15
THE KING'S SERVANTS

These fellows have some soul,
And such a one do I profess myself -- for, sir,
It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor I would not be Iago.
In following him I follow but myself
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so for my peculiar end.
For when my outward action cloth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.

( Iago, Othello)

What, at the wheels of Caesar? Art thou led in triumph?

( Lucio, Measure for Measure)


King James's arrival

Hamlet's success doubtless encouraged Shakespeare, and might have led his troupe to believe their solvency and prestige were assured. Yet their situation offered little ground for optimism in 1602. They had no representative at court, and if the ageing, irritable Queen died they could be closed down once and for all. Their patron was incapacitated ( Baron Howard of Walden carried out duties at the Lord Chamberlain's office) and actors were obliged to plan for a dark, worrisome future. A costly Spanish war dragged on, and extremes of wealth and poverty glared in London -- where inflation was as relentless as it had been in the 1590s. Troilus and Cressida itself suited a public mood of ennui and anxiety, and its somewhat coarse, cynical

-295-

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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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