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* TAMING OF THE SHREW.] We have hitherto fuppofed Shakspeare the author of The Taming of the Shrew, but his property in it is extremely difputable. I will give my opinion, and the reafons on which it is founded. I fuppofe then the prefent play not originally the work of Shakspeare, but restored by him to the ftage, with the whole Induction of the Tinker; and fome other occafional improvements; especially in the character of Petruchio. It is very obvious that the 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 a great part of the latter in his worst, or even below it. Dr. Warburton declares it to be certainly fpurious; and without doubt, fuppofing it to have been written by Shakspeare, it must have been one of his earlieft productions. Yet it is not mentioned in the lift of his works by Meres in 1598.
I have met with a facetious piece of Sir John Harrington, printed in 1596, (and poffibly there may be an earlier edition,) called The Metamorphofs of Ajax, where I fufpect an allufion to the old play : "Read the Booke of Taming a Shrew, which hath made a number of us fo perfect, that now every one can rule a fhrew in our countrey, fave he that hath hir.”—I am aware a modern linguift may object that the word book does not at prefent feem dramatick, but it was once technically fo: Goffon, in his Schoole of Abufe, containing a pleasaunt Invec tive against Poets, Pipers, Players, Jefters, and fuch like Caterpillars of a Commonwealth, 1579, mentions " twoo profe bookes played at the Bell-Sauage:" and Hearne tells us, in a note at the end of William of Worcester, that he had feen a MS. in the nature of a Play or Interlude, intitled The Booke of Sir Thomas Moore.
And in fact there is fuch an old anonymous play in Mr. Pope's lift: "A pleafant conceited hiftory, called, The Taming of a Shrew-fundry times acted by the Earl of Pembroke his fervants." Which feems to have 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 feem derogatory from the character of our poet. There is no reason to believe that he wanted to claim the play as his own; for it was not even printed till fome years after his death; but he merely revived it on his ftage as a manager.
In fupport of what I have faid relative to this play, let me only obferve further at prefent, that the author of Hamlet fpeaks of Gonzago, and his wife Baptifta; but the author of The Taming of the Shrew knew Baptifta to be the name of a man. Mr. Capell indeed made me doubt, by declaring the authenticity of it to be confirmed by the testimony of Sir Afton
Cockayn. I knew Sir Afton was much acquainted with the writers immediately fubfequent to Shakspeare; and I was not inclined to dispute his authority: but how was I furprised, when I found that Cockayn afcribes nothing more to Shakspeare, than the Induction-Wincot-Ale and the Beggar! I hope this was only a flip of Mr. Capell's memory. FARMER.
The following is Sir Afton's Epigram:
TO MR. CLEMENT FISHER, OF WINCOT.'
Shakspeare your Wincot-ale hath much renown'd,
Sir A. Cockayn's Poems, 1659, p. 124,
In fpite of the great deference which is due from every commentator to Dr. Farmer's judgment, I own I cannot concur with him on the present oecafion. I know not to whom I could impute this comedy, if Shakspeare was not its author. I think his hand is vifible in almost every scene, though perhaps not fo evidently as in those which pass between Katharine and Petruchio.
I once thought that the name of this play might have been taken from an old ftory, entitled, The Wyflapped in Morells Skin, or The Taming of a Shrew; but I have fince discovered among the entries in the books of the Stationers' Company the following: "Peter Shorte] May 2, 1594, a pleafaunt conceyted hyftorie, called, The Taminge of a Shrowe." It is likewife entered to Nich. Ling, Jan. 22, 1606; and to John Smythwicke, Nov. 19, 1607.
It was no uncommon practice among the authors of the age of Shakspeare, to avail themselves of the titles of ancient performances. Thus, as Mr. Warton has obferved, Spenfer fent out his Paftorals under the title of The Shepherd's Kalendar, a work which had been printed by Wynken de Worde, and reprinted about twenty years before these poems of Spenser appeared, viz. 1559.
Dr. Percy, in the first volume of his Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, is of opinion, that The Frolickfome Duke, or the Tinker's Good Fortune, an ancient ballad in the Pepys' Collection,
might have fuggefted to Shakspeare the Induction for this comedy.
The following ftory, however, which might have been the parent of all the reft, is related by Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 649: "A Tartar Prince, faith Marcus Polus, Lib. II. cap. 28, called Senex de Montibus, the better to establish his government amongst his subjects, and to keepe them in awe, found a convenient place in a pleasant valley environed with hills, in which he made a delitious parke full of odorifferous flowers and fruits, and a palace full of all worldly contents that could poffibly be devised, muficke, pictures, variety of meats, &c. and chofe out a certaine young man whom with a foporiferous potion he fo benummed, that he perceived nothing; and fo, faft afleepe as he was, caufed him to be conveied into this faire garden. Where, after he had lived a while in all fuch pleasures a fenfuall man could defire, he caft him into a Neepe againe, and brought him forth, that when he waked he might tell others he had beene in Paradise."-Marco Paolo, quoted by Burton, was a traveller of the 13th century.
Chance, however, has at last furnished me with the original to which Shakspeare was indebted for his fable; nor does this discovery at all dispose me to retract my former opinion, which the reader may find at the conclufion of the play. Such parts of the dialogue as our author had immediately imitated, I have occafionally pointed out at the bottom of the page; but must refer the reader, who is defirous to examine the whole ftructure of the piece, to Six old Plays on which Shakspeare founded, &c. published by S. Leacroft, at Charing-crofs, as a Supplement to our commentaries on Shakspeare.
Beaumont and Fletcher wrote what may be called a fequel to this comedy, viz. The Woman's Prize, or the Tamer Tam'd; in which Petruchio is fubdued by a second wife. STEEVENS.
Among the books of my friend the late Mr. William Collins of Chichester, now difperfed, was a collection of fhort comick ftories in profe, printed in the black letter under the year 1570: "fett forth by maifter Richard Edwards, mayfter of her Majefties revels." Among these tales was that of the INDUCTION OF THE TINKER in Shakspeare's Taming of the Shrew; and perhaps Edwards's ftory-book was the immediate fource from which Shakspeare, or rather the author of the old Taming of a Shrew, drew that diverting apologue. If I recollect right, the circumftances almoft tallied with an incident which Heuterus re lates from an epiftle of Ludovicus Vives to have actually happened at the marriage of Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy,
about the year 1440. That perfpicuous annalift, who flourished about the year 1580 fays, this ftory was told to Vives by an old officer of the Duke's court. T. WARTON.
See the earliest English original of this ftory, &c. at the conclufion of the play. STEEVENS,
Our author's Taming of the Shrew was written, I imagine, in 1594, See An Attempt to afcertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. II. MALONE.