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Title: John Lyly
Author: Wilson, John Dover, 1881-1969
Language: English
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                          JOHN LYLY


                      JOHN DOVER WILSON,

 B.A., Late Scholar of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.
       Members' Prizeman, 1902. Harness Prizeman, 1904.
                Honours in Historical Tripos.

                     Macmillan and Bowes



The following treatise was awarded the _Harness Prize_ at Cambridge in
1904. I have, however, revised it since then, and in some matters
considerably enlarged it.

A list of the chief authorities to whom I am indebted will be found at
the end of the book, but it is fitting that I should here make
particular mention of my obligations to the exhaustive work of Mr
Bond[1]. Not only have his labours of research and collation lightened
the task for me, and for any future student of Lyly, to an incalculable
extent, but the various introductory essays scattered up and down his
volumes are full of invaluable suggestions.

  [1] _The Complete Works of John Lyly._ R. W. Bond, 3 Vols. Clarendon

This book was unfortunately nearing its completion before I was able to
avail myself of Mr Martin Hume's _Spanish Influence on English
Literature_. But, though I might have added more had his book been
accessible earlier, I was glad to find that his conclusions left the
main theory of my chapter on Euphuism untouched.

Much as has been written upon John Lyly, no previous critic has
attempted to cover the whole ground, and to sum up in a brief and
convenient form the three main literary problems which centre round his
name. My solution of these problems may be faulty in detail, but it will
I hope be of service to Elizabethan students to have them presented in a
single volume and from a single point of view. Furthermore, when I
undertook this study, I found several points which seemed to demand
closer attention than they had hitherto received. It appeared to me that
the last word had not been said even upon the subject of Euphuism,
although that topic has usurped the lion's share of critical treatment.
And again, while Lyly's claims as a novelist are acknowledged on all
hands, I felt that a clear statement of his exact position in the
history of our novel was still needed. Finally, inasmuch as the
personality of an author is always more fascinating to me than his
writings, I determined to attempt to throw some light, however fitful
and uncertain, upon the man Lyly himself. The attempt was not entirely
fruitless, for it led to the interesting discovery that the
fully-developed euphuism was not the creation of Lyly, or Pettie, or
indeed of any one individual, but of a circle of young Oxford men which
included Gosson, Watson, Hakluyt, and possibly many others.

I have to thank Mr J. R. Collins and Mr J. N. Frazer, the one for help
in revision, and the other for assistance in Spanish. But my chief debt
of gratitude is due to Dr Ward, the Master of Peterhouse, who has twice
read through this book at different stages of its construction. The
readiness with which he has put his great learning at my disposal, his
kindly interest, and frequent encouragement have been of the very
greatest help in a task which was undertaken and completed under
pressure of other work.

As the full titles of authorities used are to be found in the list at
the end, I have referred to works in the footnotes simply by the name of
their author, while in quoting from _Euphues_ I have throughout employed
Prof. Arber's reprint. Should errors be discovered in the text I must
plead in excuse that, owing to circumstances, the book had to be passed
very quickly through the press.


HOLMLEIGH, SHELFORD, _August, 1905_.



The problem stated--Sketch of Lyly's life                           1


EUPHUISM                                                           10

Section I. The Anatomy of Euphuism                                 13

Section II. The Origin of Euphuism                                 21

Section III. Lyly's legatees and the relation between
Euphuism and the Renaissance                                       43

Section IV. The position of Euphuism in the history of English
Prose                                                              52


THE FIRST ENGLISH NOVEL                                            64

The rise of the Novel--the characteristics of _The Anatomy of
Wit_ and _Euphues and his England_--the Elizabethan Novel.


LYLY THE DRAMATIST                                                 85

Section I. English Comedy before 1580                              89

Section II. The Eight Plays                                        98

Section III. Lyly's advance and subsequent influence              119


CONCLUSION                                                        132

Lyly's Character--Summary.

INDEX                                                             143


Since the day when Taine established a scientific basis for the
historical study of Art, criticism has tended gradually but naturally to
fall into two divisions, as distinct from each other as the functions
they respectively perform are distinct. The one, which we may call
aesthetic criticism, deals with the artist and his works solely for the
purpose of interpretation and appreciation, judging them according to
some artistic standard, which, as often as not, derives its only
sanction from the prejudices of the critic himself. It is of course
obvious that, until all critics are agreed upon some common principles
of artistic valuation, aesthetic criticism can lay no claim to
scientific precision, but must be classed as a department of Art itself.
The other, an application of the Darwinian hypothesis to literature,
which owes its existence almost entirely to the great French critic
before mentioned, but which has since rejected as unscientific many of
the laws he formulated, may be called historical or sociological
criticism. It judges a work of art, an artist, or an artistic period, on
its dynamic and not its intrinsic merits. Its standard is influence, not
power or beauty. It is concerned with the artistic qualities of a given
artist only in so far as he exerts influence over his successors by
those qualities. It is essentially scientific, for it treats the artist
as science treats any other natural phenomenon, that is, as the effect
of previous causes and the cause of subsequent effects. Its function is
one of classification, and with interpretation or appreciation it has
nothing to do.

Before undertaking the study of an artist, the critic should carefully
distinguish between these two critical methods. A complete study must of
course comprehend both; and in the case of Shakespeare, shall we say,
each should be exhaustive. On the other hand, there are artists whose
dynamical value is far greater than their intrinsic value, and _vice
versa_; and in such instances the critic must be guided in his action by
the relative importance of these values in any particular example. This
is so in the case of John Lyly. In the course of the following treatise
we shall have occasion to pass many aesthetic judgments upon his work;
but it will be from the historical side that we shall view him in the
main, because his importance for the readers of the twentieth century is
almost entirely dynamical. His work is by no means devoid of aesthetic
merit. He was, like so many of the Elizabethans, a writer of beautiful
lyrics which are well known to this day; but, though the rest of his
work is undoubtedly that of an artist of no mean ability, the beauty it
possesses is the beauty of a fossil in which few but students would
profess any interest. Moreover, even could we claim more for John Lyly
than this, any aesthetic criticism would of necessity become a secondary
matter in comparison with his importance in other directions, for to the
scientific critic he is or should be one of the most significant figures
in English literature. This claim I hope to justify in the following
pages; but it will be well, by way of obtaining a broad general view of
our subject, to call attention to a few points upon which our
justification must ultimately rest.

In the first place John Lyly, inasmuch as he was one of the earliest
writers who considered prose as an artistic end in itself, and not
simply as a medium of expression, may be justly described as a founder,
if not _the_ founder, of English prose style.

In the second place he was the author of the first novel of manners in
the language.

And in the third place, and from the point of view of Elizabethan
literature most important of all, he was one of our very earliest
dramatists, and without doubt merits the title of Father of English

It is almost impossible to over-estimate his historical importance in
these three departments, and this not because he was a great genius or
possessed of any magnificent artistic gifts, but for the simple reason
that he happened to stand upon the threshold of modern English
literature and at the very entrance to its splendid Elizabethan
ante-room, and therefore all who came after felt something of his
influence. These are the three chief points of interest about Lyly, but
they do not exhaust the problems he presents. We shall have to notice
also that as a pamphleteer he becomes entangled in the famous
_Marprelate_ controversy, and that he was one of the first, being
perhaps even earlier than Marlowe, to perceive the value of blank verse
for dramatic purposes. Finally, as we have seen, he was the reputed
author of some delightful lyrics.

The man of whom one can say such things, the man who showed such
versatility and range of expression, the man who took the world by storm
and made euphuism the fashion at court before he was well out of his
nonage, who for years provided the great Queen with food for laughter,
and who was connected with the first ominous outburst of the Puritan
spirit, surely possesses personal attractions apart from any literary
considerations. We shall presently see reason to believe that his
personality was a brilliant and fascinating one. But such a
reconstruction of the artist[2] is only possible after a thorough
analysis of his works. It would be as well here, however, by way of
obtaining an historical framework for our study, to give a brief account
of his life as it is known to us.

  [2] Cf. Hennequin.

"Eloquent and witty" John Lyly first saw light in the year 1553 or
1554[3]. Anthony à Wood, the 17th century author of _Athenae
Oxonienses_, tells us that he was, like his contemporary Stephen Gosson,
a Kentish man born[4]; and with this clue to help them both Mr Bond and
Mr Baker are inclined to accept much of the story of Fidus as
autobiographical[5]. If their inference be correct, our author would
seem to have been the son of middle-class, but well-to-do, parents. But
it is with his residence at Oxford that any authentic account of his
life must begin, and even then our information is very meagre. Wood
tells us that he "became a student in Magdalen College in the beginning
of 1569, aged 16 or thereabouts." "And since," adds Mr Bond, "in 1574 he
describes himself as Burleigh's alumnus, and owns obligations to him, it
is possible that he owed his university career to Burleigh's
assistance[6]." And yet, limited as our knowledge is, it is possible, I
think, to form a fairly accurate conception of Lyly's manner of life at
Oxford, if we are bold enough to read between the lines of the scraps of
contemporary evidence that have come down to us. Lyly himself tells us
that he left Oxford for three years not long after his arrival.
"Oxford," he says, "seemed to weane me before she brought me forth, and
to give me boanes to gnawe, before I could get the teate to suck.
Wherein she played the nice mother in sending me into the countrie to
nurse, where I tyred at a drie breast for three years and was at last
inforced to weane myself." Mr Bond, influenced by the high moral tone of
_Euphues_, which, as we shall see, was merely a traditional literary
prose borrowed from the moral court treatise, is anxious to vindicate
Lyly from all charges of lawlessness, and refuses to admit that the
foregoing words refer to rustication[7]. Lyly's enforced absence he
holds was due to the plague which broke out at Oxford at this time. Such
an interpretation seems to me to be sufficiently disposed of by the fact
that the plague in question did not break out until 1571[8], while
Lyly's words must refer to a departure (at the very latest) in 1570.
Everything, in fact, goes to show that he was out of favour with the
University authorities. In the first place he seems to have paid small
attention to his regular studies. To quote Wood again, he was "always
averse to the crabbed studies of Logic and Philosophy. For so it was
that his genie, being naturally bent to the pleasant paths of poetry (as
if Apollo had given to him a wreath of his own Bays without snatching or
struggling), did in a manner neglect academical studies, yet not so much
but that he took the Degree in Arts, that of Master being completed in

  [3] Bond, I. p. 2; Baker, p. v.

  [4] _Ath. Ox._ (ed. Bliss), I. p. 676.

  [5] _Euphues_, p. 268.

  [6] Bond, I. p. 6. But Baker, pp. vii, viii, would seem to disagree
  with this.

  [7] Bond, I. p. 11.

  [8] Baker, p. xii.

  [9] _Athenae Oxonienses_ (ed. Bliss), I. p. 676.

Neglect of the recognised studies, however, was not the only blot upon
Lyly's Oxford life. From the hints thrown out by his contemporaries, and
from some allusions, doubtless personal, in the _Euphues_, we learn
that, as an undergraduate, he was an irresponsible madcap. "Esteemed in
the University a noted wit," he would very naturally become the centre
of a pleasure-seeking circle of friends, despising the persons and
ideas of their elders, eager to adopt the latest fashion whether in
dress or in thought, and intolerant alike of regulations and of duty.
Gabriel Harvey, who nursed a grudge against Lyly, even speaks of
"horning, gaming, fooling and knaving," words which convey a distinct
sense of something discreditable, whatever may be their exact
significance. It is necessary to lay stress upon this period of Lyly's
life, because, as I hope to show, his residence at Oxford, and the
friends he made there, had a profound influence upon his later
development, and in particular determined his literary bent. For our
present purpose, however, which is merely to give a brief sketch of his
life, it is sufficient to notice that our author's conduct during his
residence was not so exemplary as it might have been. It must,
therefore, have called forth a sigh of relief from the authorities of
Magdalen, when they saw the last of John Lyly, M.A., in 1575. He
however, quite naturally, saw matters otherwise. It would seem to him
that the College was suffering wrong in losing so excellent a wit, and
accordingly he heroically took steps to prevent such a catastrophe, for
in 1576 we find him writing to his patron Burleigh, requesting him to
procure mandatory letters from the Queen "that so under your auspices I
may be quietly admitted a Fellow there." The petition was refused,
Burleigh's sense of propriety overcoming his sense of humour, and the
petitioner quitted Oxford, leaving his College the legacy of an unpaid
bill for battels, and probably already preparing in his brain the
revenge, which subsequently took the form of an attack upon his
University in _Euphues_, which he published in 1578.

It is interesting to learn that in 1579, according to the common
practice of that day, he proceeded to his degree of M.A. at Cambridge,
though there is no evidence of any residence there[10]. Indeed we know
from other sources that in 1578, or perhaps earlier, Lyly had taken up
his position at the Savoy Hospital. It seems probable that he became
again indebted to Burleigh's generosity for the rooms he occupied
here--unless they were hired for him by Burleigh's son-in-law Edward de
Vere, Earl of Oxford. This person, though few of his writings are now
extant, is nevertheless an interesting figure in Elizabethan literature.
The second part of _Euphues_ published in 1580, and the _Hekatompathia_
of Thomas Watson, are both dedicated to him, and he seems to have acted
as patron to most of Lyly's literary associates when they left Oxford
for London. Lyly became his private secretary; and as the Earl was
himself a dramatist, though his comedies are now lost, his influence
must have confirmed in our author those dramatic aspirations, which were
probably acquired at Oxford; and we have every reason for believing that
Lyly was still his secretary when he was publishing his two first plays,
_Campaspe_ and _Sapho_, in 1584. But this point will require a fuller
treatment at a later stage of our study.

  [10] Mr Baker however seems to think that his reference to Cambridge
  (_Euphues_, p. 436) implies a term of residence there. Baker, p. xxii.

Somewhere about 1585 Fate settled once and for all the lines on which
Lyly's genius was to develop, for at that time he became an assistant
master at the St Paul's Choir School. Schools, and especially those for
choristers, at this time offered excellent opportunities for dramatic
production. Lyly in his new position made good use of his chance, and
wrote plays for his young scholars to act, drilling them himself, and
perhaps frequently appearing personally on the stage. These
chorister-actors were connected in a very special way with royal
entertainments; and therefore they and their instructor would be
constantly brought into touch with the Revels' Office. As we know from
his letters to Elizabeth and to Cecil, the mastership of the Revels was
the post Lyly coveted, and coveted without success, as far as we can
tell, until the end of his life. But these letters also show us that he
was already connected with this office by his position in the
subordinate office of Tents and Toils. The latter, originally instituted
for the purpose of furnishing the necessaries of royal hunting and
campaigning[11], had apparently become amalgamated under a female
sovereign with the Revels' Office, possibly owing to the fact that its
costumes and weapons provided useful material for entertainments and
interludes. Another position which, as Mr Bond shows, was held at one
time by Lyly, was that of reader of new books to the Bishop of London.
This connexion with the censorship of the day is interesting, as showing
how Lyly was drawn into the whirlpool of the _Marprelate_ controversy.
Finally we know that he was elected a member of Parliament on four
separate occasions[12].

  [11] Bond, I. p. 38.

  [12] I have to thank Dr Ward for pointing out to me the interesting
  fact that a large proportion of Elizabeth's M.P.'s were royal

These varied occupations are proof of the energy and versatility of our
author, but not one of them can be described as lucrative. Nor can his
publications have brought him much profit; for, though both _Euphues_
and its sequel passed through ten editions before his death, an author
in those days received very little of the proceeds of his work. Moreover
the publication of his plays is rather an indication of financial
distress than a sign of prosperity. The two dramas already mentioned
were printed before Lyly's connexion with the Choir School; and, when in
1585 he became "vice-master of Poules and Foolmaster of the Theater,"
he would be careful to keep his plays out of the publisher's hands, in
order to preserve the acting monopoly. It is probable that the tenure of
this Actor-manager-schoolmastership marks the height of Lyly's
prosperity, and the inhibition of the boys' acting rights in 1591 must
have meant a severe financial loss to him. Thus it is only after this
date that he is forced to make what he can by the publication of his
other plays. The fear of poverty was the more urgent, because he had a
wife and family on his hands. And though Mr Bond believes that he found
an occupation after 1591 in writing royal entertainments, and though the
inhibition on the choristers' acting was removed as early as 1599, yet
the last years of Lyly's life were probably full of disappointment. This
indeed is confirmed by the bitter tone of his letter to Elizabeth in
1598 in reference to the mastership of the Revels' Office, which he had
at last despaired of. The letter in question is sad reading. Beginning
with a euphuism and ending in a jest, it tells of a man who still
retains, despite all adversity, a courtly mask and a merry tongue, but
beneath this brave surface there is visible a despair--almost amounting
to anguish--which the forced merriment only renders more pitiable. And
the gloom which surrounded his last years was not only due to the
distress of poverty. Before his death in 1606 he had seen his novel
eclipsed by the new Arcadian fashion, and had watched the rise of a host
of rival dramatists, thrusting him aside while they took advantage of
his methods. Greatest of them all, as he must have realised, was
Shakespeare, the sun of our drama before whom the silver light of his
little moon, which had first illumined our darkness, waned and faded
away and was to be for centuries forgotten.



It was as a novelist that Lyly first came before the world of English
letters. In 1578 he published a volume, bearing the inscription,
_Euphues: the anatomy of wyt_, to which was subjoined the attractive
advertisement, _very pleasant for all gentlemen to reade, and most
necessary to remember_. This book, which was to work a revolution in our
literature, was completed in 1580 by a sequel, entitled _Euphues and his
England_. _Euphues_, to combine the two parts under one name, the fruit
of Lyly's nonage, seems to have determined the form of his reputation
for the Elizabethans; and even to-day it attracts more attention than
any other of his works. This probably implies a false estimate of Lyly's
comparative merits as a novelist and as a dramatist. But it is not
surprising that critics, living in the century of the novel, and with
their eyes towards the country pre-eminent in its production, should
think and write of Lyly chiefly as the first of English novelists. The
bias of the age is as natural and as dangerous an element in criticism
as the bias of the individual. But it is not with the modern
appraisement of _Euphues_ that we are here concerned. Nor need we
proceed immediately to a consideration of its position in the history of
the English novel. We have first to deal with its Elizabethan
reputation. Had _Euphues_ been a still-born child of Lyly's genius, had
it produced no effect upon the literature of the age, it would possess
nothing but a purely archaeological interest for us to-day. It would
still be the first of English novels: but this claim would lose half its
significance, did it not carry with it the implication that the book was
also the origin of English novel writing. The importance, therefore, of
_Euphues_ is not so much that it was primary, as that it was primordial;
and, to be such, it must have laid its spell in some way or other upon
succeeding writers. Our first task is therefore to enquire what this
spell was, and to discover whether the attraction of _Euphues_ must be
ascribed to Lyly's own invention or to artifices which he borrows from

While, as I have said, Lyly's name is associated with the novel by most
modern critics, it has earned a more widespread reputation among the
laity for affectation and mannerisms of style. Indeed, until fifty years
ago, Lyly spelt nothing but euphuism, and euphuism meant simply
nonsense, clothed in bombast. It was a blind acceptance of these loose
ideas which led Sir Walter Scott to create (as a caricature of Lyly) his
Sir Piercie Shafton in _The Monastery_--an historical _faux pas_ for
which he has been since sufficiently called to account. Nevertheless
Lyly's reputation had a certain basis of fact, and we may trace the
tradition back to Elizabethan days. It is perhaps worth pointing out
that, had we no other evidence upon the subject, the survival of this
tradition would lead us to suppose that it was Lyly's style more than
anything else which appealed to the men of his day. A contemporary
confirmation of this may be found in the words of William Webbe. Writing
in 1586 of the "great good grace and sweet vogue which Eloquence hath
attained in our Speeche," he declares that the English language has thus
progressed, "because it hath had the helpe of such rare and singular
wits, as from time to time myght still adde some amendment to the same.
Among whom I think there is none that will gainsay, but Master John Lyly
hath deservedly moste high commendations, as he hath stept one steppe
further therein than any either before or since he first began the
wyttie discourse of his _Euphues_, whose works, surely in respect of his
singular eloquence and brave composition of apt words and sentences, let
the learned examine and make tryall thereof, through all the parts of
Rethoricke, in fitte phrases, in pithy sentences, in galant tropes, in
flowing speeche, in plaine sense, and surely in my judgment, I think he
wyll yeelde him that verdict which Quintillian giveth of both the best
orators Demosthenes and Tully, that from the one, nothing may be taken
away, to the other nothing may be added[13]." After such eulogy, the
description of Lyly by another writer as "alter Tullius anglorum" will
not seem strange. These praises were not the extravagances of a few
uncritical admirers; they echo the verdict of the age. Lyly's
enthronement was of short duration--a matter of some ten years--but,
while it lasted, he reigned supreme. Such literary idolatries are by no
means uncommon, and often hold their ground for a considerable period.
Beside the vogue of Waller, for example, the duration of Lyly's
reputation was comparatively brief. More than a century after the
publication of his poems, Waller was hailed by the Sidney Lee of the day
in the _Biographia Britannica_ of 1766, as "the most celebrated Lyric
Poet that England ever produced." Whence comes this striking contrast
between past glory and present neglect? How is it that a writer once
known as the greatest master of English prose, and a poet once named the
most conspicuous of English lyrists, are now but names? They have not
faded from memory owing to a mere caprice of fashion. Great artists are
subject to an ebb and flow of popularity, for which as yet no tidal
theory has been offered as an explanation; but like the sea they are
ever permanent. The case of our two writers is different. The wheel of
time will never bring _Euphues_ and _Sacharissa_ "to their own again."
They are as dead as the Jacobite cause. And for that very reason they
are all the more interesting for the literary historian. All writers are
conditioned by their environment, but some concern themselves with the
essentials, others with the accidents, of that internally constant, but
externally unstable, phenomenon, known as humanity. Waller and Lyly were
of the latter class. Like jewels suitable to one costume only, they
remained in favour just as long as the fashion that created them lasted.
Waller was probably inferior to Lyly as an artist, but he happened to
strike a vein which was not exhausted until the end of the 18th century;
while the vogue of _Euphues_, though at first far-reaching, was soon
crossed by new artificialities such as arcadianism. The secret of
Waller's influence was that he stereotyped a new poetic form, a form
which, in its restraint and precision, was exactly suited to the
intellect of the _ancien régime_ with its craving for form and its
contempt for ideas. The mainspring of Lyly's popularity was that he did
in prose what Waller did in poetry.

  [13] _A discourse of English Poetrie_, Arber's reprint.

SECTION I. _The Anatomy of Euphuism._

The books which have been written upon the characteristics of Lyly's
prose are numberless, and far outweigh the attention given to his power
as a novelist, to say nothing of his dramas[14]. Indeed the absorption
of the critics in the analysis of euphuism seems to have been, up to a
few years ago, definitely injurious to a true appreciation of our
author's position, by blocking the path to a recognition of his
importance in other directions. And yet, in spite of all this, it cannot
be said that any adequate examination of the structure of Lyly's style
appeared until Mr Child took the matter in hand in 1894[15]. And Mr
Child has performed his task so scientifically and so exhaustively that
he has killed the topic by making any further treatment of it
superfluous. This being the case, a description of the euphuistic style
need not detain us for long. I shall content myself with the briefest
summary of its characteristics, drawing upon Mr Child for my matter, and
referring those who are desirous of further details to Mr Child's work
itself. We shall then be in a position to proceed to the more
interesting, and as yet unsettled problem, of the origins of euphuism.
The great value of Mr Child's work lies in the fact that he has at once
simplified and amplified the conclusions of previous investigators. Dr
Weymouth[16] was the first to discover that, beneath the "curtizan-like
painted affectation" of euphuism, there lay a definite theory of style
and a consistent method of procedure. Dr Landmann carried the analysis
still further in his now famous paper published in the _New Shakespeare
Society's Transactions_ (1880-82). But these two, and those who have
followed them, have erred, on the one hand in implying that euphuism was
much more complex than it is in reality, and on the other by confining
their attention to single sentences, and so failing to perceive that the
euphuistic method was applicable to the paragraph, as a whole, no less
than to the sentence. And it is upon these two points that Mr Child's
essay is so specially illuminating. We shall obtain a correct notion of
the "essential character" of the "euphuistic rhetoric," he writes, "if
we observe that it employs but one simple principle in practice, and
that it applies this, not only to the ordering of the single sentence,
but in every structural relation[17]": and this simple principle is "the
inducement of artificial emphasis through Antithesis and
Repetition--Antithesis to give pointed expression to the thought,
Repetition to enforce it[18]." When Lyly set out to write his novel, it
seemed that his intention was to produce a most elaborate essay in
antithesis. The book as a whole, "very pleasant for all gentlemen to
read and most necessary to remember," was itself an antithesis; the
discourses it contains were framed upon the same plan; the sentences are
grouped antithetically; while the antithesis is pointed by an equally
elaborate repetition of ideas, of vowel sounds and of consonant sounds.
Letters, syllables, words, sentences, sentence groups, paragraphs, all
are employed for the purpose of producing the antithetical style now
known as euphuism. An example will serve to make the matter clearer.
Philautus, upbraiding his treacherous friend Euphues for robbing him of
his lady's love, delivers himself of the following speech: "Although
hitherto Euphues I have shrined thee in my heart for a trusty friend, I
will shunne thee hereafter as a trothless foe, and although I cannot see
in thee less wit than I was wont, yet do I find less honesty. I perceive
at the last (although being deceived it be too late) that musk though
it be sweet in the smell is sour in the smack, that the leaf of the
cedar tree though it be fair to be seen, yet the syrup depriveth
sight--that friendship though it be plighted by the shaking of the hand,
yet it is shaken by the fraud of the heart. But thou hast not much to
boast of, for as thou hast won a fickle lady, so hast thou lost a
faithful friend[19]." It is impossible to give an adequate idea of the
euphuistic style save in a lengthy quotation, such as the discourse of
Eubulus selected by Mr Child for that purpose[20]; but, within the
narrow limits of the passage I have chosen, the main characteristics of
euphuism are sufficiently obvious. It should be noticed how one part of
a sentence is balanced by another part, and how this balance or
"parallelism" is made more pointed by means of alliteration, e.g.
"shrined thee for a trusty friend," "shun thee as a trothless foe"; musk
"sweet in the smell," "sour in the smack," and so on. The former of
these antitheses is an example of transverse alliteration, of which so
much is made by Dr Landmann, but which, as Mr Child shows, plays a
subordinate, and an entirely mechanical, part in Lyly's style[21].
Lyly's most natural and most usual method of emphasizing is by means of
simple alliteration. On the other hand it must be noticed that he
employs alliteration for the sake of euphony alone much more frequently
than he uses it for the purpose of emphasis. So that we may conclude by
saying that simple alliteration forms the basis of the euphuistic
diction, just as we have seen antithesis forms the basis of the
euphuistic construction. This brief survey of the framework of euphuism
is far from being an exhaustive analysis. All that is here attempted is
an enumeration of the most obvious marks of euphuism, as a necessary
step to an investigation of its origin, and to a determination of its
place in the history of our literature.

  [14] Child, pp. 6-20, for an account of chief writers who have dealt
  with euphuism.

  [15] _John Lyly and Euphuism._ C. G. Child.

  [16] _On Euphuism_, Phil. Soc. Trans., 1870-2.

  [17] Child, p. 43.

  [18] _id._, p. 44.

  [19] _Euphues_, p. 90.

  [20] Child, p. 39.

  [21] _id._, p. 46.

Before, however, leaving the subject entirely, we must mention two more
characteristics of Lyly's prose which are very noticeable, but which
come under the head of ornamental, rather than constructional, devices.
The first of these is a peculiar use of the rhetorical interrogation.
Lyly makes use of it when he wishes to portray his characters in
distress or excitement, and it most frequently occurs in soliloquies.
Sometimes we find a string of these interrogations, at others they are
answered by sentences beginning "ay but," and occasionally we have the
"ay but" sentence with the preceding interrogation missing. I make a
special mention of this point, as we shall find it has a certain
connexion with the subject of the origins of euphuism.

The other ornamental device is one which has attracted a considerable
quantity of attention from critics, and has frequently been taken by
itself as the distinguishing mark of euphuism. In point of fact,
however, the euphuists shared it with many other writers of their age,
though it is doubtful whether anyone carried it to such extravagant
lengths as Lyly. It took the form of illustrations and analogies, so
excessive and overwhelming that it is difficult to see how even the
idlest lady of Elizabeth's court found time or patience to wade through
them. They consist first of anecdotes and allusions relating to
historical or mythological persons of the ancient world; some being
drawn from Plutarch, Pliny, Ovid, Virgil, and other sources, but many
springing simply from Lyly's exuberant fancy. In the second place
_Euphues_ is a collection of similes borrowed from "a fantastical
natural history, a sort of mythology of plants and stones, to which the
most extraordinary virtues are attributed[22]." "I have heard," says
Camilla, bashfully excusing herself for taking up the cudgels of
argument with the learned Surius, "that the Tortoise in India when the
sunne shineth, swimmeth above the water wyth hyr back, and being
delighted with the fine weather, forgetteth her selfe until the heate of
the sunne so harden her shell, that she cannot sink when she woulde,
whereby she is caught. And so it may fare with me that in this good
companye displaying my minde, having more regard to my delight in
talking, than to the ears of the hearers, I forget what I speake, and so
be taken in something I would not utter, which happilye the itchyng ears
of young gentlemen would so canvas that when I would call it in, I
cannot, and so be caught with the Tortoise, when I would not[23]." And,
when she had finished her discourse, Surius again employs the simile for
the purpose of turning a neat compliment, saying, "Lady, if the Tortoise
you spoke of in India were as cunning in swimming, as you are in
speaking, she would neither fear the heate of the sunne nor the ginne of
the Fisher." This is but a mild example of the "unnatural natural
philosophy" which _Euphues_ has made famous. An unending procession of
such similes, often of the most extravagant nature, runs throughout the
book, and sometimes the development of the plot is made dependent on
them. Thus Lucilla hesitates to forsake Philautus for Euphues, because
she feels that her new lover will remember "that the glasse once chased
will with the least clappe be cracked, that the cloth which stayneth
with milke will soon loose his coulour with Vinegar; that the eagle's
wing will waste the feather as well as of the Phoenix as of the
Pheasant: and that she that hath become faithlesse to one, will never
be faithfull to any[24]." What proof could be more exact, what better
example could be given of the methods of concomitant variations? It is
precisely the same logical process which induces the savage to wreak his
vengeance by melting a waxen image of his enemy, and the farmer to
predict a change of weather at the new moon.

  [22] Jusserand, p. 107.

  [23] _Euphues_, p. 402.

  [24] _id._, p. 58.

Lyly, however, was not concerned with making philosophical
generalizations, or scientific laws, about the world in general. His
natural, or unnatural, phenomena were simply saturated with moral
significance: not that he saw any connexion between the ethical process
and the cosmic process, but, like every one of his contemporaries, he
employed the facts of animal and vegetable life to point a moral or to
help out a sermon. The arguments he used appear to us puerile in their
old-world dress, and yet similar ones are to be heard to-day in every
pulpit where a smattering of science is used to eke out a poverty of
theology. And, to be fair, such reasoning is not confined to pulpits.
Even so eminent a writer as Mr Edward Carpenter has been known to
moralize on the habits of the wild mustard, irresistibly reminding us of
the "Camomill which the more it is trodden and pressed down the more it
speedeth[25]." Moreover the _soi-disant_ founder of the inductive
method, the great Bacon himself, is, as Liebig[26] shows in his amusing
and interesting study of the renowned "scientist's" scientific methods,
tarred with the same mediaeval brush, and should be ranked with Lyly and
the other Elizabethan "scholastics" rather than with men like Harvey and

  [25] _Euphues_, p. 46.

  [26] _Lord Bacon et les sciences d'observation en moyen âge_, par
  Liebig, traduit par de Tchihatchef.

Lyly's natural history was at any rate the result of learning; many of
his "facts" were drawn from Pliny, while others were to be found in the
plentiful crop of mediaeval bestiaries, which, as Professor Raleigh
remarks, "preceded the biological hand-books." Perhaps also we must
again allow something for Lyly's invention; for lists of authorities,
and footnotes indicative of sources, were not demanded of the scientist
of those days, and one can thoroughly sympathise with an author who
found an added zest in inventing the facts upon which his theories
rested. Have not ethical philosophers of all ages been guilty of it?
Certainly Gabriel Harvey seems to be hinting at Lyly when he slyly
remarks: "I could name a party, that in comparison of his own
inventions, termed Pliny a barren wombe[27]."

  [27] Bond, I. p. 131 note.

The affectations we have just enumerated are much less conspicuous in
the second part of _Euphues_ than in the first, and, though they find a
place in his earlier plays, Lyly gradually frees himself from their
influence, owing perhaps to the decline of the euphuistic fashion, but
more probably to the growth of his dramatic instinct, which saw that
such forms were a drag upon the action of a play. And yet at times Lyly
could use his clumsy weapon with great precision and effect. How
admirably, for example, does he express in his antithetical fashion the
essence of coquetry. Iffida, speaking to Fidus of one she loved but
wished to test, is made to say, "I seem straight-laced as one neither
accustomed to such suites, nor willing to entertain such a servant, yet
so warily, as putting him from me with my little finger, I drewe him to
me with my whole hand[28]." Other little delicate turns of phrase may be
found in the mine of _Euphues_--for the digging. Our author was no
genius, but he had a full measure of that indefinable quality known as
wit; and, though the stylist's mask he wears is uncouth and rigid, it
cannot always conceal the twinkle of his eyes. Moreover a certain
weariness of this sermonizing on the stilts of antithesis is often
visible; and we may suspect that he half sympathises with the petulant
exclamation of the sea-sick Philautus to his interminable friend:

"In fayth, Euphues, thou hast told a long tale, the beginning I have
forgotten, ye middle I understand not, and the end hangeth not well
together[29]"; and with this piece of self-criticism we may leave Lyly
for the present and turn to his predecessors.

  [28] _Euphues_, p. 299.

  [29] _Euphues_, p. 248.

SECTION II. _The Origins of Euphuism._

When we pass from an analytical to an historical consideration of the
style which Lyly made his own and stamped for ever with the name of his
hero, we come upon a problem which is at once the most difficult and the
most fascinating with which we have to deal. The search for a solution
will lead us far afield; but, inasmuch as the publication and success of
_Euphues_ have given euphuism its importance in the history of our
literature, the digression, which an attempt to trace the origin of
euphuism will necessitate, can hardly be considered outside the scope of
this book. Critics have long since decided that the peculiar style,
which we have just dissolved into its elements, was not the invention of
Lyly's genius; but on the other hand, no critic, in my opinion, has as
yet solved the problem of origins with any claim to finality. Perhaps a
tentative solution is all that is possible in the present stage of our
knowledge. It is, of course, easy to point to the book or books from
which Lyly borrowed, and to dismiss the question thus. But this simply
evades the whole issue; for, though it explains _Euphues_, it by no
means explains euphuism. Equally unsatisfactory is the theory that
euphuism was of purely Spanish origin. Such a solution has all the
fascination, and all the dangers, which usually attend a simple answer
to a complex question. The idea that euphuism was originally an article
of foreign production was first set on foot by Dr Landmann. The real
father of Lyly's style, he tells us, was Antonio de Guevara, bishop of
Guadix, who published in 1529 a book, the title of which was as follows:
_The book of the emperor Marcus Aurelius with a Diall for princes_. This
book was translated into English in 1534 by Lord Berners, and again in
1557 by Sir Thomas North; in both cases from a French version. The two
translations are conveniently distinguished by their titles, that of
Berners being _The Golden Boke_, that of North being _The Diall of
Princes_. Dr Landmann is very positive with regard to his theory, but
the fact that both translations come from the French and not from the
Castilian, seems to me to constitute a serious drawback to its
acceptance. And moreover this theory does not explain the really
important crux of the whole matter, namely the reason why a style of
this kind, whatever its origin, found a ready acceptance in England: for
fourteen editions of _The Golden Boke_ are known between 1534 and 1588,
a number for those days quite exceptional and showing the existence of
an eager public. Two answers are possible to the last question; that
there existed a large body of men in the England of the Tudors who were
interested in Spanish literature of all kinds and in Guevara among
others; and that the euphuistic style was already forming in England,
and that this was the reason of Guevara's popularity. In both answers I
think there is truth; and I hope to show that they give us, when
combined, a fairly adequate explanation of the vogue of euphuism in our
country. Let us deal with external influences first.

The upholders of the Spanish theory have contented themselves with
stating that Lyly borrowed from Guevara, and pointing out the parallels
between the two writers. But it is possible to give their case a greater
plausibility, by showing that Guevara was no isolated instance of such
Spanish influence, and by proving that during the Tudor period there was
a consistent and far-reaching interest in Spanish literature among a
certain class of Englishmen. Intimacy with Spain dates from Henry VIII.'s
marriage with Katherine of Aragon, though no Spanish book had actually
been translated into English before her divorce. But the period from
then onwards until the accession of James I., a period when Spain looms
as largely in English politics as does France later, saw the publication
in London of "some hundred and seventy volumes written either by
peninsular authors, or in the peninsular tongues[30]." At such a time
this number represents a very considerable influence; and it is,
therefore, no wonder that critics have fallen victims to the allurements
of a theory which would ascribe Spanish origins for all the various
prose epidemics of Elizabethan literature. To pair Lyly with Guevara,
Sidney with Montemayor[31], and Nash with Mendoza, and thus to point at
Spain as the parent, not only of the euphuistic, but also of the
pastoral and picaresque romance, is to furnish an explanation almost
irresistible in its symmetry. It must have been with the joy of a
mathematician, solving an intricate problem, that Dr Landmann formulated
this theory of literary equations. But without going to such lengths,
without pressing the connexion between particular writers, one may admit
that in general Spanish literature must have exercised an influence upon
the Elizabethans. Mr Underhill, our latest authority on the subject,
allows this, while at the same time cautioning us against the dangers of
over-estimating it. Any contact on the side of the lyric and the drama
was, he declares, very slight[32], and the peninsular writings actually
circulated in our country at this time, in translations, he divides into
three classes; occasional literature, that is topical tracts and
pamphlets on contemporary Spanish affairs; didactic literature,
comprising scientific treatises, accounts of voyages such as inspired
Hakluyt, works on military science, and, more important still, the
religious writings of mystics like Granada; and lastly artistic prose.
The last item, which alone concerns us, is by far the smallest of the
three, and by itself amounts to less than half the translations from
Italian literature; moreover most of the Spanish translations under this
head came into England after 1580, and could not therefore have
influenced Lyly's novel. But of course the _Libro Aureo_ had been
englished long before this, while the _Lazarillo de Tórmes_,
Mendoza's[33] picaresque romance, was given an English garb by Rowland
in 1576, and, though Montemayor's _Diana_ was not translated until 1596,
Spanish and French editions of it had existed in England long previous
to that date. Perhaps most important of all was the famous realistic
novel _Celestina_, which was well known, in a French translation, to
Englishmen at the beginning of the 16th century, and was denounced by
Vives at Oxford. It was actually translated into English as early as
1530[34]. There was on the whole, therefore, quite an appreciable
quantity of Spanish artistic literature circulating in England before
_Euphues_ saw the light.

  [30] Underhill, p. 339.

  [31] _id._, p. 268 note. Mr Underhill writes: "The attempt to connect
  the style of Sidney with that of Montemayor has failed."

  [32] Underhill, p. 48, but see Martin Hume, ch. IX.

  [33] Some doubt has been thrown upon Mendoza's authorship. See
  Fitzmaurice-Kelly, p. 158, and Martin Hume, p. 133.

  [34] Martin Hume, p. 126.

This literary invasion will seem perfectly natural if we bear in mind
the political conditions of the day. Under Mary, England had been all
but a Spanish dependency, and, though in the next reign, she threw off
the yoke, the antagonism which existed probably acted as an even greater
literary stimulus than the former alliance. Throughout the whole of
Elizabeth's rule, the English were continually coming into contact with
the Spaniards, either in trade, in ecclesiastical matters, in politics,
or in actual warfare; and again the magnificence of the great Spanish
empire, and the glamour which surrounded its connexion with the new
world, were very attractive to the Englishmen of Elizabeth's day,
especially as they were desirous of emulating the achievements of Spain.
And lastly it may be noticed that English and Spanish conditions of
intellectual life, if we shut our eyes to the religious differences,
were very similar at this time. Both countries had replaced a shattered
feudal system by an absolute and united monarchy. Both countries owed an
immense debt to Italy, and, in both, the Italian influence took a
similar form, modified on the one hand by humanism, and on the other by
feelings of patriotism, if not of imperialism. Spain and England took
the Renaissance fever more coldly, and at the same time more seriously,
than did Italy. And in both the new movement eventually assumed the
character of intellectual asceticism moulded by the sombre hand of
religious fanaticism; for Spain was the cradle of the Counter-Reformation,
England of Puritanism.

Leaving the general issue, let us now try to establish a partial
connexion between our author, or at least his surroundings, and Spanish
influences. And here I think a suggestive, if not a strong case, can be
made out. Ever since the beginning of the 16th century a Spanish
tradition had existed at Oxford. Vives, the Spanish humanist, and the
friend of Erasmus, was in 1517 admitted Fellow of Corpus Christi
College, and in 1523 became reader in rhetoric; and, though he was
banished in 1528, at the time of the divorce, it seems that he was
continually lecturing before the University during the five years of his
residence there. The circle of his friends, though quite distinct from
the contemporary Berners-Guevara group, included many interesting men,
and among others the famous Sir John Cheke. Under Mary we naturally find
two Spanish professors at Oxford, Pedro de Soto and Juan de Villa
Garcia. But Elizabeth maintained the tradition; and in 1559 she offered
a chair at Oxford to a Spanish Protestant, Guerrero. The important name,
however, in our connexion is Antonio de Corro, who resided as a student
at Christ Church from 1575 to 1585, thus being a contemporary of Lyly,
though it is impossible to say whether they were acquainted or not. Lyly
had, however, another Oxford contemporary who certainly took a keen
interest in Spanish literature, possessing a knowledge of Castilian,
though himself an Englishman. This was Hakluyt, who must have been known
to Lyly; and for the following reason. In 1597 Henry Lok[35] published a
volume of religious poems to which Lyly contributed commendatory
verses. On the other hand Hakluyt's first book was supplemented by a
woodcut map executed by his friend Michael Lok[36], brother of Thomas
Lok the Spanish merchant, and uncle to the aforesaid Henry. It seems
highly improbable, therefore, that Lyly and Hakluyt possessing these
common friends could have remained unknown to each other at Oxford.
Indeed we may feel justified in supposing that Hakluyt, Sidney, Carew,
Lyly, Thomas Lodge, and Thomas Rogers (the translator of _Estella_) were
all personally acquainted, if not intimate, at the University. Another
and very important name may be added to this list, that of Stephen
Gosson, who, "a Kentish man born" like our hero, and entering Oxford a
year after him (in 1572), must, I feel sure, have been one of his
friends. The fact that he was at first interested in acting, and is said
to have written comedies, goes a long way to confirm this. We are also
led to suppose that he had devoted some attention to Spanish literature,
and that he was probably acquainted with Hakluyt and the Loks, from
certain verses of his, printed at the end of Thomas Nicholas' _Pleasant
History of the Conquest of West India_, a translation of Cortes' book
published in 1578[37]. Taking all this into consideration, it is
extremely interesting to find Gosson publishing in 1579 his famous
_Schoole of Abuse_, which bears most of the distinguishing marks of
euphuism already noted, but which can scarcely have been modelled upon
Lyly's work; for as Professor Saintsbury writes: "the very short
interval between the appearance of _Euphues_ and the _Schoole of Abuse_,
shows that he must rather have mastered the Lylian style in the same
circumstances and situations as Lyly than have directly borrowed it
from his fellow at Oxford[38]." And moreover Gosson's style does not
read like an imitation of Lyly. The same tricks and affectations are
employed, but they are employed differently and perhaps more

  [35] Bond, I. p. 67.

  [36] Underhill, p. 178, to whom I am indebted for nearly all the
  preceding remarks in connexion with the Spanish atmosphere at Oxford.

  [37] Arber's reprint, _School of Abuse_, p. 97.

  [38] Craik, vol. I.

Lyly is again found in contact with the Spanish atmosphere, as one of
the dependents of the Earl of Oxford, who patronized Robert Baker,
George Baker, and Anthony Munday, who were all under the "spell of the
peninsula[39]." But we cannot be certain when his relations with de Vere
commenced, and unless we can feel sure that they had begun before the
writing of _Euphues_, the point is not of importance for our present

  [39] Underhill, ch. VIII. § 2.

These facts are of course little more than hints, but I think they are
sufficient to establish a fairly strong probability that Lyly was one of
a literary set at Oxford (as I have already suggested in dealing with
his life) the members of which were especially interested in Spanish
literature, perhaps through the influence of Corro. It seems extremely
improbable that Lyly himself possessed any knowledge of Castilian, and
it is by no means necessary to show that he did, for it is quite
sufficient to point out that he must have been continually in the
presence of those who were discussing peninsular writings, and that in
this way he would have come to a knowledge of the most famous Spanish
book which had yet received translation, the _Libro Aureo_ of Guevara.

But we are still left with the question on our hands; why was this book
the most famous peninsular production of Lyly's day? It is a question
which no critic, as far as I am aware, has ever formulated, and yet it
seems endowed with the greatest importance. We have seen how and why
Spanish literature in general found a reception in England. But the
special question as to the ascendancy of Guevara obviously requires a
special answer. Guevara was of course well known all over the continent,
and it might seem that this was a sufficient explanation of his
popularity in England. In reality, however, such an explanation is no
solution at all, it merely widens the issue; for we are still left
asking for a reason of his continental fame. The problem requires a
closer investigation than it has at present received. It was undoubtedly
Guevara's _alto estilo_ which gave his writings their chief attraction;
and a style so elaborate would only find a reception in a favourable
atmosphere, that is among those who had already gone some way towards
the creation of a similar style themselves. _A priori_ therefore the
answer to our question would be that Guevara was no isolated stylist,
but only the most famous example of a literary phase, which had its
independent representatives all over Europe. A consideration of English
prose under the Tudors will, I think, fully confirm this conclusion as
far as our own country is concerned, and it will also offer us an
explanation, in terms of internal development, of the origin and sources
of euphuism.

We have noticed with suspicion that our two translators took their
Guevara from the French. And it is therefore quite legitimate to suppose
that Berners and North, separated as they were from the original, were
as much creators as translators of the euphuistic style. But there are
other circumstances connected with Berners, which are much more fatal to
Dr Landmann's theory than this. In the first place it appears that the
part played by Berners in the history of euphuism has been considerably
under-estimated. Mr Sidney Lee was the first to combat the generally
accepted view in a criticism of Mrs Humphry Ward's article on
_Euphuism_ in the _Encyclopaedia Britannica_, in which she follows Dr
Landmann. His criticism, which appeared in the _Athenæum_, was
afterwards enlarged in an appendix to his edition of Berners'
translation of _Huon of Bordeaux_. "Lord Berners' sentences," Mr Lee
writes, "are euphuistic beyond all question; they are characterized by
the forced antitheses, alliteration, and the far-fetched illustrations
from natural phenomena, peculiar to Lyly and his successors[40]." He
denies, moreover, that Berners was any less euphuistic than North, and
gives parallel extracts from their translations to prove this. A
comparison of the two passages in question can leave no doubt that Mr
Lee's deduction is correct. Mr Bond therefore is in grave error when he
writes, "North endeavoured what Berners had not aimed at, to reproduce
in his Diall the characteristics of Guevara's style, with the notable
addition of an alliteration natural to English but not to Spanish; and
it is he who must be regarded as the real founder of our euphuistic
literary fashion[41]." Lyly may indeed have borrowed from North rather
than from Berners; but, if Berners' English was as euphuistic as
North's, and if Berners could show fourteen editions to North's two
before 1580, it is Berners and not North who must be described as "the
real founder of our euphuistic literary fashion." And as Mr Lee shows,
his nephew Sir Francis Bryan must share the title with him, for the
colophon of the _Golden Boke_ states that the translation was undertaken
"at the instaunt desire of his nevewe Sir Francis Bryan Knyghte." It was
Bryan also who wrote the passage at the conclusion of the _Boke_
applauding the "swete style[42]." This Sir Francis Bryan was a
favourite of Henry VIII., a friend of Surrey and Wyatt, possibly of
Ascham and of his master Cheke, in fact a very well-known figure at
court and in the literary circles of his day[43]. Euphuism must,
therefore, have had a considerable vogue even in the days of Henry VIII.
If it could be shown that Bryan could read Castilian, the Guevara theory
might still possess some plausibility, for it would be argued that
Berners learnt his style from his nephew. But, though we know Bryan to
have entertained a peculiar affection for Guevara's writings, there is
no evidence to prove that he could read them in the original. Indeed
when he set himself to translate Guevara's _Dispraise of the life of a
courtier_, he, like his uncle, had to go to a French translation[44].
Wherever we turn, in fact, we are met by this French barrier between
Guevara and his English translators, which seems to preclude the
possibility of his style having exercised the influence ascribed to it
by Dr Landmann and those who follow him.

  [40] Huon of Bordeaux, appendix I., _Lord Berners and Euphuism_,
  p. 786.

  [41] Bond, I. p. 158.

  [42] See _Athenæum_, July 14, 1883.

  [43] _Dict. of Nat. Biog._, Bryan.

  [44] The 2nd edition of this book, which was published under another
  title, is thus described in the B. M. Cat.: "_A looking-glass for the
  court_ ... out of Castilian drawne into French by A. Alaygre; and out
  of the French into English by Sir F. Briant."

But there is more behind: and we cannot help feeling convinced that the
facts we are now about to bring forward ought to dispose of the
Landmann-Guevara theory once and for all. In the article before
mentioned Mr Lee goes on to say: "The translator's prologue to Lord
Berners' _Froissart_ written in 1524 and that to be found in other of
his works show him to have come under Guevara's or a similar influence
before he translated the _Golden Boke_[45]." Here is an extract from the
prologue in question. "The most profitable thing in this world for the
institution of the human life is history. Once the continual reading
thereof maketh young men equal in prudence to old men, and to old
fathers striken in age it ministereth experience of things. More it
yieldeth private persons worthy of dignity, rule and governance: it
compelleth the emperors, high rulers, and governors to do noble deeds to
the end they may obtain immortal glory: it exciteth, moveth and stirreth
the strong, hardy warriors, for the great laud that they have after they
lie dead, promptly to go in hand with great and hard perils in defence
of their country: and it prohibiteth reproveable persons to do
mischievous deeds for fear of infamy and shame. So thus through the
monuments of writing which is the testimony unto virtue many men have
been moved, some to build cities, some to devise and establish laws
right, profitable, necessary and behoveful for the human life, some
other to find new arts, crafts and sciences, very requisite to the use
of mankind. But above all things, whereby man's wealth riseth, special
laud and praise ought to be given to history: it is the keeper of such
things as have been virtuously done, and the witness of evil deeds, and
by the benefit of history all noble, high and virtuous acts be immortal.
What moved the strong and fierce Hercules to enterprise in his life so
many great incomparable labours and perils? Certainly nought else but
that for his great merit immortality might be given him of all folk....
Why moved and stirred Phalerius the King Ptolemy oft and diligently to
read books? Forsooth for no other cause but that those things are found
written in books that the friends dare not show to the prince[46]." This
is of course far from being the full-blown euphuism of Lyly or Pettie,
yet we cannot but agree with Mr Lee, when he declares that "the
parallelism of the sentences, the repetition of the same thought
differently expressed, the rhetorical question, the accumulation of
synonyms, the classical references, are irrefutable witnesses to the
presence of euphuism[47]." But Mr Lee appeared to be quite unconscious
of the full significance of his discovery. _It means that Berners was
writing euphuism in 1524, five years before Guevara published his book
in Spain._ No critic, as far as I have been able to discover, has shown
any consciousness of this significant fact[48], which is of course of
the utmost importance in this connexion; as, if it is to carry all the
weight that is at first sight due to it, the theory that euphuism was a
mere borrowing from the Spanish must be pronounced entirely exploded.
But it is as well not to be over-confident. Guevara's _Libro Aureo_, his
earliest work, was undoubtedly first published by his authority in 1529,
but there seems to be a general feeling that the book had previously
appeared in pirated form. This feeling is based upon the title of the
1529 edition[49], which describes the book as "_nueuamente reuisto por
su señoria_," and upon certain remarks of Hallam in his _Literature of
Europe_. Though I can find no confirmation for the statements he makes
upon the authority of a certain Dr West of Dublin, yet the words of so
well known a writer cannot be ignored. He quotes Dr West in a footnote
as follows: "There are some circumstances connected with the _Relox_
(i.e. the sub-title of the _Libro Aureo_) not generally known, which
satisfactorily account for various erroneous statements that have been
made on the subject by writers of high authority. The fact is that
Guevara, about the year 1518, commenced a life and letters of M.
Aurelius which purported to be a translation of a Greek work found in
Florence. Having sometime afterwards lent this MS. to the emperor it was
surreptitiously copied and printed, as he informs us himself, first in
Seville and afterwards in Portugal.... Guevara himself subsequently
published it (1529) with considerable additions[50]." From this it
appears that previous unauthorised editions of Guevara's book had been
published before 1529. Might not Berners therefore have come under
Guevara's influence as early as 1524? We must concede that it is
possible, but, on the other hand, the difficulties in the way of such a
contingency seem almost insuperable. In the first place, if we are to
believe Dr West, Guevara did not begin to write his work before 1518,
and it was not until "some time afterwards" (whatever this may mean)
that it was "surreptitiously copied and printed." It would require a
bold man to assert that a book thus published could be influencing the
style of an English writer as early as 1524. But further it must be
remembered that Berners almost certainly could not read Castilian[51].
Now the earliest known French translation of Guevara is one by Réné
Bertaut in 1531, which Berners himself is known to have used[52].
Therefore, if Berners was already under Guevara's influence in 1524, he
must have known of an earlier French pirated translation of an earlier
pirated edition of the _Libro Aureo_. To sum up; if the euphuistic
tendency in English prose is to be ascribed entirely, or even mainly, to
the influence of Guevara's _Libro Aureo_, we must digest four
improbabilities: (i) that there existed a pirated edition of the book in
Spain _earlier_ than 1524: (ii) that this had been translated into
French, also before 1524, although the version of Bertaut in 1531 is the
earliest French translation we have any trace of: (iii) that Berners
himself had come across this hypothetical French edition, again before
1524: and (iv) that the French translation had so faithfully reproduced
the style of the original, that Berners was able to translate it from
French into English, for the purpose of his prologue to _Froissart_.

  [45] Huon, p. 787.

  [46] _Froissart_, Globe edition, p. xxviii.

  [47] Huon, p. 788.

  [48] After writing the above I have noticed that Mr G. C. Macaulay, in
  the Introduction to the Globe _Froissart_, writes as follows (p. xvi):
  "If nothing else could be adduced to show that the tendency (i.e.
  euphuism) existed already in English literature, the prefaces to Lord
  Berners' _Froissart_ written before he could possibly have read
  Guevara, would be enough to prove it."

  [49] There are two extant editions of 1529, (i) published at
  Valladolid, from which the words above are quoted, (ii) published at
  Enueres, which appears to be an earlier edition. Copies of both in the
  British Museum.

  [50] Hallam, _Lit. of Europe_, ed. 1855, vol. I. p. 403 n. Brunet in
  his _Manuel de Libraire_ gives Hallam's view without comment, tome II.

  [51] Underhill, p. 69.

  [52] Bond, vol. I. p. 137.

In face of these facts, the Guevara theory is no longer tenable; and in
consequence the whole situation is reversed, and we approach the problem
from the natural side, the side from which it should have been
approached from the first--that is from the English and not the Spanish
side. I say the natural side, because it seems to me obvious that the
popularity of a foreign author in any country implies the existence in
that country, previous to the introduction of the author, of an
atmosphere (or more concretely a public) favourable to the
distinguishing characteristics of the author introduced. And so it now
appears that Guevara found favour in England because his style, or
something very like it, was already known there; and it was the most
natural thing in the world that Berners, who shows that style most
prominently, should have been the channel by which Guevara became known
to English readers. The whole problem of this 16th century prose is
analogous to that of 18th century verse. The solution of both was for a
long time found in foreign influence. It was natural to assume that
France, the pivot of our foreign policy at the end of the 17th century,
gave us the classical movement, and that Spain, equally important
politically in the 16th century, gave us euphuism. Closer investigation
has disproved both these theories[53], showing that, while foreign
influence was undoubtedly an immense factor in the _development_ of
these literary fashions, their real _origin_ was English.

  [53] For 18th century v. Gosse, _From Shakespeare to Pope_.

The proof of this does not rest entirely on the case of Berners. We
might even concede that he was acquainted with an earlier edition of
Guevara, and that his style was actually derived from Spanish sources,
without surrendering our thesis that euphuism was a natural growth.
Berners' euphuism, whatever its origin, was premature; and, though the
_Golden Boke_ passed through twelve editions between 1534 and 1560, we
cannot say that its style influenced English writing until the time of
Lyly, for its vogue was confined to a small class of readers, designated
by Mr Underhill as the "Guevara-group." On the other hand, it is
possible to trace a feeling towards euphuism among writers who were
quite outside this group.

Latimer, for example, delighted in alliterative turns of speech, though
the antithetical mannerisms are absent in him. His famous denunciation
of the unpreaching prelates is an excellent instance:

"But now for the faults of unpreaching prelates, methink I could guess
what might be said for the excusing of them. They are so troubled with
lordly living, they be so placed in palaces, couched in courts, ruffling
in their rents, dancing in their dominions, burdened with ambassages,
pampering of their paunches like a monk that maketh his jubilee,
munching in their mangers, and moiling in their gay manors and
mansions, and so troubled with loitering in their lordships, that they
cannot attend it."

Here is no transverse alliteration, such as we find so frequently in
Lyly, but a simple alliteration--"a rudimentary euphuism of balanced and
alliterative phrases, probably like the alliteration of Anglo-Saxon
homilies, borrowed from popular poetry[54]." Latimer also employs the
responsive method so frequently used by Lyly. "But ye say it is new
learning. Now I tell you it is old learning. Yea, ye say, it is old
heresy new scoured. Nay, I tell you it is old truth long rusted with
your canker, and now made new bright and scoured." It is no long step
from this to the rhetorical question and its formal answer "ay but----."
Alliteration is not found in Guevara; it was an addition, and a very
important one, made by his translators. This was at any rate a purely
native product, and cannot be assigned to Spain. The antithesis and
parallelism were the fruits of humanism, and they appear, combined with
Latimer's alliteration, in the writings of Sir John Cheke and his pupil
Roger Ascham. Cheke's famous criticism of Sallust's style, as being
"more art than nature and more labour than art," introduces us at once
to euphuism, and gives us by the way a very excellent comment upon it.
Again he speaks of "magistrates more ready to tender all justice and
pitifull in hearing the poor man's causes which ought to amend matters
more than you can devise and were ready to redress them better than you
can imagine[55]"; which is a good example of the euphuistic combination
of alliteration and balance.

  [54] Craik, vol. I. p. 224.

  [55] Craik, p. 258.

In Ascham the style is still more marked. There are, indeed, so many
examples of euphuism in the _Schoolmaster_ and in the _Toxophilus_,
that one can only select. As an illustration of transverse alliteration
quite as complex as any in _Euphues_, we may notice the following: "Hard
wittes be hard to receive, but sure to keep; painfull without weariness,
hedefull without wavering, constant without any new fanglednesse;
bearing heavie things, though not lightlie, yet willinglie; entering
hard things though not easily, yet depelie[56]." Classical allusions
abound throughout Ascham's work, and he occasionally indulges in the
ethics of natural history as follows:

"Young Graftes grow not onlie sonest, but also fairest and bring always
forth the best and sweetest fruite; young whelps learne easilie to
carrie; young Popingeis learne quickly to speak; and so, to be short, if
in all other things though they lacke reason, sense, and life, the
similitude of youth is fittest to all goodnesse, surelie nature in
mankinde is more beneficial and effectual in this behalfe[57]."

  [56] Arber, _Schoolmaster_, p. 35.

  [57] _id._, p. 46.

We know that Lyly had read the _Schoolmaster_, as he took the very title
of his book from its description of Εὐφυής as "he that is apte
by goodnesse of witte and applicable by readiness of will to
learning"--a description which is in itself a euphuism; and it is
probable that he knew his Ascham as thoroughly as he did his Guevara.

Sir Henry Craik has some very pertinent remarks on the peculiarities of
Ascham's style. "One of these," he writes, "is his proneness to
alliteration, due perhaps to his desire to reproduce the most striking
features of the Early English.... A tendency of an almost directly
opposite kind is the balance of sentences which he imitates from
Classical models.... These two are perhaps the most striking
characteristics of Ascham's prose; and it is interesting to observe how
much the structure of the sentence in the more elaborated stages of
English prose is due to their combination[58]." Here we have the two
elements of our native-grown euphuism, and their origins, carefully
distinguished. Of course with euphuism we do not commence English prose;
that is already centuries old; but we are dealing with the beginnings of
English prose style, by which we mean a conscious and artistic striving
after literary effect. That the first stylists should look to the
rhetoricians for their models was inevitable, and of these there were
two kinds available; the classical orators and the alliterative homilies
of the Early English. But, deferring this point for a later treatment,
let us conclude our study of the evolution of euphuism in England.

  [58] Craik, I. p. 269.

So far we have been dealing with euphuistic tendencies only, since in
the style of Ascham and his predecessors, alliteration and antithesis
are not employed consistently, but merely on occasion for the sake of
emphasis. Other marks of euphuism, such as the fantastic embroidery of
mythical beasts and flowers, are absent. Even in North's _Diall_
alliteration is not profuse, and similes from natural history are
comparatively rare. In George Pettie, however, we find a complete
euphuist before _Euphues_. This writer again brings us in touch with
that Oxford atmosphere, which, I maintain, surrounded the birth of the
full-blown euphuism. A student of Christ Church, he took his B.A. degree
in 1560[59], and so probably just escaped being a contemporary of Lyly.
But, as he was a "dear friend" of William Gager, who was a considerably
younger man than himself, it seems probable that he continued his Oxford
connexion after his degree. However this may be, he published his
_Petite Pallace of Pettie his Pleasure_, which so exactly anticipates
the style of _Euphues_, in 1576, only two years before the later book.
The _Petite Pallace_ was an imitation of the famous _Palace of Pleasure_
published in 1566 by William Painter, who, though he had known Guevara's
writings, drew his material almost entirely from Italian sources. That
Pettie also possessed a knowledge of Spanish literature, as we should
expect from the period of his residence at Oxford, is shown by his
translation of Guazzo's _Civile Conversation_ in 1581, to which he
affixes a euphuistic preface. This again was only a left-handed
transcript from the French. Therefore the Spanish elements, though
undoubtedly present, cannot be insisted upon. We may concede that Pettie
had read North, or even go so far as to assert with Mr Underhill that he
was acquainted with "parts of the Gallicized Guevara," without lending
countenance to Dr Landmann's radical theories. No one, reading the
_Petite Pleasure_, can doubt that Pettie was the real creator of
euphuism in its fullest development, and that Lyly was only an imitator.
Though I have already somewhat overburdened this chapter. I cannot
refrain from quoting a passage from Pettie, not only as an example of
his style, but also because the passage is in itself so delightful, that
it is one's duty to rescue it from oblivion:

"As amongst all the bonds of benevolence and good will, there is none
more honourable, ancient, or honest than marriage, so in my fancy there
is none that doth more firmly fasten and inseparably unite us together
than the same estate doth, or wherein the fruits of true friendship do
more plenteously appear: in the father is a certain severe love and
careful goodwill towards the child, the child beareth a fearful
affection and awful obedience towards the father: the master hath an
imperious regard of the servant, the servant a servile care of the
master. The friendship amongst men is grounded upon no love and
dissolved upon every light occasion: the goodwill of kinsfolk is
constantly cold, as much of custom as of devotion: but in this stately
estate of matrimony there is nothing fearful, all things are done
faithfully without doubting, truly without doubling, willingly without
constraint, joyfully without complaint: yea there is such a general
consent and mutual agreement between the man and wife, that they both
wish and will covet and crave one thing. And as a scion grafted in a
strange stalk, their natures being united by growth, they become one and
together bear one fruit: so the love of the wife planted in the breast
of her husband, their hearts by continuance of love become one, one
sense and one soul serveth them both. And as the scion severed from the
stock withereth away, if it be not grafted in some other: so a loving
wife separated from the society of her husband withereth away in woe and
leadeth a life no less pleasant than death[60]." Lyly never wrote
anything to equal this. Indeed it is not unworthy of the lips of one of
Shakespeare's heroines.

  [59] _Dict. of Nat. Biog._, Pettie.

  [60] I have taken the liberty of modernising the spelling.

The euphuism of the foregoing quotation will be readily detected. The
sole difference between the styles of Lyly and Pettie is that, while
Pettie's similes from nature are simple and natural, Lyly, with his
knowledge of Pliny and of the bestiaries, added his fabulous "unnatural
natural history." Pettie's book was popular for the time, three editions
of it being called for in the first year of its publication, but it was
soon to be thrust aside by the fame of the much more pretentious, and,
apart from the style, better constructed _Euphues_ of Lyly. In truth, as
Gabriel Harvey justly but unkindly remarks, "Young Euphues but hatched
the eggs his elder freendes laid." But the parental responsibility and
merit must be attributed to him who hatches. It was Lyly who made
euphuism famous and therefore a power; and, despite the fact that he
marks the culmination of the movement, he is the most dynamical of all
the euphuists.

It remains to sum up our conclusions respecting the origin and
development of this literary phase. Difficult as it is to unravel the
tangled network of obscure influences which surrounded its birth, I
venture to think that a sufficiently complete disproof of that extreme
theory, which would ascribe it entirely to Guevara's influence, has been
offered. Guevara, in the translation of Berners, undoubtedly took the
field early, but, as we have seen, Berners was probably feeling towards
the style before he knew Guevara; and moreover the bishop's _alto
estilo_ must have suffered considerably while passing through the
French. Even allowing everything, as we have done, for the close
connexion between Spain and England, for the Spanish tradition at
Oxford, and for the interest in peninsular writings shown by Lyly's
immediate circle of friends, we cannot accord to Dr Landmann's
explanation anything more than a very modified acceptance. Nor would a
complete rejection of this solution of the Lyly problem render English
euphuism inexplicable; for something very like it would naturally have
resulted from the close application of classical methods to prose
writing; and in the case of Cheke and Ascham we actually see the process
at work. And yet Lyly owed a great debt to Guevara. A true solution,
therefore, must find a place for foreign as well as native influences.
And to say that the Spanish intervention confirmed and hastened a
development already at work, of which the original impulse was English,
is, I think, to give a due allowance to both.

SECTION III. _Lyly's Legatees and the relation between Euphuism and the

The publication of _Euphues_ was the culmination, rather than the
origin, of that literary phase to which it gave its name. And the vogue
of euphuism after 1579 was short, lasting indeed only until about 1590;
yet during these ten years its influence was far-reaching, and left a
definite mark upon later English prose. It would be idle, if not
impossible, to trace its effects upon every individual writer who fell
under its immediate fascination. Moreover the task has already been
performed in a great measure by M. Jusserand[61] and Mr Bond[62]. They
have shown once and for all that Greene, Lodge, Welbanke, Munday,
Warner, Wilkinson, and above all Shakespeare, were indebted to our
author for certain mannerisms of style. I shall therefore content myself
with noticing two or three writers, tainted with euphuism, who have been
generally overlooked, and who seem to me important enough, either in
themselves, or as throwing light upon the subject of the essay, to
receive attention.

  [61] Jusserand, ch. IV.

  [62] Bond, vol. I. pp. 164-175.

The first of these is the dramatist Kyd, who completed his well-known
_Spanish Tragedy_ between 1584 and 1589, that is at the height of the
euphuistic fashion. This play was apparently an inexhaustible joke to
the Elizabethans; for the references to it in later dramatists are
innumerable. One passage must have been particularly famous, for we find
it parodied most elaborately by Field, as late as 1606, in his _A Woman
is a Weathercock_[63]. The passage in question, which was obviously
inspired by Lyly, runs as follows:

    "Yet might she love me for my valiance:
     I, but that's slandered by captivity.
     Yet might she love me to content her sire:
     I, but her reason masters her desire.
     Yet might she love me as her brother's friend:
     I, but her hopes aim at some other end.
     Yet might she love me to uprear her state:
     I, but perhaps she loves some nobler mate.
     Yet might she love me as her beautie's thrall:
     I, but I feare she cannot love at all."

  [63] Act I. Sc. II.

Nathaniel Field's parody of this melodramatic nonsense is so amusing
that I cannot forbear quoting it. This time the despairing lover is Sir
Abraham Ninny, who quotes Kyd to his companions, and they with the cry
of "Ha God-a-mercy, old Hieromino!" begin the game of parody, which must
have been keenly enjoyed by the audience. Field improves on the original
by putting the alternate lines of despair into the mouths of Ninny's
jesting friends. It runs, therefore:

    "--Yet might she love me for my lovely eyes.
     --Ay but, perhaps your nose she does despise.
     --Yet might she love me for my dimpled chin.
     --Ay but, she sees your beard is very thin.
     --Yet might she love me for my proper body.
     --Ay but, she thinks you are an arrant noddy.
     --Yet might she love me 'cause I am an heir.
     --Ay but, perhaps she does not like your ware.
     --Yet might she love me in despite of all.
     (the lady herself)--Ay but indeed I cannot love at all."

This parody, apart from any interest it possesses for the student of
Lyly, is an excellent illustration of the ways of Elizabethan
playwrights, and of the thorough knowledge of previous plays they
assumed their audience to have possessed. There are several other
examples of Kyd's acquaintance with the _Euphues_ in the _Spanish
Tragedy_[64], in the other dramas[65], and in his prose works[66], which
it is not necessary to quote. But there is one more passage, again from
his most famous play, which is so full of interest that it cannot be
passed over in silence. It is a counsel of hope to the despairing lover,
and assumes this inspiring form:

    "My Lord, though Belimperia seem thus coy
     Let reason hold you in your wonted joy;
     In time the savage Bull sustains the yoke,
     In time all Haggard Hawkes will stoop to lure,
     In time small wedges cleave the hardest Oake,
     In time the flint is pearst with softest shower,
     And she in time will fall from her disdain,
     And rue the sufferance of your deadly paine[67]."

  [64] _Sp. Trag._, Act IV. 190 (cp. _Euphues_, p. 146).

  [65] _Soliman and Perseda_, Act III. 130 (cp. _Euphues_, p. 100), and
  Act II. 199.

  [66] _Kyd's Works_ (Boas), p. 288, and ch. IX.

  [67] _Sp. Trag._, Act II. 1-8.

Now these lines are practically a transcript of the opening words of the
47th sonnet in Watson's _Hekatompathia_ published in 1582. Remembering
Lyly's penetrating observation that "the soft droppes of rain pearce the
hard marble, many strokes overthrow the tallest oake[68]," and bearing
in mind that the high priest of euphuism himself contributed a
commendatory epistle to the _Hekatompathia_, we should expect that these
Bulls and Hawkes and Oakes were choice flowers of speech, culled from
that botanico-zoological "garden of prose"--the _Euphues_. But as a
matter of fact Watson himself informs us in a note that his sonnet is an
imitation of the Italian Serafino, from whom he also borrows other
sonnet-conceits in the same volume, some of which are full of similar
references to the properties of animals and plants. The conclusion is
forced upon us therefore that Watson and Lyly went to the same source,
or, if a knowledge of Italian cannot be granted to our author, that he
borrowed from Watson. At any rate Watson cannot be placed amongst the
imitators of _Euphues_. Like Pettie and Gosson he must share with Lyly
the credit of creation. He was a friend of Lyly's at Oxford; they
dedicated their books to the same patron, and they employed the same
publisher. Moreover, the little we have of Watson's prose is highly
euphuistic, and it is apparent from the epistle above mentioned that he
was on terms of closest intimacy with the author of _Euphues_. In him we
have another member of that interesting circle of Oxford euphuists, who
continued their connexion in London under de Vere's patronage.

  [68] _Euphues_, p. 337.

Watson again was a friend of the well-known poet Richard Barnefield, who
though too young in 1578 to have been of the University coterie of
euphuists, shows definite traces of their affectation in his works. The
conventional illustrations from an "unnatural natural history" abound in
his _Affectionate Shepherd_[69] (1594), and he repeats the jargon about
marble and showers[70] which we have seen in Lyly, Watson and Kyd. Again
in his _Cynthia_ (1594) there is a distinct reference to the opening
words of _Euphues_ in the lines,

    "Wit without wealth is bad, yet counted good;
     Wealth wanting wisdom's worse, yet deemed as well[71]."

His prose introduction betrays the same influence.

  [69] _Poems_, Arber, pp. 18 and 19.

  [70] _id._, p. 24.

  [71] _id._, p. 51.

These then are a few among the countless scribblers of those prolific
times who fell under the spell of the euphuistic fashion. They are
mentioned, either because their connexion with the movement has been
overlooked, or because they throw a new and important light upon Lyly
himself. Of other legatees it is impossible to treat here; and it is
enough, without tracing it in any detail, to indicate "the slender
euphuistic thread that runs in iron through Marlowe, in silver through
Shakespeare, in bronze through Bacon, in more or less inferior metal
through every writer of that age[72]."

  [72] Symonds, p. 407.

There is nothing strange in this infatuation, if we remember that
euphuism was "the English type of an all but universal disease[73]," as
Symonds puts it. Dr Landmann, we have decided, was wrong in his
insistence upon foreign influence; but his error was a natural one, and
points to a fact which no student of Renaissance literature can afford
to neglect. Matthew Arnold long ago laid down the clarifying principle
that "the criticism which alone can much help us for the future, is a
criticism which regards Europe as being, for intellectual and spiritual
purposes, one great confederation, bound to a joint action and working
to a common result[74]." And the truth of this becomes more and more
indisputable, the longer we study European history, whether it be from
the side of Politics, of Religion, or of Art. Landmann ascribes euphuism
to Spain, Symonds ascribes it to Italy, and an equally good case might
be made out in favour of France. There is truth in all these hypotheses,
but each misses the true significance of the matter, which is that
euphuism must have come, and would have come, without any question of

  [73] _id._, p. 404.

  [74] _Essays in Criticism_, I. p. 39.

The date 1453 is usually taken as a convenient starting point for the
Renaissance, though the movement was already at work in Italy, for that
was the year of Byzantium's fall and of the diffusion of the classics
over Europe. But, for the countries outside Italy, I think that the date
1493 is almost as important. Hitherto the new learning had been in a
great measure confined to Italy, but with the invasion of Charles VIII.,
which commences a long period of French and Spanish occupation of
Italian soil, the Renaissance, especially on its artistic side, began to
find its way into the neighbouring states, and through them into
England. It is the old story, so familiar to sociologists, of a lower
civilization falling under the spell of the culture exhibited by a more
advanced subject population, of a conqueror worshipping the gods of the
conquered. It is the story of the conquest of Greece by Rome, of the
conquest of Rome by the Germans. But the interesting point to notice is
that, when the "barbarian" Frenchman descended from the Alps upon the
fair plains of Lombardy, the Italian Renaissance was already showing
signs of decadence. It was in the age of the Petrarchisti, of Aretino,
of Doni, and of Marini that Europe awoke to the full consciousness of
the wonders of Italian literature. Thus it was that those beyond the
Alps drank of water already tainted. That France, Spain, and England
should be attracted by the affectations of Italy, rather than by what
was best in her literature, was only to be expected. "It was easier to
catch the trick of an Aretino, and a Marini, than to emulate the style
of a Tasso or a Castiglione": and besides they were themselves inventing
similar extravagances independently of Italy. The purely formal ideal of
Art had in Spain already found expression among the courtiers of
Juan II. of Castile. One of them, Baena, writes as follows of poetry:
"that it cannot be learned or well and properly known, save by the man
of very deep and subtle invention, and of a very lofty and fine
discretion, and of a very healthy and unerring judgment, and such a one
must have seen and heard and read many and diverse books and writings,
and know all languages and have frequented kings' Courts and associated
with great men and beheld and taken part in worldly affairs; and finally
he must be of gentle birth, courteous and sedate, polished, humorous,
polite, witty, and have in his composition honey, and sugar, and salt,
and a good presence and a witty manner of reasoning; moreover he must be
also a lover and ever make a show and pretence of it[75]." Such a
catalogue of the poet's requisites might have been written by any one of
our Oxford euphuists; and Watson, at least, among them fulfilled all its

  [75] Butler Clarke, _Spanish Literature_, p. 71.

The Italian influence, therefore, did but hasten a process already at
work. The reasons for this universal movement are very difficult to
determine. But among many suggestions of more or less value, a few
causes of the change may here be hazarded. In the first place, then, the
Renaissance happened to be contemporaneous with the death of feudalism.
The ideal of chivalry is dying out all over Europe; and the romances of
chivalry are everywhere despised. The horizontal class divisions become
obscured by the newly found perpendicular divisions of nationality; and
in Italy and England at least the old feudal nobility have almost
entirely disappeared. A new centre of national life and culture is
therefore in the process of formation, that of the Court; and thanks to
this, the ideal of chivalry gives place to the new ideal of the courtier
or the gentleman. This ideal found literary expression in the moral
Court treatises, which were so universally popular during the
Renaissance, and of which Guevara, Castiglione, and Lyly are the most
famous instances. The ambition of those who frequent Courts has always
been to appear distinguished--distinguished that is from the vulgar and
the ordinary, or, as we should now say, from the Philistine. In the
Courts of the Renaissance period, where learning was considered so
admirable, this necessary distinction would naturally take the form of a
cultured, if not pedantic, diction; and for this it was natural that men
should go to the classics, and more especially to classical orators, as
models of good speech. It must not be imagined that this process was a
conscious one. In many countries the rhetorical style was already formed
by scholars before it became the speech of the Court. In fact the
beginnings of modern prose style are to be found in humanism. Ascham
with his hatred of the "Italianated gentleman," was probably quite
unconscious of his own affinity to that objectionable type, when
imitating the style of his favourite Tully in the _Schoolmaster_. The
classics it must be remembered were not discovered by the humanists,
they were only rediscovered. The middle ages had used them, as they had
used the Old Testament, as prophetic books. Virgil's mediaeval
reputation for example rests for the most part upon the fourth Eclogue.
The humanists, on the other hand, looked upon the classics as literature
and valued them for their style. But here again they drank from tainted
sources; for, with the exception of a few writers such as Cicero and
Terence, the classics they knew and loved best were the product of the
silver age of Rome, the characteristics of which are beautifully
described by the author of _Marius the Epicurean_ in his chapter
significantly called _Euphuism_. Few of the Renaissance students had the
critical acumen of Cheke, and they fell therefore an easy prey to the
stylism of the later Latin writers, with its antithesis and
extravagance. But, with all this, men could not quite shake off the
middle ages. There is much of the Scholastic in Lyly, and the exuberance
of ornament, the fantastic similes from natural history, and the moral
lessons deduced from them, are quite mediaeval in feeling. We learnt the
lessons of the classics backward; and it was not until centuries after,
that men realised that the essence of Hellenism is restraint and

I have spoken of the movement generally, but it passed through many
phases, such as arcadianism, gongorism, dubartism; and yet of all these
phases euphuism was, I think, the most important: certainly if we
confine our attention to English literature this must be admitted. But,
even if we keep our eyes upon the Continent alone, euphuism would seem
to be more significant than the movements which succeeded it; for it was
a definite attempt, seriously undertaken, to force modern languages into
a classical mould, while the other and later affectations were merely
passing extravagances, possessing little dynamical importance. In this
way, short-lived and abortive as it seemed, euphuism anticipated the
literature of the _ancien régime_.

The movement, moreover, was only one aspect of the Renaissance; it was
the under-current which in the 18th century became the main stream.
Paradoxical as it may seem, the Renaissance in its most modern aspect
was a development of the middle ages, and not of the classics. This we
call romanticism. As an artistic product it was developed on strictly
national and traditional lines, born of the fields as it were, free as a
bird and as sweet, giving birth in England to the drama, in Italy to the
plastic arts. It is essentially opposed to the classical movement, for
it represents the idea as distinct from the form. Lyly belongs to both
movements, for, while he is the protagonist of the romantic drama, in
his _Euphues_ we may discover the source of the artificial stream which,
concealed for a while beneath the wild exuberance of the romantic
growth, appears later in the 18th century embracing the whole current of
English literature. Before, however, proceeding to fix the position of
euphuism in the development of English prose, let us sum up the results
we have obtained from our examination of its relation to the general
European Renaissance. Originating in that study of classical style we
find so forcibly advocated by Ascham in his _Schoolmaster_, it was
essentially a product of humanism. In every country scholars were
interested as much in the style as in the matter of the newly discovered
classics. This was due, partly to the lateness of the Latin writers
chiefly known to them, partly to the mediaeval preference for words
rather than ideas, and partly to the fact that the times were not yet
ripe for an appreciation of the spirit as distinct from the letter of
the classics. In Italy, in France, and in Spain, therefore, we may find
parallels to euphuism without supposing any international borrowings.
_Euphues_, in fact, is not so much a reflection of, as a _Glasse for

SECTION IV. _The position of Euphuism in the history of English prose._

A few words remain to be said about this literary curiosity, by way of
assigning a place to it in the history of our prose. To do so with any
scientific precision is impossible, but there are many points of no
small significance in this connexion, which should not be passed over.

English prose at the beginning of the 16th century, that is before the
new learning had become a power in the land, though it had not yet been
employed for artistic purposes, was already an important part of our
literature, and possessed a quality which no national prose had
exhibited since the days of Greece, the quality of popularity[76]. This
popularity, which arose from the fact that French and Latin had for so
long been the language of the ruling section of the community, is still
the distinction which marks off our prose from that of other nations. In
Italy, for example, the language of literature is practically
incomprehensible to the dwellers on the soil. But what English prose has
gained in breadth and comprehension by representing the tongue of the
people, it has lost in subtlety. French prose, which developed from the
speech of the Court, is a delicate instrument, capable of expressing the
finest shades of meaning, while the styles of George Meredith and of
Henry James show how difficult it is for a subtle intellect to move
freely within the limitations of English prose. Indeed, "it is a
remarkable fact," as Sainte Beuve noticed, "and an inversion of what is
true of other languages that, in French, prose has always had the
precedence over poetry." Repeated attempts, however, have been made to
capture our language, and to transport it into aristocratic atmospheres;
and of these attempts the first is associated with the name of Lyly.

  [76] Cf. Earle, pp. 422, 423.

We have seen that English euphuism was at first a flower of unconscious
growth sprung from the soil of humanism. But ultimately, in the hands of
Pettie, Gosson, Lyly, and Watson, it became the instrument of an Oxford
coterie deliberately and consciously employed for the purpose of
altering the form of English prose. These men did not despise their
native tongue; they used the purest English, carefully avoiding the
favourite "ink-horn terms" of their contemporaries: they admired it, as
one admires a wild bird of the fields, which one wishes to capture in
order to make it hop and sing in a golden cage. The humanists were
already developing a learned style within the native language; Lyly and
his friends utilized this learned style for the creation of an
aristocratic type. Euphuism was no "transient phase of madness[77]," as
Mr Earle contemptuously calls it, but a brave attempt, and withal a
first attempt, to assert that prose writing is an art no less than the
writing of poetry; and this alone should give it a claim upon students
of English literature.

  [77] Earle, p. 436.

The first point we must notice, therefore, about English euphuism is
that it represents a tendency to confine literature within the limits of
the Court--in accordance, one might almost say, with the general
centralization of politics and religion under the Tudors--and that, as a
necessary result of this, conscious prose style appears for the first
time in our language. I say English euphuism, because that is our chief
concern, and because though euphuism on the Continent was, as we have
seen, the expression in literature of the new ideal of the courtier, yet
it was by no means so great an innovation as it was in England, inasmuch
as the Romance literatures had always represented the aristocracy. The
form which this style assumed was dependent upon the circumstances which
gave it birth, and upon the general conditions of the age. Owing to the
former it became erudite, polished, precise, meet indeed for the
"parleyings" of courtiers and maids-in-waiting; but it was to the latter
that it owed its essentials. Hitherto we have contented ourselves with
indicating the rhetorical aspect of euphuism. We have seen that the
Latin orators and the writers of our English homilies exercised a
considerable influence over the new stylists. It was natural that
rhetoricians should attract those who were desirous of writing
ornamental and artistic prose, and one feels inclined to believe that it
was not entirely for spiritual reasons that Lyly frequently attended Dr
Andrews' sermons[78]. But the euphuistic manner has a wider significance
than this, for it marks the transition from poetry to prose.

  [78] Bond, I. p. 60.

"The age of Elizabeth is pre-eminently an age of poetry, of which prose
may be regarded as merely the overflow[79]." It was at once the end of
the mediaeval, and the beginning of the modern, world, and consequently,
it displays the qualities of both. But the future lay with the small men
rather than with the great. Shakespeare and Milton were no innovators.
With their names the epoch of primitive literature, which finds
expression in the drama and the epic, ends, while it reaches its highest
flights. The dawn of the modern epoch, the age of prose and of the
novel, is, on the other hand, connected with the names of Lyly, Sidney,
and Nash. Thus, as in the 18th century poetry was subservient, and so
became assimilated, to prose, so the prose of the 16th century exhibited
many of the characteristics of verse. And of this general literary
feature euphuism is the most conspicuous example; for in its employment
of alliteration and antithesis, in addition to the excessive use of
illustration and simile which characterizes arcadianism and its
successors, the style of Lyly is transitional in structure as well as in
ornament. Moreover the alliteration, which is peculiar to English
euphuism, gives it a musical element which its continental parallels
lacked. The dividing line between alliteration and rhyme, and between
antithesis and rhythm, is not a broad one[80]. Indeed Pettie found it so
narrow that he occasionally lapsed into metrical rhythm. And so, though
we cannot say that euphuism is verse, we can say that it partakes of the
nature of verse. In this endeavour to provide an adequate structure for
the support of the mass of imagery that the taste of the age demanded,
it showed itself superior to the rival prose fashions. _Euphues_ is a
model of form beside the tedious prolixity of the _Arcadia_, or the
chaotic effusions of Nash. The weariness, which the modern reader feels
for the romance of Lyly, is due rather to the excessive quantity of its
metaphor, which was the fault of the age, than to its pedantic style.

  [79] Raleigh, p. 45.

  [80] This touches upon the famous dispute between Dr Schwan and Dr
  Goodlet which is excellently dealt with by Mr Child, p. 77.

I write loosely of "style," but strictly speaking the euphuists paid
especial attention to diction. And here again the poetical and
aristocratic tendencies of euphuism show themselves. For diction, which
is the art of selection, the selection of apt words, is of course one of
the first essentials of poetic art, and is also more prominent in the
prose of Court literature than elsewhere. The precision, the _finesse_,
the subtlety, of French prose has only been attained by centuries of
attention to diction. English prose, on the other hand, is singularly
lacking in this quality; and for this cause it would never have produced
a Flaubert, despite its splendid achievements in style. Had euphuism
been more successful, it might have altered the whole aspect of later
English prose, by giving us in the 16th century that quality of diction
which did not become prominent in our prose until the days of Pater and
the purists.

And yet, though it failed in this particular, the influence of the
general qualities of its style upon later prose must have been
incalculable. The vogue of euphuism as a craze was brief; but _Euphues_
received fresh publication about once every three years down to 1636,
and long after its social popularity had become a thing of the past, it
probably attracted the careful study of those who wished to write
artistic prose. The only model of prose form which the age possessed
could scarcely sink into oblivion, or become out of date, until its
principal lessons had been so well learnt as to pass into common-places.
The exaggerations, which first gave it fame, were probably discounted by
the more sincere appreciation of later critics, to whom its more
sterling qualities would appeal. For some reason, the musical properties
of euphuism do not appear to have found favour among those critics, and
this was probably a loss to our literature. "Alliteration," as Professor
Raleigh remarks, "is often condemned as a flaw in rhymed verse, and it
may well be open to question whether Lyly did not give it its true
position in attempting to invent a place for it in what is called
prose[81]." Possibly its failure in this respect was due to the growth
of that intellectual asceticism, and that reaction against the
domination of poetry, which are, I think, intimately bound up with the
fortunes of Puritanism. The beginning of this reaction is visible as
early as 1589 in the words of Warner's preface to _Albion's England_,
which display the very affectation they protest against: "onely this
error may be thought hatching in our English, that to runne on the
letter we often runne from the matter: and being over prodigall in
similes we become lesse profitable in sentences and more prolixious to
sense." But, however this may be, it was the formal rather than the
musical qualities which gave _Euphues_ its dynamical importance in the
history of English prose. Subsequent writers had much to learn from a
book in which the principle of design is for the first time visible.
With euphuism, antithesis and the use of balanced sentences came to
stay. We may see them in the style of Johnson and Gibbon, while
alliterative antithesis reappears to-day in the shape of the epigram.
Doubtless Lyly abused the antithetical device; but his successors had
only to discover a means of skilfully concealing the structure, an
improvement which the early euphuists, with all the enthusiasm of
inventors, could not have appreciated.

  [81] Raleigh, p. 47.

Moreover, in aiming at elegance and precision, Lyly attained a lucidity
almost unequalled among his contemporaries. His attention to form saved
him from the besetting sin of Elizabethan prose,--incoherence by reason
of an overwhelming display of ornament. His very illustrations were
subject to the restraint which his style demanded, being sown, to use
his own metaphor, "here and there lyke Strawberries, not in heapes, lyke
Hoppes[82]." Arcadianism came as a reaction against euphuism, attempting
to replace its artificiality by simplicity. But how infinitely more
preferable is the novel of Lyly, with its artificial precision and
lucidity, to the conscious artlessness of Sidney's _Arcadia_, with its
interminable sentences and confused syntax. As a modern euphuist has
taught us, of all poses the natural pose is the most irritating. In
accordance with his desire for precision, Lyly made frequent use of the
short sentence. In this we have another indication of his modernity:
for the short sentence, which is so characteristic of English prose
style to-day, occurs more often in his work than in the writings of any
of his predecessors. And, in reference to the same question of lucidity,
we may notice that he was the first writer who gave special attention to
the separation of his prose into paragraphs,--a matter apparently
trivial, but really of no small importance. Finally, it is a remarkable
fact that the number of words to be found in _Euphues_ which have since
become obsolete is a very small one--"at most but a small fraction of
one per cent.[83]" And this is in itself sufficient to indicate the
influence which Lyly's novel has exerted upon English prose. As he reads
it, no one can avoid being struck by the modernity of its language, an
impression not to be obtained from a perusal of the plays. The
explanation is simple enough. The plays were not read or absorbed by
their author's contemporaries and successors; _Euphues_ was. In the
domain of style, _Euphues_ was dynamical; the plays were not.

  [82] _Euphues_, p. 220.

  [83] Child, p. 41.

But the true value of Lyly's prose lies not so much in what it achieved
as in what it attempted; for the qualities, which euphuism, by its
insistence upon design and elegance, really aimed at, were strength,
brilliancy, and refinement. For the first time in the history of our
literature, men are found to write prose with the purpose of fascinating
and enticing the reader, not merely by what is said, but also by the
manner of saying it. "Lyly" (and, we may add, his associates), writes
his latest editor, "grasped the fact that in prose no less than in
poetry, the reader demanded to be led onward by a succession of half
imperceptible shocks of pleasure in the beauty and vigour of diction, or
in the ingenuity of phrasing, in sentence after sentence--pleasure
inseparable from that caused by a perception of the nice adaptation of
words to thought, pleasure quite other than that derivable from the
acquisition of fresh knowledge[84]." The direct influence of the man who
first taught us this lesson, who showed us that a writer, to be
successful, should seek not merely to express himself, but also to study
the mind of his reader, must have been something quite beyond
computation. And that his direct influence was not more lasting was due,
in the first place, to the fact that he had not grasped the full
significance of this psychological aspect of style, if we may so call
it, which he and his friends had been the first to discover. As with
most first attempts, euphuism, while bestowing immense benefits upon
those who came after, was itself a failure. The euphuists perceived the
problem of style, but successfully attacked only one half of it. More
acute than their contemporaries, they realised the principle of economy,
but, as with one who makes an entirely new mechanical invention, they
were themselves unable to appreciate what their discovery would lead to.
They were right in addressing themselves to the task of attracting, and
stimulating, the reader by means of precision, pointed antithesis, and
such like attempts to induce pleasurable mental sensations, but they
forgot that anyone must eventually grow weary under the influence of
continuous excitation without variation. The soft drops of rain pierce
the hard marble, many strokes overthrow the tallest oak, and much
monotony will tire the readiest reader. Or, to use the phraseology of a
somewhat more recent scientist, they "considered only those causes of
force in language which depend upon economy of the mental _energies_,"
they paid no attention to "those which depend upon the economy of the
mental _sensibilities_[85]." This is one explanation of the weariness
with which _Euphues_ fills the modern reader, and of the speed with
which, in spite of its priceless pioneer work, that book was superseded
and forgotten in its own days. It is our duty to give it its full meed
of recognition, but we can understand and forgive the ungratefulness of
its contemporaries.

  [84] Bond, I. p. 146.

  [85] H. Spencer, Essays, II. _Phil. of Style_.

Another cause of the oblivion which so soon overtook the famous
Elizabethan novel, has already been suggested. Euphuism was too
antagonistic to the general current of English prose to be successful.
Lyly and his Oxford clique were attempting a revolution similar to that
undertaken, at the same period, by Ronsard and his _Pleiad_. Lyly failed
in prose, where Ronsard succeeded in poetry, because he endeavoured to
go back upon tradition, while the Frenchman worked strictly within its
limits. The attempt to throw Court dress over the plain homespun of our
English prose might have been attended with success, had our literature
been younger and more easily led astray. As it was, prose in this
country, when euphuism invaded it, could already show seven centuries of
development, and, moreover, development along the broad and national
lines of common or vulgar speech. Euphuism was after all only part of
the general tendency of the age to focus everything that was good in
politics, religion, and art, on the person and immediate surroundings of
the sovereign; and the history of the eighteenth century, which saw the
last issue of the series of _Euphues_ reprints, is the history of the
collapse of this centralization all along the line, ending in the
complete vindication of the democratic basis of English life and

With these general remarks we must leave the subject of euphuism. No
history of its origin and its influence can be completely satisfactory:
such questions must of necessity receive a speculative and tentative
solution, for it is impossible to give them an exact answer which admits
of no dispute. The age of Lyly was far more complex than ours, with all
our artistic sects and schisms; the currents of literary influence were
multitudinous and extremely involved. As Symonds wrote, "The romantic
art of the modern world did not spring like that of Greece from an
ungarnered field of flowers. Troubled by reminiscences from the past and
by reciprocal influences from one another, the literatures of modern
Europe came into existence with composite dialects and obeyed confused
canons of taste, exhibited their adolescent vigour with affected graces
and showed themselves senile in their cradles." In the field of
literature to-day the standards are more numerous, but more distinctive,
than those of the Elizabethans. Our ideals are classified with almost
scientific exactness, and we wear the labels proudly. But the very
splendour of the Renaissance was due to the fact that in the same group,
in the same artist, were to be found the most diverse ideals and the
most opposite methods. They worshipped they knew not what, we know what
we worship. Yet this difference does not prevent us from seeing curious
points of similarity between our own and those times. The 16th, like the
19th century, was a period of revolt from the past: and at such moments
men feel a supreme contempt for the common-place in literature. The cry
of art for art's sake is raised, and the result is extravagance,
euphuism. A wave of intellectual dandyism seems to sweep over the face
of literature, aristocratic in its aims and sympathies. Then are the
battle lines drawn up, and the spectators watch, with admiration or
contempt, the eternally recurrent strife between David and the
Philistines; and whether the young hero be clad in the knee-breeches of
aestheticism, or the slashed doublet of the courtier; whether he be
armed with epigram and sunflower, or with euphuism and camomile;
variation of costume cannot conceal the identity of his personality--the
personality of the fop of culture.



Despite the disproportionate attention given to euphuism by so many of
Lyly's critics, _Euphues_ is no less important as a novel than as a
piece of prose. We can, however, dismiss this second branch of our
subject in fewer words, because the problem of _Euphues_ is much simpler
and more straightforward than the problem of euphuism. It can scarcely
be said that Lyly has yet been thoroughly appreciated as a novelist;
indeed, the whole subject of the Elizabethan novel is very far from
having received a satisfactory treatment at present. This is not
surprising when we consider that the last word remains to be said upon
the Elizabethan drama. The birth of modern literature was so sudden, its
life, even in the cradle, was so complex that it baffles criticism. Like
the peal of an organ with a thousand stops, the English Renaissance
seemed to break the stillness of the great mediaeval church, shaking its
beautiful sombre walls and filling it from floor to roof with wild,
pagan music. Indeed, the more we study those 50 or 60 years which
embrace the so-called Elizabethan period, the more are we struck by the
fact that, ever since, we have been simply making variations upon the
themes, which the men of those times gave us. Modern science, modern
poetry, modern drama, sat like pages at the feet of the Great Queen.
Among these the novel cut but an insignificant figure, although it was
the novel which had perhaps the longest future before it. We need not
wonder therefore that our first English novelist has been treated by
many with neglect. None I think have done more to make amends in this
direction than Professor Raleigh and M. Jusserand; the former in his
graceful, humorous, and penetrating little book, _The English Novel_;
and the latter in his well-known work on _The English Novel in the time
of Shakespeare_, which gives one, while reading it, the feeling of being
present at a fancy-dress ball, so skilfully does he detect the forms and
faces of present-day fiction behind euphuistic mask and beneath arcadian
costume. To these two books the present writer owes a debt which all
must feel who have stood bewildered upon the threshold of Elizabeth's
Court with its glittering throng of genius and wit.

Sudden, however, as was this crop of warriors wielding pen, it must not
be forgotten that the dragon's teeth had first been sown in mediaeval
soil. With Lyly the English novel came into being, but that child of his
genius was not without ancestry or relations. And so, before discussing
the character and fortunes of the infant, let us devote a few
introductory remarks to pedigree. Roughly speaking, the prose narrative
in England, before _Euphues_, falls into three divisions, the romance of
chivalry, the _novella_, and the moral Court treatise,--and all three
are of foreign extraction, that is to say, they are represented in
England by translations only. Chaucer indeed is a mine of material
suitable for the novel, but the father of English literature elected to
write in verse, and his _Canterbury Tales_ have no appreciable influence
upon the later prose story. For some reason, the mediaeval prose
narrative seems to have been confined to the so-called Celtic races.
Certainly, both the romance of chivalry and the _novella_ are to be
traced back to French sources. The _novella_, which, at our period, had
become thoroughly naturalized in Italy, under the auspices of Boccaccio,
had originally sprung from the _fabliaux_ of 13th century France. Nor
was the _fabliau_ the only article of French production which found a
new and more stimulative home across the Alps; for just as it is
possible to trace the German Reformation back, through Huss, to its
birth in Wycliff's England, so French critics have delighted to point
out that the Italian Renaissance itself was but an expansion of an
earlier Renaissance in France, which, for all the strength and maturity
it gained under its new conditions, lost much of that indescribable
flavour of direct simplicity and gracious sweetness which breathes from
the pages of _Aucassin and Nicolette_ and its companion _Amis and
Amile_. Under Charles VIII. and his successors this Renaissance was
carried home, as it were, to die--so subtle is the ebb and flow of
intellectual influences between country and country. In England the
_novella_, of which Chaucer had made ample use, first appeared in prose
dress from the printing-press of Caxton's successor, Wynkyn de Worde.
The Dutch printer had also published Lord Berners' translation of _Huon
of Bordeaux_, the best romance of chivalry belonging to the Charlemagne
cycle. But, before the dawn of the 16th century Malory had already given
us _Morte D'Arthur_, from the Arthurian cycle, printed, as everyone
knows, by the industrious Caxton himself. Thus, if we neglect, as I
think we may, translations from the _Gesta Romanorum_, we may say that
the prose narrative appeared in England simultaneously with the
printing-press, a fact which is more than coincidence; since the
multiplication of books, which Caxton began, decreased the necessity for
remembering tales; and therefore it was now possible to dispense with
the aid of verse; in fact Caxton deprived the minstrel of his

Of the third form of prose narrative--the moral Court treatise--we have
already said something. It had appeared in Italy and in Spain, and our
connexion with it came from the latter country, through Berners'
translation of the _Golden Boke_ of Guevara. So slight was the thread of
narrative running through this book, that one would imagine at first
sight that it could have little to do with the history of our novel. And
yet in comparison with its importance in this respect the _novella_ and
the romance of chivalry are quite insignificant. The two latter never
indeed lost their popularity during the Elizabethan age, but they had
ceased to be considered respectable--a very different thing--before that
age began. The first cause of their fall in the social scale was the
disapprobation of the humanists. Ascham, echoing Plato's condemnation of
Homer, attacks the romance of chivalry from the moral point of view, at
the same time cunningly associating it with "Papistrie." But he holds
the _novella_ even in greater abhorrence, for, after declaring that the
whole pleasure of the _Morte D'Arthur_ "standeth in two speciall
poyntes, in open mans slaughter, and bold bawdrye," he goes on to say:
"and yet ten _Morte Arthurs_ do not a tenth part so much harm as one of
those bookes, made in Italy and translated in England[86]."

  [86] _Schoolmaster_, p. 80.

But there were social as well as moral reasons for the depreciation of
Malory and Boccaccio. The taste of the age began to find these foreign
dishes, if not unpalatable, at least not sufficiently delicate. England
was fortunate in receiving the Reformation and the Renaissance at the
same time; and the men of those "spacious times" set before their eyes
that ideal of the courtier, so exquisitely embodied by Sir Philip
Sidney, in which godliness was not thought incompatible with refinement
of culture and graciousness of bearing. For the first time our country
became civilized in the full meaning of that word, and the knight,
shedding the armour of barbarism, became the gentleman, clothed in
velvet and silk. The romance of chivalry, therefore, became
old-fashioned; and it seemed for a time doomed to destruction until it
received a new lease of life, purged of mediaevalism and modernised by
the hands of Sidney himself, under the guise of arcadianism. While,
however, _Arcadia_ remained an undiscovered country, the needs of the
age were supplied by the "moral Court treatise." It was perhaps not so
much that the old stories found little response in the new form of
society, as that they did not reflect that society. We may well believe
that the taste for mirrors, which now became so fashionable, found its
psychological parallel in the desire of the Elizabethans to discover
their own fashions, their own affectations, themselves, in the stories
they read; and if this indeed be what is meant by realism in literature
that quality in the novel dates from those days. In this sense if in no
other, in the sense that he held, for the first time, a polished mirror
before contemporary life and manners, Lyly must be called the first of
English novelists.

_The Anatomy of Wit_, which it is most important to distinguish from its
sequel, was the descendant in the direct line from the "moral Court
treatise." Something perhaps of the atmosphere of the _novella_ clung
about its pages, but that was only to be expected: Lyly added incident
to the bare scheme of discourses, and for that he had no other models
but the Italians. But Guevara was his real source. Dr Landmann's
verdict, that "Euphuism is not only adapted from Guevara's _alto
estilo_, but _Euphues_ itself, as to its contents, is a mere imitation
of Guevara's enlarged biography of Marcus Aurelius," has certainly been
shown by Mr Bond to be a gross overstatement; yet there can be no doubt
that the _Diall of Princes_ was Lyly's model on the side of matter, as
was Pettie's _Pallace_ on the side of style. Our author's debt to the
Spaniard is seen in a correspondence between many parts of his book and
the _Aureo Libro_, in certain of the concluding letters and discourses,
and in many other ways which Mr Bond has patiently noted[87]. Guevara,
however, was but one among many previous writers to whom Lyly owed
obligations. _Euphues_ was justly styled by its author "compiled," being
in fact a mosaic, pieced together from the classics, and especially
Plutarch, Pliny, and Ovid, and from previous English writers such as
Harrison, Heywood, Fortescue, and Gascoigne; names that indicate the
course of literary "browsing" that Lyly substituted for the ordinary
curriculum at Oxford. To mention all the authors from whom he borrowed,
and to point out the portions of his novel which are due to their
several influences, would only be to repeat a task already accomplished
by Mr Bond[88].

  [87] Bond, I. pp. 154-156.

  [88] Bond, I. pp. 156-159.

Allowing for all its author's "picking and stealing," _The Anatomy of
Wit_ was in the highest sense an original book; for, though it is the
old moral treatise, its form is new, and it is enlivened by a thin
thread of narrative. The hero Euphues is a young man lately come from
Athens, which is unmistakeably Oxford, to Naples, which is just as
unmistakeably London. Here he soon becomes the centre of a convivial
circle, where he is wise enough to distinguish between friend and
parasite, to discern the difference between the "faith of Laelius and
the flattery of Aristippus." The story thus opens bravely, but the words
of the title-page, "most necessary to remember," are ever present in the
author's mind, and before we have reached the fourth page the sermon is
upon us. For "conscience" attired as an old man, Eubulus, now enters the
stage of this Court _morality_ and proceeds to deliver a long harangue
upon the folly of youth, concluding with much excellent though obvious
counsel. We should be in sympathy with the rude answer of Euphues, were
it but curt at the same time, but, alas, it covers six pages. Having
thus imprudently crushed the "wisdom of eld" by the weight of his
utterance, our hero shows his natural preference for the companionship
and counsel of youth, by forming an ardent friendship with Philautus, of
so close a nature, that "they used not only one boorde but one bed, one
booke (if so be that they thought it not one too many)." This alliance,
however, is not concluded until Euphues has given us his own views,
together with those of half antiquity, upon the subject of friendship,
or before he has formally professed his affection in a pompous address,
beginning "Gentleman and friend," and has been as formally accepted. By
Philautus he is introduced to Lucilla, the chief female character of the
book, a lady, if we are to believe the description of her "Lilly cheeks
dyed with a Vermilion red," of startling if somewhat factitious beauty.
To say that the plot now thickens would be to use too coarse a word; it
becomes slightly tinged with incident, inasmuch as Euphues falls in love
with Lucilla, the destined bride of Philautus. She reciprocates his
passion, and the double fickleness of mistress and friend forms an
excellent opportunity, which Lyly does not fail to seize, for infinite
moralizings in euphuistic strains. Philautus is naturally indignant at
the turn affairs have taken, and the former friends exchange letters of
recrimination, in which, however, their embittered feelings are
concealed beneath a vast display of classical learning. But Nemesis,
swift and sudden, awaits the faithless Euphues. Lucilla, it turns out,
is subject to a mild form of erotomania and is constitutionally fickle,
so that before her new lover has begun to realise his bliss she has
already contracted a passion for some other young gentleman. Thus,
struck down in the hour of his pride and passion, Euphues becomes "a
changed man," and bethinks himself of his soul, which he has so long
neglected. This is the turning-point of the book, the turning-point of
half the English novels written since Lyly's day. The remainder of the
_Anatomy of Wit_ is taken up with what may be described as the private
papers of Euphues, consisting of letters, essays, and dialogues,
including _A Cooling Carde for all Fond Lovers_, a treatise on
education, and a refutation of atheism, and so amid the thunders of the
artillery of platitude the first part of _Euphues_ closes.

Professor Raleigh's explanation of this tedious moralizing is that Lyly,
wit and euphuist, possessed the Nonconformist conscience: "Beneath the
courtier's slashed doublet, under his ornate brocade and frills, there
stood the Puritan." This I believe to be a mistaken view of the case. As
we shall later see reason to suppose, Lyly never became, as did his
acquaintance Gosson, a very seriously-minded person. Certainly _Euphues_
does not prove that Puritanism was latent in him. The moral atmosphere
which pervades it was not of Lyly's invention; he inherited it from his
predecessors Guevara and Castiglione, and he employed it because he knew
that it was expected of him. That he moralized not so much from
conviction as from convention (to use a euphuism), is, I think,
sufficiently proved by the fact that in the second part of his novel,
where he is addressing a new public, the pulpit strain is much less
frequent, while in his plays it entirely disappears. The _Anatomy of
Wit_ is essentially the work of an inexperienced writer, feeling his way
towards a public, and without sufficient skill or courage to dispense
with the conventions which he has inherited from previous writers. One
feels, while reading the book, that Lyly was himself conscious that his
hero was an insufferable coxcomb, and that he only created him because
he wished to comply with the public taste. It may be, as M. Jusserand
asserts, that Lyly anticipated Richardson, but, if the light-hearted
Oxford madcap had any qualities in common with the sedate bookseller,
artistic sincerity was not one of them.

What has just been said is not entirely applicable to the treatise on
education which passed under the title of _Euphues and his Ephoebus_.
Although simply an adaptation of the _De Educatione_ of Plutarch, it was
not entirely devoid of originality. Here we find the famous attack upon
Oxford, which was, we fear, prompted by a desire to spite the University
authorities rather than by any earnest feeling of moral condemnation.
But in addition to this there are contributions of Lyly's own invention
to the theory of teaching which are not without merit. He was, as we
have seen, interested in education. It seems even possible that he had
actually practised as a master before the _Euphues_ saw light[89]; and,
therefore, we have every reason to suppose that this little treatise
was a labour of love. Possibly Ascham's _Schoolmaster_ inspired him with
the idea of writing it. Certainly, when we have allowed everything for
Plutarch's work, enough remains over to justify Mr Quick's inclusion of
John Lyly, side by side with Roger Ascham, in his _Educational

  [89] Bond, I. p. 10.

But such excellent work has but little to do with the business of
novel-writing, and, when we turn to this aspect of the _Anatomy of Wit_,
there is little to be said for it from the aesthetic point of view.
Indeed, it cannot strictly be called a novel at all. It is the bridge
between the moral Court treatise and the novel, and, as such, all its
aesthetic defects matter little in comparison with its dynamical value.
It was a great step to hang the chestnuts of discourse upon a string of
incident. The story is feeble, the plot puerile, but it was something to
have a story and a plot which dealt with contemporary life. And lastly,
though characterization is not even attempted, yet now and again these
euphuistic puppets, distinguishable only by their labels, are inspired
with something that is almost life by a phrase or a chance word.

I have said that it is very important to distinguish between the two
parts of _Euphues_. Two years only elapsed between their respective
publications, but in these two years Lyly, and with him our novel, had
made great strides. In 1578 he was not yet a novelist, though the
conception of the novel and the capacity for its creation were, as we
have just shown, already forming in his brain. In 1580, however, the
English novel had ceased to be merely potential; for it had come into
being with the appearance of _Euphues and his England_. Here in the same
writer, in the same book, and within the space of two years, we may
observe one of the most momentous changes of modern literature in
actual process. The _Anatomy of Wit_ is still the moral Court treatise,
coloured by the influence of the Italian _novella_; _Euphues and his
England_ is the first English novel. Lyly unconsciously symbolizes the
change he initiated by laying the scene of his first part in Italy,
while in the second he brings his hero to England. That sea voyage,
which provoked the stomach of Philautus sore, was an important one for
us, since the freight of the vessel was nothing less than our English

The difference between the two parts is remarkable in more ways than
one, and in none more so than in the change of dedication. The _Anatomy
of Wit_, as was only fitting in a moral Court treatise, was inscribed to
the gentleman readers; _Euphues and his England_, on the other hand,
made an appeal to a very different class of readers, and a class which
had hitherto been neglected by authors--"the ladies and gentlewomen of
England." With the instinct, almost, of a religious reformer, Lyly saw
that to succeed he must enlist the ladies on his side. And the
experiment was so successful that I am inclined to attribute the
pre-eminence of Lyly among other euphuists to this fact alone. "Hatch
the egges his friendes had laid" he certainly did, but he fed the chicks
upon a patent food of his own invention. Mr Bond suggests that the
general attention which the _Anatomy_ secured by its attacks upon women
gave Lyly the idea for the second part. But, though this was probably
the immediate cause of his change of front, something like _Euphues and
his England_ must have come sooner or later, because all the conditions
were ripe for its production. Side by side with the ideal of the
courtier had arisen the ideal of the cultured lady. Ascham, visiting
Lady Jane Grey, "founde her in her chamber reading _Phaedon Platonis_
in Greeke and that with as much delite, as some gentlemen would read a
merie tale in Bocase[90]"; and, when a Queen came to the throne who
could talk Greek at Cambridge, the fashion of learning for ladies must
have received an immense impetus. With a "blue stocking" showing on the
royal footstool, all the ladies of the Court would at least lay claim to
a certain amount of learning. Dr Landmann has attributed the vogue of
euphuism, at least in part, to feminine influences, but in so far as
England shared that affectation with the other Courts of Europe, where
the fair sex had not yet acquired such freedom as in England, we must
not press the point too much in this direction. The importance in
English literature of that "monstrous regiment of women," against which
John Knox blew his rude trumpet so shamelessly, is seen not so much in
the style of _Euphues_ as in its contents; indeed, in the second part of
that work euphuism is much less prominent than in the first. The romance
of chivalry and the Italian tale would be still more distasteful to the
new woman than they were to the new courtier. Doubtless Boccaccio may
have found a place in many a lady's secret bookshelf as Zola and Guy de
Maupassant do perchance to-day, but he was scarcely suitable for the
boudoir table or for polite literary discussion. Something was needed
which would appeal at once to the feminine taste for learning and to the
desire for delicacy and refinement. This want was only partially
supplied by the moral Court treatise, which was ostensibly written for
the courtier and not the maid-in-waiting. What was required was a book
expressly provided for the eye of ladies--such a book, in fact, as
_Euphues and his England_. Lyly's discovery of this new literary public
and its requirements was of great importance, for have not the ladies
ever since his day been the patrons and purchasers of the novel? What
would happen to the literary market to-day were our mothers, wives, and
sisters to deny themselves the pleasure of fiction? The very question
would send the blood from Mr Mudie's lips. The two thousand and odd
novels which are published annually in this country show the existence
of a large leisured class in our community, and this class is
undoubtedly the feminine one. The novel, therefore, owes not only its
birth, but its continued existence down to our own day, to the "ladies
and gentlewomen of England"; and this dedication may be taken as a
general one for all novels since Lyly's time. "_Euphues_," he writes,
"had rather lye shut in a Ladye's casket than open in a scholar's
studie," and he continues, "after dinner you may overlooke him to keepe
you from sleepe, or if you be heavie, to bring you to sleepe ... it were
better to hold _Euphues_ in your hands though you let him fall, when you
be willing to winke, then to sowe in a clout, and pricke your fingers
when you begin to nod[91]." "With _Euphues_," remarks M. Jusserand,
"commences in England the literature of the drawing-room[92]"; and the
literature of the drawing-room is to all intents and purposes the novel.

  [90] _Schoolmaster_, p. 47.

  [91] _Euphues_, p. 220.

  [92] Jusserand, p. 5.

All the faults of its predecessor are present in _Euphues and his
England_, but they are not so conspicuous. The euphuistic garb and the
mantle of the prophet Guevara sit more lightly upon our author. In every
way his movements are freer and bolder; having gained confidence by his
first success, he now dares to be original. The story becomes at times
quite interesting, even for a modern reader. At its opening Euphues and
Philautus, who have come to terms on a basis of common condemnation of
Lucilla, are discovered on their way to England. By way of enlivening
the weary hours, our hero, ever ready to play the preacher now that he
has ceased to be the warning, delivers himself of a lengthy, but highly
edifying tale, which evokes the impatient exclamation of Philautus
already quoted; we may however notice as a sign of progress that Euphues
has substituted a moral narrative for his usual discourse. The relations
between the two friends have become distinctly amusing, and might, in
abler hands, have resulted in comic situation. Euphues, having learnt
the lesson of the burnt child, is now a very grave person, proud of his
own experience and of its fruits in himself. Extremes met,

    "Where pinched ascetic and red sensualist
     Alternately recurrent freeze and burn,"

and it is interesting to note that Euphues embodies many of the
characteristics of the Byronic hero--his sententiousness, his misogyny,
his cynicism born of disillusionment, and his rhetorical flatulency; but
he is no rebel like Manfred because he finds consolation in his own
pre-eminence in a world of platitude. Conscious of his dearly bought
wisdom, he makes it his continuous duty, if not pleasure, to rebuke the
over-amorous Philautus, who was at least human, and to enlarge upon the
infidelity of the opposite sex. Lyly failed to realise the possibilities
of this antagonism of character, because he always appears to be in
sympathy with his hero, and so misses an opportunity which would have
delighted the heart of Thackeray. I say "appears," because I consider
that this sympathy was nothing but a pose which he considered necessary
for the popularity of his book. It is important however to observe that
the idea of one character as a foil to another, though undeveloped, is
here present for the first time in our national prose story.

The tale ended and the voyage over, our friends arrive in England, where
after stopping at Dover "3 or 4 days, until they had digested ye seas,
and recovered their healths," they proceeded to Canterbury, at which
place they fell in with an old man named Fidus, who gave them
entertainment for body and mind. To those who have conscientiously read
the whole history of Euphues up to this point, the incident of Fidus
will appear immensely refreshing. It seems to me, in fact, to mark the
highest point of Lyly's skill as a novelist, doubtless because he is
here drawing upon his memory[93] and not his imagination. The old
gentleman, very different from his prototype Eubulus, moves quite
humanly among his bees and flowers, and tells the graceful story of his
love with a charm that is almost natural. And, although he checks the
action of the story for thirty-three pages, we are sorry to take leave
of this "fatherlye and friendlye sire"; for he lays for a time the ghost
of homily, which reappears directly his guests begin to "forme their
steppes towards London." Having reached the Court, in due time
Philautus, in accordance with the prophecies of Euphues though much to
his disgust, falls in love. The lady of his choice, however, has
unfortunately given her heart to another, by name Surius. The despondent
lover, after applying in vain to an Italian magician for a love-philtre,
at length determines to adopt the bolder line of writing to his scornful
lady. The letter is conveyed in a pomegranate, and the incident of its
presentation is prettily conceived and displays a certain amount of
dramatic power. The upshot is that Philautus eventually finds a maiden
who is unattached and who is ready to return love for love. Her he
marries, and remains behind with "his Violet" in England, while Euphues,
less happy than self-satisfied, returns to Athens. The interest of the
latter half of the book centres round the house of Lady Flavia, where
the principal characters of both sexes meet together and discuss the
philosophy of love and the psychology of ladies. Such intellectual
gatherings were a recognised institution at Florence at this time, being
an imitation of Plato's symposium, and Lyly had already attempted, not
so successfully as here, to describe one in the house of Lucilla of the
_Anatomy of Wit_.

  [93] Mr Bond thinks it a picture of Lyly's father.

In every way _Euphues and his England_ is an improvement upon its
predecessor. The story and plot are still weak, but the situations are
often well thought out and treated with dramatic effect. The action
indeed is slow, but it moves; and in the story of Fidus it moves
comparatively quickly. Such motion of course can scarcely ruffle the
mental waters of those accustomed to the breathless whirlwinds which
form the heart of George Meredith's novels; but these whirlwinds are as
directly traceable to the gentle but fitful agitation of _Euphues_, as
was the storm that overtook Ahab's chariot to the little cloud
undiscerned by the prophet's eye. The figures, again, that move in
Lyly's second novel are no longer clothes filled with moral sawdust. The
character of Philautus is especially well drawn, though at times blurred
and indistinct. Lyly had not yet passed the stage of creating types,
that is of portraying one aspect and an obvious one of such a complex
thing as human nature. But a criticism which would be applicable to
Dickens is no condemnation of an Elizabethan pioneer. It was much to
have attempted characterization, and in the case of Philautus, Iffida,
Camilla, and perhaps "the Violet" the attempt was nearly if not quite
successful. It is noticeable that for one who was afterwards to become a
writer of comedy, Lyly shows a remarkable absence of humour in these
novels. Now and again we seem trembling on the brink of humour, when the
young wiseacre is brought into contact with his weak-hearted friend, but
the line is seldom actually crossed. Wit, as Lyly here understood it,
had nothing of the risible in it; for it meant to him little more than a
graceful handling of obvious themes.

But the importance of _Euphues_ was in its influence, not in its actual
achievement. And here again we must reassert the significance of Lyly's
appeal to women. "That noble faculty," as Macaulay expresses it,
"whereby man is able to live in the past and in the future in the
distant and in the unreal," is rarely found in the opposite sex. They
delight in novelty, their minds are of a practical cast, and their
interests almost invariably lie in the present. The names of Jane
Austen, George Eliot, and Mrs Humphry Ward are sufficient to show how
entirely successful a woman may be in delineating the life around her.
If there is any truth in this generalization, it was no mere coincidence
that the first English romance dealing with contemporary life was
written expressly for the ladies of Elizabeth's Court. The alteration in
the face of social life, brought about by the recognition of the
feminine claim and hastened no doubt by the fact that England, Scotland,
and France were at this period under the rule of three ladies of strong
character, was inevitably attended with great changes in literature.
This change is first expressed by Lyly in his second novel and later in
his dramas. The mediaeval conception of women, a masculine conception,
now underwent feminine correction; and what is perhaps of more
importance still, the conception of man undergoes transformation also.
The result is that the centre of gravity of the story is now shifted. Of
old it had treated of deeds and glorious prowess for the sake of honour,
or more often for the sake of some anaemic damsel; now it deals with the
passion itself and not its knightly manifestations,--with the very
feelings and hearts of the lovers. In other words under the auspices of
Elizabeth and her maids of honour, the English story becomes subjective,
feminine, its scene is shifted from the battlefield and the lists to the
lady's boudoir; it becomes a novel. "We change lance and war-horse, for
walking-sword and pumps and silk stockings. We forget the filletted
brows and wind-blown hair, the zone, the flowing robe, the sandalled or
buskined feet, and feel the dawning empire of the fan, the glove, the
high-heeled shoe, the bonnet, the petticoat, and the parasol[94]": in
fact we enter into the modern world. At the first expression of this
change in literature _Euphues and his England_ is of the very greatest
interest. Characters in fiction now for the first time move before a
background of everyday life and discuss matters of everyday importance.
And, as if Lyly wished to leave no doubt as to his aims and methods, he
gives at the conclusion of his book that interesting description of
Elizabethan England entitled _A glasse for Europe_.

  [94] Bond, I. p. 161.

It is however in Lyly's treatment of the subject of love that the change
is most conspicuous. The subtleties of passion are now realised for the
first time. We are shown the private emotions, the secret alternations
of hope and despair which agitate the breasts of man and maid, and,
more important still, we find these emotions at work under the restraint
of social conditions; the violent torrent of passion checked and
confined by the demands of etiquette and the conventions of aristocratic
life. The relation between these unwritten laws of our social
constitution and the impetuous ardour of the lover, has formed the main
theme of our modern love stories in the novel and on the stage. In the
days of chivalry, when love ran wild in the woods, woman was the passive
object either of hunt or of rescue; but the scene of battle being
shifted to the boudoir she can demand her own conditions with the result
that the game becomes infinitely more refined and intricate. Persons of
both sexes, outwardly at peace but inwardly armed to the teeth, meet
together in some lady's house to discuss the subject so dangerous to
both, and conversation conditioned by this fact inevitably becomes
subtle, allusive, intense; for it derives its light and shade from the
flicker of that fire which the company finds such a perilous fascination
in playing with. Lyly's work does not exhibit quite such modernity as
this, but we may truthfully say that his _Euphues and his England_ is
the psychological novel in germ.

Its latent possibilities were however not perceived by the writers of
the 16th century. The style which had in part won popularity for it so
speedily was the cause also of its equally speedy decline. Like a fossil
in the stratum of euphuism it was soon covered up by the artificial
layer of arcadianism. The novel of Sidney, though its loose and
meandering style marked a reaction against euphuism, carried on the
Lylian tradition in its appeal to ladies. The _Arcadia_, in no way so
modern as the _Euphues_, lies for that very reason more directly in the
line of development[95]; for, while the former is linked by the
heroical romance of the seventeenth century to the romance of this day,
the latter's influence is not visible until the eighteenth century, if
we except its immediate Elizabethan imitators. And yet, as we remarked
of Lyly's prose, a book which received so many editions cannot have been
entirely without effect upon the minds of its readers and upon the
literature of the age. This influence, however, could have been little
more than suggestive and indirect, and it is quite impossible to
determine its value. Its importance for us lies in the fact that we can
realise how it anticipated the novel of the 18th and 19th centuries. Not
until the days of Richardson is it possible to detect a Lylian flavour
in English fiction; and even here it would be risky to insist too
pointedly on any inference that might be drawn from the coincidence of
an abridged form of _Euphues_ being republished (after almost a
century's oblivion) twenty years before the appearance of _Pamela_. A
direct literary connexion between Lyly and Richardson seems out of the
question: and the utmost we can say with certainty is that the novel of
the latter, in providing moral food for its own generation, relieved the
18th century reader of the necessity of going back to the Elizabethan
writer for the entertainment he desired. As a novelist, therefore, Lyly
was only of secondary dynamical importance, by which I mean that,
although we can rest assured that he exercised a considerable influence
upon later writers, we cannot actually trace this influence at work; we
cannot in fact point to Lyly as the first of a _definite_ series. The
novel like its style coloured, but did not deflect, the stream of
English literature. And indeed we may say this not only of _Euphues_
but of Elizabethan fiction as a whole. The public to which a 16th
century novel would appeal was a small one. Few people in those days
could read, and of these the majority preferred to read poetry; and
though, as we have seen, _Euphues_ passed through, for the age, a
considerable number of editions, the circle of those who appreciated
Lyly, Sidney, and Nash must have been for the most part confined to the
Court. And this accounts for the brevity of their popularity and for its
intensity while it lasted; a phenomenon which is not seen in the drama,
and which is due to the susceptibility of Court life to sudden changes
of fashion. Drama was the natural form of literature in an age when most
people were illiterate and yet when all were eager for literary
entertainment. Drama was therefore the main current of artistic
production, the prose novel being quite a minor, almost an
insignificant, tributary. Realising then the inevitable limitations
which surrounded our English fiction at its birth we can understand its
infantile imperfections and the subsequent arrest of its development.

  [95] It was Sidney and Nash who set the fashion for the 17th century.

"The novel held in Elizabeth's time very much the same place as was held
by the drama at the Restoration; it was an essentially aristocratic
entertainment, and the same pitfall waylaid both, the pitfall of
artificiality. Dryden's audiences and the readers of _Euphues_ both
sought for better bread than is made of wheat; both were supplied with
what satisfied them in an elaborate confection of husks[96]."

  [96] Raleigh, p. 57. He writes _Arcadia_ for _Euphues_ but the
  substitution is legitimate.



So far we have been dealing with those of Lyly's writings, which, though
they are his most famous, form quite a small section of his work, and
exerted an influence upon later writers which may have been considerable
but was certainly indirect. His plays on the other hand, in the
production of which he spent the better part of his life, greatly
outweigh his novel both in aesthetic and historical importance. To
attempt to estimate Lyly's position as a novelist and as a prose writer
is to chase the will-o'-the-wisp of theory over the morass of
uncertainty; the task of investigating his comedies is altogether
simpler and more straightforward. After groping our way through the
undergrowth of minor literature, we come out upon the great highway of
Elizabethan art--the drama. Let us first see how Lyly himself came to
tread this same pathway.

There is a difference of opinion between Mr Bond and Mr Baker, our chief
authorities, as to the order in which Lyly wrote his plays[97]. But
though Mr Baker claims priority for _Endymion_, and Mr Bond for
_Campaspe_, both are convinced that our author was already in 1580
beginning to look to the stage as a larger arena for his artistic genius
than the novel. And from what I have said of his life at Oxford and his
connexion with de Vere, we need not be surprised that this was so. It
would be well however at this juncture to recapitulate, and in part to
expand those remarks, in order to show more clearly how Lyly's dramatic
bent was formed. Seats of learning, as we shall see presently, had long
before the days of Lyly favoured the comic muse, and Oxford was no
exception to this rule. Anthony à Wood tells us how Richard Edwardes in
1566 produced at that University his play _Palamon and Arcite_, and how
her Majesty "laughed heartily thereat and gave the author great thanks
for his pains"; a scene which would still be fresh in men's minds five
years after, when Lyly entered Magdalen College. But it is scarcely
necessary to stretch a point here since we know from the _Anatomy of
Wit_ that Lyly was a student of Edwardes' comedies[98]. Again, William
Gager, Pettie's "dear friend" and Lyly's fellow-student, was a
dramatist, while Gosson himself tells us of comedies which he had
written before 1577.

  [97] Baker, p. lxxxviii, places _Endymion_ as early as Sept. 1579.
  Bond, vol. III. p. 10, attempts to disprove Baker's contention, and in
  vol. II. p. 309, he maintains chiefly on grounds of style that
  _Campaspe_ was the earliest of Lyly's plays, being produced at the
  Christmas of 1580.

  [98] Bond, II. p. 238.

Probably however it was not until he had left Oxford for London that
Lyly conceived the idea of writing comedy, for we must attribute its
original suggestion to his friend and employer the Earl of Oxford.
Edward de Vere, Burleigh's son-in-law, had visited Italy, and affected
the vices and artificialities of that country, returning home, we are
told, laden with silks and oriental stuffs for the adornment of his
chamber and his person. He was frequently in debt and still more
frequently in disgrace with the Queen and with his father-in-law.
Dilettante, aesthete, and euphuist, he would naturally attract the
Oxford fop, and that Lyly attached himself to his clique disposes, in my
mind at least, of all theories of his puritanical tendencies. Certainly
a Nonconformist conscience could not have flourished in de Vere's
household. One bond between the Earl and his secretary was their love of
music--an art which played an important part in the beginning of our

In relieving the action of his plays by those songs of woodland beauty
unmatched in literature Shakespeare was only following a custom set by
his predecessors, Udall, Edwardes, and Lyly, who being schoolmasters
(and the two latter being musicians and holding positions in choir
schools), embroidered their comedies with lyrics to be sung by the fresh
young voices of their pupils. De Vere, though unconnected with a school,
probably followed the same tradition. For the interesting thing about
him is that he also wrote comedy. Like many members of the nobility in
those days he maintained his own company of players; and we find them in
1581 giving performances at Cambridge and Ipswich. His comedies,
moreover, though now lost were placed in the same rank as those of
Edwardes by the Elizabethan critic Puttenham[99]. Now as secretary of
such a man, and therefore in close intimacy with him, it would be the
most natural thing in the world for Lyly to try his hand at
play-writing, and, if his patron approved of his efforts, an
introduction to Court could be procured, since Oxford was Lord High
Chamberlain, and the play would be acted. It was to Oxford's patronage,
therefore, and not to his subsequent connexion with the "children of
Powles," that Lyly owed his first dramatic impulse, and probably also
his first dramatic success, for _Campaspe_ and _Sapho_ were produced at
Court in 1582[100]. His appointment at the choir school of course
confirmed his resolutions and thus he became the first great Elizabethan

  [99] _Dict. Of Nat. Biog._, Edward de Vere.

  [100] Bond, II. p. 230 (chronological table).

But a purely circumstantial explanation of an important departure in a
man's life will only appear satisfactory to fatalists who worship the
blind god Environment. And without indulging in any abstruse
psychological discussion, but rather looking at the question from a
general point of view, we can understand how an intellect of Lyly's
type, as revealed by the _Euphues_, found its ultimate expression in
comedy. Comedy, as Meredith tells us, is only possible in a civilized
society, "where ideas are current and the perceptions quick." We have
already touched upon this point and later we must return to it again;
but for the moment let us notice that this idea of comedy, though he
would have been quite unable to formulate it in words, was in reality at
the back of Lyly's mind, or rather we should perhaps say that he quite
unconsciously embodied it. He was _par excellence_ the product of a
"social" atmosphere; he moved more freely within the Court than without;
his whole mind was absorbed by the subtleties of language; a brilliant
conversation, an apt repartee, a well-turned phrase were the very breath
of his nostrils; his ideal was the intellectual beau. Add to this
compound the ingredient of literary ambition and the result is a comic
dramatist. Lyly, Congreve, Sheridan, were all men of fashion first and
writers of comedy after. In the author of _Lady Windermere's Fan_ we
have lately seen another example--the example of one whose ambition was
to be "the first well-dressed philosopher in the history of thought."
Poems, novels, fairy stories, he gave us, but it was on the stage of
comedy that he eventually found his true _métier_. "With _Euphues_,"
writes Mr Bond, "we enter the path which leads to the Restoration
dramatists ... and in Lucilla and Camilla we are prescient of Millamant
and Belinda[101]." This is very true, but the statement has a nearer
application which Mr Bond misses. Camilla is the lady who moves under
varied names through all Lyly's plays. The second part of _Euphues_ and
the first of Lyly's comedies are as closely connected psychologically
and aesthetically, as they were in point of time.

  [101] Bond, I. p. 161.

SECTION I. _English Comedy before 1580._

But when Lyly's creations began to walk the boards, the English stage
was already some centuries old and therefore, in order to appreciate our
author's position, a few words are necessary upon the development of our
drama and especially of comedy previous to his time.

Though the _miracle_ play of our forefathers frequently contained a
species of coarse humour usually put into the mouth of the Devil, who
appears to have been for the middle ages very much what the "comic muse"
is for us moderns, it is to the _morality_ not to the _miracle_ that one
should look for the real beginnings of comedy as distinct from mere

The _morality_ was not so much an offshoot as a complement of the
_miracle_. They stood to each other, as sermon does to service. To say
therefore that the _morality_ secularized the drama is to go too far; as
well might we say that Luther secularized Christianity. What it did,
however, was important enough; it severed the connexion between drama
and ritual. The _miracle_, treating of the history of mankind from the
Creation to the days of Christ, unfolded before the eyes of its
audience the grand scheme of human salvation; the _morality_ on the
other hand was not concerned with historical so much as practical
Christianity. Its object was to point a moral: and it did this in two
ways; either as an affirmative, constructive inculcator of what life
should be,--as the portrayer of the ideal; or as a negative, critical
describer of the types of life actually existing,--as the portrayer of
the real. It approached more nearly to comedy in its latter function,
but in both aspects it really prepared the way for the comic muse. The
natural prey of comedy, as our greatest comic writer has taught us, is
folly, "known to it in all her transformations, in every disguise; and
it is with the springing delight of hawk over heron, hound after fox,
that it gives her chase, never fretting, never tiring, sure of having
her, allowing her no rest." Thus it is that characters in comedy,
symbolizing as they often do some social folly, tend to be rather types
than personalities. The _morality_, therefore, in substituting typical
figures, however crude, for the mechanical religious characters of the
_miracle_, makes an immense advance towards comedy. Moreover, the very
selection of types requires an appreciation, if not an analysis, of the
differences of human character, an appreciation for which there was no
need in the _miracle_. In the _morality_ again the action is no longer
determined by tradition, and it becomes incumbent on the playwright to
provide motives for the movements of his puppets. It follows naturally
from this that situations must be devised to show up the particular
quality which each type symbolizes. We need not enter the vexed question
of the origin of plot construction; but we may notice in this connexion
that the _morality_ certainly gave us that peculiar form of
plot-movement which is most suitable to comedy. To quote Mr Gayley's
words: "In tragedy, the movement must be economic of its ups and downs;
once headed downwards it must plunge, with but one or two vain recovers,
to the abyss. In comedy, on the other hand, though the movement is
ultimately upward, the crises are more numerous; the oftener the
individual stumbles without breaking his neck, and the more varied his
discomfitures, so long as they are temporary, the better does he enjoy
his ease in the cool of the day.... Now the novelty of the plot in the
_moral_ play, lay in the fact that the movement was of this oscillating,
upward kind--a kind unknown as a rule to the _miracle_, whose conditions
were less fluid, and to the farce, which was too shallow and

  [102] Gayley, p. lxiv.

If all these claims be justifiable there can be no doubt that the
_morality_ was of the utmost importance in the history not only of
comedy but of English drama as a whole. Though it was the cousin, not
the child of the _miracle_, though it cannot be said to have secularized
our drama, it is the link between the ritual play and the play of pure
amusement; it connects the rood gallery with the London theatre. When
Symonds writes that the _morality_ "can hardly be said to lie in the
direct line of evolution between the _miracle_ and the legitimate drama"
we may in part agree with him; but he is quite wrong when he goes on to
describe it as "an abortive side-effect, which was destined to bear
barren fruit[103]."

  [103] Symonds, p. 199.

The real secularization of the drama was in the first place probably due
to classical influences--or, to be more precise, I should perhaps say,
scholastic influences--and it is not until the 16th century that these
influences become prominent. I say "become prominent," because Terence
and Plautus were known from the earliest times, and Dr Ward is inclined
to think that Latin comedy affected the earlier drama of England to a
considerable extent[104], although good examples of Terentian comedy are
not found until the 16th century. Humanism again comes forward as an
important literary formative element. The part which the student class
took in the development of European drama as a whole has as yet scarcely
been appreciated. It is to scholars that the birth of the secular Drama
must be attributed. Lyly, as we said, made use of his mastership for the
production of his plays, but Lyly was by no means the first
schoolmaster-dramatist. Schools and universities had long before his day
been productive of drama; our very earliest existing saints' play or
_marvel_ was produced by a certain Geoffrey at Dunstable, "de
consuetudine magistrorum et scholarum[105]." And this was only natural,
seeing that at such places any number of actors is available and all are
supposed to be interested in literature. It is a remarkable fact,
however, and illustrative of the connexion between comedy and music,
that of all places of education choir schools seem to have usurped the
lion's share of drama. John Heywood, the first to break away from the
tradition of the _morality_, was a choir boy of the Chapel Royal, and
afterwards in all probability held a post there as master[106].
Heywood's brilliant, but farcical interludes are too slight to merit the
title of comedy, yet he is of great importance because of his rejection
of allegories and of his use of "personal types" instead of
"personified abstractions[107]." It was not until 1540, a few years
after Heywood's interlude _The Play of the Wether_, that pure English
comedy appears, and we must turn to Eton to discover its cradle, for
Nicholas Udall's _Roister Doister_ has every claim to rank as the first
completely constructed comedy in our language--the first comedy of flesh
and blood. Roister smacks of the "miles gloriosus"; Merygreeke combines
the vice with the Terentian rogue; and yet, when all is said, Udall's
play remains a remarkably original production, realistic and English.

  [104] Ward, I. p. 7.

  [105] Gayley, p. xiv.

  [106] I put this interpretation upon the account of Heywood's
  receiving 40 shillings from Queen Mary "for pleying an interlude with
  his children."

  [107] Ward, _Dict. of Nat. Biog._, Heywood.

Next, in point of time and importance, comes Stevenson's _Gammer
Gurton's Needle_, still more thoroughly English than the last, though
quite inferior as a comedy, and indeed scarcely rising above the level
of farce. Inasmuch, however, as it is a drama of English rustic life, it
is directly antecedent to _Mother Bombie_, and perhaps also to the
picaresque novel. Secular dramas now began to multiply apace. But
keeping our eye upon comedy, and upon Lyly in particular as we near the
date of his advent, it will be sufficient I think to mention two more
names to complete the chain of development. From Cambridge, the nurse of
Stevenson, we must now turn to Oxford; and, as we do so, we seem to be
drawing very close to the end of our journey. Thus far we have had
nothing like the romantic comedy--the comedy of sentiment, of love, the
comedy which is at once serious and witty, and which contains the
elements of tragedy. This appears, or is at least foreshadowed for the
first time, about four years after Stevenson's "first-rate screaming
farce," as Symonds has dubbed it, in the _Damon and Pithias_ of Richard
Edwardes, a writer with whom, as we have seen, Lyly was thoroughly
familiar. Indeed, the play in question anticipates our author in many
ways, for example in the introduction of pages, in the use of English
proverbs and Latin quotations, and in the insertion of songs[108]. With
reference to the last point, we may remark that Edwardes like Lyly was
interested in music, and like him also held a post in a choir school,
being one of the "gentlemen of the Chapel Royal." In the _Damon and
Pithias_ the old _morality_ is once and for all discarded. The play is
entirely free from all allegorical elements, and is only faintly tinged
with didacticism. But we cannot express the aim of Edwardes better than
in his own words:

    "In comedies the greatest skyll is this, lightly to touch
     All thynges to the quick; and eke to frame each person so
     That by his common talke, you may his nature rightly know."

To touch lightly and yet with penetration, to reveal character by
dialogue, this is indeed to write modern drama, modern comedy.

  [108] Bond, II. p. 238.

It would seem that between Edwardes and Lyly there was no room for
another link, so closely does the one follow the other; and yet one more
play must be mentioned to complete the series. This time we are no
longer brought into touch with the classics or with the scholastic
influences, for the play in question is a translation from the Italian,
being in fact Ariosto's _Suppositi_, englished by George Gascoigne[109].
Though a translation it was more than a transcript; it was englished in
the true sense of that word, in sentiment as well as in phrase. Its
chief importance lies in the fact that it is written in prose, and is
therefore the first prose comedy in our language. But Mr Gayley would go
further than this, for he describes it as "the first English comedy in
every way worthy of the name." It was written entirely for amusement,
and for the amusement of adults, not of children; and if it were the
only product of Gascoigne's pen it would justify the remark of an early
17th century critic, who says of this writer that he "brake the ice for
our quainter poets who now write, that they may more safely swim through
the main ocean of sweet poesy"; for, to quote a modern writer, "with the
blood of the New comedy, the Latin comedy, the Renaissance in its veins,
it is far ahead of its English contemporaries, if not of its time[110]."
The play was well known and popular among the Elizabethans, being
revived at Oxford in 1582[111]. Shakespeare used it for the construction
of his _Taming of the Shrew_: and altogether it is difficult to say how
much Elizabethan drama probably owed to this one comedy, which though
Italian in origin was carefully adapted to English taste by its
translator. There can be no doubt that Lyly studied this among other of
Gascoigne's works, and that he must have learnt many lessons from it,
though the fact does not appear to have been sufficiently appreciated by
Lylian students; for even Mr Bond fails, I think, to realise its

  [109] 1566.

  [110] Gayley, p. lxxxv.

  [111] _Dict. of Nat. Biog._, Gascoigne, George.

This, in brief outline, is the history of our comedy down to the time
when Lyly took it in hand; or should we not rather say "an introduction
to the history of our comedy"? For true English comedy is not to be
found in any of the plays we have mentioned. Heywood, Udall, Stevenson,
Edwardes, are the names that convey "broken lights" of comedy, hints of
the dawn, nothing more; and Gascoigne was a translator. The supreme
importance of a writer, who at this juncture produced eight comedies of
sustained merit, and of varying types, is something which is quite
beyond computation. But if we are to attempt to realise the greatness
of our debt to Lyly, let us estimate exactly how much these previous
efforts had done in the way of pioneer work, and how far also they fell
short of comedy in the strict sense of that word.

The fifty years which lie between Heywood and Lyly saw considerable
progress, but progress of a negative rather than a constructive nature,
and moreover progress which came in fits and starts, and not
continuously. It was in fact a period of transition and of individual
and disconnected experiments. Each of the writers above mentioned
contributed something towards the common development, but not one of
them, except Ariosto's translator, gave us comedy which may be
considered complete in every way. They all display a very elementary
knowledge of plot construction. Udall is perhaps the most successful in
this respect; his plot is trivial but, well versed as he is in Terence,
he manages to give it an ordered and natural development. But the other
pre-Lylian dramatists quite failed to realise the vital importance of
plot, which is indeed the very essence of comedy; and, in expending
energies upon the development of an argument, as in _Jacke Jugeler_,
which was a parody of transubstantiation, or upon the construction of
disconnected humorous situations, as in _Gammer Gurton's Needle_, they
missed the whole point of comedy. Again, though there is a clear idea of
distinction and interplay of characters, there is little perception of
the necessity of developing character as the plot moves forward.
Merygreeke, it may be objected, is an example of such development, but
the alteration in Merygreeke's nature is due to inconsistency, not to
evolution. Moreover, stage conventions had not yet become a matter of
fixed tradition. "We have a perpetual conflict between what spectators
actually see and what they are supposed to see, between the time
actually passed and that supposed to have elapsed; an outrageous demand
on the imagination in one place, a refusal to exercise or allow us to
exercise it in another[112]." Further, English comedy before 1580 was
marked, on the one hand, by its poetic literary form and, on the other,
by its almost complete absence of poetic ideas. Lyly, with the instinct
of a born conversationalist, realised that prose was the only possible
dress for comedy that should seek to represent contemporary life. But
even in their use of verse his predecessors were unsuccessful. Udall
seemed to have thought that his unequal dogtail lines would wag if he
struck a rhyme at the end, and even Edwardes was little better. The use
of blank verse had yet to be discovered, and Lyly was to have a hand in
this matter also[113]. As for poetical treatment of comedy, Edwardes is
the only one who even approaches it. He does so, because he sees that
the comic muse only ceases to be a mask when sentiment is allowed to
play over her features. And even he only half perceives it; for the
sentiment of friendship is not strong enough for complete animation, the
muse's eyes may twinkle, but passion alone will give them depth and let
the soul shine through. But, in order that passion should fill comedy
with the breath of life, it was necessary that both sexes should walk
the stage on an equal footing. That which comedy before 1580 lacked,
that which alone could round it off into a poetic whole, was the female
element. "Comedy," writes George Meredith, "lifts women to a station
offering them free play for their wit, as they usually show it, when
they have it, on the side of sound sense. The higher the comedy, the
more prominent the part they enjoy in it." But the dramatist cannot lift
them far; the civilized plane must lie only just beneath the comic
plane; the stage cannot be lighted by woman's wit if the audience have
not yet realised that brain forms a part of the feminine organism. In
the days of Elizabeth this realisation began to dawn in men's minds; but
it was Lyly who first expressed it in literature, in his novel and then
in his dramas. Those who preceded him were only dimly conscious of it,
and therefore they failed to seize upon it as material for art. It was
at Court, the Court of a great virgin Queen, that the equality of social
privileges for women was first established; it was a courtier who
introduced heroines into our drama.

  [112] Bond, II. p. 237.

  [113] George Gascoigne, whose importance does not seem to have been
  realised by Elizabethan students, also produced a drama in blank

SECTION II. _The Eight Plays._

Concerning the order of Lyly's plays there is, as we have seen, some
difference of opinion. The discussion between Mr Bond and Mr Baker in
reality turns upon the interpretation of the allegory of _Endymion_, and
it is therefore one of those questions of literary probability which can
never hope to receive a satisfactory answer. Both critics, however, are
in agreement as to the proper method of classification. They divide the
dramas into four categories: historical, of which _Campaspe_ is the sole
example; allegorical, which includes _Sapho and Phao_, _Endymion_, and
_Midas_; pastoral, which includes _Gallathea_, _The Woman in the Moon_,
and _Love's Metamorphosis_; and lastly realistic, of which again there
is only one example, _Mother Bombie_. The fault which may be found with
this classification is that the so-called pastoral plays have much of
the allegorical about them, and it is perhaps better, therefore, to
consider them rather as a subdivision of class two than as a distinct

For the moment putting on one side all questions of the allegory of
_Endymion_, there are two reasons which seem to go a long way towards
justifying Mr Bond for placing _Campaspe_ as the earliest of Lyly's
plays. In the first place the atmosphere of _Euphues_, which becomes
weaker in the other plays, is so unmistakeable in this historical drama
as to force the conclusion upon us that they belong to the same period.
The painter Apelles, whose name seemed almost to obsess Lyly in his
novel, is one of the chief characters of _Campaspe_, and the dialogue is
more decidedly euphuistic than any other play. The second point we may
notice is one which can leave very little doubt as to the correctness of
Mr Bond's chronology. _Campaspe_ and _Sapho_ were published before 1585,
that is, before Lyly accepted the mastership at the St Paul's choir
school, whereas none of his other plays came into the printer's hands
until after the inhibition of the boys' acting rights in 1591; the
obvious inference being that Lyly printed his plays only when he had no
interest in preserving the acting rights.

But whatever date we assign to _Campaspe_, there can be little doubt
that it was one of the first dramas in our language with an historical
background. Indeed, _Kynge Johan_ is the only play before 1580 which can
claim to rival it in this respect. But _Kynge Johan_ was written solely
for the purpose of religious satire, being an attack upon the priesthood
and Church abuses. It must, therefore, be classed among those political
_moralities_, of which so many examples appeared during the early part
of the 16th century. _Campaspe_, on the other hand, is entirely devoid
of any ethical or satirical motive. Allegory, which Lyly was able to
put to his own peculiar uses, is here quite absent. The sole aim of its
author was to provide amusement, and in this respect it must have been
entirely successful. The play is interesting, and at times amusing, even
to a modern reader; but to those who witnessed its performance at
Blackfriars, and, two years later, at the Court, it would appear as a
marvel of wit and dramatic power after the crude material which had
hitherto been offered to them. In the choice of his subject Lyly shows
at once that he is an artist with a feeling for beauty, even if he
seldom rises to its sublimities. The story of the play, taken from
Pliny, is that of Alexander's love for his Theban captive Campaspe, and
of his subsequent self-sacrifice in giving her up to her lover Apelles.
The social change, which I have sought to indicate in the preceding
pages, is at once evident in this play. "We calling Alexander from his
grave," says its Prologue[114], "seeke only who was his love"; and the
remark is a sweep of the hat to the ladies of the Court, whose
importance, as an integral part of the audience, is now for the first
time openly acknowledged. "Alexander, the great conqueror of the world,"
says Lyly with his hand upon his heart, "only interests me as a lover."
The whole motive of the play, which would have been meaningless to a
mediaeval audience, is a compliment to the ladies. It is as if our
author nets Mars with Venus, and presents the shamefaced god as an
offering of flattery to the Queen and her Court. _Campaspe_ is, in fact,
the first romantic drama, not only the forerunner of Shakespeare, but a
remote ancestor of _Hernani_ and the 19th century French theatre. "The
play's defect," says Mr Bond, "is one of passion"--a criticism which is
applicable to all Lyly's dramas; and yet we must not forget that Lyly
was the earliest to deal with passion dramatically. The love of
Alexander is certainly unemotional, not to say callous; but possibly the
great monarch's equanimity was a veiled tribute to the supposed
indifference of the virgin Queen to all matters of Cupid's trade.
Between Campaspe and Apelles, however, we have scenes which are imbued,
if not vitalized, by passion. Lyly was a beginner, and his fault lay in
attempting too much. Caring more for brilliancy of dialogue than for
anything else, he was no more likely to be successful here, in
portraying passion through conversation weighted by euphuism, than he
had been in his novel. Yet his endeavour to depict the conflict of
masculine passion with feminine wit, impatient sallies neatly parried,
deliberate lunges quietly turned aside, was in every way praiseworthy.
"A witte apt to conceive and quickest to answer" is attributed by
Alexander to Campaspe, and, though she exhibits few signs of it, yet in
his very idea of endowing women with wit Lyly leads us on to the
high-road of comedy leading to Congreve.

  [114] From _Prologue_ at the Court.

In addition to the romantic elements above described, we have here also
that page-prattle which is so characteristic of all Lyly's plays. These
urchins, full of mischief and delighting in quips, were probably
borrowed from Edwardes, but Lyly made them all his own; and one can
understand how naturally their parts would be played by his boy-actors.
Their repartee, when it is not pulling to pieces some Latin quotation
familiar to them at school, or ridiculing a point of logic, is often
really witty. One of them, overhearing the hungry Manes at strife with
Diogenes over the matter of an overdue dinner, exclaims to his friend,
"This is their use, nowe do they dine one upon another." Diogenes again,
in whom we may see the prototype of Shakespeare's Timon, is amusing
enough at times with his "dogged" snarlings and sallies which
frequently however miss their mark. He and the pages form an underplot
of farce, upon which Lyly improved in his later plays, bringing it also
more into connexion with the main plot. In passing, we may notice that
few of Shakespeare's plays are without this farcical substratum.

Leaving the question of dramatic construction and characterization for a
more general treatment later, we now pass on to the consideration of
Lyly's allegorical plays. The absence of all allegory from _Campaspe_
shows that Lyly had broken with the _morality_: and we seem therefore to
be going back, when two years later we have an allegorical play from his
pen. But in reality there is no retrogression; for with Lyly allegory is
not an ethical instrument. I have mentioned examples of plays before his
day which employed the machinery of the _morality_, for the purposes of
political and religious satire. The old form of drama seems to have
developed a keen sensibility to _double entendre_ among theatre-goers.
Nothing indeed is so remarkable about the Elizabethan stage as the
secret understanding which almost invariably existed between the
dramatist and his audience. We have already had occasion to notice it in
connexion with Field's parody of Kyd. The spectators were always on the
alert to detect some veiled reference to prominent political figures or
to current affairs. Often in fact, as was natural, they would discover
hints where nothing was implied; and for one Mrs Gallup in modern
America there must have been a dozen in every auditorium of Elizabethan
England. Such over-clever busybodies would readily twist an innocent
remark into treason or sacrilege, and therefore, long before Lyly's
time, it was customary for a playwright to defend himself in the
prologue against such treatment, by denying any ambiguity in his
dialogue. In an audience thus susceptible to innuendo Lyly saw his
opportunity. He was a courtier writing for the Court, he was also, let
us add, anxious to obtain a certain coveted post at the Revels' Office.
He was an artist not entirely without ideals, yet ever ready to curry
favour and to aim at material advantages by his literary facility. The
idea therefore of writing dramas which should be, from beginning to end,
nothing but an ingenious compliment to his royal mistress would not be
in the least distasteful to him. But we must not attribute too much to
motives of personal ambition. Spenser's _Faery Queen_ was not published
until 1590; but Lyly had known Spenser before the latter's departure for
Ireland, and, even if the scheme of that poet's masterpiece had not been
confided to him, the ideas which it contained were in the air. The cult
of Elizabeth, which was far from being a piece of insincere adulation,
had for some time past been growing into a kind of literary religion.
Even to us, there is something magical about the great Queen, and we can
hardly be surprised that the pagans of those days hailed her as half
divine. When Lyly commenced his career, she had been on the throne for
twenty years, in itself a wonderful fact to those who could remember the
gloom which had surrounded her accession. Through a period of infinite
danger both at home and abroad she had guided England with intrepidity
and success; and furthermore she had done all this single-handed,
refusing to share her throne with a partner even for the sake of
protection, and yet improving upon the Habsburg policy[115] by making
coquetry the pivot of her diplomacy. It was no wonder therefore that,

    "As the imperial votaress passed on
     In maiden meditation fancy free,"

the courtiers she fondled, and the artists she patronized, should half
in fancy, half in earnest, think of her as something more than human,
and search the fables of their newly discovered classics for examples of
enthroned chastity and unconquerable virgin queens.

  [115] "Alii bella gerunt, tu felix Austria nube."

All Lyly's plays except _Campaspe_ and _Mother Bombie_ are written in
this vein; each, as Symonds beautifully puts it, is "a censer of
exquisitely chased silver, full of incense to be tossed before Elizabeth
upon her throne." In the three plays _Sapho and Phao_, _Endymion_, and
_Midas_ this element of flattery is more prominent than in the others,
inasmuch as they are not only full of compliments unmistakeably directed
towards the Queen, but they actually seek to depict incidents from her
reign under the guise of classical mythology. It is for this reason that
they have been classified under the label of allegory. It is quite
possible, however, to read and enjoy these plays without a suspicion of
any inner meaning; nor does the absence of such suspicion render the
action of the play in any way unintelligible, so skilfully does Lyly
manipulate his story. With a view, therefore, to his position in the
history of Elizabethan drama, and to the lessons which he taught those
who came after him, the superficial interpretation of each play is all
that need engage our attention, and we shall content ourselves with
briefly indicating the actual incident which it symbolizes.

The story of _Sapho and Phao_ is, very shortly, as follows. Phao, a poor
ferryman, is endowed by Venus with the gift of beauty. Sapho, who in
Lyly's hands is stripped of all poetical attributes and becomes simply a
great Queen of Sicily, sees him and instantly falls in love with him.
To conceal her passion, she pretends to her ladies that she has a fever,
at the same time sending for Phao, who is rumoured to have herbs for
such complaints. Meanwhile Venus herself falls a victim to the charms
she has bestowed upon the ferryman. Cupid is therefore called in to
remedy matters on her behalf. The boy, who plays a part which no one can
fail to compare with that of Puck in the _Midsummer Night's Dream_,
succeeds in curing Sapho's passion, but, much to his mother's disgust,
won over by the Queen's attractions, refuses to go further, and even
inspires Phao with a loathing for the goddess. The play ends with Phao's
departure from Sicily in despair, and Cupid's definite rebellion from
the rule of Venus, resulting in his remaining with Sapho. In this story,
which is practically a creation of Lyly's brain, though of course it is
founded upon the classical tale of Sapho's love for Phao, our playwright
presents under the form of allegory the history of Alençon's courtship
of Elizabeth. Sapho, Queen of Sicily, is of course Elizabeth, Queen of
England. The difficulty of Alençon's (that is Phao's) ugliness is
overcome by the device of making it love's task to confer beauty upon
him. Phao like Alençon quits the island and its Queen in despair; while
the play is rounded off by the pretty compliment of representing love as
a willing captive in Elizabeth's Court.

As a play _Sapho and Phao_ shows a distinct advance upon _Campaspe_. The
dialogue is less euphuistic, and therefore much more effective. The
conversation between Sapho and Phao, in the scene where the latter comes
with his herbs to cure the Queen, is very charming, and well expresses
the passion which the one is too humble and the other too proud to

    PHAO. I know no hearb to make lovers sleepe but Heartesease, which
             because it groweth so high, I cannot reach: for--

    SAPHO. For whom?

    PHAO. For such as love.

    SAPHO. It groweth very low, and I can never stoop to it, that--

    PHAO. That what?

    SAPHO. That I may gather it: but why doe you sigh so, Phao?

    PHAO. It is mine use Madame.

    SAPHO. It will doe you harme and mee too: for I never heare one
             sighe, but I must sigh't also.

    PHAO. It were best then that your Ladyship give me leave to be gone:
             for I can but sigh.

    SAPHO. Nay stay: for now I beginne to sighe, I shall not leave
             though you be gone. But what do you thinke best for your
             sighing to take it away?

    PHAO. Yew, Madame.

    SAPHO. Mee?

    PHAO. No, Madame, yewe of the tree.

    SAPHO. Then will I love yewe the better, and indeed I think it
             should make me sleepe too, therefore all other simples set
             aside, I will simply use onely yewe.

    PHAO. Doe Madame: for I think nothing in the world so good as

  [116] _Sapho and Phao_, Act III. Sc. IV. 60-85.

Altogether there is a great increase in general vitality in this play.
Lyly draws nearer to the conception of ideal comedy. "Our interest," he
tells us in his Prologue, "was at this time to move inward delight not
outward lightnesse, and to breede (if it might be) soft smiling, not
loud laughing"; and to this end he tends to minimize the purely farcical
element. The pages are still present, but they are balanced by a group
of Sapho's maids-in-waiting who discuss the subject of love upon the
stage with great frankness and charm. Mileta, the leader of this chorus,
is, we may suspect, a portrait drawn from life; she is certainly much
more convincing than the somewhat shadowy Campaspe. The figures in
Lyly's studio are limited in number--Camilla, Lucilla, Campaspe, Mileta,
all come from the same mould: in Pandion we may discover Euphues under a
new name, and the surly Vulcan is only another edition of the "crabbed
Diogenes." And yet each of these types becomes more life-like as he
proceeds, and if the puppets that he left to his successors were not yet
human, they had learnt to walk the stage without that angularity of
movement and jerkiness of speech which betray the machine.

Departing for a moment from the strictly chronological order, and
leaving _Gallathea_ for later treatment, we pass on to _Endymion_, the
second of the allegorical dramas, and, without doubt, the boldest in
conception and the most beautiful in execution of all Lyly's plays. The
story is founded upon the classical fable of Diana's kiss to the
sleeping boy, but its arrangement and development are for the most part
of Lyly's invention: indeed, he was obliged to frame it in accordance
with the facts which he sought to allegorize. All critics are agreed in
identifying Cynthia with Elizabeth and Endymion with Leicester, but they
part company upon the interpretation of the play as a whole. The story
is briefly as follows. Endymion, forsaking his former love Tellus,
contracts an ardent passion for Cynthia, who, in accordance with her
character as moon-goddess, meets his advances with coolness. Tellus
determines to be revenged, and, by the aid of a sorceress Dipsas, sends
the youth into a deep sleep from which no one can awaken him. Cynthia
learns what has befallen, and although she does not suspect Tellus, she
orders the latter to be shut up in a castle for speaking maliciously of
Endymion. She then sends Eumenides, the young man's great friend, to
seek out a remedy. This man is deeply in love with Semele, who scorns
his passion, and therefore, when he reaches a magic fountain which will
answer any question put to it, he is so absorbed with his own troubles
as almost to forget those of his friend. A carefully thought-out piece
of writing follows, for he debates with himself whether to use his one
question for an enquiry about his love or his sleeping friend.
Friendship and duty conquer at length, and, looking into the well, he
discovers that the remedy for Endymion's sickness is a kiss from
Cynthia's lips. He returns with his message, the kiss is given,
Endymion, grown old after 40 years' sleep, is restored to youth, the
treachery of Tellus is discovered and eventually forgiven, and the play
ends amid a peal of marriage bells. Endymion, however, is left
unmarried, knowing as he does that lowly and distant worship is all he
can be allowed to offer the virgin goddess. The play, of course, has a
farcical underplot which is only connected very slightly with the main
story by Sir Tophas' ridiculous passion for Dipsas. His love in fact is
presented as a kind of caricature of Endymion's, and he is the
laughing-stock of a number of pages who gambol and play pranks after the
usual manner of Lyly's boys. The solution of the allegory lies mainly in
the interpretation of Tellus' character, and I cannot but agree with Mr
Bond when he decides that Tellus is Mary Queen of Scots. He is perhaps
less convincing where he pairs Endymion with Sidney, and Semele with
Penelope Devereux, the famous _Stella_. Lastly we may notice his
suggestion that Tophas may be Gabriel Harvey, which certainly appears to
be more probable than Halpin's theory that Stephen Gosson is here
meant[117]. But the whole question is one of such obscurity, and of so
little importance from the point of view of my argument, that I shall
not attempt to enter further into it.

  [117] Halpin, _Oberon's Vision_, Shakespeare Society, 1843.

In _Endymion_ Lyly shows that his mastership of St Paul's has increased
his knowledge of stage-craft. For example, while _Campaspe_ contains at
least four imaginary transfers in space in the middle of a scene,
_Endymion_ has only one: and it is a transfer which requires a much
smaller stretch of imagination than the constant appearance of Diogenes'
tub upon the stage whenever and wherever comic relief was considered
necessary. There is improvement moreover in characterization. But the
interesting thing about this play is Shakespeare's intimate knowledge of
it, visible chiefly in the _Midsummer Night's Dream_. The well-known
speech of Oberon to Puck, directing him to gather the "little western
flower," is to all intents and purposes a beautiful condensation of
Lyly's allegory. One would like, indeed, to think that there was
something more than fancy in Mr Gollancz's suggestion that Shakespeare
when a boy had seen this play of Lyly's acted at Kenilworth, where
Leicester entertained Elizabeth; little William going thither with his
father from the neighbouring town of Stratford. But however that may be,
_Endymion_ certainly had a peculiar fascination for him; we may even
detect borrowings from the underplot. Tophas' enumeration of the charms
of Dipsas[118] foreshadows Thisbe's speech over the fallen Pyramus[119],
while, did we not know Lyly's play to be the earlier, we might suspect
the page's song near the sleeping knight to be a clumsy caricature of
the graceful songs of the fairies guarding Titania's dreams. Again there
are parallels in Shakespeare's earliest comedy _Love's Labour's Lost_.
Sir Tophas, who is undoubtedly modelled upon Roister Doister, reappears
with his page, as Armado with his attendant Moth. And I have no doubt
that many other resemblances might be discovered by careful
investigation. We cannot wonder that _Endymion_ attracted Shakespeare,
for it is the most "romantic" of all Lyly's plays. Indistinctness of
character seems to be in keeping with an allegory of moonshine; and even
the mechanical action cannot spoil the poetical atmosphere which
pervades the whole. Here if anywhere Lyly reached the poetical plane. He
speaks of "thoughts stitched to the starres," of "time that treadeth all
things down but truth," of the "ivy which, though it climb up by the
elme, can never get hold of the beames of the sunne," and the play is
full of many other quaint poetical conceits.

  [118] _Endymion_, Act III. Sc. II. ll. 30-60.

  [119] Cp. also Shakespeare, _Sonnet_ CXXX.

From the point of view of drama, however, it cannot be considered equal
to the third of the allegorical plays. As a man of fashion Lyly was
nothing if not up to date. In August 1588 the great Armada had made its
abortive attack upon Cynthia's kingdom, and twelve months were scarcely
gone before the industrious Court dramatist had written and produced on
the stage an allegorical satire upon his Catholic Majesty Philip, King
of Spain. Though it contains compliments to Elizabeth, _Midas_ is more
of a patriotic than a purely Court play. The story, with but a few
necessary alterations, comes from Ovid's _Metamorphoses_[120]. It is the
old tale of the three wishes. Love, power, and wealth are offered, and
Midas chooses the last. But he soon finds that the gift of turning
everything to gold has its drawbacks. Even his beard accidentally
becomes bullion. He eventually gets rid of his obnoxious power by
bathing in a river. The fault of the play is that there are, as it were,
two sections; for now we are introduced to an entirely new situation.
The King chances upon Apollo and Pan engaged in a musical contest, and,
asked to decide between them, gives his verdict for the goat-foot god.
Apollo, in revenge, endows him with a pair of ass's ears. For some time
he manages to conceal them; but "murder will out," for the reeds breathe
the secret to the wind. Midas in the end seeks pardon at Apollo's
shrine, and is relieved of his ears. At the same time he abandons his
project of invading the neighbouring island of Lesbos, to which
continual references are made throughout the play. This island is of
course England; the golden touch refers to the wealth of Spanish
America, while, if Halpin be correct, Pan and Apollo signify the
Catholic and the Protestant faith respectively. We may also notice, in
passing, that the ears obviously gave Shakespeare the idea of Bottom's

  [120] XI. 85-193.

The weakness of the play, as I have said, lies in its duality of action.
In other respects, however, it is certainly a great advance on its
predecessors, especially in its underplot, which is for the first time
connected satisfactorily with the main argument. Motto, the royal
barber, in the course of his duties, obtains possession of the golden
beard: and the history of this somewhat unusual form of treasure
affords a certain amount of amusing farcical relief. It is stolen by one
of the Court pages, Motto recovers it as a reward for curing the thief's
toothache, but he loses it again because, being overheard hinting at the
ass's ears, he is convicted of treason by the pages, and is blackmailed
in consequence. From this it will be seen that the underplot is more
embroidered with incident and is, in every way, better arranged than in
the earlier plays.

We must now turn to the pastoral plays, _Gallathea_, _The Woman in the
Moon_, and _Love's Metamorphosis_, which we may consider together since
their stories, uninspired by any allegorical purpose beyond general
compliments to the Queen, do not require any detailed consideration. And
yet it should be pointed out that this distinction between Lyly's
allegorical and pastoral plays is more apparent than real. There are
shepherds in _Midas_, the Queen appears under the mythological title of
Ceres in _Love's Metamorphosis_. Such overlapping however is only to be
expected, and the division is at least very convenient for purposes of
classification. Lyly's pastoral plays form, as it were, a link between
the drama and the masque; indeed, when we consider that all the
Elizabethan dramatists were students of Lyly, it is possible that comedy
and masque may have been evolved from the Lylian mythological play by a
process of differentiation. It may be that our author increased the
pastoral element as the arcadian fashion came into vogue, but this
argument does not hold of _Gallathea_, while we are uncertain as to the
date of _Love's Metamorphosis_. None of these plays are worth
considering in detail, but each has its own particular point of
interest. In _Gallathea_ this is the introduction of girls in boys'
clothes. As far as I know, Lyly is the first to use the convenient
dramatic device of disguise. How effective a trick it was, is proved by
the manner in which later dramatists, and in particular Shakespeare,
adopted it. Its full significance cannot be appreciated by us to-day,
for the whole point of it was that the actors, who appeared as girls
dressed up as boys, were, as the audience knew, really boys themselves;
a fact which doubtless increased the funniness of the situation. _The
Woman in the Moon_ gives us a man disguised in his wife's clothes, which
is a variation of the same trick. But the importance of _The Woman_ lies
in its poetical form. Most Elizabethan scholars have decided that this
play was Lyly's first dramatic effort, on the authority of the Prologue,
which bids the audience

    "Remember all is but a poet's dream,
     The first he had in Phoebus' holy bower,
     But not the last, unless the first displease."

But the maturity and strength of the drama argue a fairly considerable
experience in its author, and we shall therefore be probably more
correct if we place it last instead of first of Lyly's plays,
interpreting the words of the Prologue as simply implying that it was
Lyly's first experiment in blank verse, inspired possibly by the example
of Marlowe in _Tamburlaine_ and of Shakespeare in _Love's Labour's
Lost_[121]. But, whatever its date, _The Woman in the Moon_ must rank
among the earliest examples of blank verse in our language, and, as
such, its importance is very great. In _Love's Metamorphosis_ there is
nothing of interest equal to those points we have noticed in the other
two plays of the same class. The only remarkable thing, indeed, about it
is the absence of that farcical under-current which appears in all his
other plays. Mr Bond suggests, with great plausibility, that such an
element had originally appeared, but that, because it dealt with
dangerous questions of the time, perhaps with the _Marprelate_
controversy, it was expunged.

  [121] Bond, III. p. 234.

It now remains to say a few words upon _Mother Bombie_, which forms the
fourth division of Lyly's dramatic writings. Though it presents many
points of similarity in detail to his other plays, its general
atmosphere is so different (displaying, indeed, at times distinct errors
of taste) that I should be inclined to assign it to a friend or pupil of
Lyly, were it not bound up with Blount's _Sixe Court Comedies_[122], and
therein said to be written by "the onely Rare Poet of that time, the
wittie, comical, facetiously quicke, and unparalleled John Lilly master
of arts." It is clever in construction, but undeniably tedious. It shows
that Lyly had learnt much from Udall, Stevenson, and Gascoigne, and
perhaps its chief point of interest is that it links these writers to
the later realists, Ben Jonson, and that student of London life, who is
surely one of the most charming of all the Elizabethan dramatists,
whimsical and delightful Thomas Dekker. _Mother Bombie_ was an
experiment in the drama of realism, the realism that Nash was employing
so successfully in his novels. It has been labelled as our earliest pure
farce of well-constructed plot and literary form, but, though it is
certainly on a much higher plane than _Roister Doister_, it would only
create confusion if we denied that title to Udall's play. Yet, despite
its comparative unimportance, and although it is evident that Lyly is
here out of his natural element, _Mother Bombie_ is interesting as
showing the (to our ideas) extraordinary confusion of artistic ideals
which, as I have already noticed, is the remarkable thing about the
Renaissance in England. Here we have a courtier, a writer of allegories,
of dream-plays, the first of our mighty line of romanticists, producing
a somewhat vulgar realistic play of rustic life. There is nothing
anomalous in this. "Violence and variation," which someone has described
as the two essentials of the ideal life, were certainly the
distinguishing marks of the New Birth; and the men of that age demanded
it in their literature. The drama of horror, the drama of insanity, the
drama of blood, all were found on the Elizabethan stage, and all
attracted large audiences. People delighted to read accounts of
contemporary crime; often these choice morsels were dished up for them
by some famous writer, as Kyd did in _The Murder of John Brewer_. The
taste for realism is by no means a purely 19th century product.
Moreover, the Elizabethans soon wearied of sameness; only a writer of
the greatest versatility, such as Shakespeare, could hope for success,
or at least financial success; and it was, perhaps, in order to revive
his waning popularity that Lyly took to realism. But the child of
fashion is always the earliest to become out of date, and we cannot
think that _Mother Bombie_ did much towards improving our author's

  [122] For title-page, Bond, III. p. 1, date 1632.

At this point of our enquiry it will be as well to say a few words upon
the lyrics which Lyly sprinkled broadcast over his plays. From an
aesthetic point of view these are superior to anything else he wrote.
"Foreshortened in the tract of time," his novel, his plays, have become
forgotten, and it is as the author of _Cupid and my Campaspe played_
that he is alone known to the lover of literature. There is no need to
enter into an investigation of the numerous anonymous poems which Mr
Bond has claimed for him[123]; even if we knew for certain that he was
their author, they are so mediocre in themselves as to be unworthy of
notice, scarcely I think of recovery. But let us turn to the songs of
his dramas, of which there are 32 in all. These are, of course, unequal
in merit, but the best are worthy to be ranked with Shakespeare's
lyrics, and our greatest dramatist was only following Lyly's example
when he introduced lyrics into his plays. I have already pointed out
that music was an important element in our early comedy. Udall had
introduced songs into his _Roister Doister_, and we have them also in
_Gammer Gurton_ and _Damon and Pithias_, but never, before Lyly's day,
had they taken so prominent a part in drama, for no previous dramatist
had possessed a tithe of Lyly's lyrical genius. Every condition favoured
our author in this introduction of songs into his plays. He had
tradition at his back; he was intensely interested in music, and
probably composed the airs himself; and lastly he was master of a choir
school, and would therefore use every opportunity for displaying his
pupils' voices on the stage. Too much stress, however, must not be laid
upon this last condition, because Lyly had already written three songs
for _Campaspe_ and four for _Sapho and Phao_ before he became connected
with St Paul's, a fact which points again to de Vere, himself a lyrist
of considerable powers, as Lyly's adviser and master. Doubts, indeed,
have been cast upon Lyly's authorship of these lyrics on the ground that
they are omitted from the first edition of the plays. But we need, I
think, have no hesitation in accepting Lyly as their creator, since the
omission in question is fully accounted for by the fact that they were
probably written separately from the plays, and handed round amongst the
boys together with the musical score[124]. These songs are of various
kinds and of widely different value. We have, for example, the purely
comic poem, probably accompanied by gesture and pantomime, such as the
song of Petulus from _Midas_, beginning, "O my Teeth! deare Barber ease
me," with interruptions and refrains supplied by his companion and the
scornful Motto. Many of these songs, indeed, are cast into dialogue
form, sometimes each page singing a verse by himself, as in "O for a
Bowle of fatt canary." This last is the earliest of Lyly's wine-songs,
which for swing and vigour are among some of the best in our language,
reminding us irresistibly of those pagan chants of the mediaeval
wandering scholar which the late Mr Symonds has collected for us in his
_Wine, Women, and Song_. The drinking song, "Io Bacchus," which occurs
in _Mother Bombie_, is undoubtedly, I think, modelled on one of these
earlier student compositions; the reference to the practice of throwing
hats into the fire is alone sufficient to suggest it. But it is as a
writer of the lyric proper that Lyly is best known. No one but Herrick,
perhaps, has given us more graceful love trifles woven about some
classical conceit. Mr Palgrave has familiarized us with the best, _Cupid
and my Campaspe played_, but there are others only less charming than
this. The same theme is employed in the following:

    "O Cupid! Monarch over Kings!
     Wherefore hast thou feet and wings?
     Is it to show how swift thou art,
     When thou would'st wound a tender heart?
     Thy wings being clipped, and feet held still,
     Thy bow so many would not kill.
     It is all one in Venus' wanton school
     Who highest sits, the wise man or the fool!
         Fools in love's college
         Have far more knowledge
     To read a woman over,
     Than a neat prating lover.
         Nay, 'tis confessed
     That fools please women best[125]!"

  [123] Bond, III. p. 433.

  [124] Bond, I. p. 36, II. p. 265.

  [125] _Mother Bombie_, Act III. Sc. III. 1-14.

Another quotation must be permitted. This time it is no embroidered
conceit, but one of those lyrics of pure nature music, of which the
Renaissance poets were so lavish, touched with the fire of Spring, with
the light of hope, bird-notes untroubled by doubt, unconscious of
pessimism, which are therefore all the more charming for us who dwell
amid sunsets of intense colouring, who can see nothing but the hectic
splendours of autumn. For the melancholy nightingale the poet has
surprise and admiration, no sympathy:

    "What Bird so sings, yet so does wail?
     O 'tis the ravished Nightingale.
     Jug, jug, jug, jug, tereu, she cries,
     And still her woes at Midnight rise.
     Brave prick song! who is't now we hear?
     None but the lark so shrill and clear;
     Now at heaven's gates she claps her wings,
     The Morn not waking till she sings.
     Hark, hark, with what a pretty throat
     Poor Robin-red-breast tunes his note.
     Hark how the jolly cuckoos sing
     'Cuckoo' to welcome in the spring,
     'Cuckoo' to welcome in the spring[126]."

  [126] _Campaspe_, Act V. Sc. I. 32-44. I have modernised the spelling.

This delightful song comes from the first of Lyly's dramas, and few even
of Shakespeare's lyrics can equal it. Indeed, coming as it does at the
dawn of the Elizabethan era, it seems like the cuckoo herself "to
welcome in the spring."

SECTION III. _Lyly's dramatic Genius and Influence._

Having thus very briefly passed in review the various plays that Lyly
bequeathed to posterity[127], we must say a few words in conclusion on
their main characteristics, the advance they made upon their
predecessors, and their influence on later drama.

  [127] I have said nothing of the _Mayde's Metamorphosis_, as most
  critics are agreed in assigning it to some unknown author.

In Lyly, it is worth noticing, England has her first professional
dramatist. Unlike those who had gone before him he was no amateur, he
wrote for his living, and he wrote as one interested in the technical
side of the theatre. They had played with drama, producing indeed
interesting experiments, but accomplishing only what one would expect
from men who merely took a lay interest in the theatre, and who
possessed a certain knowledge, scholastic rather than technical, of the
methods of the classical playwrights. He, having probably learnt at
Oxford all there was to be known concerning the drama of the ancient
world, came to London, and, definitely deciding to embark upon the
dramatist's career, saw and studied such _moralities_ and plays as were
to be seen, aided and directed by the experience and knowledge of his
patron: finding in the _moralities_, allegory; in the plays of Udall and
Stevenson, farce; in _Damon and Pithias_, a romantic play upon a
classical theme; and in Gascoigne's _Supposes_, brilliant prose
dialogue. That he was induced to make such a study, and that he was
enabled to carry it out so thoroughly, was due partly, I think, to his
peculiar financial position. As secretary of de Vere, and later as
Vice-master of St Paul's School, he was independent of the actual
necessity of bread-winning, which forced even Shakespeare to pander to
the garlic-eating multitude he loathed, and wrung from him the cry,

    "Alas, 'tis true I have been here and there
     And made myself a motley to the view,
     Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear" ...

But, on the other hand, neither post was sufficiently remunerative to
secure for him the comforts, still less the luxuries, of life. His
income required supplementing, if only for the sake of meeting his
tobacco bill, though I have a strong suspicion that the bills sent in to
him served no more useful purpose than to light his pipe. But, however,
adopting the theatre as his profession, he would naturally make a
serious study of dramatic art, and, having no need for constantly
filling the maw of present necessity, he could undertake such a study
thoroughly and at his leisure. And to this cause his peculiar importance
in the history of the Elizabethan stage is mainly due. Next to Jonson,
the most learned of all the dramatists, yet possessing little of their
poetical capacity, he set them the most conspicuous example in technique
and stage-craft, in the science of play-writing, which they would
probably have been far too busy to acquire for themselves. Lyly's eight
dramas formed the rough-hewn but indispensable foundation-stone of the
Elizabethan edifice. Spenser has been called the poet's poet, Lyly was
in his own days the playwright's dramatist.

Of his dramatic construction we have already spoken. We have noticed
that he introduced the art of disguise; that he varied his action by
songs, accompanied perhaps with pantomime. Mr Bond suggests further that
he probably did much to extend the use of stage properties and
scenery[128]. But the real importance of his plays lies in their plot
construction and character drawing, points which as yet we have only
touched upon. The way in which he manages the action of his plays shows
a skill quite unapproached by anything that had gone before, and more
pronounced than that of many which came after. Too often indeed we have
dialogues, scenes, and characters which have no connexion with the
development of the story; but when we consider how frequently
Shakespeare sinned in this respect, we cannot blame Lyly for introducing
a philosophical discussion between Plato and Aristotle, as in
_Campaspe_, or those merry altercations between his pages which added so
much colour and variety to his plays. However many interruptions there
were, he never allowed his audience to forget the main business, as
Dekker, for example, so frequently did. Nowhere, again, in Lyly's plays
are the motives inadequate to support the action, as they were in the
majority of dramas previous to 1580. Even Alexander's somewhat tame
surrender of Campaspe is quite in accordance with his royal dignity and
magnanimity; and, moreover, we are warned in the third act that the
King's love is slight and will fade away at the first blast of the war
trumpet, for as he tells us he is "not so far in love with Campaspe as
with Bucephalus, if occasion serve either of conflict or of
conquest[129]." In _Endymion_ the motives are perhaps most skilfully
displayed, and lead most naturally on to the action, and in this play,
also, Lyly is perhaps most successful in creating that dramatic
excitement which is caused by working up to an apparent deadlock (due to
the intrigues of Tellus), and which is made to resolve itself and
disappear in the final act. Closely allied with the development of
action by the presentation of motives is the weaving of the plot. And
in this Lyly is not so satisfactory, though, of course, far in advance
of his predecessors. A steady improvement, however, is discernible as he
proceeds. In the earlier plays the page element does little more than
afford comic relief: the encounters between Manes and his friends, and
between Manes and his master, can hardly be dignified by the name of
plot. It is in _Midas_, as I have already suggested, that this farcical
under-current displays incident and action of its own, turning as it
does upon the relations of the pages with Motto and the theft of the
beard. Here again the comic scenes, now connected together for the first
time, are also united with the main story. But the page element by no
means represents Lyly's only attempt at creating an underplot. It will
be seen from the story of _Endymion_ related above that in that play our
author is not contented with a single passion-nexus, if the expression
may be allowed, that of Tellus, Cynthia, and Endymion, but he gives us
another, that of Eumenides and Semele, which has no real connexion with
the action, but which seriously threatens to interrupt it at one point.
Other interests are hinted at, rather than developed, by the infatuation
of Sir Tophas for Dipsas, and by the history of the latter's husband.
Though _Midas_ is more advanced in other ways, it displays nothing like
the complexity of _Endymion_, and it is moreover, as I have said, cut in
two by the want of connexion between the incident of the golden touch
and that of the ass's ears. Lastly, in _Love's Metamorphosis_, which is
without the element of farce, the relations between the nymphs and the
shepherds complete that underplot of passion which is hinted at in
_Sapho_, in the evident fancy which Mileta shows for Phao, and developed
as we have just noticed in _Endymion_.

  [128] Bond, II. pp. 265-266.

  [129] _Campaspe_, Act III. Sc. IV. 31.

In this plot construction and interweaving, Lyly had no models except
the classics, and we may, therefore, say that his work in this direction
was almost entirely original. The last-mentioned play was produced at
Court some time before 1590, and we cannot doubt, was attended by our
greatest dramatist. At any rate the lessons which Shakespeare learnt
from Lyly in the matter of plot complication are visible in the
_Midsummer Night's Dream_, which was produced in 1595[130]. The
intricate mechanism of this play, reminding us with its four plots (the
Duke and Hippolyta, the lovers, the mechanics, and the fairies) of the
_miracle_ with its imposing but unimportant divinities in the Rood
gallery, its main stage whereon moved human characters, its Crypt
supplying the rude comic element in the shape of devils, and its angels
who moved from one level to another welding the whole together, was far
beyond Lyly's powers, but it was only possible even for Shakespeare
after a thorough study of Lyly's methods.

  [130] Sidney Lee, _Life_, p. 151.

As I have previously pointed out, Lyly was not very successful in the
matter of character drawing. Never, even for a moment, is passion
allowed to disturb the cultured placidity of the dialogue. The
conditions under which his plays were produced may in part account for
this. The children of Paul's could hardly be expected to display much
light and shade of emotion in their acting, certainly depth of passion
was beyond their scope. But the fault, I think, lies rather in the
dramatist than in the actors. Lyly's mind was in all probability
altogether of too superficial a nature for a sympathetic analysis of the
human soul. That at least is how I interpret his character. All his work
was more "art than nature," some of it was "more labour than art." On
the technical side his dramatic advance is immense, but we may look in
vain in his dramas for any of that appreciation of the elemental facts
of human nature which can alone create enduring art. In their
characterization, Lyly's plays do little more than form a link between
Shakespeare and the old _morality_. This comes out most strongly in
their peculiar method of character grouping. By a very natural process
the _moral_ type is split up with the intention of giving it life and
variety. Thus we have those groups of pages, of maids-in-waiting, of
shepherds, of deities, etc., which are so characteristic of Lyly's
plays. There is no real distinction between page and page, and between
nymph and nymph; but their merry conversations give a piquancy and
colour to the drama which make up for, and in part conceal, the absence
of character. All that was necessary for the creation of character was
to fit these pieces of the _moral_ type together again in a different
way, and to breathe the spirit of genius into the new creation. We can
see Lyly feeling towards this solution of the problem in his portrayal
of Gunophilus, the clown of _The Woman in the Moon_. This character,
which anticipates the immortal clowns of Shakespeare, is formed by an
amalgamation of the pages in the previous plays into one comic figure.
But Lyly also attempts to create single figures, in addition to these
group characters which for the most part have little to do with the
action. Often he helps out his poverty of invention by placing
descriptions of one character in the mouth of another. "How stately she
passeth bye, yet how soberly!" exclaims Alexander watching Campaspe at a
distance, "a sweet consent in her countenance with a chaste disdaine,
desire mingled with coyness, and I cannot tell how to tearme it, a curst
yeelding modestie!"--an excellent piece of description, and one which is
very necessary for the animation of the shadowy Campaspe. At times
however Lyly can dispense with such adventitious aids. Pipenetta, the
fascinating little wench in _Midas_ and one of our dramatist's most
successful creations, needs no other illumination than her own pert
speeches. Diogenes again is an effective piece of work. But both these
are minor characters who therefore receive no development, and if we
look at the more important personages of Lyly's portrait gallery, we
must agree with Mr Bond[131] that Tellus is the best. She is a character
which exhibits considerable development, and she is also Lyly's only
attempt to embody the evil principle in woman--a hint for the
construction of that marvellous portrait of another Scottish queen, the
Lady Macbeth, which Lyly just before his death in 1606 may have seen
upon the stage.

  [131] Bond, II. p. 284.

On the whole Lyly is most successful when he is drawing women, which was
only as it should be, if we allow that the feminine element is the very
pivot of true comedy. This he saw, and it is because he was the first to
realise it and to grapple with the difficulties it entailed that the
title of father of English comedy may be given him without the least
reserve or hesitation. Sapho the haughty but amorous queen, Mileta the
mocking but tender Court lady, Gallathea the shy provincial lass, and
Pipenetta the saucy little maid-servant, fill our stage for the first
time in history with their tears and their laughter, their scorn of the
mere male and their "curst yeelding modestie," their bold sallies and
their bashful blushes. Nothing like this had as yet been seen in English
literature. I have already pointed out why it was that woman asserted
her place in art at this juncture. Yet, although the revolution would
have come about in any case, all honour must be paid to the man who saw
it coming, anticipated it, and determined its fortunes by the creation
of such a number of feminine characters from every class in the social
scale. And if it be true that he only gave us "their outward husk of wit
and raillery and flirtation," if it be true that his interpretation of
woman was superficial, that he had no understanding for the soul behind
the social mask, for the emotional and passionate current, now a quiet
stream, now a raging torrent, beneath the layer of etiquette, his work
was none the less important for that.

    "Blood and brain and spirit, three
     Join for true felicity."

Blood his girls had and brain, but his genius was not divine enough to
bestow upon them the third essential. Yet they were alive, they were
flesh, they had wit, and in this they are undoubtedly the forerunners
not only of Shakespeare's heroines but of Congreve's and of
Meredith's--to mention the three greatest delineators of women in our
language. They are the Undines in the story of our literature, beautiful
and seductive, complete in everything but soul!

While realising that woman should be the real protagonist in comedy,
Lyly also appreciated the fact that skilful dialogue and brilliant
repartee are only less important, and that for this purpose prose was
more suitable than verse. Gascoigne's _Supposes_ was his model in both
these innovations, and yet he would undoubtedly have adopted them of his
own accord without any outside suggestion. And since _The Supposes_ was
a translation, _Campaspe_ deserves the title of the first purely English
comedy in prose. The _Euphues_ had given him a reputation for sprightly
and witty dialogue, he himself was possibly known at Court as a
brilliant conversationalist, and therefore when he came to write plays
he would naturally do all in his power to maintain and to improve his
fame in this respect. With his acute sense of form he would recognise
how clumsy had been the efforts of previous dramatists, and he knew also
how impossible it would be, in verse form, to write witty dialogue, up
to date in the subjects it handled. He therefore determined to use
prose, and, though he manipulates it somewhat awkwardly in his earlier
plays while still under the influence of the euphuistic fashion, he
steadily improves, as he gains experience of the function and needs of
dialogue, until at length he succeeds in creating a thoroughly
serviceable dramatic instrument. This departure was a great event in
English literature. Shakespeare was too much of a poet ever to dispense
altogether with verse, but he appreciated the virtue of prose as a
vehicle of comic dialogue, and he uses it occasionally even in his
earliest comedy, _Love's Labour's Lost_. Ben Jonson on the other
hand--perhaps more than any other Lyly's spiritual heir--wrote nearly
all his comedies in prose. And it is not fanciful I think to see in
Lyly's pointed dialogue, tinged with euphuism, the forerunner of
Congreve's sparkling conversation and of the epigrammatic writing of our
modern English playwrights.

Such are the main characteristics of Lyly's dramatic genius. To attempt
to trace his influence upon later writers would be to write a history of
the Elizabethan stage. In the foregoing remarks I have continually
indicated Shakespeare's debt to him in matters of detail. _The Midsummer
Night's Dream_ is from beginning to end full of reminiscences from the
plays of the earlier dramatist, transmuted, vitalized, and beautified by
the genius of our greatest poet. It is as if he had witnessed in one
day a representation of all Lyly's dramatic work, and wearied by the
effort of attention had fallen asleep and dreamt this _Dream_. _Love's
Labour's Lost_ is only less indebted to Lyly; indeed nearly all
Shakespeare's plays, certainly all his comedies, exhibit the same
influence: for he knew his Lyly through and through, and his
assimilative power was unequalled. Shakespeare might almost be said to
be a combination of Marlowe and Lyly plus that indefinable something
which made him the greatest writer of all time. Marlowe, his master in
tragedy, was also his master in poetry, in that strength of conception
and beauty of execution which together make up the soul of drama. Lyly,
besides the lesson he taught him in comedy, was also his model for
dramatic construction, brilliancy of dialogue, technical skill, and all
that comprises the science of play-making--things which were perhaps of
more moment to him, with his scanty classical knowledge, than Marlowe's
lesson which he had little need of learning. And what we have said of
Shakespeare may be said of Elizabethan drama as a whole. "Marlowe's
place," writes Mr Havelock Ellis, "is at the heart of English poetry";
his "high, astounding terms" took the world of his day by storm, his
gift to English literature was the gift of sublime beauty, of
imagination, and passion. Lyly could lay claim to none of these, but his
contribution was perhaps of more importance still. He did the
spade-work, and did it once and for all. With his knowledge of the
Classics and of previous English experiments he wrote plays that,
compared with what had gone before, were models of plot construction, of
the development of action, and even of characterization. Moreover he was
before Marlowe by some nine years in the production of true romantic
drama, and in his treatment of women. In spite, therefore, of Marlowe's
immense superiority to him on the aesthetic side, Lyly must be placed
above the author of _Edward II._ in dynamical importance.

In connexion with Lyly's influence the question of the exact nature of
his dramatic productions is worth a moment's consideration. Are they
masques or dramas? and if the latter are they strictly speaking
classical or romantic in form? As I have already suggested, the answer
to the first half of this question is that they were neither and both.
In Lyly's day drama had not yet been differentiated from masque, and his
plays, therefore, partook of the nature of both. Produced as they were
for the Court, it was natural that they should possess something of that
atmosphere of pageantry, music, and pantomime which we now associate
with the word masque. But Elizabeth was economical and preferred plain
drama to the expensive masque displays, though she was ready to enjoy
the latter, if they were provided for her by Leicester or some other
favourite. Lyly's work therefore never advanced very far in the
direction of the masque, though in its complimentary allegories it had
much in common with it. The question as to whether it should be
described as classical rather than as romantic is not one which need
detain us long. It is interesting however as it again brings out the
peculiarity of Lyly's position. It may indeed be claimed for him that
all sections of Elizabethan drama, except perhaps tragedy, are to be
found in embryo in his plays. I have said that he was the first of the
romanticists, but he was no less the first important writer of classical
drama. _Gorbuduc_ and its like had been tedious and clumsy imitations,
and, moreover, they had imitated Seneca, who was a late classic. Lyly,
though the Greek dramatists were unknown to him, had probably studied
Aristotle's _Poetics_, and was certainly acquainted with Horace's _Ars
Poetica_, and with the comedies of Terence and Plautus. He was,
therefore, an authority on matters dramatic, and could boast of a
learning on the subject of technique which few of his contemporaries or
his successors could lay claim to, and which they were only too ready to
glean second-hand. And yet, though he was wise enough to appreciate all
that the classics could teach him, he was a romanticist at heart, or
perhaps it would be better to say that he threw the beautiful and
loosely fitting garment of romanticism over the classical frame of his
dramas. And even in the matter of this frame he was not always orthodox.
He bowed to the tradition of the unities: but he frequently broke with
it; in _The Woman_ alone does he confine the action to one day; and,
though he is more careful to observe unity of place, imaginary transfers
occurring in the middle of scenes indicate his rebellion against this
restriction. Nevertheless, when all is said, he remains, with the
exception of Jonson, the most classical of all Elizabethan playwrights,
and just as he anticipates the 17th and 18th centuries in his prose, so
in his dramas we may discover the first competent handling of those
principles and restrictions which, more clearly enunciated by Ben
Jonson, became iron laws for the post-Elizabethan dramatists.

It is this "balance between classic precedent and romantic freedom[132]"
that constitutes his supreme importance, not only in Elizabethan
literature, but even in the history of subsequent English drama. From
Lyly we may trace the current of romanticism, through Shakespeare, to
Goethe and Victor Hugo; in Lyly also we may see the first embodiment of
that classical tradition which even Shakespeare's "purge" could do
nothing to check, and which was eventually to lay its dead hand upon the
art of the 18th century. May we not say more than this? Is he not the
first name in a continuous series from 1580 to our own day, the first
link in the chain of dramatic development, which binds the "singing room
of Powles" to the Lyceum of Irving? And it is interesting to notice that
the principle which he was the first to express shows at the present
moment evident signs of exhaustion; for its future developments seem to
be limited to that narrow strip of social melodrama, which lies between
the devil of the comic opera and the deep sea of the Ibsenic problem
play. Indeed it would not be altogether fanciful, I think, to say that
_The Importance of being Earnest_ finishes the process that _Campaspe_
started; and to view that process as a circle begun in euphuism, and
completed in aestheticism.

  [132] Bond, II. p. 266.



At the beginning of this essay I gave a short account of the main facts
of our author's life, reserving my judgment upon his character and
genius until after the examination of his works. That examination which
I have now concluded is far too superficial in character to justify a
psychological synthesis such as that advocated by M. Hennequin[133]. But
though this essay cannot claim to have exhausted the subject of the ways
and means of Lyly's art, yet in the course of our survey we have had
occasion to notice several interesting points in reference to his mind
and character, which it will be well to bring together now in order to
give a portrait, however inadequate, of the man who played so important
a part in English literature.

  [133] _La Critique Scientifique._

Nash supplies the only piece of contemporary information about his
person and habits, and all he tells us is that he was short of stature
and that he smoked. But Ben Jonson gives us an unmistakeable caricature
of him under the delightfully appropriate name of Fastidious Brisk in
_Every Man out of His Humour_. He describes him as a "neat, spruce,
affecting courtier, one that wears clothes well, and in fashion;
practiseth by his glass how to salute; speaks good remnants
notwithstanding his base viol and tobacco; swears tersely and with
variety; cares not what lady's favour he belies, or great man's
familiarity: a good property to perfume the boot of a coach. He will
borrow another man's horse to praise and back him as his own. Or, for a
need can post himself into credit with his merchant, only with the
gingle of his spur and the jerk of his wand[134]." Allowing for the
exaggeration of satire, we cannot doubt that this portrait is in the
main correct. It indicates a man who follows fashion, even in swearing,
to the excess of foppery, who delights in scandal, who contracts debts
with an easy conscience, and who is withal a merry fellow and a wit. All
this is in accordance with what we know of his life. We can picture him
at Oxford serenading the Magdalen dons with his "base viol," or perhaps
organizing a night party to disturb the slumbers of some insolent
tradesman who had dared to insist upon payment; his neat little figure
leading a gang of young rascals, and among them the "sea-dog" Hakluyt,
the sturdy and as yet unconverted Gosson, the refined Watson, and
perchance George Pettie concealing his thorough enjoyment of the
situation by a smile of elderly amusement. Or yet again we can see him
at the room of some boon companion seriously announcing to a convulsed
assembly his intention of applying for a fellowship, and when the last
quip had been hurled at him through clouds of smoke and the laughter had
died down, proposing that the house should go into committee for the
purpose of concocting the now famous letter to Burleigh. When we next
catch a glimpse of him he is no longer the madcap; he walks with such
dignity as his stature permits, for he is now author of the
much-talked-of _Anatomy of Wit_, and one of the most fashionable young
men of the Court. What elaboration of toilet, what adjustment and
readjustment of ruffles and lace, what bowing and scraping before the
glass, preceded that great event of his life--his presentation to the
Queen--can only be guessed at. But we can well picture him, following
his magnificently over-dressed patron up the long reception-room, his
heart beating with pleasurable excitement, yet his manners not forgotten
in the hour of his pride, as he nods to an acquaintance and bows with
sly demureness to some Iffida or Camilla. Those were the days of his
success, the happiest period of his life when, as secretary to the Lord
Chamberlain and associate of the highest in the land, he breathed his
native atmosphere, the praises and flattery of a fickle world of
fashion. But, time-server as he was, he was no sycophant. Leaving de
Vere's service after a sharp quarrel, he was not ashamed to take up the
profession of teaching in which he had already had some experience. We
see him next, therefore, a master of St Paul's, engrossed in the not
unpleasant duties of drilling his pupils for the performance of his
plays, accompanying their songs on his instrument, or himself taking his
place on the stage, now as Diogenes in his ubiquitous tub, and now as
the golden-bearded and long-eared Midas. And last of all he appears as
the disappointed, disillusioned man, "infelix academicus ignotus." A
wife and children on his hands, his occupation gone, his hopes of the
Revels Mastership blasted, he becomes desperate, and writes that last
bitter letter to Elizabeth.

  [134] From the _Preface_.

The man of fashion out of date, the social success left high and dry by
the unheeding current, he died eventually in poverty, not because he had
wasted his substance, like Greene, in Bohemia, but because, thinking to
take Belgravia by storm, he had forgotten that the foundations of that
city are laid on the bodies of her sons. But leaving

    "The thrice three muses mourning for the death
     Of Learning late deceased in beggary,"

let us look more closely into the character of this man, whose brilliant
and successful youth was followed by so sad an old age.

In spite of Professor Raleigh and the moralizing of _Euphues_, we may
decide that there was nothing of the Puritan about him. His life at
Oxford, his attachment to the notorious de Vere, the keen pleasure he
took in the things of this world, are, I think, sufficient to prove
this. His general attitude towards life was one of vigorous hedonism,
not of intellectual asceticism. The ethical element of _Euphues_ links
him rather to the already vanishing Humanism than to the rising
Puritanism, against which all his sympathies were enlisted, as his
contributions to the _Marprelate_ controversy indicate. I have refrained
from touching upon these _Mar-Martin_ tracts because they possess
neither aesthetic nor dynamical importance, being, as Gabriel
Harvey--always ready with the spiteful epigram--describes them,
"alehouse and tinkerly stuffe, nothing worthy a scholar or a real
gentleman." They are worth mentioning, however, as throwing a light upon
the religious prejudices of our author. He was a courtier and he was a
churchman, and in lending his aid to crush sectarians he thought no more
deeply about the matter than he did in voting as Member of Parliament
against measures which conflicted with his social inclinations. There
was probably not an ounce of the theological spirit in his whole
composition; for his refutation of atheism was a youthful essay in
dialectics, a bone thrown to the traditions of the moral Court

If, indeed, he was seriously minded in any respect, it was upon the
subject of Art. Himself a novelist and dramatist, he displayed also a
keen delight in music, and evinced a considerable, if somewhat
superficial, interest in painting. And yet, though he apparently made it
his business to know something of every art, he was no sciolist, and, if
he went far afield, it was only in order to improve himself in his own
particular branch. All the knowledge he acquired in such amateur
appreciation was brought to the service of his literary productions. And
the same may be said of his extensive excursions into the land of books.
No Elizabethan dramatist but Lyly, with the possible exception of
Jonson, could marshal such an array of learning, and few could have
turned even what they had with such skill and effect to their own
purposes. Lyly had made a thorough study of such classics as were
available in his day, and we have seen how he employed them in his novel
and in his plays. But the classics formed only a small section of the
books digested by this omnivorous reader. If he could not read Spanish,
French, or Italian, he devoured and assimilated the numerous
translations from those languages into English, Guevara indeed being his
chief inspiration. Nor did he neglect the literature of his own land.
Few books we may suppose, which had been published in English previous
to 1580, had been unnoticed by him. We have seen what a thorough
acquaintance he possessed of English drama before his day, and how he
exhibits the influence of the writings of Ascham and perhaps other
humanists, how he laid himself under obligation to the bestiaries and
the proverb-books for his euphuistic philosophy, and how his lyrics
indicate a possible study of the mediaeval scholar song-books. In
conclusion, it is interesting to notice that we have clear evidence that
he knew Chaucer[135].

  [135] Bond, I. p. 401.

Idleness, therefore, cannot be urged against him; nor does this imposing
display of learning indicate a pedant. Lyly had nothing in common with
the spirit of his old friend Gabriel Harvey, whom indeed he laughed at.
There is a story that Watson and Nash invited a company together to sup
at the Nag's Head in Cheapside, and to discuss the pedantries of Harvey,
and our euphuist in all probability made one of the party. His erudition
sat lightly on him, for it was simply a means to the end of his art.
Moreover, a student's life could have possessed no attraction for one of
his temperament. Unlike Marlowe and Greene, he had harvested all his
wild oats before he left Oxford; but the process had refined rather than
sobered him, for his laugh lost none of its merriment, and his wit
improved with experience, so that we may well believe that in the Court
he was more Philautus than Euphues. In his writings also his aim was to
be graceful rather than erudite; and, ponderous as his _Euphues_ seems
to us now, it appealed to its Elizabethan public as a model of elegance.
His art was perhaps only an instrument for the acquisition of social
success, but he was nevertheless an artist to the fingertips. Yet he was
without the artist's ideals, and this fact, together with his frivolity,
vitiated his writings to a considerable extent, or, rather, the
superficiality of his art was the result of the superficiality of his
soul. Of that "high seriousness," which Aristotle has declared to be the
poet's essential, he has nothing. Technique throughout was his chief
interest, and it is in technique alone that he can claim to have
succeeded. "More art than nature" is a just criticism of everything he
wrote, with the exception of his lyrics. He was supremely clever, one of
the cleverest writers in our literature when we consider what he
accomplished, and how small was the legacy of his predecessors; but he
was much too clever to be simple. He excelled in the niceties of art, he
revelled in the accomplishment of literary feats, his intellect was akin
to the intellect of those who in their humbler fashion find pleasure in
the solution of acrostics. And consequently his writings were frequently
as finical as his dress was fastidious; for it was the form and not the
idea which fascinated him; to his type of mind the letter was everything
and the spirit nothing. Indeed, the true spirit of art was quite beyond
his comprehension, though he was connoisseur enough to appreciate its
presence in others. Artist and man of taste he was, but he was no poet.
Artist he was, I have said, to the fingertips, but his art lay at his
fingers' ends, not at his soul. He was facile, ingenious, dexterous,
everything but inspired. He had wit, learning, skill, imagination, but
none of that passionate apprehension of life which makes the poet, and
which Marlowe and Shakespeare possessed so fully. And therefore it was
his fate to be nothing more than a forerunner, a straightener of the
way; and before his death he realised with bitterness that he was only a
stepping-stone for young Shakespeare to mount his throne. He was,
indeed, the draughtsman of the Elizabethan workshop, planning and
designing what others might build. He was the expert mathematician who
formulated the laws which enabled Shakespeare to read the stars. Of the
heights and depths of passion he was unconscious; he was no
psychologist, laying bare the human soul with the lancet; and though now
and again, as in _Endymion_, he caught a glimpse of the silver beauties
of the moon, he had no conception of the glories of the midday sun.

And yet though he lacked the poet's sense, his wit did something to
repair the defect, and even if it has a musty flavour for our pampered
palates, it saves his writings from becoming unbearably wearisome; and
moreover his fun was without that element of coarseness which mars the
comic scenes of later dramatists who appealed to more popular audiences.
But it is quite impossible for us to realise how brilliant his wit
seemed to the Elizabethans before it was eclipsed by the genius of
Shakespeare. Even as late as 1632 Blount exclaims, "This poet sat at the
sunne's table," words referring perhaps more especially to Lyly's
poetical faculty, but much truer if interpreted as an allusion to his
wit. The genius of our hero played like a dancing sunbeam over the early
Elizabethan stage. Never before had England seen anything like it, and
we cannot wonder that his public hailed him in their delight as one of
the greatest writers of all time. How could they know that he was only
the first voice in a choir of singers which, bursting forth before his
notes had died away, would shake the very arch of heaven with the
passion and the beauty of their song? But for us who have heard the
chorus first, the recitative seems poor and thin. The magic has long
passed from _Euphues_, once a name to conjure with, and even the plays
seem dull and lifeless. That it should be so was inevitable, for the wit
which illuminated these works was of the time, temporary, the earliest
beam of the rising sun. This sunbeam it is impossible to recover, and
with all our efforts we catch little but dust.

And yet for the scientific critic Lyly's work is still alive with
significance. Worthless as much of it is from the aesthetic point of
view, from the dynamical, the historical aspect few English writers are
of greater interest. Waller was rescued from oblivion and labelled as
the first of the classical poets. But we can claim more for Lyly than
this. Extravagant as it may sound, he was one of the great founders of
our literature. His experiments in prose first taught men that style was
a matter worthy of careful study, he was among the earliest of those who
realised the utility of blank verse for dramatic purposes, he wrote the
first English novel in our language, and finally he is not only
deservedly recognised as the father of English comedy, but by his
mastery of dramatic technique he laid such a burden of obligation upon
future playwrights that he placed English drama upon a completely new
basis. Of the three main branches of our literature, therefore, two--the
novel and the drama--were practically of his creation, and though his
work suffered because it lacked the quality of poetry, for the historian
of literature it is none the less important on that account.


ARBER. The Martin Marprelate Controversy. Scholar's Library.

ASCHAM, ROGER. The Schoolmaster. Arber's English Reprints.

ASCHAM, ROGER. Toxophilus. Arber's English Reprints.

BAKER, G. P. Lyly's Endymion.

BARNEFIELD, RICHARD. Poems. Arber's Scholar's Library.

BERNERS, LORD. The Golden Boke of Marcus Aurelius.

BERNERS, LORD. Froissart's Chronicles. Globe Edition.

BOAS. Works of Kyd. Clarendon Press.

BOND, R. W. John Lyly. Clarendon Press. 3 Vols.

BRUNET. Manuel de Libraire.

BUTLER CLARKE. Spanish Literature.

CHILD, C. G. John Lyly and Euphuism. _Münchener Beiträge_ VII.

CRAIK, SIR H. Specimens of English Prose.

DICTIONARY of National Biography.

EARLE. History of English Prose.

FIELD, NATHANIEL. A Woman is a Weathercock.

FITZMAURICE-KELLY. Spanish Literature. Heinemann.

GAYLEY. Representative English Comedies.

GOSSE. From Shakespeare to Pope.

GOSSON. School of Abuse. Arber's English Reprints.

GUEVARA, ANTONIO DE. Libro Aureo del emperado Marco Aurelio.

HALLAM. Introduction to the Literature of Europe.

HENNEQUIN. La Critique Scientifique.

HUME, MARTIN. Spanish Influence on English Literature.

JUSSERAND. The English Novel in the time of Shakespeare.

LANDMANN, DR. Shakespeare and Euphuism. _New Shak. Soc. Trans._ 1880-2.

LANDMANN, DR. Introduction to Euphues. Sprache und Literatur.

LATIMER. Sermons. Arber's English Reprints.

LEE, SIDNEY. Athenæum, July 14, 1883.

LEE, SIDNEY. Huon of Bordeaux (Berners'). Early Eng. Text Soc. Extra
Series XL., XLI.

LEE, SIDNEY. Life of Shakespeare.

LIEBIG. Lord Bacon et les sciences d'observation en moyen âge.

LYLY. Euphues. Arber's English Reprints.

MACAULAY, G. G. Introd. to Froissart's Chronicles. Globe Edition.

MEREDITH, GEORGE. Essay on Comedy.

MÉZIÈRES. Prédécesseurs et contemporains de Shakespeare.

MINTO. Manual of English Prose Literature.

NORTH, THOMAS. Diall of Princes.

PEARSON, KARL. Chances of Death. Vol. II. _German Passion Play._

PETTIE, GEORGE. Petite Palace of Pettie his Pleasure.

RALEIGH, PROF. W. The English Novel.

RETURN FROM PARNASSUS. Arber's Scholar's Library.

SAINTSBURY. Specimens of English Prose.

SPENCER, HERBERT. Essays--Philosophy of Style.

SYMONDS, J. A. Shakespeare's Predecessors.

UDALL, NICHOLAS. Ralph Roister Doister. Arber's English Reprints.

UNDERHILL. Spanish Literature in Tudor England.

WARD, DR A. W. English Dramatic Literature. 3 Vols.

WARD, MRS H. "John Lyly," Article in _Enc. Brit._

WATSON, THOMAS. Poems. Arber's English Reprints.

WEBBE. Discourses of English Poetry. Arber's English Reprints.

WEYMOUTH, DR R. F. On Euphuism. _Phil. Soc. Trans._ 1870-2.


_Affectionate Shepherd_, 46

_Albion's England_, 57

Alençon, Duc d', 105

_Amis and Amile_, 66

_Anatomy of Wit_ (v. _Euphues_)

Andrews, Dr, 55

Arber (reprints), 12, 27, 38, 46

_Arcadia_, 9, 51, 56, 58, 68, 82, 84

Aretino, 48

Ariosto, 94, 96

Aristotle, 121, 129, 137

Armada, Spanish, 110

Arnold, Matthew, 47

_Ars Poetica_ (of Horace), 130

Ascham, 31, 37, 38, 39, 42, 50, 52, 67, 73, 74, 136

_Athenae Oxonienses_, 4, 5

_Athenæum_, 30

Athens, 69, 79

_Aucassin and Nicolette_, 66

Aurelius, Marcus, 22, 34, 69

Austen, Jane, 80

Bacon, Lord, 19, 47

Baena, 48

Baker, G. P., 4, 5, 7, 85, 98

Baker, George, 28

Baker, Robert, 28

Barnefield, Richard, 46

Berners, Lord, 22, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 42, 66, 67

Bertaut, Réné, 34, 35

bestiaries, 20, 41, 136

_Biographia Britannica_, 12

Blackfriars, 100

blank verse, 3, 97, 113

Blount, 114, 139

Boas, 45

Boccaccio, 66, 67, 75

Bond, R. W., 4, 5, 8, 9, 26, 30, 34, 43, 55, 60, 69, 72, 74, 78, 81, 85,
  86, 87, 89, 94, 95, 97, 98, 99, 100, 108, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117,
  120, 125, 130, 137

Brunet, 34

Bryan, Sir Francis, 30, 31

Burleigh, 4, 6, 7, 86, 133

Butler Clarke, 49

Byron (anticipated by Lyly), 77

Cambridge, 7, 75, 87, 93

_Campaspe_, 7, 85, 87, 98-102, 104, 105, 109, 116, 121, 124, 126

_Canterbury Tales_, 65

Carew, 27

Carpenter, Edward, 19

Castiglione, 48, 49, 72

Caxton, 66, 67

Cecil, 8

_Celestina_, 24

Charles VIII., 48, 66

Chaucer, 65, 66, 137

Cheke, Sir John, 26, 31, 37, 42, 50

Child, C. G., 14, 15, 16, 56, 59

choristers, 7, 8, 87, 92, 94, 116

Christ Church, 26, 39

Cicero, 12, 50

_Civile Conversation_, 40

  before Lyly, 89-98
  and folly, 90
  and masque, 112
  and music, 87, 92, 94, 116
  and society, 88
  and woman, 97-98, 100-101, 125-126

Congreve, 88, 101, 126, 127

_Cooling Carde for all Fond Lovers, A_, 71

Corpus Christi College (Oxford), 26

Corro, Antonio de, 26, 28

Cortes, 27

Craik, Sir H., 28, 37, 38, 39

_Cupid and my Campaspe played_, 115, 117

_Cynthia_, 46

_Damon and Pithias_, 93, 116, 119

_De Educatione_ (of Plutarch), 72

Dekker, Thomas, 114, 121

Demosthenes, 12

Devereux, Penelope, 109

_Diall of Princes_, 22, 30, 39, 69

_Diana_, 24

Dickens, 79

_Dispraise of the Life of a Courtier_, 31

Doni, 48

Dryden, 84

dubartism, 51

Earle, 53, 54

education (Lyly's views on), 72-73

_Edward II._, 129

Edwardes, Richard, 86, 87, 93, 94, 95, 97, 101

Eliot, George, 80

Elizabeth, Queen, 3, 6, 8, 9, 17, 25, 26, 65, 75, 80, 81, 86, 98, 100,
  101, 103, 104, 105, 107, 112, 129, 134

Ellis, Havelock, 128

_Endymion_, 85, 98, 99, 104, 107-110, 121, 122, 138

_English Novel, The_ (v. Raleigh)

_English Novel in the time of Shakespeare, The_ (v. Jusserand)

Erasmus, 26

_Estella_, 27

Eton, 93

  antecedents of, 65-69
  criticism and description of
    (i) _Anatomy of Wit_, 69-73
    (ii) _Euphues and his England_, 76-80
  dedication of, 74-76
  distinction between the two parts, 73-74
  Elizabethan reputation of, 10-13, 43-47, 57, 61, 84, 137
  first English novel, 3, 10-11, 74, 140
  moral tone of, 5, 71-72
  publication and editions of, 6, 7, 8, 10, 43, 57, 61, 73, 83, 84
  quoted, 4, 10, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 45, 58, 70, 76, 78

_Euphues and his England_ (v. _Euphues_)

_Euphues and his Ephoebus_, 72-73

  analysis of, 13-21
  an aristocratic fashion, 3, 49, 54, 56, 61, 62
  diction and, 56
  humanism and, 36-39, 50-53
  imitators of, 43-46
  origins of, 21-43
  Oxford and, 26-28, 39-42, 45-46, 54, 60, 61
  poetry and, 55-56
  Renaissance and, 47-52, 62
  Scott's misapprehension of, 11
  secret of Lyly's influence, 11-13
  Spain and, 22-36

_Every Man out of His Humour_, 132

fabliau, the, 66

_Faery Queen, The_, 103

Field, Nathaniel, 44, 102

Fitzmaurice-Kelly, 24

Flaubert, 56

Florence, 79

Fortescue, 69

France (and French), 22, 23, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 40, 42, 47, 48, 52, 53,
  56, 61, 66, 80, 136

_Froissart_, 31, 33, 35

Gager, William, 39, 86

_Gallathea_, 98, 107, 112

_Gammer Gurton's Needle_, 93, 96, 116

Gascoigne, George, 69, 94, 95, 97, 114, 119, 126

Gayley, 91, 92, 94, 95

Geoffrey of Dunstable, 92

_Gesta Romanorum_, 66

Gibbon, 58

_Glasse for Europe, A_, 52, 81

Goethe, 130

_Golden Boke, The_, 22, 30, 31, 36, 37

Gollancz, 109

gongorism, 51

Goodlet, Dr, 56

_Gorbuduc_, 129

Gosse, 36

Gosson, Stephen, 4, 27, 28, 46, 53, 71, 86, 109, 133

Granada, 24

Greek, 48, 62

Greene, 43, 135, 137

Grey, Lady Jane, 74

Guazzo, 40

Guerrero, 26

Guevara, Antonio de, 22-24, 28-31, 33-38, 40, 42, 49, 69, 72, 76, 136

Habsburgs, 103

Hakluyt, 24, 26, 27, 133

Hallam, 33, 34

Halpin, 109, 111

Harrison, 69

Harvey, Dr, 19

Harvey, Gabriel, 6, 20, 42, 109, 135, 137

_Hekatompathia_, 7, 45, 46

Hennequin, 4, 132

Henry VIII., 23, 31

_Hernani_, 100

Herrick, 117

Heywood, 69, 92, 95, 96

Homer, 67

Horace, 130

Hugo, Victor, 130

humanism, 25, 26, 37, 50, 52, 53, 54, 67, 92, 135

Hume, Martin, 24, 25

_Huon of Bordeaux_, 30, 66

Huss, John, 66

_Importance of being Earnest, The_, 131

Italy (and Italian), 24, 25, 47, 48, 49, 52, 53, 66, 67, 69, 74, 75, 78,
  86, 94, 95, 136

_Jacke Jugelar_, 96

James I., 23

James, Henry, 53

Johnson, Dr, 58

Jonson, Ben, 114, 120, 127, 130, 132, 136

Jusserand, 18, 43, 65, 72, 76

Katherine of Aragon, 23

Kenilworth, 109

Knox, John, 75

Kyd, 43-46, 102, 115

_Kynge Johan_, 99

_Lady Windermere's Fan_, 88

Landmann, Dr, 14, 16, 22, 24, 29, 30, 31, 40, 42, 47, 69, 75

Latimer, 36

_Lazarillo de Tórmes_, 24

Lee, Sidney, 12, 29-33, 123

Leicester, Earl of, 107, 109, 129

_Libro Aureo_ (v. Guevara)

Liebig, 19

_Literature of Europe_, 33, 34

Lodge, Thomas, 27, 43

Lok, Henry, Thomas, and Michael, 26, 27

London, 7, 71, 78, 91, 114, 119

London, Bishop of, 8

_Love's Labour's Lost_, 110, 113, 127, 128

_Love's Metamorphosis_, 98, 112, 113, 122

Luther, 89

Lyly, John:
  character and genius, 3, 51, 62, 63, 123, 137-139
  compared with Marlowe, 128-129
  courtier and man of fashion, 63, 87, 88, 98, 103, 110, 134, 135
  dramatist, 7, 8, 9, 85-131
  forerunner of Shakespeare, 43, 47, 95, 100, 101, 102, 105, 109-111,
    116, 123, 124, 127-128, 130, 138-139
  friends of, 26-28, 39, 42, 46, 53, 54, 61, 133, 135, 137
  Jonson's caricature of, 132-133
  learning, 17, 20, 38, 69, 86, 95, 119-120, 130, 136-137
  life, 4-9, 86-88, 119-120, 132-135
  novelist, 10, 64-84
  poet, 3, 110, 113, 115-118, 138, 139
  position in English literature, 2-3, 10-13, 51, 52-63, 65-69, 73-84,
    98-131, 138-140
  prose, 3, 11-21, 52-63, 97, 126-127
  reputation, 9, 11-13, 43, 57, 58, 60, 61

lyrics, 115-118

Macaulay, G. C., 33

Macaulay, Lord, 80

_Macbeth_, 125

Magdalen College (Oxford), 4, 6, 86, 133

Malory, 66, 67

Marini, 48

_Marius the Epicurean_, 50

Marlowe, 3, 47, 113, 128-129, 137, 138

_Martin Marprelate_, 3, 8, 114, 135-136

Mary (Tudor), 25, 26

Mary (of Scots), 109

masque, 112, 129

Maupassant, Guy de, 75

_Mayde's Metamorphosis_, 119

Mendoza, 23, 24

Meredith, George, 53, 79, 88, 97, 126

_Midas_, 98, 104, 110-112, 117, 122, 125

_Midsummer Night's Dream_ (anticipated by Lyly), 105, 109-111, 123, 127

Milton, 55

miracle-play, the, 89-91, 123

_Monastery, The_, 11

Montemayor, 23, 24

moral court treatise, the, 49, 65, 67, 68, 69, 73, 74, 75

morality-play, the, 70, 89-92, 94, 99, 102, 119, 124

_Morte d'Arthur_, 66, 67

_Mother Bombie_, 98, 105, 114-117

Munday, Anthony, 28, 43

_Murder of John Brewer, The_, 115

Naples, 69

Nash, 23, 55, 56, 84, 114, 137

Newton, 19

Nicholas, Thomas, 27

North, Sir Thomas, 22, 29, 30, 39

novella, the, 65, 66, 67, 68, 74, 75

Ovid, 17, 69, 111

Oxford, 4-7, 25-28, 39, 42, 46, 49, 53, 61, 69, 72, 86, 87, 93, 95, 119,
  133, 137

Oxford, Earl of (v. Vere, Edward de)

Painter, William, 40

Palgrave, 117

_Palamon and Arcite_, 86

_Pallace of Pleasure_, 40

_Pamela_, 83

pastoral romance, 23, 68

Petrarchisti, 48

Pettie, George, 32, 39, 40, 41, 46, 53, 56, 69, 86, 133

_Petite Pallace of Pettie his Pleasure_, 40, 69

Philip II. of Spain (caricatured by Lyly), 110

picaresque romance, 23

Plato, 67, 75, 79, 121

Plautus, 92

_Play of the Wether, The_, 93

_Pleasant History of the Conquest of West India_, 27

Pliny, 17, 20, 41, 69, 100

Plutarch, 17, 69, 72, 73

_Poetics of Aristotle, The_, 130

puritanism, 3, 26, 57, 71, 135

Puttenham, 87

Quick, 73

Quintilian, 12

Raleigh, Prof. W., 20, 55, 57, 65, 71, 84, 135

_Ralph Roister Doister_, 93, 110, 114, 116

Renaissance, the, 25, 47-52, 62, 64, 66, 68, 95, 115, 118

Revels' Office, the, 8, 9, 103, 134

Richardson, 72, 83

Rogers, Thomas, 27

romance of chivalry, 65-68, 75

Ronsard, 61

Rowland, 24

_Sacharissa_, 13

Sainte Beuve, 53

St Paul's Choir School, 7, 8, 87, 99, 109, 116, 119, 123, 131, 134

Saintsbury, Prof., 27

Sallust, 37

_Sapho and Phao_, 7, 87, 98, 99, 104-107, 116, 122

Savoy Hospital, the, 7

_School of Abuse, The_, 27

_Schoolmaster, The_, 38, 50, 52, 67, 73, 75

Schwan, Dr, 56

Scott, Sir Walter, 11

Seneca, 129

Shakespeare, 2, 9, 43, 47, 55, 95, 100, 101, 102, 105, 109, 110, 111,
  113, 115, 116, 118, 120-124, 127, 128, 130, 138, 139

Sheridan, 88

Sidney, Sir Philip, 23, 27, 55, 58, 68, 82, 84

_Sixe Court Comedies_, 114

_Soliman and Perseda_, 45

Soto, Pedro de, 26

Spain (and Spanish), 22-28, 30, 31, 33-36, 40, 42, 47, 48, 52, 66, 69,

_Spanish Tragedy, The_, 43, 44, 45

Spencer, Herbert, 61

Spenser, 103, 120

_Stella_, 109

Stevenson, 93, 95, 114, 119

Stratford, 109

_Suppositi_ (_Supposes_), 94, 119, 126

Surrey, 31

Symonds, J. A., 47, 62, 91, 93, 104, 117

Taine, 1

_Tamburlaine_, 113

_Taming of the Shrew, The_, 93

Tasso, 48

Tents and Toils (office of), 8

Terence, 50, 92, 96

Thackeray, 77

_Timon of Athens_ (anticipated by Lyly), 101

_Toxophilus_, 38

Tully (v. Cicero)

Udall, Nicholas, 87, 93, 95, 96, 97, 114, 116, 119

Underhill, 23, 24, 27, 28, 34, 36, 40

Vere, Edward de, 7, 28, 46, 86, 87, 116, 119, 134

Villa Garcia, 26

Virgil, 17, 50

Vives, 25, 26

Waller, 12, 140

Ward, Dr, 8, 92, 93

Ward, Mrs H., 30, 80

Warner, 43, 57

Watson, Thomas, 7, 45, 46, 49, 53, 133, 137

Webbe, William, 11

Welbanke, 43

West, Dr, 33, 34

Weymouth, Dr, 14

Wilkinson, 43

_Wine, Women and Song_, 117

_Woman in the Moon, The_, 98, 112, 113, 124, 130

_Woman is a Weathercock, A_, 44

women, importance of, in the Elizabethan age, 74-76, 80-82, 97-98,
  100-101, 125-126, 128

Wood, Anthony à, 4, 5, 86

Wyatt, 31

Wycliff, 66

Wynkyn de Worde, 66

Zola, 75


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