12
NEW PLACE AND THE COUNTRY

She has a housewife's hand -- but that's no matter. (Rosalind, As You Like It)


Gains and losses

In these years, the poet who supplied repertory with works as effective as Romeo and Juliet, the Dream, and Henry IV did not hang up his hat after morning rehearsals. He appeared on the stage himself, and with his writing, rehearsing, acting, planning with his fellows, and vetting of scripts he was very unlikely to leave London often. His income was substantial by 1596. As a matter of record ' William Shackspere' was one of the seventy-three rateable residents at St Helen's parish that October, but since he forgot or neglected by the next February to pay his tax -- just 5s. on goods valued at £5 -- the Petty Collectors of Bishopsgate ward sent his name to the Exchequer. No doubt the low assessment of £5 was simply nominal. Sharers in the Admiral's Servants were earning about £1 a week (perhaps the equivalent of £500 or more in London at the end of the twentieth century). This was four times the fixed wage of a skilled city worker, and his income would have been between £100 and £160 a year from all sources by the end of the reign. Few of his schoolmates ever earned so much.

There is no evidence that he spent money on London property until near the end of his life, but there is every sign that he was concerned to establish himself respectably at Stratford. His wife, his two daughters, and his small son Hamnet awaited him there in 1596. John Aubrey twice records that Shakespeare went into Warwickshire 'once

-225-

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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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