13
SOUTH OF JULIUS CAESAR'S TOWER

Ho no, no, no, no! My meaning in saying he is a good man-7 is to have you understand me that he is sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition. He hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies. I understand moreover upon the Rialto he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures he hath squandered abroad. But ships are but boards, sailors but men. There be land rats and water rats, water thieves and land thieves -- I mean pirates -- and then there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding, sufficient. Three thousand ducats. I think I may take his bond.

( Shylock, The Merchant of Venice)


Ben Jonson's thumb

Late in Elizabeth's reign -- on St James's Day, 25 July 1601 -- two men of the theatre went to Bricklayers Hall near Aldgate in the capital to pay dues to one of the city's guilds, the Worshipful Company of Tilers and Bricklayers. Both workers paid in arrears -- 2s. for the first, and 3s. for the second. The first was Richard Hudson, a building worker who loyally aided the Burbage family from the 1570s to the time of the second Globe on Bankside. 1 The other was a gaunt, muscular Londoner who in June 1572 was baptized Benjamin Johnson, but styled himself ' Ben Jonson'.

No doubt Ben Jonson had learned to hate bricklaying, but he took it up when in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes. After army service in the Lowlands he had married, become a strolling actor, and then a

-251-

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Shakespeare: A Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations vii
  • Introduction ix
  • A Note on Conventions Used in the Text xvi
  • I - A Stratford Youth 1
  • 1 - Birth 3
  • 2 - Mother, of the Child 11
  • 3 - John Shakespeares Fortunes 25
  • 4 - To Grammar School 43
  • 5 - Opportunity and Need 60
  • 6 - Love and Early Marriage 72
  • II - Actor and Poet of the London Stage 93
  • 7 - To London-- and the Amphitheatre Players 95
  • 8 - Attitudes 120
  • 9 - The City in September 145
  • 10 - A Patron, Poems, and Company Work 169
  • 11 - A Servant of the Lord Chamberlain 196
  • 12 - New Place and the Country 225
  • III - The Maturity of Genius 249
  • 13 - South of Julius Caesar's Tower 251
  • 14 - Hamlet's Questions 274
  • 15 - The King's Servants 295
  • 16 - The Tragic Sublime 318
  • IV - The Last Phase 351
  • 17 - Tales and Tempests 353
  • 18 - A Gentleman's Choices 382
  • The Arden and Shakespeare Families 412
  • A Note on the Shakespeare Biographical Tradition and Sources for His Life 415
  • Notes 425
  • Index 451
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