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Larum to London” was also entered to Robertes, under the same restriction. The following entry is dated 23 June, 1603. Malone (Variorum ed. 1821, ii. 367) argues that the 1600 of the entry to Robertes is to be understood in that containing reference to As You Like It. The fact that the date 1603 follows is accounted for on the reasonable supposition that the writer of these promiscuous notes started them at the top of the first page of the second leaf (i.e. p. 3), continued for a short time, and began again on the first page of the first leaf (i.e. P. I).
This is evident from the fact that the dates on the first two pages are subsequent to 4 August, 1600; that on the bottom of the second page, i.e. the one before the Robertes entry, is dated "Ultimo maij”[1603)
That the critical entry should be dated 1600 is also evident from the fact that ten days later, in dated entries, 14 August "42 Regine,” i.e. 1600, Henry the Fifth is entered to Thomas Pavyer, Every Man in His Humour to [Cuthbert] Burby and Walter Burre, and nineteen days later, 23 August, 1600, Much Ado About Nothing to Andrewe Wyse and William Aspley. There is no further entry concerning As You Like It.
The “ staying,” an obstacle removed so soon in the case of the three other plays, requires comment. Various explanations have been put forward, that of Wright (ed. cit. p. vi) being that "the announcement of its publication may have been premature, and the play may not have been ready.” But this can hardly be so, for the argument does not apply to the other plays; and if it were so, the marks of haste apparent in As You Like It would have been removed, and a corrected quarto issued. But so far, no quarto has come to light. Two later, and diametrically opposed, opinions as to the cause of 'staying" remain. Dr. Furness (New Variorum ed. 1890, p. 296 seq.) attributes it to the piratical tendencies of the Elizabethan printer, James Robertes, who had been fined for trenching on the monopoly of the Queen's Printer in printing Catechisms. Mr. A. W. Pollard (Shakespeare Folios and Quartos, 1909, p. 66 seq.) sees in the “staying" an attempt to prevent piracy, and takes " the current view of James Robertes as the most audacious of the pirates” as “an exact reversal
of the facts." Both base their arguments upon an entry in the Registers referring to The Merchant of Venice.
“[1598 xxijo Julij. James Robertes. Entred for his copie under the handes of bothe the wardens, a booke of the Marchant of Venyce, or otherwise called the Jewe of Venyce, Provided, that yt bee not prynted by the said James Robertes or anye other whatsoever without lycence first had from the Right honorable the lord chamberlen.”l
Dr. Furness sees in this evidence that Robertes “had made some friends with the mammon of unrighteousness among my Lord Chamberlain's men, and by underhand dealings obtained possession of sundry plays of Shakespeare.” In 1599 (June 1) an ordinance was passed “ that noe playes be printed excepte they bee allowed by suche as have aucthorytie," signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London. Mr. Pollard argues that, though some of the cautionary entries against Robertes and others "originated with the officials of the Stationers' company, anxious to obey the wishes of the government,” yet the entry concerning The Merchant of Venice, coming before the ordinance, points to the fact that an applicant could gain “provisional protection," and raise an obstacle against piracy, merely by mentioning the play and promising that he would produce subsequently sufficient authority for printing it. He further shows that Robertes was a man of some standing, in frequent communication with the players, and probably used by them to throw obstacles in the way of piracy.
In conclusion, Mr. Pollard is of opinion that As You Like It was successfully saved from piracy, Henry V. successfully pirated (its quarto text is notoriously corrupt), and Much Ado About Nothing and Every Man in His Humour published with the full consent of the players.
In any case, it is apparent that As You Like It was written by the middle of 1600; in the absence of printed quartos, a transcript, either from private hands or preserved by the players, being used as copy for the 1623 folio. The internal evidence as to date adds little to, and hardly ever contradicts, the external evidence of the Registers. The quotation from Marlowe's Hero and Leander (entered 1598) and the reference to him as the “Dead Shepherd” (III. v. 80) do not necessarily cast the date back to 1598, though they provide an upward limit before which the play could hardly have been written. Similarly, it is not mentioned in the list of Shakespeare's plays given in Meres' Palladis Tamia (entered 7 September, 1598). The reference to “Diana in the fountain ” (see note, iv. i. 141) may refer to the statue in Cheapside ; even so, its bearing upon the date of the play is slight, for the figure was erected in 1596, and was in decay in 1603. Chalmers sees a reference to the voyages in “From the East to farthest Ind” (111. ii. 86), providing an upward limit of 1596, when the voyages seem to have ended for a time; the court intrigues on the return of Essex, 28 September, 1599, according to him are the basis of the Duke's remark, “Are not these woods More free from peril than the envious Court?” (II. i. 3, 4). But the first item is too vague to
3 be evidence, the second quotation is a commonplace of Renaissance satire. Wright finds possible reference in “By my life, I do; which I tender dearly, though I say I am a magician" (v. ii. 70, 71) to the statute against witchcraft of 1603; and in “by all pretty oaths that are not dangerous” (IV. i. 174) to the Act to Restrain the Abuses of Players, of 1605. These dates, at variance with the evidence of the Registers, may be accounted for, if there be actual reference, by the supposition that such remarks were added at performances later than 1600, to give topical interest. Mr. J. C. Smith points out (Warwick Shakespeare, p. 10) that the song “ It was a lover and his lass" (v. iii.) was reproduced in Morley's First Booke of Ayres, printed in 1600, and that in the play it corresponds in position and sentiment to Corydon's song in Rosalynde. Morley seems to have taken his words indiscriminately, without acknowledgment, but here it seems probable that he obtained the song from the play, a piece of evidence strongly supporting that of the Registers.
Metrical tests are of slighter value in determining the date of As You Like It, partly because less than half the play is in verse, partly from the contradictory results of different tests. All that can safely be deduced is that Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night are products of the same phase of Shakespeare's metrical development. Thus Ingram's list (New Shakespeare Soc. Transactions, 1874, i. 450) gives the following order :
14. Much Ado About Nothing (entered 14 August, 1600). 15. As You Like It (“staied,” 4 August, 1600).
16. Twelfth Night (circa 1601). König (Der Vers in Shaksperes Dramen, pp. 130-138) places As You Like It fourteenth, twenty-fourth, twelfth, and twenty-first in the list of plays, according to rhyme, doubleending, enjambement and speech-ending tests respectively.
Broadly, As You Like It stands, with these two other comedies, half-way metrically between the earlier plays and the later; rhyming tags at the ends of speeches and an interlude in alternate rhyme (III. ii. 1-10) link its metre to that of Love's Labour's Lost or the Comedy of Errors, while the increase of light and weak endings, the close of speeches upon half-lines, and the increase of enjambement, point equally forward.
Both for his title and for the main details of plot and character, Shakespeare drew upon the novel Rosalynde of Thomas Lodge, published in 1590. In addition, there enters consideration of the pseudo-Chaucerian Tale of Gamelyn, to which certain parallelisms may be adduced. Knight cites three instances where Lodge forsook Gamelyn, and where Shakespeare apparently followed it: (i) Lodge represents Rosader as having the largest share of his father's estate bequeathed to him, while Orlando has but “poor a thousand crowns” (1. i. 2). Here, according to Knight, Shakespeare remembers the advice of certain old knights to Gamelyn's father, “And for Gamelyn was yongest, he schulde have nought" (line 44, ed. Skeat). (ii) When the old man's sons, in Rosalynde, are killed by the wrestler, he “never changed countenance"; in Gamelyn, the old man's counterpart “bigan bitterly his hondes for to wrynge" (line 198); in As You Like It, he makes “pitiful dole” (1. ii. 119). (iii) In Rosalynde, the wrestler merely shakes Rosader by the shoulder, while both in Gamelyn and As You Like It, the hero is taunted by the champion. Mr. W.G. Stone? also cites further likenesses, chiefly verbal, between the play and the tale. Thus, Johan, Gamelyn's brother, “clothed
1“ If you like it, so"; Address “ to the Gentlemen Readers,” Lodge's Rosalynde.
2 New Shakespeare Society's Transactions (1882, ii. 277), reprinted 1907 by Messrs. Chatto and Windus as an appendix to Rosalynde in their Shakespeare Classics.
him and fed him yvel and eek wrothe” (line 73), while Orlando says (1. i. 18, 19) "he lets me feed with his hinds”; the phrases " break his neck" (Gamelyn, 194, As You Like It, I. i. 138) and “this wild wood” (Gamelyn, 622, As You Like It, V. iv. 157). The evidence for Shakespeare's having seen the Tale is slight; the above details can hardly be said to be conclusive, being rather in the nature of very probable coincidences, than reminiscence or conscious adaptation.
The Tale of Gamelyn1 was not printed till 1721, though it existed in several manuscripts, to one of which Lodge must have had access. Its theme centres in a wrestling-match, but the dénouement is very different from that of Lodge; it has no feminine or love interest, which is the novelist's main addition to the story. Sir Johan of Boundys had three sons, to whom, after asking and refusing the advice of certain wise knights, he dealt out his property by will. When the old father was dead, the eldest son, John, dealt evilly with the youngest, Gamelyn, taking his lands, and clothing and feeding him poorly. At last Gamelyn was provoked to violence by the treatment he received; he so mishandled the serving-men sent to chastise him that his brother, fearing least Gamelyn's anger should wreak itself upon him, promised restoration of all the inheritance. But John soon repented of his promise, and thought of means to get his brother out of the way. It happened that a wrestling competition had been arranged, and Gamelyn wished to try his skill. When he arrived on the ground, he found a franklin bewailing the death of his two sons, slain by the champion wrestler. Undeterred, however, he entered the ring, answered the champion's gibes, and finally threw him. Returning to his brother's house, Gamelyn and his friends made a mighty carouse. By a trick, John had Gamelyn bound to a post, and declared to all that his brother was mad. For two days Gamelyn remained without food or drink, till he persuaded Adam, the spencer, who had charge of the household food, to release him. They escaped together, and became members of a band of outlaws, Gamelyn ultimately rising to be captain. Meanwhile, John had become sheriff, and summoned Gamelyn to appear before him; when he did so,
1 Ed. Skeat, Clarendon Press.