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thought, of Master Abraham Slender,) who 'harms his wit' by his great eating of beef;' who has 'an excellent head of hair,' that ‘hangs like flax on a distaff;' who, in dancing, has 'the back-trick simply as strong as any man in Illyria;' and who “delights in masks and revels sometimes all together:' the exuberantly witty clown, Festo the Jester, “a fool that the lady Olivia's father took much delight in,' and whose veriest freedoms are, therefore, rendered permissive, and even sacred, to the lady Olivia ; he, the pathetic vocalist, who takes pleasure in singing :' Malvolio, the fantastic, ill-natured, self-admiring, and sadly but deservedly betricked steward : and the vivacious little Maria, 'the youngest wren of nine,' the 'nettle of India :' these admirable creations are Shakspero's, soul, body, and all!”
Religious persecution still continues to gorge itself with blood. Thacker and Copping, two Brownists, are hung at Bury, for circulating the writings of Robert Brown against the Church of England as by law established.—On the fifteenth of March, William Hart, a Romish priest, who has been kept doubly-ironed in his dungeon, is tied up by the neck, thrown off the ladder, cut down, and quartered alive, at York. Richard Thirkill, another Romish priest, is also hung, and quartered alive, at York, on the twenty-ninth of May. On the thirtieth of October, John Slade, a schoolmaster of the Romish faith, and on the second of November, John Body, M.A., a priest of the same church, both of whom have been tried and condemned together, are cruelly “drawn, hanged, bowelled, and quartered,” the former at Winchester, and the latter at Andover. Numbers of the laity are also imprisoned, and have their goods confiscated, for non-attendance at church, - two hundred and forty pounds a year being a pretty considerable sum to be mulcted in.
Sir Humphrey Gilbert takes possession of St. John's harbour, in Newfoundland, in the name of England; but is lost in a storm in returning home.—James Crichton, a Scotchman, who from his many accomplishments was called "the admirable Crichton,” is murdered in the street at Mantua, by his pupil, Vincentio de Gonzago, son of the duke.—John Somerville, a Warwickshire gentleman, misled by popish writings, goes raving mad to kill the queen, and actually wounds some of her attendants with his sword. “Being apprehended,” says Baker, “he stuck not to say, that he would murder the queen with his own hands. Hereupon he, and upon his intimation, Edward Arden, his father-in-law, (a man of an ancient house in Warwickshire,) Arden's wife, their daughter (Somerville's wife,) and Hall a priest, were brought to the bar, and all condemned ; Somerville as principal, the rest as accessaries. Three days after, Somerville was found strangled in the prison, Arden was executed and quartered; the women and priest were spared. Many pitied the old gentleman Arden, as misled by the priest, and (as it was generally believed) brought to his end through the envy of Leicester, who he used to call whore-master, up-start, and many such opprobrious names.” Might not this Edward Arden, (whom Camden calls “a man of very ancient gentility in the county of Warwick) be of the same lineage as Mary Arden,* the mother of William Shakspere? However this may be, certain it is that the poor old man was racked in the Tower before his execution, on the twenty-third of November ; for Elizabeth, with all her talents and learning, was a very hard-hearted woman, and therefore in point of true womanhood must rank infinitely below any kindhearted female, though her situation in life be lowly
"as the maid that milks, And does the meanest chares !"
Antony and Cleopatra, act iv., scene 13th. Dr. John Dee's library of four thousand books and seven hundred manuscripts, is seized at Mortlake, in Surrey, upon suspicion of his having dealings with the devil ! În Scotland King James escapes from custody, and the lords who confined him are banished.
On the fourth of March, Bernard Gilpin, “the Apostle of the North,” finishes his useful and laborious life, at his rectory of Houghton-le-Spring, in the county of Durham. He was a native of Kentmire, in Westmoreland, where he was born in 1517. During his education at Queen's College, Oxford, the writings of Erasmus converted him to protestantism. In 1556, he was made rector of Easington and archdeacon of Durham; and soon afterwards, he exchanged the rectory of Easington for that of Houghton-le-Spring. The intolerant Bishop Bonner (whose name might with equal propriety be written Burner,) having given orders for his arrest, Gilpin dressed himself for the stake, but the death of the tyrant, Queen Mary, taking place before the arrival of the victim in London, his life was saved, and the bishopric of Carlisle offered to him by Elizabeth, which the good old man refused. His death was deeply regretted by his parishioners, and by all whom bigotry did not prevent from admiring true apostolic zeal. He was sixty-six years of age.Edmund Grindal, archbishop of Canterbury, (the Algrind of Spenser,) dies at Croydon, in Surrey, on the sixth of July, aged sixty-four years. He was born at Kensingham, in Cumberland, in 1519; chosen master of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, in 1559, and made bishop of London in same year; in 1570, was translated to the see of York ; and in 1575, was made archbishop of Canterbury. He was one of the contributors to John Fox's “Acts and Monuments," and was much blamed by Elizabeth for his tenderness towards the puritans.
* Robert Arden, the father of William Shakspere's mother, died in December, 1556. His will is dated on the twenty-fourth of Novem. ber, in the same year; and he describes himself as “of Wylmcote, in the parish of Aston Cauntlow.”
the basely intolerant John Whitgift, who was translated from the see of Worcester, was more to her persecutiog mind.
On the tenth of April, Hugo Grotius, the celebrated author and statesman, is born at Delft.—On the fifteenth of September, is born, at Humanie, in Bohemia, Albert Wallenstien, Duke of Friedland, and generalissmo of the Austrian army during the Thirty Years War. His name has been rendered familiar to English readers by Coleridge's translation, from the German, of Schiller's celebrated tragedy of “ The Death of Wallenstien."
SHAKSPERE'S TWENTY-FIRST YEAR.
On the tenth of January, a printer named William A.D.
Carter is tried at the Old Bailey, for printing a 1584.
popish book, and hanged, bowelled, and quartered at Tyburn, on the following day, according to his sentence; on the twelfth of February, five Romish priests share the same fate, at this same Tyburn; on the twenty-fifth of the same month, William Parry, a Welsh gentleman, who had opposed the severe measures against the Roman Catholics in the house of commons, of which he was a member, is executed in Palace-yard, Westminster, for high treason; on the twentieth of April, a priest and a layman of the same faith are executed at Lancaster; on the twelfth of July, Francis Throgmorton, who has been five times stretched upon the rack, brought to the scaffold, on a charge of plotting the queen's death; and on the seventeenth of October, a popish schoolmaster is executed at Wrexham, in Denbighshire. Most, if not all, of those men were sensible when the executioner begun the dread
ful work of embowelling; the last named victim, for instance, according to Bishop Challoner, pronouncing the sacred name of Jesus twice whilst the hangman had his hands in his bowels!" Yet despite of those persecutions, Robert Southwell, a jesuit priest and a good poet, of whom I shall have to speak anon, returns to England, and will assuredly fall another victim to religious bigotry.
John Penry, or Ap Penry, (a puritan leader who will one day die in a dungeon, another victim of religious intolerance,) now takes his degree of Bachelor of Arts at Cambridge; and Sir Walter Mildmay founds the college of Emanuel in that university. These, with the assassination of the Prince of Orange at Delft, are a few of the most interesting incidents in the religious world. No marvel that Shakspere should be a freethinker!
Reginald Scott now publishes his “Discovery of Witchcraft," in which he attacks the popular belief in witches, ghosts, hobgoblins, and other such like superstitions
" Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy," as Shakspere makes Mercutio say of dreams, in the fourth scene of the first act of “Romeo and Juliet.” Richard Hooker is presented to a rectory in Buckinghamshire; Walter Raleigh is knighted by Elizabeth ; John Lyly produces his “ Sappho and Phaon,” a court-show, which is performed before the queen at Shrove-tide, by the boys of St. Paul's; a comedy entitled the “ Three Ladies of London” is issued from the press; as is also Clement Robinson's “Handful of Pleasant Delights,” a work containing “A new Sonnet of Pyramus and Thisbe,” supposed to be ridiculed by Shakspere in his “Midsummer Night's Dream" (act v., scene 1st). Thomas Lodge, the poet and dramatist, is now an actor in London ; John (afterwards Dr.) Donne goes to Oxford, a lad only in his eleventh year, but having already “a good command both of the French and Latin tongue,” as his biographer, Izaak Walton tells us; and, in Spain, Cervantes publishes his pastoral novel of “Galatea.” Thomas Vautrollier, a Frenchman engaged in printing in London, publishes a work called “Jordanus Brunus,” for which he has to flee to Scotland.
Virginia, in America, is this year discovered by Sir Walter Raleigh's expedition, and so called in honour of Elizabeth, “the virgin queen.” Raleigh is not with his expedition at the time of this discovery.
Amongst the deaths this year are those of Anthony Gilby, vicar of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, in Leicestershire, one
of the translators of the Genevan Bible; Count Carlo Borromeo, the good but superstitious cardinal archbishop of Milan, whom
the Romish church has since canonized; and Lucas de Heere, the Flemish painter. Gilby had reached a good old age ; Borromeo, who died on the third of November, had only reached the age of forty-six years, but was worn out by mental sufferings, the accusations of his enemies, and his monastic penances;” and De Heere was fifty years old.
Amongst the births are those of John Seldon, a politician and author, whom Milton calls “ the chief of learned men reputed in this lard,” and who was the friend of Browne, Camden, Sir Robert Cotton, Michael Drayton, Ben Jonson, Spelman, and other literary worthies; he was born at Sahington, in Sussex: Philip Massinger, the dramatist, born at Salisbury; Phineas Fletcher, the poet, brother to Giles, and cousin of John, the dramatist; John Hales, the theological writer; John Pym, the English patriot; Franc Hals, the Flemish painter, born at Mechlin; and Moll Cut-purse, the masculine English thief, merely mentioned here because Shakspere has alluded to her in his “ Twelfth Night."
SHAKSPERE'S TWENTY-SECOND YEAR.
The prosperity or adversity of Master John Shak1585. spere at this period has been a bone of contention
among men of letters. According to Skottowe, a distress is issued for the seizure of his goods, but his poverty renders it nugatory, because he has no goods to seize. Charles Knight, on the other hand, contends that John Shakspere, whose goods cannot be seized because, like Rachel's children, “they are not,” is not the father of our bard, but a shoemaker of the same name and place.
George Peel is busy writing the “ London Pageants ;" Richard Hooker is appointed Master of the Temple ; Sir Philip Sidney is offered the crown of Poland, but Elizabeth will not part with him whom she considers “the jewel of her crown;" Thomas Bodley (who afterwards founds the Bodleian Library at Oxford) is made a gentleman-usher to the queen, and marries a wealthy widow of Bristol ; Henry Wotton, who is four years younger than William Shakspere, removes from New College, Oxford, to Queen's College, in the same university, where he writes his tragedy of Tancredo" for the college ; Robert Bruce Cotton (col.