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and acquired such knowledge as was imparted by them at that day. He was not in early life possessed of anything like literary culture, though he had some knowledge of Latin. There are indications that he was early employed in assisting his father in his business occupations, who is reported to have been a dealer in wool; also to have had a meat market. The father was a man in good standing as a citizen, was for a time a town officer, but later

a was unfortunate in financial affairs and became a bankrupt. The family thereby fell into straitened circumstances. In Sonnet 111 Shakespeare bewails the disadvantages under which he labored. Addressing a friend he says: "o, for my sake do you with fortune chide

"The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds, "That did not better for my life provide

"Than public means, which public manners breeds. "Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,

"And almost thence my nature is subdued "To what it works in, like the dyer's hand.”

Marriage-Leaves Stratford In December, 1582, when he was eighteen years old, he married Ann Hathaway, eight years older than himself. This was a freak of youthful folly and caused him life-long mortification. There are expres


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sions in his plays which show that regret and shame clung to him ever after. In May, 1583, his first child, Susanna, was born, and in 1585 his wife gave birth to a pair of twins, Hamnet and Judith. When he was twenty-one years old, then, he had a wife and three children to support. His father being reduced in fortune, it is not known that either the father or the son had any remunerative business. The tradition is that the son was irregular in his habits and associated with bad companions. He is reported to have poached upon the preserves of Sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote, a town near Stratford. After being prosecuted for his outlawry he composed a lampoon upon the owner of the property and affixed it to the gate of the park. This is supposed to have roused the anger of the country gentleman and to have made it necessary for the wayward youth to leave the region. There can be no doubt that he, at some time, fell into the meshes of the law,-a plight which he has immortalized in the Merry Wives of Windsor, in the travesty of a trial before Justice Shallow.

Whatever may have been the occasion of his leaving Stratford, it is certain that he went to London about 1585, and, probably, mainly for the purpose of acquiring a support for his family. Except on occasional visits, regularly, it is believed, once a year, and of course for special occurrences, he was separated from his home for twenty-eight years, till 1613.

Employed at Blackfriars Theatre On reaching London Shakespeare found his way very soon, perhaps at once, to Blackfriars theatre. Here he met a townsman, Thomas Green, by whose advice, probably, he resorted to that city. Here he early found employment, at first, it is understood, of a humble kind. He must have been ready to accept anything remunerative, for he was in sore need. He seems, moreover, to have turned over a new leaf as the result of the discipline he had undergone. He must have adopted habits of thrift for he became a man of property within ten years, and ultimately, like another sharp financier among literary men, Voltaire, a man of wealth and free expenditures. But this was from small beginnings. The report, without much confirmation, is that he began his theatrical career with holding horses for those who had come to witness the plays. Being a sprightly young man, facile in movement, of fair proportions, with dark auburn hair and hazel eyes,—so the report goes,—he was soon called in to help in shifting scenes and drawing curtains.

Apprenticeship Of course an intellect like his could not remain unrecognized. Huxley said of Gladstone, with whom he had very little kinship in intellectual tendencies, that if he were thrown down alone upon a barren Scotch heath, it would be but little time before he would be known as the first intellect in Britain. Shakespeare would in any place shine as a star by his own inherent brilliancy. It was soon found that he was a good prompter while the acting was in progress; then he was found to be apt in suggesting changes or amendments;—not an uncommon thing, as the plays were the property of the company. He was undoubtedly soon called in to take a minor part or to fill a gap. In all this he was modest, set a humble estimate upon his powers, considered himself an imitator of those who had already acquired fame; especially he looked up to Marlowe as a model and a master. It is generally believed that in Marlowe, but for his untimely death, Shakespeare might have found a rival in the estimate of later generations.

His apprenticeship was a long one. Brandes says there was no definite trace of him till 1592, seven years after his arrival in London. But it is understood that he wrote plays wholly his own, before that time,-plays that he retouched before they were acted. There is no doubt that these seven years were years industriously spent in self-education. It is believed that he understood Italian, perhaps French. He may have acquired a knowledge of these languages during this period. We know from outside evidence that before 1592 he had already made his mark upon the inner circle of habitues of the theatre. This is evident from an onslaught upon him by Robert Greene. Mabie says: Greene, Marlowe and Nash seemed to hold the stage when Shakespeare appeared. Greene, who died in 1592, jealous of the fame of this country bumpkin, wrote to his friends charging them not to trust Shakespeare because of his literary dishonestly, calling him an upstart crow, beautifying himself with our feathers, with his

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