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themselves... Ben Johnson printed his English Grammar. If Shakespeare and Milton never published their rules, yet they are not difficult to be traced from a more accurate consideration of their writings. Milton's rules I shall omit at present ; but some of Shakespeare's, which favour of peculiarity, I shall here mention: because when these are known, we shall be less liable to give a loose to fancy, in indulging the licentious spirit of criticism ; nor shall we then so much presume to judge what Shakespeare ought to have written, as endeavour to discover and retrieve what he did write.
RU LE I.
Shakespeare alters proper names according to the English pronunciation.
Concerning this liberty of altering proper names, Milton thus ápologizes in Smectymnuus, " If in dealing with an out-landish name, they so thought it beft not to screw the English mouth 66 to a harsh foreign termination, so they kept 56 the radical word, they did no more than the ^ elegant authors among the Greeks, Romans, ” and at this day the Italians in scorn of such a & fervility use to do. Remember how they
« mangle our British names abroad; what tref" pass were it if we in requital should as much “ neglect theirs ? And our learned Chaucer did “ not stick to do so, writing Semyramus for “ Semiramis, Ampbiorax for Amphiaraus, K. Seies “ for K. Ceyx the husband of Alcyone, with many
other names strangely metamorphis'd " from true orthography, if he had made any
account of that in these kind of words.”. Milton's observation is exceeding true; and to this affectation of the Romans is owing the difficulty of antiquarians tracing the original names and places. Our Cafwell, Bowdich and Cotes, in a Roman mouth are Calivellanus, Boadicia and Cotiso. The Portus Itius mention'd in Cae
1 Chaucer's transcribers have plainly corrupted some words, as AE they have turned into G. In the house of Fame, p. 466. ¥. 116, Edit. Urry.
• Yfatte the Harpir Orion,
One máy venture I think to write
Æacides, and Chirion."
1. Achilles and Chiron: both famous for their skill in Mufick. Again Senior they have changed into Semor. In the Chanon's Yeman's tale. 1471. p. 127. edit. Urry.
“ As in his bokę Semor (r. Senior] will bear witness." Senior de Chemią. viz. Senior Zadith,
far was a port below Calais called * Vitsan or Whitfan. The old German words wat awe ; 1. e. fat or fruitful earth, the Romans called Batavia. When the north-east
of Scotland was pronounced by the natives Cat dun, i. e. a hill of hazel, the Romans soon gave it their Latin temination, and called it Caledonia. Many other names of places our antiquarians and etymologists easily trace, if they can get but the radical word. This rule then is universally true, that all nations make foreign words fubmit to their manner of pronunciation. However our Shakespeare does not abuse proper names like Chaucer or Spencer, tho' he has elegantly suited many of them to the English mouth.
In his Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, he hints at a story told by Plutarch in the life of Theseus, of one legsgáun, daughter of the famous robber Sinis, whom Thereus New: he, true hero-like, killed the father and then debauched the daughter. Her he calls very poetically Perigenia.
Cleopatra had a son by Julius Caesar, whom Plutarch tells us was called "Kassagíw, Shakespeare in Antony and Cleopatra very properly writes it Cefario, not Cefarion ; [Idótw, does not
2 Camden's Brit. p. 254.
make in Latin or English Platon, but Plato. And 3 Priscian the Grammarian observes that the Latins omit the n at the latter end of proper names. So + Cicero in his Tufculan disputations : Hinc ille Agamemno Homericus. And Virgil. Aen. VIII, 603. s Haud procul hinc Tarcho, et Tyrrheni tuta,
From whence Aen. X, 290. Instead of
Speculatus litora Tarchon, we must write Tarcho.
Perhaps to avoid the meeting of two vowels, he followed the Grecian spelling, in Aen. VII, 327
Odit et ipfe pater Pluton, odere forore
The Jews name in the Merchant of Venice Scialac, he makes English and calls Sbylock. In Romeo and Juliet, Montecchi and Capello, are Montague and Capulet. Sir Johan of Boundis, in Chaucer's legend of Gamelyn, he changes into, Sir Rowland of Boys, in his play called As you
3 Prifc. l. 6. p. 690.
Cic. Tusc. difp. III, 26.
like it. Amleth, he writes Hamlet ; and Cunõbeline or Kymbeline, he calls Cymbeline.
Macbeth's father is variously written in the Scotish chronicles. Macbeth fil. Findleg : Innes of Scotland p.791. Macbeth Mac-Finleg : Ibid. p. 803. Machabeus Filius Finele : Johan. de Fordin Scot. L. IV. C. 44. Salve, Maccabaçe Thane Glammis ; nam eum magistratum defuncto paulo ante patre Synele acceperat. Hector Boeth. Scot. hist. L. XII.
Sinell thane of Gammis : Holingsh. p. 168. “By Sinel's death, I know, I'm thane of Glamis.”
So our author, in Macbeth, Act I.
5 In Cicero's offices B. II. c. ix. is the following passage, Itaque propter aequabilem praedae partitionem, et BARGULUS ILLYRIUS LATRO, de
"Tis very plain if the plays called ist, zd, &c. parts of Henry VI. were written by our poet, that he had red Cicero's offices. I wonder this paffage should escape the diligent search of Mr. Theobald. I lately turned to the edition printed at Oxford, where I found Bardylis had taken possession of the copy, but no mention made of Ciçero. In the last edition indeed I found THE TRUE PI? RATE.- But Shakespeare seems to me to have had his eye on other passages of Cicero's offices. In the IIId part of Henry VI. Act I.