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Apocrypha (from the Greek, 'things concealed or spurious') means writings or statements of doubtful authorship. The term was applied in the earliest churches to various sacred or professedly inspired writings, sometimes given to those whose authors were unknown, sometimes to those with a hidden meaning, and sometimes to those considered objectionable. The term is specially applied to the fourteen under mentioned books which were written during the two centuries preceding the birth of Christ. They were written, not in Hebrew, but in Greek, and the Jews never allowed them a place in their sacred canon. They were incorporated into the Septuagint, and thence passed to the Vulgate. The Greek Church excluded them from the canon in 360 at the Council of Laodicea. The Latin Church treated them with more favour, but it was not until 1546 that they were formally admitted into the canon of the Church of Rome by a decree of the Council of Trent. The Anglican Church says they may be read for example of life and instruction of manners, but that the church does not apply them to establish any doctrine. All other Protestant churches in Britain and America ignore them. The following fourteen books form the Apocrypha of the English Bible: - The first and second Books of Esdras, Tobit, Judith, the rest of the Book of Esther, the Wisdom of Solomon, the Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus, Baruch the Prophet, the Song of the Three Children, Susanna and the Elders, Bel and the Dragon, the Prayer of Manasses, and the first and second Books of Maccabees.

Besides the Apocryphal books of the Old Testament there are many other books composed in the earlier ages of Christianity, and published under the names of Christ and his apostles, or of such immediate followers as from their character or means of intimate knowledge might give an apparent plausibility for such forgeries. These writings comprise: 1st, the Apocryphal Gospels, which treat of the history of Joseph and the Virgin before the birth of Christ, of the infancy of Jesus, and of the acts of Pilate; 2d, the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles; and 3d, the Apocryphal Apocalypses, none of which have obtained canonical recognition by any of the churches.
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Susanna Centlivre was an Irish playwrite and actress. She was born in 1667 and died in 1723. She was the daughter of a Lincolnshire gentleman named Freeman. After being twice left a widow within a short time of her marriage she took for a third husband Joseph Centlivre, chief cook to Queen Anne. She had some success as an actress, but her fame rests on The Busybody, The Wonder, A Bold Stroke for a Wife, and 14 other plays, all of which were published in a collected edition, 1761. Mrs. Centlivre enjoyed the friendship of Steele, Farquhar, Bowe, and other wits of the day.
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William Shakespeare was an English dramatist, actor and poet. He was born about 1564 probably at Stratford-Upon-Avon and died in 1616.

His father, John Shakespeare, the son of a farmer of Snitterfield, settled in Stratford about 1551, as a dealer in agricultural produce and soon took an active part in municipal affairs, holding the office of bailiff, or mayor, between 1568 and 1569. His wife, Mary Arden, was the daughter of a substantial farmer of Wilmcote.

William Shakespeare was the third, but eldest surviving, child of the marriage. Of five younger children, three sons, Gilbert, Richard, and Edmund, and a daughter, Joan, reached maturity. William Shakespeare was educated at the grammar school of the town, and was soundly trained there in Latin literature. He left school at the age of 14. He is traditionally reported to have been apprenticed to a butcher. At the end of 1582, when he was 19 years old he married Ann Hathaway who was eight years older than him and at the time pregnant with their child. She was the daughter of Richard Hathaway, a farmer of Shottery. A daughter, Susanna, was born within six months of the marriage, and twins - a son, Hamlet; and a daughter, Judith early in 1585. The son died when he was 12 years old; the two daughters survived their father.

In 1586 William Shakespeare left his native town in the company of a troop of travelling actors. Some histories say it was his desire to support his wife and family without living off his father, seventeenth-century tradition, however, assigns the immediate cause to a threat of prosecution for poaching in the neighbouring Charlecote Park, belonging to Sir Thomas Lucy, whom William Shakespeare ridiculed later as Justice Shallow. After a short experience as a country schoolmaster, William Shakespeare reached London early in 1587. There he found humble employment in Shoreditch, at The Theatre, the only playhouse then existing. He was quickly admitted a member of a company of actors, to which he remained faithful during the rest of his career.

The successive patrons who gave their names in turn to Shakespeare's company were Queen Elizabeth I's favourite, the earl of Leicester; the 4th earl of Derby; the 1st and 2nd Lords Hunsdon (both of whom held the office of lord chamberlain); and finally, after the death of Queen Elizabeth I, James I. King James, on May the 19th, 1603, issued letters-patent to William Shakespeare and his colleagues, licensing them 'freely to use and exercise the arte and facultie of playing'. Thenceforth William Shakespeare's company was commonly styled 'The King's Servants', and took foremost rank.

Throughout the winter and spring of each year, notably at Christmas time, the acting companies were summoned to perform at the royal palaces. As early in William Shakespeare's career as Christmas 1594, he joined two eminent colleagues, William Kemp, the chief comedian of the day, and Richard Burbage, the chief tragedian, in rendering at Greenwich Palace 'two several comedies or interludes' on St Stephen's Day, December the 26th, and Innocents' Day, December the 28th, respectively. There is no evidence that William Shakespeare went abroad, but there is reason to believe that he accompanied his colleagues on their tours at home.

William Shakespeare played parts in Ben Jonson's earliest comedy, Every Man in His Humour, 1598, and in the same writer's tragedy Sejanus; 1603. In his own plays tradition reckons among his impersonations the Ghost in Hamlet, and Adam in As You Like It.

In London, William Shakespeare first lodged in the parish of St Helen's, Bishopsgate, but in 1596 he migrated to Southwark - the pleasure garden of London, an area renowned for its bars and brothels - which was soon the chief centre of theatrical activity. There he seems to have resided during the greater part of his subsequent London life, but in 1604 he 'laye in the house' of Christopher Montjoy, a Huguenot refugee, who carried on the business of a 'tire-maker' (i.e. maker of ladies' head-dresses) in Silver Street, Cheapside.

Well before the opening of the 17th century, William Shakespeare had gained an influential position in theatrical affairs. In 1598 he and three other fellow actors joined Richard Burbage and his brother Cuthbert in a speculation of great historic interest. The Burbages had, on the death, in 1597, of their father, the original founder, become owners of The Theatre in Shoreditch. In 1598 they, with the financial cooperation of William Shakespeare and the other actors, leased a plot of ground near the Bankside at Southwark, and transferred the fabric of The Theatre to the newly acquired site. The re-erected playhouse was named The Globe and was the largest theatre in the land at the time, and with The Globe, which became the leading theatre of the period, William Shakespeare was long identified. He acquired a tenth share in the property, which yielded handsome returns.

Richard Burbage also inherited on his father's death the Blackfriars playhouse, but that theatre was leased by Burbage to others till 1608, when he presented William Shakespeare with a seventh share. From January 1610, onwards, the Blackfriars theatre was occupied by William Shakespeare's company during the winter season, the rest of the year being spent by them at The Globe.

While faithful through life to the profession of actor, William Shakespeare, like other players of his day, turned playwright early in his stage career, and rapidly gave proofs of a dramatic genius of unique quality. His powers of characterisation. his mastery of dramatic speech in both verse and prose, his philosophical temper, steadily grew more potent with his years, but from the outset he interpreted with poetic and dramatic insight the romantic no less than the comic and tragic phases of life.

William Shakespeare's dramatic work was produced in the course of some twenty years, 1591-1611. Thirty-seven plays were assigned to his pen in his lifetime, but in the case of the three parts of Henry VI, Titus Andronicus, Taming of the Shrew, Timon of Athens, Pericles, and Henry VIII, he collaborated with others. Unprincipled publishers attributed to him in his lifetime six pieces with which he had no concern, and critics of acumen, solely on internal evidence, have since detected his hand in parts of Arden of Feversham, Sir Thomas More, and Edward III; while The Two Noble Kinsmen was originally published in 1634 as by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher.

William Shakespeare's earliest dramatic efforts, produced in 1591-1592, were three experimental comedies of varying types, Love's Labour's Lost, a social satire; Two Gentlemen of Verona, a romance qualified by drollery; and the farcical Comedy of Errors. He soon proved the breadth of his comic range in The Merchant of Venice, 1594, where comedy hovers on the brink of tragedy; in A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1594, where ethereal fancy mingles with romance and broad humour; in All's Well That Ends Well, 1596-97, a pathetic romance rather unpleasingly developed; in The Taming of the Shrew, 1595-1596, a farcical romance; and in The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1598, a domestic comedy.

In 1599-1600 he showed his matured hand as a writer of comedy in the romantic trilogy, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night. In a different vein were Shakespeare's next so-called comedies, Troilus and Cressida, 1603, a story of woman's fickleness embedded in an impressive series of philosophic deliverances, and Measure for Measure, 1604, a study of sex in a tragic vein. To Pericles, 1608, an ill-constructed romantic piece by an inferior hand, William Shakespeare contributed a few scenes. Finally, William Shakespeare, in The Winter's Tale, 1610, and Cymbeline, 1611, fused the separate types of comedy and tragedy into romantic tragicomedy, and his latest comedy, The Tempest, 1611, is a vivid romance instinct with both poetry and philosophy.

Meanwhile William Shakespeare applied himself no less successfully to tragedy, and to the dramatisation of the past history of his country, albeit highly distorted to suit his aims. His first essay in history was a revision of the three parts of Henry VI the early drafts of which were from the pens of Robert Greene and George Peele, with some help from Christopher Marlowe, who may be called Shakespeare's tutor in tragedy. Marlowe's influence is plainly seen in Shakespeare's earliest unassisted history plays, the blatant propaganda piece Richard III and Richard II 1593. King John, 1594, though based directly on an older anonymous play, is rich in searching character studies, but Shakespeare's full-developed capacity as an historical-dramatist is seen in the two parts of Henry IV, 1596-1598, which are rendered memorable by the unhistoric introduction of Falstaff, the supreme embodiment of Shakespeare's gift of humour. Shakespeare's endeavours in 'history' were brought to a close in Henry V, 1598, a glorification of English heroism, which has a happy ending. In his latest years, William Shakespeare aided his fellow-playwright, John Fletcher, in the loosely-jointed and pageant-like history-play of Henry VIII, 1611-1612.

Shakespeare, in his earliest tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, 1592, the greatest of all tragic dramas of love, showed a master's youthful hand. Little of the Shakespearean touch is discernible in Titus Andronicus, 1593, a crude tragedy of blood, and it was not until his genius was fully matured that he proved his pre-eminence in tragedy throughout its range.

Between 1600 and 1609 he produced in quick succession those tragedies which rank above all others, of whatever age or country. After drawing a tragic plot from Roman history in Julius Caesar, 1600, he penned in 1602 Hamlet, which was followed by Othello in 1604, by Macbeth in 1606 - which takes scandalous and libels liberties on the Scottish hero, and by King Lear in 1607. Then, having rendered some little aid to the halting author of Timon of Athens, 1608, he completed his great tragic series in two pieces based like Julius Caesar on Roman history, viz Antony and Cleopatra, 1608, and Coriolanus, 1609.

It was as a writer of narrative poems - paraphrases of classical legends - that William Shakespeare first caught the ear of the reading public. An outbreak of plague (again) in London had caused the theatres to be temporarily closed, and William Shakespeare took to writing poetry. His Venus and Adonis. which he calls 'the first heir of my invention', came from the press in 1593. Lucrece followed in 1594 and was received with equal favour. Both were dedicated in prose epistles to a young courtier of literary tastes, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd earl of Southampton. In 1599 William Jaggard issued a small poetic anthology which he misleadingly entitled 'The Passionate Pilgrim, by W. Shakespeare'.

Only five of the twenty poems can be placed to Shakespeare's credit; two of them are sonnets, not previously published, and three are poetic extracts from the already published Love's Labour's Lost.

The most important of Shakespeare's non-dramatic compositions are his Sonnets, which were not published till 1609, though both internal and external evidence shows that the majority of them, like the two which figure in The Passionate Pilgrim, were written at a far earlier date for circulation in manuscript form. The Sonnets, which number 154, vary in poetic value. Many are the finest fruits of Shakespeare's poetic power; others sink almost into inanity beneath the burden of conventional conceits, and echo the artificiality of the modish Elizabethan sonnet, which took its cue from Italy, or France. Thomas Thorpe, the original publisher, who habitually acquired dispersed manuscripts as he could and published them without authority, dedicated Shakespeare's Sonnets (above his initials T. T.) in a conventional formula to a friend in the trade, 'Mr. W. H., the onelie begetter .[i.e. procurer] of these insuing sonnets'.

With Thorpe's arrangement of the poems, the poet had small concern. Of the sonnets numbered by Thorpe i-cxxvi, some eighty are addressed in terms of deep affection to a young man. Twenty of these describe the youth as a patron of the poet's verse, and episodically complain that his, favours have been for a time alienated by a rival poet. The young patron was, clearly, the earl of Southampton, to whom William Shakespeare had already dedicated his narrative poems. The rival poet would seem to have been some obscure protege of Southampton, in all probability Barnabe Barnes. Many of the later Sonnets (cxxvii-cliv) are addressed to a fickle, dark-complexioned mistress, who is represented as having intrigued with the poet's friend.

Like all great lyrics, the Sonnets convey the illusion of personal confession, but before the extent of their autobiographical veracity can be accurately gauged allowance has to be made for Shakespeare's unapproached dramatic power of interpreting objectively every phase of emotion, and for his assimilation of many predecessors' themes and turns of thought and expression. It is a futile fancy to seek the original of the 'dark lady' in Mary Fitton or Fytton, a fair-haired mistress of the 3rd earl of Pembroke.

The steady development of Shakespeare's popularity as both poet and dramatist is well attested. As early as September 1592, a rival playwright, Robert Greene, rancorously described him as 'an absolute Johannes factotum- . . . . and in his owne conceit, the onely Shake-scene in a countrie'. More significant is the eulogy pronounced in 1598 by Francis Meres, a divine and schoolmaster, who declared, in his Palladis Tamia (Wit's Treasury), that 'the Muses would speak Shakespeare's fine-filed phrase if they could speak English', and that 'among the English he is most excellent in both kinds for the stage' (i.e. in tragedy and comedy). In witness of that statement Meres cited the titles of six comedies and six tragedies, together with his two narrative poems, and his 'sugred Sonnets among his private friends', as yet unpublished. In Shakespeare's later days laudatory references to his work abound in contemporary literature. The tenor of such eulogy is finely elaborated in Ben Jonson's far-famed lines before the First Folio.

It is unlikely that William Shakespeare, after his departure from Stratford as a young man, revisited the place until 1596. During his absence his father's fortunes steadily declined. In 1596 an application to the Heralds' College was made in his father's name, but on his own behalf, for a coat-of-arms. A shield and crest were provisionally granted in the following terms: 'Gold on a bend sable, a spear of the first, the point steeled proper, and for his crest or cognisance a falcon, his wings displayed argent, standing on a wreath of his colours, supporting a spear gold steeled as aforesaid'. Non Sans Droict was the allotted motto. The grant was not finally confirmed until 1599. The arms are displayed with full heraldic elaboration on the poet's monument in Stratford Church.

Shakespeare, as soon as his financial position in London was secure, acquired a lot of property in his native Stratford-upon-Avon. On May 4, 1597, he purchased New Place, the second largest house in the town, although the poet did not regularly occupy it before 1611. Shakespeare's growing affluence was well recognized by his fellow townsmen, and they appealed to him in 1598 to use his influence in London in order to exempt the town from taxation. On October the 25th, 1598, a local friend of the dramatist, Richard Quiney, who was in London on municipal business, wrote a pressing letter, asking for a loan of 30 pounds. This letter, which is preserved at Shakespeare's Birthplace, is the only extant letter which was addressed to the poet.

The death of William Shakespeare's father on September the 8th 1601 left William Shakespeare owner of his birthplace in Henley Street. On May the 1st, 1602, William Shakespeare purchased, for 320 pounds, a large plot of 107 acres of arable land near the town, to which he subsequently added 20 acres of pasture land. A larger investment was made on July the 24th, 1605, when William Shakespeare bought, for 440 pounds, a lease of 'a moiety of the tithes' (i.e. the tithe-estate) of Stratford.

Not until 1611, soon after the production of The Tempest, did he make Stratford his main home. Even then he paid frequent visits to London, where his financial interests in The Globe and Blackfriars theatres were undiminished. Early in 1613 he joined his friend and fellow-shareholder, the actor Burbage, in devising an heraldic emblem, technically known as an impresa (a symbolic vignette with motto), for the shield of Francis Manners, 6th earl of Rutland, which the earl bore at a great tournament held at Whitehall on March the 24th, 1613. On March the 10th, 1613, he bought, for 140 pounds, a house with a yard attached, near the Blackfriars theatre. He left 60 pounds of the purchase money on mortgage, signing a deed to that effect next day. Two years later, on April the 26th, 1615, Shakespeare, with his other owners of adjoining Blackfriars property, brought a successful action in the court of chancery against a former owner for. the recovery of the title-deeds.

Shakespeare's social circle at Stratford at the close of his life included all the better-to-do trades folk, as well as many of the country gentry. John Combe, a resident at Stratford, who owned much landed property in the neighbourhood, left him 5 pounds on his death in 1614. William Shakespeare took small part in local affairs, but an effort was made to draw him into local controversy in his last days, through the high-handed endeavour of John Combe's nephews, William and Thomas Combe (of whom the latter was his uncle's heir), to enclose in their personal interest the common lands of the town. Shakespeare, according to local records, preserved a strict neutrality. Ultimately, in 1618, after Shakespeare's death, the Combes suffered defeat.

In January, 1616, Francis Collins, a solicitor in good practice at Warwick, drafted Shakespeare's will, which was finally executed, after revision, in March. One of the five witnesses was Julius Shaw, bailiff or chief magistrate of the town. Early next month, according to the gossiping diary of John Ward, who was vicar of the town in Charles II's time, William Shakespeare entertained at New Place two literary friends, Michael Drayton and Ben Jonson. The vicar suggests, unconvincingly, that at this 'merry meeting' William Shakespeare 'drank too hard', for he 'died of a feavour there contracted'. William Shakespeare died at New Place on Tuesday, April the 23rd, 1616, having just celebrated his 52nd birthday. Two days later he was buried in the chancel of Stratford Church, in front of the altar. In order to guard against the common practice of profaning graves by moving the bones soon after burial to the charnel` house of the churchyard, William Shakespeare directed the following lines to be inscribed on his tombstone: Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbeare To dig the dust enclosed heare; Bleste be the man that spares these stones, And curst be he that moves my bones..

Well before 1623, a sculptured monument, enclosing within a central arch a half-length figure of the poet, was affixed to the north wall of the chancel, overlooking the grave. The monument was designed and executed by a well-known tomb-maker in Southwark. A panel below the dramatist's effigy bears the inscription: Judicio Pylium, genio Socratem, arte Maronem; Terra legit, populus maeret. Olympus habet. Stay passenger, why goest thou by so fast? Read, if thou canst, whom envious death hath plast. Within this monument; William Shakespeare with whome Quick nature dide; whose name doth deck ye tombe Far more than cost; sith all yt he hath writt, Leaves living art but paige to serve his witt. Obiit ano. doi 1616. AEtatis 53. Die 23 AD.

The crude elegy acknowledges William Shakespeare to be the greatest man of letters of his age, whom other living writers were only fit to serve as 'page' or menial.

Shakespeare's will, the original of which is in Somerset House, was proved in London by the executors, his elder daughter Susanna, and her husband, John Hall, on June the 23rd, 1616. The main part of the poet's estate was left to Mrs. Hall with remainder to her issue in strict entail. Small legacies wen left to the younger daughter, Mrs, Judith Quiney, and to the poet's sister, Mrs. Joan Hart, and her three sons. To his wife he left only 'his second best bed, with the furniture' (i.e. the bedding). Recognitions of friends outside the family circle were numerous. His sword went to Thomas Combe, nephew of his friend John Combe, and seven sums of 26s 8d each, wherewith to buy memorial rings, were respectively allotted to four Stratford associates, and to three of his playhouse colleagues, Richard Burbage, the great actor who had created most of his tragic roles, John Heminges, and Henry Condell; the two latter, though well known as actors, were mainly occupied in theatrical management.

In Shakespeare's lifetime there were printed separately in quarto his two narrative poems, Venus and Adonis (1st edition 1593), Lucrece (1st edition 1594), his Sonnets (1609), and fifteen plays, to which Othello was added posthumously in 1622. In 1623 thirty-six plays were issued collectively in the volume known as the First Folio. (Pericles, which had appeared in quarto, was excluded). This volume was undertaken by Shakespeare's friends and fellow actors, Heminges and Condell, who dedicated it to the brothers William Herbert, 3rd earl of Pembroke, lord chamberlain, and Philip, earl of Montgomery. Three brief panegyrics in verse were contributed by little-known authors. But the most striking feature of the preliminary pages is a long eulogy by Ben Jonson, 'To the memory of my beloved, the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare: and what he hath left us'. There Jonson apostrophises William Shakespeare as 'Sweet Swan of Avon', whose dramatic genius excelled that of any dramatist of the ancient or modern world.

The Second Folio, published in 1632, includes among the prefatory verse Milton's famous epitaph: 'What needs my Shakespeare for. his honoured bones',etc. The Third Folio appeared in 1663 ; a re-issue in 1664 prints in an appendix Pericles, and six spurious plays which were erroneously attributed to William Shakespeare by enterprising publishers in his lifetime. The Fourth Folio, dated 1685, reprints the 1664 issue of the Third Folio. The first attempt to edit Shakespeare's plays was made by Nicholas Rowe, in 1709, and his successors between that date and the present day have been legion.

Shakespeare was survived by his two daughters (Susanna, wife of John Hall, a medical practitioner of local repute, and Judith, wife of Thomas Quiney), and by Mrs. Hall's only child Elizabeth. His granddaughter, Elizabeth Hall, was his last direct descendant, and although she married twice, had no issue. William Shakespeare's line only survives collaterally in the descendants of his nephew, Thomas Hart, the only married child of his sister, Mrs. Joan Hart.
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Susanna Maria Cibber was an English actress. She was born in 1716 and died in 1766. She was renowned as one of the best actresses on the English stage. She was sister of Thomas Arne (the composer of Rule Britannia), who taught her music, and introduced her in one of his operas at the Haymarket Theatre. Handel composed pieces expressly adapted to her voice, and used to instruct her in singing them. She subsequently made her appearance in tragedy and gained admiration.
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Susanna Foster (real name Susanne Larson) is an American actress. She was born in 1924 at Chicago, Illinois.
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Susanna Hoffs is an American singer and actress. She was born in 1959 at Newport Beach, California. She is best known as a member of the rock band 'The Bangles' but has also appeared in several films, including playing 'Molly Morrison' in the 1987 film 'The Allnighter'.
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Dragonfly is a supernatural romantic drama starring Kevin Costner, Susanna Thompson, Joe Morton and Ron Rifkin in a story about a hospital doctor who, while mourning for his dead wife, is convinced she is trying to contact him from beyond the grave. Dragonfly was directed by Tom Shadyac in 2002.
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Ghosts of Mississippi is a drama starring Alec Baldwin, James Woods, Virginia Madsen, Whoopi Goldberg and Susanna Thompson in a story based on real events about the killer of a Black Civil Rights campaigner in America being acquitted at his trial by an all-white jury, only for the victim's wife to have the case re-opened several years later. Ghosts of Mississippi was directed by Rob Reiner in 1996.
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Susanna is a cultivated variety of potato.
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