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Jonson has made a sort of an essay towards it in his Discoveries, I will give it in his words:
does not appear; but I suppose that after the death of Mr. Thomas Nash she exchanged the patrimonial lands which he bequeathed to her, with Edward Nash and his son, and took New-Place, &c. instead of them.
Sir John Barnard died at Abington, and was buried there on March 5th, 1673-4. On his tomb-stone, in the chancel of the church, is the following inscription:
Hic jacent exuvia generosissimi viri Johannis Bernard, militis; patre, avo, abavo, tritavo, aliisque progenitoribus per ducentos. et amplius annos hujus oppidi de Abingdon dominis, insignis: qui fato cessit undeseptuagessimo ætatis suæ anno, quinto nonas Martii, annoque a partu B. Virginis, MDCLXXIII.
Sir John Barnard having made no will, administration of his effects was granted on the 7th of November 1674, to Henry Gilbert of Locko in the county of Derby, who had married his daughter Elizabeth by his first wife, and to his two other surviving daughters; Mary Higgs, widow of Thomas Higgs of Colesborne, Esq. and Eleanor Cotton, the wife of Samuel Cotton, Esq. All Sir John Barnard's other children except the three above mentioned died without issue. I know not whether any descendant of these be now living: but if that should be the case, among their papers may possibly be found some fragment or other relative to Shakspeare; for by his grand-daughter's order, the administrators of her husband were entitled to keep possession of her house, &c. in Stratford, for six months after his death. The following is a copy of the will of this last descendant of our poet, extracted from the Registry of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury:
"In the Name of God, Amen. Í Dame Elizabeth Barnard, wife of Sir John Barnard of Abington in the county of Northampton, knight, being in perfect memory, (blessed be God!) and mindful of mortality, do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following:
"Whereas by my certain deed or writing under my hand and seal, dated on or about the eighteenth day of April, 1653, according to a power therein mentioned, I the said Elizabeth have limited and disposed of all that my messuage with the appurte nances in Stratford-upon-Avon, in the county of Warwick, called the New Place, and all that four-yard land and an half in Stratford-Welcombe and Bishopton in the county of Warwick, (after the decease of the said Sir John Barnard, and me the said Eliza
"I remember the players have often mentioned "it as an honour to Shakspeare, that in writing
beth,) unto Henry Smith of Stratford aforesaid, Gent, and Job Dighton of the Middle Temple, London, Esq. since deceased, and their heirs; upon trust that they, and the survivor, and the heirs of such survivor, should bargain and sell the same for the best value they can get, and the money thereby to be raised to be employed and disposed of to such person and persons, and in such manner as I the said Elizabeth should by any writing or note under my hand, truly testified, declare and nominate; as thereby may more fully appear. Now my will is, and I do hereby signify and declare my mind and meaning to be, that the said Henry Smith, my surviving trustee, or his heirs, shall with all convenient speed after the decease of the said Sir John Barnard my husband, make sale of the inheritance of all and singular the premises, and that my loving cousin Edward Nash, Esq. shall have the first offer or refusal thereof, according to my promise formerly made to him: and the monies to be raised by such sale I do give, dispose of, and appoint the same to be paid and distributed, as is herein after expressed; that is to say, to my cousin Thomas Welles of Carleton, in the county of Bedford, Gent. the sum of fifty pounds, to be paid him within one year next after such sale: and if the said Thomas Wells shall happen to die before such time as his said legacy shall become due to him, then my desire is, that my kinsman Edward Bagley, citizen of London, shall have the sole benefit thereof.
" Item, I do give and appoint unto Judith Hathaway, one of the daughters of my kinsman Thomas Hathaway, late of Stratford aforesaid, the annual sum of five pounds of lawful money of England, to be paid unto her yearly and every year, from and after the decease of the said survivor of the said Sir John Barnard and me the said Elizabeth, for and during the natural life of her the said Judith, at the two most usual feasts or days of payment in the year, videlicet, the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Saint Michael, the archangel, by equal portions, the first payment thereof to begin at such of the said feasts as shall next happen, after the decease of the survivor of the said Sir John Barnard and me the said Elizabeth, if the said premises can be so soon sold; or otherwise so soon as the same can be sold: and if the said Judith shall happen to marry, and shall be minded to release the said annual sum of five pounds, and shall accordingly release and quit all her interest and right in and to the same after it shall become due to her, then and in such case, I do give and appoint to her the sum
"(whatsoever he penned) he never blotted out a
of forty pounds in lieu thereof, to be paid unto her at the time of the executing of such release as aforesaid.
"Item, I give and appoint unto Joan the wife of Edward Kent, and one other of the daughters of the said Thomas Hathaway, the sum of fifty pounds, to be likewise paid unto her within one year next after the decease of the survivor of the said Sir John Barnard and me the said Elizabeth, if the said premises can be soon sold, or otherwise so soon as the same can be sold; and if the said Joan shall happen to die before the said fifty pounds shall be paid to her, then I do give and appoint the same unto Edward Kent the younger, her son, to be paid unto him when he shall attain the age of one-and-twenty years.
" Item, I do also give and appoint unto him the said Edward Kent, son of the said John, the sum of thirty pounds, towards putting him out as an apprentice, and to be paid and disposed of to that use when he shall be fit for it.
" Item, I do give or appoint and dispose of unto Rose, Elizabeth, and Susanna, three other of the daughters of my said kinsman Thomas Hathaway, the sum of forty pounds a-piece, to be paid unto every of them at such time and in such manner as the said fifty pounds before appointed to the said Joan Kent, their sister, shall become payable.
"Item, All the rest of the monies that shall be raised by such sale as aforesaid, I give and dispose of unto my said kinsman Edward Bagley, except five pounds only, which I give and appoint to my said trustee Henry Smith for his pains; and if the said Edward Nash shall refuse the purchase of the said messuage and four-yard land and a half with the appurtenances, then my will and desire is, that the said Henry Smith or his heirs shall sell the inheritance of the said premises and every part thereof unto the said Edward Bagley, and that he shall purchase the same; upon this condition, nevertheless, that he the said Edward Bagley, his heirs, executors, or administrators, shall justly and faithfully perform my will and true meaning, in making due payment of all the several sums of money or legacies before mentioned, in such manner as aforesaid, And I do hereby declare my will and meaning to be that the executors or administrators of my said husband Sir John Barnard shall have and enjoy the use and benefit of my said house in Stratford, called the New-Place, with the orchards, gardens, and all other the appurtenances thereto belonging, for and during the space of six months next after the decease of him the said Sir John Barnard. "Item, I give and devise unto my kinsman, Thomas Hart, the
"line. My answer hath been, Would he had blotted
son of Thomas Hart, late of Stratford-upon-Avon aforesaid, all that my other messuage or inn situate in Stratford-upon-Avon aforesaid, commonly called the Maidenhead, with the appurtenances, and the next house thereunto adjoining, with the barn belonging to the same, now or late in the occupation of Michael Johnson or his assigns, with all and singular the appurtenances; to hold to him the said Thomas Hart the son, and the heirs of his body; and for default of such issue, I give and devise the same to George Hart, brother of the said Thomas Hart, and to the heirs of his body; and for default of such issue to the right heirs of me the said Elizabeth Barnard for ever.
"Item, I do make, ordain, and appoint my said loving kinsman Edward Bagley sole executor of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills; desiring him to see a just performance hereof, according to my true intent and meaning. In witness whereof I the said Elizabeth Barnard have hereunto set my hand and seal, the nine-and-twentieth day of January, Anno Domini, one thousand six hundred and sixty-nine.
"ELIZABETH BARNARD. "Signed, sealed, published, and declared to be the last will and testament of the said Elizabeth Barnard, in the presence of "John Howes, Rector de Abington, "Francis Wickes.
"Probatum fuit testamentum suprascriptum apud ædes Exonienses situat. in le Strand, in comitatu Middx. quarto die mensis Martij, 1669, coram venerabili viro Domino Egidio Sweete, milite et legum doctore, surrogato, &c. juramento Edwardi Bagley, unici executor. nominat. cui, &c. de bene, &c. jurat."
that in writing (whatsoever he penned) he never blotted out a line.] This is not true. They only say in their preface to his plays, that "his mind and hand went together, and what he thought, he uttered with that easiness, that we have scarce received from him a blot in his papers." On this Mr. Pope observes, that "there never was a more groundless report, or to the contrary of which there are more undeniable evidences. As, the comedy of The Merry Wives of Windsor, which he entirely new writ; The History of Henry the Sixth, which was first published under the title of The Contention of York and Lancaster; and that of Henry V. extremely improved; that of Hamlet enlarged to almost as much again as at first, and many others."
"a thousand! which they thought a malevolent "speech. I had not told posterity this, but for
Surely this is a very strange kind of argument. In the first place this was not a report, (unless by that word we are to understand relation,) but a positive assertion, grounded on the best evidence that the nature of the subject admitted; namely, ocular proof. The players say, in substance, that Shakspeare had such a happiness of expression, that, as they collect from his papers, he had seldom occasion to alter the first words he had set down; in consequence of which they found scarce a blot in his writings. And how is this refuted by Mr. Pope? By telling us, that a great many of his plays were enlarged by their author. Allowing this to be true, which is by no means certain, if he had written twenty plays, each consisting of one thousand lines, and afterwards added to each of them a thousand more, would it therefore follow, that he had not written the first thousand with facility and correctness, or that those must have been necessarily expunged, because new matter was added to them? Certainly not. But the truth is, it is by no means clear that our author did enlarge all the plays mentioned by Mr. Pope, if even that would prove the point intended to be established. Mr. Pope was evidently deceived by the quarto copies. From the play of Henry V. being more perfect in the folio edition than in the quarto, nothing follows but that the quarto impression of that piece was printed from a mutilated and imperfect copy, stolen from the theatre, or taken down by ear during the representation. What have been called the quarto copies of the Second and Third Parts of King Henry VI, were in fact two old plays written before the time of Shakspeare, and entitled The First Part of the Contention of the two Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, &c. and The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of Yorke, &c. on which he constructed two new plays; just as on the old plays of King John, and The Taming of a Shrew, he formed two other plays with nearly the same titles. See The Dissertation in Vol. XIV. p. 223.
The tragedy of Hamlet in the first edition, (now extant,) that of 1604, is said to be “enlarged to almost as much again as it was, according to the true and perfect copy." What is to be collected from this, but that there was a former imperfect edition (I believe, in the year 1602)? that the one we are now speaking of was enlarged to as much again as it was in the former mutilated impression, and that this is the genuine and perfect copy, the other imperfect and spurious?