Über die Pest-Epidemie im Jahr 1564
The outbreak of 1564 was a vicious one. At least two hundred people died in Stratford, about ten times the normal rate. Even in non-plague years, 16 per cent of infants perished in England; in this year, nearly two-thirds did. One neighbour of the Shakespeares lost four children. In a sense William Shakespeare’s greatest achievement in life wasn’t writing Hamlet or the sonnets but just surviving his first year.
Bill Bryson: Shakespeare: The World as a Stage, 2007, S. 24