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WITH NOTES, INTRODUCTION AND GLOSSARY
F. ARMYTAGE-MORLEY, M.A., D.C.L.
WITH FIVE ILLUSTRATONS
T. H. ROBINSON
And Many Illustrations in the Introduction and Glossary from Contemporary Prints
HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY
THE TRAGEDY OF JULIUS CÆSAR.
Life of Shakespeare-Birth and Parentage.-The play of The Tragedy of Julius Casar was written by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, who was born at Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, on the 22nd or 23rd April 1564. The latter date has been accepted as the more likely, an old tradition stating that he died on the anniversary of his
The Village of Wilmecote or Wincot in 1852.
birth, and we know beyond question his death occurred on April 23rd, 1616. His father, John Shakespeare, belonged to a family which had given generations of substantial yeomen to the Midland districts of England. At the time of the poet's birth John was a prosperous general merchant" in agricultural produce. Corn, malt, hides, wool, leather, hay are named among the wares in which he dealt. Aubrey, the first biographer of Shakespeare, styled the father of the latter "a butcher.' Others have classed him as a "glover." Possibly, like colonial storekeepers of the present day, he may have united many branches of trade in himself, so as to consult the convenience of rural customers coming from a distance.
In 1557 John married a local heiress, Mary, younger daughter of Robert Arden, a prosperous farmer of Wilmcote, in the parish of Aston Cantlowe, near Stratford. To John she brought the estate of Asbies, a property of some fifty acres, in Wilmecote, with a house it.
Early Years.-William was the third child but the eldest The house of his birth is still extant but greatly modified. It is one of the two attached dwellings in Henley Street, Stratford,
now held by the Corporation of that town on behalf of the subscribers to the public fund. Amid domestic comfort, and a certain degree of affluence, Shakespeare's childhood was spent. His father's civic promotion had been.unusually rapid. He had passed through all the various offices in quick succession, from that of "ale-taster in 1557 to "bailiff" in 1568. In the latter year he entertained two companies of players-the "Queen's" and the "Earl or Worcester's" men—probably for the first time in the history of the burgh. In September 1571 he became Chief Alderman, the highest civic position attainable, and held it until September 1572.
John Shakespeare's Reverses.-About Michaelmas (October) of the latter year adversity of some unknown kind