Imatges de pÓgina

certainly capable of showing that his so-called errors were at least made in very respectable company. A few thoughtful students of his works have, here and there, defended him from the condemnation of the many who have held him up to public derision as an ignoramus in connection with Italian topography which must, after all, have been more or less the common knowledge in his day. On one point, however, connected with the geography of another country, the Dramatist has for centuries been the target of almost everyone who had an opportunity of drawing a bow at a venture and getting an arrow home on the subject of his ignorance of the boundaries of Bohemia. Chief amongst these archers stands Ben Jonson himself, with his oft-repeated dictum 'that Shakespeare wanted art, and sometimes sense ; for in one of his plays he brought in a number of men, saying thay had suffered shipwreck in Bohemia, where is no sea near by 100 miles,' written in reference to passages in The Winter's Tale, which give a sea coast to that country (iii. 3 passim). The best that has been said in defence of the Poet's description has been based on the error that Greene is supposed to have made previously in his story of Dorastus and Faunia, where the country in question is described as having a seaboard. It is all very well to assume that the Dramatist took the story with all faults,' that he never stopped to inquire whether there were faults or not, but such a course does not strike a reasonable mind as being one that a master playwright would be prepared to follow. Is it not more likely that Shakespeare adopted the Bohemia of his predecessor, sea coast and all, for the very good reason that he had already learned, as he might easily have done from history, that Bohemia had not only a coast, but two coasts, at an earlier period—and that the most important period of its national existence ?

All historians of that country tell us that under the rule of Ottocar the Second (1255-1278) Bohemia was raised to the position of a formidable power which at the time comprised all the territories of the Austrian monarchy which had up till then formed part of the Germanic confederation, with some few exceptions. By these accessions of territory,' to quote from Coxe, 7 'Ottocar became the most powerful prince in Europe--for his dominions extended from the confines of Bavaria to Raab in Hungary, and from the Adriatic to the shores of the Baltic.'

Greene and Shakespeare are the only writers of their day who are generally supposed to have given a seaboard to Bohemia. There was, however, another at the time who did the same, although the fact has escaped notice, so far as I am aware ; and, strangely enough, the best known work of this author is one with which Shakespeare seems to have been curiously familiar. I refer to Richard Johnson's Honourable History of the Seven Champions of Christendom, the oldest known copy of which is dated 1597, though this may well have been a second edition, as the work was entered at Stationers' Hall in 1596. Referring to St. George, Johnson describes his arrival “in the Bohemian Court 'with his children, 'where the King of that countrey, with two other Bordering Princes, most Royally Christened' them. Their bringing up was also undertaken by the same monarch, one of them, 'whose fortune was to prove a scholar,' being, like Hamlet, sent' unto the University of Wittenburg.'

27 Hou of Austria, I. 29, ed.

Thus were St. George's Children provided for by the Bohemian King, for when the Embassadors were in Readiness, the Ships for their passage furnished, and Attendance appointed, St. George, in company of his Lady, the King of Bohemia with his Queen, and a Train of Lords, and Gentlemen, and Ladies, Conducted them to Ship-board, where the Wind served them prosperously, that in a short time they had bad adieu to the Shore, and Sailed chearfully away. 28

Whether it was owing to these last three writers or not, there appear to have been quite a number of people in and about the time who had an idea that Bohemia, even at that date, was approachable by sea. Taylor, the Water-Poet, who wrote an account of his journey in 1620 to that country,29 in his 'Preface to the Reader' alludes to the questions addressed to him in the street' by ignorant people' after his return;

First John Easie takes me, and holds me fast by the fist halfe an houre. I am no sooner eased of him, but Gregory Gandergoose . . . catches me by the goll, demanding if Bohemia be a great Towne, and whether there be any meate in it, and whether the last fleet of ships be arrived there.

It is difficult to conceive why commentators, from Ben Jonson's time until to-day, should assume that the Bohemia of The Winter's Tale was the Bohemia that existed in Shakespeare's day. The very mention of the oracle of Delphos might at least have suggested to some of them that the author had in mind the Bohemia of a very much earlier date.

It is unnecessary to suggest the particular sources of Shakespeare's knowledge of North Italian geography in the face of the numerous quotations I have set out. His own reference to the

Fashions of proud Italy,
Whose manners still our tardy apish nation
Limps after in base imitation 30

together with other well-known observations by himself and many other writers of his time, are quite conclusive as to the wide information possessed by Englishmen generally on the subject at the close of the sixteenth century and after.

Prof. Raleigh in his recent work" is undoubtedly but stating a fact when he says of Shakespeare : ‘He must often have seen the affected traveller, described in King John, dallying with his toothpick at a great man's table full of elaborate compliment,

2 Part I. Ch. XVII. ad fin.

* Travels to Prague in Bohemia. Reprinted in the Spenser Society's Publica tions.

36 Richard II. ii. 1.
" English Men of Letters : Shakespeare,' 1907.

And talking of the Alps and Apennines,
The Pyrenean and the river Po.'

He does not, however, seem to be quite so near the mark when adding : 'The knowledge that he gained from such talk, if it was sometimes remote and curious, was neither systematic nor accurate; and this is the knowledge repeated in the plays' (p. 58).

One can only hope that the last assertion will be modified in the next edition of his brilliantly written volume, so far at least as it relates to the waterways of Lombardy as Shakespeare knew them.

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The French Canadian is neither an Imperialist nor an advertiser. But the celebration of the three hundredth anniversary of the founding of Quebec by Champlain will be the largest advertisement the French Canadian, and the part he has played in the development of the modern British Empire, have ever received. The celebration was not planned as a Quebec affair. Neither was it contemplated that it would win the applause of the inhabitants of all the King's Dominions. The Tercentenary and the history of its evolution afford a valuable study for the mind that loves to learn how events are shaped behind the scenes. Once or twice the movement was in danger of breakdown--not because of lack of interest or of paucity of material for an imposing demonstration, but because the range of interest was so wide, and the quantity of material so enormous, that differences of perspective and varieties of interpretation came into action, and time, and patience, and tact had to work their perfect work before the scheme of celebration found its agreeable stride.

And, even now, the Tercentenary is all things to all men—to some a French glorification, to others a British Imperial festival. It could not be otherwise. It were foolish to ask whether its sum of effect will be best expressed in English or French. In an atmosphere that has become redolent of the Champlain epoch we can all afford to be Frenchmen. The Anglo-Saxon has profited so much by what the French accomplished in founding Quebec that he does well to glory in their noble deed, and to devote some time to discovering in his neighbour, who talks with a delightful French accent of our and his matchless Constitution, the qualities that immortalised his progenitors, who may have devoutly believed that the English were everything they ought not to be.

There has been so rapid a development of Canada that the children of this generation are apt to forget the suffering toil of their own parents in converting an endless forest into valuable farms. Pioneer societies cherish the records of early settlement, and commemorate the sacrifices of life and comfort that dignify the past. But, for most people, life is too interesting, and there are too many trains to catch, to permit of much pious reflection on what happened to people who are dead. If that is true about men whose fences of pine-roots are abiding monuments of their labour, how much more is it true of Champlain who, when James the First was still a stranger to English ways, came to Quebec in a caravel that would nowadays scarcely be regarded as safe on Lake Ontario !

French Canada is somewhat of an abstraction to most of the English-speaking inhabitants of the Dominion. It is five hundred miles from Quebec to Toronto, and eighteen hundred from Quebec to the Saskatchewan border. The Canadian House of Commons contains sixty-five members from the province of Quebec. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and the PostmasterGeneral discourse to Parliament in excellent English that is unmistakeably begotten of French thought. But though the Western member of Parliament is next door to French Canada during the session, he is so deeply committed to legislative projects that originate outside the French sphere of influence, and the American tinge which is coming over his Western ideas is, however unconsciously, so affecting his vision of events, that he does not think often or deeply about his debt to the eloquent race to which the heroic situation of a powerful minority is more of a virtue than a political asset.

Misappreciation is a serious political defect, especially where semiracial sentiment is always a potential factor in current affairs. During three sessions of Parliament the St. Jean Baptiste Society of Quebec hoped to secure an appropriation for the Champlain Tercentenary. It was the first time that a Quebec celebration was projected as an allCanada responsibility. The Prime Minister, who is the unquestioned master of his majority, has sat for a Quebec city constituency since 1887. But the nationalising of a celebration that was primarily French could not, apparently, be brought into the estimates with unanimous approval. That it did reach such a position, and secure the endorsement of Parliamentarians who are equally innocent of French and Arabic, was due to the daring-one might almost say the indiscretion-of the Governor-General, who conceived the idea of converting the jeopardised, gaol-endowed Plains of Abraham into a National Battlefields Park.

Parliament set up a Commission to carry out the Park project and gave it three hundred thousand dollars to spend. The last section of the constituting Act empowered the Commission to use its discretion as to assisting the Tercentennial fêtes. The authority has been exercised with admirable liberality. The city of Quebec, and the Provincial Governments of Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan have voted funds for the commemorations; and the Champlain-cumBattlefields display goes into history as the British Empire's first

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