Henry Green.

Shakespeare and the emblem writers; an exposition of their similarities of thought and expression. Preceded by a view of emblem-literature down to A. D. 1616 online

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fernal, 2 parts in I, with woodcuts. 2. " I MARMI," The
Marbles, 4 parts in I, a collection of pleasant little tales and
interesting notices, with woodcuts by the printer ; who also,
according to Bryan, was an engraver of " considerable merit."
3. "LA MORAL FILOSOFIA," Moral Philosophy drawn from
the ancient Writers, 2 parts in I, with woodcuts. In it
are abundant extracts from the ancient fabulists, as Lokman
and Bidpai, and a variety of little narrative tales and alle-

Of an English translation, two editions appeared in London
in 1570 and 1601, during Shakespeare's lifetime; namely,
" Cfje JHdtall ^fulOSOpfjte of Doni, englished out of italien by sir
Th. North,"* 4to, with engravings on wood.

Under the two titles of " PlCTA POESIS," and " LlMAGlNA-
TION POETIQUE," Bartholomew Aneau, or Anulus, published his
- ' exquisite little gem," as Mr. Atkinson, a former owner of the
copy which is now before me, describes the work. It appeared
at Lyons in 1552, and contains 106 emblems, the stanzas to
which, in the Latin edition, are occasionally in Greek, but in the
French edition, "vers Francois des Latins et Grecz, par 1'auteur
mesme d'iceux."

Achille Bocchi, a celebrated Italian scholar, the founder, in
1546, of the Academy of Bologna, Virgil Solis, of Nuremberg,
an artist of considerable repute, Pierre Cousteau, or Costalius, of
Lyons, and Paolo Giovio, an accomplished writer, Bishop of
Nocera, give name to four of the Emblem-books which were

* North's translation of Plutarch's Lives, we may remark, was the great treasury
to which Shakespeare often applied in some of his Historical Dramas ; and we may
assume that other productions from the same pen would not be unknown to him.

SECT. III.] FROM A.D. 1543 TO 1564. 77

issued in the year 1555. That of Bocchius is entitled " SYMBO-

and numbers up 146, or, more correctly, 150 emblems in 340
pages : the devices are the work of Giulio Bonasone, from
copper-plates of great excellence. In 1556, Bononics Sam-
bigucius put forth In Hermathenam Bocchiam Interpretatio, which
is simply a comment on the iO2nd emblem of Bocchius. Virgil
Solis published in 4to, at Nuremberg, the same year, "LlBELLUS
Sartorum, seu Signorum publicorum," A little Book of Cobblers,
or of public Signs. Cousteau's " PEGMA,"* which some say ap-
peared first in 1552, is, as the name denotes, a Structure of
emblems, ninety-five in number, with philosophical narratives,
each page being surrounded by a pretty border. And Giovio's
" DiALOGO dell' Imprese Militari et Amore," Dialogue of
Emblems of War and of Love ; or, as it is sometimes named,
" RAGIONAMENTO, Discourse concerning the words and devices
of arms and of love, which are commonly named Emblems" is
probably the first regular treatise on the subject which had yet
appeared, and which attained high popularity.

Its estimation in England is shown by the translation which
was issued in London in 1585, entitled, "THE Worthy tract of
Paulus louius, contayning a Discourse of rare inuentions, both
Militarie and Amorous, called Imprese. W hereunto is added a
'Preface contay-mng the Arte of composing them, with many
other notable deuises. By Samuell Daniell late Student in

Intimately connected with Giovio's little work, indeed often
constituting parts of the same volume, were Ruscelli's "DlS-
CORSO" on the same subject, Venice, 1556; and Domenichi's
" RAGIONAMENTO," also at Venice, in 1556. From the testi-

* " PETRI COSTALII PEGMA Cum narrationibus philosophkis.' 1 '' 8vo, LVGDVNI,


" LE PEGME JDE PIERRE COVSTAV auec les Narr. philosophiqves." 8vo, A Lyon,


mony of Sir Egerton Brydges (Res Lit.), " Ruscelli was one of
the first literati of his time, and was held in esteem by princes
and all ranks of people."

Very frequently, too, in combination with Giovio's Dialogue
on Emblems, are to be found Ruscelli's " IMPRESE ILLVSTRI,"
Venice, 1566 ; or Symeoni's " IMPRESS HEROICHE ET MO
RALI," Lyons, 1559; and " SENTENTIOSE IMPRESS," Lyons,

Roville's Lyons edition, of 1574, thus unites in one title-
page Giovio, Symeoni, and Domenichi, " DlALOGO DELLIM-
PRESE MILITARI ET AMOROSE, De Monsignor Giouio Vescouo
di Nocera Et del S. Gabriel Symeoni Fiorentino, Con vn
ragionamento di M. Lodouico Domenichi, nel medesimo sog-

Taking together all the editions in Italian, French, and
Spanish, of these four authors, single or combined, which I have
had the opportunity of examining, there are no less than twenty-
two between 1555 and 1585, besides five or six other editions
named by Brunet in his Manuel du Libraire. Roville's French
edition, 4to, Lyons, 1561, is by Vasquin Philieul, "Dialogve des
Devises d'Armes et d'Amovrs dv S. Pavlo lovio, Auec vn
Discours de M. Loys Dominique et les Denises Heroiques et
Morales du Seigneur Gabriel Syrneon"

At this epoch we enter upon ground which has been
skilfully upturned and cultivated by Claude Francis Menes-
trier, born at Lyons in 1631, and "distinguished by his
various works on heraldry, decorations, public ceremonials,
&c." (Aikin's Gen. Biog. vii. p. 41.) In his " PHILOSOPHIA
IMAGINUM," Philosophy of Images, an octavo volume of 860
pages, published at Amsterdam, 1695, he gives, in ninety-four
pages, a " JUDICIUM," i.e., a judgment respecting all authors who
have written on Symbolic Art', and of those Authors whom we


FROM A.D. 1543 TO 1564.


have named, or may be about to name, within the Period to
which our Sketch extends, he mentions that he has examined
the works of


1555.* Paulus Joviiis, p. i.

1556. Ltidovicus Dominions , p. 3.

Hieronymus Ruscellius, p. 4.

1561. Alphonsus Ulloa, ibid.

1562. Scipio Amtratus, p. 5.
1571. A lexander Farra, p. 6.

Bartholocemus Taegius, p. 7.
1574. Lucas Contile, p. 9.
1 577- Johannes Andreas Palatius,

p. 10.
1578. Scipio Bergalius, p. 12.


1 5 80. Francis cus Caburaccius, p. 1 2 .

1588. Abrahamus Fransiiis, p. 15.

1591. Julius Ccesar Capacius, ibid.

/?. y4 Ibertus Bernardetti, p. 1 7.

1594. Torquatus Tassus,^. 14.

1600. Jacobus Sassus, p. 1 8.

1 60 1. Andreas Chioccus, ibid.
1612. Hercules Tassus, p. 19.

P. Horatius Mont aide, p. 23.

Johannes Baptista Persone, ib.

1620. Franciscus d'Amboise, ibid.

It may also be gathered from the " JUDICIUM " that Menes-
trier had read with care what had been written on Emblems by
the following authors :



Gabriel Simeoni, p. 63.
Claudius Paradinus, p. 68.
Mauritius Sevus, p. 55.
J. Baptista Pittonius, p. 70.
Claudius Minos, p. 54.


1588. Bernardinus Percivalle, p. 64.

Princtpius Fabricius, p. 76.
1600. Johannes Pinedi, p. 60.
1609. Jacobus Le Vasseur, p. 91.
1613. J. Franciscus de Villava, p. 55.

Excluding the editions before enumerated, the books of
emblems which I have noted from various sources as assigned to
the authors in the above lists from Menestrier, amount to from
twenty-five to thirty, with the titles of which there is no occasion
to trouble the reader.

Returning from this digression, Vincenzo Cartari should next
be named in order of time. At Venice, in 1556, appeared his
"IMAGINI DEI Dei degli Antichi" Images of the Gods of the
Ancients, 4to, of above 500 pages. It contains an account of
the Idols, Rites, Ceremonies, and other things appertaining to

* The dates have been added to Menestrier's list.


the old Religions. It was a work often reprinted, and in 1581
translated into French by Antoine du Verdier, the same who,
in 1585, gave in folio a Catalogue of all who have written or
translated into French up to that time.

A folio of 1100 pages, which within the period of our sketch
was reprinted four times, issued from Bale in 1556 ; it is,
" HlEROGLYPHlCA," Hieroglyphics, or, Commentaries on the
Sacred Literature of the Egyptians, by John Pierius Valerian, a
man of letters, born in extreme poverty at Belluno in 1477, an< ^
untaught the very elements of learning until he was fifteen.
(Aikin's Gen. Biog. ix. 537.) He died in 1558. As an exposition
of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, his very learned work is little
esteemed ; but it contains emblems innumerable, comprised in
fifty-eight books, each book dedicated to a person of note, and
treating one class of objects. The devices small woodcuts
amount to 365.

Etienne Jodelle, a poet, equally versatile whether in Latin or
in French, was skilled in the ancient languages, and acquainted
with the arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture, as well as
dexterous in the use of arms. He published, in 1558, a thin
quarto " RECUEIL," or Collection of the inscriptions, figures,
devices, and masks ordained in Paris at the Hotel de Ville.
The same year, and again in 1569 and 1573, appeared the large
folio volume, in five parts, " AusTRiACis GENTIS IMAGINES,"
Portraits of the Austrian family, full lengths, engraved by
Caspar ab Avibus, of Padua. At the foot of each portrait are a
four-lined stanza, a brief biographical notice, and some emblema-
tical figure. Of similar character, though much inferior as a
work of art, is Jean Nestor's HlSTOIRE des Hommes ilhistres de
la Maison de Medici ; a quarto of about 240 leaves, printed at
Paris in 1564, (See the Keir Catalogue, p. 143.) It contains
" twelve woodcuts of the emblems of the different members of
the House of Medici."

SECT. III.] FROM A.D. 1543 TO 1564. 81

Hoffer's " ICONES CATECHESEOS," or Pictitres of instruction,
and of virtues and vices, illustrated by verses, and also by
seventy-eight figures or woodcuts, was printed at Wittenberg in
1560. The next year, 1561 if not in 1556 (see Brunet's
Manuel, vol. ii. cc. 930, 931) John Duvet, one of the earliest
engravers on copper in France, at Lyons, published in twenty-
four plates, folio, his chief work, " LAPOCALYPSE FIGURES ; "
and in 1562, at Naples, the Historian of Florence, Scipione
Ammirato, gave to the world " IL ROTA OVERO DELL' IM-
PRESE," or, Dialogue of the Sig. Scipione Ammirato, in which he
discourses of many emblems of divers excellent authors, and of
some rules and admonitions concerning this subject written to
the Sig. Vincenzo Carrafa.

Were it less a subject of debate between Dutch and German
critics as to the exact character of the "SPELEN VAN SINNE,"*
which were published by the Chambers of Rhetoric at Ghent in
1539, and by those of Antwerp in 1561 and 1562 (see Brunet's
Manuel, vol. v. c. 484), we should claim these works for our
Emblem domain. But whether claimed or not, the exhibitions
and amusements of the Chambers of Rhetoric, especially at
their great gatherings in the chief cities of the Netherlands, were
often very lively representations by action and accessory devices
of dramatic thought and sentiment, from " King Herod and his
Deeds," " enacted in the Cathedral of Utrecht in 1418," to what
Motley, in his Dutch Reptiblic, vol. i. p. 80, terms the " magnifi-
cent processions, brilliant costumes, living pictures, charades,
and other animated, glittering groups," " trials of dramatic and
poetic skill, all arranged under the superintendence of the

* A friend, Mr. Jan Hendrik Hessells, now of Cambridge, well acquainted with
his native Dutch literature, informs me the " Spelen van Sinnen (Sinnespelen, Zinne-
spelen) were thus called because allegorical personifications, Zinnebeildige personen
(in old Dutch, Sinnekens], for instance reason, religion, virtue, were introduced."
They were, in fact, " allegorical plays," similar to the "Interludes" of England in
former times.


particular association which in the preceding year had borne
away the prize."

"The Rhetorical Chambers existed in the most obscure
villages" (Motley, i. p. 79); and had regular constitutions, being
presided over by officers with high-sounding titles, as kings,
princes, captains, and archdeacons, and each having " its
peculiar title or blazon, as the Lily, the Marigold, or the Violet,
with an appropriate motto." After 1493 they were " incorpo-
rated under the general supervision of an upper or mother-
society of Rhetoric, consisting of fifteen members, and called by
the title of ' Jesus with the balsam flower.' "

As I have been informed by Mr. Hessells, Siegenbeek, in his
Geschiedenis der Neder lands cite Letterkunde, says, " Besides the
ordinary meetings of the Chambers, certain poetical feasts were
in vogue among the Rhetor-gevers, whereby one or other subject,
to be responded to in burdens or short songs (liedekens), ac-
cording to the contents of the card, was announced, with the
promise of prizes to those who would best answer the proposed
question. But the so-called Entries deserve for their magnifi-
cence, and the diversity of poetical productions which they give
rise to, especially our attention.

" It happened from time to time that one or other of the most
important Chambers sent a card in rhyme to the other Chambers
of the same province, whereby they were invited to be at a
given time in the town where the senders of the card were
established, for the sake of the celebration of a poetical feast.
This card contained further everything by which it was desired
that the Chambers, which were to make their appearance, should
illustrate this feast, viz., the performance of an allegorical play
(zinnespel) in response to some given question ;* the preparation
of esbatementez (drawings), faceties (jests), prologues ; the

* As "Wat den mensch aldermeest tot' const e verwect?" What most of all
avvakens man to art ?

SECT. III.] FROM A.D. 1543 TO 1564. 83

execution of splendid entries and processions ; the exhibitions of
beautifully painted coats of arms, &c. These entries were of
two kinds, landmweelen, and haagspelen ; the landjewels were
the most splendid, and were performed in towns ; the hedge-
plays belonged properly to villages, though sometimes in towns
these followed the performance of a landjewel." Originally,
landjewel meant a prize of honour of the land ; called also
landprys (land-prize).

Such were the periodic jubilees of a neighbouring people,
their " land-jewels," as they were termed, when the birthtime of
our greatest English dramatist arrived. And as we mark the
wide and increasing streams of the Emblem Literature flowing
over every European land, and how the common tongue of
Rome gave one language to all Christendom, can we deem it
probable that any man of genius, of discernment, and of only
the usual attainments of his compeers, would live by the side of
these streams and never dip his finger into the waters, nor wet
even the soles of his feet where the babbling emblems flowed ?

Some there have been to maintain that Shakespeare had
visited the Netherlands, or even resided there ; and it is conse-
quently within the limits of no unreasonable conjecture that he
had seen the landjewels distributed, and at the sight felt himself
inspirited to win a nobler fame.

Whitney, 1586.





A.D. 1616.

N the year at which this Section begins,
Shakespeare was born, and for a whole
century the Emblem tide never ebbed.
There was an uninterrupted succession of
new writers and of new editions. Many
eminent names have appeared in the past,
and names as eminent will adorn the future.

The fifty years which remain to the period comprised within
the limits of this Sketch of Emblem Literature we divide into
two portions of twenty-five years each : ist, up to 1590, when
Shakespeare had fairly entered on his dramatic career ; and
2nd, from 1590 to 1615, when, according to Steevens (edition
1785, vol. i. p. 354), his labours had ended with The Twelfth
Night, or, What You Will. As far as actual correspondences
between Shakespeare and the Emblem Writers demand, our
Sketch might finish with 1610, or even earlier : for some time
will of necessity intervene, after a work has been issued, before
it will modify the thoughts of others, or enter into the phrases
which they employ. However, there is nothing very incon-
gruous in making this Sketch and the last of Shakespeare's
dramas terminate with the same date.

I. In 1564, at Rome, in 4to, the distinguished Latinist,
Gabriel Faerno's Fables were first printed, 100 in" number; it

SECT. IV] FROM A.D. 1564 TO 1590. 85

was three years after his death. The plates are from designs
which Titian is said to have drawn. Our English Whitney
adopts several of Faerno's Fables among his Emblems, and on
this authority we class them with books of Emblems. From
time to time, as late as to 1796, new editions and translations of
the Fables have been issued. A copy in the Free Library,
Manchester, " RonicTe Vincentius Luchinus, 1565," bears the
title, Fabvlae Centvm ex antiqvis avctoribvs delectae, et a Gabriele
Faerno, Cremonensi carminibvs explicatae.

Virgil Solis, a native of Nuremberg, where he was born in
1514, and where he died in 15/0; arid Jost Amman, who was
born at Zurich in 1539, but passed his life at Nuremberg, and
died there in 1591* were both artists of high repute, and contri-
buted to the illustration of Emblem-works. The former,
between 1560 and 1568, produced 125 New Figures for the New
Testament, and An Artistic little Book of Animals ; and the
latter, from 1564 to 1586, contributed very largely to books of
Biblical Figures, of "Animals," of "Genealogies," of "Heraldry,"
and of the Habits and Costumes of All Ranks of the Clergy of
the Roman Churchy and of Women of every " Condition, profes-
sion, and age," throughout the nations of Europe.

From the press of Christopher Plantin, of Antwerp, there
issued nearly fifty editions of Emblem-books between 1564 and
1590. Of these, one of the earliest was, " EMBLEM ATA CVM
ALIQVOT NVMMIS ANTIQVIS," Emblems with some ancient
Coins, 4to, 1564, by the Hungarian, John Sambucus, born at
Tornau in 1531. A French version, Les Emblemes de Jehan
Sambuctis, issued from the same press in 1567. Among
Emblematists, none bears a fairer name as " physician, anti-
quary, and poet." According to De Bry's Icones, pt. iii., ed.
1598, pp. 7683, he obtained the patronage of two emperors,
Maximilian II. and Rudolph II., under whom he held the offices
of counsellor of state and historian of the empire. To him also




belonged the rare honour of having his work commented on by
one of the great heroes of Christendom, Don John of Austria,
in 1572.

Les Songes drolatiqves de Pantagrvel, by Rabelais, appeared
at Paris in 1565, but its emblematical character has been
doubted. Not so, however, the ten editions of the " EMBLE-
MATA " of Hadrian Junms, a celebrated Dutch physician, of
which the first edition appeared in 1565, and justly claims to be
" the most elegant which the presses of Plantin had produced at
this period."

We may now begin to chronicle a considerable number of
works and editions of Emblems by ITALIAN writers, which, to
avoid prolixity and yet to point out, we present in a tabulated
form, giving only the earliest editions :

Pittoni's . .

Imprese di diversiprincipi, diichi, &*c.

sm. fol.

Venice .


Troiano's .

Discorsi delli triomfi, giostre, Qr*c. .


Monica .


Rime . .

Rime de gli Academici occvlti, &*c. .


Brescia .


Farra's . .

Settenario delF hiimana riduttione .



1571 v.

Dolce's . .

Le prime imprese del conte Orlando


Venice .

1572 v.

Dialogo ......


Venice .

1575 k.

Contile's . .

Ragionamento sopra la proprieta



1574 k.

delle Imprese, &^c.


Opera nuova, <5rv. ....


Lyons .



I Discorsi Imprese, &^c. .




Caburacci's .

Trattato, dove si dimostra il vero




e novo modo difare le Imprese.

* The works to which a k is appended are all in the very choice and yet most
extensive collection of Emblem-books at Keir, made by the Author of The Cloister
Life of Charles V., Sir William Stirling Maxwell, Bart. ; c, in the Library formed by
the Rev. Thomas Corser, Rector of Stand, near Manchester ; /, in that of Henry Yates
Thompson, Esq. , of Thingwall, near Liverpool. I have had the opportunity, most
kindly given, of examining very many of the Emblem-works at Keir, and nearly all
of those at Stand and Thingwall. The three collections contained at the time of
my examination of them 934, 204, and 248 volumes, in the whole 1386 volumes.
Deducting duplicates, the number of distinct editions in the three libraries is above 900.
Where I have placed a v, it denotes that the sources of information are various, but
those sources I possess the means of verifying. I name these things that it may be
seen I have not lightly nor idly undertaken the sketch which I present in these pages.


FROM A.D. 1564 TO 1590.

Guazzo's . Dialoghi piacevoli ....

Camillas . . Imprese co i discorsi, et con le figure
Cimolotti's . // superbi ......

Fabrici's. . Delle allusioni, imprese &* emblemi

sopra la vita, &*c., diGregorio XIII.
Rinaldi's . // mostruosissimo ....
Porro's . . II primo libra .....
Pezzi's . . La Vigna del Signore Sacramenti,

Paradise, Limbo, &^c.
Bargagli's . Dell' Imprese

4to Venice . 1585 /-.

4to Venice . 1586^.

4to Pavia . 1587 k.

4to Roma

8vo Ferrara .

4to Milano . 1589 k.

4to Venetia. 1589 /.

4to Venetia. 1589^.

So, briefly, in the order of time, may we name several of the
French, Latin, and German Emblem-writers of this period,
together with the Spanish and English :


Grevin's . . Emblemes cT Adrian La Jeune

Vander Noot's Theatre . . . les inconueniens et
miseres qui suiuent les mondains
et vicieux, &^c.

De Montenay's Emblemes ou devises chrestiennes .

Chartier's . . Les Blasotis de vertu par vertu

Droyn's* . . La Grand nef des fols du monde .

Goulart's . . Les Vrais Pourtraits des Homines

Verdier's . . Les images des anciens dieux (par
V. Cartari).

Anjou . . . La joyeuse et magnif. entree de
Mons. Franqoys, due de Bra-
bant, Anjou, &c., en ville
d' Anvers.

L'Anglois . . Discours des hierog. e'gyptiens, em-
blemes, &>c.

Messin . . . Emblemes latins de J. J. Boissard,
avec V interpretation franqoise.

i6mo Anvers . 1568 v.
8vo Londres. 1568 v.

4to Lyon. . 1571 k.

4to Aurelise. 1574 v.

fol. a Lyon . 1579 c.

4to Genue . 1581 k.

4to Lyon . 1581 v.

fol. a Anvers 1582 k.

4to Paris. . 1583^.
4to Metis . 1588 c.

Of these works, Vander Noot's was translated into English,
says Brunet, (v. c. 1072,) by Henry Bynneman, 1569, and is
remarkable for containing (see Ath. Cantab, ii. p. 258) certain

First printed at Lyons in 1498.



poems, termed sonnets, and epigrams, which Spenser wrote
before his sixteenth year. Mademoiselle Georgette de Montenay
was a French lady of noble birth, and dedicated her 100
Emblems " to the very illustrious and virtuous Princesse,
Madame Jane D'Albret, Queen of Navarre." Chartier, a
painter and engraver, flourished about 1574; L'Anglois is not
mentioned in the Hieroglyphics of Dr. Leemans, nor do I find
any notice of Messin.


Schopperus . . noi/oTrAfo, otnnium illiberalium 8vo Francof. . . 1568 i>.

mechanicarum, &*c.
. . De omnibus illiberalibus sive 8vo Francof. . . 1574 /.

mechanicis artibus.
Arias Montanus . Humance salutis monumenta, 4to Antverpiae .1572 k.

Sanctius . .

Furmerus . .
Lonicer, Ph. .

Estienne, Henri.

Freitag . . ,

Microcosm. . .


Beza . . . .

Hesius, G. . .

Lonicer, J. A.

Emblemata .

. Commentaria in A. Alciati 8vo Lugduni . . 1573 k.


. De rerum usu et abusu . . 4to Antverpiae . 1575 /.

. Insignia sacra Ccesarece, maj. 4to Francof. . . 1579 k.

Anthologia gnomica
Mythologia ethica .


Hortinus . .
Modius . .

Parvus Mundus
Icones accedunt emblemata .
Emblemata sacra
Emblemata partim ethica et

physica, &^c.
A ureolorum Emblem, liber sin-

Venatus et Aucupium Iconibus


Apologi Creaturarum
Emblemata Evangelica ad XII.

signa, &>c.
Emblemata Evang. ad. XII.

Signa ccelestia.
Icones operum, &C.
Liber or dints Ecclesiastici

origo, &C.

8vo Francof. .

. 1579 k.

4to Antverpiae

Online LibraryHenry GreenShakespeare and the emblem writers; an exposition of their similarities of thought and expression. Preceded by a view of emblem-literature down to A. D. 1616 → online text (page 7 of 41)