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been thoroughly grounded in the ancient tongues, from desuetude in the progress of life, he probably found them daily more difficult; and hence, doubtless, indolence led him rather to English translations, than the original authors, of whose works he wished to avail himself in his dramatic compositions : on which occasion he was certainly too careless minutely to examine whether particular passages were faithfully rendered or not. That such a mind as his was not idle or incurious, and that at this period of his life he perused several of the easier Latin classics, cannot reasonably be doubted; though, perhaps, he never attained a facility of reading those authors, with whom he had not been familiarly acquainted at school. He needed not however, as Dryden has well observed, the spectacles of books' to read men : there can be no doubt, that even from his youth he was a curious and diligent observer of the manners and characters, not only of his young associates, but of all around him; a study, in which, unquestionably, he took great delight, and pursued with avidity during the whole course of his future life. Fuller, who was a diligent and accurate inquirer, has given us, in his Worthies, printed in 1662, the most full and express opinion on the subject. • He was an eminent instance,' he remarks, • of the truth of that rule, poëta non fit, sed nascitur ; one is not made, but born a poet. Indeed his learning was

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very little; so that as Cornish diamonds are not polished by any lapidary, but are pointed and smoothed even as they are taken out of the earth ; so nature itself was all the art which was used on him.'

It is generally admitted that Shakspeare was withdrawn from school at a very early age, to direct his attention to his father's business, in order that he might assist in warding off from his family the menacing approach of poverty. Mr. Malone, however, conjectures that he was placed in the office of some country attorney, after leaving school, or with the seneschal of some manor court, where he acquired those technical law phrases that so frequently occur in his plays, and could not have been in common use unless among professional men. But whatever doubts there may be as to his employment on leaving school, it is certain that Shakspeare married and became the father of a family at a very early period; at a period, indeed, when most young men, even in his own days, had only completed their school education; for an entry in the Stratford register mentions, that Susanna, daughter of William Shakspeare, was baptised May 26th, 1583,' when he was only nineteen years of age. His wife was Anne Hathaway, the daughter of Richard Hathaway, a substantial yeoman, residing at Shottery, a village near Stratford. It appears also from the tombstone of his widow in the church of Stratford, that she must have been born in 1556, and was therefore eight years older than her husband, to whom she brought three children, Susanna, Judith, and Hamnet; the last two being twins, who were baptised February 20, 1584-5.

Shakspeare was now, to all appearance, settled in the country; he was carrying on his own and his father's business; he was married, and had a family around him ; a situation, in which the comforts of domestic privacy might be predicted within his reach, but which augured little of that splendid destiny, that universal fame and unparalleled celebrity, which awaited his future career.

Shortly after the birth of his youngest children, our author quitted Stratford for the metropolis : his motive for taking this step must be admitted to be involved in considerable obscurity. We are informed by Rowe, that he 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 more than once in robbing a park that belonged to Sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote, near Stratford. For this he was prosecuted by that gentleman, as he thought, somewhat too severely; and in order to revenge that ill usage, he made a ballad on him: and though this, probably the first essay of his poetry, is lost, yet it is said to have been so very bitter, that it redoubled the prosecution against him to that degree, that he was obliged to leave his business and family in Warwickshire for some time, and shelter himself in London.'

The detection of Shakspeare in his adventurous amusement, was followed, it is said, by confinement for a short time in the keeper's lodge, until the charge had been substantiated against him. A farm-house in the park, situated on a spot called Daisy Hill, is still pointed out as the very building which sheltered the delinquent on this unfortunate occasion.

That Sir Thomas had reason to complain of this violation of his property, and was warranted in taking proper steps to prevent its recurrence, cannot be denied; and yet it appears from tradition, that a reprimand and public exposure of his conduct constituted all the punishment that was at first inflicted on the offender. Here the matter would have rested, had not the irritable feelings of our young bard, inflamed by the disgrace which he had suffered, induced him to attempt a retaliation on the magistrate. He had recourse to his talents for satire, and the ballad which he is said to have produced for this purpose was probably his earliest effort as a writer.

Of this pasquinade, which the poet took care should be affixed to Sir Thomas's park gates, and extensively circulated through his neighborhood, three stanzas have been brought forward as genuine fragments. The preservation of the whole would certainly have been a most entertaining curiosity; but even the authenticity of what is said to have been preserved becomes a subject of interest, when we recollect that the fate and fortunes of our author hinged on this juvenile production.

Mr. William Oldys, (Norroy king at arms, and well known from the share he had in compiling the Biographia Britannica) among some

some collections which he left for a life of Shakspeare, observes, * that there was a very aged gentleman living in the neighborhood of Stratford, where he died fifty years since, who had not only heard from several old people in that town of Shakspeare's transgression, but could remember the first stanza of that bitter ballad, which repeating to one of his acquaintance, he preserved it in writing; and here it is, neither better nor worse, but faithfully transcribed from the copy which his relation very courteously communicated to me :

A parliamente member, a justice of peace,
At home a poor scare-crowe, at London an asse,
If lowsie is Lucy, as some volke miscalle it,
Then Iucy is lowsie whatever befall it :

He thinks himself greate,

Yet an asse in his state
We allowe by his ears but with asses to mate.
If Lucy is lowsie, as some volke miscalle it,
Sing lowsie Lucy, whatever befall it.'

Although neither the wit nor the poetry of this

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