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and if, as is not improbable, he had been originally associated with Heminge and Condell in preparing Shakspeare's dramatic works for the press, his death before the appearance of the volume prevented his name from being joined with theirs in their glorious task. Not one word appears in Shakspeare's will as to the disposal of his papers and manuscripts, or of his shares in the theatres, if at the time of his death he possessed any. If Ward's statement be true that Shakspeare during the closing years of his life furnished annually two plays for the stage, if it be true that the poet's income was considerable, that he made no purchases of any moment after 1605, that he was besides in the very zenith of his fame and the most popular author of his times, it will be difficult to account for two things: how was it, if he sold the copyright of his plays to his fellows of the Globe and
that their names would have been found on the title-pages of some of the earlier copies of Shakspeare's plays. All the payments made by the Treasurer of the Chamber in 1613, and subsequently, for plays performed at Court, are 'to John Heminge and the rest of his fellows' (Malone, ib. 234). In his will Heminge directs that if a sufficient sum cannot be raised from his ordinary chattels towards the payment of his debts, a moiety of the profits which he has by lease in the several playhouses of the Globe and Blackfriars' shall be set aside for that purpose. In another legacy he says I give and bequeath unto every my fellows and sharers, his Majesty's servants, which shall be living at the time of my decease, the sum of 108. a piece, to make them rings for remembrance of me.' Heminge died in 1630.
Henry Condell, whose name appears in the privy seal of James I., 1603, in conjunction with those of Shakspeare, Burbage, and Heminge, died in 1627. Malone thinks that both Burbage and Heminge were natives of Shottery, near Stratford (ib. 233).
5 That Ward's statement was not very far wrong will appear from the following considerations:-Shakspeare wrote in all 37 plays, including Pericles. Meres mentions 12 plays as existing in 1598. If to these be added Pericles and the three parts of Henry VI., that would give 16; or 19 to be written in the seventeen years and few months following. From 1597 to 1605, or 1606, seven plays only, including the first sketch of Hamlet, appear to have been published, five in 1600, one in 1602, and Hamlet in 1603. Between Hamlet and Lear five years elapsed (1602-1607) without any entry of Shakspeare's writings at Stationers' Hall. Had he ceased writing all that time, or ceased to attract publishers?
Blackfriars, that he was no richer in 1616 than in 1605 ? Or if he was richer, how did he dispose of his wealth? From the tithes which he had purchased at Stratford he derived an income of 120l. a year, not less than 400l. a year, according to our present computation. He was not careless or extravagant in his habits, had one daughter only, after 1607, and his wife dependent on his exertions. Did he then retain the copyright of his plays, in his own hands, during this later period of his life, intending to publish them himself, like his contemporary Ben Jonson? Or was he as indifferent to money as he is said to have been to literary fame? The former of these hypotheses is set at rest by the various documents produced by Mr. Halliwell and others, all of which go to show that the possession of the most transcendent genius is not incompatible with the virtues of economy, regularity, and despatch. His supposed indifference to literary fame finds no countenance in his writings, still less in the evidence of his contemporaries. Thus we find Chettle apologizing to Shakspeare as one of those who had taken offence at the disparaging remarks of Greene in his 'Groatsworth of Wit,' to the publication of which Chettle had been instrumental. Again, Heywood in his 'Apology for Actors,' published in 1612, alluding to the trick of a publisher named Jaggard, who had brought out a copy of Venus and Adonis,' with two love epistles between Paris and Helen, under the general title, 'by Wm. Shakespere,' says, in reclaiming his property: 'I must necessarily resent a manifest injury done me in that work by [its] taking the two epistles of Paris to Helen and of Helen to Paris, and printing them in the name of another
• That Shakspeare permitted inaccurate copies of his plays to be circulated in print is one thing, to assume that he must have done so from indifference to literary distinction, is another. Moreover in this case, as in that of many others, literary fame was money, to which he was certainly not indifferent.
(Shakspeare); which may put the world in opinion I might steal them from him; and he to do himself right hath since published them in his own name. But as I must acknowledge my lines not worthy his patronage under whom he hath published them, so the author I know [was] much offended with Mr. Jaggard, that altogether unknown to him presumed to make so bold with his name.' Such words are not compatible with Shakspeare's presumed indifference to the fate of his writings.
With these remarks we return to the consideration of the first folio and Shakspeare's connection with it.
It is a very handsome volume, on which no expense has been spared in respect either of paper or type. It consists of 962 pages in double columns, not including the dedication, preface, or introductory verses. Taking 60 as the average number of lines in a column, the lines in all would amount to 116,402. All circumstances considered, it was one of the most sumptuous and expensive works which up to that time had appeared from the English press in the English language. For size, costliness, and beauty, there had been few works like it; certainly no works of fiction. So far therefore as concerned expenses of this kind, Heminge and Condell had not shown themselves unmindful of what was due to Shakspeare's memory.7
Nor in other respects had they shown themselves careless or inconsiderate in the execution of their task. It is not pretended even by those who have been most severe in condemning their labours that they omitted from their collection any genuine drama of Shakspeare, with the exception of 'Pericles.' Modern research from that time to this, shar
The sale of Foxe's Martyrs was secured by government. Hollinshed's Chronicles and the works of Sir Thomas More occupy the next place in size. Then came the bulky translations and histories of Grimstone, North, and others, generally published by Islip or Bill, the royal printers.
pened with all the anxiety of achieving distinction which could not fail the man that discovered a single new play or even a few lines from the poet's pen, has added nothing to the list of the dramas as they have come down to us since the first edition by Heminge and Condell. Very few dramatic authors have been so fortunate in this respect; very few writings have been so much indebted to posthumous care. Supposing it were true that these editors admitted into their collection plays of doubtful authenticity, does any one imagine they would have done better if, like some of Shakspeare's more recent critics, they had rejected Titus Andronicus,' the three parts of Henry VI.,' or 'Henry VIII.'? 8 Or if, laying down a theory of their own as to what was or was not worthy of their great contemporary, they had exercised a principle of selection according to their own principles of criticism, would they have deserved so well of posterity as they have done? We are under infinite obligations to them for what they did; that obligation being no less than thisthat whatever emanated from the poet's hand they would not willingly let die.' The work was a large one, and unusually costly. The poet's family could not undertake the task, and it is probable never would have done."
The editors' labours could scarcely have been other than disinterested. We have but collected them [the plays],'
Pericles does not appear in the first folio.
The only person competent to the task was Dr. Hall the physician, married to the poet's eldest and favourite child, Susannah. But he seems to have been wholly indifferent to the fame of his great father-in-law. Yet Dr. Hall was not an unlettered man.
Shakspeare's widow died in 1623, the year when the first folio appeared; Dr. Hall in 1635; his wife, Susannah, in 1649; their daughter Elizabeth, remembered with a legacy of 1007. in her grandfather's will, and afterwards Lady Barnard, in 1670. Judith, his other daughter (who signs but does not write her name), died in 1662; her husband some time later. Yet not one of them thought of recording a single fact or anecdote of their relative's life, or of preserving a scrap of his writing. Was it indifference or ingratitude? Or had Puritanism taught them to be ashamed of the name of Shakspeare?
they say in their dedication of the work to the Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery, and done an office to the dead to procure his orphans guardians; without ambition either of self-profit or fame: only to keep the memory of so worthy a friend and fellow alive, as was our Shakspeare.' Nor is there any reason for suspecting the sincerity of their statement. What pecuniary advantage was to be expected from so costly an enterprise? The impression of the book could not have been large, and when the expenses of publishers and printers had been paid, very little profit would remain for the editors; if, indeed, editors in those cases received any remuneration.
What motives then could they have for undertaking so responsible a task beyond that of friendship for the dead? As we have said, Shakspeare left no directions in his will touching the disposal of his writings. Were they then acting in their corporate capacity as managers of the Globe Theatre, or merely as personal friends of the deceased, guided solely by the dictates of personal affection? Why publish in their corporate capacity that which could bring them little or no corporate profit? Why divulge to rival theatres dramas of which the exclusive copyright and privilege of acting were so valuable? Their language is scarcely susceptible of any other than one plain and obvious interpretation. They say in their Dedication: Since your Lordships have been pleased to think these trifles something heretofore, and have prosecuted both them and their author, living with so much favour; we hope that they, outliving him, and he not having the fate, common with some, to be executor to his own writings, you will use the like indulgence toward them, you have done unto their parent.' And in their notice to the reader:
'It had been a thing, we confess, worthy to have been wished, that the author himself had lived to have set forth