Imágenes de página

he meant the younger Maximilian, as supposed by Mr. Courtenay, would, probably, have called him the grand rather than great nephew of Catharine. In French the application of grand to the ascendant, and of petit to the descendant branches, is much more appropriate.

None of the numerous annotators of Shakspeare, that I am aware of, have noticed the passage; nor would it have attracted my special attention but for the stress laid by Mr. Courtenay on his historical correctness. "I can

[ocr errors]

not omit," says he, in closing his labours, an apology for the minuteness of detail into which my love of historical accuracy occasionally led me. I expressed a hope at the outset that my readers would not love Shakspeare the less, but study history the more.. ..Habitually engaged in historical researches, I have been delighted to connect them with the plays of Shakspeare, &c." And it is a gratification to me to add, in justice to the right honourable gentleman, that his claim is generally well supported; for the various personages of these dramas are traced, in their origin and descent, with a degree of care and exactness that leaves little room, indeed, for contradiction or criticism. The ground, too, selected for these illustrations, had been but scantily preoccupied; and the delineation by the masterartist of the acts and characters of his heroes, embracing, as they do, the widest range of human feeling-the whole circle, I may say, of human nature-"tam varia quam ipsa natura" (as the younger Pliny describes his uncle's great work, epist. iii. 5.) unfold the most extensive sphere of investigation and disquisition. It was well, therefore, that this inadequately treated subject should have been undertaken by so competent a person, from whose habits of minute inquiry I may anticipate the indulgent consideration of animadversion, which, to less diligent pursuers of truth, might seem rather hypercritical.

A few additional observations suggested by the topic will, I trust, not appear wholly misplaced.

The Emperor Maximilian, referred to in this instance, by Mr. Courtenay, was of slender capacity; but his reign, as the political head of christendom, was signalised by one of the most momentous events of European history, the overthrow of the naval power of the Ottoman empire at Lepanto, in 1571; a victory not inferior in result to our triumph at Trafalgar, and to which, though achieved under the more direct auspices of his cousin, Philip II. of Spain, Maximilian zealously and powerfully contributed. It was on the announcement of the decisive success of the cross over the crescent on this memorable occasion, that the Pope, Pius V., in allusion to the name of the conqueror, Don Juan de Austria, natural son of Charles V., exclaimed in the words of Scripture, "Fuit homo missus à Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes."* It was then, likewise, that the rank and title of Generalissimo were created for Don Juan; and thus a new and euphonious epithet enriched the vocabularies of Europe. But, while all Christendom resounded with jubilations, one of its brightest ornaments, Cervantes, if, as in the belief of many, we infer the story of the captive in Don Quixote, like that of George Primrose in the Vicar of Wakefield, to be the author's own, the inimitable Cervantes was consigned, in anguish of spirit and mutilation of body, to the chains and outrages of a barbarous foe. "Fue soldado muchos an'os, y cinco y medio cautivo.... Perdiò en la batalla naval de Lepanto la mano yzquierda de un arcabuçazo," are his mournful words (Novelos Exemplares, Prologo el lector). And again, adverting to the great battle (Don Quixote, part II. lib. iv. cap. 39), he makes the captive relate, "Ÿ aquel dia fuy el desdichado; pues ... me vì aquella noche, que siguiò à tan famosa dia, con cadenas à los piès y esposos á las manos."t

*The same text was assumed in the following century by the court preacher at Vienna, on the delivery of that capital from the Ottoman arms in 1683, by the great John Sobieski; and none, certainly, could be more apposite to the name and achievement of the Christian monarch.

+ Father Prout (Reliques, vol. i. p. 184), in the buoyancy of his spirits amused GENT. MAG. VOL, XII.


The first Maximilian, grandfather of the great Emperor Charles V. is described by Robertson (Charles V. vol. ii. p. 48), as a prince conspicuous neither for his virtues, his power, nor his abilities; and the representation can hardly be contested; though it must be added, that he not only favoured the learned, but was himself an author. Some metrical compositions of his have been published, and he wrote or dictated the poetical portion of the singular work, exhibiting a magnificent specimen of wood-engraving, which first appeared during his life at Nuremberg in 1517, and immediately after his death at Augsburg in

1519. The title of the first edition
is" Die geverlicheiten und einsteils
der geschichten des oblichen streyt
paren und hochberumbter helds und
Rütters herz Tewrdannetho,❞—or, The
perilous adventures of the famous
Hero and Knight, Tewrdanneth, &c.
The poem, in old German, has been the
subject of a special dissertation :-
Disquisitio de inclito libro poetico
Tewrdanneth, in 4to. printed at Nu-
remberg in 1790, and is allegorically
descriptive of Maximilian's marriage
in 1477, with Mary of Burgundy.
This alliance with the richest heiress
in Europe gave occasion to the well-
known distich,

"Bellum gerant fortes; tu felix Austria nube;
Nam quæ Mars aliis, dat tibi regna Venus."

himself with adding to the already too numerous list of gifted madmen, several to whom that unhappiness has never been imputed; among others, Cervantes, and his contemporary Camoens. Both, indeed, had to struggle with adverse fortune, and both had equally brandished the pen and sword.

"Ense simul, calamoque auxit tibi, Lysia, famam :
Unam nobilitant Mars et Apollo manum."

is the epitaph of the great Portugueze bard, whose last words, too prophetic of the approaching slavery of his country, surely evince no symptom of mental incapacity. "Emfim accabarey à vida, è verram todos que fuy tam afeiçoado à minha patria, que nam somente me cantentei de morrer nella, mas de morrer comme ella." He died in 1579, shortly after he had expressed to a friend these patriotic sentiments; and the following year Alva annexed Portugal to the vast monarchy of Philip II. (Vida de Luis Camoes.)

Not far distant in time, but greatly remote in space, after his shipwreck in 1560, on the banks of the Macan, a river which takes its rise in Thibet, Camoens, like Cervantes, gave utterance to his harassed feelings in his beautiful version, or rather paraphrase, of the Psalm 136 of the Vulgate (or 137 of the Hebrew) "Super flumina Babylonis," &c.

"Sobre osrios que vaō
Por Babylonia," &c.


which I consider superior either to Buchanan's "Dum procul a patriâ moesti, Babylonis in oris," &c. or to Byron's "We sate down and wept by the waters," &c. old version by Marot and De Beze is quite barbarous.

"Etant assis aux rives aquatiques

De Babylon plorions mélancholiques," &c.

nor is that of our Sternhold, Hopkins, and Norton much better, and Duport's Greek perappáois is much inferior to Buchanan's Latin. J. B. Rousseau, it is to be regretted, has not included it in his Odes et Cantales or Paraphrases.

In Nevill's Treatise on Insanity, and in the Monthly Review for July 1836, Father Prout's calumnious assertion is not only repeated, but literally, though without acknowledgment, copied. Cervantes and Camoens were of sufficient celebrity to have had the misfortune recorded had it occurred, but I have discovered no trace of the imputed aberration in their numerous biographers.

* We have at least no reason to impute to Maximilian the usurpation of another's labours, like his descendant Philip IV. of Spain, who suffered some of Calderoni's dramas to pass as his own: amongst others, one of the most esteemed, "Dan su vida para su Dama," which appeared in 1629; but time has revealed the truth, which fear may have then suppressed.

Which may, assuredly, with equal truth, be applied to the family of Beauharnais at the present day,* and

scarcely less so to the princely house of Saxe-Cobourg.

Two additional monuments of Maxi

*In addition to the imperial diadem of Josephine, her son Eugene Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy under Napoleon, intermarried with the electral-royal house of Bavaria; and her daughter, Hortense, was Queen of Holland; while her descendants enjoy imperial rank in Brazil and Russia, and royal honours in Portugal and Sweden. The family, originally from Orleans, was ennobled only in the 17th century, when it obtained and impressed its name on the district still so called in Canada, and now the property of a joint-stock society, as the destined location of British emigrants; but that name was then of recent, and, among the noblesse, of necessary adoption; for the original or plebeian one of the family was unutterable in decency of speech or decorum of society, though broadly given by St. Simon in his Mémoires, and by Ménage, in his " Origines de la Langue Françoise," under the article Hauteclair, another name, which, for a similar cause, has been exchanged for one not to be pronounced to ears polite," as stated by De Thou (Thuani Hist. lib. viii. Lond. 1737), who says, "Negotium datum Petro Altoclaro, Supplicum Magistro, (maître des requêtes,) qui pudendo alio cognomine indigetabatur, ut negotium regium," &c.

[ocr errors]

It is thus that our old Dictionaries of Elliot, Cotgrave, Florio, &c. exhibit many expressions long ejected from our more modern vocabularies, an improvement equally exemplified in the advanced civilization of Rome, as Cicero's letter to Pætus, (ad Familiares, lib. ix. 22,) testifies; though little attended to by the Roman poets. And we similarly learn from the history of Paris, that some unseemly names of streets in that capital have undergone a change or modification,-amongst others, that now called, la rue Marie Stuart, not distant from the gastronomic Rocher de Cancale, and of which St. Foix (Essais sur Paris, 1777, in 12mo.) observes," Marie Stuart. passant dans cette rue en demanda le nom : comme il n'étoit pas honnête à prononcer, on en changea la dernière syllabe, et ce changement a subsisté." This new name was Tireboudin, which, however, has within this century (1809) been replaced by that of the ill-fated Queen of Francis II. Some years ago, an old foreign acquaintance of mine, on reading the indication of St. Martin's Lane in that street, exclaimed "Mais, quels drôles de noms vous donnez à vos rues! En voilà une dont l'écrite au porte St. Martin l'âne!" Theinfluence of names, though humorously, is justly alluded to by Sterne in Tristram Shandy, (vol. i. chap. 19,) and certainly deserves more attention than it generally receives. The happy consonance of that of Grotius with his talents, learning, and celebrity, has often struck me: Groot, or Grote, equivalent, in its vernacular construction, to Great, had it been a tribute to genius and virtue, instead of an original patronymic, could not have been more appropriately bestowed. A similar accordance of an inherited name with the character of its bearer was exemplified in Fabius Maximus, the antagonist of Hannibal, relative to whom Livy (lib. xxix. 26) says, "Vir certe fuit dignus tanto cognomine, vel si ab eo inciperet." land, indeed, may well be proud of such men as Erasmus and Grotius.


The rapid degeneracy of mighty names is not more lamentable than indisputable. "Filii heroum noxæ," is a very old proverb; and of most sons of great men it may be said, Αλλ' οὐχ ὑίο ςἐν ἔντεσι πατρός ἐγήρα. (Hom. Il. P. Exceptions there are, though rare indeed: for few, either in royal, political, or literary reference, can reckon a continuous transmission of high capacity beyond the third or even the second generation. Modern history, in that respect, scarcely presents a parallel to the house of Guise in all its branches. From 1514, when Claude of Lorraine first settled in France, to 1664, when his fifth lineal descendant, Henry, the hero of Naples, died, ambition, enterprise, and talent marked, in unimpaired succession, this remarkable family. François, the captor of Calais, and son of Claude, was assassinated in 1563 by Poltrot; and this, be it observed, is the first recorded instance of the crime, as resulting from individual religious fanaticism. "Le meurtre de ce grand homme fut le premier que le fanatisme fit commettre," is the assertion of his biographer; but the example thus given by the reformers was unhappily productive of too frequent imitation by their adversaries. Brantome's narrative of the duke's death, of which he was witness, is minute and interesting (Œuvres, tom. ix. p. 161); and the great huguenot chief, Coligny, afterwards the most conspicuous victim himself of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, was not free from suspicion of having instigated the act; in which, as well as in the assassination of Cardinal Beaton, John Knox openly exulted, according to Robertson (Hist. of Scotland, i. 130). "Poltrot," says Brantome, 66 confessa tout; et moymesme je parlay à luy . . . Il advoua toujours Messieurs de Soubize

milian's patronage of the arts still likewise attract the admiration of bookcollectors.-One, entitled, "Treitzsaurwein (Mark) der weiss Kunig; eine erzahlung," &c. composed of 237 wood engravings, prepared by order of this Emperor, was not published until 1775, by Maria Teresa, at Vienna, and, subsequently, by the late James Edwards in 1799.-The other is the celebrated "Triumphs of Maximilian," originally in 87 plates, but which the same enterprising bookseller republished, with the impress of Vienna and London, in 1796, and explanations in French, under the title of "Les Triomphes de l'Empereur Maximilien Ier." The number of plates in this edition amounts to 135.

The Rev. Doctor Dibdin was delighted with the view of the Emperor's own copy of the exceedingly rare first edition of the Tewrdanneth, on vellum, which he describes in his "Tour in France and Germany, vol. iii. p. 329." Shortly after, however, the learned Tourist commits an error, not inferior to that of Mr. Courtenay. "Here," he says, page 366, "rode Maximilian; and there halted Charles his son." Now I need scarcely observe, that

Charles was the grandson, not son of Maximilian; and yet this misrepresentation is suffered to pass uncorrected in the second edition of the Tour, which I have quoted. But the reverend author, to whom our bibliography is so much indebted, is, it must be confessed, more ardent than exact, and more zealous than profound. Always entertaining, and sure to inspire pleasure, he is by no means equally successful in impressing confidence, as Brunet, Crapelet, and other continental bibliographers have clearly proved; and, indeed, as I have, on more occasions than one, more especially in reference to the first edition of his Library Companion, taken the liberty of indicating to himself. No correspondent of his, I may safely affirm, so largely contributed to the amendment of that edition; but, though then profuse in acknowledgements, and pledges of avowal, his Reminiscences, full of grateful retributions to others, pass in silence obligations, equal in number and value, I could easily demonstrate, to all that he collectively owed elsewhere. It was in August 1824, that I addressed my observations to the reverend Doctor.*

et Aubeterre l'avoir suscité et presché. Pour quant à M. L'Amiral (Coligny) il varioit et tergiversoit fort." Poltrot, by the reformed party, was fondly assimilated to Ehud (Book of Judges, ch. iii.), a comparison adopted by the Leaguers, and applied to Jacques Clément on the assassination of Henry III. by that fanatic in 1389. "Alter Aud" (so in the Vulgate)" immo etiam fortior," are the expressions, in reference to Clément, of the furious Jean Boucher, in his rare and curious volume, "De justa abdicatione Henrici tertii. Paris, 1589, p. 280. Such was the spirit of the age equally with Protestants and Catholics; but that the first example of the crime originated with the former, is probably little known.

The death of François de Guise was commemorated in the following lines, which I have seen also applied to our Buckingham, when slain by Felton, in 1628.

"Quem non bellorum rabies, non hostium ensis
Abstulit in mediis versantem sæpe periclis ;
Hunc infirma manus scelerato perdidit astu,
Æternis justâ redimitum morte coronis."

A history of this great, but criminally ambitious house, appears to me a desideratum.
In literary or scientific inheritance, too, some families are entitled to notice; such
as the Cassinis in astronomy, and the Jussieus in Botany, on the Continent; nor
should we omit the Gregorys of Scotland or the Sheridans of Ireland. The subject is
one of interest, and would be worth pursuing; but I have already too much digressed,
and shall therefore only add that physically, almost as much as intellectually, the ge-
nerations of genius are brief in duration.

"Messieurs les beaux esprits, d'ailleurs si estimables,
Ont fort peu de talent pour faire leurs semblables."

*Some of the reverend author's oversights were ludicrous enough, particularly in French and Irish literature; but the errors that offend an observant eye, even in casual reading, are of frequent occurrence, and times and persons too often confounded. The monthly periodicals teem with such aberrations, which it would be tedious to collect, and far from pleasurable to recite; but, in evidence of the fact, I may be permitted to

I cannot dismiss Mr. Courtenay without adverting slightly, and, I hope, inoffensively in effect, as it surely is in intention, to the honorable gentleman's sentiments on a subject of a different

character. In 1829, when he was Deputy President of the Board of Trade, in an official interview with which I was favoured, he had occasion to make some inquiries respecting the

adduce a few instances in one of these publications, the least superficial in character. Among the articles of the Monthly Chronicle for the current April, one relates to the Abbé de la Mennais, an author of high celebrity, who is stated to be a native of St. Malo, "in that Brittany that has given to France Pelagius, Abelard, and Descartes." On which I beg to observe, that Pelagius was born in Great Britain, probably in Wales, and not in French Brittany. His vernacular name was Moran, corresponding to the Greek Пeλáyios, according to Usher, in his work "De Ecclesiarum Britannicarum Primordiis," 1639, 4to. cap. viii; and such is the uniform testimony of all ecclesiastical writers. Brittany may boast, indeed, of Abelard, but Descartes was a native of Touraine, as the slightest inquiry would have shown. Again, in an article on Forgery in the same periodical, the Earl of Chesterfield, for the forgery of whose name Dr. Dodd suffered death, is asserted to have been the son of the bearer of that title, "the arbiter elegantiarum, whose letters and society are so well known," but that Lord Chesterfield left no legitimate issue; and his successor, so far from being his son, was removed from him in the sixth or seventh degree! A subsequent article of the Journal combats some of the sceptic positions of Niebuhr; I think justly but there is one which has long appeared to me to have deserved rebuke, though I have not seen it noticed; and of which the mention of the Chesterfield peerage now reminds me. The learned German, in his "Römishe Geschichte, dritte verm. und verb. Ausgabe," vol. i, casts a doubt on the chronology of early Rome from the improbable length of the reigns of her seven kings, embracing a period of 245 years. It would be easy, however, to produce examples of equal duration in the succession of private families, of which that of Chesterfield is one; for the present lord is the sixth inheritor of the peerage, commencing with the title of Stanhope in 1616, or now 223 years ago; and as his lordship is a young man, it is not unlikely that he may fill up the entire space, which excited the incredulity of Niebuhr, when extended even to a further degree. Sir Francis Burdett presents a similar instance, for he is the fifth possessor of the title in the long interval of 220 years, 1619-1839; giving an average of 44 years to the successive baronets, while only 35 years are allowed to the Roman monarchs; and the difference between the lunar year used in Roman calculation and the modern solar year, will reduce the 245 years to less than 238. Nor are the royal houses of Europe without equivalent examples; for in Spain, from the union of Aragon and Castille in 1480, under Ferdinand and Isabella, to the death of Philip V. in 1746, an interval of 266 years, only seven kings reigned, or an average of nearly 38 years to each reign. The usual length of royal possession, I am aware, is 25 years.

But, aiming at nobler quarry, I have to observe that Lord Brougham, in his " Historical Sketches of Statesmen," just published, at p. 378, first series, commits a mistake, when he asserts that the Empress Catharine purchased D'Alembert's library. It was Diderot's, for which she paid him 100,000 livres, but left him the life-use of the books. To D'Alembert she proposed the education of her son Paul, which the French Academician had the good sense to decline. Again (p. 400) his lordship assigns the character of Portuguese ambassador to Don Pantaleon Sa, who was executed in 1654, under Cromwell, for murder; and indeed Hume, vol. vii. p. 254, states that he was joined with his brother in the commission; but that document when produced at the trial only proved a written promise that he should succeed his brother in the office. His lordship's assertion, therefore, is too broad and unsupported; particularly when we learn, that the unhappy young man was not above 19 years old. (See State Trials, vol. v. p. 461, quoted by Lingard, xi. 176.) I was surprised also to find in the report of the omniscient lord's speech on the State of Ireland, the 22nd of last month, that, in his recollection, no English king had visited that island from John to George IV. except William III. rather in a military than a royal capacity. His lordship forgot the two journies of Richard II.-the first in 1394, so vividly narrated by Froissard (livre iv. chap. 62); and the second in 1399, of which we have a translation by George Earl of Totness, from the French of one of Richard's attendants. I do not include James the Second's residence there, as it was posterior to his expulsion from the British throne. I offer no apology to his lordship for these minutiæ; because no one can be more conscious than he that "Os rà pikpa ¿Meiμματα οὐκ ἐυλαβειται, ηρέμα εἰς τὰ μέιζω καταφέρται- maxim of undeniable truth,

« AnteriorContinuar »