Page images

states several facts, quoting in the margin (p. 19), * Captaine Barnabey Rich his notes." George Gascoyne, in the same passage, is called a captain.

Bourne. That piece by Churchyard is one of his latest, and one of his commonest; but it contains some important historical facts, and among them a very interesting account, which I have not seen quoted, of the manner of the death of Sir P. Sidney before Zuphen, on the 22d of September 1586. Churchyard gives the relation on the authority of Whetstone, who, as you have seen, wrote a funeral poem on the fate of this worthy.

Elliot. It is impossible for the name of Sidney to be mentioned without feeling a deep interest to know all that can be said regarding him; therefore let us hear the passage.

Bourne. A small part of it is sufficient. "This noble Knight (says Churchyard, citing Whetstone, with whom he was no doubt personally intimate) like Ccesar, charged the enemie so sore, that first an enuious Musquetier from the spightfull Spaniards espying his oportunitie slew his horse vnder him; who getting to horse again was with a poysoned bullet from the enemie shot in the thigh, wanting his Cuisses, which might have defended him. The wound being deepe and shiuering the bone, yet his heart was good, and his courage little abated, one Vdal, a gentleman, alighted and led his horse softly, to whom he thus spake: Let goe, let goe till I fall to the ground, The foe shall miss the glory of my wound. And so riding out of the field with a rare & constant courage, his wound was searched, no salue too deare but was sought, no skill so curious but was tried to cure ease & recover this noble souldier languishing in paine, all remediles."

Elmot. Churchyard there quotes two lines from Whetstone's funeral poem.

Morton. He does, and what you have read, I think, is followed by an epitaph by Whetstone upon Sidney.

Bourne. Churchyard inserts two epitaphs; but one of them has been reprinted: that by Whetstone is but just worth preserving.

"Here vnder lyes Phillip Sydney Knight,
True to his Prince, learned, staid and wise;
Who lost his life in honourable fight,
Who vanquisht death, in that he did despise
To liue in pompe, by others brought to passe;
Which oft he tearm'd a Dyamond set in Brasse."

Morton. This puts me in mind of a question I had to ask, and which I forgot until now. You remember, perhaps, that Sir John Harington, in the notes to the 16th book of his Orlando Furioso, mentions Sir P. Sidney, and an epitaph written upon him by Sir Walter Raleigh, in which, according to Harington, he is called "the Scipio and the Petrarke of our time:" where is that epitaph to be found?

Bourne. That is a question I should be glad to be able to answer, as I never could discover any such epitaph: yet I cannot help being persuaded that it once existed though now lost, and that Sir John Harington is not mistaken.

Morton. That translation of Ariosto, much as it has been abused, has had the honour of being employed by Milton in the first book of his treatise "Of Reformation touching Church Discipline."

Bourne. He quotes, with verbal accuracy, the four last lines of the 72d stanza of B. 34, but he disapproves entirely of the mode in which Harington rendered the four last lines of the 79th stanza of the same book, and accordingly wholly alters it; so that Milton's testimony is both for and against the translation.

Morton. I only noticed it by the way, and not with any view to draw on a discussion now about Sir John Harington's merits. Do not let us wander farther from Rich and his "Farewell to Militarie Profession." Our preface has already been sufficiently long and excursive.

Elliot. You mentioned Mr. Haslewood's list of Rich's productions, and certain omissions he had made. Is the "Farewel" now under our consideration, mentioned by him?

Bourne. It is not, and there are few who possess more knowledge on the subject of old poetry than the gentleman you have named. This error he commits in common with all bibliographers, nor have I seen the "Farewell to Militarie profession" included in any catalogue that has come under my observation.

Morton. It is as important a discovery, recollecting its contents, as could be well made: a first edition would of course be still more valuable.

Bourne. I dare say a copy of it exists, if one knew where to lay one's hands upon it.

Elliot. What is the general plan of the work? the title-page only mentions " pleasant discourses:" what is to be understood by those words?

Bourne. The word Discourse had a very undefined meaning at that time: Rich uses it to express what we now call novels or tales, and of these there are eight in this small 4to. volume, so that they are not of very considerable length. In an address "to the Readers in generall," Rich observes: "The Histories (altogeather) are eight in number, whereof, the first, the second, the fift, the seuenth, and eight are tales that are but forged onely for delight; neither credible to be beleeued, nor hurtfull to be perused. The third, the fourth, and the sixt are Italian Histories written likewise for pleasure by maister L. B."

Elliot. And which of these is the foundation of Shakespeare's play?

Bourne. The second. The commentators anticipated what has now fortunately occurred, that

Vol. n. L

the original novel of Twelfth Night might, at some future time, be discovered. The likeness in parts is extremely strong, and indeed there will be no room for any doubt, whether Shakespeare did or did not employ it.

Morton. But we have not yet heard the title of the novel; as it is the second it comes among those which the author states "are but forged only for delight."

Bourne. The history is entitled "Of Apolonius And Silla," and you will find that throughout Shakespeare has changed all the names, as indeed in such cases he frequently did.—The argument of the story is thus given after the title.

"The argument of the second Historie. Apolonius, Duke, hauing spent a yeares seruice in the warres against the Turke, returning homeward with his companie by sea was driuen by force of weather to the He of Cypres, where he was well receiued by Pontus gouernour of the same He, with whom Silla, daughter to Pontus, fell so strangely in loue that after Apolonius was departed to Constantinople, Silla with one man followed and comming to Constantinople she seined Apolonius in the habite of a man, and after many pretie accidents falling out, she was knowne to Apolonius, who in requitall of her loue married her."

Morton. Excepting the circumstance of Silla

« PreviousContinue »