Allot, Kenneth, ed. The Poems of William Habington. Liverpool: university Press of Liverpool, 1948.
HALL, JOHN (1575-1635) John Hall was probably born in 1575 in Bedfordshire, England, his father, William, a property owner. He presumably spent his childhood at Carlton, a small and pleasant village, leaving at age 14 along with his brother, Dive, to attend Queen's College at Cambridge. He received a bachelor of arts in 1593 and continued study for a master's degree, awarded in 1597. Records containing his name dated 1600 indicate his presence in Stratford, then a busy market town of about 2,000 people. At age 32, he became William Shakespeare's son-in-law, marrying Susanna Shakespeare, the eldest Shakespeare
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child, on June 6, 1607; they had a daughter, Elizabeth. Susanna's epitaph hints at her character: "Witty beyond her sex, but that's not all / wise to salvation was good Mistress Hall," where witty refers not to humor, but wisdom. That they shared an agreeable marriage is indicated by lines added to his tombstone, after her death:
Lest anything be wanting to his tomb,
His most faithful wife is with him,
Records indicate Hall spent time with Shakespeare, although details remain scant. Scholars have wondered whether Hall might have influenced his famous playwright father-in-law's medical knowledge, as revealed in Shakespeare's plays.
While practicing medicine, Hall also worked as an essayist, poet, pamphleteer, and translator. Although his creative works were later little read, contemporaries including Robert Herrick, Henry More, and Thomas Hobbes praised his poetry. Best known for his prose, he published a collection of essays titled Horae Vacivae (1646) and the first English translation of Longinus, in addition to his Poems (1647). In 1648 he was hired to write the Mercurius Brittanicus and Mercurius Censorius, works defending Parliament against attack by other writers. Such an attack was represented in one work titled Mercurius Elencticus. A collection of rebel biographies, its authorship was claimed by Samuel Sheppard, but Sir George Wharton, imprisoned at the time, probably wrote it.
Hall practiced medicine for 35 years both in and around Stratford with a legendary dedication to his patients. In 1626 when King Charles I offered Hall a knighthood, he declined, worried that his duties might interfere with his practice, causing him to be fined £10. He did serve one of three times he was elected burgess to the City Council at Stratford. A dedicated Puritan, he spent much time in service to his church. Hall's death at age 60 was due to his contracting plague as he treated victims.
Hall left behind manuscripts, one a notebook containing 178 medical case descriptions in Latin, which was eventually published as "Select Observations on English Bodies of eminent Persons in desperate Diseases" (1657). Second and third editions followed in 1679 and 1683, and it may be found in facsimile in Harriet Joseph's biography of Hall. One entry mentions "Mr. Drayton, an excellent poet," referring to Michael Drayton, celebrated poet and friend to Shakespeare.
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