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continued, "I am greatly puzzled about the nature of this disorder, which has never occurred to me before with precisely the same symptoms; but as the attacks, which are not frequent, have hitherto gone off simply and quickly from rest, and seem to leave no traces of derangement behind, I have not thought it prudent to excite any inquietude in his family upon the subject."* The statement, however, occasioned considerable uneasiness in the breast of Montchensey, who justly deemed the life of Shakspeare peculiarly dear, not only to every individual who knew him, but to the public at large; and he immediately enquired of the Doctor, if he did not think change of air might be of service; for I am in great hopes," he added, "of inducing your father-in-law to visit me this summer in Derbyshire." Here this bye conversation was broken in upon by Sir Thos. Stafford's asking Dr. Hall, who, he understood from Mr. Combe, had attended his uncle to the last, if
It is highly probable, I think, from the consideration that the bust of Shakspeare on his Stratford monument, and which is said to have been taken from a cast after death, exhibits no signs of emaciation, that the poet died suddenly, or, at least after a very short illness.
he thought the dying moments of his patient had been disturbed by any consciousness of the alarm which surrounded him.
"I believe not," replied he, "for he had been long sinking from the mere pressure of years; his mental faculties were nearly gone, and he expired the day following, July the 10th, without a struggle, and in the eightieth year of his age."
"I am happy to learn," remarked Lord Carew, who was now only a rare and transient visitor at Clopton-House, his chief residence being in London, "that your uncle, Mr. Combe, disposed of his large property in a manner so satisfactory to his relations, while, at the same time, he so liberally and judiciously remembered the poor."
"His charities, my lord, were not I do assure you," replied Mr. Combe, "confined to his Will; for though my uncle has been exposed to a good deal of bitter sarcasm on account of his supposed over fondness for the accumulation of money, I can venture to affirm, on my own knowledge, that he was during his life-time peculiarly attentive to the distresses of his poor
neighbours, and ever ready to relieve their wants."
"On a subject like this," cried Shakspeare, with great earnestness of manner, "I feel peculiarly called upon to afford my testimony; for it has been circulated, I find, with an industry as officious as it is malevolent, that a certain severe epitaph on my deceased friend, with which we are all probably acquainted, originated with myself. I will not deny but that, in the gaiety of my heart, I have occasionally rallied him on the great care which he directed towards the increase of his wealth; but I knew, at the same time, the worth and the charity of his heart, and must, therefore, disclaim any participation in the fabric of a satire which could only have originated with one who knew Mr. Combe but by vulgar report. Indeed I have some reason to think, that the lines in question are from the pen of young Braithwayte, who last year printed a little work called The Poet's Willow, or the Passionate Shepherd."
"Nothing more likely," observed Mr. Thomas Combe," for I knew Dick Braithwayte when he was a commoner of Oriel College, Ox
ford. It is now about eight years ago; he was then nineteen, and, therefore, nearly of my own. age; and I can well remember having held several conversations with him on Stratford and its inhabitants, and particularly as describing my uncle to him as prodigiously wealthy, and, at that time, in my own opinion, not a little parsimonious."
My dear friend," exclaimed the elder Mr. Combe, as soon as his brother had done speaking, and shaking the poet, at the same time, most cordially by the hand, "were it not that we have some here not quite so thoroughly acquainted with the benevolence of your disposition as myself, such a disclaimer had been altogether needless; but you well know, from
Richard Braithwayte was born at Warcop, near Appleby, in Westmoreland, in 1588, and at the age of sixteen became a commoner of Oriel college, Oxford, being matriculated as a gentleman's son, and a native of Westmoreland. In his "Remains, &c." published in 1618, occurs the epitaph in question, "of which," says Mr. Boswell, after weighing all the circumstances connected with its attribution to Shakspeare, "I have very little doubt that Braithwayte was the author."-MALONE'S Shakspeare, vol. ii. p. 500.
Braithwayte died at Appleton, near Richmond in Yorkshire, May 4th, 1673. His "Poet's Willow," was published in
long and home-felt experience, that wit is often involuntarily compelled to father what it has not written; and I cannot but remind you," he added laughing, "as one reason, perhaps, for the attribution of which you complain, that there was a time, though now long since passed, when the sharpness of your poetical retort on a former neighbour of ours, occasioned some little stir in this place, though it happily led, in conjunction with the youthful frolic from which it took its origin, to that line of life which has placed you, at length, on the very summit of dramatic reputation."
"It is on this very account, Mr. Combe," cried Helen Montchensey, "that I and my father so much wish to see the scene of this juvenile exploit, and my kind host here," smiling upon Shakspeare as she spoke, with the most bewitching archness, "has been good enough to promise that he will to-morrow morning gratify our desire, and conduct us to the spot himself."
"I am certain," returned Mr. Combe," that the worthy family at Charlcote will receive you, were it only for your conductor's sake, with the