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Cathon (Parvus and Magnus) transl
. &c. by Caxton 1483* Preceptes of Cato, with Annotations of Erasmus, &c. 24mo. Lond.
1560 and 1562 Ames mentions a Discourse of Human Nature, transated from
Hippocrates, p. 428; an Extract from Pliny, translated from the French, p. 312; Æsop ť, &c. by Caxton and others; and there is no doubt, but many Translations at present unknown, may be gradually recovered, either by Industry or Accident.
* There is an entry of Caton at Stationers' hall in 1591 by
Adams, Eng. and Lat. Again in the year 1591 by Tho. Orwin. Again in 1605, “ Four bookes of inorall sentences entituled Cato, translated out of Latin into English by J. M. Master of Arts,"
† “ Æsop's Fables in Englyshe" were entered May 7th 1590, on the books of the Stationers' company. Again, Oct. 1591. Again Efop's Fables in Meter, Nov. 1 598. Some few of them had been paraphrased by Lydgate, and I believe are still unpublished. See the Brit. Muf. MSS. Harl. 2251.
It is much to be lamented that Andrew Maunsell, a bookseller in Lothbury, who published two parts of a catalogue of English printed books, fol. 1595, did not proceed to his third collection. This, according to his own account of it, would have consisted of “ Grammar, Logick, and Rhetoricke, Lawe, Historie, Poetrie, Policie, &c.” which, as he tells us, “ for the most part concerne matters of delight and pleasure."
Α Ρ Ρ Ε Ν DI X
To Mr. Colman's Translation of Terence,
HE reverend and ingenious Mr. Farmer, in his curi
ous and entertaining Ejay on the Learning of Shakespeare, having done me the honour to animadvert on some passages in the preface to this translation, I cannot dismiss this edition without declaring how far I coincide with that gentleman ; although what I then threw out carelessly on the subject of his pamphlet was merely incidental, nor did I mean to enter the lists as a champion to defend either side of the question. . It is most true, as Mr. Farmer takes for granted, that I had never met with the old comedy called The Supposes, nor has it ever yet fallen into my hands; yet I am willing to grant, on Mr. Farmer's authority, that Shakespeare borrowed part of the plot of The Taming of the Shrew, from that old translation of Ariosto’s play, by George Gascoign, and had no obligations to Plautus. I will accede also to the truth of Dr. Johnson's and Mr. Farmer's observation, that the line from Terence, exactly as it stands in Shakespeare, is extant in Lilly and Udall's Floures for Latin Speaking. Still, however, Shakespeare's total ignorance of the learned languages remains to be proved; for it must be granted, that such books are put into the hands of those who are learning those languages, in which class we muft necessarily rank Shakespeare, or he could not even have quoted Terence from Udall or Lilly; nor is it likely, that so rapid a genius should not have made some further progress
. “Our author, “ (says Dr. Johnson, as quoted by Mr. Farmer) had this line “ from Lilly; which I mention, that it may not be brought “ as an argument of his learning.” It is, however, an argument that he read Lilly; and a few pages further it
seems pretty certain, that the author of The Taming of the Shrew, had at least read Ovid; from whose Epistles we find these lines :
Hàc ibat Simois; hic eft Sigeia tellus ;
Hic fteterat Priami regia celsa senis.
And what does Dr. Johnson say on this occasion? Nothing.
In Love's Labour Lost, which, bad as it is, is ascribed by Dr. Johnson himself to Shakespeare, there occurs the word thrasonical; another argument which seems to shew that he was not unacquainted with the comedies of Terence; not to mention, that the character of the schoolmaster in the fame play could not poflibly be written by a man who had travelled no further in Latin than hic, hei, hoc.
In Henry the Sixth we meet with a quotation from Vire gil,
Tantæne animis cæleftibus ire ?
But this, it seems, proves nothing, any more than the lines from Terence and Ovid, in the Taming of the Shrew; for Mr. Farmer looks on Shakespeare's property in the comedy to be extremely disputable; and he has no doubt but Henry the Sixth had the fame author with Edward the Third, which hath been recovered to the world in Mr. Capell's Prolusions.
If any play in the collection bears internal evidence of Shakespeare's hand, we may fairly give him Timon of Athens. In this play we have a familiar quotation from Horace,
Ira furor brevis eft. I will not maintain but this hemistich may be found in Lilly or Udall; or that it is n10t in the Palace of Pleasure, or the English Plutarch; or that it was not originally foifted in by the players: It stands, however, in the play of Timon of dibens,
The world in general, and those who purpose to comment on Shakespeare in particular, will owe much to Mr. Farmer, whose researches into our old authors throw a lustre on many pallages, the obscurity of which must else have been impenetrable. No future Upton or Gildon will go
further than Nortli's translation for Shakespeare's acquaintance with Plutarch, cr balance between Dares Phrygius, and the Troye [G 4]
booke of Lyolgate. The Hysiorie of Hamblet, in black letter, will for ever supersede Saxo Grammaticus; translated novels and ballads will, perhaps, be allowed the sources of Romeo, Lear, and the Merchant of Venice; and Shakespeare himself, however unlike Bayes in other particulars, will stand convicted of having transversed the prose of Holingshead; and at the same time, to prove “ that his fudies lay in his “ own language,” the tranilations of Ovid are determined to te the production of Heywood.
“ That his studies were most demonstratively confined to “ nature, and his own language," I readily allow: but does it hence follow that he was fo deplorably ignorant of every other tongue, living or dead, that he only “remembered,
perhaps, enough of his schoolboy learning to put the hig, “ hag, hog, into the mouth of Sir H. Evans; and might pick up
in the writers of the time, or the course of his conver« fation, a familiar phrafe or two of French or Italian ?" In Shakespeare's plays both these last languages are plentifully fcattered; but then, we are told, they might be impertinent additions of the players. Undoubtedly they might: but there they are, and, perhaps, few of the players had much more learning than Shakespeare.
Mr. Farmer himself will allow that Shakespeare began to learn Latin: I will allow that his fudies lay in English: but why insist that he neither made any progress at school; nor improved his acquisitions there? The general encomiums of Suckling, Denham, Milton, &c. on his native genius * prove nothing; and Ben Jonson's celebrated charge of Shakespeare's small Latin, and lejs Greekt, seems absolutely to decide that he
• Mr. Farmer closes these general testimonies of Shakespeare's having been only indebted to nature, by saying, “ He came out “ of her hand, as some one else expresses it, like Pallas out of Jove's “ head, at full growth and mature.” It is whimsical enough, that this Come onc elfe, whose expression is here quoted to coun: tenance the general notion of Shakespeare's want of literature, should be no other than myself. Mr. Farmer does not chuse to mention where he met with this expression of some one else; and some one else does not chuse to mention where he dropt it.
+ In defence of the various reading of this partage, given in the preface to the last edition of Shakespeare, - imali Latin, and * 10 Greek,” Mr. Farmer tells us, that "it was adopted above a century ago by W. Towers, in a panegyrick on Cartwright.
Is and meo
had fome knowledge of both; and if we may judge by our own time, a man, who has any Greek, is feldom without a very competent share of Latin; and yet such a man is very likely to study Plutarch in English, and to read translations of Ovid.
See Dr. Farmer's reply to these remarks by Mr. Colman, in a note on Love's LABOUR's Lost, Aa IV. Sc. ii. p. 435.
Surely, Towers having said that Cartwright had no Greek, is no proof that Ben Jonson said fo of Shakespeare.