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Duke of Milan, father to Silvia.
Julia, a lady of Verona, beloved of Protheus.
SCENE, sometimes in Verona; sometimes in Milan;
and on the frontiers of Mantua,
"Panthino, ] In the enumeration of characters in the old copy, this attendant on Anthonio is called Panthion, but in the play, always Pantbino, STEEVENS.
·V E R ON A.
ACT I. SCENE I.
An open place in Verona.
Enter Valentine and Protheus.
Val. Cease to persuade, my loving Protheus; · Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits :
Some of the incidents in this play may be supposed to have been taken from The Arcadia, book I. chap. 6. where Pyrocles consents to head the Helots. (The Arcadia was entered on the books of the Stationers' Company, Aug. 23d, 1588.) The love. adventure of Julia resembles that of Viola in Twelfth Night, and is indeed common to many of the ancient novels. STEEVENS.
Mrs. Lenox observes, and I think not improbably, that the story of Protheus and Julia might be taken from a similar one in the Diana of George of Montemayor.-" This pastoral romance,” says she, " was translated from the Spanisl) in Shakespeare's time.” I have seen no earlier translation, than that of Bartholomew Yong, who dates his dedication in November 1598, and Meres, in his Wit's Treasury, printed the same year, exprefly mentions the Two Gentlemen of Verona. Indeed Montemayor was translated two or three years before, by one Thomas Wilson; but this work, I am persuaded, was never published entirely; perhaps some parts of it were, or the tale might have been translated by others. However Mr. Steevens says, very truly, that this kind of love-adven. ture is frequent in the old novelists. FARMER.
Wer't not, affection chains thy tender days
There is no earlier translation of the Diana entered on the books of the Stationers' Company, than that of B. Younge, September 1598. Many translations, however, after they were licensed, were capriciously suppressed. Among others, The Decameron of Mr. John Boccace Florentine,” was “ recalled by my lord of Canterbury's commands." I much lament having never met with a work entitled, “ A Catalogue for English printed Bookes,” entered at Stationers' Hall, May 8, 1595.
STEVENS. 2 It is observable (I know not for what cause) that the style of this comedy is less figurative, and more natural and unatfected than the greater part of this author's, though supposed to be one of the firit he wrote. Pope.
It may very well be doubted, whether Shakespeare had any other hand in this play than the enlivening it with some speeches and lines thrown in here and there, which are easily distinguished, as being of a different itamp from the rest. HANMER.
To this observation of Mr. Pope, which is very juf, Mír. Theobald has added, that this is one of Shakespeare's worst plays, and is less corrupted than any other. Mr. Upton peremptorily determines, that if any troof can be dratun from manner and Kyle, this play must be fint packing, and seek for its parent elsewhere. Hov otherqvise, says he, do painiers distinguish copies from originals, and bave not authors their peculiar Nyle and manner from which a true critic can form as unerring judgment as a painter ? I am afraid this illustration of a critic's science will not prove what is desired. A painter knows a copy from an original by rules fomewhat re, sembling these by which critics know a translation, which if it be Jiteral, and literal it must be to resemble the copy of a picture, will be easily distinguished. Copies are known from originals, even when the painter copies his own picture; so if an author Should literally translate his work, he would lose the manner of an original.
Mr. Upton confounds the copy of a piéture with the imitation of a painter's manner. Copies are easily known, but good imitations are not detected with equal certainty, and are, by the best judges, often mistaken. Nor is it true that the writer has always peculiarities equally diftinguishable with those of the painter.
The peculiar manner of each arises from the desire, natural to every performer, of facilitating his subsequent works by recurrence to his former ideas ; this recurrence produces that repetition which is called habit. The painter, whole work is partly intellectual and partly manual, has habits of the mind, the eye and the
I rather would entreat thy company,
Pro. Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu !
Val. And on a love-book pray for my success.
hand, the writer has only habits of the mind. Yet, fome painters have differed as much from themselves as from any other; and I have been told, that there is little resemblance between the first works of Raphael and the last. The same variation may be expected in writers; and if it be true, as it seems, that they are less subject to habit, the difference between their works may be yet greater.
But by the internal marks of a composition we may discover the author with probability, though seldom with certainty. When I read this play, I cannot but think that I find, both in the serious and ludicrous scenes, the language and sentiments of Shakespeare. It is not indeed one of his most powerful effufions, ] it has neither many diversities of character, nor striking delineations of life, but it abounds in yapaò beyond most of his plays, and few have more lines or passages, which, singly considered, are eminently beautiful. I am yet inclined to believe that it was not very successful, and suspect that it has escaped corruption, only because being seldom played, it was less exposed to the hazards of transcription. Johnson,
3 Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits:] Milton has the fame play on words:
" It is for homely features to keep home, . “ They had their name thence." STEVENS. 4- shapeless idleness.] The expression is fine, as implying that idleness prevents the giving any form or character to the man, pers. WARBURTON.
Val. That's on some shallow story of deep love, How young Leander cross'd the Hellespont.
Pro. That's a deep story of a deeper love; For he was more than over shoes in love.
Val. 'Tis true; for you are over boots in love,
Pro. Over the boots ? s nay, give me not the boots.
groans; Coy looks, with heart-fore fighs; one fading mo
ment's 'mirth, With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights : If haply won, perhaps, a hapless gain; If lost, why then a grievous labour won; 6 However, but a folly bought with wit, Or else a wit by folly vanquished.
n ay, give me not the boots.] A proverbial expression, though now disused, signifying, don't make a laughing Itock of me; don't play upon me. The French have a phrase, Bailler foin en cornes which Cotgrave chus interprets, To give one the boots; to fell him a bargain. THEOEALD.
Perhaps this expression took its origin from a sport the country people in Warwickshire use at their harvest-home, where one fits as judge to try misdemeanors committed in harvest, and the punishment for the men is to be laid on a bench, and flapped on the breech with a pair of boots. This they call giving them the boots, I meet with the same expression in the old comedy called Mother Bombie, by Lylly': i
* What do you give me the boots ?” Again, in The Weakest goes to the Wall, a coinedy, 1618:
“ – Nor your fat bacon can carry it away, if you offer us
the boots.” mi, The boots, however, were an ancient engine of torture. In DIS. Harl. 6999–48, Mr. T. Randolph writes to lord Hunsdon, &c. and mentions, in the P. S. to his letter, that Geo. Flecke had yesterday night the boots, and is said to have confessed that the E. of Morton was privy to the poisoning the E. of Athol, 16 March, 1580: and in another letter, March 18, 1580, “-that the laird of Whittingham had the boots, but without torment confess'd, dic,” STIEVENS,