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“Stay, passenger, why dost thou go so fast,
“Obiit Ano. Dni. 1619, æt. 53, die 23 Apri.”
Mr. Granger observes, (Biog. Hist. vol. i. p. 259,) that " it has been said there never was an original portrait of Shakspeare, but that Sir Thomas Clarges after his death caused a portrait to be drawn for him from a person who nearly resembled him.” This entertaining writer was a great collector of anec
church of Winwich in the county of Lancaster. The other three,
the late famous tragedian :
“ Written upon the west end thereof.
“ Stanley, for whom this stands, shall stand in heaven.” The last line of this epitaph, though the worst, bears very strong marks of the hand of Shakspeare The beginning of the first line, “ Aske who lyes here," reminds us of that which we dotes, but not always very scrupulous in enquiring into the authenticity of the information which he procured; for this improbable tale, I find on examination, stands only on the insertion of an anonymous writer in The Gentleman's Magazine, for August, 1750, who boldly “ affirmed it as an absolute fact ;” but being afterwards publickly called upon to produce his authority, by the Rev. Mr. Green, Rector of Welford, near Stratford, never produced any. There is the strongest reason therefore to presume it a forgery.
“ Mr. Walpole (adds Mr. Granger) informs me, that the only original picture of Shakspeare is that which belonged to Mr. Keck, from whom it passed to Mr. Nicoll, whose only daughter married the Marquis of Caernarvon" (now Duke of Chandos.
have been just examining : “ If any man ask who lies in this tomb," &c.-And in the fifth line we find a thought which our poet has also introduced in King Henry VIII. :
“ Ever belov'd and loving may his rule be !
“ Goodness and he fill up one monument !" This epitaph must have been written after the year 1600, for Venetia Stanley, who afterwards was the wife of Sir Kenelm Digby, was born in that year. With a view to ascertain its date more precisely, the churches of Great and Little Waltham have been examined for the monument said to have been erected to Lady Lucy Stanley and her four daughters, but in vain; for no trace of it remains : nor could the time of their respective deaths be ascertained, the registers of those parishes being lost.Sir William Dugdale was born in Warwickshire, was bred at the free-school of Coventry, and in the year 1625, purchased the manor of Blythe in that county, where he then settled and afterwards spent a great part of his life: so that his testimony respecting this epitaph is sufficient to ascertain its authenticity.
From this picture, his Grace, at my request, very obligingly permitted a drawing to be made by that excellent artist Mr. Ozias Humphry; and from that drawing the print prefixed to the present edition has been engraved.
In the manuscript notes of the late Mr. Oldys, this portrait is said to have been “ painted by old Cornelius Jansen.” “ Others,” he adds, “ say, that it was done by Richard Burbage, the player ;” and in another place he ascribes it to “ John Taylor, the player.” This Taylor, it is said in The Critical Review for 1770, left it by will to Sir William D'Avenant. But unluckily there was no player of the christian and surname of John Taylor contemporary with Shakspeare. The player who performed in Shakspeare's company was Joseph Taylor. There was, however, a painter of the name of John Taylor, to whom in his early youth it is barely possible that we may have been indebted for the only original portrait of our author; for in the Picture-Gallery at Oxford are two portraits of Taylor the WaterPoet, and on each of them, “ John Taylor pinx. 1655.” There appears some resemblance of manner between these portraits and the picture of Shakspeare in the Duke of Chandos's collection. That picture (I express the opinion of Sir Joshua Reynolds) has not the least air of Cornelius Jansen's performances.
That this picture was once in the possession of Sir William D'Avenant, can admit of little doubt; but it is much more likely to have been purchased by him from some of the players after the theatres were shut up by authority, and the veterans of the stage