صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

two years were scarcely concluded, before Goronilla grew displeased on account of her father's retinue; and she came to him, and desired that he would dismiss the whole of such retinue except twenty knights, observing, that that number was sufficient for a son who was not concerned in wars, or any weighty affairs. Thereupon, Llyr became enraged with his daughter for slighting him to such a degree, and he quitted the court of Maglon, and repaired to that of Henwyn, prince of Cornwall, expecting to have his dignity and rank better supported there than in the court of Maglon. And Henwyn received him joyfully, and treated him honourably, as he ought. But a year and a month had not quite elapsed before Regan, his daughter, grew angry with him on account of the greatness of his train, and desired him to send away the whole thereof, except five knights, and declared, that she would maintain only so many in his retinue, and which she deemed sufficient. After he had been obliged to dismiss his knights, he became grieved for the loss of his former dignity, and he returned a second time to his eldest daughter, expecting that she would have compassion on him, and would preserve him his dignity. And, thereupon, she swore by the powers of heaven and earth, that she would maintain only one knight with him, and that was enough for her to do, as the knights of her lord were at his command. And, since he could obtain nothing by his entreaties, he sent away all his knights excepting one, who continued with him. Then, after meditating upon his former rank, which he had lost, he became oppressed with cares, and sorrowful almost unto death. The words of his daughters and their professions came upon his mind; and thereupon he knew, that what was said to him by Cordeilla, his daughter, was true, and, according to his prosperity, his power, and his courage, would he be beloved.

“On this, he bethought himself, that he would visit Cordeilla, his daughter, to implore her mercy, and to see if he could obtain any kind of assistance from her, towards recovering his dominion. And, after he had gone off to sea with three attendants, bewailing his affliction and wretchedness, he exclaimed, with weeping and groaning, after this manner :- Oh, heavens! why did ye exalt me to the summit of honour, since it is more painful to remember honour, after it is lost, than to suffer want without the experience of prosperity! Gods of heaven and earth! let the time yet arrive, when I may be able to retaliate upon the persons who have reduced me to this distress. Ah! Cordeilla! my beloved daughter, how truly didst thou say to me-as my power, and my possessions, and my wealth, might be, so should I be respected; and, for what thou didst speak, I became offended with thee. Oh! my beloved daughter! in what way shall I be able, for shame, to approach thee now, after having suffered thee to go away from the isle of Britain so destitute as I have done ?” Continuing to lament his pain and wretchedness in this manner, he came near to Paris, the city wherein his daughter was; and he sent a messenger to her to announce that he was coming,-a poor, weak, afflicted man, to implore her mercy to see her. When she heard this, she wept, and enquired how many knights there were with him. The messenger declared, there was but one squire : she then wept more bitterly than before, and sent him gold and silver, desiring that he should go privately as far as Amiad,* or to some other city that he might think proper, to take perfumes, and baths, and precious ornaments, and to change his condition, his ornaments and garments, and to take with him forty knights, in the same dress as himself. And, when they should be completed and ready, he was to send a messenger to Aganippus, king of France. to announce to him his coming, after having been disgracefully expelled by his two sons-in-law from the isle of Britain, and to implore his aid to regain possession of his dominions.

“ All that did Llyr do, as Cordeilla his daughter had desired him. And, when the messenger came to announce to the king, that Llyr was coming to have an interview with him, he was rejoiced; and he came to meet him with a fair and splendid retinue, to a great distance from the city, proceeding till Llyr met him ; and, thereupon, they alighted, and embraced affectionately, and proceeded to Paris. And there they dwelt together for a long time, happily and joyfully. When the disgrace of Llyr, in the isle of Britain, was told to Aganippus, he was greatly affected ; and thereupon, it was agreed in council to assemble the armies of France, and to subdue the island again. And then, Aganippus gave the government of France to Llyr, whilst he should be assembling the remote parts. When their forces and necessaries were ready, it was agreed in council to send Cordeilla with Llyr, lest the French should not be obedient to Llyr. And Aganippus commended the French, as they valued their souls, and at their peril, to be as obedient to Llyr and to his daughter as they would be to himself.

When they had taken leave, they set off towards the isle of Britain. And against them came Maglon, prince of Scotland, and Henwyn, prince of Cornwall, with all their

power, and fought gallantly and severely with them ; but, owing to the French being so numerous, it did not avail them, for they were put to flight and pursued, and a multitude of them slain.

It seems doubtful what town is here meant, unless it be Amiens,

[ocr errors]

66

And Llyr and his daughter subdued the island before the end of the year, from one sea to another, and chased his two sonsin-law away out of the island.

And, after the isle of Britain had been conquered by Llyr, a messenger came from France, to inform Cordeilla of the death of Aganippus; and she took that very heavily to heart, and from thenceforth she preferred dwelling in the isle of Britain, with her father, than return to France on her dowry. Whereupon, after they had reduced the island to them, they governed it for a long time in peace and quietness until Llyr died. And, after his death, he was honourably buried in a temple, which he had himself built in Caer Llyr, under the river Soram, to the honour of some god, who was called Janus Bifrons. And, upon the festival of that temple, all the craftsmen of the city used to come to honour it, and then they would begin every work, that was to be taken in hand to the conclusion of the year.

“ After the decease of Llyr, Cordeilla took the government of the isle of Britain ; and she managed it for five years in peace and tranquillity, and in the sixth year rose her two nephews, sons of her sisters, who were young men of great fame, namely, Margan, the son of Maglon, prince of Scotland, and Cunedda, the son of Henwyn, prince of Cornwall. And they assembled an army, and made war on Cordeilla; and, after frequent conflicts between them, they subdued the island, and took her and confined her in prison. And, when she thought of her former grandeur, which she had lost, and there remained no hopes that she should be again restored, out of excessive anguish she killed herself, which was done by stabbing herself with a knife under her breast, so that she lost her soul. And, thereupon, it was adjudged, that it was the foulest death of any for a person to kill himself. This happened a thousand and five hundred years after the deluge.”

It can scarcely be necessary to notice the various parts of this story, which have not been preserved in the tragedy, as they must be sufficiently obvious to all readers of Shakespeare, as must those passages in the play which have been engrafted upon the original, such, for instance, are the episode of Gloucester and his sons, taken from Sydney's " Arcadia," and the character of the Steward, borrowed from the “ Mirrour of Magistrates.” It may be requisite, however, to remark, that the poet has not adhered to the genuine story in killing Cordelia as he has done, during the life of her father, on which account Tate's version has the merit, not only of being more consonant, as Johnson properly observes, but also of being more faithful to the original.

the morn;

A MELANCHOLY FANCY.-BY DR. SINeroes.
Canst lead me to a plot of ground
Whose face the sun did never mask in green,
Or never step of human foot was seen;
Where the shrill lark never called

up
Where night's sweet pearls of dew were never worn;
Where never beasts, but toads and adders, fed ;
Where day's white silver beams were never spread;
Where never Satyr danc'd the grassy ring;
Where nought but serpents hiss and screech-owls sing?

O! could'st thou bring me thither,
Where grief and I might live and die together!

Lansdown MSS. No. 777.

THE TRAGEDY OF OTHELLO.

The story, on which Shakespeare's Tragedy of Othello is founded, is taken from Cynthio's novels, the seventh in the third decade. Whence Shakespeare obtained the name of Othello cannot now be ascertained, as no English translation of this work, so early as the time of Shakespeare, is known. There is a French_translation of Cynthio, by Gabriel Chappreys, printed at Paris in 1584, which is, however, not a faithful one; but it is probable that this was the medium through which it came into English. That many small and interesting pamphlets have been lost between that time and the present, cannot be doubted; and, if there was an English translation of this novel, it must have been among the number.

In God's Revenge against Adultery, by John Reynolds, History the Eighth, there is an argument of his, as follows: “ She marries Othello, an old German soldier.” In this history, also, which professes to be an Italian one, the name of Iago occurs. It may perhaps be urged, that those names were adopted from the tragedy before us; but every reader, in the least conversant with the peculiar style and method in which the work of honest John Reynolds is composed, will acquit him of even the slightest familiarity with the scenes of Shakespeare.

The date of the occurrence of the story, on which this play is founded, may be ascertained from the following circumstances : Selymus the Second formed his design against Cyprus in 1569, and took it in 1571. This was the only attempt the Turks ever made upon that island after it came into the hands of the Venetians, which was in the year 1473,) wherefore the time must have been in some part of that interval. We learn from the play, that there was a junction of the Turkish fleet at Rhodes, in order to the invasion of Cyprus. These are real historical facts, which happened when Mustapha, Selymus's general, attacked Cyprus in May 1570, which must have been in the time of the play.

TRUE HISTORY OF MACBETH.

About the lineage and station of Macbeth, whose misdeeds have been dramatized, writers have written variously, as their purposes were , either narrative or dramatic. The fabulous Boece was the first, who said, that Macbeth's father was thane of Angus, and married Doada, the second daughter of Malcolm II. Buchanan, without inquiry, adopted the fables of Boece, Holinshed followed Boece, as to the station of Macbeth, and Shakespeare repeated the echoes of Holinshed. The more veracious Wyntown calls Macbeth the thane of Crumbachty, which is the Gaelic name of Cromarty: and in the well-known story of the Weird Sisters, the chronicler makes the first witch hail Macbeth thane of Crumbachty; the second, thane of Moray; and the third, king. These intimations lead directly up to the several fictions of Boece, Holinshed, and Shakespeare. Macbeth was, by birth, the thane of Ross; by marriage with the Lady Gruoch, the thane of Moray; and, by his crimes, the king of Scots. Finley, as we may learn from Torfæus, was maormor, or, as the Norwegian historian calls him, jarl of Ross, who, at the commencement of the eleventh century, carried on a vigorous war, in defence of his country, against the incursions of that powerful vikingr, Sigurd, the earl of Orkney and Caithness. With his dominions, the district of Finley was contiguous, while the country of Angus lay, southward, at a great distance. Finley lost his life about 1020, in some hostile conflict with Malcolm II. This fact alone evinces, that Finley would scarcely have fought with his wife's father, if he had been the husband of Doada. The Lady Gruoch, when driven from her castle by the cruel fate of her husband, the maormor of Moray, naturally fled, with her infant son, Lulach, into the neighbouring country of Ross, which was then ruled by Macbeth, who married her, during the reign of Duncan. have now seen distinctly, that Macbeth was maormor of Ross,

« السابقةمتابعة »