Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 243. Sunday, 18 April 1993.
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 93 08:44:54 PST
Subject: 4.0239 Re: *Ulysses* and *Hamlet*
Comment: Re: SHK 4.0239 Re: *Ulysses* and *Hamlet*
> >1) Is the factual information Stephen uses to back up his claim true?
> >I.e., did Shakespeare really leave Ann Hathaway his secondbest bed?
> Yes, though it wasn't as bizarre a bequest as it may seem to us. This
> kind of thing was actually fairly common, and we should resist the
> temptation to read in too much.
I have seen some learned confusion on that particular line in the will,
and have a theory as fanciful as most. Let's pretend Mrs Shakespeare
was a flinty miser, and further that she was the subject of numerous
claims of neighbors over the years (one very novel approach to
collecting a debt against William `in the hand of Anne Shaxspere'
attempted to continue the suit from the grave by will of one Thomas
Whittington in 1601 bequeathing the owed amount `unto the poor of
Stratford.' Genius, I thought, on the part of this the Hathaway
shepherd.) and William quite naturally would want to keep title to his
inheritance clear of such attainments. Sound logical?
> >Did he really beat his lead actor (I forget the name) to an assignation?
> Couldn't say... it IS a fun story, though, and I BELIEVE its history
> can at least be traced back to prior to _Ulysses_.
It was current, in fact; from the diary of one John Manningham, a
Middle Temple barrister, in 1602. Burbage was the lion-hearted lamb
left out in the cold.
Clovis in Felton, CA