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King. She does abuse our ears. To prison with
her! Dia. Good mother, fetch my bail.—[Exit Widow.]
Stay, royal sir:
But for this lord,
Re-enter Widow, with HELENA.
Is there no exorcist
No, my good lord :
Both, both! O, pardon !
letter: this it says:
Ber. If she, my liege, can make me know this
I'll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.
Hel. If it appear not plain, and prove untrue",
7 “ And are by me with child,”] Is for “ are," a grammatical error running through all the old copies. Helena only gives the import of the words of the letter, and not the exact words. Her repetition of them shows clearly the sense of the passage. See p. 258.
8 If it appear not plain, and prove untrue,] In Painter, and in his original, Boccaccio, Helen comes before Count Bertram at Rousillon with twins in her arms, “ Io ti richieggio per Dio, che le conditioni postemi per li due cavalieri, che io ti mandai, tu le mi osservi: ed ecco nelle mie braccia non un solo figliuolo di te ma due; ed ecco qui il tuo anello:" which Painter thus renders :-“ Therefore I now beseche thee, for the honoure of God, that thou wilt observe the conditions which the twoo Knightes that I sent unto thee did commannde me to doe: for beholde here, in my armes, not onely one sonne begotten by thee, but twayne, and likewyse thy ryng.” Palace of Pleasure, i. fo. 92. Edit. Marsh. It is to be remarked, that in the original story the King is not present at Rousillon at the reconcilement of Bertram and Helena.
Deadly divorce step between me and you !
Laf. Mine eyes smell onions, I shall weep anon.Good Tom Drum, [To PAROLLES.] lend me a handkerchief: so, I thank thee. Wait on me home, I'll make sport with thee: let thy courtesies alone, they are scurvy ones.
King. Let us from point to point this story know, To make the even truth in pleasure flow.[To DIANA.] If thou be'st yet a fresh uncropped flower, Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy dower; For I can guess, that by thy honest aid Thou kept'st a wife herself, thyself a maid. — Of that, and all the progress, more and less, Resolvedly more leisure shall express : All yet seems well; and if it end so meet, The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.
[Flourish. The king's a beggar, now the play is done. All is well ended, if this suit be won, That you express content; which we will pay, With strife to please you, day exceeding day : Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts ; Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.
[Exeunt omnes. TWELFTH-NIGHT:
“ Twelfe Night, Or what you will,” was first printed in the folio of 1623, where it occupies twenty-one pages; viz. from p. 255 to 275 inclusive, in the division of “Comedies," p. 276 having been left blank, and unpaged. It appears in the same form in the three later folios.
We have no record of the performance of “ Twelfth-Night” at court, nor is there any mention of it in the books at Stationers' Hall until November 8, 1623, when it was registered by Blount and Jaggard, as about to be included in the first folio of “Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.” It appeared originally in that volume, under the double title, “Twelfth Night, or What You Will,” with the Acts and Scenes duly noted.
We cannot determine with precision when it was first written, but we know that it was acted on the celebration of the Readers' Feast at the Middle Temple on Feb. 2, 1602, according to our modern computation of the year. The fact of its performance we have on the evidence of an eye-witness, who seems to have been a barrister, and whose Diary, in his own hand-writing, is preserved in the British Museum (Harl. MSS. 5353). The memorandum runs, literatim, as follows :
“Feby. 2, 1601. At our feast we had a play called TwelveNight, or What You Will, much like the comedy of errors, or Menechmi in Plautus, but most like and neere to that in Italian, called Inganni. A good practise in it to make the steward believe his lady widdowe was in love with him, by counterfayting a letter, as from his lady, in generall termes telling him what shee liked best in him, and prescribing his gestures, inscribing his apparaile, &c., and then when he came to practise, making him beleeve they tooke him to be mad."
This remarkable entry was pointed out in the “History of English Dramatic Poetry and the Stage,” vol. i. p. 327. 8vo, 1831, and the Rev. Joseph Hunter, in his “Disquisition on The Tempest," 8vo, 1839, has ascertained that it was made by a person of the name of Manningham. It puts an end to the conjecture of Malone, that “Twelfth-Night” was written in 1607, and to the less probable speculation of Tyrwhitt, that it was not produced until 1614. Even if it should be objected that we have no evidence to show that this Comedy was composed shortly prior to its representation at the Middle Temple, it may be answered, that it is capable of proof that it was written posterior to the publication of the translation of Linschoten's “Discours of Voyages into the East and West