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efteemed greatnefs, will you hear the dialogue that the two learned men have compiled, in praise of the owl and the cuckow? it should have follow'd in the end of our show.
King. Call them forth quickly, we will do fo.
Enter all, for the fong.
This fide is Hiems, winter.
This Ver, the spring: the one maintained by the owl,
When daizies pied, and viclets blue,3
Do paint the meadows with delight;
Cuckow! cuckow !-O word of fear,
3 When, &c.] The first lines of this fong that were tranfpofed, have been replaced by Mr. Theobald. JOHNSON.
• —cuckow-buds-] Miller fays, that lady-fmocks and cuckooflowers are only different names of the fame plant. STEEVENS.
5 Do paint the meadows with delight;] This is a pretty rural fong, in which the images are drawn with great force from nature. But this fenfelefs expletive of painting with delight, I would read thus,
Do paint the meadows much-bedight,
i. e. much bedecked or adorned as they are in fpring-time. epithet is proper, and the compound not inelegant. WARBURTON. Much less elegant than the prefent reading. JOHNSON.
When Shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
And merry larks are plowmens' clocks:
And maidens bleach their fummer fmocks;
Cuckow ! cuckow ! O word of fear,
When ificles hang by the wall,
And Dick the fhepherd blows his nail;
And milk comes frozen bome in pail;
-A merry note,
And coughing drowns the parfon's faw;
Aud Marian's nofe looks red and raw ;
-A merry note,
doth keel the pot.] This word is yet ufed in Ireland, and Dr. GOLDSMITH. fignifies to fcum the pot. So in Marfton's Dumb Knight, 1607.-"Faith, Doricus, thy "brain boils, keel it, keel it, or all the fat's in the fire." STEEVENS.
H h 4
Arm. The words of Mercury are harsh after the fongs of Apollo: You that way; we this way.
7 In this play, which all the editors have concurred to cenfure, and fome have rejected as unworthy of our poet, it must be confeffed, that there are many paffages mean, childish, and vulgar; and fome which ought not to have been exhibited, as we are told they were, to a maiden queen. But there are fcattered through the whole many fparks of genius; nor is there any play that has more evident marks of the hand of Shakespeare. JOHNSON.
ACT I. SCENE I. Page 350.
THIS child of fancy, that Armado hight, &c.] This, as I have fhewn in the note in its place, relates to the ftories in the books of chivalry. A few words, therefore, concerning their origin and nature, may not be unacceptable to the reader. As I don't know of any writer, who has given any tolerable account of this matter: and especially as monfieur Huet, the bishop of Avranches, who wrote a formal treatife of the Origin of Romances, has faid little or nothing of thefe in that fuperficial work. For having brought down the account of romances to the later Greeks, and entered upon thofe compofed by the barbarous western writers, which have now the name of Romances almost appropriated to them, he puts the change upon his reader, and instead of giving us an account of thefe books of chivalry, one of the most curious and interefting parts of the fubject he promised to treat of, he contents himself with a long account of the poems of the provincial writers, called likewife romances: and fo, under the equivoque of a common term, drops his proper fubject, and entertains us with another, that had no relation to it more than in the name.
The Spaniards were of all others the fondeft of these fables, as fuiting beft their extravagant turn to gallantry and bravery; which in time grew fo exceflive, as to need all the efficacy of Ceryantes's incomparable fatire to bring them back to their fenfes. The French suffered an eafier cure from their doctor Rabelais, who enough difcredited the books of chivalry, by only ufing the extravagant ftories of us giants, &c. as a cover for another kind of fatire against the refined politicks of his countrymen; of which they were as much poffeffed as the Spaniards of their romantic bravery. A bravery our Shakespeare makes their characteristic, in this defeription of a Spanish gentleman;
A man of compliments, hem right and wrong
The fenfe of which is to this effect: This gentleman, fays the fpeaker, ball relate to us the celebrated ftories recorded in the old romances, and in their very file. Why he fays, from tawny Spain, is because these romances, being of the Spanish original, the heroes and the scene were generally of that country. He says, loft in the world's debate, because the fubject of those romances were the crufades of the European Chriftians against the Saratens of Afia and Africa.
Indeed, the wars of the Chriftians against the Pagans were the general fubject of the romances of chivalry. They all feem to have had their ground-work in two fabulous monkish hiftorians: the one, who, under the name of Turpin, archbishop of Rheims, wrote the Hiftory and Atchievements of Charlemagne and his twelve Peers; to whom, inftead of his father, they affigned the task of driving the Saracens out of France and the fouth parts of Spain the other, our Geoffry of Monmouth.
Two of thofe peers, whom the old romances have rendered most famous, were Oliver and Rowland. Hence Shakespeare makes Alenfon, in the first part of Henry VI. fay; "Froyfard, a coun"tryman of ours, records, England all Olivers and Rowlands
bred, during the time Edward the third did reign." In the Spanish romance of Bernardo del Carpio, and in that of Roncef valles, the feats of Roland are recorded under the name of Roldan el encantador; and in that of Palmerin del Oliva,* or fimply Oliva, thofe of Oliver: for Oliva is the fame in Spanish as Olivier is in French. The account of their exploits is in the highest degree monstrous and extravagant, as appears from the judgment paffed upon them by the priest in Don Quixote, when he delivers the knight's library to the fecular arm of the house-keeper, "Eccetu"ando à un Bernardo del Carpio que anda por ay, y à otro Ilma"do Roncesvalles ; que eftos en llegando a mis manos, an de "eftar en las de la ama, y dellas en las del fuego fin remiffion al
* Dr. Warburton is quite mistaken in deriving Oliver from (Palmerin de) Oliva, which is utterly incompatible with the genius of the Spanish language The old romance, of which Oliver was the hero, is entitled in Spanish, "Hiftorias de los nobles Cavalleros de Caftilla, y Artus de Algarbe, in fol. en Valladolid, 1501, in fol. en Sevilla, 1507;" and in French thus, "Hiftoire d'Olivier de Caftille, & Artus d'Algarbe fon loyal compagnon, & de Heleine Fille au Roy d'Angleterre, &c. tranflatée du Latin par Phil. Camus, in fol. Gothique." It has also appeared in English. See Ames's Typograph. p. 94, 47. PERCY.
guna." And of Oliver he fays, "effa Oliva fe haga luego ta jas, y fe queme, que aun no queden della las cenizas." The reasonableness of this fentence may be partly feen from one story in the Bernardo del Carpio, which telis us, that the cleft called Roldan, to be feen on the fummit of an high mountain in the kingdom of Valencia, near the town of Alicant, was made with a fingle back-stroke of that hero's broad fword. Hence came the proverbial expreffion of our plain and fenfible ancestors, who were much cooler readers of thefe extravagances than the Spaniards, of giving one a Rowland for his Oliver, that is, of matching one impoffible lye with another: as, in French, faire le Roland means, to fwagger. This driving the Saracens out of France and Spain, was, as we fay, the fubject of the elder romances. And the first that was printed in Spain was the famous Amadis de Gaula, of which the inquifitor prieft fays: "fegun he oydo dezir, efte libro fué el primero de Cavallerias que fe imprimiò en Efpana, y todos los "demás an tomado principio y origen defte ;"|| and for which he humourously condemns it to the fire, coma à Dogmatazador de una fecta tan mala. When this fubject was well exhaufted, the affairs of Europe afforded them another of the fame nature. For after that the western parts had pretty well cleared themselves of thefe inhofpitable guests: by the excitements of the popes, they carried their arms against them into Greece and Afia, to fupport the Byzantine empire, and recover the holy fepulchre. This gave birth to a new tribe of romances, which we may call of the jecond race or class. And as Amadis de Gaula was at the head of the first, fo, correfpondently to the fubject, Amadis de Græcia was at the head of the latter. Hence it is, we find, that Trebizonde is as celebrated in thefe romances as Roncesvalles is in the other. It may be worth obferving, that the two famous Italian epic poets, Ariofto and Taffo, have borrowed, from each of these claffes of old romances, the fcenes and fubjects of their feveral ftories: Ariosto choosing the first, the Saracens in France and Spain; and Taffo, the latter, the Crufade against them in Afia: Ariofto's hero being Orlando, or the French Roland: for as the Spaniards, by one way of tranfpofing the letters, had made it Roldan, fo the Italians, by another, make it Orlando.
The main fubject of these fooleries, as we have faid, had its original in Turpin's famous Hiftory of Charlemagne and his twelve Peers. Nor were the monstrous embellishments of enchantments, &c. the invention of the romancers, but formed upon eaftern tales, brought thence by travellers from their crufades and pilgrimages; which indeed have a caft peculiar to the wild imagina
+ B. i. c. 6.