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feems pretty certain, that the author of The Taming of the Shrew, had at least read Ovid; from whose Epistles we find these lines:
Hàc ibat Simois; hic eft Sigria tellus ;
Hic Peter at Priami regia celso Jenis. And what does Dr. Johnson say on this occasion? Nothing. And what does Mr. Farmer say on this occasion? Nothing.
In Love's Labour Loft, which, bad as it is, is ascribed by Dr. Johnson himself to Shakespeare, there occurs the word thrasonical; another argument which seems to shew that he was not unacquainted with the comedies of Terence; not to mention, that the character of the schoolmaster in the same play could not possibly be written by a man who had travelled no further in Latin than bic, hæc, hoc.
In Henry the Sixth we meet with a quotation from Vir
Tantane animis cæleftibus iræ ?
But this, it feems, proves nothing, any more than the lines from Terence and Ovid, in the Taming of the Shrew; for Mr. Farmer looks on Shakespeare's property in the comedy to be extremely disputable; and he has no doubt but Henry the Sixth had the same author with Edward the Third, which hath been recovered to the world in Mr. Capeil's Prolusions.
If any play in the collection bears internal evidence of Shakespeare's hand, we may fairly give him Timon of Athens. In this play we have a familiar quotation from Horace,
Ira furor brevis eft.
I will not maintain but this hemistich may be found in Lilly or Udall; or that it is not in the Palace of Pleasure, or the English Plutarch; or that it was not originally foisted in by the players: It stands, however, in the play of Timon of Arbens.
The world in general, and those who purpose to comment on Shakespeare in particular, will owe much to Mr. Farmer, whose researches into our old authors throw a lustre on many paffages, the obscurity of which must else have been impea netrable. No future Upton or Gildon will go further than North’s translation for Shakespeare's acquaintance with Plutarch, or balance between Dares Phrygius, and the Troye (G4)
convict the fame . the tranfatd. contratively conut does it
booke of Lydgate. The Hyforie of Hamblet, in black letter, will for ever supersede Saxo Grammaticus; translated novels and ballads will, perhaps, be allowed the sources of Romeo, Lear, and the Merchant of Venice; and Shakespeare himfelf, however unlike Bayes in other particulars, will stand convicted of having transversed the prose of Holingshead; and at the same time, to prove “ that his pudies lay in his “ own language," the translations of Ovid are determined to te the production of Heywood.
“ That his studies were most demonstratively confined to “ nature, and his own language," I readily allow: but does it hence follow that he was so deplorably ignorant of every other tongue, living or dead, that he only “remembered, “ perhaps, enough of his schoolboy learning to put the hig, “ hag, hog, into the mouth of Sir H. Evans; and might pick « up in the writers of the time, or the course of his conver“ fation, a familiar phrase or two of French or Italian ?" In Shakespeare's plays both these last languages are plentifully scattered; but then, we are told, they might be impertinent additions of the players. Undoubtedly they might: but there they are, and, perhaps, few of the players had much more learning than Shakespeare.
Mr. Farmer himself will allow that Shakespeare began to learn Latin: I will allow that his fudies lay in English: but why insist that he neither made any progress at school; nor improved his acquisitions there? The general encomiums of Suckling, Denham, Milton, &c. on his native genius *, prove nothing; and Ben Jonson's celebrated charge of Shakespeare's Small Latin, and lejs Greekt, seems absolutely to decide that he
* Mr. Farmer closes thefe general testimonies of Shakespeare's having been only indebted to nature, by saying, “ He came out «s of her hand, as some one else expresses it, like Pallas out of Jove's " head, at full growth and mature.” It is whimsical enough, that this fome one else, whose expression is here quoted to coun. tenance the general notion of Shakespeare's want of literature, should be no other than myself. Mr. Farmer does not chuse to mention where he met with this expression of some onc elle; and some one else does not chuse to mention where he dropt it.
+ In defence of the various reading of this passage, given in the preface to the last edition of Shakespeare, “finali Latin, and 6610 Greek,” Mr. Farmer tells us, that " it was adopted above $6 a century ago by W. Towers, in a panegyrick on Cartwright."
had some knowledge of both; and if we may judge by our own time, a man, who has any Greek, is seldom without a very competent share of Latin; and yet such a man is very likely to study Plutarch in English, and to read translations of Ovid.
See Dr. Farmer's reply to these remarks by Mr. Colman, in a note on Love's LABOUR's Lost, Act IV. Sc. ii. p. 435.
Surely, Towers having said that Cartwright had no Greek, is no proof that Ben Jonson said so of Shakespeare.
DEDICATION of the PLAYERS.
MOST NOBLE AND INCOMPARABLE PAIRE
W 1 L L I AM
Earle of PeMBROKE, &c. Lord Chamberlaine to the Kings
moft Excellent Majestie ;
P HI L Ι Ρ
Earle of MONTGOMERY, &c. Gentleman of his Majesties
Bed-chamber. Both Knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter,
and our fingular good LORDS.
L. I. we arethe many favor be thankful
· RIGHT HONOURABLE, TTTHILST we studie to be thankfull in our particular,
for the many favors we have received from your L. L. we are falne upon the ill fortune, to mingle two the most diverse things that can be, feare, and rashnesse; rashnefle in the enterprize, and feare of the successe. For, when we value the places your H. H. sustaine, wee cannot but know the dignity greater, than to descend to the reading of these trifles: and, while we name them trifles, we have deprived ourselves of the defence of our dedication. But Gnce your L. L. have been pleased to thinke these trifles fomething, heeretofore; and have profequuted both them, and their authour living, with so much favour: we hope (that they out-living him, and he not having the fate, common with some, to be exequutor to his owne writings) you will use the same indulgence toward them, you have done unta their parent. There is a great difference, whether any
booke choose his patrones, or finde them: this hath done both. For, fo much were your L. L. likings of the severall parts, when they were acted, as before they were published, the volume asked to be yours. We have but collected them, and done an office to the dead, to procure his orphanes, guardians; without ambition either of felfe-profit, or fame: onely to keepe the memory of so worthy a friend, and fellow alive, as was our SHAKESPEARE, by humble offer of his playes, to your most noble patronage. Wherein, as we have justly observed, no man to come neere your L. L. but with a kind of religious addresse; it hath hin the height of our care, who are the presenters, to make the present worthy of your H. H. by the perfection. But, there we must also crave our abilities to be considerd, my Lords. We cannot goe beyond our owne powers. Country hands reach forth milke, creame, fruits, or what they have: and many nations (we have heard) that had not gummes and incense, obtained their requests with a leavened cake. It was no fault to approch their gods by what meanes they could: and the most, though meanest, of things are made more precious, when they are dedicated to temples. In that name therefore, we most humbly consecrate to your H. H. these remaines of your servant SHAKESPEARE; that what delight is in them may be ever your L. L. the reputation his, and the faults ours, if any be committed, by a paire so carefull to thew their gratitude both to the living, and the dead, as is.
Your Lordsnippes most bounden,