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the ground, whilst laying the foundations of this theatre, which “ treasure trove" he was wise enough to keep towards the expenses of the building. He was also whole or part proprietor of the Bankside bear-garden in Southwark, which is said to have sometimes yielded him five hundred pounds a year,-a large sum in those days. In addition to this, he purchased, from Sir William Steward, in the reign of James I., the office of “Chief Master, Ruler, and Overseer of all and singular his Majesty's games of bears, and bulls, and mastive dogs, and mastive bitches.” For bear-baiting was a popular sport, patronised by many of our monarchs, and kept its ground even for many years after Shakspere had given his dramas to the world; for the march of civilization is slow, though sure. We find bear-baiting in England even as early as the reign of Henry II., and as late as that of Queen Anne; but it appears to have been most popular, and most under royal patronage, from the time of Henry VIII., to that of James I. Our Spanish friends seem determined to keep up those brutal sports to the last, for fear their country should be mistaken for a civilized one. It is satisfactory to us, that in our own nation they are but existing in the pages of history, as things that were. One cannot but feel a greater antipathy to those amusements that cause pain to the brute creation, from a knowledge that good and wise men have failed to perceive the cruelty of such pastimes. Alleyn was a pious man, and devoutly thanked God for his income from the bear-garden, even after he had devoted all his wealth to the pious purpose of founding the hospital at Dulwich, which he called “The College of God's gift.” Though he was twice married, (or, according to the college tradition, thrice) he left no issue. He died on the
25th of November, 1626, aged sixty years, and was buried in the chapel of his own college : thus surviving his friend, Shakspere, ten years and six months. I have no doubt that he was one of the first to purchase a copy of his friend's collected dramas, at the publication of the folio, in 1623 ; and perhaps a tear might start into his eye when the engraved portrait of “gentle Willy," with whom he had spent so many happy hours, met his eye.
The secular drama--where the great mission of the inspired Shakspere is to lay—"grows with his growth, and strengthens with his strength. Still's comedy of “ Gam. mer Gurton's Needle," which, like Udall's “ Ralph Royster Doyster,” is written in rhyme, is this year acted at Christ's Church, Cambridge ; and, at Oxford, we find Queen Eliza. beth witnessing the performance of the first English tragedy
on a classical subject," Damon and Pythias," written by a learned member of that university, Richard Edwards, who holds the office of court-musician and poet; and in London we have George Gascoigne and Francis Linewelmerse translating, or rather paraphrasing, a tragedy of Euripides (“The Phoenissæ,”) which they style“ Jocasta," and which is this year acted in the hall,
,-as is also a comedy adapted from Ariosto, the great Italian poet, called “The Supposes."
In the churchwarden's accounts of the parish of St. Helen, in Abingdon, Berkshire, there is this year an entry of eighteen pence, paid for setting up Robin Hood's bower. Already had the fine old legends of the outlawed patriot become “the English ballad-singer's joy,” and * familiar in men's mouths as household words." Even in the Morris-dance and the May-games we find him and his Maid Marion personified; and, in the latter sport, bold Robin is substituted for the lord of the May, and Marian leads the dance as queen or lady of the same. How heartily the people entered iuto those pastimes in the youth of Shakspere's father, and when Mary Arden was a blooming young woman at Willmecote,
“In maiden meditation, fancy free," is evident from the following passage in a sermon preached by Bishop Latimer before Edward VI. :-“Coming,” says the good bishop, “to a certain town, on a holiday, to preach, I found the church door fast locked. I tarried there half an hour and more, and at last the key was found, and one of the parish comes to me, and says, "Sir, this is a busy day with us, we cannot hear you; it is Robin Hood's day : the parish are gone abroad to gather for Robin Hood; I
pray you let [hinder] them not. I was fain, therefore, to give place to Robin Hood; I thought my rochet would have
Ι been regarded; but it would not serve; it was fain to give place to Robin Hood's men.”. According to Hall, the historian-with whose works Shakspere was well acquainted in manhood, and in all probability had been so from his boyhood—Henry VIII., in the first year of his reign, had himself personated Robin Hood, and, attended by twelve of his nobles, who represented his “
merrymen,” dressed from top to toe in green, and armed with bow and arrows, sword and buckler, rushed suddenly into the chamber where Queen Catharine and her ladies were sitting, to the no small dismay of the queen and her attendants. Happy Henry! avarice, lust, and cruelty had not then curdled the "milk of human kindness" in his young breast. And Shakspero_the child Shakspere--with what delight would he listen to the then familiar legends of bold Robin Hood's prowess, told by his gentle mother, sitting in the inglenook ; how he would picture to himself the sylvan retreats of the glorious outlaws, until he half longed to “live," as his own Adam says in “ As You Like It," “ like the old Robin Hood of England.”
A folio edition of the English Bible was this year printed at Rouen, in France, but as I have generally modernised the spelling in my quotations from old authors, the title is here given in the original orthography :-“The Byble in Englyshe, of the largest and greatest volume, that is to saye, the contentes of all the Holy Scripture, booth of the Oulde and Newe Testament, according to the translation apoynted by the Queenes Majesties Injunctions, to be read in all ehurches within her Majesties Realme. At Rouen, at the cost and chargis of Richard Carmarden." Venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History, written in Latin, at the monastery of Jarrow, near Gateshead, eight hundred and thirty-five years before-a work which the wise Alfred the Great had himself translated for our Anglo-Saxon ancestors —was now rendered into English by Thomas Stapleton, and printed at Antwerp. The "Epigrams” of John Heywood were this year given to the reading public by the English press; and the printing of “ Almanacs” had already commenced in London,- à practice that prevailed in Poland nearly a century before. The arbitrary court of Starchamber has commenced its unholy crusade against the liberty of the press, and on the twenty-ninth of June issues an ordinance, to which the ecclesiastical commissioners also affix their signatures, ordering heavy pains and penalties on all who print, or cause to be printed, such books as they may disapprove: the very binders and sewers of such books to be fined for every copy twenty shillings, ---a goodly sum when a gallon of the best French wine might be had for a shilling, a quarter of veal for two shillings, a loin of mutton for a shilling, a fat goose for eighteen-pence, a gallon of cream for one-and-fourpence, and six rabbits for one-and-tenpence; and this too in the very metropolis !
In Scotland, dark deeds are done in the land. The Italian musician, David Rizzio, who since his arrival at Holyrood-house, in 1564, had become the great favourite and secretary of Mary, now excites the jealousy of the king, and provokes the enmity of the rough Scottish nobles, and a conspiracy is formed for his assassination. Buchanan thus describes the murder :
# When the queen was at supper, in a narrow private room, the
Earl of Argyle's lady and Rizzio sitting with her, as they were wont. and only a few attendants, for the room would not hold many, James Douglas, Earl of Morton, with a great number of his friends, were walking in an outer chamber, their faithful friends and vassals being commanded to stay below in the yard, to quiet the tumult, if any should occur. The king then came out of his own chainber, which was below that of the queen, and went up to her by a narrow pair of stairs, that was open to none but himself; while Patrick Ruthren followed him armed, with only four or five companions at most. They entered into the parlour where the party sat at supper, and the queen, being somewhat moved at this unusual appearance of armed men, and also perceiving Ruthven haggard and lean by reason of his late disease, and yet in his arınour, asked him what was the matter ? For the spectators thought that his fever had disturbed his head, and put him beside himself He, without answering, commanded Rizzio to rise, and come forth; for the place he sat in was not fit for him. The queen presently rose, and sought to defend him by the interpo sition of her own person ; but the king took her in his arms, and bade her take courage, for that they would do her no hurt, as it was only the death of that villain that was resolved on. While this passed, Kizzio was drawn out into the next, and then into the outer chamber; where those who waited with Douglas despatched him at last, after giving him many wounds; which was against the mind of all those who at first conspired his death, for they had resolved to have hung him up publicly, as knowing that such a sight would be a grateful spectacle to all the people.”
The assassination of Rizzio took place on the ninth af March ; fifty-six stabs being inflicted upon him. Some of the principal murderers fled to England, and were received by Elizabeth. Rizzio, it is said, did much towards refining the Scottish music.-On the nineteenth of June little more than three months after her favourite's assassination Mary was delivered of a son, afterwards, James the Sixth of Scotland; and whom, on the death of Elizabeth, wo shall see ascending the throne of England, by the title of King James the First.
Amongst the deaths of illustrious men this year, I may mention that of John Agricola, (or, more properly, Schnitter,) the German theologian, who was the son of a a tailor at Eisleben, where he was born in 1492; Annibale Caro, the accomplished Italian author, and translator of several of the classics ; and Mark Jerome Vida, author of the “Christiad” and other poems, who was born at Cremona, in Italy, in the year 1490, and died at Alva, of which he was bishop, on the twenty-seventh of September,
SHAKSPERE'S FOURTH YEAR.
The ill feeling at the Scottish court still continues.
nally become King of Scotland, is murdered on the 9th of February, by a brutal nobleman named Both well, who, having in the interval divorced his own wife, was married to the fair and frail Mary on the 15th of May following. One may say of this indecent alliance, as Ham. let says to his friend Horatio touching another:
The funeral baked meats
Hamlet, act i., scene 2.d.
No marvel that the patricians and plebians of Scotland should alike take umbrage at such proceedings. On the twenty-ninth of July the infant prince was crowned at Stirling, by the title of King James the Sixth, he being then only thirteen months and eight days old.—The learned George Buchanan, who has been chosen tutor to the young prince, the infant monarch, is now made moderator to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and the principal of St. Leonard's college, at St. Andrews, where he teaches moral philosophy to his young country
This year, the venerable scholar also accompanies his former pupil, the Earl of Murray, into England, and writes encomiastic verses on Elizabeth, by which he gains the favour of the English queen-herself a poet and accomplished scholar-who bestows upon him a pension of one hundred pounds sterling a-year.-Elizabeth, who will not give her hand to the Duke of Austria, now holds her court at time-honoured Woodstock, in Oxfordshire; a place famous alike in history and romance, from the days of Alfred the Great ; and where Elizabeth herself, when a prisoner, only twelve years before, had wooed the Muses, as Chaucer of old had done on the same spot. Witness the following verses “writ with charcoal on a shutter," when her sister Mary had her shut up in the manor house, or palace, under the jailorship of Sir Henry Beddingfield :
"Oh, Fortune! how thy restless, wavering state,
Hath fraught with cares my troubled wit!
Could bear me, and the joys I quit.