« ZurückWeiter »
identity of sound recurs in the middle and close of this verse ?
Than wish a Snow in May's new-fongled Shows : Again ; new-fangled shows seems to have very little propriety. The fiowers are not new-fangled ; but the earth is new-fangled by the profusion and variety of the flowers, that spring on its bosom in May, I have therefore venture to substitute, Earth, in the close of the 3d line, which restores the alternate measure. It was very easy for a negligent transcriber to be deceived by the rhime immediately preceding; so miitake the concluding word in the sequent line, and corrupt it into one that would chime with the other.
THEOBALD and REVISAL. P. 8. L. 4. A dangerous Law against Gentility !] I have ventured to prefix the name of Biron to this line, it being evident, for two reasons, that it, by some accident or other, flipt out of the printed books. In the first place, Longue. zille confesses, he had devis'd the penalty : and why he fhould immediately arraign it as a dangerous law, seems to be very inconsistent. In the next place, it is much more natural for Biron to make this reflexion, who is cavilling at everything; and then pursue his reading over the remaining articles. As to the word Gentiviry, here it does not signify that rank of people called, Gentry; but what the Frencb express by, gentilele, i. e. elegantia, urbanitas. And then the meaning is this." Such a law for banishing women from the court, is dangerous or injurious, to Politeness, Urbaniry, and the more refined pleasures of life. For men without women would turo brutal, and savage, in their natures and behaviour.
Theo B. and REV. L. 24. Read, We must lye here, &c. against the old copies.
CAPELL.* L. 28. Net by might maßler'd, but by Special grace.] Biron amidst his extravagancies, speaks with great juftness against the folly of vows. They are made without sufficient regard to the variations of life, and are therefore broken by some unforeseen necessity. They proceed commonly from a presumptuous confidence, and a falle estimate of human power.
Johnsos. P. 9. L. 2. Suggestions.] Temptations. Jonsson.
-quick recreation] Lively sport, spritely diverfion.
JOHNSON. L. 12. A man of complements, wbom right and wring
Have cbofe as umpire of obeir mutiny ] As very bad a play as this is, it was certainly Sbakespeare's, as appears by many fine master-frokes scattered up and down. An excerlive complaisance is here admirably paintet, in the person of one who was willing to make even right and wrong friends : and to persuade the one to recede from the accustomed Itubbornness of her nature, and wink at the liberties of her opposite, rather than he would incur the imputation of ille. breeding in keeping up the quarre!. And as our author, and Jobn fon his contemporary, are, confeffedly the two greatest writers in the Drama that our nation could ever boast of, this may be no improper occasion to take notice of one material difference between Shakespeare's worst plays, and the other's. Our author owed all to his prodigious natural genius; and Jobnfon most to his acquired parts and learning. This, if attended to, will explain the difference we speak of. Which is this, that, in Jöbnson's bad pieces, . we do not cover the least traces of the author of the Fox and Alchemist; but, in the wildest and most extravagant notes of Sbakespeare, you every now and then encounter strains that recognize their divine composer. And the reason is this, that Jobnson owing his chief excellence to art, by which he sometimes straind himself to an uncommon pitch, when he unbent himself, had nothing to support him; but fell below all likeness of himself: while Sbakespeare, indebted more largely to nature than the other to his acquired talents, could never, in his most negligent hours, so totally divest himself of his genius, but that it would frequently break out with amazing force and splendour.
WARB. Ibid.] This passage believe means no more than that Don Armado was a man nicely versed in ceremonial distinctions, one who could distinguish in the most delicate questions of honour the exact boundaries of right and wrong. Compliment in Shakespeare's time, did not fignify, at least did not only signify verbal civility, or phrases of courtesy, but according to its original meaning, the trappings or orna
mental appendages of a character, in the same manner, and on the same principles, of speech with accomplishment. fompliment is, as Armado well expresses it, ibe varniso of e complete man,
John. and Rev. L. 14. This child of fancy, ibat Armado bigbe, &c.) This relates to the stories in the books of Chivalry. A few words therefore concerning their Origin and Nature may not be unacceptable to the reader. As I don't know of any writer who has given any tolerable account of this matter : and especially as Monsieur Huet, ibe Bishop of Aurancbes, who wrote a formal treatise of the Origin of Romances, has said little or nothing of these in that superficial work. For having brought down the account of romances to the later Greeks, and entered upon those composed by the barbarous western writers, which have now the name of Romances almost appropriated to them, he puts the change upon his reader, and, instead of giving us an account of these books of Chivalry, one of the most curious and ioteresting parts of the subject he promised to treat of, he contents himself with a long account of the Poems of the Provencial Writers, called likewise Romances : and so, under the equivoque of a common term, drops his proper subject, and entertains us with another that had no relation to it more than in the name.
The Spaniards were of all others the fondest of these fables, as suiting best their extravagant turn to gallantry and bravery; which in time grew so exceflive, as to need all the efficacy of Cervantes's incomparable fatire to bring them back to their feoses. The French suffered an easier cure from their Doctor Rabelais, who enough discredited the books of Chivalry, by only using the extravagant stories of its Giants, &c. as a cover for another kind of satire against the refined Politicks of his countrymen; of which they were as much possessed as the Spaniards of their Romantic Bravery. A bravery our Shakespear makes their characteristic, in this description of a Spanish GerHeinan:
A man of compliments, wbom right and wrong
In high-born words, the wortb of many a Knigbe,
From tawny Spain, loft in the world's debate. The sense of which is to this effect: This Gentleman, fays the speaker, pall relate to us ibe celebrated Stories recorded in obe old Romances, and in obeir very file. Why he says, from tawny Spain, is because, these Romances being of Spanish Original, the Heroes and the Scene were generally of that country. He says, lop in be world's debate, because the subject of those Romances were the Crusades of the European Christians against the Saracens of Asia and Africa.
Indeed the wars of the Christians against the Pagans were the general subject of the Romances of Chivalry. They all seem to have had their ground-work in two fabulous monkish Historians: the one, who, under the name of "Turpin Archbishop of Rbeins, wrote the History and Atchievements of Charlemagne and his twelve peers ; to whom, instead of his father they afsigned the task of driving the Saracens out of France and the south parts of Spain : the other, our Geoffry of Monmouib.
Two of those peers, whom the old Romances have rene dered most famous, were Oliver and Rowland. Hence Sbakespear makes Alanson, in the first part of Henry VI. say, “ Freyjard, a countryman of ours, records, England all " Olivers and Rowlands bred, during the time Edward the 6 Third did reign." In the Spanish Romance of Bernardo dal Carpio, and in that of Roncesvalies, the feats of Ruwland are recorded under the name of Roldan el encantador ; and in that of Pulmerin de Oliva, or simply Oliva, those of Oliver: for Oliva is the same in Spanish as Olivier is in French, The account of their exploits is in the highest degree monstrous and extravagant, as appears from the judgment passed upon them by the priest in Don Quixote, when he delivers the Knights library to the secular arm of the house-keeper, “ Eccetuando à un Bernardo del Carpio que anda por ay,
y à otro llamado Roncesvalles; que estos en llegando a “ mis manos, an de estar en las de la ama, y deilas en las “ del fuego sin remiffion alguna.” And of Oliver he says ; “ essa Oliva se haga luego rajas, y se queme, que aun no " queden della las cenizas." The reasonableness of this lentence may be partly seen from one story in the Beraardo
del Carpio, which tells us, that the cleft called Roldan, to be feen on the summit of an high mountain in the kingdom of Valencia, near the town of Alicant, was made with a single back-stroke of that hero's broad sword. Hence came the proverbial exprefsion of our plain and sensible ancestors, who were much cooler readers of these extravagances than the Spaniards, of giving one e Rowland for bis Oliver, that is, of matching one impoñible lye with another: as, in Frencb, faire le Roland means, to swagger. This driving the Sarecens out of France and Spain, was, as we say, the subject of the elder Romances. And the first that was printed in Spain was the famous Amadis de Gaula, of which the Inquisitor Prieft says; " segun he oydo dezir, este libro “ fuè el primero de Cavallerias que se imprimió en Espana,
y todos los demás an tomado principio y origen deste;' and for which he humorously condemns it to the fire, como à Dogmatizador de una festa tan mala. When this subject was well exhausted, the affairs of Europe afforded them another of the same nature. For after that the western parts had pretty well cleared themselves of these inhospitable guests : by the excitements of the Popes, they carried their arms against them into Greece and Aha, to support the Byzantine empire, and recover the holy fepulchre. This gave birth to a new tribe of Romances, which we may call of the second race or class. And as Amadis de Gaula was at the head of the first, so, correspondently to the subject, Amadis de Grecia was at the head of the latter. Hence it is, we find, that Trebizonde is as celebrated in these Romances as Roncesvalles is in the other. It may be worth observing, that the two famous Italian epic poets, Ariosto and Toffo, have borrowed from each of these classes of old Romances, the scenes and subjects of their several stories: Ariosto choosing the first, tbe Saracens in France and Spain ; and Talo, the latter, the Crusade against them in Aha: Ariofto's hero being Orlando or the French Roland: for as the Spaniards, by one way of transposing the letters, had made it Roldan, so the Italians by another, make it Orland,
The main subject of these fooleries, as we have said, hat its original in Turpin's famous history of Cbarlemagne and his twelve peers. Nor were the monstrous embellishments of