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ASTOR, LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS R

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“ He was not of an age, but for all time.”

BEN JONSON.

« All that is known with any degree of certainty concerning Shakespeare, is — that he was born at Stratford upon Avon-married and had children there — went to London, where he commenced actor, and wrote poems and plays-returned to Stratford, made his will, died, and was buried.” 1 Such is the remark of the most acute of his commentators; and I have quoted it here, as a sort of apology to the reader for the imperfections of the present essay.

It appears, that John Shakespeare, the father of our poet, could not boast a descent from ancestors of gentle blood, though his family had been long established in the county of Warwick. The place of his birth is doubtful; but not long after the year 1550, we find him settled as a tradesman in Stratford upon Avon. Concerning the nature of his vocation biographers disagree. The memoranda of Aubrey declare that he was a

'Note by George Steevens on Shakespeare's xciiid Sonnet.

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