Imatges de pÓgina
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(3) In 1582-1583 an official deputation of Muscovites was at Queen Elizabeth's court to treat concerning the marriage of the Czar Ivan to a kinswoman of the English Queen. They made themselves ridiculous and became the butt of a practical joke. (See V. ii. 121 and note.)

The pertinence of these parallels is hardly questionable, but the flippancy and vagueness with which

Shakespeare utilizes the historical incidents certainly He suggest that his knowledge comes from current talk

rather than from definite printed accounts. The dramatist, of course, was not purporting to write contemporary history, as Marlowe was when he produced his Massacre at Paris. Doubtless Shakespeare first devised his fiction of Navarre and France at a period when it was possible to weave into it recent names and incidents still too vague in their connotation for English auditors to jar against the playful spirit of the comedy. He seems to have conceived of his

Navarre, Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine as living a in some pleasant remote time, and it is entirely pos

sible that the real nucleus of the Navarre-France portion of the story is to be found in some such passage as that of Monstrelet's history, cited by Hunter in 1845, the relevancy of which Lee and nearly all subsequent critics have denied. Monstrelet writes as follows: 'At this same season (ca. 1403], Charles king of Navarre

came to Paris to wait on the king. He negotiated so de successfully with the king and his privy council, that

he obtained a gift of the castle of Nemours, with some of its dependent castlewicks, which territory was made

1 See Appendix B.

2 Monstrelet, who died in 1453, continued the Chronicles of Froissart from the year 1400. The passage quoted comes near the commencement of his work (bk. i, ch. 17). A number of French editions were available in Shakespeare's time, but there appears to have been no translation into English before that of Thomas Johnes in 1809.


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a duchy. He instantly did homage for it, and at the same time surrendered to the king the castle of Cherbourg, the county of Évreux, and all other lordships he possessed within the kingdom of France, renouncing all claim or profit in them to the king and his successors, on consideration that with this duchy of Nemours the king of France engaged to pay him two hundred thousand gold crowns of the coin of the king our lord.'

In this rather complicated transaction Shakespeare may have found the suggestion for the still more complex business of the play, in which likewise a deceased King Charles (cf. II. i. 162) of Navarre and a total sum of two hundred thousand crowns (cf. II. i. 128-134) are involved."

The French and English halves of the play are joined together by the characters of Armado and his page Moth, who are neither French nor convincingly English. In these two figures literary precedent is more evident than elsewhere, and it is clearly John Lyly whom Shakespeare is following. Compare the talk of Armado and Moth in II. i with the following scene between a braggart and his page in Lyly's Endimion.? 'Sir Tophas. Epi, loue hath iustled my libertie from the wall, and taken the vpper hand of my reason. E piton. Let mee then trippe vp the heeles of your affection, and thrust your goodwill into the gutter. Şir. To. No, Epi, Loue is a Lorde of misrule, and keepeth Christmas in my corps. Epi. No doubt there is good cheere: what dishes of delight doth his Lordshippe feast you withal?

1 Professor Lefranc (Sous le Marque de 'William Shaksspeare') makes an important addition by showing that discussions concerning Navarre's holdings in the province of Aquitaine were rife between him and the King of France about 1580.

2 Act V, sc. ii. The date of Endimion is probably 1586.

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Sir To. First, with a great platter of plum-porridge
of pleasure, wherein is stued the mutton of mistrust.
Epi. Excellent loue lappe.
Sir To. Then commeth a Pye of patience, a Henne of
honnie, a Goose of gall, a Capon of care, and many
other Viandes, some sweete and some sowre; which
proueth loue to bee, as it was saide of in olde yeeres,
Dulce venenum.
Epi. A braue banquet.
Sir To. But, Epi, I praye thee feele on my chinne,
some thing prycketh mee. What dost thou feele or
Epi. There are three or foure little haires.
Sir To. I pray thee call it my bearde. Howe shall I
bee troubled when this younge springe shall growe to
a great wood!
Epi. O, sir, your chinne is but a quyller yet, you will
be most maiesticall when it is full fledge. But I
maruell that you loue Dipsas, that old Crone,' etc.

The chief literary influence in Love's Labour's Lost
is certainly Lyly's, poor though the latter's work
seems by contrast. Shakespeare at once differentiates
himself from the artificial prose comedy of Lyly by
his vindication of common sense against affectation
and by his deep interest in sonorous verse effects. It
is not unlikely that the play is also related superficially
to Marlowe's Massacre at Paris (written toward the
end of 1589), in which the historical Navarre and
Dumaine are both introduced, and which opens with
Navarre's marriage to the Princess of France."

1 Dr. Johnson made the plausible conjecture that Shakespeare's character of Holofernes owes something to the pedantic schoolmaster, Rombus, in Sir Philip Sidney's pastoral play, The Lady of May, acted before Queen Elizabeth in 1578,

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The date of composition of Shakespeare's original (lost) version of Love's Labour's Lost and its relation to the text of 1598, corrected and augmented for performance at court, have been the subject of long discussion, to which daring contributions have been made within the last half-dozen years. The conjectured dates of original composition range, according to Dr. Furness' table, from 1588 or earlier till after 1596. Metrical evidence, persisting even in the augmented text, supports the assumption of Furnivall, Dowden, and Sir Sidney Lee that Love's Labour's Lost is the earliest of all Shakespeare's plays. Hart (Arden ed., x-xvii) finds other internal evidence pointing 'to 1590 for the date of the earliest form of the play.' Such till recently has been the generally accepted opinion.

In the Modern Language Revier (July, October, 1918) Mr. H. B. Charlton published a monograph on "The Date of Love's Labour's Lost,' in which he argues for the latter part of 1592 as the time of first composition and assumes only a slight revision immediately previous to the performance of 1597-8. Subsequent writers have apparently inclined to accept Mr. Charlton's rather iconoclastic conclusions. Professor J. Q. Adams? agrees that ‘1592 is the earliest date that can possibly be assigned to the play,' and conjectures that it was composed during the inhibition of acting from June till December of that year. The recent Cambridge editors (1923) go farther and, joining Mr.

1 Life of Shakespeare, 1923, p. 142 f. Compare Professor 0. F. Emerson in an article on "Shakespeare's Sonneteering;' Mtudies in Philology, April, 1923, p. 122.

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Charlton's deductions to some fancied evidences in the play of hostility to Sir Walter Raleigh and his associates, arrive at 1593 for the year of writing: 'We give it as our belief, and no more, that Love's Labour's Lost was written in 1593 for a private performance in the house of some grandee who had opposed Raleigh and Raleigh's “men”-possibly the Earl of Southampton's.'

I venture to suggest briefly some reasons for thinking that the probability of an early version of Love's Labour's Lost, written not later than 1590 and standing very near the beginning of Shakespeare's dramatic work, remains unimpaired. Mr. Charlton agrees that Shakespeare's use of topical names (Navarre, Berowne, Longaville, Dumaine) is a concession to English interest in contemporary events in France. This interest, he maintains, really began with the sending of an expeditionary force to the aid of Henry of Navarre in July, 1591, while ‘the summer and autumn of 1592 marked the highest level of English public interest in the French wars. It seems clear, on the other hand, that if Shakespeare gave his sentimental students these topical names out of consideration for public interest in their namesakes, he could only have done so before the public, or he himself, had yet

1 I do not deal with the special allusions which Mr. Charlton finds in individual passages of the play to books and events of the period 1590-1592. In most cases the dates implied do not seem to me decisive, and Mr. Charlton's unsupported hypothesis that practically everything in the play was in it from the beginning removes the matter from the field of argument.

2 Dr. Furnivall refers to Stow's statement that in September, 1589, 'the citizens of London furnished a thousand men to be sent over into France, to the aiding of Henry, late King of Navarre, then challenging the crown of France.' Mr. Charlton rather perversely, as it seems to me, refuses to believe that there can have been sufficient public interest at this date.

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