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kind of check upon you, there is no knowing what paltry matters you two might not wander into. Let us dwell upon something worth attention, and I will not complain. I never dreamt of objecting to the detail you entered into of Rich's novel, because that was not only a new but a very interesting subject, and if you had continued the same course, and given us some account of other histories of which Shakespeare availed himself, it would have been adding importantly to our stock of knowledge.
Bourne. I would have done so willingly had I been sufficiently prepared for the purpose; but some of the stories which Shakespeare employed are really so rare, and are consequently so difficult to be procured, that before I can enter into the question satisfactorily, I must lay all my friends under contribution for books.
Morton. I have seen Lodge's "Rosalind," the "worthless original" (as Mr. Steevens is pleased to call it) of" As you Like it" in your collection.
Elliot. And Robt. Greene's "Dorastus & Fawnia," on which the " Winter's Tale" is founded, you told me you had.
Morton. Besides, " the Palace of Pleasure," which stands conspicuous on your shelves, and these three, with Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch!s Lives, will go a good way in, at least, illustrating a subject that, as far as I know, has not yet been by any means adequately investigated.
Bourne. You mistake when you say that you have seen Lodge's "Rosalind" among my books: you have seen "Euphues Golden Legacie: Found after his death in his Cell at Silexedra. Bequeathed to Philautus Sonnes, nursed vp with their Father in England," 1623, and it is very true that this work, excepting the title and the different orthography of some of the words, is the same as Lodge's " Rosalind," of 1590, but I could wish, were it in my power, to show you, and to read from, the original edition.
Elliot. What trifles you convert into matters of consequence: this is not only nugis addere pondus, but giving the nugc e themselves an artificial weight. We shall be able to judge of the similarity between Shakespeare's play and Lodge's novel as well by an edition of yesterday, if it be correctly reprinted, as by one published in the life-time of the author.
Bourne. Certainly, but independent of the satisfaction of comparing Shakespeare's play with an original edition, such as he probably employed, there is surely some pleasure in looking at literary curiosities, like the first edition of " Rosalynde," for so the author spelt it, in 1590, though why that graceful name was afterwards erased from the title, and all the rest left, it is impossible for us to ascertain.
Elliot. Nor is it worth ascertaining if we had all the means before us.
Morton. I do not know that, provided it had any thing to do with Spenser's Rosalind, or with Shakespeare's adoption of the name in his "As you Like it," or any other circumstance of that kind.
Bourne. Mr. Singer, in a late reprint (which, by the by, might have been more correct) has extracted all the poetry from Lodge's "Rosalynde," and, as Shakespeare was much less indebted to the verse than to the prose, and, as no specimens have been given from the last, I will read two or three passages which will enable you to form an opinion of Lodge's style, and of the manner in which he treats a story, of which there is every reason to believe that he was the original inventor.
Elliot. This is just as it ought to be; now we are coming to the point:—Lodge was unquestionably a man of considerable talent as a poet, if we looked only at the pieces inserted in his "Fig for Momus." What you are about to extract from then, is his "Rosalynde," republished in 1623 under the title of " Euphues Golden Legacy."
Bourne. It is: he took the name of Euphues from John Lilly, who published his well-known "Euphues, the Anatomie of Wit," at least as early as 1580, and in the prefatory matter to which I find that he was rusticated from Oxford. I just notice this circumstance, because his biographers seem to have overlooked it.
Morton. That is curious: what does he say of himself?
Bourne. It is in an address "To my good Friends, the Gentlemen Schollers of Oxford:" he observes, "Yet may I of all the rest most condemne Oxford of vnkindnesse, of vice I cannot, who seemed to weane me before shee brought me forth and to giue me bones to gnaw, before I could get the teat to suck. Wherein she played the nice mother, in sending me into the country to nurse, where I tyred at a dry breast three yeares, and was at last enforced to weane my selfe." He accordingly went to Cambridge. One of Robert Greene's tracts is called "Euphues Censure to Philantus," so that it should seem that Lilly's example had rendered those names very popular.
Elliot. Do not let us wander unnecessarily. I am anxious to hear something from Lodge's novel.
Bourne. Your anxiety shall be relieved. You will observe, in the first place, that Shakespeare's Orlando is here called Rosader, and his severe elder brother Saladine: the names of Rosalind and Aliena (the assumed name of Alinda) Shakespeare adopts. The following is the description of the heroine: "As euery mans eye had his seurall suruey, and fancie was partiall in their lookes, yet all in generall applauded the admirable riches that Nature bestowed on the face of Rosalind; for vpon her cheekes there seemed a battell betweene the Graces, who should bestow most fauours to make her excellent. The blush that gloried Luna when she kist the Shepheard of the hills of Latmos, was not tainted with such a pleasant dye as the vermilion florish on the siluer hue of Rosalinds countenance: her eyes were like those Lampes that make the wealthie couert for the heauens more glorious, sparkling fauour and disdaine, curteous and yet coy, as if in them Venus had placed al her amorets, and Diana all her chastitie. The trammels of her haire, folded in a caule of gold, so farre surpast the burnisht glister of mettall, as the Sunne doth the meanest Starre in brightnesse: the tresses that folds in the brows of Apollo, were not halfe so rich to the sight, for in her haires it seemed loue had laid himselfe in ambush, to entrap the proudest eye that durst gaze vpon their excellence: what should I need to decipher her particular beauties, when by the censure of all, she was the paragon of all earthly perfection."
Morton. That puts one a little in mind of James Shirley's excellent ridicule of overstrained hyperbolical compliments, and unnatural resemblances, in his play of " The Sisters" (1652), where he makes Angelina reprove a pedantic Scholar, who had smeared her beauty with all sorts of artificial colours: she says,
A stranger to you, Sir, and to your language;