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The pithy Daniel, whose salt lines afford
The finger they present, and she in grace
It is seldom we find in one piece so many notices of our early poets, and some contained in the above convey curious information. The mention of Shank appears to have escaped Mr. Collier's researches in his life of that actor. The notice of Heywood is very curious. His play of “The Golden Age was published in 1611.
J. O. HALLIWELL.
August 8, 1847.
Art. XXII.-Had Shakespeare read Cavendish's Life of Wolsey ?
As I lately met with a curious illustration of a passage in Henry V., while turning over the leaves of Cavendish's Life of Wolsey, I am tempted to offer it to the Shakespeare Society, together with a few remarks upon it.
Mr. Knight has shown that Shakespeare followed Cavendish in several of the more important scenes of Henry VIII., either from an acquaintance with his book, or through Holinshed. Assuming that he was not the idle and incurious person it has been the fashion to represent him, we cannot hold it impossible that, if the book were not printed, he was acquainted with some of the several manuscript copies of “ The Life of Master Thomas Wolsey," as there seems no adequate reason for supposing that it appeared in print before the year 1641.
. Cavendish's account of his accompanying Wolsey on his embassy to France is highly amusing, and it is to a passage in this part of the narrative to which I refer, as affording further testimony to the proofs already adduced, that Shakespeare had studied the work in question, and was not merely indebted to Holinshed.
The gentleman usher mentions having been sent on from Amiens to Campain, (Champagne) to provide lodgings for his lord, when a servant came to him from the castle, perceiving him to be an Englishman, and inviting him thither; “to whom," says he, “I consented, because I desired acquaintance with strangers, especially with those of account and of honourable rank......and forthwith the lord of the castle came out to me, whose name was Monsieur Crookesly, [le Comte de Crecy] a nobleman born, saying that he was preparing to meet the King [Francis the First] and the Cardinal...... Then he took his leave of me, commanding his steward, and others of his gentlemen, to conduct me to his lady to dinner. So they led me to the gate-house, where then their lady and mistress lay for the time that the king and chancellor should tarry there. Lady Crookesly came out of her chamber into the diningroom, where I attended her coming, who did receive me very nobly, like herself, she having a train of twelve gentlemen that did attend her. "Forasmuch,' quoth she, as you are an English gentleman, whose custom is to kiss all ladies and gentlewomen without offence, yet it is not so in this realm ; notwithstanding, I will be so bold as to kiss you, and so shall you salute all my maids. After this, we went to dinner, being as nobly served as ever I saw any in England, passing all dinner-time in pleasing discourse.”
Thus writes Cavendish ; and I think it highly probable that before this, the scene between Henry V. and Katherine has occurred to the reader; but which I trust to stand excused for bringing forward in this place, in order that the resemblance may be clearly shown.
Upon Henry's offering to kiss Katherine's hand, she says, “Je ne veux point que vous abbaissez votre grandeur en baisant la main de votre indigne serviteur," &c. Henry says, “ Then I will kiss your lips, Kate.”
“ Kath. Les dames et les demoiselles pour etre baisées devent leur noces, il n'est pas la coûtume en France. “K. Hen. Madam, my interpreter, what says she?
Lady. Dat it is not de fashion pour de ladies of France I cannot tell what is baiser in English. “K. Hen. To kiss. Lady. Your majesty entend bettre que
moi. “ K. Hen. It is not a fashion for the maids in France to kiss before they are married-would she say?
“ Lady. Oui, vraiment.
“K. Hen. 0, Kate, nice customs curt'sy to great kings. Dear Kate, you and I cannot be confined within the weak list of a country's fashion: we are the makers of manners, Kate,
and the liberty that follows our places stops the mouths of all find-faults, as I will do yours, for upholding the nice fashions of your country in denying me a kiss.”
Now, in looking at these two passages, I can hardly believe that the one was not in some measure suggested by the other; and this scene forms a curious contrast with that in Henry VIII., where the monarch first sees Anne Bullen, and addresses these words to her
“ Sweetheart, I were unmannerly to take you out, And not to kiss you."
The whole scene being in strict accordance with the account of the revels at York Place, so graphically described by Cavendish; and perhaps the word “unmannerly” may even have been used in consequence of the author's having reflected on the different custom of the two nations in this particular, and which in later years seems to have undergone a singular change — as the salute, which would be considered a great liberty by our own fair countrywomen, is far more allowable if bestowed on the ladies of the opposite side of the Channel.
J. HAWKINS ROBINSON, July 14th, 1847.