Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

cusable for omitting Kit Marlowe's "smooth song; " " old-fashioned poctry," indeed, as Walton calls it, " but choicely good :"

“ THE PASSIONATE SHEPHEARD TO HIS LOVE.

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,

That rallies, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepie mountaines yeelds.
And we will sit upon the rockes,
Seeing the Shepheards feede their flockcs,
By shallow riuers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigalls.
And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant poesies,
A cap of flowers and a kirtle
Imbroydered all with leaues of mirtle :
A gowne made of the finest wooll
Which from our pretty lambs we pull :
Faire lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold :
A belt of straw, and ivie buds,
With corall clasps and amber studs,
And if these pleasures may thee more,
Come live with me and be my love.
The Shepheard swaines shall dance and sing
For thy delights each May-morning ;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love."

(2) SCENE III.— The ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance.] By the ship-tire was, perhaps, understood some fanciful head-dress, with ornaments of glass or jewellery fashioned to resemble a ship :-" The attyre of her head was in forme of two little ships, made of emeraulds, with all the shrouds and tackling of cleere sapphyres.”—“ Diana," of George of Montemeyor, 1598. Or it may have been an open kind of head-dress with ribbons streaming from it like the pennons of a ship. The tire-valiant was another of the innumerable " new-fangled tires," as Burton calls them, which an overweening love of dress had imported from abroad, and of which the form is lost, and not worth seeking. Both were, no doubt, of " Venetian admittance," or fashion, as the coiffures of that nation were all the mode at the end of the sixteenth, and beginning of the seventeenth century:-“Let her have the Spanish gait, the Venetian tire, Italian complements and endowments.”—Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, 1624.

(3) SCENE III.-

Fortune thy foe.] It is not, perhaps, quite certain that the ballad, of which the first and second stanzas are subjoined, is the original Fortune my Foe that Falstaff had in mind, though there is strong reason, from the fact of the opening verse being quoted in Lilly's "Maydes Metamorphosis," 1600, for believing it to be the authentic version. Of the tune, which will be found, with much interesting matter connected with it, in Mr. Chappell's “Popular Music of the Olden Time," vol. i. p. 162, there can be no doubt. It had the good or evil fortune to be selected as an appropriate chaunt for the dismal effusions attributed to condemned criminals, and for the relation of murders, fires, judgments, and calamities of all kinds; and hence, for more than two hundred years, it maintained a popularity almost unexampled. Fortune my Foe is alluded to again by Shakespeare, in “ Henry V.” Act III. Sc. 6, and is mentioned by Lodge, Chettle, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Shirley, and a host of other writers. A sueet Sonnet, wherein the Lorer exclaimeth against Fortune for the loss of his

Ladies Favour, almost past hope to get it again, fc. dc. The Tune is Fortune, my
Foc.

THE LOVER'S COMPLAINT FOR THE Loss Of His Love.

Fortune my Foe why dost thou froun on me?
And will thy favours never better be?

Wilt thou I say for ever breed my pain,
And wilt thou not restore my joys again?
Fortune hath wrought my grief and great annoy,
Fortune hath falsly stoln my Love away,
My love my joy, whose sight did make me glad,
Such great misfortunes never young man had.”

ACT IV.

(1) SCENE I.-I pray you, ask him some questions in his accidence.] The particular work here referred to is the old English introduction to Latin Grammar called “Lily's Accidence.” One of the efforts of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. for the advancement of learning, was an endeavour to establish an uniformity of books for teaching Latin. In 1541, in the proheme to “The Castel of Helthe," Sir Thomas Elyot says that the king had '" not himselfe disdained to be the chiefe authour and setter forthe of an Introduction into Grammar, for the childerne of his loving subjectes.” This was the famous “Introduction of the Eyght Partes of Speche, and the Construction of the same,' usually known as “Lily's Accidence,” but really composed by Dean Colet for his school at St. Paul's, in the years 1510 and 1513. The whole collection of tracts forming this Grammar,---written by Colet, Erasmus, Lily, Robertson, and Ritwise,-had appeared either in London or abroad, before

they received the Royal sanction; but in 1542 they were printed entire as having been "compiled and set forth by the commandement of our most gracious soverayne lorde the King.” After the death of Henry VIII. his son continued the royal patronage to " Lily's Grammar," which then became known as “King Edward's Grammar;" Edvardus" being inserted as the example of proper names in the English, as those of " Henricusand “ Angliawere in the Latin Institution. This was the book taught by authority at the public schools down even to the first half of the seventeenth century, the Accidence mentioned in the text, and the identical source whence Shakespeare himself acquired the elements of Latin. In * Twelfth Night,” Act II. Sc. 3, Sir Toby Belch refers familiarly, as having learned it in his own youth, to the example given in the First Concord, of the infinitive mood being the nominative case to a verb,—"Diluculo surgere-thou know'st,-" The clown in the same comedy, Act V. Sc. 1, misquotes, or perverts, the nouns of number requiring a genitive case, * Primo, secundo, tertio, is a good play:” and Benedick, in “Vluch Ado about Nothing," Act IV. Sc. 1, takes an illustration from another part of the Accidence, when he says, “How tow! interjections ? why, then, some be of laughing, as, ha! ha! he!' In the examination of William Page, Sir Hugh inquires, "What is hé, William, that does lend Articles ?" And to this the child replies in the very words of the Accidence, “ Articles are borrowed of the pronoun; and be thus declined.” Even in the difference between the teacher and the pupil, the rules of the Introduction are to be traced; for when young Page says, “0, vocativo 0,” he repeats the sense of the definition, the vocative case is known by calling or speaking to, as magister ;” whilst Sir Hugh follows the declension of the article, and rightly says, rocatiro caret."

(2) SCENE II.-A muffler.] The muffler, a contrivance adopted by women to conceal a portion of their face, consisted usually of a linen bandage which covered the mouth and chin. Douce states that "it was enacted by a Scottish statute in 1547, that na woman cum to kirk, nor mercat, with her face mussaled or covered that scho may not be kend.'

(3) SCENE II.-The witch of Brentford.) The “wise-woman of Brentford" was an actual personage, the fame of whose vaticinations must have been traditionally well known to an audience of the time, although the records we possess of her are scant enough. The chief of them is a black letter tract, printed by William Copland in the middle of the sixteenth century, entitled, “ Jyl of Braintford's Testament,” from which it appears she was hostess of a tavern at Brentford. She is mentioned also in “ Westward Hoe!"_“I doubt that old hag, Gillian of Brentford, has bewitched me.”

(4) SCENE V.-There is three couzin Germans, that has cozened all the hosts of Readings, of Maidenhead, of Coleprook, of horses and money.] In the preliminary notice of this play we mentioned an ingenious hypothesis of År. Knight in his “Pictorial

VOL. II.

M

Shakspere,” that the deception practised upon mine Host de Jarterre pointed to some incidents connected with a visit made to Windsor, in 1592, by the Duke of Würtemberg. The Duke, it appears, was known here as “Count Mombeliard,” (query, “Mumpelgard ") of which title both Mr. Knight and Mr. Halliwell conceive the expression

cosen garmombles" in the quarto, to be a jocular corruption. " This nobleman visited Windsor, was shown the splendidly beautiful and royal Castle,' he “hunted a stag for a long time over a broad and pleasant plain, with a pack of remarkably good hounds; and, after staying some days, departed for Hampton Court."” From these and other circumstances, not omitting that he was provided with a passport from Lord Howard, containing instructions to the authorities of towns through which he passed to furnish him with post horses, &c.; and at the sea-side with shipping, for which he was to pay nothing, Mr. Knight infers this to have been one of those local and temporary allusions which Shakspere seized upon to arrest the attention of his audience."

Our objections to this theory, inasmuch as the visit in 1592 is concerned, have already been mentioned in the Introduction ; but it is far from improbable that an allusion was covertly intended to some other visit of the same nobleman. From the following interesting article by Sir Frederic Madden, we learn that the Duke of WürtembergVümplegard was in England in 1610; and it is not unreasonable to suppose he might have visited us more than twice in the long interval of eighteen years.

“ Among the Additional Manuscripts in the British Museum is a small thin quarto, containing the autograph diary, written in French, of Hans Jacob Wurmsser von Vendenheym, who accompanied Louis Frederic, Duke of Wurtemberg-Mumpelgard, in his diplomatic mission to England in 1610, on the part of the united Protestant German Princes. This diary extends from 16th March to 24th July of that year, and affords brief but interesting notices of the places visited by the Duke, both' in coming and returning. He embarked from Flushing (where an English garrison was stationed) on Tuesday, 12th April, and arrived at Gravesend on the following day, where be was waited on by Sir Lewis Lewkenor, Master of the Ceremonies, and the next day conveyed in the Royal barges to London, `au logis de l'Aigle noir.' 'On the 16th the Duke had his audience of the King, who received him sitting under a des' of cloth of gold, accompanied by the Queen, the Prince (Henry), the Duke of York (afterwards Charles I.), the Princess (Madame Arabella Stuart), and the young Prince of Brunswick, at that time also on a visit to James. Several days were afterwards spent in receiving and paying visits, and on the 23rd the Feast of St. George was kept with the usual ceremonies. On the 30th we have an entry of some interest to Shakspearean readers—'S. E. alla au Globe, lieu ordinaire ou l'on joue les Commedies; y fut representé l'histoire du More de Venise.'

“We know from the evidence produced by Mr. Collier that “Othello' appeared as early as 1602; and this entry proves that it retained its popularity in 1610. On the following day, 1st May, is another entry, of scientific interest :

**S. E. alla au parc d'Elthon (Eltham) pour veoir la perpetuum mobile. L'inventeur s'appelle Cornelius Trebel, natif d'Alkmar, homme fort blond et beau, et d'une très douce façon, tout au contraire des espricts de la sorte. Nous y vismes aussy des Espinettes, qui jouent d'elle mesmes.'

“I have not met with any mention of this philosopher in other papers of the period; but it is certain that in 1621 he published a work in Latin, entitled De quintessentia, et Epistola ad Jacobum Regem de perpetui mobili inventione.'

*" The King had previously left London (on the 24th) to go to his hunting-box in Northamptonshire; and on the 4th of May the Duke followed him and slept at Ware, at the inn called the Stag, where, says the author of the Diary, “Je fus couché dans ung lict de plume de cigne, qui avoit huiet pieds de largeur.' This is, perhaps, the earliest precise notice yet found of this famous bed, and it serves to illustrate the passage in Shakspeare's • Twelfth Night,' Act III. Sc. 2, in which he alludes to the · Bed of Ware.' This bed still exists, and is engraved in Shaw's “ Ancient Furniture,' where it is stated to be 10 ft. 9 in, in length, by 10 ft. 9 in. in width, and to have been made in the reign of Elizabeth.

"On leaving Ware the Duke proceeded to Royston, Cambridge, Newmarket, and Thetford, where he rejoined the King on the 7th ; and the next morning the Duke went to church with his Majesty, as it was the day que sa Majesté observe infalliblement pour estre celuy de sa déllivrance de l'assasinat des Contes de Gaury (Gowry).'. This is a remarkable passage, since other authorities give the 5th of August as the anniversary of this conspiracy. On the same day James took his guests with him to hunt the hare (his favourite amusement), and they saw a hawk seize some doterels, 'oiseau qui se laisse prendre par une estrange manière ;' and also the trained cormorants, which, at the word of command, plunged into the water and brought up eels and other fish, which they, on a sign given, vomited up alive-chose bien merveilleuse à voir!' On the same day, also, arrived the news of the assassination of Henry IV. of France, which took place on the 4th May The news, however, did not prevent the King from hunting the hare the next day; and after dinner the whole party returned towards London, which they reached on the 10th. On the 25th the Duke of Wurtemberg left London and travelled by Rochester and Canterbury to Dover; whence, on the 29th, he embarked with his suite, and arrived safely at the port of Veer, in Zealand, on the following day.”

ACT V.

(1) SCENE I.- Herne's oak.) One of the many pleasing features in this sprightly comedy is the amount of local colouring with which it is imbued. Within the last few years the researches of various writers have shown, to use the words of Mr. Halliwell, ** that. The Merry Wives of Windsor' is to be regarded, in all essential particulars, as al purely English local drama, in which the actors and incidents, though spiritually belonging to all time, are really founded and engrafted upon living characters, amidst scenes existing, in a provincial town of England and its neighbourhood, in the lifetime of the poet.” With regard to Herne's oak, the fact is now established, that a family of the name of Herne was living at Windsor in the sixteenth century, one Gylles Herne being married there in 1569. The old tradition was that Herne, one of the keepers in the park, having committed an offence for which he feared to be disgraced, hung himself upon an oak, which was ever after haunted by his ghost.

The earliest notice of this oak, since immortalized by Shakespeare, is in a “Plan of the Town and Castle of Windsor and little Park," published at Eton, in 1742. In the map, a tree, marked " Sir John Falstaff's oak," is represented as being on the edge of a pit, (Shakespeare's fairy pit!) just on the outside of an avenue which was formed in the seventeenth century, and known as Queen Elizabeth's Walk. The oak, a pollard, was described in 1780 as being twenty-seven feet in circumference, hollow, and the only tree in the neighbourhood into which boys could get. Although in a rapid state of decay, acorns were obtained from it as late as 1783, and it would in all probability have stood the scath of time and shocks of weather, but that unfortunately it was marked down inadvertently in a list of decayed and unsightly trees which had been ordered to be destroyed by George III., and fell a victim to the woodman's axe in 1796.

(2) SCENE V.— Yet be cheerful, knight : thou shalt cat a posset tonight at my house.] To posset, whatever its derivation, meant to coagulate, or curd :

" And with a sudden vigour it doth posset,

And curd, like aigre droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood":

Hamlet, Act I. Sc. 5. and the posset originally was, perhaps, no more than curdled milk, taken to promote perspiration. Hence, the hour of projection, the appropriate time for the administration of the posset proper, such as we are now considering, was at night, shortly before retiring to rest; Mrs. Quickly, in the present play, promises John Rugby “ Å posset soon at night,—at the end of a sea-coal fire :” Lady Macbeth, at night, speaks of having "drugged the possets" of Duncan's “grooms." Martha, in Beaumont and Fletcher's “Scornful Lady,” Act II. Sc. 1, remarks to Welford, “Sir, 'tis so late, and our entertainment (meaning our posset) by this time is grown so cold, that 'twere an unmannerly part longer to hold you from your rest." And in Sir John Suckling's ballad on the wedding of Lord Broghill, the last ceremony described in the bridal chamber is :

“In come the bride's-maids with the posset,
The bridegroom ate in spite :
For, had he left the women to 't,
It would have cost an hour to do 't,

Which were too much that night." On the nature and qualities of Sack, “Simple of itself,” the commentators are profuse in information. On this, its crowning luxury,—the famous and universally popular sack-posset,--they afford us none at all. Luckily, we are enabled to supply this grave omission, having at hand two recipes, infallibly authentic, for the precious brewage. The first of these is taken from a work published near the end of the seventeenth century, entitled “ A True Gentlewoman's Delight;" the other is from the pen of Sir Fleetwood Shepherd.

“ TO MAKE A SACK-POSSET.-Take Two Quarts of pure good Cream, and a Quarter of a Pound of the best Almonds. Stamp them in the Cream and boyl, with Amber and Musk therein. Then take a Pint of Sack in a basin, and set it on a Chafing-dish, till it be blood-warm; then take the Yolks of Twelve Eggs, with Four of their Whites, and beat them well together; and so put the Eggs into the Sack. Then stir all together over the coals, till it is all as thick as you would have it. If you now take some Amber and Musk, and grind the same quite small, with sugar, and strew this on the top of your Possit, I promise you that it shall have a most delicate and pleasant taste.”

He must be the veriest Pythagorean who could doubt it; and the marvel is how such a "night-cap” ever went out of fashion. The Knight's preparation seems hardly so ambrosial, but that too must have been a palatable" comforter:".

“From fam'd Barbadoes in the Western Main,
Fetch Sugar, ounces four; fetch Sack from Spain
A Pint; and from the Eastern Indian coast,
Nutmeg, the glory of our Northern toast :
O'er flaming coals let them together heat,
Til the all-conquering Sack dissolve the Sweet.
O'er such another fire, put Eggs just Ten,
New-born from tread of cock and rump of hen;
Stir them, with steady hand, and conscience prieking,
To see the untimely end of ten fine chicken.
From shining shelf take down the brazen skillet,
A quart of Milk from gentle cow will fill it.
When boil'd and cold, put Milk and Sack to Egs,
Unite them firmly, like the Triple League;
And on the fire let them together dwell,
Till Miss sing twice— You must not kiss and tell.'
Then lad and lass take up a Silver Spoon :
And fall on't fiercely, like a starved Dragoon.”

(3) SCENE V.-I am glad, though you have ta'en a special stand to strike at me, that your arrow hath glanced.] Deer shooting was a favourite sport of both sexes in the time of Shakespeare, and to enable ladies to enjoy it in safety and without fatigue, stands, or standings, with flat roofs, ornamented and concealed by boughs and bushes, were erected in many parks. Here, armed with the cross-bow or bow and arrow, the fair huntresses were wont to take aim at the animal which the keepers compelled to pass before them. To this practice the poet alludes again in “Love's Labour's Lost," Act IV. Sc. 1:

" PRIN. - where is the bush
That we must stand and play the murderer in

For. Hereby, upon the edge of yonder coppice;

A stand where you may make the fairest shoot.” And in “Cymbeline,” Act. III. Sc. 4:

“When thou hast ta'en thy stand, The elected deer before thee!

(4) SCENE V:-Well, what remedy?] In the quarto, after Falstaff's speech, the dialogue proceeds as follows :

“Mrs. FORD. Come, mistris Page, Ile be bold with you,
'Tis pity to part love that is so true.

Mrs. Page. Altho' that I have missed in my intent,
Yet I am glad my husband's match was crossed;
Here, M. Fenton, take her, and God give thee joy.

Sir Hu. Come, Master Page, you must needs agree.
Ford. I yfaith, sir, come, you see your wife is wel pleased.

PAGE. I cannot tel, and yet my hart's well eased.
And yet it doth me good the Doctor missed.
Come hither. Fenton, and come hither, daughter;
Go too, you might have stai’d for my good will,
But since your choise is made of one you love,
Here take her, Fenton, and both happie prove."

.

!

« VorigeDoorgaan »