Page images
PDF
EPUB

lastly from French into English by Fortescue. But many of the stories seem to have originally migrated from Italy into Spain.

The learned doctor Farmer has restored to the public notice a compilation of this class, unmentioned by any typographic annalist, and entitled, "The ORATOR, handling a hundred seuerall Discourses in form of Declamations: some of the Arguments being drawne from Titus Liuius, and other ancient writers, the rest of the author's own Invention. Part of which are of matters happened in our age. Written in French by Alexander Silvayn, and Englished by L. P. [or Lazarus Pilott.] London, printed by Adam Islip, 1596." The subject of the

["This, though said of a particular collection," observes Dr. Ashby, "is nearly true in general. The romantic turn of the Spaniards," he adds, "seems so congenial to tales of chivalry, that they put in to be the authors of them with much apparent probability; but the fact is said to be otherwise. No ancient romance has its scene or heroes in Spain." —PARK.]

or

Among many others that might be mentioned, I think is the romance novel entitled, "A Margarite of America. By T. Lodge. Printed for John Busbie, &c. 1596." 4to. Bl. lett. This piece has never yet been recited among Lodge's works. In the Dedication to Lady Russell, and Preface to the gentlemen readers, he says, that being at sea four years before with M. Cavendish, he found this history in the Spanish tongue in the library of the Jesuits of Sanctum; and that he translated it in the ship, in passing through the Straits of Magellan. Many sonnets and metrical inscriptions are intermixed. One of the sonnets is said to be in imitation of Dolce the Italian. Signat. C. Again, Signat. K 3. About the walls of the chamber of prince Protomachus, "in curious imagerie were the Seuen Sages of Greece, set forth with their seuerall vertues eloquently discouered in Arabicke verses.' The arch of the bed is of ebonie sett with pretious stones, and depictured with the stages of man's life from infancy to old-age. Signat. B 3. The chamber of Margarite, in the same castle, much more sumptuous. Over the portico were carved in the whitest marble, Diana blushing at the sudden intrusion of Acteon, and her "naked Nymphes, who with one hand couering their owne secret pleasures, with blushes, with the other cast a beautifull vaile ouer their mistresse daintie nakedness. The two pillars of the doore were beautified with the two Cupides of Anacreon, which well-shaped Modestie often seemed to whip, lest they should growe ouer-wanton." Within, "All the chaste Ladies of the world inchased out of siluer, looking through faire nirrours of chri

solites, carbuncles, sapphires, and emeraults, fixed their eyes on the picture greene of Eternitie," &c. In the tapestry, was the story of Orpheus, &c. Sign. B 3. A sonnet of "that excellent poet of Italie Lodouico Pascale," is introduced. Signat. L. Another, "in imitation of Martelli, hauing 'lie," Signat. L. He mentions "the sweet the right nature of an Italian melanchoconceites of Philip du Portes, whose poeticall writings being alreadie for the most part Englished, and ordinarilie in euerie man's hands," are not here translated. Signat. L 2.

I think I have also seen in Italian "The straunge and wonderfull aduentures of Simonides a gentilman Spaniarde. Conteyning uerie pleasaunte discourse. Gathered as well for the recreation of our noble yong gentilmen as our honourable courtly ladies. By Barnabe Riche gentilman. London, for Robert Walley, 1581." Bl. lett. 4to. Much poetry is intermixed. A recommendatory poem in the octave stanza is prefixed by Lodge, who says he corrected the work, and has now laid his muse aside. There is another in the same stanza by R. W. But it would be endless to pursue publications of this sort. I only add, that Barnabe Riche above mentioned wrote in prose The Honestie of this Age, &c. Lond. 1615. 4to. A curious picture of the times. Also "the Pathway to Military Practice, with a kalendar for the ymbattallinge of men, newly written by Barnabie Riche," entered to R. Walley, 22 March, 1586. Registr. Station. B. fol. 216 b. Riche in the title-page to his Irish Hubbub (Lond. 1617. 4to.) calls that book his twenty-sixth. I have seen most of

them.

+["Lazarus Pyot, not Pilot, is a name assumed by Anthony Munday." Ritson, MS. note.-PARK.]

y I know not exactly what connection this piece may have with an entry, under the year 1590, to Aggas and Wolfe, "Certen tragicall cases conteyninge Lv Hystories with their seuerall declamations both accusative and defensive, written in

ninety-fifth DECLAMATION is of a Jew who would for his debt have a pound of the flesh of a Christian". We have here the incident of the BOND, in Shakspeare's MERCHANT OF VENICE, which yet may be traced to a much higher source. This Alexander Sylvain compiled in French Epitomes de cent Histoires Tragiques partie extraictes des Actes des Romains et autres, a work licensed to Islip to be translated into Eng. lish in 1596. Perhaps the following passage in Burton's MELANCHOLY may throw light on these DECLAMATIONS. "In the Low Countries, before these warres, they had many solemne feastes, playes, challenges, artillery [archery] gardens, colledges of rimers, rhetoricians, poets, and to this day such places are curiously maintained in Amsterdam. In Italy, they have solemne Declamations of certaine select yonge gentlemen in Florence, like these reciters in old Rome," &c.

In 1582, a suite of tales was published by George Whetstone, a sonnet-writer* of some rank, and one of the most passionate among us to bewaile the perplexities of love, under the title of HEPTAMERON, and containing some novels from Cinthio. Shakspeare, in MEASURE FOR MEASURE, has fallen into great improprieties by founding his plot on a history in the HEPTAMERON, imperfectly copied or translated from Cinthio's original'. Many faults in the conduct of incidents for which Shakspeare's judgment is arraigned, often flowed from the casual book of the day, whose mistakes he implicitly followed without looking for a better model, and from a too hasty acquiescence in the present accommodation. But without a book of this sort, Shakspeare would often have been at a loss for a subject. Yet at the same time, we look with wonder at the structures which he forms, and even without labour or deliberation, of the basest materials 8.

ffrenshe by Alexander Vandenbrygt alias
Silvan, translated into Englishe by R. A."
Registr. Station. B. fol. 263 b. Perhaps
R. A. is Robert Allot, the publisher of
England's Parnassus in 1600.
See supr.

p. 232. And add, that he has some Latin
hexameters prefixed to Christopher Mid-
dleton's Legend of Duke Humphrey, Lond.
1600. 4to.

2 See fol. 401.

a See the Dissertation on the Gesta Ro

manorum.

Jul. 15. Registr. C. fol. 12 a.
P. ii. § 2. p. 229. edit. 1624.

* [Whetstone was less a writer of sonnets, than of long and dull prosaic poems, some specimens of which have been inserted in Censura Literaria. One of his tributary memorials termed Remembraunces has been mentioned at p. 383. Four others of equal rarity have been lately reprinted at the Auchinlech press, by Alexander Boswell, Esq. M. P.—PARK.]

d Meres, ubi supr. fol. 284. W. Webbe, a cotemporary, calls him "a man singularly well skilled in this faculty of poetry."

This title adopted from the queen of Navarre was popular. There is entered to Jones, Jan. 11, 1581, "An Heptameron of civill discourses vnto the Christmas exercises of sundry well courted gentlemen and gentlewomen." Registr. Station. B. fol. 185 b. I suppose a book of tales. There is also, August 8, 1586, to E. White, "Morando, the Tritameron of Love." Ibid. fol. 209 b.

f See Whetstone's Right excellent and famous Historye of Promos and Cassandra, Divided into Commical Discourses, printed in 1578. Entered to R. Jones, 31 Jul. 1578.Registr. Station. B. fol. 150 b.

In the Prologue to a comedy called Cupid's Whirligig, as it hath bene sundrie times acted by the Children of his Maiesties Reuels, written by E. S. and printed in quarto by T. Creede in 1616, perhaps before, an oblique stroke seems intended at some of Shakspeare's plots.

Our author's pen loues not to swimme in blood,

He dips no inke from oute blacke Ache

ron;

Ames recites a large collection of novels in two volumes, dedicated to sir George Howard master of the armoury, and printed for Nicholas England in 1567h. I have never seen them, but presume they are translations from Boccace, Cinthio, and Bandello'. In 1589, was printed the CHAOS OF HISTORYES; and in 1563, "A boke called Certaine noble storyes contaynynge rare and worthy matter!." These pieces are perhaps to be catalogued in the same class.

In the year 1590*, sir John Harrington, who will occur again in his place as an original writer, exhibited an English version of Ariosto's ORLANDO FURIOSO m; which, although executed without spirit or accuracy, unanimated and incorrect, enriched our poetry by a communica

Nor crosses seas to get a forraine plot.—
Nor doth he touch the falls of mighty kings,
No ancient hystorie, no shepherd's love,
No statesman's life, &c.

[Mr. Ashby remarked that "he saw no more censure of Shakspeare in these lines than what comic poets are apt to say of tragic ones." And indeed it may be regarded as one of the foibles of antiquarian critics, that they are liable to give an obliquity of construction to passages which their authors had never intended.-PARK.]

He blames some other dramatic writers for their plots of heathen gods. So another, but who surely had forgot Shakspeare, in Pasquill's Madcappe's Message, p. 11. Lond. 1600. Printed by V. S. 4to. Go, bid the poets studdie better matter, Than Mars and Venus in a tragedie.

h Pag. 326. [This was the 2d vol. of Painter's Palace of Pleasure.-HERBERT.] 1 Cont. 856 leaves, 8vo.

Registr. Station. B. fol. 246 a. Jul. 28, to Abell Jeffes.

1 To Berys. Registr. A. fol. 89 b. I have here thrown together many pieces of the same sort, before 1585, from the registers of the Stationers. March 10, 1594, to T. Creede," Mother Reddcappe her last will and testament, conteyning sundrye conceipted and pleasant tales furnished with muche varyetie to move delighte." Registr. B. fol. 130 a.- Nov. 3, 1576, to H. Bynneman," Mery Tales, wittye questions, and quicke answers." Ibid. fol. 135 b.-April 2, 1577, to R. Jones, "A Florishe upon Fancie, as gallant a glose of suche a triflinge a texte as euer was written, compiled by N. B. gent. To which are annexed manie pretie pamphlets for pleasaunte heades to passe away idell time withall compiled by the same author." Ibid. 138 b. And by the same author, perhaps Nicholas Breton, Jun. 1, 1577, to Watkins, afterwards T. Dawson, "The Woorkes of a yong Witte truste up, with a Fardell of pretie Fantasies profitable to young poets, compiled by N. B. gent."

Ibid. fol. 139 b.-Jun. 5, 1577, to R. Jones, "A Handefull of Hidden Secrets, conteyninge therein certayne Sonnettes and other pleasaunte devises, pickt out of the closet of sundrie worthie writers, and collected by R. Williams." [N. B. This is otherwise entitled, The Gallery of Gallant Inuentions.] Ibid. fol. 140 a.-Jun. 23, 1584, to T. Hacket, two books, "A Diall for Daintie Darlings," and "The Banquet of Daintie Conceipts," Ibid. fol. 200 b.-" The parlour of pleasaunte delyghtes," to Yarret James, Jan. 13, 1580. Ibid. fol. 177 b. -"A ballad of the traiterous and vnbrideled crueltye of one Lucio a knyght executed ouer Eriphile daughter to Hortensia Castilion of Genoway in Italy," to H. Carre, Sept. 3, 1580. Ibid. fol. 171 b."The deceipts in loue discoursed in a Comedie of ij Italyan gentlemen and translated into Englisshe," to S. Waterson, Nov. 10, 1584. Ibid. fol. 202 a. Most of these pieces I have seen; and although perhaps they do not all exactly coincide with the class of books pointed out in the text, they illustrate the general subject of this section.

[Though entered on the Stationers' books in 1590, the first edition of Harington's Ariosto bears date 1591.-PARK.]

m

At least in that year, Feb. 26, was entered to Richard Field, under the hands of the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishop of London, "A booke entituled John Harrington's Orlando Furioso," &c. Registr. Station. B. fol. 271 b. But there is entered to Cuthbert Burbye, to be printed by Danter, May 28, 1594, "The Historie of Orlando Furioso." Ibid. fol. 306 b. See also fol. 303 a. and Ariosto's story of Rogero and Rhodomont, translated from the French of Philip de Portes, by G. M. [Gervis Markham] is entered to N. Linge, Sept. 15, 1598. Ibid. C. fol. 41 b.

16

[By Markham was claimed a version of the Orlando Innamorato" in 1598; but Robert Tofte reclaimed it in his Blazon of Jealousie noticed at p. 388.-PARK.]

tion of new stores of fiction and imagination, both of the romantic and comic species, of Gothic machinery and familiar manners.

Fairfax is commonly supposed to be the first translator of Tasso. But in 1593, was licensed* "A booke called Godfrey of Bolloign an heroycall poem of S. Torquato Tasso, Englished by R. C. [Carew] esquire"." In consequence of this version, appeared the next year “An enterlude entituled Godfrey of Bolloigne with the Conquest of Jerusalem." Hall in his Satires published in 1597, enumerates among the favorite stories of his time, such as, Saint George, Brutus, king Arthur, and Charlemagne,

What were his knights did SALEM'S SIEGE maintayne, To which he immediately adds Ariosto's Orlando P.

By means of the same vehicle, translation from Italian books, a precise and systematical knowledge of the ancient heathen theology seems to have been more effectually circulated among the people in the reign of queen Elizabeth. Among others, in 1599 was published, "THE FOUNTAINE OF ANTIENT FICTION, wherein is depictured the images and statues of the gods of the antients with their proper and particular expositions. Done into Englishe by Richard Linche gentleman. Tempe è figliuola di verità. London, imprinted by Valentine Sims, 15999." This book, or one of the same sort, is censured in a puritanical pamphlet, written the same year, by one H. G. a painfull minister of God's word in Kent, as the Spawne of Italian Gallimaufry, as tending to corrupt the pure and unidolatrous worship of the one God, and as one of the deadly snares of popish deception. In the history of the

[blocks in formation]

puritans, their apprehensions that the reformed faith was yet in danger from paganism, are not sufficiently noted. And it should be remembered, that a PANTHEON had before appeared; rather indeed with a view of exposing the heathen superstitions, and of showing their conformity to the papistic, than of illustrating the religious fable of antiquity. But the scope and design of the writer will appear from his title, which from its archness alone deserves to be inserted: "The GOLDEN BOOKE Of the leaden GODDES, wherein is described the vayne imaginations of the heathen pagans, and counterfeit christians. With a description of their severall tables, what each of their pictures signifieds." The writer, however, doctor Stephen Batman, had been domestic chaplain to archbishop Parker, and is better known by his general chronicle of prodigies called Batman's Dooмt. He was also the last translator of the Gothic Pliny, BARTHOLOMEUS DE PROPRIETATIBUS RERUM, and collected more than a thousand manuscripts for archbishop Parker's library.

This inquiry might be much further enlarged and extended; but let it be sufficient to observe here in general, that the best stories of the early and original Italian novelists, either by immediate translation, or through the mediation of Spanish, French, or Latin versions, by paraphrase, abridgement, imitation, and often under the disguise of licentious innovations of names, incidents, and characters, appeared in an English dress, before the close of the reign of Elizabeth, and for the most part, even before the publication of the first volume of Belleforrest's grand repository of tragical narratives, a compilation from the Italian writers, in 1583. But the CENT HISTOIRES TRAGIQUES of Belleforrest himself appear to have been translated soon afterwards". In the mean time, it must be remembered, that many translations of Tales from the modern languages were licensed to be printed, but afterwards suppressed by the interest of the puritans. It appears from the register of the Stationers, that among others, in the year 1619, "The DECAMERON of Mr. John Boccace Florentine," was revoked by a sudden inhibition of Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury ". But not only the clamours of the Calvinists, but caprice and ignorance, perhaps partiality, seem to have had some share in this business of licensing books. The rigid arbiters of the press who condemned Boccace in the gross, could not with propriety spare all the licentious cantos of Ariosto. That writer's libertine friar, metamorphosis of Richardetto, Alcina and Rogero, Anselmo, and host's tale of Astolfo, are shocking to common decency. When the four or five first books of AMADIS DE GAUL in French were delivered to Wolfe to be translated into English and to be printed, in the year 1592, the signature of Bishop Aylmer was affixed to every book of the original. The romance of PALMERIN of

In quarto, for Thomas Marshe, 1577. It contains only 72 pages. Licensed Aug. 26, 1577. Registr. Station. B. fol. 142 b. t Lond. 1581. 4to.

u

See, under 1596, Registr. Station. C.

Registr. C. fol. 311 a.

Registr. Station. B. fol. 286 a. Hence

Dekker's familiarity of allusion, in The

W

x

« PreviousContinue »