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" His own fayre Dryope now he thinks not fa}Te." —

Ibid.

But Shakspeare is not singular in his
treatment of Hecate. Marlow, Ben Jonson,
and a greater than both, are equally in fault ;
thus : —

Maelow. — " Pluto's blue fire and Hecafs tree

AVith magic spells so compass thee."
Faustus.

Jonson. — " Tliat very night

We earthed her in the shades, when om- dame

Hccat
Made it her going night over the kirkyard."

Sad Shepherd.

Milton. — " Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,

Wherein thou rid'st with Hccat, and be friend."

Comus.

2. He accentuates " Posthumus" on the
second syllable instead of the first ; thus : —

" For you, Posthumus,
So soon as I can win the offended king, Ac."

Cymbeline, i. 2.

This is the second time the name occurs in
the play. On the first occasion, which is
only about thirty hues before, it is accented
rigLitly ; thus : —

" The king he takes the babe
To his protection; call him Pos'thumus ;
Breeds him," &c. — Act i. 1.

And thenceforward, throughout the play, the
name is as frequently accented on the ante-



penultimate syllable as on the penultimate ;
for, on its third occurrence, it is right ; thus:

" It is your fault that I have loved Posthumus." —

Act i. 2.*

But Shakspeare's false quantity in this respect
is no worse than Spenser's, who deliberately
writes on three or four occasions the name
of Philemon, with the accent on the first
syllable, thus : —

" My friend, bright Philemon, I did partake." —
F. 2, B. 2, cant, iv., stan. 20.

And again, in stanzas 29 and 30:

" Confest how Philemon her wrought to change," (fee.
Ibid., Stan. 29.

" To Philemon, false faylour, Philemon." — Stan. 30.

3. In the same play, he twice accents
Arviragus on the penultimate instead of the
antepenult syllable ; thus : —

" The younger brother, Cadwal,
(Once Arviragus,) in as like a figure," &.c. - Cym. iii. 3.
" This gentleman, my Cadwal, Aviragus." — v. 5.

This false pronunciation of proper names
(another instance of which may be found in
his pronunciation of Andronicus with the
accent on the second syllable, if the play be
really his) is common to our poet with men
of more acknowledged learning. Thomas
Lodge, for example, uniformly accents Mith-
ridates on the antepenultimate ; as thus ;

"Who now in Asia but Methrid'ates ?"
" To lead our legions 'gainst Methrid 'ates."
"Against Methrid 'ates and his competitors, wounds

of civil war." — Act i. 1.
"And drive Methrid 'ates from out his doors." —

Act ii. 1.

And so on every occasion throughout the

* The commentators, however, determined that
he shall be ignorant, spoil the metre in the rest of
the line, and print it thus ; —

" It is your fault that I have loved Posthumus,"
and so in many other places where the name is
foimd.



1852.



Some Shalcspearian and Spenserian MSS.



115



wliole play. If, then, Shakspeare is to be
convicted of ignorance by reason of his
accent in the wrong place, does not Lodge
lie under the same conviction ? But Lodge
was an A. M. of Cambridge, and Shakspeare
never v^ent beyond his grammar-school !

It so happens, however, that scholars of
admittea rank have followed him in his
accentuat'on of the very name in question.
Thomas Heywood, in his " Britayne's Troy-
an," acceri-s it thus : —

" Now, Ar\iragus reigns, and takes to wife," &c.

And P. Chsster, in his " Dialogue between
i^Tature, the Phcenix, and the Turtle Dove :"

" Windsor,
Firstbuilt by Arvu-agus, Britaine's king."

4. Thi antepenultimate accent on Hype-
rion is another of Shakspeare's transgressions
against th, ancients. So it is. But Spenser,
as Doctor Farmer admits, is guilty of the
" same fale quantity ;" and Thomas Hey-
wood confims the error, by couphng it in
rhyme witl another name whose proper
accent is onthe antepenultimate ; thus : —

" Thou that £>t called the bright Hyperion,
Wert thou lore strong tlian Spanish Gary on."
Loves Mistress, iii. 2.

We migh well discharge ourselves of
this minute citicism here, were it not that
Dr. Farmer, Dt content with his Greek and
Roman trimphs, would fain gather from
the brows )f lis victim every twig and leaf-
let of Freeh, Spanish and Italian which
twinkles tere, and strip him naked to his
mother-togue. " His studies," quoth he,
"were mot demonstratively confined to na-
ture and Is own language."

To wha ver knowledge Shakspeare makes
Dretcnsion we think he has a claim for cre-
dit which mnot be withheld, except by sup-
posing hir to be what no truly great man
ever was-an impostor. He was too rich
by nature > affect what he was not by art ;
and we mr rest assured that he pretended
to uothingrhich he was not. To a know-
ledge of tl Spanish and Italian languages
it does nolappear to us that he laid any
claim whatever. Here and there through-
out his pla a few cant phrases are put into
the mouths)f his clowns and braggadocios
and drunkds ; but they were the common
slang of thcimes, and might be heard every
day at St. aul's, and the ordinaries, from



the lips of affected travelers, and the idle,
dissipated apes who mimicked their exotic
jargon. Hence, they abound in most of the
satirical pamphlets and play-books which
ridicule the affectations of the coxcombs and
braggarts of the times ; and Shakspeare's
use of such phraseology is so characteristic,
that without it he would have failed of doing
that which he never failed to do — giving a
full and true picture of men and manners.
Beyond this, w^e find nothing in his works
aspiring towards a knowledge of those Ian- '
guages ; and in this respect they prove no-
thing either way. For all that appears by
them, he might have been as ignorant of
Spanish or Italian as Dr. Farmer would re-
present him, or he might have been as fami-
liar with them as any of the contemporary
" liegers sent to lie abroad for the good of
their country."* Not so, however, with
French. To a certain degree of knowledge
in that language he pretends ; and to that "
extent it is our duty to vindicate him. His
" Henry V." has two or three scenes in which
French dialogue prevails ; and French excla-
mations and passages abound throughout
the rest of the perform.ance, all of which,
when freed from errors of the press, are in
as pure and idiomatic language as any that
we find in the printed books of that era.
To surmount this difficulty, the critics are
fain to represent those scenes either as inter-
polations of the players after the poet's
death, or as plagiarisms of his own during
his hfetime ! Hanmer has rejected some of
them as spurious ; Warburton wishes he
could do the same ; and Farmer conjectures
that they were " occasionally introduced into
every play on the subject, and perhaps there
were more than one before our poet's." This
device is too common to surprise our readers,
and too licentious to have any weight. By
means of it, every critic, from Pope down-
ward, has got rid of every thing that dis-
pleased him, until the experience and im-
proved judgment of the public put a stop
to the practice. The scenes, however poor
and mean they may be thought, are as genu-
ine as any other that we meet with in the
poet's printed works ; and they are charac-
teristic both of the persons and the times.

But, "Mr. Hawkins," says Dr. Farmer,
" hath an ingenious observation, to prove



* Sir Henry Wotton's definition of an ambassa-
dor to foreign courts.



116



Some Shakspearian and Spenserian MSS.



February,



that Shakspeare — supposing the French to
be his — had very Httle knowledge of the
language. ' Est-il impossible d'eschapper la
force de ton bras,' says a Frenchman ; ' Brass
cur ?' replies Pistol. Almost any one knows
that the French word bras is pronounced
braw ; and what resemblance of sound does
this bear to brass ?"

Dr. Farmer adopts and enforces this criti-
cism ; and thus makes it his own, at the
hazard of convicting himself of greater igno-
rance of the French than he imputes to
Shakspeare. Whatever assonance the French
bras has to the English brass, it has just as
Httle to braio. No Frenchman pronounces
the final a as au, but as ah ; and all French-
men, even at the present day, do and must,
under certain circumstances, pronounce the
final s or as, as fully as an Englishman
sounds it in as or has. But Farmer is "cer-
to2W," and refers us to the authority of The
French Alphabet de la Mothe, 1592, and the
Orthoepia Gallica of John Elliot, 1593.
True it is, that the French alphabetical name
of the letter a is called au ; but that is not
its 2)honetic value in all words ; and it would
be just as false to suppose so, as that alpha,
the name of the first letter in the Greek
alphabet, were its value and sound in every
or any word in which it occurs. The Eng-
lish a has indeed but one name, but in speech
it has at least four values, as in fate, fat,
far, fall ; and the man must be very igno-
rant indeed of the language, who would
reduce them all to one. In French, likewise,
a has two values or sounds, one equivalent
to the Italian a as heard in casa, calamita,
and the other equivalent to the English let-
ter as heard in all, hall, fall. The former
may be exemplified in such words as c«, la,
pas, cas, chat, avocat; the latter in 23lan,
rang, blanc, chant, rampant; and both in
such words as avant, charmant, grand'ma-
man, accablant. Indeed, we think it will be
found that the broad sound of the English
au is never given to the French a, except
where it precedes a nasal letter ; and that as
a final letter, or followed by a mute, it has
the precise value of the Italian a. £ras,
therefore, in verse, would rhyme with our
English ah ! ha ! papa, mamma, and not
with law, pau), jaw, as Mr. Hawkins and
Dr. Farmer very "ingeniously" suppose.

So far, the critics are in the wrong; and
we have got the French sound of bras, cor-
responding, as far as it goes, (that is to say,



without the final s,) with our own English
brass, curtailed in the same manner. The
question, then, is, whether the final s in such
words was ever sounded in French; and
whether, as Dr. Johnson very properly sug-
gested, " the pronunciation of the French
language may not have changed since Shak-
speare's time ?" This was a doubt of which
Dr. Farmer would have done well to avail
himself, before he laid down the law with
such absolute certainty ; for certaii it is that
many such changes have taken pace in the
interim, both in French and En^-lish ; and
in both languages we have tracss still sur-
viving, that the letter s in particular had not
been an obsolete sound at the terinination
of words, down to the time of Shakspeare.
Dr. Farmer did not consider that fi)al con-
sonants, [s inclusive,) though mufe before
words commencing with a consoiant, are
vocal when succeeded by a vowil. Thus
a Frenchman pronouncing the vords les
cloights et les armes, would give -is sounds
which, represented in English sym»ols, would
run thus : lay dwawz eh lays oirme. Or
again : saying ^j>as dix, (not ten,) r pas onze,
(not eleven,) he would say pa. dee, pahs
ongze ; letting the s be heard before the
vowel, though not the consoant. Thus
also fls [fee] c?' Ulysse, and fil^QQCo] aine.
It is more than probable, ther that at one
period in the progress of the French lan-
guage, the final consonant, novmute before
a consonant, had its full sound before either
consonant or vowel ; for, long ^efa-e French
orthography was reduced to lule and men
wrote, as they did in England, b}^ar, those
final letters, which would be no\ unheard
in conversation, were written and»rinted in
their due places ; a clear proof, in ur appre-
hension, that they had their placs on the
tongues of those who spoke, and : the ears
of those who heard, as well as nder the
pens of those who wrote them. The dis-
tinction of omitting them in onecase, and
retaining them in another, is oviously a
refinement of more modern date but how
it set in, and when it was finally itablished •
as a conventional law, we do not retend to
say. But that such was the ca — and in
particular with the final s — we ave some
traces still surviving. Fitz, as prefix to
English patronymics, is identicawith the
French Filz, or Fitz, or fils, iithe same
circumstances ; and we pronouu the soft
sibilant in full, whether before apnsonant,



1852.



Some ShaTcspeaAan and Spenserian MSS.



117



as in Fitz Gerald, or vowel, as in Fitz Arnold.
Again : that so common a word as Calais
was pronounced in Shakspeare's time witli
the final s in full, we can have no doubt,
when we find the learned Camden disre-
garding the French orthography, but imitat-
ing the French sound in English symbols,
and writing the name of that town Calice.^
In such words as case, (from cas, Fr.,) 2)ace,
(from ^:>05,) it is evident that the sibilant was
in use in the original when the derivative
was imported ; and in words derived from
bras — such as brace, embrace, (" Fr., to hold
fondly in the arms." Johnson,) bracelet,
("Fr., an ornament for the arms." Ibid.,)
vantbrass, {^'- avant bras, Fr., armor for the
arm." Ibid.) — the evidence is conclusive.
In the last word especially, we have the very
pronunciation required to justify Pistol's
quibble established ; for it is impossible that
people adopting terms from a foreign lan-
guage should depart so far from the analogy
of sounds as to give brass as the equivalent
to braw ; and that vantbrass was in Shak-
speare's time pronounced according to the
spelling in Johnson's Dictionary, is evident
from the series of punning allusions con-
tained in the following lines :

Nestor. " Tell him from me,

I'll hide my silver beard in a gold beaver,
And in my vantbrass\ put tliis withered braion"\&.Q,.
Troilus and Cressida, i. 3,

It is quite clear, therefore, that Dr. Johnson's



* Camden's Remaines, &.C.; 1614; p. 181.

f " Vantbrass" is now sometimes written and
pronounced vantbrace ; and this example may
teach us how such words as case, (from cas,) pace,
(from pas,) brace, embrace, bracelet, (from brass,)
came to be pronounced with the long and slender
Enfjhsh a, as heard in ace, face, hate, &c.

\ In this speech, the old warrior obviously alludes
to a previous speech in the same scene. Ulysses
compliments Agamemnon and Nestor on "both
their speeches,*' "which were such," quoth he,

"As Agamemnon and the hand of Greece
Should hold up high in brass; and such again
As venerable Nestor hatched in silver,'" &c.

It may not be impertinent to remark that brawn, as
used in the aboae-quoted passage, is frequently
used, as here, in me peculiar sense of arm, thus:

Aufidius. " I had a purpose

Once more to hew thy target from thy brawn,
Or lo?e mine arm for 't." Curiolanus, iv. 5,

Again: Imogin, finding the headless trunk of Cloten,
and mistaking it for that of Posthumus, examines
the legs and arms :

" I know the shape of his leg ; this is his hand ;
His foot mercurial; his martial thigh;
The braicns of Kercules," &c. Cymbeline, iT.2.



conjecture was right ; that bras was formerly
pronounced in France with a sibilant ter-
mination, and near enough in assonance with
our word brass, to warrant the quibble of
" mine ancient Pistol ;" and that Dr. Farmer
has taken nothing by the argument but the
discredit of a very presumptuous mistake.
Indeed, we must ascribe it to his utter igno- *"
ranee of French, that he could not find in *

Shakspeare's works proofs conclusive that he
was a master of the French language. His ^
Henry V. abounds,"^ as we have already
noticed, with passages (besides the dialogues
referred to) in which the Dauphin and the
French courtiers use their native language
in great purity; but there is one in the
Merry Wives of "Windsor, which, having
given some trouble to the critics, their per-
plexity can only have been caused by their
ignorance of peculiarities in French litera-
ture, with which our poet seems to have
been familiarly acquainted. The passage is
in the Merry Wives of Windsor, (v. 5,) and
runs thus :

'And Hony soif qui mal y pense write."

We give the j)oet no praise for his know-
ledge of the meaning of the old Garter
motto ; but we give the critics who quarrel
with his metre no credit for their French
prosody. They quarrel with the line as if it
were deficient of a half-foot ; but had they
been aware that the laws of French versifica-
tion require the full syllabic sound of the final
unaccented e before a consonant, they would
have read the line as Shakspeare wrote it,
thus :

"And ho I ny soit | qui mal | y pen | se write;"

and found it to be perfectly metrical.

Though this peculiarity of French verse
be but little known to modern English
linguists, it was familiar to our old poets,
and practised by them whenever French
passages occur in their writings. Thus
Spenser :

" And thereto well agreed
His Word, which on his ragged shield was wi'it :
Salve/ess | sc saiis \ Jlnes \ se, shew | iug secret
wit." f



"^' Besides the three scenes in which French dia-
logue prevails, there are in Henry V. about twenty
passages in which French sentences occur.

f Fairy Queen, B. iv. c. 4, st. 39.



Its



Some Shakspearian and Spenserian MSS.



February,



And thus Dr. Donne :

" Only let me love none ; no, not the sport
From country grasse to confitures of court,
Or ci I tie's quel | qiie chos \ es ; let report
My mind transport." *

And thus Shakspeare again :

Pistol. " Oui, cou I per gor \ r/e, par \ ma foi, \
pesant." f {paysan)

Again :

"Coupe I le gor \ ge, that's \ the word! ( I thee
Defy again." \
Bourbon. "Mort de \ ma vi \e!\i\ they march

along." §
Constable. ''Dieu de \ battail \ Us! "where | have
they 1 this mettle ?" §

We have not yet done with our poet's
ignorance. " Suppose him a learned man,"
quoth Dr. Farmer, " and what shall excuse
his gross violations of geography ?"

Well, then, what are they ?

1 . He represents Bohemia as a maritime
country.

Too true ; but the mistake is not his, and
therefore does not implicate his knowledge
of geography. It is the mistake of a scholar ;
of a traveler ; of Roherius Greene, Utriusque
Academice in Artihus Magister ; of one
who, having graduated at Oxford, made the
grand tour of Europe, returned to his coun-
try, as he says himself, perfectly " Italian-
ated ;" and, having finished his education by
taking on an ad eiindem degree at Cam-
bridge, ruled the dramatic wits of his time
with unbounded levity. Shakspeare, in this
instance, as in most others, observed the
rule of Horace ; he followed the well-known,
the popular authority he had adopted ; and
for all the consequences, the original author
is responsible, and not the copyist, He
found the error in Greene's novel, and he
left it as he found it. Nay, were this a fit
time and place for the discussion, we could
show reasons extremely plausible for his re-
tention of the error, knowing it to be such ;
but this we must defer to a more convenient
season. It is sufficient here to know that
the geographical blunder is not the un-
learned Sbakspeare's, but the learned Robert
Greene's.

2. He supposes Verona and Milan to be
both seaport towns ; and accordingly sends
Valentine, and after him Proteus, from one



* Donne's works. Love's Usury.

\ Henry V., iv. 4. % -^*^^'^> ii- § Ibid., iii. 5.



to the other on shipboard. We confess that
both those towns, and the principalities of
which they are the capitals, are inland ; but
it is not so clear to us that Shakspeare him-
self was ignorant of the fact, as that he as-
sumed either the ignorance or indifference
of his audience respecting the literal truth.
He knew, at least, that the journey between
them could be made by land ; and Juha
performs it on foot, wearied indeed, but in
a few hours. Let the critics beware, there-
fore, lest their objections should rather prove
them ignorant of Sbakspeare's methods,
rather than Shakspeare ignorant of geo-
graphy. He is a much greater artificer than
he gets credit for, and plays off more legerde-
main upon the imagination than either spec-
tator or reader is apt to suspect. More
especially with reference to time, as a dra-
matic element, his resources for deception are
profound and various ; nor is this the only
occasion upon which (to use his own expres-
sion) he " palters with us in a double sense,"
and arrives at his journey's end by several
routes. In the " Merchant of Venice " the
same expedient is used, for the purpose of
mystifying our notion of time ; and Portia
performs by land, and in her own carriage,
in a few hours, double the journey which
cost Anthonio three months to perform in
his argosy ; namely, the distance between
Venice and Belmont.* The repetition of



* "We must measure ticcnty miles to-day," says
Portia to Nerissa, as she is about to step into her
carriage, which was waiting for them " at the park
gate." She goes to Venice, attends the trial, and
is back again at Belmont before daybreak on the
following morning. Venice was, therefore, but ten
miles distant from Belmont. Bassanio wa.^ just as
well aware as Portia of the distance and the time
necessary for traversing it, for, on leaving her, im-
mediately after his marriage, to attend the trial of
his friend, he pledges himself not to sleep or rest
till he returns to her : —

" Till I come again.
No bed shall e'er be guilty of my stay;
No real be interposer 'twixt us twaiu."— .^cf iii. 2.

But, doubtless, he did not care to go in his ship this
time. The fact is, a sea voyage ^ to the imagina-
tion an indefinite period ; one by laud, where the
distance is known, fixed and certain. In Bassanio's
first journey, the poet wanted to lose time, for the
bond to run out ; in the latter, to gain time, for the
service of his friend. It is for a similar reason he
gives his personages two routes from Verona to
Milan — the one by sea, to give an indefinite period
for the growth of Valentine's love and the treach-
ery of Proteus; and the other by land, to convince
the spectator of the very short time necessarily oc-



1852.



Some Shahspear'ian and Sjjenserian MSS.



tm



the same expedient, in at least two cases,
"where the circumstances of the plot require
a real or a suppositious lapse of time, seems
to be the result of system, not mistake ; and
until Shakspeare's treatment of the unities be
more fully understood than it is at present,
we would caution the critics not to calculate
much on his imputed ignorance either of
geography or of that point which we are
now naturally brought to consider, viz., his
barbarism with respect to the unities.

Shakspeare, say the critics, was ignorant
of the unities; and they account for his
ignorance by his presumed want of acquaint-
ance with the Latin and Greek dramatists
and critics. But the inference is both un-
consequential and unjust, unless they will
also admit that his numerous dramatic co-
temporaries, who have violated the laws of
Aristotle as grossly at least as he, were as
ignorant of those laws as they suppose him
to have been. Now, the great majority of
his early dramatic contemporaries were men
who had received a university education.
They numbered amongst them such men as
Marlow, Lylie, Greene, Peele, Kid, Decker,
Nash, Marston, Lodge, Chapman, (fee. ; and
we deny that any of them ever thoroughly
observed the Greek unities ; nay, we boldly
assert them, one and all, to have been far
more licentious in their abuse of them than
Shakspeare. They were all, however, the
alumni of one or more of the universities ;
and we therefore never hear their learning
impugned by the critics, nor is their flagrant
and perpetual non-observance of the unities
brought forward against them as a proof of
their ignorance. But if their defects in this
kind do not prove them to have been igno-
rant of the learned languages, what weight
has the argument against Shakspeare ?
Surely, if they may have been learned,
notwithstanding their dramatic license, Shak-
speare may have been so too ; and if they
did, as we know they did, graduate of one
or more of the universities, Shakspeare, for
any thing which this state of facts exhibits,
did, or at least was, in point of learning,
competent to have done, the same thing.

But we can carry the argument upon this
head in favor of our poet much farther. If
the observance of the unities would prove



cupied by the whole transaction. The fuller de-
velopment of these hints would require more time
and place than we can here afford it.



his knowledge of them, and his knowledge
imply his learning, we are in a position for



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