Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 09.djvu/26

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Capell
Capgrave
20


commentary is a valuable contribution to scholarship. The third volume is entitled 'The School of Shakespeare' and consists of 'authentic extracts from divers English books that were in print in that author's time' to which is appended 'Notitia Dramatica; or Tables of Ancient Plays (from their beginning to the Restoration of Charles the Second).' In the dedicatory epistle it is alleged by the editor, John Collins, that Steevens appropriated Capell's notes while disclaiming all acquaintance with them. There was a report that when Capell's Shakespeare was being printed Steevens bribed the printer's servant to let him have the first sheets (Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, viii. 540). Capell had many enemies among contemporary commentators. Farmer, in his letter to Steevens, speaks of him contemptuously, and Dr. Johnson observed that his abilities 'were just sufficient to select the black hairs from the white for the use of the periwig makers.' Capell was a friend of Garrick, but became estranged from him in later life. He used to say that Garrick 'spoke many speeches in Shakespeare without understanding them.' During the last twenty years of his life he spent the whole of each summer at Hastings, where he had built himself a house close to the sea. His rooms in London were at Brick Court, Temple, where in later life he lived in such seclusion that only the most urgent business could draw him out of doors. He died at Brick Court on 24 Feb. 1781, and was buried at Fornham All Saints, Suffolk. He had collected a very valuable library, the choicest portion of which he presented to Trinity College, Cambridge. Steevens printed privately a catalogue of this collection in 1779; it is reprinted in Hartshorne's 'Book Rarities in the University of Cambridge.' Capell is described by Samuel Pegge as 'a personable well-made man of the middle stature,' and it is added that he 'had much of the carriage, manners, and sentiments of a gentleman.' His industry was astonishing; and it is reported that he transcribed the whole of Shakespeare ten times. It is admitted that he was possessed of no little vanity, and that he was somewhat unsociable; but his temper had been soured by neglect. In addition to the works already mentioned, Capell published, 1. 'Two Tables elucidating the Sounds of Letters,' 1749, fol. 2. 'Reflections on Originality in Authors: being Remarks on a Letter to Mr. Mason on the Marks of Imitation,' 1706, 8vo. With the assistance of Garrick he published in 1758 an edition of 'Antony and Cleopatra,' 'fitted for the stage by abridging only.'

[Nichols's Literary Illustrations, i. 465-76, iii. 203, v. 421; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes viii. 540; Davy's Athens Suffolcienses, Add. MS. 19166; Halliwell's Defence of Edward Capell, 1861; a letter to George Hardinge, esq., 1777; Monthly Review, liii. 394-403, lxix. 484-488, lxx. 15-23; Biographia Dramatica, ed. Jones, i. 82, iii. 15-16.]

A. H. B.

CAPELL, KATHERINE (née Stephens), Countess of Essex (1796-1882). [See Stephens, Katherine.]

CAPELLANUS, JOHN (fl. 1410?), translated the 'De Consolatione Philosophiae' of Boethius into English verse. Copies of this translation are still preserved, according to Tanner, in the library of Lincoln Cathedral (i. 53) and in the British Museum (Harl, MS. xxxiv. A 5). Another copy, imperfect towards the beginning, is to be found among the Sloane MSS. This writer, who seems to haye been unknown to Leland, Bale, and Pits, flourished, if we may trust the statement of Tanner, about 1410.

[Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. p. 151.]

T. A. A.

CAPGRAVE, JOHN (1393–1464), Augustinian friar, theologian, and historian, was born, as he has himself noted in his chronicle (p. 259), on 21 April 1393. He was a native of Lynn in Norfolk—‘my cuntre is Northfolk, of the toun of Lynne’ (Prologue to the Life of St. Katharine)—where he passed nearly all his days. Bale and others wrongly name Kent as his county. Studious in youth, and ‘sticking to his books like a limpet to its rocks,’ he was sent to one of the universities, but to which one is uncertain; Leland names Cambridge, but only on conjecture. Tanner, however, adduces evidence for this university from Capgrave's own words in a manuscript now destroyed (Cotton. MS. Vitellius D. xv, Life of St. Gilbert). On the other hand, Bale and others state that Capgrave took the degree of doctor of divinity at Oxford; and Pamphilus (f. 139) adds that he lectured there. It has been suggested (introd. to Capgrave's Chronicle, Rolls Series, p. x) that he may have received his early education at Cambridge, that place being more conveniently near to Lynn, and afterwards migrated to the sister university. He was ordained priest in 1417 or 1418, four or five years, he tells us (De illustr. Henricis, p. 127), before the birth of Henry VI. At an early age he had elected to enter the order of Augustine Friars; but we do not know when he first became an inmate of the house of the friars at Lynn. It may not, however, be too much to infer that he was connected with it from youth, and that he may have received a part of his education within its walls.