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as Dekker gives it, is urged less strongly by himself than by her testy father, who asserts his care in the choice of a suitable match for his daughter and her stubbornness in opposing it, abuses, imprisons, and threatens to disown her. Hammon's later suit of Jane, supposed widow of the soldier Ralph, is again marked by his gentleness and thoughtful courtesy, ending with a graceful retirement in favor of Jane's husband after he learns the truth.
"For hints here and there and for inspiration," Lange suggests Dekker's debt to Greene's Friar Bacon and James the Fourth, to the anonymous George-a-Greene, to Jonson's Every Man in His Humor, "and possibly" to Shakespeare's Henry the Fifth. Fleay and Hart find in the play one passage strongly reminiscent of A Midsummer Night's Dream," and Koeppel on doubtful grounds parallels a passage from Venus and Adonis. But, so far as I can learn, no one has ever suggested a likeness between this early play of Dekker and Romeo and Juliet.
That no such suggestion has been made is surprising for several First the respective dates of the two plays would easily permit borrowing by Dekker. The first quarto of Romeo was printed in 1597, while, as we have seen, Dekker's play was composed in 1599. Again, Romeo and Juliet was a favorite play with other dramatists. Says John Munro in his introduction to the latest edition of The Shakspere Allusion Book, "Of his early plays,
Gayley, p. 5.
A Chronicle of the English Drama (1891), vol. 1, pp. 124-5.
The Shoemakers' Holiday, II, 1. 1 ff.:
"Here sit thou down upon this flowery bank,
Carry not half such beauty in their cheeks
Cf. A Midsummer Night's Dream, IV, 1. 1 ff.
"Come sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
And stick musk roses in thy sleek, smooth head."
Ueber Shakespeare's Wirkung auf Zeitgenossische Dramatiker, Bang's Materialen, vol. 9 (1905), p. 1.
those which most struck his contemporaries were Romeo and Richard III. After 1600 these gave place to Hamlet and the Falstaff plays.” 8 Finally, Dekker, in particular, was not only apt to imitate Shakespeare, but was especially indebted to the Romeo. This fact might be easily shown by analysis, for example, of The Honest Whore, but for present purposes it is sufficient to quote two sentences from the most complete study of Dekker's work recently undertaken. Mary L. Hunt's volume, Thomas Dekker, in the Columbia University Studies in English, states: “Of contemporary playwrights he naturally enjoyed Shakespeare most, especially A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet. He shows his admiration sometimes by imitation or quotation, but perhaps more often by adaptation, as when, to illustrate on a small scale, he modifies a well-known line by Puck, to describe 'God's arm, like a girdle, going round about the world.'”, The natural presumption, in my judgment, is that Dekker was acquainted with the Romeo in 1599, and that a play whose incidents so nearly resemble some in the Romeo story would contain evidence of this acquaintance.
In the last three acts of The Shoemakers' Holiday, I believe, such evidence is not far to seek. The Crispine tale related by Deloney, as already indicated, has no suitor favored by the father of Ursula, nothing more than a momentary displeasure on the parent's part over the girl's choice of a husband, no attempt to force on her the paternal will. In other words, the whole function of the gentle Paris in the Romeo and Juliet, with his modest affection for the maiden, and also Old Capulet's endeavor to drive his daughter into the marriage are translated iifto Dekker's comedy, with Rose's father corresponding to Capulet and with Paris rechristened as Hammon. Again in the latter part of Romeo and Juliet, it will be recalled, Juliet is struggling desperately against wedlock with Paris while her lawful husband is still alive; to avert that danger she swallows the sleeping potion on the eve of her second marriage. No such struggle as this occurs in Deloney. Yet in The Shoemakers' Holiday Jane, already married to Ralph, refuses to break faith in his absence by accepting Hammon's suit until she is convinced that Ralph is not alive. Plans for her sec
8 Op. cit., p. xxiii. • Op. cit. (New York, 1911), p. 18.
ond wedding are frustrated by the timely appearance of the supposedly dead. Again Hammon functions as Paris.
If these resemblances are more than fanciful, one would expect to find closer echoes both in the context of the dialogue and also in the phrasing when situations in the two plays are paralleled. Let us see if this be true.
The Lord Mayor, learning from Rose's own lips of her refusal to marry Hammon, denounces her thus:
“Now, mammet, you have well behav'd yourself ...
'Fore God, I would have sworn the puling girl
But banish him, my thoughts! Go, minion, in!" 10 The three epithets, then, applied by the angry Lord Mayor to his daughter are: “mammet,” “puling girl,” and “minion.” Now in Act III, Scene 5, of Romeo and Juliet, a scene exactly corresponding to this one, the wrathful Capulet terms his stubborn daughter “a whining mammet,"11 "a wretched puling fool.” 12 and "Mistress minion," 13 for refusing to marry Paris at her father's demand. Other parallels follow: The Shoemakers' Holiday
Romeo and Juliet “ Lord Mayor. I would bestow upon “Cap. A peevish, self-will'd harthat peevish girl
lotry it is.” 16 A thousand marks more than I mean to give her
“I think she will be rul'd Upon condition she'd be rul'd by me. In all respects by me.16 The ape still crosseth me. There
“ Having now provided came of late A proper gentleman of fair revenues, A gentleman of noble parentage.” 17 Whom gladly I would call son-in
10 The Shoemakers' Holiday (ed. Neilson, Chief Elizabethan Dramatists), III, 3. 56, 60-62.
11 Op. cit., l. 186.
puling mammet,” according to Furness, from whose New Variorum Romeo and Juliet (1871) all readings of the First Quarto are taken.
13 Line 152. No corresponding line is found in the First Quarto.
Finally, I wish to compare certain lines of Jane's flirtatious dialogue with Hammon, whom she does not then love, and Juliet's conversation under precisely similar conditions with Paris. The phrasing is not identical, but the spirit is. The Shoemakers' Holiday
Romeo and Juliet “ Ham. Look, how you wound this Par. Thy face is mine, and thou cloth, so you wound me.
hast slander'd it. Jane. It may be so.
Jul. It may be so, for it is not
“Par. Do not deny to him that
you love me.
8 III, 5. 140. Practically the same in Q. 1.
I might call attention to other parallel passages, but they would probably not carry conviction, and I am willing to rest the case here. Dekker, I believe, was indebted to the Romeo more largely than to any other play for motifs in his two love plots, for the inspiration of many specific lines, for his conception of Master Hammon, of the Lord Mayor, and, possibly, of Margery Eyre, who in more than one scene reminds us of the Nurse in Romeo. If this debt be recognized to any extent, it is of interest to Elizabethan scholars, not merely for light it may cast on Dekker's composition, but also as one of the earliest examples 32 of the literary influence of Shakespeare's first successful tragedy.
University of Texas.
29 Neilson, iv, 1. 43-5.
32 That it is earlier than Wily Beguiled, frequently named as the earliest debtor, seems to be established by Professor Baldwin Maxwell's article on that play, Studies in Philology, xix, 206 ff.