Abbildungen der Seite

From Shake-speare

From Bacon “For so live the honey-bees. “ The king in a hive of bees."

Apothegm (1624). They have a king."

Henry V., i. 2 (1600).

This is, of course, an error, for bees have no king. But it is one of classical origin. Virgil says:

"The bees of a bive are very obsequious to their king. They attend him in crowds, often raising him on their shoulders and exposing their own bodies in his defence.” — Georgics, iv.

The truth is, the author of the Plays drew his knowledge of natural history, not from nature, but from books.

DEAFNESS “ If this (song] penetrate, I will “To cure deafness is difficult.” consider your music the better; if it - Promus (1594-96). do not, it is a vice in her ears which “Nothing is so hard to cure as horse-hairs . . . can never mend." the ear.” – De Augmentis (1622).

- Cymbeline, ü. 3 (1623). “ Your tale, sir, would cure deaf


The Tempest, i. 2 (1623).


“Fresh tears “Observe how the mind doth Stood on her cheeks, as doth the gather this excellent dew of knowhoney-dew

ledge, like unto that which the poet Upon a gather'd lily.”

speaketh of, aërial honey,' distilTitus Andronicus, iii. 1 (1600). ling and contriving it out of partic“Like the bee, culling from every ulars natural and artificial, as the flower

flowers of the field and garden.”— The virtuous sweets.”

Advancement of Learning (1603-5). 2 Henry IV., iv. 5 (1623).

It was the opinion of Aristotle that honey comes from dew, and that bees gather from flowers nothing but wax. Bacon notices this theory in his Natural History, saying of it: “I have heard from one that was industrious in husbandry, that the labor of the bee is about the wax; and that he hath known, in the beginning of May, honey-combs empty of honey, and within a fortnight, when the sweet dews fall, filled like a cellar.” Then he states his own opinion, agreeing with the author of the plays: “ for honey, the bee maketh or gathereth it.” The old superstition lingers with both authors, however, in the term “ honey-dew."

[ocr errors][merged small]

From Shake-speare

From Bacon Guid.

I do note “Take a service-tree, or a corneThat Grief and Patience, rooted in lian-tree, or an elder-tree, which him, both

we know have fruits of harsh and Do mingle their spurs together. binding juice, and set them near a Arvir.

Grow, Patience, vine or fig-tree, and see whether And let the stinking elder, Grief, the grapes or figs will not be the untwine

sweeter."--Natural History (1622His perishing root, with the in- 25). creasing vine."

Cymbeline, iv. 2 (1623). The ancients believed in the existence of sympathy and antipathy among plants. They cited particularly the case of the colewort and the vine, declaring that the vine, whenever it finds itself creeping near its enemy, the colewort, turns away. Bacon discusses the same subject in his Natural History, and suggests that an experiment be made to determine whether or not the elder-tree (among others) be also inimical to the vine. The author of 'Cymbeline 'not only makes mention of the same singular theory, as stated in Pliny and Porta, but also applies it in connection with the vine to the elder-tree (instead of the colewort), as Bacon did.

1 Used transitively, equivalent to killing.

From Shake-speare

From Bacon “Nothing in his life “Sir Thomas More, at the very Became him like the leaving it; he instant of death, when he had died

already laid his head on the fatal As one that had been studied in his block, lifted it up a little and, death,

gently raising aside his beard, To throw away the dearest thing which was somewhat long, said, he ow'd,1

This at least has not offended the As 't were a careless trifle.” king.'De Augmentis (1622).

Macbeth, i. 4 (1623).

The commentators think that the author of Macbeth,' in writing the above passage, had in mind the Earl of Essex. This is clearly a mistake. The Earl's conduct on the scaffold was marked by deep seriousness and the most scrupulous regard for propriety. He spent the entire time to the moment of his death either in prayer or in imploring the prayers of others. On the other hand, Bacon pronounces the demeanor of Sir Thomas More on the scaffold as a miracle of human nature, because More died with a jest in his mouth, or threw away –

“The dearest thing he ow'd, As 't were a careless trifle.” 2


A LONG WORD “ Honorificabilitudinitatibus.” “Honorificabilitudine.”—North

Love's Labor's Lost, v. 1 (1598). umberland MSS. (circa 1598).

1 In the sense of owned.

2 Mr. Spedding's want of discrimination is shown by his comment on above passage from “Macbeth': “If Shakspere had not died two years before the death of Sir Walter Raleigh, we must have thought these lines referred to him." And yet Mr. Spedding's own account of Sir Walter Raleigh's behavior on the scaffold - that he met his death “with the most unaffected and cheerful composure, the finest humanity, the most courtly grace and good humor, and yet with no unseemly levity– entirely negatives his opinion on this subject.

This is a perfectly serious word, meaning honor in a high degree, with two stem roots and three suffixes, combined according to the rules of mediæval Latin. We find it in a charter granted by the See of Rome to a religious house in Genoa in 1187, but not printed until 1644; in Dante's De Vulgare Eloquio, written in or about 1304, translated from the original Latin into Italian and printed for the first time in 1529; in the History of Henry VII.' of Italy by Albertus Musatus, a work composed between 1313 (date of Henry's death) and 1330 (date of the author's death), but first printed in 1635; and in the Complaint of Scotland,' anonymous, published at St. Andrews in 1549.

The several passages in these works are as follows: “ Proinde considerata devotione, quam erga nos, et Ecclesiam Ianuensem, nec non et honorificabilitudinitate Ecclesiæ tuæ, Parochiam quam Ecclesia jam dicta in præsentiarum noscitur obtinere, et à quadraginta annis possedit, tibi et successoribus tuis confirmamus, et præsentis scripti patrocinio communimus.”— Italia Sacra, Tomus Quartus, page 845 (1187).

“Posset adhuc inveniri plurium syllabarum vocabulum, sive verbum ; sed quia capacitatem nostrorum omnium carminum superexcedit, ratione præsenti non videtur obnoxium ; sicut est illud onorificabilitudinitate, quod duodenâ perficitur syllabâ in Vulgari, et in grammaticâ tredenâ perficitur, in duobus obliquis.” 1 — De Vulgari Eloquio, lib. ii. cap. vii. (cir. 1304).

“Nam et maturius cum rex prima Italiæ ostia contigisset, legatos illo dux ipse direxerat cum regalibus exeniis Honorificabilitudinitatis et obsequentiæ ullius causa, quibus etiam inhibitum pedes osculari regios.”— De Gestis Henrici VII. page 17 (1313-1330).

1 Translation of the passage from Dante :

A name or word might be found with more syllables still ; but as it would exceed the capacity of all our lines, it does not appear to fall into the present discussion. Such a word is onorificabilitudinitate, which runs in Italian to twelve syllables, and in Latin to thirteen, in two of the oblique


The case endings to which Dante refers are, of course, the dative and ablative plural, in which the word (as used in Love's Labor's Lost') has thirteen syllables, thus: honorificabilitudinitatibus.

“ Ther vas ane uther that writ in his verkis, gaudet Honorificabilitudinitatibus.1- Complaint of Scotland (1549).

The first edition of 'Love's Labor's Lost' was printed in 1593; the play was probably written in or about 1588.


From Shake-speare “I saw him run after a gilded butterfly; and, when he caught it, he let it go again; and after it again.”—Coriolanus, i. 3 (1623).

From Bacon “To be like a child following a bird, which when he is nearest, flyeth away and 'lighteth a little before; and then the child after it again.” Letter to Greville (1595).

Professor Nichol refers to this extraordinary parallelism in his Biography of Bacon, showing by dates that Bacon could not have copied from Shake-speare, nor Shake-speare from Bacon. The sentence from Bacon is found in a private letter, written in 1595, but not made public till 1657. The production of *Coriolanus ’ is assigned to a date not earlier than 1612. The play was first printed in 1623.

SELF-CENTRED CHARACTER OF JULIUS CÆSAR " Cæsar. I am constant as the “He [Julius Caesar) referred all northern star,

things to himself, and was the Of whose true fixed and resting truest centre of his own actions." quality

-Character of Julius Cæsar (circa There is no fellow in the firma- 1601).

ment. The skies are painted

with unnumber'd sparks ; They are all fire, and every one

doth shine ; But there 's but one in all doth hold

his place.

1 First discovered by Mr. George Stronach of Edinburgh, and communi. cated to the public by the poet Henry Dryerre, Esq., in the • People's Friend (Dundee), May 16, 1898.

« ZurückWeiter »