright, 
who collaborated in sixteen plays, and has one 
or more ascribed to his sole authorship. 

In 1598 a partnership was carried on be- 


tween Wilson, Dekker, Drayton and Chettle. 
He was also a frequent collaborator with 
Munday. In 1598, Meres names Wilson 
among "our best for comedy." And still an- 
other tribute ry comment. In 1581, Wilson, 
one of Lord Leicester's men received an order 
for a play which included "all sorts of mur- 
ders, immorality and robberies." 

Robert Wilson was a famous extemporising 
clown actor; he was frequently called for after 
the play was over, when he performed a jig. 
He had license to introduce his own additions 
in rhyme or in the "swelling bombast of a 
bragging blank verse," as Nash called it. 

Richard Tarlton and William Kemp were 
great performers in interludes. But neither 
Tarlton nor Kemp equalled Wilson as an au- 
thor. In connection with extemporizing, Wil- 
son's two interludes, "The Three Ladies of 
London" and "The Three Lords and Three 
Ladies of London," are excellent examples of 
his remarkable facility as an improvising 
clown player. 

According to Collier, Wilson was not only 
an excellent performer, but also a talented 
dramatist, especially renowned for his ready 
repartee, and of his own anonymity says, 


"Loth was I to display myself to the world but 
for that I hope to dance under a mask and 
bluster out like the wind, which, though every 
man heareth yet none can in sight descrie." 

The fantastic tricks and foolery of the ex- 
temporizing clowns were the opprobrium of 
the public playhouse. Hamlet felt it and 
spake of it with regret in a well known pas- 
sage; "And let those that play your clowns 
speak no more than is set down for them; for 
there be of them that will themselves laugh to 
set on some quantity of barren spectators to 
laugh too, though in the meantime, some nec- 
essary question of the play be then to be con- 
sidered : that's villianous and shows a most pit- 
iful ambition in the fool that uses it." (Ham- 
let, Act III, Scene II). 

The extempore actors referred to by Ham- 
let were Robert Wilson and William Kemp, 
or clown actors of their own clique, who ac- 
customed the public to jigs and merriment and 
were the delight of the groundlings. But the 
improvising clowns proved an impediment to 
the development of higher dramatic composi- 
tion, and were deservedly derided as "Shake- 



But nevertheless, are not all the conditions 
of the problem satisfied by Wilson's identifi- 
cation with Shake-scene, a hyphened com- 
pound word, which is used as equivalent to 
the performance of a jig dancer upon the stage 
who was a clown actor and jester, who can 
bombast out his own improvising in blank 
verse and who was true to name Shake-scene. 

So may not Robert Wilson, senior, be ad- 
vanced for Robert Greene's reproof by all 
persons who are of the opinion that Shake- 
scene was both actor and playwright. Suppo- 
sition says Kemp also wrote pamphlets and 
plays, although at this time he had not given 
his first and only work to the press. It matters 
little at whom Greene aimed, Kemp or Wil- 
son, so long as Shakespeare was not the object 
of the aimer. We do not know positively who 
the only Shake-scene was, but we have in Wil- 
son a good Shake-scene, and a good "poet- 
ape." "He takes up all makes, each man's wit 
his own." 

We know that Wilson was able to do all the 
functions of Greene's Shake-scene, and pos- 
sessed all the attributes that Chettle claimed 
for the person who had "factitious grace in 
writing." Wilson, however, is not equal to 


both functions, as it was not possible for any 
known or unknown other to have been, for if 
heir to an opprobrious name (Shake-scene) 
he cannot be the recipient of Chettle's com- 
mendation, for his uprightness of dealing and 
his "factitious grace in writing" even if Shake- 
scene was a playwright-actor, "poet-ape," still 
he would be one of those "puppets as Greene 
says that speak from our mouths." In effect, 
Greene is saying to three of his old college 
chums, trust not the players for they "will 
leave you all in the lurch." For Robert Wil- 
son and Will Kemp are now both extemporiz- 
ing their own recitative composings in blank 
verse, and "their jiggings is much clapped at 
on the stage," and every improvising line in 
blank verse applauded, and one of these 
"painted monsters supposes he is as well able 
to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you, 
and being an absolute 'Johannes Factotum' 
(like Bob Wilson) is in his own conceit, the 
only 'Shake-scene' (dance-scene) in a coun- 

The present writer is of the opinion that 
Kemp and_ Wilson are about equally identifi- 
able with Shake-scene, for the true import of 
Greene's words about an upstart crow done up 


in a player's hide, should not be taken serious- 
ly. Greene's meaning is that the player, beau- 
tified with poet's feathers is bragging with a 
view to self-commendation, and being a "fac- 
totum" like all the other clown actors and jig 
dancers, boasts of his ability to bombast out 
blank verse by introducing his interpolated 
foolery and jiggery while the play is in action. 

Inasmuch as Shakespeare had never been a 
clown player and jig dancer, his identification 
with an approbrious name (Shake-scene) 
seems to me impossible, and as the partizans 
of Shakespeare agree that Shakespeare was 
not one of Greene's quondam acquaintances 
"that spend their wits in making plays" he 
coculd not have been the recipient of Chet- 
tle's approbation, and is, of course, excluded, 
for Greene's letter was not written to him, 
therefore Chettle offers no apology to Shake- 

Young Hamlet and young Greene are in 
perfect accord in their estimate of the 
"groundlings who for the most part are cap- 
able of nothing but dum-shows and noise." 
And "those puppets also that speak from our 
mouths, those apes garnished in our colors," 
for Hamlet is scarcely less censorious when 


galled as is shown by his bitter reproof of the 
extempore clown players for improvising mat- 
ter of their own in rhyme or blank verse into 
the poet's plays. We have already seen that 
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, regards the ex- 
temporizing clown and jig dancer as an inter- 
loper as to dramatic composition, characteriz- 
ing the additions of the improvising clown as 
"villianous and shows a most pitiful ambition 
in the fool that uses it." 

Our prime object is to establish Wilson's 
and Kemp's eligibility as claimants for 
Greene's opprobrious "Shake-scene," thus 
barring out Shakespeare. 

The prominence of Robert Greene's name 
in the manuals of our literature is due in the 
main to the kind of lies his critics tell about 
him in connection with "Groatworth Shake- 
Scene" allusion. 

There now arises the crucial inquiry con- 
cerning the charge that Shakespeare was thus 
lampooned in 1592 by Robert Greene in his 
celebrated address to those gentlemen of his 
own fellowship that spend their wits making 
plays inferentially, Marlowe, Nash and 
Peek. The exigency of the case demands, in 
the opinion of Shakespeare's modern biog- 


raphers, the appropriation of Greene's re- 
proachful reference to Shakespeare (though 
no name is mentioned.) The fanciful biog- 
raphers of Shakspere rely on these words of 
reproof and censure as being the initial notice 
of his worth and work which was to lift him 
from his place of obscurity in the year 1592. 
The meaning of Greene's words in the idiom 
of the times, as in their contextural and nat- 
ural sense, yield nothing which is confirma- 
tory of such contention; for "dance" is con- 
noted under the term "shake," answering to 
the first element in "Shake-scene," which in 
the old meaning meant "dance," generic for 
quick action; and "scene" meant "stage" for 
the theaters were then in a state of absolute 
nudity in other words, "Shake-scene" meant 
a dancing performance upon the stage. In the 
plain unobtrusive language of our day, as well 
as in Elizabethan English, the word "shake" 
the first syllable in "Shake-scene" is inter- 
changeable with "dance," and, when given a 
specialized meaning with a view to theatrical 
matters in the year 1592, with Kemp and 
Shakespeare claimants for Greene's reproof, 
who could doubt that the name which was so 
loudly acclaimed is identifiable with the spec- 


tacular luminay of the times, Will Kemp, if 
Robert Wilson was not? 

Greene says, "In this I might insert two 
more that boath have writ against these buck- 
ram gentlemen." Can these be identified? 
They cannot for there are no hints to supply a 
clue. But Mr. Fleay makes a guess which 
identifies the two as Wilson and Kyd; the for- 
mer may have been one of the two "I might 
insert," but Kyd is barred by the fact that he 
had quit playwriting as early as 1589 "to leape 
into a new occupation." As Nash in 1589 puts 
it, he was in the service of a certain lord, (un- 
named). We know that Lodge had also 
thrown up play-making for in 1859 he vowed 
to write no more for the public playhouse, 
Greene following suit probably soon after. At 
all events Kyd was not the object of the 
Groatsworth reference, he being no longer 
dependent on public stage hack work for a 

Thomas Kyd (1558-1594) was educated at 
Merchant Taylor's School, a fellow student 
with Edmund Spenser. Marlowe and Kyd 
were chums, at one time room-mates, helpful 
to each other perhaps in making plays, for 
Kyd excelled his more gifted and brilliant as- 


sociate in plot construction and in surprising 
situations, but baneful to each other as cham- 
bermates. For in consequence of this intimacy 
the unfortunate Kyd was charged with athe- 
ism, owing to the discovery of a Theistic or 
Unitarian pamphlet among his papers, and is 
put to the torture in Bridewell. 

Concerning the incriminating document, 
Kyd in writing to the Lord Keeper (Sir John 
Puckering), says, "Some occasion of our 
wryting in one chamber two years synce 
(1591) some fragments of a disputation * * * 
affirmed by Marlowe to be his were shufled 
'with some of myne (unknown to me)." But 
the informers called "State decipherers," 
while rummaging amongst these waste and 
idle papers for compromising documents that 
concerned the State was found the "disputa- 
tion," in which the writer's profession of faith 
is summed up in the words, "I call that true 
religion which instructeth man's minds with 
right faith and worthy opinion of God, and I 
rail that right faith which doth creddit and 
believe that of God which the Scriptures do 

The document is not atheistic but theistic, 
imbued with Socinianism. The writer rejects 


the doctrine of the Trinity, the diety of Christ, 
but holds to the Unitarian or Socinian faith 
as held by Joseph Priestly, who made the 
epoch-making discovery of oxygen ; the relig- 
ion of William Ellery Channing and Thomas 
Star King, and their present representatives. 

Kyd was arrested on suspicion May 12, 
1593, of being guilty of a libel that concerned 
the State; "some outcast Ishmael," to use his 
own expression, puts authority upon the scent, 
so Kyd's study was visited but the authorities 
failed to find the libel that concerned the 
State. Instead was found an unorthodox pa- 
per which Kyd alleged to have been the prop- 
erty of Marlowe, which was regarded as 
prlma facie evidence of the "deadlie thing"- 

A week after his arrest on May 18, 1593, 
the Privy Council issued the warrant for the 
arrest of Marlowe. In the M. S. Register of 
the Privy Council we read, "This day (May 
20) Ch. Marley of London, gent, being sent 
for by warrant from their Lordships hath en- 
tered his appearance accordinglie, for his in- 
demnity therein and is commanded to give his 
daily attendance on their Lordship till he 
shall be licensed to the contrarie." 


How long Kyd remained in prison after his 
arrest on May 12, 1593, we do not know; how- 
ever, the High Commission is much alarmed 
at the spread of atheism. The "State deciph- 
erers," gorged with perjury, have scented 
Kyd, who in self-defense tarnished his own 
fame by accusing Marlowe of heresy and blas- 
phemy, an act of fear for which the modern 
world has no pardon. 

We now direct the attention of the reader 
specifically to the arrogant and boastful com- 
edian, Will Kemp. This man, according to 
Robert Greene's view, was the personification 
of everything detestable in the actor whose 
profession he despised. We think the biog- 
raphers and commentators have mistaken the 
spectacularity of Will Kemp for the rising 
sun of "Shakespeare," the author poet. In 
the closing years of the sixteenth, and the early 
years of the seventeenth century, there lived 
in London the most spectacular comic actor 
and clown of his day, the greatest "Shake- 
scene" or dance-scene of his generation, Wil- 
liam Kemp, the worthy successor of Dick 
Tarlton. He had a continental reputation in 
1S89. This year also Nash dedicated to Kemp 


one of his attacks upon Martin Marpelate en- 
titled "An Almond for a Parrot.'' 

There is ample contemporary evidence that 
Kemp was the greatest comic actor of his time 
in England, and his notoriety as a morris-dan- 
cer was so great that his journeyings were 
called dances. He was the court favorite, fam- 
ous for his improvisation, and loved by the 
public, but hated by academic play-writers 
and ridiculed by ballad-makers. Kemp, in 
giving his first pamphlet "The Nine Days' 
Wonder" to the press in 1599, turned upon his 
enemies and in retaliation called them "Shake- 
rags," which he used derisively and as con- 
tumeliously as Greene had used "Shake- 
scene." The use of the word "Shake-rags" by 
Kemp in his first and only published work is 
prima-facie evidence that he also made use of 
the same term, orally and in his usual acrim- 
onious manner, either against Greene, or those 
of his fellowship. The first element in the 
compound words "Shake-scene" and "Shake- 
rags" is governed by the same general law of 
movement or rhythmic action exemplified in 
dancing and rhyme ry. In 1640 Richard 
Brown in his "Antipodes" refers to the prac- 
tice of jesters, in the days of Tarlton and 


Kemp, of introducing their own wit into poets' 
plays. "Kemp, writing in 1600, asserts that 
he spent his life in mad jigs and merry jests," 
although he was entrusted with many leading 
parts in farce or broad comedy." His danc- 
ing of jigs at the close of a play gave him his 
chief popularity. "The jigs were performed 
to musical accompaniment and included the 
singing of comic words. One or two actors at 
times supported Kemp in his entertainment, 
dancing and singing with him. Some exam- 
ples of the music to which Kemp danced are 
preserved in a manuscript collection of John 
Dowland now in the library of Cambridge 

"The words were, doubtless, often impro- 
vised at the moment, but, on occasions, they 
were written out and published. The Station- 
ers Register contains licenses for the publica- 
tion of at least four sets of words for the jigs 
in which Kemp was the chief performer." 

By way of confirmation, we will now quote 
in part, from the "Camden Society Papers," 
scenes in the life of Will Kemp. 

According to Henslowe's Diary, Will 
Kemp was on June 15th, 1592, a member of 
the company of the Lord Strange players un- 


der Henslowe and Alleyn, playing a principal 
comic part in the "Knack to Know a 
Knave," and introducing into it what is called 
on the title page his "Applauded Merri- 
ments," a technical term for a piece of theatri- 
cal buffoonery. In 1593 Nash warned Gab- 
riel Harvey "lest Will Kemp should make a 
merriment of him." 

As early as 1586, Kemp was a member of a 
company of great importance which had ar- 
rived at Elsinore where the king held court. 
He remained two months in Denmark, and 
received a larger amount of board money than 
his fellow actors. In a letter of Sir Phillip 
Sidney, dated Utrecht, March 24th, 1586, he 
says: "I sent you a letter by Will (Kemp), 
my Lord Leicester's jesting player." 

It was after his return from these foreign 
expeditions that we find Kemp uniting his ex- 
ertions with those of Alleyn at the Rose and 
Fortune theatres, as Prince Henry's servants. 
During this whole period from his return in 
1586 from Denmark, to the year 1598, he did 
not stay uninterruptedly at the theatres of the 
Burbages. From February 19th to June 22nd, 
1592, a part of Lord Leicester's company 
played under Henslowe and Alleyn. In 1602, 


Kemp was again in London, acting under 
Henslowe and Alleyn as one of the Earl of 
Worcester's men. We gather from Henslovve's 
diary that on March 10th, he borrowed in 
ready money twenty shillings. 

Kemp was a very popular performer as 
early as 1589. We shall see hereafter that he, 
following the example of Tarlton, was in the 
habit of extemporizing and introducing mat- 
ter of his own that has not come down to us. 
"Let those that play your clowns speak no 
more than is set down for them." (Hamlet, 
Act III, Scene II). These words were aimed 
at Kemp, or one of his school, and it was about 
this date, according to Henslowe's Diary, that 
Kemp went over from the Lord Chamberlain 
to the Lord Nottingham players. The most 
important duty of the clown was not to appear 
in the play itself, but to sing and dance his jig 
at the end of it, even after a tragedy, in order 
to soften the painful impression. (Camden So- 
ciety Papers). 

Kemp's jig of "The Kitchen Stuff Woman" 
was a screaming farce of rude verses, some 
spoken, others sung; of good and bad witti- 
cism; of extravagant acting and dancing. In 
the art of comic dancing Kemp was immoder- 


ately loved and admired. He paid profes- 
sional visits to all the German and Italian 
courts, and was even summoned to dance his 
Morris-dance before the Emperor Rudolph 
himself at Augsburg. 

Kemp combined shrewdness with his rough 
manner. With a view to extending his repu- 
tation and his profits, he announced in 1599, 
his intention of dancing a Morris-dance from 
London to Norwich ; but to his annoyance, ev- 
ery inaccurate report of his gambols was 
hawked about in publication at the time by 
book-sellers or ballad-makers, like " Kemp's 
farewell to the tune of Kerry Merry Buff." 

In order to check the circulation of false- 
hood, Kemp offered, he tells us, his first 
pamphlet to the press (though at the time he 
was thought to have had a hand in printing the 
Anti Morelist plays and pamphlets five 
pieces erroneously attributed to his pen). The 
only copy known is in the Bodleian Library. 
The title ran " Kemp's Nine Days Wonder," 
the wonder referred to being performed in a 
dance from London to Norwich then written 
by himself to satisfy his friends. A woodcut 
on the title page shows Kemp in elaborate cos- 
tume with bells about his knees dancing to the 


accompaniment of a drum and tabor, which a 
man at his side is playing. This pamphlet 

William Kemp Dancing the Morris. 

was entered in the Stationers Book, April 22, 
1600. The dedicatory salutation to Anna 
Fritton, one of her Majesty's maids of honor, 
shows us how arrogant and conceited he must 
have been. 

Kemp started at seven o'clock in the morn- 
ing on the first Monday in Lent, the starting 
point being in front of the Lord Mayor's 
house, and half London was astir to see the be- 
ginning of the great exploit. His suite con- 
sisted of his taborer, Thomas Sly; his servant, 
William Bee; and his overseer or umpire, 
George Sprat, who was to see that everything 
was performed according to promise. Accord- 


ing to custom, he put out a sum of money be- 
fore his departure on condition of receiving 
thrice the amount on his safe return. His own 
fatigue caused him many delays and he did 
not arrive in Norwich until twenty-three days 
after his departure. He spent only nine days 
in actual dancing on the road. 

Kemp himself on this occasion contributed 
nothing to the music except the sound of the 
bells, which were attached to his gaiters. In 
Norwich, thousands waited to receive him in 
the open market-place with an official concert. 
Kemp, as guest of the town, was entertained at 
its expense and received handsome presents 
from the Mayor who arranged a triumphal 
entry for him. The freedom of the Mer- 
chants' Adventures Company was also con- 
ferred upon him, thereby assuring him a 
share in the yearly income to the amount of 
forty shillings a pension for life. The very 
buckskins in which he performed his dance 
was nailed to the wall in the Norwich Guild 
Hall and preserved in perpetual memory of 
the exploit, which was long remembered in 
popular literature. 

In an epilogue, Kemp announced that he 
was shortly "to set forward as merily as I 


may, whither, I myself know not," and beg- 
ged ballad makers to abstain from disseminat- 
ing lying statements about him. Kemp's 
humble request to the impudent generation 
of ballad makers, as he terms them, reads in 
part: "My notable Shake-rags, the effect of 
my suit is discovered in the title of my sup- 
plication, but for your better understanding 
for that I know you to be a sort of witless bet- 
tle-heads that can understand nothing but 
that is knocked into your scalp; so farewell, 
and crosse me no more with thy rabble of 
bold rhymes, lest at my return I set a crosse 
on thy forehead that all men may know that 
for a fool." It seems certain that Kemp kept 
his word in exhibiting his dancing powers on 
the continent. In Week's "Ayers" (1688), 
mention is made of Kemp's skipping into 
France. A ballad entitled, "An Excellent 
New Medley" (dated about 1600), refers to 
his returning from Rome. In the Eliza- 
bethan play, "Jack Drum's Entertainment" 
(1616), however, there is introduced a song 
to which Kemp's morris dance is performed. 
Heywood, writing at this period in his 
"Apology for Actors" (1612), says Will 
Kemp was a comic actor of high reputation, 


as well in the favor of Her Majesty as in 
the opinion of the general audience. 

There is also a tribute from the pen of 
Richard Rathway (1618); and Ben Jonson, 
William Rowley and John Marston make 
mention of him. 

These facts and concurring events in the 
life of Robert Wilson and Will Kemp, con- 
vince us that Shakespeare was not, and that 
Kemp or Wilson was the person at whom 
Greene leveled his satire, by bearing witness 
to their extemporizing power and haughty 
and insolent demeanor in introducing im- 
provisations and interpolations of their "own 
wit into poet's plays." 

From the foregoing, it is evident that, at the 
time the letter was written, Will Kemp en- 
joyed an unequaled and wide-spread notoriety, 
and transient fame, extending not only 
throughout England, but into foreign coun- 
tries as well. 

And further, by reason of his great 
prominence, in a calling which Greene 
loathed, and despised, he was brought easily 
within the range of the latter's contemptuous 
designation; of "upstart crow" and "Shake- 



We have now reached the crucial matter 
of the address which, according to the specu- 
lative opinion of many of Shakespeare's 
biographers, contains all the words and 
sentences which they hope, when racked, may 
be made to yield support to their tramp con- 
jecture that Robert Greene Was the first to 
discover Shakspeare as a writer of plays, or 
the amendor of the works of other poets. The 
identifiable words, so called, are contained 
in the following sentences: "Yes, trust them 
not; for there is an upstart crow, beautified 
with our feathers, that, with his Tygers heart 
wrapt in a Player's hide." 

"Upstart crow" in Elizabethan English, 
meant in general one who assumed a lofty or 
arrogant tone, a bragging, boastful, swaggerer 
suddenly raised to prominence and power, as 
was both Kemp and Wilson after the death 
of Richard Tarlton (1589). In an epistle 
prefixed to Greene's "Arcadia" (1587), 
Thomas Nash speaks of actors "as a company 
of taffaty fools with their feathers;" and "The 
players decked with poets' feathers like 
Aesop's crow" (R-B) and again, "That with 
his Tyger's heart wrapt in a player's hide." 
Tiger in the plain language of the day stood 


for bully, a noisy insolent man, who habitu- 
ally sought to overbear by clamors, or by 
threats. These characteristics are identifiable 
with Kemp; but the biographers of Shakes- 
peare are content to conjecture that Robert 
Greene's parody on the line, Oh Tygers heart 
wrapt in a woman's hide" is not only a con- 
tumelious reference to actor, William Shaks- 
pere, but also a declaration of his authorial 
integrity by their assignment of "Henry VI, 
Part III," which was in action at the "Rose," 
when Greene's celebrated address was written. 

There is prlma-facle evidence that Greene 
authored the line, which he semi-parodied in 
the address, which is found in two places. It 
appears in its initial form, "Oh Tygers heart 
wrapt in a serpent's hide" in the play called 
"The Tragedy of Richard, Duke of" York," 
and "The Death of Good King Henry the 
Sixth," and later with "woman," substituted 
for "serpent;" again, it is found in the third 
part of "Henry VI," founded on the true 
tragedy, which was acted by Lord Pembroke's 
company, of which, as Nash tells us, Greene 
was chief agent, and for which he wrote more 
than four other plays. "Henry VI, Part III," 
is generally admitted to be the work of 


Greene, Marlowe and perhaps Peek. 
Furthermore, the catchwords in the lines 
parodied betray their author, which is a con- 
firmatory fact. To borrow a citation from the 
pages of Dr. A. Grosart, "Every one who 
knows his Greene, knows that over and over 
again he returns on anything of his that 
'caught on, sometimes abridging and some- 
times expanding." 

And in semi-parodying his own lines wrapt 
"Tygers heart" in several kinds of hides. "A 
passage to his partiality could not appear too 
often." It was "Shake-scene" (Kemp or Wil- 
ton) the improvising jig-dancer with his 
"Tygers heart wrapped in a player's hide," 
who bombasted orally his own improvisations 
and interpolations out in blank verse; there- 
fore not necessarily a Playwright-Actor, but 
a brawling jaw-smith whom Greene wanted 
to hit. 

In their great desire to discover Shakspere 
as the author, the words "bombast out in 
blank verse," are seized upon by Shakes- 
peare's commentators with evident greediness. 
But these words yield nothing in support of 
author-craft, for bombast or bombastry, in the 
idiom of the time, stood for high-sounding 


words which might have proceeded from the 
mouth of a buffoon, clown, jester, mounte- 
bank or actor, whose profession was to amuse 
spectators by low antics and tricks, and whose 
improvisations and extemporizings were des- 
titute of rhyme, but possessed of a musical 
rhythm called "blank verse." The words 
"blank verse" were doubtless intended for the 
ear of Marlowe, the great innovator, who was 
thus reminded that the notorius jig dancer 
and clown, Bob Wilson or Will Kemp, de- 
claimed their own improvisation and inter- 
polations in "blank verse," and was an abso- 
lute "Johannes Factotum in his own con- 
ceit" that is, a person employed to do many 
things. Who could do more "in his own con- 
ceit" than Kemp, who spent his life in mad 
jigs, as he says? Who but Kemp, the chief 
actor in the low comedy scenes, who angered 
the acedemic play-writers by introducing "his 
own wit into their plays and make a merri- 
ment of them?" 

Greene's address to his felow playmakers 
does not convey nor give color to, nor the 
slightest circumstances for, the conjecture 
that "Shakespeare's authorial career had been 
begun as the amender of other poet's plays 


anterior to the putative authorship of "Venus 
and Adonis." 

Halliwell-Phillips, the most indefatigable 
and reliable member of the Congress of 
Speculative Biographers, says that not one 
such play has been found revised, or amended, 
by Shakespeare in his early career. Still in 
their extremity, Shakespeare's commentators 
give hospitality to stupid conjectures that are 
not reasonable inference from concurrent 
facts, and construe Greene's censure of Kemp 
or Wilson (inferentially) as the first literary 
notice of "Shakespeare." It shows, without 
proof, an irrepressible desire to confer author- 
ship upon Shakspere, the Stratford player. 

The Shakespeare votaries cannot point to 
a single word, or sentence, in this celebrated 
address of Robert Greene which connects the 
contumelious name "Shaks-scene" (dance- 
scene) with the characteristics of either the 
true, or the traditional, Shakspere. 

The biographers of Shakespeare never grow 
weary of charging Robert Greene with pro- 
fessional jealousy and envy. The charge has 
no argumentative value, even if granting 
Shakspere's early productivity as a play- 
maker, or the amender of the works of other 


men, for Greene's activities ran in other 
lines; play-making was of minor importance, 
a sort of by-production of his resourceful and 
versatile pen. The biographers of Shakes- 
peare are unfortunate in having taken on this 
impression, because there is prima-facie evi- 
dence that Greene had forsworn writing for 
the stage a considerable time before the letter 
was written; thus he followed his friend 
Lodge, who in 1589 "vows to write no more 
of that whence shame doth grow." Greene 
was a writer distinguished in several different 

The biographers and commentators, agree- 
ing in their asperities, charge Robert Greene 
with envy, basing it conjecturally on the as- 
sumption of Shakspere's proficiency as $ 
drama-maker, notwithstanding the sincere and 
earnest words contained in his most pathetic 
letter, addressed to three friends, in which 
he counsels them to give up play writing, 
which he regarded as degrading, placing their 
very necessities in the power of grasping 
shareholding actors, and rendering it no 
longer a fit occupation for gentlemen. They 
fail to see the dying should be granted im- 
munity from this ignoble and base passion. 


Our own rule of law admits as good evidence 
the testimony of a man who believes himself 
to be dying, and so the letter states, "desirous 
that you should live though himself be dy- 

Robert Greene's charge against "upstart 
crow" stands unshaken; Henry Chettle, the 
hack writer, and self-admitted transcriber of 
the letter, does not retract Greene's statement. 
He denies nothing on behalf of an "upstart 
crow," whoever he was, for the author of 
kind "Hearts Dreams," does not identify 
"Shake-scene" (dance-scene) with Shake- 
speare, who was not one of those who took of- 
fense. It is expressly stated that there were 
two of the three fellow dramatists, addressed 
by Greene (Marlowe, Nash and Peele). 

Still we are told by Shakespearean writers 
that the dying genius was pained at witness- 
ing the proficiency of another in the very ac- 
tivity (play-making) which he had come to 
regard as congruous with strolling vagabond- 
ism. He enjoined his friends to seek better 
masters, "for it is a pittie men of such rare 
wit should be subject to the pleasure of such 
rude groomes," 'painted monsters, apes, burrs, 
peasants, puppets," not playmakers, but ac- 


tors, who had been beholden to him and his 
fellow play-makers, whom he addressed. 

There is another aspect in which the charge 
of professional jealousy presents itself to the 
mind of the reader; those who covet that 
which another possesses, or envies success, 
popularity or fortune. To charge Greene 
with envy is most uncharitable by reason of 
his versatility. Now what was there in the 
possession of William Shakspere in 1592 that 
could have awakened in the mind of Robert 
Greene so base a passion as envy? The name 
Shakspere or Shakespeare had no commercial 
value in 1592, for the Shakspere of the stage 
is described many years after this date as 
merely a u man player" and "a deserving man." 
Note this admission by Dr. Ingleby: "Assur- 
edly no one during the century had any sus- 
picion that the genius of Shakespeare was 
unique. His immediate contemporaries ex- 
pressed no great admiration for either him, or 
his works." There is not a particle of evi- 
dence to show that Robert Greene was envious 
of any writer of his time; nor had he cause 
to be ; but the way his contemporaries and suc- 
cessors robbed and plundered him proves the 
reverse to be true. 


"Nay, more, the men that so eclipst 

his fame, 

Purloynd his plumes, can they deny 
the same?" 

The fact is, "Shakespeare" the author, 
passed through and out of life without hav- 
ing attained the distinction, or celebrity, won 
by Greene in his brief career of but nine short 
years. The more truthful of Shakespeare's 
biographers concede that the subject of their 
memoirs was not, in his day, highly regarded, 
and that his obscurity in 1592 is obvious. 
There was not the least danger of the author 
of "Hamlet," "driving to penury" the dean 
of English novelists, Robert Greene, who was 
supreme in prose romance, a species of litera- 
ture which appealed to the better class of 
the reading public. Rival-hating envy! 
Robert Greene cannot be brought within the 
scope of such a charge, for in 1592, he was 
not striving to obtain the same object which 
play writers were pursuing. 

The fame of Robert Greene during his life- 
time eclipsed that of his contemporaries. "He 
was, in fact, the popular author of the day. 
His contemporaries applauded the facility 
with which he turned his talent to account." 


"In a night and a day," says Nash, "would 
he have yearked up a pamphlet as well as in 
seven years, and glad was that printer that 
might be so blest to pay him dear for the very 
dregs of his wit." Even Ben Jonson, "the 
greatest man of the last age," according to 
Dryden, had no such assurance if we may 
judge from his own account of his literary 
life, which shows that he had to struggle for 
a subsistence, as no printer was found glad, 
or felt himself blest, to pay him dear for the 
cream, much less the very "dregs of his wit." 
He told Drummond that the half of his come- 
dies were not in print, and that he had cleared 
but 200 pounds by all his labor for the public 
theatre. When not subsidized by the court 
he was driven by want to write for the London 
theatres; he lived in a hovel in an alley, where 
he took service with the notorious play broker. 
To such as he, reference was made by Hens- 
lowe, who in his diary records "the grinding 
toil and the starvation wages of his hungry 
and drudging bondsmen," who were strug- 
gling for the meanest necessities of life. This 
Titan of a giant brood of playwrights, in the 
days of his declension, wrote mendicant 
epistles for bread, and, doubtless, in his ex- 


tremity recalled Robert Greene, the admon- 
isher of three brother poets "that spend their 
wits in making plaies." 

"Oh, that I might entreate your rare wits 
to be imployed in more profitable courses, and 
let those apes imitate your past excellence, and 
never more acquaint them with your admired 
inventions." Greene was a writer of greatest 
discernment from the viewpoint of the people 
of his time, "for he possessed the ability to 
write in any vein that would sell." He only, 
of all the writers of his time, gave promise 
of being able to gain a competence by the pen 
alone, a thing which no writer did, or could 
do, in that day by writing for the stage alone. 
"He (Shakespeare) is the first English author 
who made a fortune with his pen," says the 
Hon. Cushman K. Davis in "The Law of 
Shakespeare." In the absence of credible 
evidence, Mr. Davis assumes that the young 
man who came up from Stratford was the au- 
thor of the plays. The senator does not seem 
aware of the fact that Shakspere the Stratford 
player was a shareholding actor, receiving a 
share in the theatre, or its profits, in 1599; 
a partner in one or more of the chief com- 
panies; a play broker who purchased and 


mounted the plays of other men ; and that he, 
like Burbage, Henslowe and Allen, specu- 
lated in real estate. He was shrewd in money 
matters and became very wealthy, but not by 
writing plays. Suppose that William Shaks- 
pere of Stratford-on-Avon had authored all 
the plays associated with his name, that alone 
would not have made him wealthy. The price 
of a play varied from four to ten pounds, and 
all poet Shakespeare's labors for the public 
theatre would have brought no more than five 
hundred pounds. The diary of Philip Hens- 
lowe makes it clear that up to the year 1600 
the highest price he ever paid was six pounds. 
The Shakespeare plays were not exceptionally 
popular in that day, not being then as now, 
"the talk of the town." Not one of them 
equalled in popularity Kyd's "The Spanish 

Shakespeare was soon superseded by 
Fletcher in popular regard. Only one of the 
Shakespeare tragedies, one historical play, and 
eight comedies were presented at the Court 
of James First, who reigned twenty-two years. 
Plays, written by such hack writers as Dear- 
born, or Chettle, were quite as acceptable to 
princes. We know that Shakespeare's fame 


was thrown into the shade, hid from view, 
before the end of the century by that of 
several play makers. Nevertheless Shakes- 
peare's rehabilitation during the eighteenth 
century is to be ascribed to the closet and not 
to the stage. 

Robert Greene's romances were "a bower 
of delight," a kind of writing held in high 
favor by all classes. Sir Thomas Overbury 
describes his chambermaid as reading 
Greene's works over and over again. It is a 
pleasure to see in the elder time Greene's writ- 
ings in hands so full of household cares, since 
he labored to make young lives happy. Robert 
Greene's works express every variation in the 
changing conditions of life. The poetry of 
his pastoral landscapes are vivid word pic- 
tures of English sylvan scenes. The western 
sky on amorous autumn days is mantled with 
sheets of burnished gold. The soft and gentle 
zephyr blows over castled crag and fairy glen 
fragrant with the freshness of new-made hay. 

He was a graduate of both universities, a 
man of genius, but did not live to do his tal- 
ents full justice. A born story teller, like Sir 
Walter Scott, he could do good work easily 
and quickly. 


Students of Elizabethan literature know 
that Robert Greene resisted the temptation to 
write in the best paying vein of the age, that 
of salaciousness, but who had like James 
Thomson, "left scarcely a line that dying, 
he need have wished to blot." 

We glean the following from the pages of 
"The English Novel in the Time of Shakes- 
peare," by J. J. Jusserand; "Greene's prose 
tale, 'Pandosto, the Triumph of Time/ had 
an extraordinary success, while Shakespeare's 
drama, 'Winter's Tale,' founded on Greene's 
Pandosto was not printed, either in authentic 
or pirated shape, before the appearance of the 
1623 folio, while Greene's prose story was pub- 
lished in 1588 and was renamed half a cen- 
tury later, 'The History of Dorestus and 
Fawnia.' So popular was it that it was printed 
again and again. We know of at least seven- 
teen editions, and in all likelihood there were 
more throughout the seventeenth century, and 
even under one shape or another throughout 
the eighteenth. It was printed as a chap-book 
during this last period and in this costume be- 
gan a new life. It was turned into verse in 
1672, but the highest and most extraordinary 
compliment of Greene's performance was its 


translation into French, not only once but 
twice. The first time was at a moment when 
the English language and literature were 
practically unknown and as good as non-exist- 
ent to French readers." In fact, everything 
from Greene's pen sold. All of his writings 
enjoyed great popularity in their day, and 
which, after the lapse of more than three hun- 
dred years, have been deemed worthy of re- 
publication, insuring the rehabilitation of 
Greene's splendid genius. 

We are content to believe that almost all of 
the so-called posthumous writings of Robert 
Greene are spurious, and that but few genuine 
chips were found in the literary work-shop of 
the poet after his death. We accept the very 
striking and impressive address to his brother 

We would not set down as auto-biographical 
the posthumuous pamphlets, even though of 
unquestioned authenticity, for in "The Re- 
pentance" is made to say, "I need not make 
long discourse of my parents, who for their 
gravitie and honest life are well known and 
esteemed among their neighbors, namely in 
the citie of Norwich where I was bred and 
borne:" and then he is made to contradict all 


this in "Groatsworth of Wit," where the fath- 
er is called Gorinius, a despicable miser. 
Greene is not known to have had a brother to 
be the victim of his trickery. 

As "there is a soul of truth in things er- 
roneous," there may be a soul of truth in the 
following letter, contained in "The Repent- 


"Sweet wife, if ever there was any 
good will or friendship between thee 
and me, see this bearer (my host) sat- 
isfied of his debt. I owe him tenne 
pounds and but for him I had per- 
ished in the streetes. Forget and 
forgive my wrongs done unto thee 
and Almight God have mercie on my 
soule. Farewell till we meet in 
Heaven for on earth thou shalt never 
see me more. 

This 2nd day of Sept., 1592. 

Written by thy dying husband, 

Robert Greene." 

The reader will notice the statement in the 
posthumed letter that the poet had contracted 
a debt in the sum of ten pounds, but there is 
nothing whatever about leaving many papers 
in sundry booksellers hands which Chettle 
averred in the address "To the Gentlemen 


Readers Kind Hearts Dreame." If this were 
a fact, the bookseller doubtless would have 
been called upon; "see this bearer (my host) 
satisfied of his debt" and sweet wife would not 
have borne the burden while "booksellers felt 
themselves blest to pay dear for the very dregs 
of her husband's wit." 

Those writers who express no doubt of the 
authenticity of the posthumed pamphlets, 
leave their readers to set down as auto- 
biographical whatever portions of those pieces 
he may think proper. At the same time the 
trend of impulse is given the reader by the 
critics that he may not fail to read the story 
of the poet's life out of characters devoid of 
all faith in honesty and in virtue, while the 
author (Greene) is anxious evidently to point 
a moral by them and reprove vice. These 
forged pamphlets and so-called auto-biog- 
raphical pamphlets make Greene accuse him- 
self of crimes which he surely did not com- 
mit. There is not an atom of evidence ad- 
duced to show Francisco in "Never Too Late" 
was intended by the author for a picture of 
himself, and we do not believe that Greene 
wrote the pamphlet in the main in which 


Roberto in "Groats Worth of Wit" is one of 
the despicable characters. 

Greene's non-dramatic works are the larg- 
est contribution left by any Elizabethan 
writer to the novel literature of the day. "He 
was at once the most versatile and the most 
laborious of literary men." Famous, witty 
and brilliant, he was one of the founders of 
English fiction, and is conceded to be the au- 
thor of half a dozen plays for the theatre. 
In them we have the mere "flotsam and jet- 
sam" of his prolific pen. 


There is an explanatory piece of writing 
which should be read in connection with 
Greene's letter to 'divers play-makers." We 
refer to the preface to Kind Hearts Dreams, 
written by Henry Chettle, which was regis- 
tered December 8th, 1592. Chettle says: 
"About three months since dide M. Robert 
Greene, leaving many papers in sundry book- 
sellers hands, among others his Groats-Worth 
of Wit, in which a letter written to divers 
play-makers is offensively by one or two of 
them taken." It seems that by 'one or two' 


Chettle means two. "I had only in the copy 
this share it was ill-written licensed it must 
be ere it could be printed, which could never 
be if it might not be read. To be brief, I wrote 
over and as nearly as I could follow the copy, 
only in that letter I put something out, but 
in the whole book not a word in, for I pro- 
test it was all Greene's, not mine nor Master 
Nashes as some unjustly have affirmed." 

The letter in question is the astonishing and 
affecting address of Robert Greene "To those 
Gentlemen, his quondam acquaintance, that 
spend thare wits in making Plays," with which 
the Groatsworth of Wit concludes, originally 
edited and published by Henry Chettle, three 
months after Greene's death in 1592, having 
been entered at Stationers' Hall on the 20th 
of September in that year. But the earliest 
known edition of this pamphlet was reprinted 
in 1596. 

Inasmuch as we have Chettle's admission 
that "only in that letter I put something out," 
we can only speculate about the something put 
out. Was it something written in connection 
with the first object in Greene's letter? As 
an implication, yes. Chettle writes: "For 
the first whose learning I reverence and at the 


purusing of Greene's book (letter) stroke out 
what in conscience I thought he in some dis- 
pleasure writ, or had it been true yet to pub- 
lish it was intolerable." 

And yet this man (Chettle), with such a 
tender conscience, printed and published the 
passage, charging Marlowe, or the object of 
Greene's first reference whoever he was 
with atheism. The very worst that could be 
said of any person in the age of "Shakespeare" 
is contained in the words, "diabolical athe- 
ism," notwithstanding Chettle's statement that 
he had mitigated Greene's charges. The pas- 
sage in question seems to have been printed 
in its entirety, nevertheless Chettle must have 
had peculiar notions about offenses "intoler- 
able," for while in the act of freeing the 
letter from all objectionable matter, he fails 
to omit the passage, "hath said in his heart 
thare is no God." 

However, Chettle's statement fits best with 
the object of Greene's third reference (Peek) 
"driven to extreme shifts"- -(to write for 
the common players for a living), "dependent 
on so mean a stay (theatre), a dissipated dra- 
matist whose habits of intemperance are often 
spoken of and may have furnished Chettle 


matter for expurgation "I put something 


There is much that is opprobrious in the 
character of George Peele not disclosed in 
the passage in the Groatsworth letter. 

However, Chettle could and probably did 
slash into the so-called Peele reference, for 
Peele is known to have been "off color," and if 
meant, affords Chettle a good chance to "put 
something out," which was "true, yet to pub- 
lish it was intolerable." 

Greene who never spares himself, did not 
we may be sure, fail to censure his friend 
Peele for an infraction of the moral law. 
Keep in mind that the earliest edition of 
The Groatsworth of Wit was printed and 
published in 1592, with the appended letter t 
but not a single copy of this earliest impres- 
sion has been preserved. The edition of 1617 
-the critics only dependence may not agree 
'with the first edition of 1592. I am of the 
opinion that if we possessed a copy of the 
earliest edition (1592) it would be found to 
contain the matter which is "offensively by 
one or two of them taken," and should supply 
a clue and probably lead to identification, for 
the letter if discrepant would then speak for 


itself, and perchance disclose the identity of 
the anonymous personage reported to have 
"factitious grace in writing." 

All of Shakespeare's biographers and com- 
mentators aver that Shakespeare was not one 
of the three persons addressed. How then 
could Chettle's words bear witness to his 
(Shakespeare's) civil demeanor or factitious 
grace in writing? Mr. Fleay stated many 
years ago (1886) that there was an entire mis- 
conception of Chettle's language that Shakes- 
peare was not one of those who took offense. 
They are expressly stated to have been two 
of the three authors addressed by Greene. The 
fanciful biographers of Shakespeare have evi- 
dently mistaken Chettle's placation of George 
Peele, or either of the three play-makers ad- 
dressed by Greene, it does not matter which, 
for an apology to Shakespeare, who was not 
the object of Greene's satire or Chettle's pla- 

Christopher Marlowe, the first great dra- 
matic poet, was the father of English tragedy 
and the creator of English blank verse. He 
is, by general consent, identified with the first 
person address by Greene, "With thee will I 
first begin, thou famous gracer of tragedians, 


who hath said in his heart there is no God. 
Why should thy excellent wit, His gift, be so 
blinded that thou should give no glory to the 
giver?" The second person referred to is iden- 
tifiable with Thomas Nash, "With thee I join, 
young juvenall, that by ting satyrist," though 
not with equal accord, as the first with Mar- 
lowe, as some few persons prefer to name 
Thomas Lodge. This predilection for Lodge 
is based on their having been co-authors in 
the making of a play ("That lastlie with me 
together writ a comedie"). This fact, how- 
ever, signifies very little, for it is generally 
conceded that Marlowe, Nash, Peele, Lodge 
and Greene mobilized their literary activities 
in the production, in part at least, of not a 
few of the earlier plays called Shakes- 

However, the person reported to have "fac- 
titious grace in writing," is not Nash, for 
Chettle writes, "With neither of them that 
take offense was I acquainted," but in writing 
to Nash, he signs himself "your old composi- 
tor." In 1589-90 Chettle set up N ash's tracts 
against Mar-Prelate, so it seems Nash was an 
old acquaintance, and therefore can't be 


identified with the person reported to have 
"factitious grace in writing." 

We are convinced that Lodge was not the 
person addressed by Greene as young juve- 
nall. He was absent from England at the 
date of Greene's letter, 1592, having left in 
1591 and did not return till 1593. Moreover, 
he had declared his intention long before to 
write no more for the theatre. In 1589 he 
vowed "to write no more for the stage." At 
Christmas time in 1592 he was in the Straits of 
Magellan. Born in 1550, Lodge led a vir- 
tuous and quiet life. He was seventeen years 
older than Nash, and four years older than 
Greene, who would not, in addressing one 
four years his senior, have used these words, 
"Sweet boy, might I advise thee." The 
youthfulness of Nash fits well. He was boy- 
ish in appearance. Born in November, 1567, 
he was seven years younger than Greene, and 
was the youngest member of their fellowship. 
The mild reproof "for his too much liberty 
of speech," contained in the letter, justified the 
belief that Thomas Nash was referred to as 
"young juvenall, that byting satyrist, who had 
vexed scholars with bitter lines." 

Tom Nash was a great pet with the wil 


of his day. He is referred to by contem- 
porary writers; frequently one calls him "our 
true English Aretine;" Others describe him 
as "sweet Satyric Nash," "gallant juvenall," 
"his pen possessed with Hercules furies" and 
as "Railing Nash." 

"His style was witty, though he had 

some gall ; 
Something he might have mended, 

so may all; 

Yet this I say that for a mother's wit, 
Few men have ever seen the like 

of it." 

The like accord and universal consent 
which identifies the first with Marlowe, 
identifies the third and last person, who had 
been co-worker in drama making of the same 
fellowship, with George Peele, "and thou no 
less deserving than the other two, in some 
things rarer, in nothing inferior," driven (as 
myself) to "extreame shifts, a little have I to 
say to thee." Chettle could, however, have 
borne witness to Peele "his civil demeanor 
and factitious grace in writing." Peele held 
the situation of city poet and conductor of 
pageants for the court. His first pageant 
bears the date of 1585, his earliest known court 


play, u The Arraignment of Paris," was acted 
before 1584. "Peele was the object of patron- 
age of noblemen for addressing literary trib- 
utes for payment. The Earl of Northumber- 
land seems to have presented him with a fee 
of three pounds. In May, 1591, when Queen 
Elizabeth visited Lord Burleigh's seat at The- 
obalds, Peele was employed to compose cer- 
tain speeches addressed to the Queen, which 
excused the absence of the master of the house, 
by describing in blank verse in his "Poly- 
hymnia," the Honorable Triumph at Tilt. 
Her Majesty was received by the Right Hon- 
orable Earl of Cumberland." 

In January, 1595, George Peele, Master of 
Arts, presented his "Tale of Troy" to the 
great Lord Treasurer through a simple mes- 
senger, his eldest daughter, "necessities serv- 
ant." Peele was a practised rhetorician, who 
embellished his writings with elegantly- 
adorned sentences and choice fancies. He 
was a man of polished intellect and social gifts 
and possessed of a very winsome personality. 
"His soft, caressing woman voice" low, sweet 
and soothing, may have had a considerable 
effect upon Chettle, and could not have been 
unduly honored by Chettle's apology in wit- 


nessing "his civil demeanor and factitious 
grace in writing." 

George Peele took his bachelor's degree at 
Oxford in 1577. He was "a noted poet at 
the University;" his affiliations seem to have 
been with persons exalted in rank. He is dis- 
covered writing a poem in 1593 to glorify the 
installation of five Knights of the Garter; also 
a stirring farewell to Sir Francis Drake, and 
in the same year, 1589, a poem on the home- 
coming of Essex. 

"His celebrations of the completions of 
thirty-second and thirty-seventh years of the 
Queen's reign on the 17th of November, 1590 
and 1595, seem to indicate relations of the 
poet with the Court, and with the nobles of the 
Court." No wonder that he was exalted in 
character and regarded as excellent in the es- 
sential quality which "divers of worship have 

In his early use of blank verse, Peele be- 
gan that reaction against the "jigging vein of 
rhyming mother wits." Peele was pre-emi- 
nently a poet of refined and amiable feeling, 
and there is prima-facie likelihood that Chet- 
tle saw in his demeanor no less civil than he 
was excellent in the quality he professes; be- 


sides "divers of worship have reported his up- 
rightness of dealing which argues his honesty 
and his factitious grace in writing that ap- 
proves his art." 

Peele's affiliation with "divers of worship" 
(persons ranked by birth above the common 
people) is a strong confirmation of the truth 
of our contention that there is identity of per- 
sonality with the person reported on the evi- 
dence of "divers of worship." 

Peele's identification with one of the three 
to whom Greene addressed, seems to me prob- 
able as the person to whom Chettle refers. 

As Henry Chettle had been brought into 
some discredit by the publication of Greene's 
celebrated letter, and his admission that he 
re-wrote it, we know that the letter must have 
been surreptitiously procured as evidenced by 
its contents. The letter is as authentic, doubt- 
less, as any garbled or mutilated document 
may be; but Chettle's foolish statement con- 
tained in his preface to "Kind Hearts 
Dreams" has awakened the suspicion, in re- 
gard to the authorship of "Groats Worth of 
Wit;" that, while the letter (or as much a* 
Chettle chose to have published) is genuine, 
"I put something out," the pamphlet, "Groats 


Worth of Wit" is spurious, in the main and 
evidently not the work of Robert Greene. 
Who can be content to believe Chettle's state- 
ment that Greene placed this criminating let- 
ter in the hands of printers, or that it was left 
in their hands by others at his request? A 
private letter, written to three friends, who 
have been co-workers in drama-making, call- 
ing them to repentance, charging one (Mar- 
lowe) with diabolical atheism! This was a 
very serious charge in those times, when per- 
sons were burnt at the stake for professing 
their unbelief in the doctrine of the Trinity. 

Chettle was the first to make current the 
charge of atheism against Marlowe, the one 
of them that took offense, and whose acquaint- 
ance he (Chettle) did not seek. Chettle rev- 
ernced Marlowe's learning, and would have 
his readers believe that he did greatly mitigate 
Greene's charge, but the contents of the letter 
as transcribed by Chettle and printed by the 
bookmakers, discredit Chettle's statement, as 
the charge of diabolical atheism was not 
struck out, and was, if proven, punishable by 

There is no evidence adduced to show that 
Marlowe was indignant because of Greene's 


admonition, contained in a private letter writ- 
ten to three play-makers of his own fellow- 
ship, but resented the public charge of athe- 
ism, for which he, Chettle, as accessory and 
transcriber, was chiefly responsible in making 
public. We know that Marlowe was charged 
with atheism at the time of his death at Dept- 
ford, for in May, 1593, following the publica- 
tion of Greene's letter, printed at the end of 
the pamphlet, "Groats Worth of Wit," the 
Privy Council issued a warrant for Marlowe's 
arrest. A copy of Marlowe's blasphemies, 
so called, was sent to Her Highness, and en- 
dorsed by one Richard Bame, who was soon 
after hanged for some loathsome crime. But 
a few days later, after Marlowe's apprehen- 
sion, they wrote in the parish book at Dept- 
ford on June 1st, "Christopher Marlowe slain 
by Francis Archer." 

At the age of thirty, he, "the first and great- 
est inheritor of unfulfilled renown" went 
where "Orpheus and where Homer are." 

The loss to English letters in Marlowe's 
untimely death cannot be measured, neverthe- 
less, England of that day was spared the in- 
f anmy of his execution. However, the zealots 
of those days found a subject, in Francis Kett, 


a fellow of Marlowe's college, who was burnt 
in Norwich in 1589 for heresy. He was a 
pious, God-fearing man who fell a victim to 
the strenuousity with which he maintained 
his religious convictions. Another subject was 
found in the person of Bartholmew Leggett, 
who was burnt at the stake for stating his con- 
fession of faith, which was identicial with the 
religious belief of Thomas Jefferson and for- 
mer President William Howard Taft. The 
times were thirsty for the blood of daring 
spirits. The shores of the British Isles were 
strewn with the wreckage of the great Ar- 
mada. In Germany, Kepler (he of the three 
laws) was struggling to save his poor old 
mother from being burnt at the stake for a 
witch. In Italy, they burnt Bruno at the stake 
while Galileo played recanter. 

That Marlowe was one of the playmakers 
who felt incensed at the publication of 
Greene's letter admits of no doubt. He most 
likely would have resented the public charge 
of atheism. "With neither of them that take 
offense was I acquainted (writes Chettle) and 
with one of them (Marlowe) I care not if I 
never be." In such blood bespattered times, 
Chettle could and did write "for the first 


(Marlowe) whose learning I reverence, and 
at the perusing of Greene's book (letter) 
struck out what in conscience I thought he in 
some displeasure writ, or had it been true yet 
to publish it was intolerable." 

Chettle's conscience must have been a little 
seared, for he omitted to strike out the only 
statement of fact contained in the letter, which 
it would seem could have imperiled the life of 
Marlowe. The letter evidences the fact that 
all of that portion referring to Marlowe was 
not garbled, and that there was not any in- 
tolerable something struck out, but instead, as 
transcriber and publisher, he retained the ful- 
minating passage, "had said in his heart, there 
is no God." 

Notwithstanding Chettle's statement, we 
are of the opinion that the passage about Mar- 
lowe was printed in its integrity. 

Chettle's having failed to omit the charge 
of diabolical atheism, reveals the strong per- 
sonal antipathy he had for Marlowe. Few 
there are who set up Marlowe as claimant for 
Chettle's apology, and fewer still, who would 
not regard him worthy of the compliment, 
"factitious grace in writing," and whose ac- 
quaintance Chettle did not seek, but whose 


fascinating personality and exquisite feeling 
for poetry was the admiration of Drayton and 
Chapman, who were among the noblest, as 
well "as the best loved of their time." George 
Chapman was among the few men whom Ben 
Jonson said he loved. Anthony Wood 
described him as "a person of most reverend 
aspect, religious and temperate qualities." 
Chapman sought conference with the soul of 

"Of his free soul whose living sub- 
ject stood 
Up to the chin in the Pierian flood." 

Henry Chettle's act of placation is offered 
to one of two of the three play-makers ad- 
dressed, and not to the actor referred to, who 
was not one of those addressed ; therefore, 
"Shake-scene" could not have been the re- 
cipient of Chettle's apology, or placation, in 
whose behalf ("upstart crow") Chettle re- 
tracts nothing. The following reference is 
to one of the offended play-makers, pointed at 
in Greene's address, whom Chettle wishes to 
placate. "The other whome at that time I 
did not so much spare as since I wish I had 
that I did not, I am as sorry as if the original 


fault had been my fault, because myself have 
seen his demeanor no less civil excellent in the 
quality he professes; besides, diverse of wor- 
ship have reported his uprightness of dealing, 
which argues his honesty and his factitious 
grace in writing that approves his art." 

Chettle lost no time in transcribing the 
posthumous letter. Doubts as to "Groats 
Worth of Wit" were entertained at the time 
of publication. Some suspected Nash to have 
had a hand in the authorship, others accused 
Chettle. Nash did take offense at the report 
that it was his. Its publication caused much 
excitement and the rumor went abroad that 
the pamphlet was a forgery. "Other news I 
am advised of," writes Nash, in an epistle pre- 
fixed to the second edition of "Fierce-penni- 
less," "that a scald, trivial, lying pamphlet 
called "Greene's Groats Worth of Wit" is 
given out to be of my doing. God never have 
care of my soul, but utterly renounce me, if 
the least word or syllable in it proceeded from 
my pen, or if I were any way privy to the 
writing or printing of it." We regard these 
words confirmatory of the fact that "Groats 
Worth of Wit" is not a work of unquestioned 
authenticity, and furthermore, that Nash did 


not believe it the work of Robert Greene. 
Prlma facie, it is spurious, for Nash spoke in 
high praise of Greene's writings. He neither 
would, nor could, have used the words "scald, 
trivial, lying" of a genuine work of Robert 
Greene, whose writings were held in high 
favor by all classes. Nash could not have 
taken offense at the allusion of Greene, which 
was rather complimentary though personal, 
and not intended for publication; but it did, 
however, contain some slight mixture of cen- 
sure, "Sweet boy, might I advise thee, get 
not many enemies by bitter words. Blame not 
scholars vexed with sharp lines if they re- 
prove thy too much liberty of reproof." 
Nash was very angry, but only because 
Greene's letter was given to the public by 
Chettle. But wherefore persist in the search 
if the person when found cannot be identified 
with Shakespeare. For note this admission 
by Mr. Lang himself "If we take Chettle to 
have been a strict grammarian, by his words *a 
letter, writen to diverse play-makers is offen- 
sively by one or two of them taken,' William 
Shakespeare or Shakspere or however you 
spell the name, is excluded; the letter was 
most assuredly not written to him." (Shake- 


speare, Bacon and The Great Unknown, p. 


The letter and pamphlet both in Greene's 
handwriting would have been the best pos- 
sible evidence of the genuineness of its con- 
tents and legibility. Chettle's not offering in 
evidence the original letter is strong presump- 
tive proof of the commission of a forgery. 
He, if not the chief actor in the offense, was 
an accessory after the fact, and should, in 
his appeal to the public in defense of his repu- 
tation, have brought forward the pamphlet it- 
self, embracing the whole matter, for exami- 
nation and comparison; for we feel satisfied 
that such an examination would prove that the 
celebrated letter was authored and in the 
handwriting of Robert Greene, and not so ill 
written that it could not be read by the 


printers, who must have been familiar with 
the handwriting of the largest contributor of 
the prose literature of his day. For ourselves, 
what we have adduced convinces us that the 
tract, "Groats Worth of Wit" was authored 
and w r ritten by one of Phillip Henslowe's 
hacks, presumably, Henry Chettle, an indig- 
ent of many imprisonments, who was always 
importuning the old play-broker for money. 
Since the tract, "Groats Worth of Wit," was 
in Chettle's own handwriting, he strove to fool 
the printers by transcribing Greene's letter 
and binding both together, through that "dis- 
guised hood" to fool the public. Abraham 
Lincoln is reputed to have said, "You may 
fool all the people some of the time, and some 
of the people all the time, but you cannot fool 
all the people all the time." 

It is possible that Chettle may have fooled 
some of the people of his own generation some 
of the time, but in later times, through the 
misapprehension of his quoted words, he has 
fooled many of the Stratfordians all of the 
time. Chettle, however, would not permit the 
letter to come forward in its integrity and 
speak for itself, disclosing the nature of the in- 
tolerable something "stroke out" 


The fact of the whole matter appears to be 
that Henry Chettle, wishing to profit finan- 
cially by the great commercial value of 
Robert Greene's name, was accessory to the 
embezzlement and the commission of a forg- 
ery, and was the silent beneficiary of the 
fraud. The mutual connection of hack writer 
and pirate publisher is so obvious that a jury 
of discerning students, with the exhibits, pre- 
sented together with the presumptive proofs 
and inferential evidence contextured in both 
letter and preface, should easily confirm our 
opinion of the incredibility of Chettle's state- 
ments contained in the preface to "Kind 
Hearts Dreams." The evidence of their fals- 
ity is, prima-facie, destitute of credible attesta- 

We are made to see, in our survey of the 
age of Elizabeth, much that is in striking con- 
trast with the spirit and activities of our time. 
There is a notable contrast between the public 
play house of those days, where no respect- 
able woman ever appeared, and with the the- 
ater of our day the rival of the church as a 
moral force. In the elder time "the perma- 
nent and persistent dishonor attached to the 
stage" and the stigma attached to the poets 


who wrote for the public play house, attached 
in like manner to the regular frequenters of 
public theaters, the majority of whom could 
neither read nor write, but belonged chiefly 
to the vicious and idle class of the population. 
At all the theaters, according to Malone, it 
appears that noise and show were what chiefly 
attracted an audience in spite of the reputed 
author. There was clamor for a stage reek- 
ing with blood and anything ministering to 
the unchaste appetites. 

The spectacular actor and clown were 
relatively advantaged, as he could say much 
more than was set down for him. Kemp's 
extemporizing powers of histrionic buffoon- 
ery, gagging and grimacing, paid the running 
expenses of the play house. 

Phillips says: "It must be borne in mind 
that actors then occupied an inferior position 
in society, and that in many quarters even the 
vocation of a dramatic writer was considered 
scarcely respectable." In Ben Jonson's letter 
to the Earl of Salisbury, we can see very 
clearly that he regarded playwriting as a deg- 
radation. We. transcribe it in part as follows : 

"I am here, my honored Lord, unexamined 
and unheard, committed to a vile prison and 


with me a gentleman (whose name may have 
perhaps come to your Lordship), one Mr. 
George Chapman, a learned and honest man. 
The cause (would I could name some 
worthier, though I wish we had known none 
worthy our imprisonment) is (the words irk- 
me that our fortunes hath necessitated us to so 
despise a course) a play, my Lord. 

We see how keenly Jonson felt the disgrace, 
not on account of the charge of reflecting on 
some one in a play in which they had fede- 
rated, for he protested his own and Chapman's 
innocence, but he felt that their degradation 
lay chiefly in writing stage poetry, for drama- 
making was regarded as a degrading kind of 
employment, which poets accepted who were 
struggling for the meanest necessities of life, 
and were driven by poverty to their produc- 
tion, and to the slave-driving play-brokers, 
many of whom became very rich by making 
the flesh and blood of poor play-writers their 

In looking into Philip Henslowe's old note- 
book, we see how the grasping play-brokers 
of the olden time speculated on the poor play- 
writers necessities, when plays were not re- 
garded as literature; when the most strenuous 


and laborious of dramatic writers for the the- 
atre could not hope to gain a competence by 
the pen alone, but wrote only for bread ; when 
play-writers were in the employ of the share- 
holding actors, as hired men; and when their 
employers, the actors, were social outcasts, 
who, in order to escape the penalty for the in- 
fraction of the law against vagabondage, were 
nominally retained by some nobleman. In 
further proof of the degradation which was 
attached to the production of dramatic com- 
position, "when Sir Thomas Bodley, about the 
year 1600, extended and remodeled the old 
university library and gave it his name, he 
declared that no such riff-raff as play books 
should ever find admittance to it." "When 
Ben Jonson treated his plays as literature by 
publishing them in 1616 as his works, he was 
ridiculed for his pretensions, while Webster's 
care in the printing of his plays laid himself 
open to the charge of pedantry." 

These facts and concurring events in the 
life of Robert Wilson and Will Kemp, con- 
vince us that Shakespeare was not, and that 
Kemp or Wilson was the person at whom 
Greene leveled his satire, by bearing witness 
to their extemporizing power and haughty 


and insolent demeanor in introducing impro- 
visations and interpolations of their "own wit 
into poets' plays." 


Sweet are the thoughts that savour of content; 
The quiet mind is richer than a crown ; 
Sweet are the nights in careless slumber spent; 
The poor estate scorns fortune's angry frown. 
Such sweet content, such minds, such sleep, 

such bliss, 

Beggars enjoy, when princes oft do miss, 
The homely house that harbours quiet rest; 
The cottage that affords no pride nor care; 
The mean that 'grees with country music best; 
The sweet comfort of mirth and modest fare. 

Robert Greene. 



It may not be unacceptable to our readers 
for us to take this opportunity of presenting 
them with a slight sketch of the life of the 
great translator of Homer, George Chapman. 

In miner's usage the Chapman lode is not a 
continuous ore-bearing vein. His apotheg- 

Crescent Arms of Chapman. 



matic sayings are disseminated through a 
large mass of quartzless porphyry contained 
in the early poems and in several of his plays; 
although considerable rich ore has been ex- 
tracted from all of his original work as dis- 
tinguished from the main vein or mother-lode, 
the bonanza poems comprising his Homeric 

However, the students of English poetry 
may find in every fissure or ledge in the grand 
old poet's veins excerpts for a noble anthol- 
ogy. George Chapman says, "Charles Lamb 
is a writer in whom great faults are compen- 
sated by great beauties." 

That Professor Minto was correct in his 
identification of Chapman with the rival poet 
who supplanted the sonneteer (Shakespeare) 
in his patron's estimation, is the conviction of 
almost all sonnet critics. Chapman is thus 
conjecturally connected with "Shakespeare," 
who "evidently admired" the elder poet. 
A "better spirit" remarkable for "the full, 
proud sail of his great verse," and notwith- 
standing Shakespeare's manifestations of jeal- 
ousy, was amongst the first of contemporary 
poets to recognize the beauties of Chapman 
genius. The statement "that the rivalry here 


indicated was the outcome of bitter personal 
resentment, and may be traced elsewhere in 
the works of both authors," is essentially ab- 
surd and false, for Chapman would not have 
censured Shakespeare for his reference to him 
as his rival in the Sonnets (80-86) ; he would 
have regarded them as an appreciation. 

Surely Shakespeare could not have been 
glanced at in Chapman's preface to his trans- 
lation of the Iliad, as a certain "envious wind- 
sucker buzzing into every ear my detraction," 
for the elusive personality of "Shakespeare," 
author of the Poems and Plays is proof against 
the assumption that Chapman was ever the 
subject of "Shakespeare's" censure. 

The terms in which George Chapman is 
commonly described by his contemporaries 
are of almost filial respect. He was among the 
few men whom Ben Jonson said he loved, "a 
person of most revered aspect, religious and 
temperate qualities." 

It may be justly claimed for Chapman that 
he did his utmost to shun in all dedicatory 
verse the slightest imputation of fawning ser- 
vility, choosing for patrons personal friends. 

Chapman as a literary personality is obvi- 
ous enough to the understanding of the reader, 


for the poet and playwright lies directly in the 
way of the student studying Elizabethan liter- 
ature. On the literary side he is manifested 
clearly in all his acts and deeds. Herein he 
contrasts with Shakspere, the Stratford player 
whose biographers are much troubled at the 
scantiness of literary things that they can even 
conjecturally identify personally with "Shake- 
speare" author of the plays; while Chapman 
is sufficiently supplied with literary material 
and references adequate to the wants of his lit- 
erary biographer, for there is no scantiness of 
information about him of the literary sort 
common personal facts of everyday life are 
not the essentials in the lives of the poets. 

We have the evidence of his own writings 
that Chapman was born at or near Hitchens 
in Herefordshire. The Hitchen Register only 
commences with the year 1562, three years af- 
ter the poet's birth. While under the spell of 
his divine patron, Homer, who was "angel to 
him, star and fate" in reply to the poet's in- 

What may I reckon thee whose heavenly look 

Shows not nor voice sounds. Man 

I am said he that spirit Elysian 

That in thy native ayre and on the hill 


Next HitcmVs left hand did thy bosom fill 
With such a flood of soul that then wert faine 
(With acclamations of her rapture then) 
To vent it to the echoes of the vale ; 
When meditating of me a sweet gale 
Brought me upon thee and thou didst inherit 
My true sense (for the time then) in my spirits 
And I invisible went prompting thee 
To those fayre greenes thou didst English me." 

William Browne also in his Britannia Pas- 
torals styles Chapman "The learned shepherd 
of fair Hitchin Hill." And from the title 
page of his Homer that his birth year was 
1559. We do not know which of the several 
different families or branches of the great 
Chapman family he was connected with; we 
do not know the baptismal name of his father, 
nor the maiden name of his mother, or any 
fact relative to her parentage, nor anything re- 
lating to their domestic economy or occupa- 
tion. We do not know that the poet ever mar- 
ried. Anthony Wood describes him as "a per- 
son of most reverend aspect, religious and tem- 
perate qualities, rarely meeting in a poet." No 
vile personal gossip sully his renown, a man 
of grave character and regular life. 

George Chapman's name has not received 
due prominence in the modern hand books of 


English literature, but he was a bright torch 
and numbered by his own generation among 
the greatest of its poets. He whom Webster 
calls the "Princes Sweet Homer" and "My 
Friend" was not unduly honored by the full 
and heightened style which Webster makes 
characteristic of him. "Our Homer-Lucan" 
as he was gracefully termed by Daniel, is a 
poet much admired by great men. Edmund 
Waller ( 1605-1687) poet, orator and wit never 
could read Chapman's Homer "without a de- 
gree of transport." 

Barry is reputed to have said that when he 
went into the street after reading it, men 
seemed ten feet high. Coleridge declares 
Chapman's version of the Odyssey to be as 
truly an original poem as the "Faery Queen." 
He also avers that Chapman in his moral he- 
roic verse stands above Ben Jonson, "there is 
more dignity, more lustre and equal strength." 

Translation was in those times a new power 
in literature. By the indomitable force and 
fire of genius, Chapman has made Homer 
himself speak English by having chosen that 
which prefers the spirit to the letter. It is in 
his translation that the Homeric poems are 
best read as an English work. Out of it there 


comes a whiff of the breath of Homer. It is 
as massive and majestic as Homer himself 
would have written in the land of the Virgin 

Chapman strives to transmute Homer's soul 
into written words with unexampled energy 
and sublimity, set forth with such wealth of 
glorious eloquence and grandeur of thought. 
He has added, says Swinburne "a monument 
to the temple which contains the glories of 
his native language, the godlike images and 
the costly relics of its past." "The earnestness 
and passion," says Charles Lamb, "which he 
has put into every part of these poems would 
e incredible to a reader of mere modern 
translations. His almost Greek zeal for the 
honor of his heroes is only paralleled by that 
fierce spirit of Hebrew bigotry with which 
Milton, as if personating one of the zealots of 
the old law clothed himself when he sat down 
to paint the acts of Samson against the uncir- 

It was the reflected Hellenic radiance of the 
grand old Chapman version to the lifted eyes 
of Keats flooded with the light which "never 
was on sea or shore." This younger poet sang : 


"Much have I travelled in the realms of gold, 
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen, 
Round many western islands have I been, 
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold; 
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told, 
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his de- 

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene 
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and 
bold." * * * 

Chapman, though the recipient of patron- 
age of Prince Henry and his Cynthian sister, 
Elizabeth "Queen of Hearts," nevertheless, 
no favor was shown him by the mob of syco- 
phantic parasites at the Court of James. How- 
ever, the old oligarchist was the first dramatic 
writer to challenge the principle of monarchy 
as a compliment to government in his declara- 
tion of republican principle contained in the 
daring words : 

"And what's a prince? Had all been virtuous 


There never had been prince upon the earth, 
And so no subject: All men had been princes. 
A virtuous man is subject to no prince, 
But to his soul and honor, which are laws 
That carry fire and sword within themselves, 
Never corrupted, never out of rule; 
What is there in a prince that his least lusts 


Are valued at the lives of other men; 

When common faults in him should prodigies 

And his gross dotage rather loathed than 


When these words were written, James VI 
and I, had sat three years on the British 
throne. His Majesty was a slobbering, dirty, 
trembling, contemptible coward, an habitual 
drunkard. He wrote a book upon that strange 
delusion, witchcraft, in which he was a devout 
believer, and ordered Reginald Scot's famous 
work burned. Scot fortunately died during 
the reign of Queen Elizabeth, thus escaping 
burning at the stake. 

The King's claim to freedom from all con- 
trol by law or responsibility to anything but 
his own royal will was tantamount to laying 
the head of "Baby Charles" on the execution- 
er's block and the final eclipse of the House of 
Stuart, that fated race. 

No wonder Chapman rather loathed than 
soothes the King's gross dotage, for Ben Jon- 
son and himself had been cast into a loathsome 
prison in the previous year by this most loath- 
some of British kings, merely because of Mar- 


stem's waggery in the matter of "Eastward 

His Majesty had also, by way of exercising 
his power as King by Divine right, hanged a 
pickpocket on the journey from Edinburgh to 
London without any trial a prelude to brave 
Sir Walter Raleigh's death, and presageful of 
the fate of "Faire Arabella (Stuart) Child of 
Woe." "A fouler judicial murder never 
stained the annals of any country," says John 
Fiske). (Old Virginia, Vol. I, p. 200). 

Sir Thomas Overbury of the Middle Tem- 
ple was not so fortunate. 

The Earl of Southampton, writing to Sir 
R. Winwood on the 4th of August, 1613, says: 
"A rooted hatred lyeth in the King's heart to- 
ward him." (Rimbault Life of Overbury). 

As to the King of England criminality : 

James the First was, in matter-of-fact, 
the principal figure in all of the "poisonous 
and adulterous Villany Treachery blood and 
shame" in connection with the poisoning of 

The revelations disclosed by the annals of 
that dark and foul reign point unerringly at 
James the First, the sceptered murderer of Sir 
Thomas Overbury. 


But Chapman and Jonson finding them- 
selves in imminent danger of having their nos- 
trils slit or at least their ears clipped in order 
to save their bodies from mutilation, addressed 
seven letters to noteworthy persons. Chap- 
man's letter to the King is reprinted from the 
Athnaeum of March 30th, 1901. Mr. Bertram 
Dobell took them from a quarto manuscript, 
commonplace book of ninety leaves into which 
they had been copied together with other let- 
ters, petitions and documents dating between 
1580 and 1613, says that "the writer or collec- 
tor of the documents can have been no other 
than George Chapman." 

Nevertheless, three of the six letters seek- 
ing release were written by Chapman. Two 
he wrote to the Lord Chamberlain and one 
To His Most Gratious Majestic: 

"Vouchsafe, most excellent sovereign to 
take merciful notice of the submissive and 
amendfull sorrowes of your two most humble 
and prostrated subjects for your Highnes dis- 
pleasure, Geo. Chapman and Ben Jonson, 
whose chief offenses are but two clauses and 
both of them not our owne, much less the un- 
naturall issue of our offenceless intents. I hope 
your Majestie's universall knowledge will 


daigne to remember that all authorities in ex- 
ecution of justice, especiallie respects the man- 
ners and lives of men commanded before it, 
and according to their generall censures any- 
thinge that hath scapt them in particular 
which cannot be so disproportionable that one 
being actuallie good the other should be in- 
tentionallie ill; if not intentionallie (howso- 
ever it may be subject to construcction) where 
the whole founte of our actions may be justi- 
fied from beinge in this kind offensive. I hope 
the integrall parts will taste of the same loyall 
and dutiful order which to aspire from your 
most Cesar-like bounties, (who conquered 
still to spare the conquered and was glad to of- 
fences that he might forgive). 

"In all dijection of never-inough itterated 
sorrowe for your high displeasure and vowe 
of as much future delight as of your present 
anger, we cast our best parts at your Highness' 
feet and our worst to Hell. 

'George Chapman/' 

It appears that Chapman underwent a sec- 
ond imprisonment with Ben Jonson shortly 
after their release for a supposed reference to 
some person in a play. We are unable to as- 


certain any of the details of Chapman's life 
unconnected with literature. We have 
glimpses of him during his life in London. 
But always in connection with literary work. 

As a further illustration. In 1606 the 
French Ambassador Beaumont, writes to his 
master: "I caused certain players to be forbid 
from acting "The History of the Duke of Bir- 
on." When they saw, however, that the whole 
Court had left town they persisted in acting 
it, nay, they brought upon the stage the Queen 
of France and Madame de Vernevil, the for- 
mer having first accosted the latter with very 
hard words, and gave her a box on the ear. At 
my suit three of them were arrested but the 
principle person, (Chapman) the author, es- 

Christopher Marlowe while fleeing from a 
warrant issued by the Privy Council summon- 
ing him to trial on the discovery of an unorth- 
odox paper in which some real or fancied of- 
fense had been detected calls on his way (prob- 
ably) to Deptford at the "harmless and pious 
study" of his dear friend George Chapman 
and persuades the elder poet to take up and 
continue the lover's tale of "Hero and Lean- 


The poet was not then living who could 
have fitly completed the sublime fragment of 
Marlowe "that can give new splendour to the 
genius of Milton and of Shelley." 

Chapman's command of English is some- 
thing prodigious great in the descriptive and 
in the simile and was the fittest to take charge 
of an incomparable fragment. It would have 
been hard to do better than he has done. Chap- 
man's scholarship cannot be gauged by his 
translations; men of letters whether in prose 
or verse did not aim at severe correctness, fur- 
thermore no Poet of the age but Shakespeare 
has left us so many grave sentences or striking 
detacched thoughts, so many quotable passages 
of lofty eloquence. 

Chapman's friendships are said to be the 
strongest testimonials of his character the 
devoted friend who when he "loved once, 
loved for a lifetime." 

And we may add Chapman's close fellow- 
ship is Marlowe's best credential that he was 
a man of good character. Let us his posterity 
enshrine him who in that "long gon time." 
" * * * moved such delight. That men 
would shun their sleep in still dark night to 
meditate upon his golden lines." 


There is also a copy extant of Chapman's 
memorable masque on the marriage of the 
Palgrave and Princess Elizabeth corrected by 
Chapman in his own hand. "But the errors 
are few and not very important. It shows the 
patient accuracy of the accomplished writer." 

The Masque was performed at Whitehall 
by the societies of Lincoln's Inn and Middle 
Temple and mounted by Inigo Jones, Sur- 
veyor General of the royal buildings, who was 
employed in supplying the designs and deco- 
rations of the Court masques. 

The marriage of Princess Elizabeth took 
place on the 14th of February, 1613, three 
months after the death of Prince Henry. From 
these ancestors his (present) Majesty George 
V derives his hereditary title to the British 

There is preserved a very fine copy of the 
Hymns of Homer, with some presentation 
verse with Chapman's autograph and an alter- 
ation or two in the engraving made with his 
pen. The engraved title by William Pass con- 
taining a portrait of Chapman at an advanced 
age. The engraving was designed, says Cole- 
ridge, by no vulgar hand. "It is full of spirit 
and passion." See portrait facing page 372. 


There is still extant a fine volume of the 
Iliad of 161 1 in red morocco of the period. At 
the back of the title is in Chapman's auto- 
graph, "In witness of his best love so borne to 
his best deserving friend, Mr. Henrye Jones. 
George Chapman gives him theise fruites of 
his best labors and desires love betwixt us as 
long lived as Homer." The corrections are 
merely three or four in the Preface. Chap- 
man has run his pen through the word "plas- 
ters" and substituted "plashes." 

And still another interesting copy, 1608, 
with Chapman's autograph the "Seven Books 
of Homer's Iliads." In 1618 Chapman pub- 
lished his "Translation of Musaeus." The 
only known copy is in the Bodleian. It is 
dedicated to his exceeding good friend, Inigo 
Jones. He informs us in his poem that it is 
a different work to the continuation of Mar- 
lowe's poem. In 1618 appeared The Georgics 
of Hesiod and is dedicated to Sir Francis Ba- 
con, Knight Lord High Chancellor of Eng- 
land. It had commendatory verses to My 
Worthy and Honored Friend, Mr. George 
Chapman, by Ben Jonson and Michael Dray- 

Chapman's personal character stood very 


high and as a writer for the stage he attained 
great popularity in his day. The writings of 
his contemporaries are full of allusion to him. 
Much is known concerning Chapman's auth- 
orship of poems and plays for the list of pas- 
sages extracted from his writings in "Eng- 
land's Parnassus or the Choicest Flowers of 
Our Modern Poets" contains no less than 

At the time of this publication (1600) he 
had published but two plays and three vol- 
umes of verse. "The proud full sail of his 
great verse," (Chapman's Homer), had not 
at this time been unfurled. In 161 1 he speaks 
of his yet unfinished translation of Homer, 
and we are told that the Prince of Wales had 
commanded him to conclude. The entry in the 
stationer's books is for this year. But the real 
date of the printing of the complete Iliad was 
doubtless the early part of 1612. In 1616 he 
published the Iliads and Odysseys collected 
into one volume, and then good old George 
could look on his completed version of Homer 
and say: 

"The work that I was born to do is done." 
There are frequent entries in Henslowe's 
Diary relating to advances of money made to 

Facsimile Receipt for 40s. paid for a "Pastorial Ending in a 

Tragidy" from Chapman to Philip Henslowe. 

British Museum, MSS. 3026^. 


Chapman as playwright. We have sampled 
this one: On the 23rd of October, 1598, in an 
advance of 3 to Mr. Chapman on "his play 
boocke;" of this date also is the following 
memorandum in Henslowe's note-book, (page 

"Be it known unto all men by these pres- 
ents, that I, George Chapman of London, gen- 
tleman, doe owe unto Mr. Phillip Henslowe 
of the parish of St. Saviour, gentleman, the 
sum of X Xs of lawfull money of England. 
In witness whereof I have hereunto sett my 
hand this xxiiij of October, 1598. Geo. Chap- 


The records contain many references to 
Chapman's works, but this is not a literary bi- 
ography, so our needs do not require their 
transcription for we now have at least the line- 
aments of his character, his genuine self. 

Among gnomic poets, Chapman is in the 
front rank, a great master of English, a word 
smith he stands pre-eminent. "There are 
many more new words, says J. M. Robertson 
in Chapman than in Shakespeare." 

The death of Prince Henry is regarded as 
the great crucial event of modern times, for 
it gave Charles the First the right-of-way to 


the British throne followed by the servile 
minions of despotic rule which marked the 
beginning of the struggle against absolute 
monarchy, a death struggle between the up- 
holders of royal prerogative and constitution- 
al freedom. Although the pace had been set 
for the party of passive obedience by King 
James the First. 

Chapman was patronized by Prince Henry 
that noble youth of the royal line to whom he 
was appointed server in ordinary and appears 
to have promised him a pension, but he died 
in 1612, in the nineteenth year of his age. His 
Majesty, the father of this promising young 
Prince was jealous of him, of course, by con- 
sequence no laureating or patronage in the 
Court of James for his old Homeric tutor and 
counsellor, George Chapman. 

Prince Henry's name is preserved in the 
verses of sixteen poets, among them were 
Chapman, Jonson, Webster, Drayton, Donne, 
Daniel, Tounneur, Browne, Whither, Sylves- 
ter, Alexander, Davies of Hereford and 
Drummond of Hawthornden. 

But not one line of mournful elegy from 
"Shakespeare." Everything tends and con- 
spires to strip this person whomsoever he was, 


of all literary work whatsoever as a self-ac- 
knowledged poet. 

Prince Henry expired just before midnight 
on the Sth of November, 1612. In the passing 
of this youth at nineteen, of truly striking and 
rare promise so fervent in his friendship for 
Sir Walter Raleigh in his prison under sen- 
tence of death, and often said "that no man 
but his father would keep such a bird in such 
a cage." 

Prince Henry dies, than which, says Gros- 
art, "no death since Sidney's had so moved the 
heart of the nation as none evoked such splen- 
did sorrow from England's foremost names 
with one prodigious exception and the one 
prodigious exception is Shakespeare." 

So warm in his love and admiration for 
George Chapman, "The Prince's Sweet Hom- 
er," teacher and counsellor, who in one of his 
poems, the dedication of the Iliad to Prince 
Henry poured forth the exaltation of his own 
great art in his sublimest strain in such lines 
as these: 

"Free sufferance for the truth makes sor- 
row sing, 

And mourning far more sweet than ban- 


The Prince's death gave the good old poet 
a fiercer pang than any he had felt through 
years of struggle, well nigh of hunger now 
feeling that the "pleasures of hope" were cut 
off by death of his only patron of the house of 
Stuart, the most magnanimous of them all. 
"To all times future this times mark extend 
Homer no patron found nor Chapman 

Chapman's long life (1559-1634) over- 
spread the whole of the Elizabethan Age of 
literature. His life began in advance of that 
golden age, before the dawn of English trag- 
edy, with the rising sun of Marlowe, and lived 
to see it decline into a long and mellow even- 
tide which Shirley, "the last of a great age" 
failed to stay. One of the most learned men of 
his age, profoundly imbued with the Greek 
militant spirit, and of its earliest and most he- 
roic inspirations, he best knew how to make 
Homer speak English. He gives a picture of 
Achilles and Ulysses full of life and action. 
"There did shine a beam of Homer's soul in 
mine." This was the sovereign labour of his 
life, a work which had won for him immor- 

But before there had wailed a dirge for 


Chapman. His life-long friends, Marlowe, 
Beaumont, Drayton and Fletcher had in suc- 
cession "passed the ivory gates." All these 
heirs to immortal fame he outlived on earth- 
George Chapman deserves a cenotaph in 
Westminster Abbey, where his illustrious 
friends lie or are commemorated. But it is to 
be regretted also, that the walls of the old Ab- 
bey do not enclose all that is mortal of John 
Fletcher, "in their tender and solemn gloom." 
Why should not the same roof cover all that is 
mortal of Beaumont and Fletcher, "Twin 
Stars" who in the morning of life had shared 
its hopes and aspirations; their names are in- 
divisible, why not their dreamless dust thence- 
forward and forevermore. 

In May, 1634, now nearly three centenaries 
of years ago, in old St. Giles Churchyard, 
"Chapman's revered ashes were rudely min- 
gled with the vulgar dust." But strange as it 
may seem William Habington's wish ex- 
pressed in terms of filial veneration was never 
realized no room is found "in the warm 
Church to build him up a tomb." 



Give me a spirit that on life's rough sea, 
Loves to have his sails filled with a lusty wind, 
E'en till his sail-yards tremble his mast crack, 
And his wrapt ship runs on her side so low, 
That she drinks water, and her keel ploughs 


There is no danger to a man that knows 
What life and death is: there's not any law 
Exceeds his knowledge; neither is it lawful 
That he should stoop to any other law: 
He goes before them, and commands them all, 
That to himself is a law rational. 


Chapman's Tomb in St. Giles' Church. 


Addenbroke, John, 136, 138. 

Aesop, 221. 

Alleyn, Edward, 129, 130, 195, 234. 

Archer, Francis, 250. 

Ardeu, Mary, 106. 

Aubrey, John, 185, 250. 

Bacon, Sir Francis, 25, 279, 387. 

Bagehot, Walter, 15. 

Barnard, Sir John, 127. 

liar nu in, Phineas T., 225. 

Beaumont, Francis, 5, 12, 23, 31, 32, 199, 203, 241. 

Bellet, H. H. L., 22. 

Bellott, Stephen, 86, 155, 162. 

Belvolr, 18, 19, 72. 

Bentley, Dr., 226. 

Betterton, Thomas, 79, 112. 

Biamarck, Prince, 125. 

Bodelian Library, 103, 126, 387. 

Bodley, Sir Thomas, 102, 371. 

Bo iv ia, Richard, 322. 

Brown, Sir Thomas, 224, 226. 

Browne, William, 376, 390. 

Bunyan, John, 296, 303. 

Burbage, Cuthbert, 119, 120, 230,, 231, 232. 

Burbage, Richard, 18, 97, 119, 129, 130, 171. 

Burke, Edmoml, 223, 246. 

Bnrleigh, Lord, 170. 

Burnet, Gilbert, Bishop of Salisbury, 192. 

Burns, Robert, 282, 298. 

Burton, Robert, 126, 293. 

Cainden, William, 24, 104, 241, 249. 

Carew, Thomas, 244. 

Castle, E. J. K. C., 96. 

Chambrun, The Countess de, 37, 38, 309. 

Chapman, George The Translatior of Homer, 372, 375, 376 

Conjecturally connected with Shakespeare as his rival 

(in Sonnets 80-86 "A better Spirit"), 373. 
A Poet much admired by great men, 197, 198, 200, 377. 
It is in his translation that the Homeric poems are best 

read as an English Work, 243, 267, 377, 378, 392. 
His command of English is something prodigious, 378, 

As a writer for the Stage he attained great popularity 

in his day, 209, 279. 

There is no scantiness of information about him of the 
literary sort, 203, 241, 374, 375. 


396 INDEX 

Suffered from repression, 370, 383. 

Imprisoned with Ben Jonson for reflections on the Kings 
thirty pound carpet Knights of Scottish birth in 
"Eastward Hoe", 169, 380. 

He was among the few men whom Ben Jonson said he 
loved, 267, 374. 

His letter to King James the First, 382, 383. 

His fellowship with Marlowe had a profound admira- 
tion for, 363, 384, 385. 

His Autograph and Facsimile Receipt, 389. 

His appreciation of his mother-tongue, 373. 

Familiar with several languages, 389. 

The most Sententious of poets, 391, 

"That Old Man Eloquent," 392. 
Charles First. 192, 380, 389. 

Chettlc, Henry, 91, 93, 96, 231, 282, 284, 299, 350, 351, 362. 
Clarendon, Earl of, 276. 
Clayton, John, 134, 137. 

Coke, Edward, Lord Chief Justice, 25, 42, 59. 
Coleridge, S. T., 243. 

ColliuiH. Churton, 13, 14, 285, 294, 297. 
Collier, J. P., 287, 311. 

Combe, John the usurious money-lender, 45, 46. 
Combe, Thomas, his heir, 47. 55, 64, 65. 
Combe, William, 37, 42, 44, 48, 73, 75, 86. 
Condall, Henry, 129, 170. 
Cook, Dr. James, 109. 

Coolbrith, Ina Poet Laureate of California, 300. 
Corporation Stratford Records, 45, 77. 
Cromwell, Oliver, 3, 31. 

Dance Scene, 321. 

Daniel, Samuel, 6, 185, 203, 377. 

D'Avenant, Sir William, 168, 169. 

Davis, Cushman K., 341. 

Day, John, 267. 

Dekker, Thoma, 197, 198, 243, 251. 

Derby, Earl of, 193. 

!>c thick. Sir William, 132. 

Diuus. Leonard, 160. 

Donations of Constantlne, 228. 

Donne, Dr. John, 24, 267. 

Dowland, John, 323. 

Drake, Sir Francis. 25. 

Drayton, Michael, 5, 12, 104, 161, 162, 164, 170, 190, 387. 

Druminond, \Villhnii of Hawthornden, 126, 162, 243, 245, 246, 

248, 390. 

Dryden, John, 340. 
Dyce, Dr., 134. 


"Eastward Hoe," 16. 17. 
Elizabeth, Queen, 6, 7, 21, 31, 55, 380. 
Kl IN! more. Lord, 122. 
Elton, Charles tl. < ., 111. 
Emerson, R. W., 12, 29, 134, 164. 
Epitaph, 33. 
Essex, Earl of, 5, 6, 19, 170. 

Farmer, Dr., 131. 
Field, Nathaniel, 310. 

INDEX 397 

Fleay, Dr.. 96, 185, 318. 

Fletcher, John, 13, 23, 31, 186, 203, 241. 

Florio, John, 125. 

Ford, John, 24, 31, 241. 

Forman, Dr. Simon, 28. 

Francis, Sir Philip, 223. 

Franklin, Ben, 303. 

Fuller, Thomas, 201, 202. 

Fume**, Dr., 14, 334. 


Greene, Robert His partiality to "The Man with the Hoe," 

291, 302. 

His democratic sympathies, 283, 292, 301. 
The purity of his writings, 281, 289, 296. 
He never prostituted his pen to courseness, 297, 298. 
He appealed to the better class of readers, 303. 
He was supreme in prose romance, 292. 
A born story-teller, 300. 

His versatility and quickness in composition, 303. 
His literary fame, 288. 

He was the popular author of the day, 292, 300. 
His gracious types of womanhood, 295, 298, 299. 
The salutory effect of his methods of warfare with the 

criminal classes, 289, 290. 

With him rank is never the measure of merit, 302. 
"Not lip-holy," 290. 

He was given to self-upbraiding, 296, 300. 
He fell a prey to strong drink, 282, 283. 
His character as usually framed by the critic, '282, 284, 

289, 298, 307. 
His opprobrious Shake-scene not Shakespeare, 308, 309, 

313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 22, 330. 
He counsels his friends to give up Play Writings as 

degrading, 318. 

He was one of the founders of English fiction, 285. 
The great commercial value of his name, 288. 
Greene, Thomas Represents the townsmen of Stratford-on- 
Avon in their struggle with Combe, Manwaring and 
Shakspere (the "Vandals" of 1614-18) the three par- 
ties acting in unison in an attempted enclosure of a 
large part of the adjacent Common fields, 41, 47, 48, 
49, 63, 71, 75, 77, 160. 

Greenwood, Sir George G. His work "Is There a Shake- 
speare Problem?" cited, 82, 310. 
Great Unknown, The, 366. 
Greys Inn, 279. 

Groats Worth of Wit, 92, 96, 348, 349. 
Grosart, Dr. A. On Prince Henry's Death, 333, 391. 
Garrick, David, 122. 
Gauden, John, Bishop of Exeter, 192. 


Hahlngton, William, 393. 

Hale, Sir Matthew, 226. 

Hall, Elizabeth, 127, 128, 164. 

Hall, Dr. John Shakspere's son-in-law, 34, 71, 76, 109, 133, 

160, 163, 164. 

Hall, William an Oxford graduate, 36. 
Hallam, Henry, 12, 134, 164. 
Halliwell, Phillipps, 35, 37, 53, 111, 129. 

398 INDEX 

Hammer, Sir, SOS. 

Hamlet, 9, 315. 

Hart, Joan, 127. 

Hat ha way, Allies, 66, 113. 

Hathaway, Anne, 66, 111, 112, 113, 128. 

IIn11.avi ay, Richard, 113. 

Hattoii, Lord Chancellor, 25. 

Harvey, Gahrlel, 292, 293, 294, 297. 

HeminxH, .John, 129, 170, 231. 

Henslowe Blary, 195, 196, 216, 234. 

Henslovve, Philip, 195, 216, 233, 234, 235. 

High Commission, The Court of, 6. 

Henry, Prince, 31, 379, 386, 389, 390, 391. 

Herald College, 12, 131. 

Herrlck, Robert, 296. 

Heylin, Peter, 195. 

Heywood, ThomaN, 198, 217, 219, 220. 

Heywood, Sir John, 6. 

Hobbes, ThomaN, 203, 241. 

Homer, 3, 10, 30, 73, 88, 387. 

Howell, James, 241, 243, 244, 280. 

HiKlihroN, 15. 

Ingleby, Dr., 203, 218, 338. 
Inner Temple, 22, 279. 
Irving, Sir Henry, 171. 
Irving, Washington, 40. 

Jagjerard, William, 217. 

Jinn IM The First Prefers his own writings, 55, 104, 267, 280, 

380, 381. 

George Chapman's letter to, 382, 383. 
His Demonology, 380. 
Jefferson, Thomas, 361. 
Jones, Inigo Great confidence placed in, 268, 278. 

He was employed in arranging the scenery for the 
masques of Beaumont, Chapman and Ben Jonson, 386, 
JohimeiiN Factotum (See Robert Greene "A Groatsworth 

of Wit.") 

Johnson, Dr. Samuel lexicographer and critic, 247, 309. 
Jonsou, Ben He was born to poor condition in London, 249, 


Educated at Westminister School, 249. 
He served as a Soldier in Flanders, 250. 
His appearance, 242, 243, 279. 
Not sensitive, 280. 
Quarrels with Marston Deekker and Inigo Jones, 243, 

251, 270. 

A combatant in the "War of the Theatres," 209, 210. 
Ridiculed for including plays among his "Works," 198. 
Strong in his friendships and enmitys, 241, 251, 252. 
Never would let "Sleeping dogs rest," 254. 
His poverty, 249, 269, 280. 
Forced to sell library, 255, 268. 
In the days of his adversity, wrote mendieant epistle 

for bread, 281. 

Vilification and commendation of brother poets, 244, 265. 
Ridicules Drayton and Shakespeare, 266, 267, 271, 272, 275. 
His literary compliments are to be received with sus- 

INDEX 399 

picion, 247, 274, 275. 
Spake disparagingly of Beaumont and Shakespeare, 256, 

257, 270, 273. 
His competency and credibility as a witness, 245, 246, 

247, 257, 264, 273. 
Notes of his conversations recorded by Drummond, 248, 

265, 266, 267. 

Who leaves the impress of his individuality, 242, 254. 
The mass of literary detail respecting him, 254, 278. 
Compared with the trifles and non-literary matter of no 

consequence that we know of Shakspere, 242, 245. 
His allusion to Elizabeth Countess of Rutland, 252, 253, 

276, 277. 
He collected a library rich in scarce and valuable books. 

In this particular how unlike Shakspere, 254, 255. 
The superiority of literary reputation, 242, 254. 
He united in a comedy "Eastward Hoe" with Chapman 
and Marston and was sent to prison, 252, 253. 
His allusions to Shakespeare, 251, 258, 259, 261, 272, 273. 
Junius Letters, 192, 222, 223. 
Jusseraud, J. J. and Robert Greene, 344. 


Keats, John, 378. 

Keets, Francis, 360. 

Kemp, William (Will), 119, 205, 208, 311, 313, 314, 322, 327. 

Kind Hearts Dreams, 347, 348. 

Kirk, Edward (E. K.), 189, E. K. 195, 180. 

Kyd, Thomas, 213, 318, 319, 320. 

Lamb, Charles, 243. 

Lainer, Sidney, 14. 

Landor, Walter Savage, 197. 

Lang, Andrew, 11, 13, 14, 96, 123, 124, 128, 137, 205, 309, 310, 


Lee, Jane, 186. 

Lee, Sir Sidney, 13, 14, 91, 111, 167, 203. 
Lincoln, Abraham, 139, 303. 
Lincoln Inn, 279. 
Lodge, Thomas, 190, 195, 354. 
Lombard, Peter, 6, 7. 
London, 76. 
Lowell, James II., 185. 
Lucy, Sir Thomas, 79, 116, 117, 118, 125. 

llabie. Hamilton Wright, 309. 

Macauley, Lord, 223. 

Middle Temple, 22, 28, 63, 279. 

31ainwarin;, Arthur one of the riators confederated with 
Combe brothers and William Shakspere in an at- 
tempted enclosure of the Common fields, 42, 53, 55, 
85, 87. 

Malom, Edmond quoted, 91, 309, 369. 

Manuinghain, Joint diarist records anecdote of Shakspere, 
23, 24, 28, 171, 235. 

Marlowe, Christopher Was on terms of intimate friendship 

with Chapman, 385. 

Suffered from repression, 282, 320, 321. 
His imputed atheism, 359, 360, 361. 

400 INDEX 

His Violent end of life with a foreknowledge of his un- 
timely death at the stake was his death self-admin- 
istered? or was he slain by a serving-man one Fran- 
cis Archer, which? 

Miller, Joaquin, California poet, 300. 

Marston, John, 169, 190, 243, 267, 268. 

Mantson, Prof. David on Shakespeare's reticense, 102. 

Markham, Edwin American poet, 282. 

Martin, Marprilate a Mask-name, 292. 

Manque of the Middle Temple and Lincoln's Inn, 386. 

Meres, Francis, 180, 181, 182, 184, 185, 288, 298. 

Mermaid Tavern Ben at. 241. 

Merton College Oxford, 167. 

Mlddilton, Thomas, 25, 267. 

Milton, John, 32, 41, 196, 299, 378. 

Minto, Prof. William, 373. 

Montesquieu, 192. 

Mountjoy, Christopher, Wig-maker Prof. Wallace on, 86, 
137! 157. 

Mollere (Jean Baptiste Poquelin), 191. 

Mulcaster, Richard, 109. 

Munday, Anthony, 310. 

Nash, Thomas Poet on informers, 196, 206, 212, 280, 297, 299, 

354, 365. 
Nash, Thomas marries Elizabeth Hall the grand-daughter 

of William Shakspere, 127. 
Nicholas, Cardinal de Cusa, 
Nine Days Wonder, 327. 
Norwich Kemp at, 322. 
Northumberland, Earl of, 356. 

Outlines, Holltwell-Phillipp's 

Overhury, Sir Thomas Horribly murdered by poison Lady 

Essex and James The First being the instigators, 343, 

Ovid poet and a canon lawyer, 103, 104. 

Peele, George, 19, 93, 185, 310, 351, 357. 

Pembrook, Countess of, 33. 

Pembrook, Earl of, 16, 19, 232, 231, 230. 

Phillips, Augustine, 122. 

Poe. Edgar Allen, 282, 298. 

Pope, Alexander, 308. 

Privy Council, 6, 74. 

Public Record Office, 87. 

Puritans, 41. 

Pym, John, 24. 

Quiney, Richard, 121. 

Quiney, Thomas, 127, 133, 137. 

Qjuincy, Thomas, 109, 223. 

INDEX 401 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 25, 170, 190, 381, 391. 

ItipliiiKltnm Combe's agent, 44, 48. 

Richard II, 6, 7, 8, 216. 

Robertson, J. M., 14, 15, 137, 389. 

Rogers, Philip, 135, 137. 

Rathwuy, Uiohard, 330. 

Ro*ve. Nicholas, 68, 79, 83, 112, 168, 308. 

Rowly, William, 310, 330. 

Rutland, Countess of, 16, 276. 

Rutland. Karl of, 14, 276. 

It utter, Joseph, 274. 

Salisbury, Earl of, 369. 
Scot, Reginald, 226, 380. 
Scott, Sir Walter, 343. 
Selden John, 25, 102, 103, 104, 226, 241. 
Shagrsper, Willm, 111, 112. 
Shake-rage, 95, 322. 

Shake-scene, 92, 94, 95, 284, 308, 314, 317. 

Shake-Speare Shakespeare the author of the Plays a psen- 
donymous Name first assumed in connection with the 
Poems in 1593 in connection with the Plays in 1598 
and in connection with the Sonnets in 1609, 17, 19, 77, 
80, 101, 179, 180, 185, 186, 233, 262, 268, 299, 304. 
Cannot be identified with Shakspere the Stratford Play- 
er, 187, 188. 

"The Poet" was anxious to mask his identity under the 
name "Shakespeare" a pseudonym, why? Was he a 
man of rank or of high position in society? 189, 200, 
201, 203, 219, 234. 

Not attack by Robert Greene, 91, 92, 93. 
Shake-scene not allusion to, 92. 
Ben Jonson's allusion to, 259, 268. 

Chettle supposed allusion cannot be a reference to, 96. 
Not a single commendatory verse was addressed to the 
Poet on the production or publication of any of the 
Shakespeare Plays, 189, 31, 32. 
His vocabulary (see the Literary Aspect), 179. 
A Summary of some of the negative pregnants, 229, 203. 
Such as the silence of Ben Jonson not so much as the 
least commentary upon the Author of the Plays until 
the Stratford Player had lain for years in the grave, 
23, 203. 

Also the silence of the diarest Maningham, 27, 28, 235. 
The Silence of Sir Thomas Bodley, 102. 
The Silence of John Selden, 25, 203. 
The Silence of Inigo Jones, 203. 
The Silence of Philip Henslowe, 395, 234, 235. 
The Silence of Edward Alleyn, 234, 235. 
The Silence of Beaumont and Fletcher, 23, 31, 203. 
The Silence of Chapman, 202, 203. 
The Silence of Drayton, 202, 203. 

Shakspere, William "Him who sleeps by Avon," 4, 5, 10, 11. 
His parentage, 104. 
Stratford-on-Avon His Supposed Birthplace, 101. 105 

122, 124, 125, 128. 
His Baptism And Nurture, 105. 

Was he sent to school in boyhood? his biographers un- 
able to tell, 107, 108, 109, 110. 

402 INDEX 

Known Facts of his life, 121, 122, 142, 159, 171. 

His improvident and irregular marriage, 105, 110, 111, 

He hikes 'to London, 117, 118. 

An actor, 205, 213, 218, 225, 229, 230, 231, 232, 245, 251, 

261, 262. 

Lived apart from his wife and children, 130. 
A sojourner for many years in the house shop of a wig- 
maker, 86, one Mountjoy in Silver Street, London, 143, 


Was a witness for the plaintiff in the case Bellott vs. 
Mountjoy. His testimony of little value to the party 

calling him or to the Court of Requests, 146, 148, 150, 

151, 152, 158. 

Speculation in Real Estate, 121. 

His harsh treatment of debtors, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141. 
His litigious striving, 134, 135, 136, 140. 
Conduct in money affairs, 160, 163, 121, 134, 157. 
Becomes very wealthy, 108, 110. 
His arrogant defiance of public interest shown by his 

persistent invasion of popular rights, 44, 61. 
Was one of the men who sought the oppression of the 

townfolks by his attempt to seize the common lands 

whom the Lord Chief-Justice Sir Edward Coke de- 
clared from the bench "defied the law of the realm," 

41, 42, 43, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 74, 85. 

TTie execrative epitaph cut on his tomb is a criminating 
memorial of his attempt to gain possession of the 
Stratford Common lands, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 

42, 75, 76, 77. 

Was charged with obtaining "heraldic" honours by 

fraudulent representation, 5, 131, 132. 
As a player takes unimportant parts in what are now 

termed the "heavy business," 119, 120, 123, 205. 
His literary contemporaries had no conception of the 
actors intellectual supremacy if such he possessed, 103, 
125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 144, 145, 163, 164, 165, 172, 200, 

Was one of "those deserving men and one of the part- 
ners in the profits of that they call the House" 119, 120. 
His readiness to engage with Richard Burbage to work 
at the Earl of Rutland's, frevolans device ."impreso" 
in 1613 for the small sum of 44s, three years before 
his death, 18, 19- 
The spelling of his name not Spear-Shaking, 105, 142, 

143, 188. 

Never assumed the name of "Shakespeare" or the hy- 
phenated Shake-Speare, 143. 
Does not claim the "Shakespeare Plays," 9. 
And his daughters, illiteracy, 108, 109. 
The bust in the Stratford Church the most trustworthy 

physical presentment of, 159, 160. 
His Will, 63, 63, 66, 170. 
Death and burial of. 
Shakspere, John, 106, 126. 
Shakspere, Judith, 108, 109, 126, 133. 
Shakspere, Susanna. 109. 
Sheavyn, Phoebe, 310. 
Shirley, James, 25, 241. 

Sidney, Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland, 276. 
Sidney, Sir Philip, 24, 82, 267. 

Southampton, Earl of, 26, 165, 167, 168, 170, 172, 173, 174. 
Speddingr, James, 186, 203. 
Spencer, Edmund, 5, 170, 189, 241, 267, 294. 

INDEX 403 

Star Chamber, 6, 54, 169. 

Stevens, George, 83, 84. 

Stopes, Mrs. C. C., 18, 71, 72. 

Stevenson, Mr., 72. 

Stratford Bust (see Frontispiece). 

Swift, Dean, 291. 

Swinburne, Algernon Charles, 27. 

Symouds, J. A., 32. 

Taft, William Howard, 361. 

Tarleton, Richard the player, 311, 321. 

Tell, William, 226, 227. 

Taylor, John, 267. 

Thwaites, Sdward, 36. 

Tyrwhltt, Thomas, 93, 308, 309. 


Upstart, Crow, 92, 95. 

Venus and Adonis, 165, 214. 
Voltaire (Francis Aronet), 191. 


AVallace, Dr. Charles William his Shakspere discoveries, 19, 

52, 86, 87, 135, 136, 156, 137, 158, 159, 161, 162. 
Wheler Collection, the Stratford-on-Avon 1806, 41. 
White, R. G., 139. 
Wilkins, eorge, 155. 

Webster, John, 197, 198, 199, 200, 390. 
Welcombe, 45, 53, 55. 
Whateley, Anna, 111. 

W'riathesley, Henry, Karl of Southampton, 5, 25, 165, 381. 
Wilson, Woodrow, 279. 

Wilson, Robert Senior, 310, 311, 313, 314, 330, 371. 
Wood. Anthony, 376. 
Worburton, Bishop, 309. 




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