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uppon us, are forcibly wrapt up in our prayers. For the bitter soppe of most harde choyce is offered thy wife and children, to foregoe the one of the two: either to lose the persone of thy selfe, or the nurse of their natiue contrie. For my selfe (my sonne) I am determined not to tarrie, till fortune in my life time doe make an ende of this warre. For if I cannot persuade thee, rather to doe good unto both parties, then to ouerthrowe and destroye the one, preferring loue and nature before the malice and calamitie of warres: thou shalt see, my sonne, and trust unto it, thou shalt no soner marche forward to assault thy countrie, but thy foote shall tread upon thy mother's wombe, that brought thee first into this world."
The length of this quotation will be excused for its curiosity; and it happily wants not the assistance of a comment. But matters may not always be so easily managed: a plagiarism from Anacreon hath been detected: "The sun's a thief, and with his great attraction "Robs the vast sea. The moon's an arrant thief, "And her pale fire she snatches from the sun. "The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves "The moon into salt tears. The earth's a thief, "That feeds and breeds by a composture stol'n "From gen'ral excrement: each thing's a thief.” "This (says Dr. Dodd) is a good deal in the manner of the celebrated drinking Ode, too well known to be inserted." Yet it may be alledged by those, who imagine Shakspeare to have been generally able to think for himself, that the topicks are obvious, and their application is different.-But for argument's sake, let the parody be granted; and "our author (says some one) may be puzzled to prove, that there was a Latin translation of Anacreon at the time Shakspeare wrote his Timon of Athens." This challenge is peculiarly unhappy: for I do not at present recollect any other classick, (if indeed, with great deference to Mynheer De Pauw, Anacreon may be numbered amongst them,) that was originally published with two Latin translations.
* By Henry Stephens and Alias Andreas, Par. 1554, 4to. ten years before the birth of Shakspeare. The former version hath been ascribed without reason to John Dorat. Many other translators appeared before the end of the century: and particularly the Ode in question was made popular by Buchanan, whose pieces were soon to be met with in almost every modern language.
But this is not all. Puttenham in his Arte of English Poesie, 1589, quotes some one of a "reasonable good facilitie in translation, who finding certaine of Anacreon's Odes very well translated by Ronsard the French poet comes our minion, and translates the same out of French into English:" and his strictures upon him evince the publication. Now this identical ode is to be met with in Ronsard! and as his works are in few hands, I will take the liberty of transcribing it.
"La terre les eaux va boivant,
"Tout boit soit en haut ou en bas :
"Suivant ceste reigle commune,
"Pourquoy donc ne boirons-nous pas ?"
Edit. Fol. p. 507.
I know not whether an observation or two relative to our author's acquaintance with Homer, be worth our investigation. The ingenious Mrs, Lenox observes on a passage of Troilus and Cressida, where Achilles is roused to battle by the death of Patroclus, that Shakspeare must here have had the Iliad in view, as "the old story*, which in many places he hath faithfully copied, is absolutely silent with respect to this circumstance."
And Mr. Upton is positive that the sweet oblivious antidote, enquired after by Macbeth, could be nothing but the nepenthe described in the Odyssey,
Νηπενθές τ ̓ ἄχολόν τε, κακῶν ἐπίληθον ἁπάντων.
I will not insist upon the translations by Chapman; as the first editions are without date, and it may be difficult to ascertain the exact time of their publication. But the former circumstance might have been learned from Alex
* It was originally drawn into Englishe by Caxton under the name of The Recuyel of the Historyes of Troy, from the French of the ryght venerable Person and worshipfull man Raoul le Feure, and fynyshed in the holy citye of Colen, the 19 day of Septembre, the yere of our Lord God, a thousand foure hundred sixty and enleuen. Wynkyn de Worde printed an edit. fol, 1503, and there have been several subsequent ones.
ander Barclay; and the latter more fully from Spensert, than from Homer himself.
But Shakspeare" persists Mr. Upton, "hath some Greek expressions." Indeed!" We have one in Coriolanus: -It is held de
That valour is the chiefest virtue, and
Strolz Most dignifies the haver."
and another in Macbeth, where Banquo addresses the weird sisters:
My noble partner
"You greet with present grace, and great prediction "Of noble having."
Gr. Ἔχεια.—and πρὸς τὸν Ἔχοντα, to the haver.”
This was the common language of Shakspeare's time. Lye in a water-bearer's house!" says Master Mathew of Bobadil, a gentleman of his havings!"
Thus likewise John Davies in his Pleasant Descant upon English Proverbs, printed with his Scourge of Folly, about 1612: 1
"Do well and have well!neyther so still:
"For some are good doers, whose havings are ill.” and Daniel the historian uses it frequently. Having seems to be synonymous with behaviour in Gawin Douglas+ and the elder Scotch writers.
Haver, in the sense of possessor, is with: though unfortunately the πρὸς τὸν phocles produced as an authority for it,
every where met Ἔχοντα of Sois suspected by
Who list thistory of Patroclus to reade," &c.
Ship of Fooles, 1570, p. 21.
ተ Nepenthe is a drinck of soueragne grace,
Faerie Queene, 1596, book iv. c. iii. st. 43. It is very remarkable, that the bishop is called by his countryman, Sir David Lindsey, in his Complaint of our Souerane Lordis Papingo,
"In our Inglische rethorick the rose."
And Dunbar hath a similar expression in his beautiful poem of The Goldin Terge.
Kuster*, as good a critick in these matters, to have abso lutely a different meaning, gult 1 gobbland But what shall we say to the learning of the Clown in Hamlet, Ay, tell me that, that unyoke?" alluding to the Bros of the Greeks; and Homer and his scholiast are quoted accordingly!
If it be not sufficient to say, with Dr. Warburton, that the phrase might have been taken from husbandry, without much depth of reading; we may produce it from a Dittie of the workmen of Dover, preserved in the additions to Holinshed, p. 1546:
"My bow is broke, I would unyoke,
My foot is sore, I can worke no more."
An expression of my Dame Quickley is next fastened upon, which you may look for in vain in the modern text; she calls some of the pretended fairies in The Merry Wives of Windsor:
Orphan † heirs of fixed Destiny."
"And how elegant is this," quoth Mr. Upton, supposing the word to be used, as a Grecian would have used it? "ogpavos ab oppvòs-acting in darkness and obscurity."
Mr. Heath assures us, that the bare mention of such an interpretation, is a sufficient refutation of it: and his critical word will be rather taken in Greek than in English : 27 # 2.0 £3d hd out st+998 Aristophanis Comoediae undecim. Gr. & Lat. Amst. 1710, Fol. p. 596.
+Dr. Warburton corrects orphan to ouphen; and not without plausibility, as the word ouphes occurs both before and afterward. But I faney, in acquiescence to the vulgar doctrine, the address in this line is to a part of the troop, as mortals by birth, but adopted by the fairies: orphans with respect to their real parents, and now only dependant on Destiny herself. A few lines from Spenser, will sufficiently illustrate the passage:
"The man whom heauens have ordayn'd to bee
"Yet is no fary borne, ne sib at all
"To elfes, but sprong of seed terrestriall,
Edit. 1590, Book HI. c. iii. st. 26.
in the same hands therefore I will venture to leave all our author's knowledge of the old comedy, and his etymological learning in the word, Desdemona*
Surely poor Mr. Upton was very little acquainted with fairies, notwithstanding his laborious study of Spenser. The last authentick account of them is from our countryman William Lilly+; and it by no means agrees with the learned interpretation: for the angelical creatures appeared in his Hurst wood in a most illustrious glory," and indeed, (says the sage,) it is not given to many persons to endure their glorious aspects."
The only use of transcribing these things, is to show what absurdities men for ever run into, when they lay down an hypothesis, and afterward seek for arguments in the support of it. What e could induce this man, by no means a bad scholar, to doubt whether Truepenny might not be derived from Tpúnavov; and quote upon us with much parade an old scholiast on Aristophanes ?-L will not stop to confute him: nor take any notice of two or three more expressions, in which he was pleased to suppose some learned meaning or other; all which he might have found in every writer of the time, or still more easily in the vulgar translation of the Bible, by consulting the Concordance of Alexander Cruden.
But whence have we the plot of Timon, except from the Greek of Lucian ?-The editors and criticks have never been at a greater loss than in their enquiries of this sort; and the source of a tale hath been often in vain sought abroad, which might easily have been found at home: my good friend, the very ingenious editor of the Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, hath shown our author to have been sometimes contented with a legendary ballad.
The story of the misanthrope is told in almost every collection of the time; and particularly in two books, with which Shakspeare was intimately acquainted; the Palace of Pleasure, and the English Plutarch. Indeed from a passage in an old play, called Jack Drum's Entertainment, I conjecture that he had before made his appearance on the stage,
Were this a proper place for such a disquisition, I could
* Revisal, p. 75, 323, and 561.
+ History of his Life and Times, p. 102, preserved by his dupe, Mr. Ashmole.