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might give him the £150., even though he owned or leased lands worth very much less than that.
The latter part of this bequest provides that any time after three years the principal is to be paid to Judith's husband if he can satisfy the poet's executors that he can "assure" to Judith and her children lands of the value of "the porcon gyven vnto her" by the will. But the will does not specify definitely how much these lands had to be worth. Did the testator mean £300., the aggregate of the sums bequeathed to her or only £150., the amount of the second bequest? or only £100., the amount of her marriage porcon"? And inasmuch as the will also provides that Judith and her children are to be paid interest (at the rate of 10% per annum), the question might very well arise whether this was to be included when the time came to determine how much land Judith's husband had to assure in order that he might be entitled to the £150. Ten years after the poet's death Judith's husband might have to "assure" property worth twice the amount of money bequeathed her by the will. That the determination of these matters would or might be of great moment and might involve much litigation is obvious. And it is not impossible that the ambiguity might even void the bequest as a whole, to the great endamagement of Judith, her children and her husband.20
Besides, what is the meaning of the provisional bequest to Judith's husband? Does it mean that he must own lands worth the amount of Judith's "porcon" (whatever that may be decided to be) or lands producing an income equal to Judith's income from her "porcon"? He might conceivably own lands worth more and producing less or worth less and producing more.
It will also be noted that the will provides that Judith's husband must "Assure" these lands unto her and the issue of her body, without saying a word concerning the nature of this assurance, and subsequently requires him to make "such assurance to his own use," a hopelessly muddled bequest. If it be contended that the words "to his owne use apply to the £150. which are to be paid him, the evident reply is that the will had previously provided that
20 In view of the fact that Thomas Quiney, vintner, lived and carried on his modest business (from 1616 to 1652) in a small house which he leased from the Corporation of Stratford, we may rest assured that he and his wife never got this money. For an account of him cf. S. Lee, op. cit., p. 504.
the interest was to be paid to Judith annually as long as she lived. If the testator meant that Judith's husband was to settle on her and her children an estate in land equivalent in value to her porcon," as Halliwell-Phillipps (Outlines, I, 254) thinks, that intention is certainly not made clear in this bequest. That Collins himself was perplexed by this provision may be inferred from his requiring Judith's husband "sufficientlie" to assure unto her the aforesaid lands. No wonder that Halliwell-Phillipps marked the word "sufficientlie as an erroneous reading."
Evidence of carelessness or haste is also to be found in the fact that the poet's "Plate " bequeathed to his grand-daughter Elizabeth in the amended version of page 2 is bequeathed to his son-in-law on page 3.
Taking it all in all, this will leaves very little room for doubt that Shakspere's last days were clouded with grief over his younger daughter's marriage to a man of whom he did not approve, a ne'er-do-well who subsequently justified his father-in-law's disapproval by going off to London, leaving his family behind him and becoming dependent on his brother for bare support. The stipulations concerning that £150. manifest a great concern on the part of the poet for the welfare of his daughter and his grandchildren, although it is not impossible that Thomas Quiney might have prospered had he had the use of that money. But, of course, Shakspere's course with regard to Thomas may have been determined by facts concerning which no data have come down to us. That the marriage and the excommunication (or threatened excommunication) may have hastened his death is not impossible. As we have seen, concern, solicitude, haste and death are written across the face of the will in language that is hardly mistakable.27 How these affected the penmanship of his signatures-a problem to which this analysis of the will is an introduction-we shall see in another study.
New York City.
27 When we consider the perversity which impels "Baconians and other "anti-Stratfordians" so to distort the plain meaning of the provisions of this will as to portray Shakspere as "a mean, paltry, smallminded, vindictive, and ungenerous snob," we realize why these deluded mortals ignore the bequest of £10. "vnto the Poore of Stratford "-a bequest which precedes those to his friends and "ffellowes "—and say nothing about his generous provision for his sister Joan.
SPENSER'S USE OF THE ST. GEORGE LEGEND
BY F. M. PADELFORD AND MATTHEW O'CONNOR
In medieval poetry and romance two characters stand out as par excellence the knights of holiness, Gareth and St. George. For Spenser's purposes, however, St. George was the more natural choice for the hero of his first book, as this patron saint of the nation would serve equally the purpose of the spiritual and of the political allegory. Spenser fell heir to a well-defined St. George tradition, and its influence is manifest in what may be called the envelopment of Book One.
Although there was an English version of the life of St. George as early as Aelfric's ninth-century Lives of the Saints, the later English versions in which the Perseus myth was blended with the traditional saint's life were modeled upon the Legenda Aurea, composed between 1260 and 1270 by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa. It was a translation of this popular work which Caxton issued in 1487 as The Golden Legend, working with his eye upon a French translation of 1380 and an English translation of 1438. Almost certainly Spenser would have been familiar with The Golden Legend, of which thirty copies are even now extant. In this popular work, the story of St. George and the Dragon reads as follows:
S. George was a knight and born in Cappadocia. On a time he came in to the province of Libya, to a city which is said Silene. And by this city was a stagne or a pond like a sea, wherein was a dragon which envenomed all the country. And on a time the people were assembled for to slay him, and when they saw him they fled. And when he came nigh the city he venomed the people with his breath, and therefore the people of the city gave to him every day two sheep for to feed him, because he should do no harm to the people, and when the sheep failed there was taken a man and a sheep. Then was an ordinance made in the town that there should be taken the children and young people of them of the town by lot, and every each one as it fell, were he gentle or poor, should be delivered when the lot fell on him or her. So it happed that many of them of the town were then delivered, insomuch that the lot fell upon the king's daughter, whereof the king was sorry, and said unto the people: For the love of the gods take gold and silver and all that I have, and let me have my daughter. They said: How sir! ye have made and ordained the law, and our children
be now dead, and ye would do the contrary. Your daughter shall be given, or else we shall burn you and your house.
When the king saw he might no more do, he began to weep, and said to his daughter: Now shall I never see thine espousals. Then returned he to the people and demanded eight days' respite, and they granted it to him. And when the eight days were passed they came to him and said: Thou seest that the city perisheth: Then did the king do array his daughter like as she should be wedded, and embraced her, kissed her and gave her his benediction, and after, led her to the place where the dragon was.
When she was there S. George passed by, and when he saw the lady he demanded the lady what she made there and she said: Go ye your way fair young man, that ye perish not also. Then said he: Tell to me what have ye and why weep ye, and doubt ye of nothing. When she saw that he would know, she said to him how she was delivered to the dragon. Then said S. George: Fair daughter, doubt ye no thing hereof for I shall help thee in the name of Jesu Christ. She said: For God's sake, good knight, go your way, and abide not with me, for ye may not deliver me. Thus as they spake together the dragon appeared and came running to them, and S. George was upon his horse, and drew out his sword and garnished him with the sign of the cross, and rode hardily against the dragon which came towards him, and smote him with his spear and hurt him sore and threw him to the ground. And after said to the maid: Deliver to me your girdle, and bind it about the neck of the dragon and be not afeard. When she had done so the dragon followed her as it had been a meek beast and debonair. Then she led him into the city, and the people fled by mountains and valleys, and said: Alas! alas! we shall all be dead. Then S. George said to them: Ne doubt ye no thing, without more, believe ye in God, Jesu Christ, and do ye to be baptized and I shall slay the dragon. Then the king was baptized and all his people, and S. George slew the dragon and smote off his head, and commanded that he should be thrown in the fields, and they took four carts with oxen that drew him out of the city.
About 1482 Caxton printed a collection of saints' lives entitled 'A Festival' compiled by John Mirk, a canon of the monastery of Lilleshall, in Shropshire, which used materials from the Aurea Legenda and the Gesta Romanorum. It is, in effect, a series of short narrative homilies for use on the various saints' days. So far as the legend of holiness is concerned, it contains only two details of consequence not found in The Golden Legend: a sheep is left with the king's daughter, and the dragon approaches St. George 'spyttyng out fure.'1 This homily is very similar to one
1Cf. the version of Mirk's Festival, edited by Dr. Theodore Erbe, Early English Text Society, Extra Series 96, p. 133.
quoted by Prof. Arthur Beatty 2 which was employed in a Gloucestershire parish in the middle of the fifteenth century, and the two support the conclusion that such homilies must have helped to familiarize generations of Englishmen with this stock story.
The legend would also seem to have enjoyed great vogue in drama and pageantry. In an epoch when spectacles and rude plays furnished society with much of its organized amusement, the stirring prowess of England's patron saint must have been a favorite subject for dramatic display. Although none of the miracle plays of St. George have survived, Chambers found remnants of them in not less than twenty-nine of the mummers plays, and records specifically a St. George play enacted at Bassingbourne in 1577, and Warton found the record of such a play presented in 1511. As St. George's day was the Sunday before April 23, it coincided with the season of the year most congenial to pageantry.
In the latter part of the fifteenth century Barclay wrote The Lyfe of the Glorious Martyr Saint George, published by Pynson, without date, a work which, unfortunately, is lost. Warton is authority for the statement that Barclay translated from Mantuan. As Barclay was inspired by Mantuan to write his eclogues, and as Spenser modeled the September and October eclogues of The Shepheardes Calender upon Mantuan, it is reasonable to suppose that Spenser would have cast a sympathetic eye upon the Mantuan and Barclay versions of the George story.
That portion of Mantuan's poem which deals with the dragon fight reads as follows: 3
There is no need to record all of his more celebrated deedsindeed the number forbids it, but one of memorable fame cries out and demands that it be handed down through all time.
On one occasion transferred (for military service) across the sea of Cilicia into the arid regions of torrid Libya, as he traversed the country with a legion of Thracian horsemen, under the Roman commander, Maximian, he heard that a city-called Silena by the Libyans endured and succumbed to a shameful fate. Rumor has it that the ancient Sileni founded this city, conducted here, under
The St. George or Mummers Plays, Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Arts and Science, p. 15.
The translation is based upon the British Museum copy, Strassburg,