« AnteriorContinuar »
TWELFTH NIGHT; OR, WHAT YOU WILL.
This enchanting comedy was first printed in the folio of 1623, and no quarto edition of it has ever been found. Though long supposed, upon the authority of Malone and Chalmers, to have been one of Shakespeare's very latest productions, we now know that it was acted in the Middle Temple, as early as the beginning of the seventeenth century. This fact was first made public by Mr. Collier and Mr. Hunter, who discovered, almost simultaneously, a small manuscript diary, among the Harleian Collection in the library of the British Museum, which appears to have been made by a student of the Temple, named Manningham, and contains the following interesting entry :
“Feb. 2, 1601 . At our feast, wee had a play called Twelve Night or what you will, much like the Comedy of errors, or Menechmi in Plautus, but most like and neere to that in Italian, called Inganni. A good practice in it to make the steward believe his lady widdowe was in love with him by counterfayting a letter, as from his lady in general termes telling him what shee liked best in him, and prescribing his gestures, inscribing his apparaile, &c.; and then when he came to practice, making beleeve they tooke him to be mad."
This is decisive, and, as there can be no doubt that, before being acted in the Temple, it had been represented in the public theatre, and, since it is not mentioned by Meres in his list of 1598, its production may be confidently ascribed to the period between that year and February, 1602.
The story whence the serious incidents of “Twelfth Night” are derived, is found in Bandello, Parte Seconda, Novella 36 :-“ Nicuola innamorata di Lattantio và a servirlo vestita da paggio; edopo Molti casi seco si marita, e ciò che ad un suo fratello avvenne ;" but whether Shakespeare borrowed them from the fountain-head, or through the English translation of Barnabie Riche, called “ The Historie of Apollonius and Silla,” or whether he found them in the Italian play referred to by Manningham, still remains a subject for investigation. The diarist notices only one comedy called Inganni, but there are two Italian plays bearing the title Gl’ Inganni, both founded upon Bandello's novel ; one (commedia recitata in Milano l'anno 1547, dinanzi la Maestà del Re Filippo) by Niccolò Secchi, 1562; the other, written by Curzio Gonzago, and printed in 1592. To neither of these plays does our poet appear to have been under much, if any, obligation. There is, however, a third Italian comedy of the Accademici Intronati, to which Mr. Hunter first called attention (New Illustrations of Shakespeare, vol. i. pp. 391–2), that presents much stronger claims to consideration as the immediate origin of the plot of “ Twelfth Night.” This drama is entitled GC Ingannati (Commedia celebrata ni Giuochi del Carnevale in Siena, l'anno 1531, sotto il Sodo dignissimo Archintronato), first printed in 1537, and having for its general title Il Sacrificio. “ That it was on the model of this play,” Mr. Hunter remarks, “and not on any of the Ingannis, that Shakespeare formed the plan of the serious part of the Twelfth Night, will appear evidently by the following analysis of the main parts of the story. Fabritio and Lelia, a brother and sister, are separated at the sack of Rome, in 1527. Lelia is carried to Modena, where resides Flamineo, to whom she had formerly been attached. Lelia disguises herself as a boy, and enters his service: Flamineo had forgotten Lelia and was a suitor to Isabella, a Modenese lady. Lelia, in her male attire, is employed in love-embassies from Flamineo to Isabella. Isabella is insensible to the importunities of Flamineo, but conceives a violent passion for Lelia, mistaking her for a man. In the third act Fabritio arrives at Modena, when mistakes arise owing to the close resemblance there is between Fabritio and his sister in her male attire. Ultimately recognitions take place; the affections of Isabella are easily transferred from Lelia to Fabritio, and Flamineo takes to his bosom the affectionate and faithful Lelia. * ** We have in the Italian play, a subordinate character named Pasquella, to whom Maria corresponds ; and in the subordinate incidents we find Fabritio mistaken in the street for Lelia by the servant of Isabella, who takes him to her mistress's house, exactly as Sebastian is taken for Viola, and led to the house of Olivia. .... The name of Fabian given by Shakespeare to one of his characters was probably suggested to him by the name of Fabia, which Lelia in the Italian play assumed in her disguise. Malvolio is a happy adaptation from Malevolti, a character in the Il Sacrificio. A phrase occurring in a long prologue or preface prefixed to this play in the Italian [la Notte di Beffana] appears to me to have suggested the title • Twelfth-Night."''
SCENE I.-An Apartment in the Duke's Palace. Enter DUKE, CURIO, and other Lords; Musicians | The appetite may sicken, and so die.attending.
That strain again ; it had a dying fall : DUKE. If music be the food of love, play on ; 0, it came o'er my ear, like the sweet sound a Give me excess of it ; that surfeiting,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
a 0. it came o'er my ear, like the sweet sound-] So the early text, but Pope changed sound to south, and the alteration has been approved, perhaps too readily, by nearly every editor and critic since his time ; at all events, if south were the poet's word, he must have employed it, not in the sense Pope intended of soulhwind, but as south, sowth, or sough is used in the North, to signify
the soft whisper of the breeze :
“The soft south of the swyre, and sound of the stremes,
The sweit savour of the swairde, and singing of fewlis,
Dunbar, MAITLAND's Poems, p. 64.
Stealing, and giving odour !—Enough ; no more: / Vio. And what should I do in Illyria? 'Tis not so sweet now, as it was before.
My brother he is in Elysium.
[sailors ? O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou ! Perchance, he is not drown'd:-what think you, That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Cap. It is perchance, that you yourself were sav'd. Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
V1o. O my poor brother! and so perchance may Of what validity and pitch soe'er,
[chance, But falls into abatement and low price,
CAP. True, madam: and, to comfort you with Even in a minute ! so full of shapes is fancy, Assure yourself, after our ship did split, That it alone is high-fantastical.
When you, and those poor number sav'd with you, Cur. Will you go hunt, my lord ?
Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother, DUKE.
What? Curio. Most provident in peril, bind himself CUR.
The hart. | (Courage and hope both teaching him the practice) DUKE. Why, so I do, the noblest that I have: | To a strong mast, that liv'd upon the sea; 0, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
Where, like Arion* on the dolphin's back, Methought, she purg'd the air of pestilence ! I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves, That instant was I turn'd into a hart;
So long as I could see. And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
For saying so, there's gold: E’er since pursue me.
Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope,
Whereto thy speech serves for authority,
The like of him. Know'st thou this country?
CAP. Ay, madam, well; for I was bred and born Val. So please my lord, I might not be admitted,
| Not three hours' travel from this very place. But from her handmaid do return this answer:
Vio. Who governs here?
CAP. A noble duke, in nature as in name. The element itself, till seven years' heat, Shall not behold her face at ample view ;
V10. What is his name? But, like a cloistress, she will veiled walk,
CAP. Orsino. And water once a day her chamber round
V10. Orsino! I have heard my father name him: With eye-offending brine: all this to season
He was a bachelor then. A brother's dead love, which she would keep fresh
CAP. And so is now, or was so very late; And lasting in her sad remembrance.
For but a month ago I went from hence,
And then 'twas fresh in murmur (as, you know, DUKE. O, she that hath a heart of that fine frame To pay this debt of love but to a brother,
What great ones do, the less will prattle of), How will she love, when the rich golden shaft
That he did seek the love of fair Olivia. Hath kill'd the flock of all affections else
Vio. What's she ? That live in her !—when liver, brain, and heart,
CAP. A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count These sovereign thrones, are all supplied and fill'd
That died some twelvemonth since; then leaving her
In the protection of his son, her brother,
Who shortly also died: for whose dear love,
They say, she hath abjur'd the company
And sight of men.
O, that I served that lady,
And might not be deliver’d to the world,
Till I had made mine own occasion mellow
What my estate is!
That were hard to compass ; Vio. What country, friends, is this?
Because she will adnit no kind of suit, CAP.
This is Illyria, lady. No, not the duke's.
when liver, brain, and heart,
Her sweet perfection,- with one self king!]
"---When liver, brain, and heart, These sovereign thrones, are all supplied and fill'd
With one self king,-her sweet perfection." The "sweet perfection" not being, as Steevens conjectured, her liver, brain, and heart, but her husband, her "one self for single king." According to the doctrine of Shakespeare's time, a female was imperfect, her nature undeveloped, until by marriage she was incorporated with the other sex.
--- and as one glorious flame, Meeting another, grows the same :".
(*) Old text, Orion.
“Marriage their object is; their being then,
OVERBURY'S “Wife" See also Donne's (Epithalamium made at Lincoln's Inn," in which this, the predominating idea on such occasions, is made the burden of every stanza:
“Weep not, nor blush, here is no grief nor shame, To-day put on perfection, and a woman's name."
- the company
And sight of men.]
11--- the sight
And company," &c.