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s well naturally as poetically, by an unlawful intrigue, between his mother and that great man; that this allegation is founded upon probability, no reader can believe, for we have such accounts of the amiable temper, and moral qualities of Shakespear, that we cannot suppose him to have been guilty of such an act of treachery, as violating the marriage honours; and however he might have been delighted with the conversation, or charmed with the person of Mrs. Davenant, yet as adultery was not then the fashionable vice, it would be injurious to his memory, so much as to suppose him guilty. Our author received the first rudiments of polite learning from Mr. Edward Sylvester, who kept a grammar school in the parish of All Saints in Oxford. In the year 1624, the same in which his father was Mayor of the city, he was entered a member of the university of Oxford, in Lincoln's-Inn College, under the tuition of Mr. Daniel Hough, but the Oxford antiquary is of opinion, he did not long remain there, as his mind was too much addicted to gaiety, to bear the austerities of an academical life, and being encouraged by some gentlemen, who admired the vivacity of his genius, he repaired to court, in hopes of making his fortune in that pleasing, but dangerous element. He became first page to Frances, duchess of Richmond, a lady much celebrated in those days, as well for her beauty, as the influence she had at court, and her extraordinary taste for grandeur, which excited her to keep a kind of private court of her own, which, in our more fashionable aera, is known by the name of Drums, Routs, and Hurricanes. Sir William afterwards removed into the family of Sir Fulk Greville, lord Brooke, who being himself a man of taste and erudition, gave the most encouraging marks of esteem to our rising bard. This worthy nobleman being brought to an immature fate, by the cruel hands of an assassin, 1628, Davenant was left without a patron, though not in very indigent circumstances, his reputation having increased, during the time he was in his lordship's service: the year ensuing the death of his patron, he produced his first play to the world, called Albovino, King of the Lombards, which met with a very general, and warm reception, and to which some very honourable recommendations were prefixed, when it was printed, in several copies of verses, by men of eminence, amongst whom, were, Sir Henry Blount, Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and t
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