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My messenger “ He hath whipt with rods, dares me to personal combat, “ Cæsar to Antony. Let th' old ruffian know “I have many other ways to die; mean time
Laugh at his challenge “What a reply is this?” cries Mr. Upton, “ 'tis acknowledg. ing he should fall under the unequal combat. But if we read,
Let the old ruffian know
I laugh at his challenge we have the poignancy and the very repartee of Cæsar in Plu. tarch.”
This correction was first made by Sir Thomas Ilanmer, and Mr. Johnson hath received it. Most indisputably it is the sense of Plutarch, and given so in the modern translation : but Shakspeare was misled by the ambiguity of the old one: Antonius sent again to challenge Cæsar to fight him: Cæsar answered, That he had many other ways to die, than so."
In the third act of Julius Cesar, Antony, in his well-known harangue to the people, repeats a part of the emperor's will:
To every Roman citizen he gives,
“ On this side Tiber “Our author certainly wrote,” says Mr. Theobald,-"On that side Tiber
" Trans Tiberim-prope Cæsaris hortos.' And Plutarch, whom Shakspeare very diligently studied, expressly declares, that he left the publick his gardens and walks, Et'pay to Torquê, beyond the Tyber.”
This emendation likewise hath been adopted by the subsequent editors; but hear again the old translation, where Shakspeare's study lay: “He bequeathed unto every citizen of Rome seventy-five drachmas a man, and he left his gardens and arbours unto the people, which he had on this side of the river of Tyber.” I could furnish you with many more instances, but these are as good as a thousand.
Hence had our author his characteristick knowledge of Brutus and Antony, upon which much argumentation for his learning hath been founded : and hence literatim the epitaph on Ti. mon, which it was once presumed, he had corrected from the blunders of the Latin version, by his own superior knowledge of the original.*
I cannot, however, omit a passage from Mr. Pope : “The speeches copied from Plutarch in Coriolanus may, I think, be as
* See Theobald's Preface to King Richard II, 8vo. 1720. VOL. I.
well made an instance of the learning of Shakspeare, as those copy'd from Cicero in Catiline, of Ben Jonson's.” Let us inquire into this matter, and transcribe a speech for a specimen. Take the famous one of Volumnia :
“Should we be silent and not speak, our raiment
Triumphantly tread on thy country's ruin,
Thy wife and children's blood. For myself, son,
I purpose not to wait on fortune, till “ These wars determine: if I can 't persuade thee “Rather to show a noble grace to both parts, “ Than seek the end of one ; thou shalt no sooner “March to assault thy country, than to tread “(Trust to 't, thou shalt not,) on thy mother's womb,
“That brought thee to this world.” I will now give you the old translation, which shall effectually confute Mr. Pope: for our author hath done little more, than thrown the very words of North into blank verse :
“ If we helde our peace (my sonne) and determined not to speake, the state of our poore bodies, and present sight of our rayment, would easely bewray to thee what life we haue led at home, since thy exile and abode abroad. But thinke now with thy
howe much more unfortunately, then all the women liu. inge we are come hether, considering that the sight which should be most pleasaunt to all other to beholde, spitefull fo, tune hath made most fearfull to us : making my selfe to see my sonne, snd my daughter here, her husband, besieging the walles of his natiue countrie. So as that which is the only comfort to all other in their adversitie and miserie, to pray unto the goddes, and to call to them for aide; is the onely thinge which plongeth
us into most deepe perplexitie. For we cannot (alas) together pray, both for victorie, for our countrie, and for safety of thy life also: but a worlde of grievous curses, yea more than any mortall enemie can heappe uppon us, are forcibly wrapt up in our prayers. For the bitter soppe of most harde choyce is of. fered thy wife and children, to foregoe the one of the two : either to lose the persone of thy selfe, or the nurse of their natiue contrie. For my selfe (my sonne) I am determined not to tarrie, till fortune in my life time doe make an ende of this warre. For if I cannot persuade thee, rather to doe good unto both parties, then to ouerthrowe and destroye the one, preferring loue and nature before the malice and calamitie of warres : thou shalt see, my sonne, and trust unto it, thou shalt no soner marche forward to assault thy countrie, but thy foote shall tread upon thy mother's wombe, that brought thee first into this world.”
The length of this quotation will be excused for its curiosity; and it happily wants not the assistance of a comment. But matters may not always be so easily managed:-a plagiarism from Anacreon hath been detected:
“The sun 's a thief, and with his great attraction
The moon into salt tears. The earth 's a thief,
“ From gen’ral excrement: each thing 's a thief." “This (says Dr. Dodd) is a good deal in the manner of the celebrated drinking Ode, too well known to be inserted." Yet it may be alleged by those, who imagine Shakspeare to have been generally able to think for himself, that the topicks are obvious, and their application is different.—But for argument's sake, let the parody be granted; and “our author (says some one) may be puzzled to prove, that there was a Latin translation of Anacreon at the time Shakspeare wrote his Timon of Athens.” This challenge is peculiarly unhappy: for I do not at present recol. lect any other classick, (if indeed, with great deference to Mynheer De Pauw, Anacreon may be numbered amongst them,) that was originally published with two Latin* translations.
But this is not all. Puttenham in his Arte of English Poesie, 1589, quotes some one of a “reasonable good facilitie in translation, who finding certaine of Anacreon's Odes very well translated by Ronsard the French poet-comes our minion, and trans
* By Henry Stephens and Elias Andreas, Par. 1554, 4to. ten years before the birth of Shakspeare. The former version hath been ascribed without reason to John Dorat. Many other translators appeared before the end of the century: and particularly the Ode in question was made popular by Buchanan, whose pieces were soon to be met with in almost every modern language.
lates the same out of French into English:” and his strictures upon him evince the publication. Now this identical ode is to be met with in Ronsard! and as his works are in few hands, I will take the liberty of transcribing it:
“ La terre les eaux va boivant,
Tout boit soit en haut ou en bas :
Pourquoy donc ne boirons-nous pas?” Edit. Fol. p. 507. I know not whether an observation or two relative to our author's acquaintance with Homer, be worth our investigation. The ingenious Mr. Lenox observes on a passage of Troilus and Cressida, where Achilles is roused to battle by the death of Patroclus, that Shakspeare must here have had the Iliad in view, as “the old story," which in many places he hath faithfully copied, is absolutely silent with respect to this circumstance.
And Mr. Upton is positive that the sweet oblivious antidote, inquired after by Macbeth, could be nothing but the nepenthe de. scribed in the Odyssey,
« Νηπενθές τ' άχολόν τε, κακών επί ληθον απάντων.» I will not insist upon the translations by Chapman; as the first editions are without date, and it may be difficult to ascertain the exact time of their publication. But the former circumstance might have been learned from Alexander Barclay;t and the latter more fully from Spenser, than from Homer himself.
“But Shakspeare” persists Mr. Upton,“ hath some Greek expressions.” Indeed !-“We have one in Coriolanus :
It is held
* It was originally drawn into Englishe by Caxton under the name of The Recuyel of the Historyes of Troy, from the French of the right venerable Person and worshipfull man Raoul le Feure, and fynyshed in the holy citye of Colen, the 19 day of Septembre, the yere of our Lord God, a thousand foure hundred sixty and enleuen. Wynkyn de Worde printed an edit. fol. 1503, and there have been several subsequent ones. t"Who list thistory of Patroclus to reade,” &c.
Ship of Fooles, 1570, p. 21. "Nepenthe is a drinck of soueragne grace,
“Deuized by the gods, for to asswage
“ Instead thereof sweet peace and quietage
Fuerie Queene, 1596, Book IV, c. iii, st. 43. and another in Macbeth, where Banquo addresses the weird sistsrs:
My noble partner
• Of noble having.' Gr. "Exeld.-and copos tòn "Exortu, to the haver.” This was the common language of Shakspeare's time. “Lye in a water-bearer's house!” says Master Mathew of Bobadil,"a gentleman of his havings.!”
Thus likewise John Davies in his Pleasant Descant upon English Proverbs, printed with his Scourge of Folly, about 1612:
“ Do well and have well!--neyther so still:
“For some are good doers, whose havings are ill.” and Daniel the historian uses it frequently. Haring seems to be synonymous with behaviour in Gawin Douglas* and the elder Scotch writers.
Haver, in the sense of possessor, is every where met with: though unfortunately the προς τον "Εχοντα of Sophocles produced as an authority for it, is suspected by Kuster,t as good a critick in these matters, to have absolutely a different meaning:
But what shall we say to the learning of the Clown in Hamlet, “ Ay, tell me that, and unyoke ?” alluding to the Boautós of the Greeks: and Homer and his scholiast are quoted accord. ingly!
If it be not sufficient to say, with Dr. Warburton, that the phrase might have been taken from husbandry, without much depth of reading; we may produce it from a Dittie of the work. men of Dover, preserved in the additions to Holinshed, p. 1546:
“My bow is broke, I would unyoke,
“My foot is sore, I can worke no more." An expression of my Dame Quickly is next fastened upon, which you may look for in vain in the modern text; she calls some of the pretended fairies in The Merry Wives of Windsor :
Orphant heirs of fixed Destiny."
* It is
very remarkable, that the bishop is called by his coun. tryman, Sir David Lindsey, in his Complaint of our Souerane Lordis Papingo,
“In our Inglische rethorick the rose.” And Dunbar hath a similar expression in his beautiful poem of The Goldin Terge.
† Aristophanis Comediæ undecim. Gr. & Lat. Amst. 1710. Fol.
# Dr. Warburton corrects orphan to ouphen; and not without plausibility, as the word ouphes occurs both before and afterward. But I fancy, in acquiescence to the vulgar doctrine, the address in this line is to a part of the troop, as mortals by birth, but adopted by the fairies: orphans with respect to their real