Shakspeare, William

, the most illustrious name in the history of English dramatic poetry, was born at | Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, on the 23d day of April, 1564. Of the rank of his family it is not easy to form an opinion. Mr. Howe says, that by the register and certain public writings relating to Stratford, it appears that his ancestors were “of good figure and fashion” in that town, and are mentioned as “gentlemen,” an epithet which was certainly more determinate then than at present, when it has become an unlimited phrase of courtesy. His father, John