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and there is a quotation from the Eunuch of Terence also, so familiarly introduced into the dialogue of The Taming
Which he translates with ease and elegance,
Love makes a man a fool,
"Hard to be pleas'd.-What you'd persuade him to,
"He'll none on't.
Act III. Sc. III.
Let us now turn to the passage in Shakspeare:
"Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!
Shakspeare, I am sure, in the opinion of Mr. Thornton, did not want a Plautus to teach him the workings of nature; nor are his parallelisms produced with any such implication: but, I suppose, a peculiarity appears here in the manner of expression, which however was extremely the humour of the age. Every sonnetteer characterises love by contrarieties. Watson begins one of his canzonets,
"Love is a sowre delight, a sugred griefe,
Turberville makes Reason harangue against it in the same manner: "A fierie frost, a flame that frozen is with ise!
"A heavie burden light to beare! a vertue fraught with vice!" &c.
Immediately from The Romaunt of the Rose:
"Loue it is an hatefull pees
"A free acquitaunce without reles→→
An heavie burthen light to beare
"A wicked wawe awaie to weare:
"And health full of maladie
"And charitie full of envie Th
"A laughter that is weping aie
"Rest that trauaileth night and daie," &c.
This kind of antithesis was very much the taste of the Provençal and Italian poets; perhaps it might be hinted by the Ode of Sappho, preserved by Longinus: Petrarch is full of it:
Pace non trovo, et non hò da far guerra,
Et temo, et spero, et ardo, et son un ghiaccio,
Et nulla stringo, et tuttol mondo abbraccio, &c.
Sir Thomas Wyat gives a translation of this Sonnet, without any
of the Shrew, that I think it puts the question of Shakspeare's having read the Roman comick poets in the original language out of all doubt,
Redime te captum, quam queas, minimo.
With respect to resemblances, I shall not trouble you any further. That the Comedy of Errors is founded on the Menæchmi, it is notorious nor is it less so, that a translation of it by W. W. perhaps William Warner, the author of Albion's England, was extant in the time of Shakspeare*; though Mr. Upton, and some other advocates for his learning, have cautiously dropt the mention of it. Besides this, (if indeed it were different,) in the Gesta Grayorum, the Christmas Revels of the Grays-Inn Gentlemen, 1594, " a Comedy of Erorrs like to Plautus his Menechmus was played by the Players." And the same hath been suspected to be the subject of the "goodlie Comedie of Plautus," acted at Greenwich before the King and Queen in 1520; as we learn from Hall and Holinshed:-Riccoboni highly compliments the English on opening their stage so well; but unfortunately, Cavendish in his Life of Wolsey, calls it, an "excellent Interlude in Latine." About the same time it was exhibited in German at Nuremburgh, by the celebrated Hanssach, the shoemaker.
"But a character in the Taming of the Shrew is borrowed from the Trinummus, and no translation of that was extant."
Mr. Colman indeed hath been better employed: but if he had met with an old comedy, called Supposes, translated from Ariosto by George Gascoigne f, he certainly
notice of the original, under the title of "Description of the contrarious Passions in a Louer," amongst the Songes and Sonettes, by the Earle of Surrey, and others, 1574.
* It was published in 4to. 1595. The printer of Langbaine, p. 524, hath accidentally given the date, 1515, which hath been copied implicitly by Gildon, Theobald, Cooke, and several others. Warner is now almost forgotten, yet the old criticks esteemed him one of “our chiefe heroical makers.”—Meres informs us, that he had "heard him termed of the best wits of both our Universities, our English Homer."
His works were first collected under the singular title of "A hundredth sundrie Flowres bounde up in one small Poesie.
would not have appealed to Plautus. Thence Shakspeare borrowed this part of the plot, (as well as some of the phraseology,) though Theobald pronounces it is own invention: there likewise he found the quaint name of Petruchio. My young master and his man exchange habits and characters, and persuade a Scenæse, as he is called, to personate the father, exactly as in the Taming of the Shrew, by the pretended danger of his coming from Sienna to Ferrara, contrary to the order of the government.
Still, Shakspeare quotes a line from the Eunuch of Terence by memory too, and what is more, "purposely alters it, in order to bring the sense within the compass of one line." This remark was previous to Mr. Johnson's; or indisputably it would not have been made at all. Our author had this line from Lilly; which I mention that it may not be brought as an argument of his learning."
But how," cries an unprovoked antagonist," can you take upon you to say, that he had it from Lilly, and not from Terence?" I will answer for Mr. Johnson, who is above answering for himself. Because it is quoted as it appears in the grammarian, and not as it appears in the poet. And thus we have done with the purposed alteration. Udall likewise in his " Floures for Latin speaking, gathered out of Terence," 1560, reduces the passage to a single line, and subjoins a translation. ...
We have hitherto supposed Shakspeare the author of The Taming of a Shrew, but his property in it is extremely disputable. I will give you my opinion, and the reasons on which it then the present play is founded. Is not originally the work of Shakspeare, but restored by him to the stage, with the whole Induction of the Tinker, and some other occasional improvements; especially in the character of Petruchio. It is very obvious, that the
Gathered partly (by translation) in the fyne outlandish gardins of Euripides, Ouid, Petrarke, Ariosto, and others and partly by inuention, out of our own fruitefull orchardes in Englande: yelding sundrie sweet sauors of tragical, comical, and morall discourses, bothe pleasaunt and profitable to the well smellyng noses of learned readers." Black letter, 4to, no date.
W. Kenrick's Review of Dr. Johnson's edit. of Shakspeare, 1765, 8vo. p. 105.
induction and the play were either the works of different hands, or written at a great interval of time: the former is in our author's best manner, and the greater part of the latter in his worst, or even below it. Dr. Warburton declares it to be certainly spurious: and without doubt, supposing it to have been written by Shakspeare, it must have been one of his earliest productions; yet it is not mentioned in the list of his works by Meres in 1598.
I have met with a facetious piece of Sir John Harrington, printed in 1596, (and possibly there may be an earlier edition,) called, The Metamorphosis of Ajax, where I suspect an allusion to the old play: "Reade the booke of Taming a Shrew, which hath made a number of us so perfect, that now every one can rule a shrew in our countrey, save he that hath hir."-I am aware, a modern linguist may object, that the word book does not at present seem dramatick, but it was once almost technically so: Gosson, in his Schoole of Abuse, "contayning a pleasaunt inuective against Poets, Pipers, Players, Jesters, and such like Caterpillars of a common-wealth," 1579, mentions "twoo prose bookes plaied at the Belsauage;" and Hearne tells us in a note at the end of William of Worcester, that he had seen a MS. in the nature of a play or interlude, intitled, The Booke of Sir Thomas Moore*."
And in fact, there is such an old anonymous play in Mr. Pope's list. "A pleasant conceited History, called, The Taming of a Shrew-sundry times acted by the Earl of Pembroke his Servants." Which seems to have
I know indeed, there is extant a very old poem, in black letter, to which it might have been supposed Sir John Harrington alluded, had he not spoken of the discovery as a new one, and recommended it as worthy the notice of his countrymen: I am persuaded the method in the old bard will not be thought either. At the end of the sixth volume of Leland's Itinerary, we are favoured by Mr. Hearne with a Macaronick poem on a battle at Oxford between the scholars and the townsmen: on a line of which,
Invadunt aulas bycheson cum forth geminantes, our commentator very wisely and gravely remarks: " Bycheson, id est, son of a byche, ut è codice Rawlinsoniano edidi. Eo nempe modo quo et olim whorson dixerunt pro son of a whore. Exempla habemus cum alibi tum in libello quodam lepido et antiquo (inter codices Seldenianos in Bibl. Bodl.) qui ínscribitur:
been republished by the remains of that company in 1607, when Shakspeare's copy appeared at the Black-Friars or the Globe. Nor let this seem derogatory from the character of our poet. There is no reason to believe, that he wanted to claim the play as his own; it was not even printed till some years after his death: but he merely revived it on his stage as a manager.-Ravenscroft assures us, that this was really the case with Titus Andronicus; which, it may be observed, hath not Shakspeare's name on the title-page of the only edition published in his lifetime. Indeed, from every internal mark, I have not the least doubt but this horrible piece was originally written by the author of the lines thrown into the mouth of the player in Hamlet, and of the tragedy of Locrine: which likewise from some assistance perhaps given to his friend, hath been unjustly and ignorantly charged upon Shakspeare.
But the sheet-anchor holds fast: Shakspeare himself hath left some translations from Ovid. "The Epistles," says one," of Paris and Helen, give a sufficient proof of his acquaintance with that poet: And it may be concluded," says another, "that he was a competent judge of other authors, who wrote in the same language."
This hath been the universal cry, from Mr. Pope himself to the criticks of yesterday. Possibly, however, the gentlemen will hesitate a moment, if we tell them, that
The wife lapped in Morel's Skin: or the Taming of a Shrew. Ubi pag. 36, sic legimus:
"They wrestled togyther thus they two
"So long that the clothes asunder went.
"And to the ground he threwe her tho,
"That cleane from the backe her smock he rent.
"In every hand a rod he gate,
"And layd upon her a right good pace: "Asking of her what game was that,
"And she cried out, Horeson, alas, alas."
Et pag 42.
"Come downe now in this seller so deepe,
"And morels skin there shall you see: "With many a rod that hath made me to weepe, "When the blood ranne downe fast by my knee. "The mother this beheld, and cryed out, alas : "And ran out of the seller as she had been wood. "She came to the table where the company was, "And say'd out, horeson, I will see thy harte blood."