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THE STRATFORD BUST.
§21. Shakespeare's widow lived for more than seven years after her husband's death. She died on August 6th, 1623. The Halls continued to reside at New Place; the physician attained a high reputation for skill in his profession; in matters of faith he seems to have inclined more decidedly to Puritanism as the years went by. His death took place in 1635; that of his wife, Susanna Hall-who was esteemed for her goodness, piety, and bright intelligence in 1649. Elizabeth Hall, Shakespeare's grandchild, was twice married; on April 22, 1626, to Thomas Nash, who died in 1647; and secondly, about two years after, to Sir John Barnard of Abington, in the county of Northampton. She had no child by either husband, and on her death, in February 1669–70, the lineal descent from Shakespeare came to an end.
Not long after his death, certainly before 1623, a monument was erected to Shakespeare on the northern wall of the chancel of the parish church at Stratford. It contains a life-sized bust, the work either of Gerard Johnson, sculptor and "tombemaker", a native of Amsterdam who resided in London, or of Johnson's son. The bust-a somewhat coarse piece of art-is made of a soft bluish limestone; several excellent judges are of opinion that it was cut from a death-mask as model. It presents a face powerful and full-blooded, rather than refined or subtle; the great dome of the forehead is, however, a very striking feature. Originally the bust was coloured to resemble life; the eyes a light hazel, the hair and beard auburn, the doublet scarlet, and the sleeveless gown worn over
The right hand holds a pen, the left rests on a sheet of paper placed upon a cushion. Underneath the cushion is the following inscription:
IVDICIO PYLIUM, GENIO SOCRATEM, ARTE MARONEM,
STAY PASSENGER, WHY GOEST THOV BY SO FAST?
OBIIT ANNO DOI 1616.
In 1793, on the advice of Edmond Malone, the bust was painted white; and so it remained until 1861, when it was recoloured as at the first. Beside the Stratford bust there is only one unquestionable portrait of the great poet-that upon the title-page of the First Folio (1623). It was engraved by Martin Droeshout, and verses by Ben Jonson commend it as a trustworthy likeness. It is ill executed, yet it seems to me a more pleasing portrait than the bust, while there is enough in common between the two to assure us that in each there is at least something of the substance of truth. The authenticity of the celebrated Kesselstadt death-mask is very doubtful, but we could wish to believe that this noble and refined face was indeed that of Shakespeare. The Chandos, the Felton, the Jansen, and the Stratford portraits are all of questionable pedigree; many other alleged likenesses can be proved to be forgeries. We must be content to accept certain broad facts from the bust and the Droeshout print, and supply from our imagination
the spirit and the life which these unfortunately lack. And if this should leave us at the last unsatisfied we may be well content to follow the counsel of Ben Jonson:
Not on his Picture, but his Booke.
§22. Studying Shakespeare's Book of Might, as Jonson exhorts us to do, we assuredly make acquaintance with the man in the best possible way; we are constantly in contact with his mind; he neighbours us on every side, rouses our intellect, moves our passions, confirms our will, moulds our character, touches our spirit to finer issues, envelops us with the atmosphere of his wisdom, courage, mirth, benignity. We breathe his influence. And yet so effectually does he hide himself behind his creation, that even while we live and move in his power and presence, it seems as if we knew him not and could never know him aright. Let us take heart; he who knows the offspring of Shakespeare's genius knows the man, and indeed is far more intimate with Shakespeare's mind than if he were to meet the great poet now and again in the tiringroom of the Globe, or the inner chamber of the Mermaid Tavern, or even in the quietude of his Stratford fields and lanes.
Shakespeare was fortunate in the moment of his advent to the stage. The English people had successfully passed through a period of probation, and now stood "upon the top of happy hours". The
classical culture of the Renaissance and its passionate temper had been united in the national mind with the grave thought and the moral earnest. ness of the Reformation. The fires of Smithfield were extinct; the conspiracies against the queen had been defeated; the Spanish fleet had been flung from our inviolable shores. A spirit of unbounded energy was abroad, with an exultant patriotic pride and an exhilarating consciousness of power. It was a great age of action, and men through their imagination were swift to enter into all that great deeds spring from-high thoughts, ardent desires, fierce indignation, fervent love. Life in every form and aspect was infinitely interesting to them. And if they saw and felt the tragic side of things, none the less did they enjoy the comedy of human existence. Its laughter and its tears were alike near and real for them, and one of these, as they felt, could easily pass into the other.
The moment was especially a fortunate one for a dramatic writer. The development of every art during its earlier stages is gradual and slow; the bud insensibly swells and matures, then suddenly some genial morning the calyx bursts, the bud becomes a blossom, and all its colour and fragrance are open to the day. So it was with the dramatic art in the later Elizabethan years. Its history from the earliest miracle-plays had been one of some centuries. The drama was not the creation of a few eminent individuals, but rather a product of the national mind distinguished by the features of the national character. In the Collective Mystery,
DEVELOPMENT OF THE DRAMA.
which surveyed the history of the human race from the origin of man to the judgment-day, it had gained an epic breadth. In the Moralities it had acquired an ethical depth, a seriousness of moral purpose, and this didactic tendency had in a measure been saved from the aridity and abstractedness of mere allegory by the close connection of the Morality with historical passions, persons, and events. In both the Miracles and the Moralities scope had been found for the play of humour, sometimes deliberately sought as a relief from the poetry of edification, sometimes naively mingling with passages of grace, tenderness, or pathos, and enhancing the effect of these. Under the influence of a growing sense of art, aided by classical models, and Italian plays and tales of passion and of wit, the elder forms of the English drama passed away or were transmuted into regular tragedy, comedy, and history. The mirth was still often rude, but it began to be organized around some dramatic centre, and to find its sources not merely in ridiculous incidents, but in what is mirth-provoking in human character. The terror and pity were often coarsely stimulated by scenes of outrage and inexhaustible effusion of blood; but amid these scenes of horror figures which had in them at least great tragic possibilities sometimes appeared. Perhaps the most truly English of the several dramatic forms was the Chronicle History, allied at once with tragedy and • comedy, but in some degree saved from the extravagances of each by the substantial matter of historical fact with which it dealt. When great deeds were actually accomplished by Englishmen