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contrived to arrive at the denouement of both plots at the same time. This was not at all necessary in the narrative, and, in my opinion, as far as verisimilitude is concerned, it was more natural to attribute the arrival of Silvio at Constantinople to design, in the course of his search for his sister, than to mere accident, which seems to be the case with Sebastian.
Morton. Had Shakespeare adopted this expedient, it would have too much resembled an incident in a former play of his, I mean "The Comedy of Errors," where Antipholis of Syracuse travels in search of his twin brother.
Elliot. True, and as it was, Shakespeare could not avoid some similarity in the incidents, though he contrived to introduce every dissimilarity in the situations. Have either of the other seven histories or discourses in Rich's book any connexion with Shakespeare's plays?
Bourne. No; excepting that in the sixth novel there is an incident of the effects of a sleeping draught upon a young lady that reminds us of Romeo and Juliet; and the first scene of the same tragedy is brought to our memories in another story, by the employment of the familiar proverb "o' my word we'll not carry coals," in the same way as Shakespeare uses it.
Morton. All which confirms the belief, that "Rich his Farewel to Military profession" was one of the books in Shakespeare's library, and that he was well acquainted with its contents. You said that Rich was a poet, but the "discourse" we have just finished is wholly prose: can you give us a specimen of his verse?
Bourne. I can, and you will not read it with the less interest, because it is found in the same curious volume, where several other pieces of poetry are interspersed. What I am about to read is from the first novel, relating the adventures of a banished duke, called " Sappho Duke of Mantona."
Elliot. Shakespeare is charged by the commentators with the heinous offence of confounding the sex which ought to belong to the name of Baptista. Rich seems to have been guilty of the same error in the name of Sappho.
Bourne. So it appears, but it may be easily forgiven. His lines are these:
"No shame, I trust, to cease from former ill,
"But blinde forecast was he that made me swarue,
Affection fond was hirer of my lust; My fancie fixt desire did make me serue,
Vaine hope was he that trained all my trust:
Good liking then so daseled hard my sight, And dimnde mine eies, that reason gaue no light.
"O sugred sweet that trainde me to this trap!
I saw the bait where hooke lay hidden fast; I well perceiud the drift of my mishap;
I knew the bit would breed my bane at last: But what for this, for sweete I swallowed all,
Whose tast I find more bitter now than Gall."But loe the fruites that grewe by fond desire!
I seeke to shun that pleased best my minde; I sterue for cold, yet faine would quench the fire,
And glad to loose that fairest I would finde. In one self thing I find both bane and blisse;
But this is straunge, I like no life but this."
The word fairest, in the last line but two, is probably a misprint for fairiest.
Elliot. Rich probably is to be placed in the class of smooth versifiers, but, according to this specimen, he has no claim to any rank among original poets.
Bourne. You have correctly ascertained and stated his merits in a sentence. This volume has been long enough open, we may now close it.
Morton. In alluding to a proverb used by Rich, you just now mentioned Romeo and Juliet; the original of it is in Painter's " Palace of Pleasure."
Bourne. That was probably the immediate original, but there were other versions of the Italian tale: you will find it on fo. 179, b. of "The second Tome of the Palace of Pleasure," printed by Thomas Marshe. Did you ever hear of a separate printed poem by William Painter; I mean unconnected with "the Palace of Pleasure?" Morton. . Certainly never.
Bourne. Yet such a poem, or rather collection of poems, was shown me not long since.
Morton. Indeed. Was it not a most valuable relic? The editor of the new edition of " the Palace of Pleasure" mentions nothing about it.
Bourne. It is a relic of considerable rarity, but you mistake if you suppose it was by William Painter, the compiler and translator of the Palace of Pleasure, although by a person of the same names. However, no other copy is known of it, and as it was without beginning or end, the date cannot precisely be ascertained: the dedication to Sir Paul Pinder, ambassador at Constantinople, signed William Painter, is, however, still preserved: Sir Paul died before the year 1650; the type, as I should guess, was after 1630.
Morton. Perhaps it was by some descendant: what is the subject? Had it any merit?
Bourne. None that I could discover; but the running-title
Elliot. Here is a poem, the date of which you do not know, the author of which you do not know; which has neither beginning nor end, and which is actually worth nothing, and yet we are to waste our time upon it. Have we not already heard too much about it?
Bourne. I apprehend not. You cannot wonder that some curiosity should be felt about the title.
Elliot. Why, when the body of the work is not worth reading, what signifies the title? Yet I am not surprised; Quod crebro vidit non miratur, etiam si curjiat, nescit.
Bourne. But I contend that the name of the poem is curious and worth knowing: the titlepage is wanting, but the running-title is " Chaucer painted:" why it is so called I cannot guess, as in the cursory view I had of the book I saw nothing that had any relation to Chaucer: the greater portion was proverbs strung together in four-line stanzas. Towards the end was a poem lamenting the degeneracy of shepherds, and an anagram on the mother of the author, Jone Clark.
Morton. The vi or A. painted in the running-title, I dare say, had some connexion with the author's name. Did you extract any part of it?
Bourne. I did not.
Elliot. Then we are more fortunate than usual.
Morton. Still uncis naribus indulgis, but not at our expense.
Bourne. He will not have that gratification long, for about William Painter I have nothing more to say. Elliot. Why, seriously, if I did not keep some