Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

popular as he was voluminous, and his reck- might almost belong to three different hands. less life demanded lavish supplies and prodi- How different with Lyly or with Dekker! gality of cash. One other that Greene At almost every page in Lyly's plays borrows from is himself-his repetitions will euphuism is rampant; and throughout be noticed briefly later on.

Dekker's prose the turns of thought and Two well-known facts about Greene should expression are echoes of his efforts for the be referred to; but I am not attempting an stage. exhaustive account of either his life or his Most of Greene's stories appear to be writings. His attack upon Shakespeare is original. Mostly, too, they are slightly dealt with in all the text - books, and Dr. woven, impossible, and of an altogether Sidney Lee has left no more to be said. The Aimsy fabric. Sometimes he condescends other circumstance one inmediately recalls to make use of well - known tales, as in is Gabriel Harvey's post-mortem vituperation Susanna and the Elders.' Philidor's tale of Greene, which is fully dealt with in editions (in Grosart, ix. 193) is the Prodigal Son.

We of both writers. Neither of these comes have also Ninus and Semiramis in the within my purview, and both are threadbare. same volume. But the bulk of his tales are,

So far I have not flattered Greene, and yet so far as we know, of his own invention. a study of his prose, but particularly of the Nevertheless, when his aptitude in approlyrics interspersed throughout his prose, in- priating the work of others is remembered, spires one with a great liking for him. He has it would be the reverse of surprising to find, not Nashe's wit, force, or originality; but he by the light of further research, that this is devoid of Harvey's pompous conceit. He view is erroneous. One characteristic of all has not Sidney's dignity and lovableness of his tales will ever redound to his creditlanguage and of thought; but he is more their total freedom from licentiousness, a human and alive-when he chooses to be. trait in which he followed his predecessor And although Lyly is to be preferred, per- Lyly, but which Greene's successors did not haps, when they walk the same pace and adhere to. This is the more meritorious track, yet Greene is an easier companion to when his familiarity with the Italian novelists beguile the way, since he gives us incidents is considered. and accidents with some stir of reality about Greene generally pitches his scene in some them. Greene, too, in his tracts upon cheat- unknown or mythical region in the sunny ing-his conny-catching series, and one or South. The company one meets is usually two others-has no rival, excepting, perhaps, royal or princely, with a blend of the shepone contemporary("Cuthbert Coneycatcher”) herd's life thrown in-often the prettiest, or whose identity is unknown. To these later only pretty, part of the result. Commonly reference will occur. I should be inclined a courtier falls in love with an incomparable to classify Greene's qualities (1580-90) as princess, or the disparity may be the other follows: an incomparable songster (“Mena- way. In the meetings which take place phon,' * Perimedes,' 'Farewell to Follie,' there is seldom anything clandestine, and è.g.); an unblushing plagiarist; an endless subjects for debate, such as love, friendship, reiterater ; an exaggerated euphuist; an single life, &c., are allotted to speakers of excellent scholar; an adroit Latinist'; an both sexes. Cupid is, of course, plying his adept story-teller (e.g, Roxander,'Gros. vi. trade throughout. Letters speedily pass 271, &c., and ‘Perimedes' where non-euphu- announcing the wondrous states of the istic); and a versatile genius.

writers' feelings, supported by all those Greene's versatility is hardly sufficiently euphuistic parallels we become so familiar dwelt upon, and is a very distinctive feature with-from all departments of untrue natural of his abilities. If we divide his work into history-from the experiences of gods and three blocks-his romantic prose, his tracts heroes, philosophers and their wives and against cozenage and such pamphlets, and his their writings, classical heroes, or from the plays and other poetical work-we see what author's own imagination, in some cases, a gifted mind he had ; and it is to be remem- apparently. Alliterative antithesis does its bered that he can have been little over thirty lion's share of the work, and proverbial phiyears of age at his death. His reiteration losophy is unusually rampant in Greene's was simply due to the speed that creditors method-not usually trite, homely saws, but and publishers drove him at. In his dramas sound and at that time dignified sayings. we do not meet it, nor can he be accused of Homer and Aristotle, Pliny, mediæval besrepeating himself in his plays, to any tiaries, Conrad Gesner, Albertus Magnus, blameable extent, from his prose. Those three Aldrovandus, and Topsell have much to sections of his work, on à careless survey, answer for ; and it is often a stubborn contest between the physical and the classical more of Greene in ‘Locrine,' but this is apart coffer which is to yield the more precious from my subject. illustration.

I mentioned above Laneham's • · Letter Lyly's stagey trick of setting his people to describing the pageants at Kenilworth, 1575). talk aloud to themselves and argue out the Let us dispose of this iota of information state of their feelings, first probably against before we cull out Lyly from Greene. I them and later in favour of their unavoid, quote from Burn's reprint of Laneham, able continuance, is faithfully followed and 1821, p. 29, corrected by Furnivall's more developed by Greene. These monotonous accurate one in Captain Cox' (Ballad monologues are so utterly artificial and un- Society, 1871):real that it becomes a subject of amazement how they obtained their popularity. The worsted jacket (for his friends were fain......), a fair

“The bridegroom foremost in his father's tawny veneer of learning gave assistance, and a straw (straum, F,) hat with a capital crown, steeple ready belief in the miraculous gilded the pill. wise on his head a pair of harvest gloves on his Their only interest now is to an antiquary hands as a sign of good husbandry: a pen and ink

horn at his baek, for we would be known to be or a philological student.

bookish: lame of a leg that in his youth was broken It is of interest to note how seldom Greene's at football: well beloved yet of his mother, that language in those earlier tales is illustrative lent him a new muter for a napkin, that was tied of Shakespeare's diction. An apt or instruc- to his girdle for losing,” tive parallel to a difficult passage in the great Greene has this description, applied to a dramatist's works is seldom found. It is wealthy farmer's son, "going very mannerly not so with Nashe. But Greene's language to be foreman in a morrice - dance,” in is commonly simple and straightforward in "Farewell to Follie," 1591 (Grosart, ix. 265). itself, though his thoughts and arguments : Seeing that Laneham is so quaint and so are wholly unnatural and affected. Never- noteworthy a writer throughout, it is very theless Shakespeare seems to me to have odd how this passage alone came to be made almost set himself to avoid the style of this use of, for I feel sure he is nowhere else in “friend of an ill fashion.” I have two or Greene's prose. three Shakespearian illustrations from Greene In this way Greene gets interesting terms that are of interest, if not previously cited. into his glossary, that do not appear again They are, however, so characteristic of Greene in his writings. “Harvest gloves” may that I prefer to class them under the heading mean, in Laneham's way, sunburnt hands. "Greenisms.” While speaking in the same (I do not find it in ‘N.E.D.'). breath of Greene and of Shakespeare, it will I have a word or two, to say about eube interesting to refer, in a thoroughly phuism. Jusserand refers to Dr. Landman's sceptical frame of mind, to Simpson's Shakespeare and Euphuism' (New ShakSchool of Shakespeare,' passim (see his spere Soc., 1884), which demonstrated that index).

this strange language was imported from Simpson's study of Greene in connexion Spain into England, and that the works of with several anonymous plays is full of Guevara, translated by Lord Berners (1532) interest, misleading though it often un- and by North (1577), brought it into vogue. doubtedly appears to be. One of those But only slightly. Lyly found the pieces “doubtful plays of Shakespeare” which he scattered about and was the artificer who does not deal with is ‘Locrine,' which ap- put them together. The alliteration also is peared in 1595. It is hardly worthy even of Lyly's own finishing touch. I find precursors Greene at his worst as a serious production, of euphuism in Stephen Gosson's 'School but it is devoid of neither interest nor fun. of Abuse' (introduction); and in North's It contains traces of Greene that have not, Fables of Bid pai' (1570) there are several I think, been noticed. The line, ‘Locrine,' euphuistic passages, as at p. 79. (Jacobs's III. iv., ed. Tyrrell, “The arm-strong offspring edition, but not noticed there): “But wotest of the doubled night,” occurs in Greene's thou what? a little axe overthroweth a great

Menaphon' (Grosart, vi. 89), “ darling oke. The arrowes for the most part touch replacing " offspring." And the first lines of the heightes, and he that clymeth of the Act II. sc. i. of the snail climbing a castle trees falling hath a greater broose," &c. Here are (nearly) those on p. 248 in Greene's the alliteration is absent, but at p. 153 it 'Anatomie of Fortune.' But Lyly can lay a appears in North. North's translation of prior claim in his 'Euphues and his Eng. Guevara's Dial for Princes' is- closely folland' (Arber, p. 418). "Armstrong," appears lowed by Lyly. As for Guevara's. Golden a second time in 'Locrine,' and also in Epistles' (&c.), they are often referred to, as “Selimus' (probably by Greene). There is by Chapman ( Gentleman Usher,' IV. i.) for.

[ocr errors]

I may

66

66

“choice words "; and by Nashe for their And of all English phrase the life and blood...... tediousness (Grosart, iii. 49) as a fitting com- I'le say thou borrowest.

* Father Hubbard's Tales,' 1604. parison with Gabriel Harvey's ‘Four Letters.' Any one who tries to read them will, I think, Nevertheless it is found in serious use as late agree with Nashe, or with Montaigne (trans as Davenant's 'City Nightcap,' 1624 (Hazlitt's lated by Florio, Tudor Edition, I. xlviii.), Dodsley,' pp. 107, 109, &c.). who says: “as I lately read in Guevara's Imagery is the chief corner - stone of epistles, of which whosoever called them his euphuism-generalized imagery applied to Golden' Epistles, gave a judgment farre the individual case and run to riot, so that different from mine." They are most insipid the whole edifice is constructed of cornertrash. Guevara was a Spanish adapter of stones in most unnatural methods. Marcus Aurelius. Lyly, speaking of his mention one, the salamander figure, as “Euphues' (Arber, p. 215), says it was being very prevalent; but the chameleon “hatched in the hard winter with the and the polypus are still more so. They are Alcyon” (of 1578); and to this Gabriel types of change and instability, falsehood Harvey, I suppose, alludes when he says: and deceit. Opposed to these we frequently * in the Savoy, when young Euphues hatched meet the leopard with his spots, and the the egges

that his elder freendes laide” (Gro- skin of the Ethiopian (Jeremiah xiii. 23; -sart, ii. 124, 1589). So that it was discerned Wyclif, 1388). So that the germ of euphuism at a very early date that euphuism was not is found in the Orient; but its mannerism an original product of Lyly's.

made it what it was. Taken broadly, Lyly's Harvey makes Greene's euphuism a special “Euphues' is written in good English, allowpoint of attack. So does Nashe. Harvey ance being made for its needful affectation. calls Greene the stale of Poules, the Ape It is devoid of vulgarity, bombast, or any of Euphues, the Vice of the Stage,” &c. use of stilted jargon, coinage of new words, (Four Letters '); and a little later : What or laboured obscurities so often met with at hee is improved since...... with a little Euphu- the time. The same may be said of his ism and Greenesse enough, which were all imitator. Greene, who was, however, a man prettily stale, before he put hand to penne" of far wider capacity. Lyly, it is true, does {speaking of Nashe). And in •Pierce's Super- not repeat himself in ‘Euphues' to the same erogation' Harvey has “Nashe the ape of extent that Greene does from tract to tract. Greene; Greene the ape of Euphues." Nashe But Lyly makes up for it in his plays, which was grievously insulted at being accused of draw continually from his prose. This is not copying either Greene or Euphues; and nearly so much the case with Greene, whose assuredly it was untrue. He replies in his plays have a backbone, Lyly's being utterly vigorous way: “Did I ever write of conny:

invertebrate. catching? stufft my stile with hearbs and Marston mocks it pleasantly in 'Antonio stones or apprentisd myself to running of and Mellida '(Part I. V. i.) 1602 : “You know the letter? If not, then how do I imitate the stone called lapis ; the nearer it comes to him ?" ("Have with you to Saffron Waldon.') the fire, the hotter it is : and the bird, which Dyce has quoted this.

the geometricians call avis, the farther it is Both Harvey and Nashe reproved Greene from the earth, the nearer it is to the for writing so much. Harvey (Grosart, heaven; and love,” &c. So also does the i. 187) speaks of Greene...... putting forth unknown writer of ‘Return from Parnassus' new, newer, and newest bookes of the (Part I., Clarendon Press), IV. ii., 1598-9: maker.” In the same passage he attacks him

“ There is a beast in India called the Polefor thy borrowed and filched plumes of catt, that the further she is from you the less some little Italianated bravery," probably you smell her, and the further you are from referring again to 'Euphues." "And Nashe her," &c. says: “Of force I must graunt that Greene So necessary for his popularity does Greene came oftner in print than men of judgement deem euphuism that in 1587 he publishe i allowed off, but nevertheless he was a daintie Euphues bis Censure to Philautus,' which -slave to content the taile of a tearme and deliberately aims at being a part of Lyly's stuff serving men's pockets" (Grosart, ii. 281, series, or at least of trading upon its success. • Foure Letters Confuted,' 1592-3).

Somewhat later, in 'Menaphon' (1589), there Almost every writer of the time has a tilt is a decided lull in Greene's euphuism, and .at euphuism, and generally speaking it is in one place (Grosart, vi. 82) he is unkind good-humouredly. Middleton says:

enough to sneer at his master : “ Samela See thy phrase be good :

made this reply, because she heard him so For if thou Euphuize, which once was rare (choice], superfine, as if Ephæbus had learned him to

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

refine his mother tongue......and Melicertus John le Chaucer and threw him to the ground, so. thinking Samela had learned with Lucilla in that within a quarter of a year he died thereof in Athens to anatomize wit, and speake none immediately after the fact : therefore let them be

this Ward. John the Cook and Alexander fled but similes.” This refers to Lyly's work, and put in exigent and outlawed. They had no chattels, also to a play of his, “Sapho and Phao.' nor were in a ward, because wanderers (vagantes).

But the reason of this change of tone is John de Guldeford and Peter Adrian also fled imapparent. Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia'had mediately, but were taken to the prison of Neugate, appeared, and held the field against all courtly and afterwards died in this city. The said Henry or love-making prose whatever. And Greene fore let them be taken.

and Alexander are dwelling in the country; there.

Thomas de Dunle and promptly enters Arcadia (the scene of 'Mena- William Walrand were present when the said phon') with an “Alarum to slumbering felony was done, and for not taking the malefactors Euphues" on its title. Greene's love tales are amerced. The former was attached by Henry therefore fill the space of time between Bonquer, &c. One of the neighbours comes, and is

not suspected ; two of the neighbours have died. 'Euphues'and'Arcadia,' 1580–90, with a little John Heyroun, the fourth of the neighbours, does overlapping at the close perhaps. After that not come, and is not suspected; he was attached he turned to the drama and published his by William Walraund, and is therefore amerced. 'Farewell to Follie' (1591), and begins to be Afterwards the said Henry comes, and says that moral. In 1591-2 appeared his tracts against John [le) Chaucer before Ralph de Sandwich and

he was formerly acquitted of the death of the said all kinds of roguery-the conny-catching others, Justices, as appears in the Roll of Gaol series; and about the same time, or a little Delivery (m. 67, where his discharge is recorded); later, came his repentance tracts, and his The said Alexander comes, and says the same [and: sickness and death.

H. C. Hart. had his discharge]. Peter Adrian and Thomas.

Godard are dead.
(To be continued.)

Ibid., m. 36.
T'he Ward of Cordewanerstrete comes by 12

[jurors). They present that in 30 Edw. I. [1302] A CHAUCER TRAGEDY.

John le Chaucer, Benedict le Taverner of the afore

said John le Chaucer, Henry le Barber, and John LEST it should for a moment be supposed the Cook (Cocus) of John le Chaucer, meeting John that this title indicates the discovery of a de Guldeford, Peter Adrian, and Thomas Godard in stage play by the great poet, it may be as Sopereslane, and a contention being moved between well to premise that the following notes refer them, the aforesaid Benedict struck Thomas Godard to a genuine tragedy in real life, occurring within six days. Benedict fled immediately, and is.

with a sword on the head, so that he died thereof thirty or forty years before the poet was born. suspected by the jurors ; therefore let him be put

In looking through the Plea Rolls at the in exigent and outlawed. He had no chattels, and Public Record Office, Major Poynton lately was not in a ward, “ because a stranger” (extraneus). came across an interesting presentment by Afterwards it was witnessed that John the Cook of twelve jurors of Cordwainer Street Ward, therefore (as above). He was not in a ward, because

John le Chaucer was aiding, and he is suspected ;. London, relating to one John le Chaucer, a wanderer (vagans). Thomas de Dunlegh, one of evidently a vintner, and possibly great- the neighbours, did not appear, though he was grandfather to the poet. He kindly pointed attached by Henry Bonquoer, and he is amerced. this out to me, and I have since found an

The three other neighbours have died. [In another illuminative entry under the head of Vintry narius.")

place Bonquoer is described as “cok taberWard, and other entries under the former

Ibid., m. 37. ward. Abstracts of them all are here given : Presentment that John de Gildeford, pepperer, Assize Rolls, No. 517, m. 23.—Pleas of the Crown Kynebauton, son of the late Master William

was beaten, wounded, and killed by Robert debefore Henry de Stanton and others, Justices Panetor, and William Renekyn, "in the twilight in Eyre, at the Tower of London, on the morrow of the night," in Soperesläne, in 1 Edw. II. of St. Hilary, 14 Edw. II. (1321).

[1307-8]. John Heyroun was one of the four nearest The Ward of Vintry comes by 12 (jurors]. The neighbours, but does not appear before the Justices. jurors of this Ward and of the Ward of Cordewaner- In a similar case Elias le Chaucer is mentioned as strete present that in the year 30 Edw. I. (1302) one John (le) Chaucer, Benedict le Taverner, Henry le

a neighbour.-Ibid.

Presentment that John de Gildeford's tenement Barber, and John the Cook of John le Chaucer, in Sopereslane came to the king as an escheat, were passing through Soperlane, and met John de because he was a bastard and died intestate. It Guldeford, Peter Adrian, Henry, brother of the had belonged to Agnes his wife, who was dead. — same John, Thomas Godard, and Alexander de Ibid. Betoyne, and on account of rancour between the Presentment that Richard le Chaucer sold four said John le Chaucer [and] John de Guldeford they butts of wine contrary to the assize ; therefore he immediately fought with their drawn swords; and is amerced.-Ibid. [This Richard was the poet's. the said John de Guldeford, Peter Adrian, Henry, brother of the same John, John the Cook of the

step-grandfather.) same John (sic), Alexander de Betoyne, and Thomas

The results of these affrays will be better TGodard] grievously beat and wounded the said understood if they are stated summarily :

1. John le Chaucer was wounded by John " In the year 1320 (old style) the King's Justices de Guldeford and others, including, appa- John Gisors," late Mayor of London, and many

sat in the Tower, for trial of matters; whereupon rently, his own servant John the Cook, others fled the city, for fear to be chiarged of things in Sopereslane, near the house of John they had presumptuously done.” Heyroun, in the early part of 1302. He Elsewhere he calls Gisors a vintner, and died within three months after, in Vintry Constable of the Tower. The Assize Roll Ward.

2. Thomas Godard was wounded at the No. 547 does not support the chronicler's same place and time by Benedict the Taverner statement that Gisors fled, it being there and John the Cook, servants of John le evident that he appeared before the Justices Chaucer, and died within a week.

to answer certain charges made against him,

and paid a fine (m. 58). 3. About six years later John de Guldeford was killed by certain persons in the of John le Chaucer's servants, Benedict le

It is positively stated in the roll that one same lane, likewise near the house of John Taverner, was a foreigner, and there can be Heyroun.

Before his death John le Chaucer obtained little doubt that he was one himself. He a Commission of oyer and terminer, dated

was probably identical with John le Chau26 April, 1302, to the Mayor and two others, cers, one of the fifteen merchants of Abbeto try his plaint to the king that Elias Russel, to visit various ports in England, for the

ville who had a safeconduct, on 6 June, 1293, John de Gildeford, Henry his brother, Ralph Sohanesman (i.e., the man of the said John'?), purpose of identifying their wines and goods John le Keu, Peter Adrian, Alexander de taken at sea by English sailors (Patent Roll, Betoigne, William Walran, and Richard 21 Edw. T., m. 13; new Calendar).

John le Chaucer's name Galopyn assaulted him with force and

occurs several arms, and beat and wounded him, so that his times under 1278 and later years in Dr. life was despaired of, "to his damage of Sharpe's 'Calendars of the City Letter-Books. 1,000l." The commission states that the but this does not necessarily prove that he

He was evidently regarded as being a citizen, king was “not willing to leave so great a trespass unpunished, it perpetrated. The was an Englishman born, for there is a king was then at Devizes, and the order for special order in the 'Liber Albus,' ed. Riley, the issue of the commission was brought to 2:287,, that “foreign merchants of respectthe Lord Chancellor by the Earl of Lincoln ability” (su ffisants) should enjoy the franchise

of the City (Patent Roll, 30 Edw. I., m. 24d). No record of the trial has been found.

On the other hand, Englishmen were freRalph de Sandwich, above mentioned, was

quently included among the foreign mergate. Their roll for 33 Edw. I., 1305, No. 39, who unladed their wines at the Thames side one of the Justices of Gaol Delivery at New- chants. Stow mentions a writ of 28 Edward I.

(1300) in favour of the merchants of Bordeaux, m. 15, shows that Benedict the Taverner of in the Vintry, and among them he mentions John le Chauser was put in exigent, but did John Stodey,"clearly an English name. He not appear, and was therefore outlawed.

further alludes to the cord wainers and The acquittal of Henry de Guldeford and Alexander de Betoyne must have occurred

curriers in Sopar's Lane; to Henry Scogan before 1307, as Ralph de Sandwich ceased to Richard Chaucer of his tavern to Aldermary

and Geoffrey Chaucer; and to the gift by be Justice in that year. John de Guldeford may have been acquitted

Church. at the same time. He is mentioned as being Vintners are of interest in connexion with

Other passages in Stow relating to the alive in 1307, in the 'Liber Custumarum,' the poet and his ancestors :ed. Riley, p. 108, along with a Simon Godard. He was killed soon after, and his tenement “ The viotners in London were of old time called in Soper's Lane came to the king, as stated.

Merchant-vintners of Gascoyne......they were The more general proceedings of the Iter but then subjects to the Kings of England.”

well Englishmen as strangers born beyond the seas, in 1321 are recorded in the Liber Custii.

· The successors of those vintners and wino marum,' pp. 285-425, but the Assize Rolls, drawers that retailed by the gallon, pottle, quart, Nos. 546, 547, contain much fuller details, and and pint, were all incorporated by the name of it seems highly desirable that they should be Wine tunners in the reign of Edward III., and conprinted in full, or at least summarized in the firmed in the 15th of Henry VI." same manner as the City Letter-Books and At one time Prof. Skeat was inclined to Wills.

believe that the name “Chaucer” meant Stow, in his 'Survey of London,' thus "hosier” rather than “shoemaker.” Stow has alludes to this assize ;

some curious remarks on these very tradęs ;

as

« AnteriorContinuar »