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frain from quoting the following lines from old Ben's prologue to his Every Man in his Humour.
To make a child now swaddled, to proceed
And in the tyring-house, &c. STEEVENS. The historical dramas are now concluded, of which the two parts of Henry the Fourth, and Henry the Fifth, are among the happiest of our author's compositions; and King John, Richard the Third, and Henry the Eighth, deservedly stand in the second class. Those whose curiosity would refer the historical scenes to their original, may consult Holinshed, and sometimes Hall: from Holinshed Shakspeare has often inserted whole speeches with no more alteration than was necessary to the numbers of his verse. To transcribe them into the margin was unnecessary, because the original is easily examined, and they are seldom less perspicuous in the poet than in the historian.
To play histories, or to exhibit a succession of events by action and dialogue, was a common entertainment among our rude ancestors upon great festivities. The parish clerks once performed at Clerkenwell a play which lasted three days, containing, The History of the It'orld.
THE PLOT, THE FABLE, AND CONSTRUCTION
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.
This play is more correctly written than most of Shakspeare's compositions, but it is not one of those in which either the extent of his views or elevation of his fancy is fully displayed. As the story abounded with materials, he has exerted little invention ; but he has diversified his characters with great variety, and preserved them with great exactness. His vicious characters disgust, but cannot corrupt, for both Cressida and Pandarus are detested and contemned. The comick characters seem to have been the favourites of the writer ; they are of the superficial kind, and exhibit more of manners than nature ; but they are copiously filled and powerfully impressed. Shakspeare has in his story followed, for the greater part, the old book of Caxton, which was then very popular; but the character of Thersites, of which it makes no mention, is a proof that this play was written after Chapman had published his version of Homer.
JOHNSON. Mr. Pope (after Dryden) informs us, that the story
they are are has inks of Caxtor
of Troilus and Cressida was originally the word Lollius, a Lombard. Dryden goes yet fur: declares it to have been written in Latina that Chaucer translated it. Lollius was a grapher of Urbino in Italy. Shakspeare reca greatest part of his materials for the structur play from the Troye Boke of Lydgate. Lyil not much more than a translator of Guido of na, who was of Messina in Sicily, and wrote: tory of Troy in Latin, after Dictys Cretens", Guido's work was published at Cologne in again in 1480, at Strasburgh 1486, and ibidem, This work appears to have been translated by le Feure, at Cologne, into French, from whom ! rendered it into English in 1471, under the his Recuyel, &c. so that there must have be some earlier edition of Guido's performance have hitherto seen or heard of, unless his first lator had recourse to a manuscript.
Guido of Columpna is referred to as an auth. our own chronicler Grafton. Chaucer had m. loves of Troilus and Cressida famous, which ver bably might have been Shakspeare's inducement their fortune on the stage.- Lydgate's Trolle was printed by Pynson, 1513, STEEVE
Before this play of Troilus and Cressida, pri 1609, is a bookseller's preface, shewing that tìipression to have been before the play had been and that it was published without Shakspeare's ] ļedge, from a copy that had fallen into the bookin