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FROM THE ORIGINAL IN THE OFFICE OF THE PREROGATIVE
COURT OF CANTERBURY.
Vicesimo quinto die Martii, Anno Regni Do
mini nostri Jacobi nunc Regis Angliæ, &c. decimo quarto, et Scotia quadragesimo nono. Annoque Domini 1616.
Testamentum Wmi. Shackspeare. In the name of God, Amen. I William Shackspeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, in the county of Warwick, gent. in perfect health and memory, (God be praised !) do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following; that is to say:
First, I commend my soul into the hands of God my creator, hoping, and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting; and my body to the earth whereof it is made.
Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Judith, one hundred and fifty pounds of lawful
1 Our poet's will appears to have been drawn up in February, though not executed till the following
; for February was first written, and afterwards struck out, and March written over it.. MALONE.
English money, to be paid unto her in manner and form following; that is to say, one hundred pounds in discharge of her marriage portion within one year after my decease, with consideration after the rate of two shillings in the pound for so long time as the same shall be unpaid unto her after my decease; and the fifty pounds residue thereof, upon her surrendering of, or giving of such sufficient security as the overseers of this my will shall like of, to surrender or grant, all her estate and right that shall descend or come unto her after my decease, or that she now hath, of, in, or to, one copyhold tenement, with the
appurtenances, lying and being in Stratford-upon-Avon aforesaid, in the said county of Warwick, being parcel or 'holden of the manor of Rowington, unto my daughter Susannab Hall, and her heirs for ever.
Item, I give and bequeath unto my said daughter Judith one hundred and fifty pounds more, if she, or any issue of her body, be living at the end of three years next ensuing the day of the date of this my will, during which time my executors to pay her consideration from my decease according to the rate aforesaid ; and if she die within the said term without issue of her body, then my will is, and I do give and bequeath one hundred pounds thereof to my niece? Elizabeth Hall, and the fifty
2- to my niece -] Elizabeth Hall was our poet's granddaughter. So, in Othello, Act 1. sc. i. Iago says to pounds to be set forth by my executors during the life of my sister Joan Hart, and the use and profit thereof coming, shall be paid to my said sister Joan, and after her decease the said fifty pounds shall remain amongst the children of my said sister, equally to be divided amongst them; but if my said daughter Judith be living at the end of the said three years, or any issue of her body, then my will is, and so I devise and bequeath the said hundred and fifty pounds to be set out by my executors and overseers for the best benefit of her and her issue, and the stock not to be paid unto her so long as she shall be married and covert baron; but my will is, that she shall have the consideration yearly paid unto her during her life, and after her decease the said stock and consideration to be paid to her children, if she have any, and if not, to her executors or assigns, she living the said term after my decease: provided that if such husband as she shall at the end of the said three years be married unto, or at any [time] after, do sufficiently assure unto her, and the issue of her body, lands answerable to the portion by this my will given unto her, and to be adjudged so by my executors and overseers, then my will is, that the said hundred and fifty pounds shall be paid to such husband as shall make such assurance, to his own use.
Item, I give and bequeath unto my said sister Joan twenty pounds, and all my wearing apparel, to be paid and delivered within one year after my decease; and I do will and devise unto her the house, with the appurtenances, in Stratford, wherein she dwelleth, for her natural life, under the yearly rent of twelve pence.
Item, I give and bequeath unto her three sons, William Hart, Hart, and Michael Hart, five pounds apiece, to be paid within one year after my decease.
Item, I give and bequeath unto the said Elizabeth Hall all my plate, (except my broad silver and gilt bowl,)* that I now have at the date of this my will
Item, I give and bequeath unto the poor of Stratford aforesaid ten pounds; to Mr. Thomas Combe 5 my sword; to Thomas Russel, esq. five pounds; and to Francis Collins 6 of the borough of Warwick, in the county of Warwick, gent. thirteen pounds six shillings and eight-pence, to be paid within one year
8 — Hart.] It is singular that neither Shakspeare nor any of his family should have recollected the christian name of his nephew, who was born at Stratford but eleven years before the making of his will. His christian name was Thomas; and he was baptized in that town, July 24, 1605.
MALONE. 4 — except my broad silver and gilt bowl.] This bowl, as we afterwards find, our poet bequeathed to his daughter Judith. Instead of bowl, Mr. Theobald, and all the subse quent editors, have here printed boxes. MALONE.
6 — Mr. Thomas Combe.] This gentleman was baptized at Stratford, Feb. 9, 1588-9, so that he was twentyseven years old at the time of Shakespeare's death. He died at Stratford in July 1657, aged 68; and his elder brother William died at the same place, Jan. 30, 1666-7, aged 80.
decease. Item, I give and bequeath to Hamlet [Hamnet] Sadler? twenty-six shillings eight-pence, to buy him a ring; to William Reynolds, gent. twentysix shillings eight-pence, to buy him a ring; to my godson William Walker, twenty shillings in
Mr. Thomas Combe by his will made June 20, 1656, directed his executors to convert all his personal property into money, and to lay it out in the purchase of lands, to be settled on William Combe, the eldest son of John Combe of Allchurch is the county of Worcester, gent, and his heirs male; remainder to his two brothers successively. Where, therefore, our poet's sword has wandered, I have not been able to discover. I have taken the trouble to ascertain the ages of Shakespeare's friends and relations, and the time of their deaths, because we are thus enabled to judge how far the traditions concerning him which were communicated to Mr. Rowe in the beginning of this century, are worthy of credit. MALONE.
to Francis Collins – ] This gentleman was, I be lieve, christened at Warwick. He died the year after oui poet, and was buried at Stratford, Sept. 27, 1617, on which day he died. MALONE.
7 — to Hamnet Sadler -] This gentleman was godfather to Shakspeare's only son, who was called after him. Mr. Sadler, I believe, was born about the year 1550, and died at Stratford-upon-Avon, where he was buried, October 26, 1624. His wife, Judith Sadler, who was godmother to Shaka speare's youngest daughter, was buried there, March 28 1613–14. Our poet probably was godfather to their son Wil liam, who was baptized at Stratford, Feb. 5, 1597-8.
MALONE. to my godson, William Walker.] This godson of