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The world in general, and those who purpose to comment on Shakspeare in particular, will owe much to Mr. Farmer, whose researches into our old authors throw a lustre on many passages, the obscurity of which must else have been impenetrable. No future Upton or Gildon will go further than North's translation for Shakspeare's acquaintance with Plutarch, or balance between Dares Phrygius, and "The Troye Booke of Lydgate." "The Hystorie of Hamblet,” in black letter, will for ever supersede Saxo Grammaticus; translated novels and ballads will, perhaps, be allowed the sources of Romeo, Lear, and The Merchant of Venice; and Shakspeare himself, however unlike Bayes in other particulars, will stand, convicted of having transversed the prose of Holinshed and, at the same time, to prove "that his studies lay in his own language," the translations of Ovid are determined to be the production of Heywood.
"That his studies were most demonstratively confined to nature, and his own language," I readily allow: but does it hence follow that he was so deplorably ignorant of every other tongue, living or dead, that he only" remembered, perhaps, enough of his school-boy learning to put the hig, hag, hog, into the mouth of Sir H. Evans; and might pick up in the writers of the time, or the course of his conversation, a familiar phrase or two of French, or Italian." In Shakspeare's plays both these last languages are plentifully scattered; but, then we are told," they might be impertinent additions of the players. Undoubtedly they might but there they are, and, perhaps, few of the players had much more learning than Shak
Mr. Farmer himself will allow that Shakspeare began to learn Latin: I will allow that his studies lay in English: but why insist that he neither made any progress at school; nor improved his acquisitions there? The gea neral encomiums of Suckling, Denham, Milton, &c. on his native genius*, prove nothing; and Ben Jonson's
* Mr. Farmer closes the general testimonies of Shakspeare's having been only indebted to nature, by saying, "He came out of her hand, as some one else expresses it, like Pallas out of Jove's head, at full growth and mature." It is whimsical enough, that this some one else, whose expression is here quoted to countenance the general notion of Shakspeare's want of
celebrated charge of Shakspeare's small Latin and less Greekt, seems absolutely to decide that he had some knowledge of both; and if we may judge by our own time, a man, who has any Greek, is seldom without a very competent share of Latin; and yet such a man is very likely to study Plutarch in English, and to read translations of Ovid.
See Dr. Farmer's reply to these remarks by Mr. Colman, in a note on Love's Labour's Lost, Act IV. Sc. II.
literature, should be no other than myself. Mr. Farmer does not choose to mention where he met with the expression of some one else; and some one else does not choose to mention where he dropt it ‡.
+ In defence of the various reading of this passage, given in the Preface to the last edition of Shakspeare, "small Latin and no Greek," Mr. Farmer tells us, that "it was adopted above a century ago by W. Towers, in a panegyrick on Cartwright." Surely Towers having said that Cartwright had no Greek, is no proof that Ben Jonson said so of Shakspeare.
It will appear still more whimsical that this some one else whose expression is here quoted, may have his claim to it superseded by that of the late Dr. Young, who in his " Conjectures on Original Composition," (p. 100, vol. v. edit. 1773,) has the following sentence: "An adult genius comes out of nature's hands, as Pallas out of Jove's head, at full growth and mature. Shakspeare's genius was of this kind." Where some one else the first may have intermediately dropped the contested expression I cannot ascertain; but some one else the second transcribed it from the author already mentioned. ANON.
FROM CLASSIC AUTHORS*.
TEN Bookes of Homer's Iliades translated out of
1598 Homer Prince of Poets: translated according to the Greeke in Twelve Bookes of his Iliads: By Geo. Chapman; small folio. Lond, printed for Samuel Macham. No date.
[This, I believe, was published in 1609. There are
* This List was drawn up by Mr. Steevens. I have made a few inconsiderable additions to it, which are distinguished by this mark being prefixed. MALONE.
+ In the first vol. of the books of entries belonging to the Stationers' Company, is the following:
"Henry Bynneman.] Nov. 1580, lycenced unto him under the wardens' handes ten bookes of the Iliades of Homer." Again, "Samuel Macham.] Nov. 14, 1608. Seven bookes of Homer's Iliades translated into English by George Chapman.— [By assignment from Mr. Windett.] Again, "Nathaniel Butter.] April 8, 1611, A booke called Homer's Iliades in Englishe, containing 24 Bookes." Again, "Nov. 2, 1614, Homer's Odisses 24 bookes, translated by George Chapman."
Meres, in his Second Part of Wits Commonwealth, says that Chapman is "of good note for his inchoate Homer."
Thomas Drant, (the translater of two books of Horace's Satires, 1566,) in a miscellany of Latin poetry, entitled Sylva, informs us, that he had begun to translate the Iliad, but had gone no further than the fourth book.
several Sonnets at the
end, addressed to different
noblemen; among them one, "to the Lord Treasurer, the Earl of Salisbury." See also the entry below.] Fifteen Books of D°. thin folio.....
1600 [The Iliads of Homer, Prince of Poets. Neuer before in any languag truely translated, with a Coment uppon some of his chiefe places; Donne according to the Greeke. By George Chapman. At London, printed for Nathaniel Butter. William Hole sculp. This edition contains the 24 Books.]
[At the back of the engraved title-page (for the Head of Chapman was not placed there, till the edition of 1614,) in Mr. Steevens's copy is the following inscription in the hand-writing of the Translator: "In wittness of his best Loue, borne to his best-deseruing freinde, Mr. Henrye Jones; Geo: Chapman giues him theise fruites of his best Labors, and desires Loue betwixt us, as longe-liu'd as Homer."] [From the Stationers' Register it appears that this book, small folio, was printed in 1611. See note 7. The Prince of Wales, to whom the work is dedicated, died Nov. 6, 1612. In the republication (1614) it is inscribed, on an additional engraved frontispiece, to his Memory.]
The whole Workes of Homer, Prince of Poetts. In his
Omnia ab his; et in his sunt omnia: sive beati
Angel. Pol. At London, printed for Nathaniell Butter. William Hole,
[This book was probably printed in 1614.]
The large head of Geo. Chapman is placed at the back of the engraved title-page.
The Crowne of all Homer's Works, Batrachomymachia, &c. *[By Geo Chapman, with his portrait by W. Pass, in the title-page.] thin folio; printed by John Bill. No date*.
*In the first volume of the Entries of the Stationers' Company is the following:
T. Purfoote.] The Battel of the Frogges and Myce, and certain orations of Isocrates." Jan. 4, 1579.
The strange wonderfull and bloudy Battel between Frogs and Mise; paraphrastically done into English Heroycall Verse, by W. F. (i. e. William Fowldes,) 4to.
The Georgicks of Hesiod, by George Chapman; Translated elaborately out of the Greek: Containing Doctrine of Husbandrie, Moralitie, and Pietie; with a perpetual Calendar of Good and Bad Daies; Not superstitious, but necessarie (as farre as naturall Causes compell) for all men to observe, and difference in following their affaires. Nec caret umbra Deo. London, Printed by H. L. for Miles Partrich, and are to be solde at his Shop neare Saint Dunstans Church in Fleetstreet 1618 [This title-page is given at full length, because the existence of the book it belongs to (which is in Mr. Steevens's possession) has been questioned by the late Mr. Warton, History of English Poetry, vol. iii. p. 446.]
Marlowe's Hero and Leander, with the first Book of Lucan, 4to. 1600 There must have been a former Edition *, as a second Part was published by Henry Petowe.... 1598
*This translation, or at least Marlowe's part in it, must have been published before 1599, being twice mentioned in Nash's Lenten Stuff, &c. which bears that date. “Leander and Hero, of whom divine Musæus sung, and a diviner muse than him, Kit Marlow." Again," She sprung after him, and so resigned up her priesthood, and left worke for Musæus and Kit Marlow."
Among the entries at Stationers' Hall I find the following made by John Wolfe in 1593, Sept. 8th. "A booke entitled Hero and Leander, being an amorous poem devised by Christopher Marlow."
At the same time, "Lucan's first book of the famous Cyvill Warr betwixt Pompey and Cæsar. Englished by Christopher
Again, in 1597, "A booke in English called Hero and Leander." Again, April 1598," The seconde Parte of Hero and Leander by Henry Petowe." Andrew Harris entered it.
Again, in 1600," Hero and Leander by Marlowe."
In 1614 an entire translation of Lucan was published by Sir Arthur Gorges, and entered as such on the same books.