The writer wishes to express his appreciation of a Research Grant from the University of Minnesota for the summer of 1948, during which this introduction was written.
—Samuel Holt Monk
University of Minnesota
[Illustration: Picture of Shakespeare surrounded by angels]
Mr. William Shakespear;
ADORN’D with CUTS.
Revis’d and Corrected, with an Account of the
Life and Writings of the
By N. ROWE, Esq;
L O N D O N:
Printed for Jacob Tonson, within Grays-Inn
Gate, next Grays-Inn
[Illustration: Decorative motif]
Mr. William Shakespear.
It seems to be a kind of Respect due to the Memory of Excellent Men, especially of those whom their Wit and Learning have made Famous, to deliver some Account of themselves, as well as their Works, to Posterity. For this Reason, how fond do we see some People of discovering any little Personal Story of the great Men of Antiquity, their Families, the common Accidents of their Lives, and even their Shape, Make and Features have been the Subject of critical Enquiries. How trifling soever this Curiosity may seem to be, it is certainly very Natural; and we are hardly satisfy’d with an Account of any remarkable Person, ’till we have heard him describ’d even to the very Cloaths he wears. As for what relates to Men of Letters, the knowledge of an Author may sometimes conduce to the better understanding his Book: And tho’ the Works of Mr. Shakespear may seem to many not to want a Comment, yet I fancy some little Account of the Man himself may not be thought improper to go along with them.
He was the Son of Mr. John Shakespear, and was Born at Stratford upon Avon, in Warwickshire, in April 1564. His Family, as appears by the Register and Publick Writings relating to that Town, were of good Figure and Fashion there, and are mention’d as Gentlemen. His Father, who was a considerable Dealer in Wool, had so large a Family, ten Children in all, that tho’ he was his eldest Son, he could give him no better Education than his own Employment. He had bred him, ’tis true, for some time at a Free-School, where ’tis probable he acquir’d that little Latin he was Master of: But the narrowness of his Circumstances, and the want of his assistance at Home, forc’d his Father to withdraw him from thence, and unhappily prevented his further Proficiency